It’s that time of year again….

It’s that time of year again. The children are heading back to school and that means stocking up on supplies. But amongst all the pencils and notebooks, arguably the most important item your child needs is the right backpack.

Increasingly, children are suffering from back pain at an earlier age, and at least part of the problem is improper utilization of backpacks. Children are habitually carrying backpacks with loads that exceed 20% of their body weight–well above the recommended weight.

In an attempt to compensate for this load, postural deviations occur in the neck and trunk, rendering the body more vulnerable to fatigue and injury, such as: muscle spasms; neck, shoulder, and back pain; and neurological dysfunction. Factors in addition to excessive load that contribute to these issues include:

  • inappropriate carrying methods (i.e. using only one shoulder strap),
  •  poor position of the load, and poor load distribution

 Some backpack safety tips that can help reduce the stress on your body are listed below.

 

BACKPACK SAFETY TIPS

  • Choose a pack that is proportional in size to the wearer
  • Reduce weight on the shoulders by ensuring the backpack does not hang more than four inches below the waistline
  • Choose a pack with wide, padded, adjustable shoulder straps; a waist strap is also beneficial
  • Use both shoulder straps, and waist strap to help distribute load
  • Pack heavier objects closest to the body & odd shaped objects away from the back, using multiple compartments to allow better load distribution
  • Pack only essential items to ensure the  load does not exceed 10% of the wearer’s body weight

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It is never normal for you or your child to experience pain. Early detection and treatment of spinal or other health-related problems can help prevent progression of these problems and/or future incidences.  For more information about backpack safety, please see :“Pack it Light, Wear it Right” from the Ontario Chiropractic Association.

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Hi everyone,

This blog is going to continue with a theme about technology (as we discussed some Apps for Appetite in the previous blog).  However, besides using technology to help our health, I want discusses a condition that can be caused by the use of technology because our western culture is very tech savvy and everyone uses computers.

Because of the change in social and work use of technology the prevalence of a Carpal Tunnel Syndrome has increased.  Keep in mind the use of computers isn’t the only thing that can cause carpal tunnel syndrome.  It can be caused by repetitive use of the wrist leading to a series of events that ultimately over time can cause carpal tunnel syndrome.  Besides occupational factors leading to carpal tunnel syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome is associated with several diseases and situations. Some of these are:

  • arthritis
  • diabetes
  • gout
  • amyloidosis (infiltration of the liver, kidneys, spleen with a starch-like substance)
  • hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland)
  • tumours of tendon sheaths
  • wrist fractures and dislocations
  • wrist cysts
  • pregnancy
  • use of oral contraceptives
  • menopause

So What is the Carpal Tunnel?

The Carpal Tunnel is a structure created by the bones and ligaments of the wrist. There two bones in the forearm.  These two bones run parallel and form a U-shaped cup at our wrist. Inside this cup sit the eight tiny bones, called carpal or wrist bones.

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These bones form what is known as the “floor” or the bottom of the Carpal Tunnel.  The “roof” of is a ligament. Between the roof and the floor, there are tendons going to the fingers (that control hand movement) and one nerve.  Basically, the carpal tunnel is a space where some tendons and a nerve go through.

So what? What is the big deal?

How does carpal tunnel syndrome develop?

Bending the wrist or moving the fingers moves the tendons that are in the carpal tunnel.  The tendons are encased in sheaths. These sheaths allow the tendons to slide.  The walls of the sheaths contain a fluid to keep the tendons moving smoothly.  With repetitive or excessive movement of the hand and/or wrist, the lubrication of the tendons in the sheath decreases.   This ultimately leads to friction between the tendon and its sheath causing inflammation and swelling.  The swelling then leads to squeezing of the nerve in the carpal tunnel. Repeated episodes of inflammation cause fibrous tissue to form, again putting pressure on the median nerve.  In non-occupational causes of carpal tunnel syndrome, there is still an increase in the volume of the contents of the carpal tunnel, resulting in compression of the nerve.

The symptoms of nerve compression can result in sensations of numbness, tingling, pain, and clumsiness of the hand. This combination of symptoms is called carpal tunnel syndrome. If left alone long enough a severe case can lead to weakness and eventually atrophy of groups of muscles in the hand.

