Newsletter

The Guide to Surviving Winter by Edgar Family Chiropractic

Winter Tips

Proper Snow ShovelingWhile you are all busy thinking about your Christmas shopping lists, we thought we would take the time to put together a few tips on how to avoid injuries and stay healthy this coming winter so that you can really enjoy yourself through the holidays. This is probably one of the most important newsletters of the year as we are gearing up for a long winter. We are going to review proper shoveling technique, how to avoid slips and falls, how to keep your vitamin D levels up and your immunity strong and also our holiday hours.

We’ve had our first big snowfall and already have seen some patients who have fallen or hurt their backs shoveling. Here are a few things to remember when you are about to go out and brave the driveway full of snow:

1. Dress warmly– it may seem like a hassle to get all your gear on and you may think that you will “warm” up while shoveling, but layered clothing will do a good job of keeping your muscles warm and working properly. If you go out without much clothing, you will get chilled and the blood flow to your muscles will decrease, causing them to not function properly and leading to increased chance of injury.

2. Short warm-up– this could be a small walk around the block or even a few jumping jacks on the spot. Follow this with a few simple stretches like touch your toes a few times, do some side bends, a few lunges and squats, and some neck and arm circles. Once again this will help to warm up the muscles so that they can support your back and not buckle under pressure.

3. Shovel more often– don’t let the snow pile up. Small loads of snow will be much easier on your back rather than big heavy loads.

4. Keep the back straight, bend from the hip and bend the knees- these three biomechanical moves will save your backhands down (see picture above).

5. Push don’t throw– at times it may seem easier to throw, but this is where we get into trouble because often this will involve quick twisting and turning movements under load and this is the most common way people hurt their back. Push the snow as much as you can!

6. Take frequent breaks and see someone if you are hurt– taking breaks will help to give the muscles a necessary break and ensure they will keep working optimally to stabilize your back. Some stiffness or discomfort is to be expected if you have not worked your muscles in a while. Heat and rest is recommended in this case. However, if you continue to experience pain and stiffness for longer than a few hours, please give us a call so we can further assess for a possible strain injury.

Tips on how to avoid falls:

With our unpredictable weather, we often have to brave streets full of ice. Here is what you need to keep in mind in order to prevent falling and hurting yourself:

1. Wear sensible footwear- the thicker the sole, the better. If your work requires you to wear high heels, pack them and take them with you.

2. Take smaller steps and avoid rushing – Smaller steps allow you to maintain your body’s center of balance over your feet. Take extra time to get to your destination if you know that it will be icy outside.

3. Try not to carry too much – You want to keep your arms and hands-free to make it easier to balance yourself. Use a bag that distributes weight evenly across the body, and keeps hands free, like a backpack rather than a purse which will pull you more to one side.

4. Utilize all your senses and concentrate- When putting on all your winter gear, make sure that you can still see and hear well. Try to avoid going out when it’s very dark. Perhaps if the conditions are very poor, avoid taking your furry friends for a long walk. Dogs and their curious nature can often throw us off balance and we have seen many injuries in the office as a result of falls from walking animals in the ice.

5. Use railings and stable objects where possible- On outdoor steps and ramps, use rails provided. Also, when getting in and out of a car, take care and use the vehicle to stabilize yourself.

6. Remove as much snow and water from your footwear when you come inside. Be aware that floors indoors may be wet and slippery.

7. If you fall you should… do so by taking slow, simple steps to get back onto your feet again. This involves getting onto your hands and knees first and then slowly to your feet, using the assistance of a firm and stable surface. If you are in too much pain to move, you should call out for help and not move too much until someone is able to assist you. It is important to always report a fall to your health care provider like your chiropractor, physiotherapist, or medical doctor. Sometimes complications from a fall may NOT manifest until some weeks after the fall has occurred, and it is better you get an assessment early. Due to the possibility of a concussion or internal bleeding to the brain, if you have hit your head during the fall, it is especially important to get an assessment as soon as possible!

Get your Vitamin D levels up:

Vitamin D

Did you know that Canadian’s are at an increased risk of having a lower vitamin D level by up to 72%? This is because of our long, often sun-less winters. Our ancestors spent their days out in the full sun, with no clothing, hunting and gathering food. Nature never intended for humans to live and work indoors, in cubicles, without daily sunshine exposure. Canada’s northerly latitudes mean natural vitamin D production outdoors is impossible for November through March and this is when we especially recommend to our patients to supplement with some extra Vitamin D. If your vitamin D levels are low, here is what can happen to your body:

1. Studies showed that insufficient vitamin D may cause a loss in bone and muscle mass- This is important for all ages but especially menopausal women and seniors who are already at an increased risk for bone loss and consequently falls and breaks that can result from this.

2. Decreased levels of Vitamin D can lead to more inflammation and pain- this can be a pain in the bones, muscles, and back but also more pain in chronic conditions like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic low back pain and inflammatory conditions such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and Crohn’s disease.

3. There are studies that suggest that a Vitamin D deficiency can be related to an increase in the incidence of depression and that filling up your “vitamin D tank” may relieve some of the symptoms of depression.

Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to an increased rate of infections, cardiovascular diseases, and adverse pregnancy outcomes. We usually recommend an increase in Vitamin D supplementation to our patients especially during the months of November-March. Taking 3000 to 5000 IU’s (international units) during the winter months is perfectly safe and encouraged. This equals out to about 3- 5 drops of liquid vitamin D that you can get at any natural health food store. The drops are tasteless and perfectly safe for children as well (a common brand is “D-drops”).

Get Your Immunity Up:

Our very own Dr. Andrea Maxim is offering a great way to keep your immunity up and those pesky flus and viruses at bay in the most natural way possible. She is offering an all natural immune support without the ouch-factor. The immune support is taken orally and is safe for the entire family!

