Everyday Self-Care: Changing Your Life with Minor Routine Tweaks

This article was submitted to us by guest contributor Jennifer McGregor

A recent article by Energy Fitbox notes that busy people are the most likely to neglect self-care and suffer from burnout. As the world around you accelerates, it can be difficult to even think about slowing down. Fortunately, you can practice some well-needed self-care by making simple tweaks to your daily schedule, as opposed to adding more things to it. Let’s look at some ways you adjust the little things and reap big benefits.


Start Your Day the Right Way

You can do more with your mornings than dread the day ahead and rush through the house so you can be where you need to be. In fact, the author of this Thirteen Thoughts article extols the virtues of developing a self-care morning routine. If you can get out of bed at least 20 minutes earlier, it makes it easier to find time for activities that will calm your mind and get you ready for the day ahead. You can listen to an audiobook or a self-affirmation tape while getting ready. Meditation is also an excellent and relaxing way to start your day. It can help you focus on the activities ahead without feeling overwhelmed before you’ve even started. If all this seems too much to start with, you can try placing self-affirmation tips throughout the house in areas where you will see them. Putting them up will be the only thing that takes time, but reading positive or funny things to yourself first thing in the morning helps put you in a good mood.

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The Shoulder

Few joints are as multipurpose as the human shoulder. We can walk on our hands, crawl and do push ups. The shoulder is a very sturdy join. Yet no joint in the human body is as mobile. Known as a “ball and socket” joint, the shoulder is essentially a pool ball freely rotating in a tea cup saucer. This allows for free rotation of the arm in all directions. You can literally wave your hands and arms in perfect, large circles as though they were helicopter blades. In comparison, your knee only folds and straightens. It is called a hinge joint for that reason. Even your cervical spine (neck), which does allow for tremendous free movement, does not have as much range of motion as the famous shoulder joint. 

The hip joint is also a ball and socket joint, but as you can see, the ball of the femur bone is sunk in to a deep socket on the pelvis. This restricts the amount of movement the legs have, but it replaces it with sturdiness so you can ran and jump without dislocation your hips. This is the down side of the free wheeling shoulder; because it is such a shallow joint, it requires ligaments and tendons to keep it from dislocating. And because we use our arms for heavy lifting and pushing, we are susceptible to injuring shoulders easily.

Because there is no deep bone locking between the arm and shoulder blade, the sturdiness of the shoulder comes from the muscles of the shoulder region. To make this more clear, remember that the socket joint for the arm bone is on a free floating shoulder blade (known as the “scapula”). The scapula is not connected to your rib cage, it simply floats on top of your ribs, held only by a large pool of muscles (e.g.: rhomboids, trapezius, serratus, lats, etc). Now, the scapula’s only connection to your skeleton is where it touches the end of your collar bone, which then tags your sternum at the top of your chest. This small collar bone (i.e.: clavicle) is the only relay for the scapula and arm to the skeleton. The rest simply float in pools of muscle. This game of relay between your scapula and your clavicle and then your sternum does not provide stability, it simply provides a “spacer” to prevent too much movement of the scapula (i.e.: shoulder blade). In fact, it is common for weight lifters who bench 300 lbs or more on a regular basis to have the outside third of their clavicle bone (i.e.: collar bone) completely resorbed and replaced with pure muscle and connective tissue. So clearly, the star of the show in arm and shoulder strength and stability is purely muscle, not bone. This is why the shoulder is one of the joints that benefits the most from manual therapy and exercise rehabilitation.

above image is a public domain gif from wikipedia

By far the most common shoulder complaints I get as a clinician is what is called “impingement syndrome.” This is a condition in which there is sharp pain in the front or top of shoulder when patients move their arms overhead. The reason for this pain is that, as our rotator cuff muscles and other shoulder muscles get either too little exercise or too much of an unbalanced exercise, our arm bone grates the acromion bone above when we raise our arms. As you can see in the above motion image, there are muscles between the arm bone and the bony roof created by the acromion. This can result in soft tissue damage and/or inflammation as the soft tissue experiences a grinding from the bones. By balancing the muscular activity, strength and flexibility in the rotator cuffs and other shoulder girdle muscles, this imbalance can be fixed. Active release and other joint mobilizations are often also required in order to break down scar tissue that has formed after impingement syndrome has been a problem for awhile.

