3391 Bathurst St.
Toronto, Ontario
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416.781.WELL (9355)

dana@drdanalowe.com

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Lift Light, Shovel Right

January 8, 2013

When you consider that a shovelful of snow weighs 5 to 7 pounds, you realize how much weight you have to lift to clear your sidewalk or driveway — on average, several hundred pounds!

 

These tips will help keep your back in top shape:
1.  Don’t let the snow pile up:
If the weather report calls for several days of snow, frequent shoveling will allow you to move smaller amounts of snow at once.

2.  Pick the right shovel:
Use a lightweight pusher-type shovel. If you are using a metal shovel, spray it with Teflon first, so snow won’t stick to it.

3.  Push, don’t throw: Always push the snow to the side rather than throwing it. That way you avoid lifting heavy shovelfuls of snow, and sudden twisting or turning movements.

4.  Bend your knees:

If you find you have to lift a shovelful of snow, use your knees and your leg and arm muscles to do the pushing and lifting, while
keeping your back straight.

 

 

5.  Warm up:
Before tackling any strenuous activity take the time to warm up with some overall conditioning (a 10- to 15-minute walk, even on the spot, should do it), followed by some simple stretching.

6.  Take a break:
If you feel tired or short of breath, stop and take a rest. Shake out your
arms and legs. Stop shoveling immediately if you feel chest pain or back pain. If you have back pain that is severe or that persists for more than a day after shoveling  see a chiropractor. If you have chest pain that is severe, see a medical doctor immediately.

 

Chiropractic and the Aging Population

November 19, 2012

Robert Browning expressed an upbeat and positive view of aging when he said “Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life for which the first was made.”  In 1996 approximately 1 in 10 persons were seniors.  In 2016 approximately 1 in 3 persons will be 65 or older.  At age 65 the average man will live an additional 14.5 years and the average woman an additional 18.6 years.

The concept of aging has changed over the years, more and more people are recognizing that being elderly doesn’t have to mean pain and less activity.  This fits in with the chiropractic wellness model.  Chiropractors recognize that aging is not a disease, it is a normal human process.  Remember the body needs no help, just no interference.  Chiropractic can make a huge difference as we age to keep our bodies functioning at peak performance, while removing any interference.

In light of the statistics noted this will obviously become extremely important for prevention and maintenance of our bodies as we mature.  Looking at two major afflictions in the elderly population today, early degeneration (also known as “arthritis”) and osteoporosis, we are aware of the affect they have on the quality of life.  Chiropractic can be beneficial in both areas, yet is most effective when care begins early.  It is much easier to maintain health than it is to correct when someone is in a crisis. Proper spinal alignment prevents or slows the degenerative process.  By improving joint function people are more mobile and less prone to bone loss.

Chiropractic is a wellness lifestyle which can be carried into the future allowing you to “grow old along with me! The best is yet to be…”

 

The foot – back connection! Have you checked your feet lately?

November 5, 2012

Many people take their feet for granted and underestimate the information that they can provide about your daily aches and pains.   Your feet are first in line in the chain of responsibility of trying to balance your body weight.  Second is the leg muscles, third the knees, fourth the hips, and finally the spine.  Each have their share in the responsibility, but if the chain is broken at the bottom, then that alters everything above.

The effect that walking, standing, running, and doing activities has on our feet/bodies can be determined by looking at the soles of your feet and your shoes.  Check for calluses (under the second toe, baby toe).  Check for dry and cracking heels.  Check the soles of your shoes for wear-and-tear on the heels (often you will find one side wears down a lot faster).  Check the arches of your feet by rolling your foot over a tennis ball or soup can. Are there areas of pain?

If you found that you could say, “yes, I have that” to any of the above check points, then you need to have your feet checked.  These are all signs that your feet are unbalanced.  This leads to scar tissue in your arches, weak ankles, knee problems, and ultimately back problems.  Daily stretching and strengthening exercises are a must. Have your feet checked by your chiropractor to determine if orthotics are needed, and have your massage therapist check for scar tissue and muscle imbalances. Don’t shy away from your feet anymore; look at what they are trying to tell you.

 

Choosing the Best Pillow for a Healthier Night’s Sleep

November 2, 2012

Most people will spend money on a high quality mattress but then buy pillows that don’t support the head and neck properly. It makes sense that sleeping on the wrong mattress can quickly lead to a backache but did you know that poor alignment of the neck and upper back during sleep can lead to other chronic painful spinal problems?

If a person’s head is supported by the pillow at a level that’s either too high or too low relative to the rest of the body, the neck and upper back can be placed under stress.  Similar stress can also occur if their upper back is not supported along with the neck (so that the head tilts forward), or if the head is allowed to roll sideways when the person is sleeping on his or her back.  Symptoms include snoring, insomnia and waking up with a headache, stiff neck or numbness in the arms and hands. If you’re experiencing these sorts of symptoms, you may be sleeping on the wrong pillow.

