By: Clara Yan
Osteopathic Manual Practitioner
Hey Soon-To-Be-Moms! Do you experience back pain? Do you feel the pelvis gets locked up from time to time?? Do you feel increased pressure in your pelvis? Does it feel like your organs are being squished, like it’s becoming increasingly difficult to breathe deeply? Let me explain to you how osteopathy can help you out.
The body functions as one unit. As one area of the body changes, the rest of the body will learn to adapt. Dr. Andrew Taylor Still believed that “our body systems depend upon one another to function, and that maintenance of the body in its proper alignment improves the body’s function and its ability to maintain health” (Tasker, 1916). This philosophy does not change when a woman becomes pregnant. In fact, this philosophy becomes more apparent at that time.
During pregnancy, the surrounding organs and structures will need to make room for the growing fetus. As the baby grows over the next 9 months, mum releases different hormones in order to accommodate for it. These hormones then change the structure of the lower back and pelvis potentially causing discomfort and pain down the legs or even in the lower back. Along with structural pain, digestive issues may also occur. The organs such as your liver, stomach, and intestines are pushed aside as the uterus continues to grow.
Pre-natal treatment is essential. Some of these pains are difficult to ignore and difficult to live with. An Osteopathic Manual Practitioner can help with all aspects along the way. As soon as a woman has pain, adaptations within the body occur. Once the adaptations occur, there will be different pulls and pressures put on or through areas that should not be carrying any weight. Seeking out an Osteopathic Manual Practitioner to help alleviate pain in the lumbar and pelvic region, on the spine or even the organs to help alleviate these pains and to decrease labour time (Hart, 1918). After all, this should be one of the most magical times of your life. Don’t let the pain hinder that. Come on in for an osteopathic treatment today!
Tasker DL. Principles of Osteopathy. Los Angeles, CA: Bireley & Elson; 1916:25.
Hart LM. Obstetrical practice. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 1918:609-614.
By: Dr. Ishani Patel, ND
Have you experienced severe pain around your period, discomfort when passing bowels and urine, pain during or after intercourse, digestive symptoms, and chronic back pain?
Endometriosis could be the answer. Endometriosis affects 7% of the Canadian female population. People with endometriosis have endometrial tissue growing outside of their uterine cavity in other places, such as on the ovaries and intestines. Similar to many chronic conditions, endometriosis presents with underlying inflammation, which triggers symptoms such as pelvic pain. What causes this growth of endometrial tissue to occur? Research has yet not identified one specific cause. Research shows that there may be a connection to immune dysregulation, stress, dysbiosis, hormonal imbalances, and toxic environmental exposures.
As a naturopathic doctor, I value the importance of determining the root cause of my patient’s concerns and helping optimize their quality of life. When I am supporting my patients with endometriosis, I address all of the factors above by providing safe and effective treatment options. Where do I start first? The first place to start is the pillars of health, which break down into nutrition, movement, mental health, and sleep. Fueling our body with anti-inflammatory foods, eliminating food triggers, incorporating daily moderate-intensity physical movement, managing stress or anxiety, and optimizing sleep quality can decrease the intensity of symptoms.
These are our foundations of health, and they have a positive impact on maintaining our well-being long term. In addition to the pillars of health, naturopathic doctors can provide a variety of safe treatment options to manage and treat endometriosis. Research has shown the efficacy of botanical medicine, supplementation, acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, hydrotherapy (heat applications), and massage. Even though many treatment options exist, I value the importance of personalizing a treatment plan. You are unique and your experience with endometriosis is also unique; therefore you need a treatment plan that is specific to you! If you have endometriosis, you are not alone.
I am passionate about helping women feel empowered over their health, as well as helping my patients feel like their best selves. If you have endometriosis, you want to look for alternative options, and you want to feel empowered over your health, I would be honored to be a part of your journey. Let’s get your health journey started!
Women with endometriosis are resilient. To be able to take charge starts with you!
By: Nadine Khoury
Integrative & Functional Nutrition Certified Practitioner
Integrative and Functional medical nutrition therapy can be extremely helpful for a wide variety of symptoms and ailments, including depression, fatigue, brain fog, bloating, constipation, abdominal pain, weight gain, joint pain, inflammation, autoimmunity, and thyroid health.
It focuses on the functioning of various systems within the body beyond treating the symptoms by examining the underlying causes driving the condition. It treats the body as a whole interrelated system to bring about balance and an overall state of well-being. This form of therapy supports the body’s natural healing potential through food, nutrients and lifestyle changes that are complimentary to conventional medicine.
Gut health and healthy digestion are arguably the foundation of good overall health. Recent new research has drawn connections between the health of your stomach and intestines and your brain, your heart, your immune system, and, of course, your ability to absorb the nutrients that fuel all the biological mechanisms that keep your body healthy and functioning properly.