The rotator cuff muscles act to hold the arm bone in proper place in the shoulder joint, therefore their strength and endurance are paramount in fixing impingement syndrome.

rotator cuffs allowing for proper tracking of humeral head as it articulates with the scapula in the shoulder joint

The following are samples of some of the exercises we use to rehabilitate an improperly functioning shoulder. We use these for a variety of conditions such as:

  • impingement syndrome
  • frozen shoulder
  • rotator cuff tears
  • SLAP lesion recovery
  • and many others

Now please do not self diagnose or begin to perform the following exercises until you have been properly evaluated by your chiropractor, physiotherapist or doctor. We only include these examples to educate you on what a proper shoulder program can look like.





These exercises are only good for you if your practitioner has properly evaluated you and feels you have received the proper manual and physical therapy to ready you for active rehabilitation. Come see us if your shoulders are not performing as the superstars they were designed to be!

You can visit our instagram page or youtube channel to see more content.

Intelligent Core

Many people who struggle with low back pain are prescribed core exercises that focus only on core strength. Although it is important to have strength and endurance (phase one of any core rehab program) you must also develop core “intelligence.” This has to be incorporated into the second phase of your rehab.

“What does core intelligence mean?”

Simply put, this is your core’s ability to respond to balance challenges. By doing the following exercises, you will develop your core’s ability to manipulate your centre of gravity to remain in balance under challenging circumstances. This fires different muscle fibers than simply endurance exercises (e.g.: planks) and improves your body fluidity and overall mechanics.


1. Medicine Ball Transfers – 2 sets of 10 passes (5 to left, 5 to right)


2. Leg Lifts on Exercise Ball with balance disc – 3 sets of 15


3. Foot Swivels + Pikes on Exercise Ball and BOSU – 2 sets of 8 swivels (4 to each side) + 4 pikes


4. Stick Tag the ground on Foam Roll and Exercise Ball – 2 sets of 4 tags each side


5. Single Leg Knee Rolls on Exercise Ball – 2 sets of 8 each leg


6. Overhead Theraband Pumps while on BOSU – 3 sets of 20


7. Wall Mounted Planks with Leg “Threading the Needle” – 2 sets of 16 “needle threads” (8 each side per set)

***Make sure to have your doctor, physio or chiropractor evaluate you before starting this program.

Please let us know if you have benefited from incorporating any of these “core intelligence” exercises! It’s good to raise your low back IQ.

God Bless!

The Science Behind Treating Chronic Low Back Pain


When low back pain persists for more than 3 months it is officially chronic. Many of my chronic low back patients however, have suffered for 2 or more years. Many of them have given up on ever overcoming their condition.

Almost inevitably, patients only suffer chronic low back pain because they have never encountered a practitioner that is willing to treat them properly.

Chronic low back pain should never exist. It is ALWAYS the result of NOT RECEIVING PROPER TREATMENT.

Many doctors and therapists are happy to give temporary relief to their patients and accustom them to continually seeking care for the foreseeable future. And often, the notion of depending on your doctor/therapist for the rest of your life is encouraged.

In this article I hope to show some of the science behind the proper treatment of chronic lower back pain. 

I pick chronic pain because it is usually trickier to fix than short term back strains. And it requires more work than simpler forms of low back conditions.


The following are nearly always present in chronic cases of low back pain.

  1. degenerating, bulging or herniated discs
  2. weakened core muscles
  3. inflexible hips
  4. harmful work and recreational habits (i.e.: bad sitting posture, bad lifting technique, etc)

If your approach to eradicating low back pain does not address all of the above, you will not overcome the condition.