Numbness and Pain

Numbness and Pain with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Muscle Wasting

Muscle Wasting with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Here is a good video visually showing the carpal tunnel.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J11EIfiHMYw

Treatment options for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Traditional medical treatment options for carpal tunnel syndrome include such things as pain medications, cortisone shots and even surgery.  Since carpal tunnel is due to ligament enlargement and compression, and chiropractors specialize in treating joints/ligaments, consider visiting a chiropractor in your local area.  Chiropractors can offer treatment options such as joint mobilization(Chiropractic Adjustments), Acupuncture, Graston Technique®, Kinesiotaping, exercises and even ergonomic advice to help treat this condition.

I offer a great therapy in the office, called the Graston Technique® to treat carpal tunnel syndrome.  Here is a video demonstrating the treatment.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUYKIS3Ty8A

http://www.grastontechnique.com/file/sites|*|86|*|EDGE-Archives|*|DCs|*|Summary-of-Graston-Technique-Carpal-Tunnel-Syndrome-Research-Project.pdf

Anyways, I hope that explains how technology can be both helpful and harmful.

Thanks,

Dr. Reena

Appetite for Apps

Yesterday, July 8, 2013,  Apple was celebrating the fifth anniversary of its app store by offering some of its most popular games and apps for free.   The limited time offerings include: Barefoot World Atlas, Day One, How to Cook Everything, Over, Traktor DJ, Badland, Infinity Blade II, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery, Tiny Wings and Where’s My Water?  These apps may remain free for a short time to celebrate.

The buzz around the apps for free got me thinking about apps for smartphones (whether they be iPhones, Androids, Windows Phones, or even Blackberry Phones).  Apps are used nowadays for everything from GPS to tracking a person’s run, to even calorie counting to name a few.  But what good apps are out there for the health-conscious?

Here are some of my favourite apps:

Fooducate

Fooducate

      1.   Fooducate  is an app that is available for iPhone and Android.  It automatically grades foods and beverages on a scale from A to D. (10 distinct grades: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, and D). It actively allows you to use your phone to scan barcodes that are on food and food products.  It then processes this information and gives you a rating of the food.  The food is ranked using an algorithm according to the nutrients it contains, the ingredients, the processing and fortification of the food.  While the database isn’t always complete, you are able to send and request information to be added to the database.   I know many people dislike having multiple usernames and passwords for the vast number of services annd applications that are available.  This app is functional without creating a username and password.  You can browse their databases for food to see how it ranks as well.  Some advantages of creating an account is that it keeps track of the foods you scan and you can personalize it, track your health and create shopping lists.   For those who are following an allergy-free or gluten-free diet, there is also a new app that came out in May of 2013 to use for that purpose.

MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal

 2.      MyFitness Pal is a free app (you can use it from their website as well) that is available on iPhone, Blackberry,  Windows Phone and  Android platforms.  It is a way of tracking your physical activity and overall calorie intake.  Additionally, based on your height and weight and weight-loss goals, it tells you how many calories you should be taking to maintain a certain weight or to reach a goal weight   It allows you to enter food you eat, and using their database, estimate the calories per serving and also input your physical activity (which is converted to calories burned and taken away from your general calorie intake) to determine your net caloric intake.  You do require a username and an active e-mail address to use this app. Alternatively, you can link it to your Facebook account.  Their online database includes ways to calculate calories from recipes based on serving sizes.  Once you have done this, you have the opportunity to add it to your food diary.  There is also a quick way to calculate your BMR.  Additionally, if you love social networking or working out and dieting with friends it allows you to connect socially with your friends (via the app) and monitor progress and obtain accountability.  

Buycott App

Buycott

3.      BuyCott is a nice app.  You need to have an user account or have it linked to your Facebook account to be functional.   It allows you to buy from brands that support causes that you care about.  Additionally, it lets you see where the money you spend is going and to make sure it is not going to go to fund causes you oppose.  Buycott is basically a tool that lets you organize your consumer spending to help causes that you care for, and to oppose those that you don’t. According to Buycott, it “basically can be used to scan a barcode with the Buycott app and it will look it up in their database and try to determine who owns it. Buycott will then trace the product’s ownership back to its top parent company and cross-check this company against the campaigns that you’ve joined before telling you whether it found a conflict.”  For me, I find it to be a helpful guide to finding food products that are not genetically modified.  This is simply done in the app by adding non-GMO foods as a campaign.(When you are in the app, there are campaigns you can read about and join).   The general population is becoming more aware of the controversy surrounding GMO foods and their prevalence in our food system; that is where the app comes in for me.   Forbes reviewed of the BuyCott app.