Here are a few examples of connections that have been made in the literature:
- Thyroid issues and gut health
- Arthritis and gut health
- Depression and anxiety and gut health
- Autoimmunity and gut health
- Fatigue or lack of energy and gut health
- Proton pump inhibitors or antacid meds and gut health
- Nutrient deficiencies and gut health
- Medications that impact gut bacterial balance and gut health
- Exercise and gut health
Many of these connections can inform a functional medical nutrition therapy approach to help rebalance systems within the body that may have become dysfunctional over time.
Our dietitian Nadine is an integrative and functional certified practitioner that incorporates lifestyle choices and patient-centered treatments where the standard is prevention before the disease progresses, causing the body to break down because of poor diet, stress, sedentary lifestyle, or genetic predispositions. She empowers her patients to take an active role in their health by encouraging evidence and practice-based personalized practices and choices. She essentially puts you, the patient, in the driver’s seat of your health journey.
By: Jessica Kristy, BSW Student, Office Manager
For many, this time of year is filled with excitement for the crisp fall mornings, the beautiful colors of leaves changing, and pumpkin spice everything. Contrarily, there are also many of us who are mourning summer weather and find it more difficult to adapt to the chillier days ahead. I definitely fall into this latter category and have been finding myself dreading the colder months ahead. I’ve compiled a list of helpful strategies to ease the transition if you find yourself struggling with letting summer go as much as I am!
1. Fall activities - as wonderful as summer can be with beach days and warm weather, fall and winter offer activities that summer just can’t fulfill. If you enjoy outdoor activities, start getting excited for those and make a list of all the things you want to do with this new season upon us! Hiking among a scenic view of fall leaves, pumpkin decorating, apple picking, skiing…what is it that fills you with joy? And if outdoor activities aren’t your thing, that’s ok! I always recommend a little time spent outside, but there are lots of indoor things to do as well. Are there fall recipes you can commit to making? A new restaurant you want to try? Watching movies that get you into the Halloween spirit? Sitting on the balcony with a cozy blanket, tea, and a good book? Buying yourself a new sweater or jacket that you feel amazing in? Art projects with the little ones using fall leaves? There truly is something for everyone if you look deep enough!
2. Support - The Beatles got it right when they sang, “I get by with a little help from my friends.” I have a few friends that absolutely love fall, so I’m going to be leaning on them a little bit more right now. And even if some don’t look forward to the colder months like me, then better reason to meet up and do something new to embrace the season together! Go biking together, plan a little fall getaway at Niagara on the Lake (this is on my list!), picnic in a park, help declutter each other’s places and bring out fall clothes and decor…brainstorm with your favorite people and have some outings and activities to look forward to with them!
3. Start a new, healthy habit - not everything has to revolve around it being a transition from hot to cold. A new season is a beautiful opportunity to start something new, just for you. Perhaps you want to start meditating for 20 minutes every day, or learn a new language or instrument, start every day with a walk, commit to meal prepping, or reading one book a week…choose whatever speaks to you and stick to it.
I hope you find this helpful, and as always, extra support is here at Thrive if you need it. Happy Autumn!
June is Pride Month and is a time when many of us reflect on how to be a better ally for the 2SLGBTQ+ community. As a fourth-year social work student, I am consistently learning about marginalized communities and ways in which I can foster a more inclusive, safe, and accepting society. I’ve included some ways below that I hope helps to ensure that we are honouring and acknowledging diversity and the Pride community, not only in June but every single day.
1) Using correct pronouns. We cannot assume we know how someone identifies; you may have noticed social media platforms getting on board to encourage the normalization of sharing one’s pronouns. Instagram now has a feature where you can edit this into your profile/bio. In my social work classes, we always start the semester with an introduction of ourselves and the pronouns we would like to be called. It’s a simple way to steer clear of performative allyship and embody taking action toward inclusivity.
2) Acknowledge diversity within the 2SLGBTQ+ community. There are marginalized communities within umbrella terms and it’s important to amplify those voices as well.
3) Donate to causes and support companies that demonstrate allyship. There are many 2SLGBTQ+ organizations that need help to support their clients and provide the best services for those in need. It’s also a good idea to take some time reflecting on the companies you buy from and if they also support marginalized communities. Some of my friends are asking for donations for the Pride run, so that is another way to not only support fellow allies but to directly support 2SLGBTQ+ organizations.
4) Active Listening. Who better to teach and help allies understand what is needed better than those within the 2SLGBTQ+ community? Providing a safe space to listen and learn can go a long way.
5) Speaking up with friends/family. We may witness moments where we feel called to correct the language used or beliefs our family or friends hold. It can be uncomfortable, but change doesn’t occur unless we speak up for the voices that are not present.