Choosing a pillow is a very personal decision. The pillow that’s right for someone else may not be right for you. Here are some simple guidelines that will make it easier for you to choose the right one. The right pillow should:

  • Support your head at the proper height whether you’re sleeping on your side or on your back. A good way to check your alignment is to make sure your nose is in line with your sternum (the little divot or notch between your collar bones)
  • Support both your head and neck in a neutral position while you’re sleeping on your side (Make sure there is no gap between the pillow and your neck!).
  • Provide adequate support for both your neck and upper back while you’re sleeping on your back.
  • Keep your head tilted in the proper neutral position while you’re sleeping on your back.
  • Prevent your head from rolling sideways while you’re sleeping on your back.

In general, you’re looking for a pillow that supports your neck, cushions your head and keeps your spine in alignment. Usually a good supportive pillow has a curved edge that can sit between your ear and your shoulder when on your side. Memory foam pillows can be manipulated to fill in the space between you head and neck.   Have your chiropractor check your current pillow to see if it is correct for you. A small change in your pillow can make all the difference for a better sleep and less discomfort. Your spine will thank you for it!

Kids and Ear Infections

October 30, 2012

The cold and flu season is on its way.  Are your children prepared to fight the onslaught of viruses and bacteria?  Do your children regularly get colds or ear infections?  Studies show that by the age of two approximately 66% of children have had at least one episode of a middle ear infection, also known as otitis media (OM).  OM is the leading reason for visitation to the pediatrician’s office. The traditional medical treatment for OM includes the use of antibiotic therapy and/or surgery to place tubes in the ear with only limited success in stopping the recurrence of the problem.  A recent trend which is even more frightening is the increase in children who have been recommended that they maintain a low dose of antibiotics for months after no signs of OM are present.  With this direction, why should it surprise us that we face an epidemic of bacteria resistance, leaving an alarming number of drugs on the market ineffectual when really needed.

It is believed that one of the major causes of OM is a blockage of the Eustachian tube in the ear, which aids in proper drainage.  Research has shown that tube blockage occurs when a tiny muscle known as the tensor veli palitini becomes dysfunctional.  This muscle is supplied by nerves, which can be traced back to the spinal cord in the upper cervical region.  Subluxations in this region will interfere with nerve flow to this muscle, which leads to a much greater susceptibility to developing an ear infection.

A common question we are asked is how does a child can get these subluxations.  The first source of subluxation is the birth process itself.  Although a baby’s spine and neck are supple, they are also very vulnerable to subluxation because they have no muscular development to support the spine. A tremendous amount of force goes through a baby’s spine during an uncomplicated birth. Other stresses after birth including, crawling, learning to walk, bumps and falls can compound the problem.

As a chiropractor we will examine your child’s spine and locate any areas of subluxation.  Using specific pediatric techniques we will remove the subluxations and restore proper nerve flow.  If your child is suffering from ear infections we will allow the tensor veli palitini muscle to function properly and promote proper drainage of the Eustachian tube to help promote healing of the current infection as well as prevent future episodes of OM.  Another bonus to your child’s adjustment will be a boost to their immune system! A key in long term infection prevention and a great way to prepare them for the long winter ahead.

 

 

Computers and Your Children

October 15, 2012

Many kids take naturally to computers and educators want to make sure they become computer literate to succeed in the 21st Century.  But while those computers are stimulating young minds, what are they doing to young bodies?

Most computers used by children in the home and at school are not being used on proper workstations.  Children will be using computers all their lives and must be taught how to use them safely and avoid problems now and in the future.

Television media reported last month that the use of computers by children, from grade school ages and older, is creating an early onset of health problems.  More and more cases of neck, shoulder, and back pain are being reported in young children as well as repetitive strain injuries commonly seen in adults.  A major contributor being the use of computers, and not to mention video games.

As adults we spend hours upon hours in front of the computer screen and at the end of the day we are complaining of tension and pain in the neck, and shoulders.  We already know that this repetitive, continuous activity can lead to postural and muscular imbalances.   What takes us hours to experience these problems takes children minutes.  Even one hour, on a regular basis, in front of the computer for a child manifests the same results.  Children may not complain of stiffness or limited range of motion, instead they may complain of headaches, difficulty sleeping, and neck pain.  This problem among our children is largely going unnoticed.  If we continue to ignore it we will be seeing an increase in health problems in young adults.  At present rates, today’s children will spend more than two years during their lifetimes on e-mail and more than 23 years on the Internet. Why wait until your children develop these painful symptoms, when we can be pro-active today and take steps to prevent these potential problems from occurring.