Non-GMO Food Guide

Non-GMO Project Shopping Guide

 4.     Non GMO Project Shopping Guide is another app that is available in the AppStore for Apple.  I was unable to verify if it was available on any other platform.  For those who are interested but unable to get the app, you can use the resources at The Non-GMO Project, a not-for-profit organization committed educating consumers and providing verified non-GMO food choices.  While it isn’t a complete database, it is a great start.  I believe that knowing what’s in your food is a basic right.  I like the way things are heading in the European Union with the right to know if their food contains GMOs, the same goes for all Chinese, Russian, and Saudi Arabian consumers.  

That’s all for now.  I will be occasionally updating this blog with apps that I find useful.   If anyone out there has any suggestions for apps, please feel free to comment on the blog.

Thanks,

Dr Reena

King’s Body Found in Parking Lot & Scoliosis

Hi again, everyone!

I want to put different/interesting/entertaining spin on this blog while still being helpful about  Chiropractic, Acupuncture and services that are offered at my office.

King’s Body Found in Parking Lot & Scoliosis

I recently read an article on CNN about the bony remains of King Richard III being found in a parking lot in England hundreds of years after his violent death (killed in battle on The Fields of Bosworth in 1485 see:http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/24/world/europe/richard-iii-burial).

For centuries, poor Rick had the dubious honour of being the last British Monarch to be killed in battle. He was hastily buried in a Church grave which was too small for his body. The Church was eventually built over and became a modern day parking structure. For centuries, history –thanks largely to William Shakespeare – has portrayed King Richard III as a notoriously evil and hunchbacked villain (who allegedly killed his nephews, “the Princes in the Tower” to gain the throne). While some may debate his character, archaeologists and scientists were able to examine the slain King’s bones and were able to verify that he did have a “hunchback” which in chiropractic terms, means he suffered from scoliosis, a condition which results in an abnormal and painful curvature of the spine.

According to Live Science, treatment for scoliosis in the medieval times of King Richard III was akin to torture (ie. tying rope under armpits and around legs, then pulling either end to stretch the spine). Thankfully today, King Richard – and anyone suffering from scoliosis- would undergo more humane and less painful treatment.

See, the poor King suffered from what’s called “structural scoliosis” meaning his “hunchback” arose from a bony defect that he had since birth which then caused his spine to grow abnormally. This is different than functional scoliosis in which the muscles surrounding the spine actually cause it to deform. In other words, a person cannot be born with functional scoliosis. This condition is more easily treated with orthotics (to correct differences in the length of a person’s legs), ultrasound, TENS, Acupuncture and the Graston Technique.

If King Richard came to my chiropractic office, well before he wound up on the Fields of Bosworth, I would have been able to diagnosis his scoliosis with a simple exam and possibly had him fitted with a rigid brace (if he was still growing).   The worst that would have happened is that he’d have required some diagnostic imaging and a possible surgery. If you or your loved ones have questions about back pain or are looking for relief from it, give my office a call

For those that want to be more technical, please continue to read below about Scoliosis.

What is a scoliosis?

Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine. The spine bends/leans to one side of the body, causing the torso to compress on that side that it is bent towards.  The ribs on that side will be closer together while the ribs of the other side will be farther apart. Scoliosis also may involve a rotation of the spine, in which the individual vertebrae bones twist around the long axis of the spine.  The scoliosis can occur in any region of the spine.  The image below, shows scoliosis in various regions of the spine.

Curved Spine

Curved Spine

A scoliosis can be can be classfied as non-structural (functional) and structural.  King Richard III had a structural scoliosis.

Non-Structural or Functional Scoliosis

A non-structural or functional scoliosis occurs when a structurally normal spine appears curved. This is usually caused by such things as a difference in leg length, muscle spasms (sprains/strains/postural compensation), or inflammatory conditions such as a kidney infection or even appendicitis.  Chiropractors can treat this type of scoliosis by correcting the underlying problem.