Of course, there are many more ways we can show up and I encourage you to research and acknowledge your own social location. Let’s learn and grow together to become better allies! #loveislove
By: Jessica Kristy, Social Work Student/Office Manager
5 Tips and Tricks to help you add mindfulness into your child’s day.
- “Try a sun salutation”: Try doing some simple sun salutations with your kid in the morning. Stand up and take a deep breath in together, reaching your hands up to the sky. Then relax everything on the exhale. Repeat twice more.
- “Silent meditation”: Next time you’re waiting with your child in line at the grocery store ask them stay silent for 60 seconds and try to listen to all the sounds around them.
- “Noticing the new”: When walking on paths you normally take- say your way to the park or to daycare- challenge your child to find things they haven’t noticed or seen before. For example, a plant in someone’s garden or a bike rack.
- “Gratitude gab”: This is a great one to do before bed or at the dinner table with the whole family. Ask everyone to name one thing they are grateful for or tell everyone about something good that happened that day.
- “Bedtime bliss”: Try a progressive relaxation exercise with your child to help them calm down before bed. Get them to relax all of their body parts, starting with their toes and moving up to their feet, ankles and all the way up to their head.
- “Stuffie breaths”: Help your kid learn how to take mindful breaths. During playtime, or before bed, get your child to lie down on their back and place their favourite stuffie on their tummy. Get them to take deep breaths into their belly, so that their stuffie gets to sail up and down as they breathe.
Dr. Kristin Heins, ND, Psychotherapist
By: Dr. Kristin Heins, ND, Psychotherapist
Covid 19 is making viral infections global news and concern so far this year. As a naturopathic doctor this also means a lot of focus on immunity boosting.Customizing immune protocols to the specific need of the patient is part of my practice as things like age, medication regime and lifestyle can and do impact treatment regimes so definitely consider speaking to someone licensed who can address you as an individual.That said, I wanted to blog a bit on an immune booster that is relevant across the board and that is sleep! Sleep is not just wasted or unproductive hours in a day. Sleep is actually the time when the body rests and repairs. We know this scientifically because good rest shows correlations with our infection fighting white blood cells.So for starters if you are wanting to keep your body as healthy and ready to fight infections as it can be, make sure you are sleeping well. If not work to fix it! This may require consultation with a health care practitioner – there are pharmaceutical and nutraceutical options available – but certainly if not already adopting the following healthy sleep hygiene tips start with these:
- Turn off devices 60 min before sleep as they stimulate not sedate our brains and nervous system.
- Adopt a similar sleep and wake pattern (time and routine) as this helps our body more easy move in and out of rest.
- Limit / reduce sugar, alcohol and caffeine as these all can be negatively impactful on sleep.
- Identify sources of stress and work to reduce them or find someone to help. Stress often creates mental emotional and nervous system activation that negatively contributes to sleep.
For more help with stress reduction, sleep supporter or immune boosting talk to your doctor or health care practitioner.
If you’re home and feeling the effects of missed manual treatments and maybe a less than ideal work station setup, our osteopath, Marine Burkhardt, has some tips on how to stay comfortable until you’re able to get back in to see your favourite practitioner for some hands on care.
On the painful area, apply hot and cold alternately: 10 minutes of each for 40 minutes. For hot, you can use a hot water bottle and for cold you can use an ice pack or ice cubes. Be sure to put a cloth around it so as not to burn your skin. You can use a tennis ball at home to massage the painful area. If it’s your back, for example, place the ball between you and the wall. For your buttocks, you can sit on it to massage the muscles of the buttocks.
Torticollis, Cervical Pain (Neck Pain
Gently move your neck up and down, turn your head right and left, tilt your head (bring your right ear close to your right shoulder and bring your left ear close to your left shoulder). Do these movements for 3 seconds each, 10 repetitions, 3 times a day.
Stretching of the trapezius muscle (its role: lowering or raising the shoulders, bowing and head flexion). Sitting or standing with shoulders rolled forward. Grab your head, gradually increasing the head flexion on your breath.
Other trapezius stretch: straight trapezius stretch. In an upright position, tilt your head to the left side and reach behind your back with your left hand to gently grab your right wrist and deepen the stretch yourself with your left arm, increasing or decreasing the traction for a comfortable stretch.
Stretching of the SCM (Sternocleido-occipito-mastoid sternocleid). A muscle that males the link between your skull, your collarbone and sternum; it will be used in flexion, rotation and head tilt. Let’s take the right SCM, the goal is simply to tilt your head to increase the stretch: While standing or sitting, drop your right shoulder and with your left hand, grasp your head and tilt it to the left. You can add a left rotation of the head to increase the stretch.Upper Back Pain:
Child’s pose: Stretch with the arms forward 10 times, 3 times a day.