What can you do?  Monitor your children’s use of the computer.  Make sure they use them over small intervals, and that they take frequent breaks.  Monitor their posture while at the computer.  Knees and elbows should be kept at an angle of 90 degrees or greater.  They should have good back support, the feet should be flat on the floor or on a footrest.  The wrists should be in a flat neutral position while typing. Have them sit at a safe distance away from the computer screen (approx. 20 inches). Speak to the schools and encourage them to prepare proper ergonomic workstations for the students.  Many educators are unaware of the impact this is having on children’s spines.  Proper stretching techniques for the neck, shoulder, and back muscles on a regular basis, especially during and after using the computer can help combat the strain. Regular check-ups with the chiropractor and massage therapist will help to correct any postural and muscular imbalances, which develop as a direct result of computer use.

As technology continues to develop toward the computer and digital realm, this problem is only going to grow.  We have the opportunity and knowledge today to take the appropriate action steps and give our children the care they need – the care that was unavailable to us as children.

 

Golf and Chiropractic: A Natural Combination

May 30, 2012

With summer finally here millions of individuals are dusting off their golf clubs and hitting the driving range or golf course.  Unfortunately, a significant percentage will suffer needlessly with back pain, which is the most common problem among golfers.

How well you do as a golfer is a direct reflection of your mental and physical lifestyle.  This is true even if all you do is play a strenuous nine holes each weekend.  Poor swing mechanics, poor posture and improper conditioning will not only affect your game, but your overall health as well.  Chiropractic can help!  Chiropractic and golf are wonderful partners.  This is because spinal adjustments keep your spine strong and healthy, maintains correct posture and not to mention increasing your spines range of motion. This can prevent pain, injury and nervous system interference.  Maintaining good posture is important because the normal curves give the spinal column increased flexibility, enhances the shock absorption capacity, and makes sure there is adequate stiffness and stability at each spinal joint.

Lets look at the golf swing in more detail.  The swing is performed by coiling the upper body on the back swing against the resistance of the lower body before being unleashed.  This means powerful muscles twist and pull at the lumbar spine.  Due to bad posture, poor back and abdominal toning and inflexibility, the discs of the spine may be squeezed during the swing and lower back problems may result.  A large myth associated with the golf swing involves the notion that the club speed at ball impact is dependent on maximum spinal rotation during the back swing.  Many instructors advocate this theory and recommend golfers keep their pelvis as stationary as possible, while the spine is maximally rotated.  These swing positions are popular because it is believed that maximal spinal rotation somehow engages the “big” muscles of the back, allowing for a sling shot effect during the downswing.  As a chiropractor I find this theory interesting because there are no known back muscles that require spinal rotation to become engagaed.  This “big muscle” theory is flawed.  Maximal spinal rotation doesn’t engage the spinal muscles or the other muscles required to generate power in the golf swing, such as the latissimus dorsi (a.k.a. the lats), pectoralis major and the muscles of the arm and forearm.

The only purpose for pelvic and spinal rotation in the back swing is to achieve a body position that allows for effective club head delivery at ball impact.  Therefore, it is recommended that golfers adopt a short back swing that reduces spinal rotation.  Research has demonstrated that short back swings achieved the same club he

Thus, the recipe for an incredible round of golf is proper stretching and strengthening, modifying your swing and chiropractic adjustments.  Talk to your chiropractor to get exercises that are right for your spine!ad speed at ball impact as long back swings and a short back swing will help minimize the torsional stress in the lumbar spine.

 

Chiropractic Care for Animals

January 29, 2012

Dana and MackWhy would an animal need to see a chiropractor? I get asked this question almost every time someone hears I’m a chiropractor for both animals and people.

The answer is that animals should see a chiropractor for many of the same reasons people do — except humans typically don’t have tail issues. As a pet owner and animal lover, you are aware when your dog experiences pain and discomfort. Some of the common signs or symptoms that you may notice are: when a dog limps, flinches or whimpers when stroked or touched in certain areas, refuses to climb up or down the stairs, or experiences stiffness when moving from a sitting to standing position. Dogs may also show discomfort in more subtle ways, such as chewing their paws or dragging them while walking, lack of energy, personality shifts, or changes in bowel movements or bladder habits.

Animal chiropractic is a natural, non-invasive, drug-free approach to pet health care that helps maintain joint health and prevent injury. In a healthy animal, the bones in the spine and joints are maintained in a specific alignment. When this alignment changes even in the smallest way, a subluxation occurs. Subluxations affect the nervous system, local muscles, joints and even distant organs, glands and body functions.

Pets feel their best when they are able to move and play freely. Chiropractic care helps them to achieve optimal mobility so they can live life to the fullest.

So why would an animal need to see a chiropractor? You tell me!