In terms of a functional scoliosis caused by leg length discrepancy, it can be corrected with lower extremity support, such as orthotics.  Orthotics in this type of treatment usually used to correct for a low medial arch and excessive pronation in order to functionally correct the issues with foot mechanics,.  For some patients they may also require a heel lift.

If the scoliosis is caused by a muscular imbalance or spasm, generally chiropractic treatments may use soft tissue techniques to release the spasm and correct the imbalance with rehabilitation exercises.   One such treatment is the Graston Technique. But other treatments such as ultrasound, TENS, Interferential Current and even Acupuncture may be used.

Structural Scoliosis

A structural scoliosis is fixed (abnormal) curve that is in in the spine.  Each case is treated on an individual basis as it depends on the severity of the curve present.

Some causes of a structural scoliosis could be inherited connective tissue disorders (such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, or even Marfan’s Syndrome) or even neuromuscular diseases (cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy), birth defects, injury, certain infections and tumours.

In the case of structural scoliosis, they are usually caught at an early age by a doctor during a physical exam, or previously, I have heard of school scoliosis screening programs.  Usually this program will detect mild scoliosis that generally do do not need treatment.  If a larger scoliosis is detected, usually x-ray images and possibly MRI/CT images may be taken if there is neurological/organ involvement.   The treatment will depend on the age of each patient, how much more he or she is likely to grow (if growth plates are still open), the degree and pattern of the curve, and the type  and location of scoliosis (what area of the spine). Treatment options may include simple observation, bracing and surgery.

Generally, if the scoliosis is mild, the patient is allowed to be observed without any treatment.  The chiropractic doctor and/or doctor/radiologist  follow patient’s growth and monitor the changes of the spine.  Re-examinations are performed at regular intervals to monitor if treatment is required.

If the scoliosis is mild to moderate, bracing is another treatment option.  A rigid brace is custom made and worn by a patient to stop a curve from getting any worse while the patient is still growing. Again, this patient would be monitored over time, to see how growth occurs to correct the scoliosis.

In severe cases of scoliosis, surgery may be a treatment that is recommended.  This is done to correct a curve or stop it from worsening when the patient is still growing.

For more reading on scoliosis: http://www.chiro.org/research/ABSTRACTS/Scoliosis.shtml

What is Chiropractic Medicine?

Hi everyone!

Since this is my first blog, the first topic I would like to address is: Chiroprctic Medicine. I know most of you, if you are reading this, probably have some sort of idea, but here is some information that I had written on my website (http://www.HandsOnHealthChiropractic.ca)

What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a non-invasive, hands-on health care discipline that focuses on the neuromusculoskeletal system. Chiropractors practice a manual approach, providing diagnosis, treatment and preventative care for disorders related to the spine, pelvis, nervous system and joints.

Chiropractors use a combination of treatments, all of which are predicated on the specific needs of the individual patient. After taking a complete history and diagnosing a patient, a chiropractor can develop and carry out a comprehensive treatment/management plan, recommend therapeutic exercise and other non-invasive therapies, and provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counselling.

For many conditions, such as lower back pain, chiropractic care is frequently the primary method of treatment. Where other conditions exist, chiropractic care may complement or support medical treatment by relieving the neuromusculoskeletal aspects associated with the condition.

Chiropractic care may also be used to provide symptomatic relief for patients with chronic conditions. According to patient surveys, by treating the neuromusculoskeletal elements of such disorders, chiropractic treatment has been shown to improve the general well-being of the patient.

There are many reasons to seek chiropractic care:

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Headache
  • Whiplash
  • Strains and sprains
  • Repetitive strain injury (RSI)
  • Work and sports injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Limited range of motion in the back, shoulder, neck or limbs
  • General health and well-being

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History of Chiropractic

Chiropractic is the largest  form of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in the United States. It is highly regulated. Spinal manipulations or “adjustments” were discovered by David D. Palmer in 1895 and have been safely used for over a century to treat a variety of musculoskeletal conditions.

The purpose of an adjustment is to restore muscular balance to a joint that is not moving correctly or causing pain. This imbalance in the muscles surrounding a joint is sometimes called “dysfunction” or “fixation”. If the imbalance in the joint is significant enough, it can even cause nerve injury in the area.

Thorough Examination

First, we analyze your spine. This usually involves a case history, examination and possibly x-ray pictures of your spine. We may have you turn and bend to feel how your joints move. We may also check your posture, alignment, balance and leg lengths.