You can put a yoga block or a hard book between your shoulder blades and lie on your back This position stretches your back muscles and opens your rib cage. You can complete the stretch by taking deep breaths and remain in this position for 3 to 10 minutes.Lower Back Pain:
Sleep on your side with a cushion between your legs to decompress the pelvis. If you are lying on your back, put a cushion under your knees. Avoid turning, bending or lifting. Remember to bend your knees when you bend down.
Stretching knees and chest – On the ground, lying on your back, bring your legs together and grab both knees; keep your legs together. Pull gently to bring your knees closer to your chest.
Cat/ Cow Kneeling on the ground, slowly round your back while breathing in; the head and buttocks go down and the back goes up (act like a cat). Then, return to normal while exhaling and continue to lower the back, but straighten the head and “push” the buttocks out; the back should become slightly concave (dog). Alternate between cat, dog, cat… following your breathing rhythm; the head and pelvis should be the opposite of the back.Psoas:
A very important muscle used to do hip flexion (to bring the knee against the stomach). Serves as a stabilizer for the spine. Tight psoas muscles can cause back pain. Example left psoas:
Put the left knee on the ground and place the other leg in front of you, bent at right angle (genuflexion); the arms remain along the body or can lean on an object to maintain balance.
Straighten your back vertically, tuck in your stomach and bring your pelvis forward, bending your right leg more. Stay in this position for 20 seconds and change legs. Piriformis It is also a hip flexor but it is also used to open the hip (abduction and external rotation of the hip). – Lie on your back and bend your right leg so that your (right) foot is flat on the floor. – Then place your left ankle on your right leg at knee level. – Grab your right leg (back of the knee) and pull slightly with both hands do not lift your head or back. – Repeat with your left foot flat on the floor.
Be sure to stretch well after your workouts and don’t forget to hydrate with plenty of water everyday.
I look forward to seeing you soon.
Marine Burkhardt, Osteopath DOMP
by Guiomar Campbell R.Ac.
Traditional Chinese Medicine theory believes that the heart houses the spirit or “Shen” and plays key roles in regulation of emotions. Nourishing and nurturing our heart is the most powerful gift we can give to ourselves and others. As various mystics are saying it will keep us in the path of being healthy, wealthy and wise.
This exercise will help you:
Balance your emotions
Clear your mind
Improve your sleep
Relax your chest
Relieve tenderness in the breast
Increase your energy level
– You may choose to stand with your feet shoulder width apart or sitting in a chair with your spine straight and feet flat in the ground.
– Take a big breath in with your nose, with the tip of your tongue touching behind the upper tooth. As you exhale pronounce the sound “Ah”, which is the sound of the heart chakra.
With the four fingers of both hands, tap REN 17 point, located in the middle of the sternum between the two nipples. This point stimulates the thymus gland and opens heart energy.
– Continue tapping this point for 3 minutes as you pronounce the sound of love “Ah”.
If you prefer you can also repeat the word Love, Love.
You will experience a sensation of warmth rising up your chest towards your neck and a light feeling in your chest.
Finish by saying thank you to your heart and chest area.
Repeat this exercise every day twice a day. Every time you practice this exercise you will notice a relaxing feeling sensation on your chest that will allow you to breathe better and stay calm and grounded.
This article is not intended to treat and cure. It is for educational purposes only! If you need health assistance please contact your Doctor.
Pelvic pain during pregnancy is normal because your organs make room for the growing uterus, hormones drastically change and ligaments stretch; it’s no wonder that you’re feeling pain that you didn’t once before.
Be reassured that many expecting mothers feel pelvic pain.
Common locations for pelvic pain :
- over the centre of your pubic bone
- across your lower back
- in your perineum
- in your thighs
- the round ligament
The Round Ligament
typical pain is described as sharp, achey, crampy, occurring on one or both sides of your abdomen.
The round ligament attaches to your uterus (cornu of the uterus) to your pubic bone (mons pubic, fatty tissue attached to pubic bone).
As a normal part of pregnancy, the round ligament increases in diameter and length. It can cause cramping and pain due to its stretching & contracting. This may be sharp or cause a pulling sensation. Once the baby is born the round ligament shrinks back to its non-pregnant state.
Round ligament pain its self is a normal, growing pain related to pregnancy, so it will resolve its self. However osteopathic treatment can help be reducing any local muscle tension, and improving the mobility on your hip and pubic bone.
How to self manage the pain :
- Avoid sudden movements
- Avoid heavy lifting
- Stretch your hip, lying on your back, gently hug one knee at a time in to your chest, drop the knee to beside your belly, so not to compress your bump.
- Marine Burkhardt, Osteopath