How it works:

Call the office and book you and your family in ONCE A MONTH for a 5min Immune Support Visit (totally covered under your benefits, or $15 per shot) from now until February.

When you come down with a cold or flu during the season, you book yourself in ASAP to give your immune system a nice boost and recover significantly faster.

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Spin For Limbs Race

On Sunday September 21, 2014, we were at Hidden Valley Park for the 3rd annual Spin for Limbs Ride, Walk and Festival raising funds and awareness for children and their families affected by pediatric limb reconstruction.

While the weather made it hard on the cyclists, there was enough fun and positivity to blast away the clouds, leading to a beautiful day to treat the racers.

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Oakville Dragon Boat Regatta

On August 10, 2014, we were at Kelso Park helping out the paddlers at the Oakville Dragon Boat Festival in support of the Childrens Aid Fund. The event was hosted by the Rotary Club of Oakville Trafalgar and we had a great time.

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HEROS Race

On July 19, 2014 we put a team together to run a 5K obstacle race to help raise money for the Cancer Society. Our team helped raise over $2000 and had 3 participants in the top 10 of fundraisers. Thank you so much to all that donated and made this such a success!

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Fit In The Core June 22, 2014

We were out at Fit In The Core this past Sunday again. This time we were with Exhale Pilates answering questions and treating the participants. 

This is such a wonderful activity that happens very Sunday right downton Burlington in front of city hall on Brant Street. If you are around why not try and a free class and enjoy the atmosphere.

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MEC Race Series – Race 3

We were at the MEC Race Series on June 21, 2014 at La Salle Park in Burlington. We were treating the runners after the race on a beautiful Saturday!

We are looking forward to being at the next two races! Come and join us at the next two races. 

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June 2014 Newsletter

This month we are talking about your feet. Check out some ways to help keep them feeling great and avoiding pain and injuries.

As spring and early summer rolls in we often see a few common injuries at Edgar Family Chiropractic. They often include hamstring injuries in people who are starting their running regimes or low back sprains in those starting their golfing season or tending to their gardens. Everyone is eager to get out and get active, especially after the long winter that we’ve had! However, the most common injury that we see these days is definitely plantar fasciitis.The plantar fascia is a thin layer of muscle on the bottom of the foot that can become quickly irritated if improper footwear, such as flip-flops, are worn. People who have pre-existing biomechanical dysfunctions in their feet are more prone to this injury and should be especially careful.

In our clinical experience we often find that more than any other part of the body, the feet are overlooked on a regular basis. The problem with this is that they are the foundation for the rest of our body. If the feet are not functioning well, often knee, hip, and low back pain will arise.

The foot have three arches (medial, lateral, and transverse) which are supposed to be working together to support the 26 bones in each foot. Also, the stability of the tibia and fibula (your leg bones), femur (your thigh bone), hips, pelvis, and spine ALL depend on these three arches. When the arches are well supported, it means that biomechanics are healthy and stress is reduced through the kinematic chain that goes from the feet all the way to the head.

What can be done if your arches are not working optimally to hold the rest of your bones in place properly?

One thing is exercises to strengthen your arches. Here are some examples:

1. Rolling exercises: roll your entire foot on a tennis ball or golf ball.
2. Calf Stretch: place your foot on a step and gently lower the heel until you feel a gentle stretch in your calf muscle
3. Towel scrunch: take a small towel and throw it on the floor. Grasp or bunch the towel under the feet by scrunching your toes.

Another solution to problematic arches are custom made orthotics. The key is “custom-made”. Although some people have minor dysfunctions in their arches that could warrant an “off the shelf ” orthotic (such as Dr. Scholls), most need something with more support and stabilization. These help to promote healthy biomechanics and circulation to the feet. They can be used to treat plantar fasciitis, shin splints, metatarsalgia, achilles tendonitis, ankle instability, hip pain and low back pain and many more conditions.

Finally, it is important to talk about supportive shoes. As already mentioned, we are getting into flip-flop and sandal season and this could mean lots of pain for our feet. If you are not sure about your shoes, let us examine them for you and give you some feedback on how supportive they are.

We hope you will be a little more aware of what you wear this summer and will remember that being properly supported can help not only your feet but also your knees, hips, back, and neck.

Calling All Golfers

As the days get warmer and the grass gets greener, more and more people are dusting off their clubs to hit the links. If you are like most golfers, you are always trying to lower your score by a few strokes. While that sounds easy, as most of you can attest, it certainly is not. What if we told you that you could lower your score by just wearing more comfortable footwear? Yes, it can be that easy. Just by adding orthotics into your existing golf shoes, you can increase your clubhead speed, add distance to your shots and reduce fatigue on your feet, knees, hips and low back. Sound impossible? Don’t take our word for it. It’s been scientifically proven:

– Podiatrists estimate that as many as half of all golfers could benefit from custom orthotic insoles. Studies indicate that orthotics prevent overuse injuries and can even improve swing mechanics and increase power.
– A study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics March/April 2000 found that club head velocity improved between 3-5 mph(7%) just by wearing custom-made orthotics. This increase of speed equates to approximately 15 yards more distance on their shots.

No other changes were made. Add to this more energy and stamina from reducing stress on the feet, legs, and back and this can be a significant advantage; an advantage that many professional golfers have been using for years.

Talk to Dr. Maja Edgar and Cameron Edgar for more information or call today for a complimentary gait analysis to assess your foot/hip biomechanics and see if you could benefit from custom-made orthotics. Most extended health care insurers have coverage meaning you can have a distinctive advantage on the course this season. And if you’re not, chances are your playing partner is:)

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