If a vertebra in the spine is noted to be out of alignment, the mis-alignment can affect more than just your spine. The health of your spine directly affects your nervous system, which in term affects the functionality of muscles, organs, and other systems in the body.  A vertebral subluxation, also known as the vertebral subluxation complex, is the improper motion or position of the moving bones of the spine causing nervous system interference, thereby compromising the body’s self-healing and self-regulating potential.Image

There can be many causes of subluxations

Physical causes are acute trauma to the body or repetitive motions that affect the spine. These could include slips and falls, accidents, poor posture, improper workstation habits, repetitive motions, poor sleep positions and improper lifting.

Emotional causes refer to stresses such as grief, anger, anxiety and fear. Excessive stress and inadequate stress management have been shown in research to have significant effects on the immune system.

Chemical causes include poor diet and nutrition, alcohol or drug use, pollution and/or chemical toxins ingested in foods, air, and water.

The Adjustment

With the dysfunction of one or more joints identified, a specific manual thrust is administered. The direction, speed, depth and angle that we use are the results of experience, practice and a thorough understanding of body’s mechanics. Sometimes, the energy delivered during the thrust produces a slight “popping” sound from shifting gas and fluids in the joint. This sound is not an indicator of the value or effectiveness of the adjustment. While improving spinal biomechanics can reduce pain, virtually all joints of the body can be adjusted to help restore proper range of motion.

After Your First Adjustment

It is normal to feel anywhere from slightly sore to entirely pain-free after your first adjustment. Your body has been through a dramatic alignment change and may take some time to relax. For minor discomfort, we suggest taking a hot shower or using an ice pack on the area. However, if your pain becomes severe or unusual, please call our office or receive emergency medical attention.

My Goals

I like to focus treatment on both the neuromuscular and skeletal systems by using chiropractic manipulation, stretches, exercises, Graston Technique, KinesioTaping and acupuncture to lessen pain. Through these alternative healthcare measures, I believe that most people can avoid the dangerous side effects of drugs and surgery.

My goal is to find the root of the issue, and to improve your quality of life by treating underlying conditions, not just symptoms. I will work with you to develop a treatment plan that will provide relief and heal your current condition. I will also counsel you in preventative care and work with you to develop an on-going program to lessen pain and promote good health.

I have a true passion for what I do, and I am always learning.  I have continued my education by attending seminars and acquiring post-graduate certifications:

Yours in Health,

Dr. Reena

PS: I hope that explains things, as always if you have questions, please feel free to contact me via http://reenapathakdc.webs.com/apps/contactme/sites/show or comment below on the blog

Dr. Reena Pathak – Windsor Chiropractor – Hands on Health Chiropractic & Massage

Dr. Reena Pathak

Dr. Reena Pathak

Hi Everybody!

My name is Reena Pathak and I am a chiropractor in Windsor, Ontario.  Thank you for taking the time to check out my blog.

The goal of this blog is to allow for discussion, and to educate anyone that is interested about Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Massage, or any of the services that the office offers.

To specify, my office is located in Windsor, Ontario.  That being said, let me tell you a little about myself.

As I said, I am a chiropractor and I received my degree from the National University of Health Sciences.  In addition to having a doctor of chiropractic degree, I have a Bachelor of Science, and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Windsor. Additionally,  I have a diploma in Medical Laboratory Technology from St. Clair College.

I have always had a passion for health care and as well as teaching.  The passion for teaching  and medicine started when I was young and I used to line up all of my stuffed animals and “teach” them.  One beloved stuffed animal, a teddy bear, used to even go in bike rides with me.  If “he” got injured, I would “treat” him.

For anyone that knows me, they know I like to talk, educate and spend time to form good personal relationships with everyone.   Through a series of events, (migraines and finally seeing a chiropractor) I eventually decided on chiropractic  medicine because it had the most contact with patients and a closer bond was formed than with any other profession.  The bottom line: I would have the opportunity to educate and spend time with patients to make them well. (two of my passions).

I am hoping to have regular blogs, but what the “regular” means, I haven’t decided yet.  It may be weekly, or monthly.

If you have any questions please comment below or e-mail me at dr.reenapathak@gmail.com

Thanks for reading!

Yours in Health,

Dr. Reena Pathak