Obviously, a practitioner cannot strengthen your core for you, nor achieve flexibility for you or change your work habits. This will be something you will need to do.

Hence the lack of popularity for the type of program that involves patients doing exercise rehabilitation. It is much more appealing to pay someone to fix you. And because of the temporary relief given by passive treatments (i.e.: massage, manipulation, physiotherapy modalities, drugs, etc) they are often the “go to” solution.

Because the human body thrives when it is strong, flexible and active, no chronic pain will ever disappear without those elements. And obviously, this type of therapeutic approach is mostly comprised of the patient doing the work. 

So the bad news, you are going to have to work and change your lifestyle if you truly desire to put low back pain behind you. The good news is… you can overcome even years of chronic low back pain.


When the lumbar spine is in a chronic state of pain, the disc is almost always involved. Even if it is not bulged or herniated, it can be applying pressure to the bone immediately above or below (or both). Over time, this can cause micro stress fractures in this bony region — known as the endplates — and with that comes pain.

What causes this excess pressure? Poor posture, poor lifting techniques as well as lack of movement (sedentary lifestyles) are major causes. Spines transfer stress very well if they are used appropriately, but improper use will change the way stress goes through this unit and micro damage accumulates either in the disc, the soft tissue surrounding it or the bones of the vertebrae themselves.

With pain comes the instinct to be less and less active and to reduce range of motion. As a result the lumbo-pelvic hip complex looses flexibility, co-ordination and strength.

Unfortunately, this causes secondary pain such as muscular strains in the low back and hips. Also, this inactivity tends to exacerbate the original low back pain as well. Essentially, the biomechanical chain is not only weakening but the lack of flexibility and co-ordination means that every time you lift or perform a sports motion, the joints in this complex are experiencing more and more wear and tear.


Your muscles, ligaments, tendons, fascia as well as joint cartilage are parts of a complex machine. And like any other machine, there needs to be co-ordinated interaction between all moving parts. And as a living biological system, too little or too much stress will be harmful.

Once you have had the exact cause of your pain diagnosed, a customized program of exercise rehabilitation, hands-on treatment and ergonomic changes is the most effective and evidence-based method to cure your back pain. Even if it has been a part of your life for years.

See our exercise rehabilitation section of the clinic’s website for pricing and scheduling details.

A proper program will have you start with very basic exercises and stretches. Yet, the goal of our protocol is to slowly and safely evolve you to being able to safely perform compound movements such as deadlifts, squats and olympic type lifts. Prioritizing safe technique and NOT excessive heaviness, lifting in these fashions will allow you — and your lumbopelvic hip complex — to be able to lift, work and play all the while keeping your back strong and healthy.

Contact us if you are interested in more details. Thank you!


Self-Care 101: Understanding the Basics

this entry is by guest author Brad Krause:


We’ve all heard the term self-care in conversations with friends, doctors, co-workers or family members—but do we really know what it means? Self-care is more than just managing our health by taking the time to practice good hygiene or exercise regularly—though those are important parts. Self-care is about taking deliberate action to show compassion and consideration to ourselves, making healthy choices for our physical and mental well-being.


Sounds like a no-brainer, right? In reality, however, self-care can be very hard to prioritize. There are pressures and expectations in our society that can force self-care decisions to the bottom of our to-do lists. Self-care begins with showing love for yourself, which improves our feelings of self-worth and self-acceptance. Not sure where to begin? Start with these simple suggestions:


  • Create a meditation space: Whether you transform an entire room or just a quiet corner, a space designed for meditation is a powerful self-care tool. Studies show that meditating for as few as 10 minutes a day reduces stress, anxiety and depression.
  • Get plenty of sleep: Sleep is crucial for healthy brain function, including concentration, decision-making and productivity. Commit to a bed time that gives you at least 7 to 9 hours. Go to bed 15 minutes early to give yourself time to relax and get comfortable.
  • Say no: Your list of responsibilities is long, so self-care sometimes means saying no to some items on your to-do list as well as other people’s requests. If your coworker asks you to take on an assignment that will increase not only your workload, but also your stress load, give yourself permission to say no. It might be painful at first, but when you overcommit yourself, the quality of your work suffers, not to mention the quality of your life.
  • Reduce stress: In our overbooked lives, many of us operate at full steam all day, every day. There is an intense amount of stress that comes with living out of our sympathetic nervous system—more commonly known as fight or flight. This means we are regularly dealing with life from a place of heightened stress. Taking more time to relax—in general and in the moment—can reduce stress, and reducing stress can help you avoid negative behaviors many people use as coping mechanisms. Practice breathing deeply and with intention in high-stress situations. Let go of harmful, negative emotions that damage your self-esteem. You can also reduce your overall feelings of stress by practicing yoga, exercising regularly, getting a massage and meditating daily.
  • Do something you enjoy: At least once a day, carve out time to do something you really enjoy. It can be as simple as enjoying a cup of your favorite coffee on your back porch to grabbing lunch at your favorite downtown deli. Take at least 30 minutes out of your day — every day — to focus on doing something simple you enjoy.
  • Get rid of clutter: Live in a space full of meaning and intention by removing unnecessary distractions from your home—and your mind. Get your home organized to feel a sense of openness and freedom, while also eliminating the stress of having to rummage through five different catch-all drawers until you find an extra battery.
  • There’s an app for that: Download a self-care app on your phone, one that encourages you to pause, breathe and think. The use of these apps surged in 2017, showing that developing mindfulness strategies and letting go of stress are common goals in our lives.


When we prioritize care and concern inward, we are far better at extending it outward. Self-care encourages us to do more than simply live life, but to also enjoy life. We can find strength to live to our potential and always be on course with our true purpose when we prioritize self-care.

– article by Brad Krause

The Most Common Type of Dizziness


The most common form of dizziness (i.e.: vertigo) is a form of peripheral vertigo known as Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). Symptoms of BPPV include:

– nausea and sometimes vomiting
– a form of dizziness that, to the sufferer, feels like a spinning motion
– dizziness brought on by sudden movement (often getting up from laying down)
– vision blurriness
– eyes spinning (nystagmus)
– quick bursts of dizziness that last only seconds (although BPPV can also last several minutes)
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The Newest Neck Injury: Text Neck!


In our modern world of mobile devices, a new neck injury has arisen. Referred to as “text neck,” it results from the forward flexion of the cervical spine as you look downwards on your mobile device. As you can see in the above picture, the individual’s neck is bent forward as he or she spends hours per day perusing work emails, apps, games and social media. This places the spine in a position that is unnatural and places undue pressure on the spinal discs as well as the muscles running from your upper back to your neck and skull. Evenutally one or both of these systems will begin to be symptomatic.

As you can see below, the natural position for the neck is straight, with a slight backward curve. This allows the muscles to be in a normal position and the right amount of pressure to be placed on the discs. Think of text neck as essentially a slow motion whiplash. And if left unchecked, it can result in an unnatural loss of curvature in the cervical spine as well as disc bulging and nerve impingement.



Symptoms of text neck include:

  • burning sensation in the upper back or base of neck
  • pain in the base of the skull
  • tingling in the forearms and hands
  • headaches and/or nausea

There are ergonomic ways to use your mobile devices and you should be well versed in them.

If your pain is not subsiding, see a professional that understands how to treat text neck. Treatment should include:

  • electric stimulation of neck muscles
  • ultrasound
  • myofascial release therapy
  • and perhaps even manipulation

Don’t wait for the problem to worsen, get diagnosed and treated and change your habits. You don’t want a serious neck condition in 5 to 10 years!

If you’re in pain, we can help

Call us!


Ankle Sprain or Peroneus Tendonitis? How To Tell

First things first, let’s show you where the peroneus longer and brevis are (peronei tendons). See the picture below. The two tendons come down the outside of your calf and ankle and are tucked behind the big ankle bone that sticks out on the outside of your ankle. As you can see, they then travel down in an L shap and plug into your foot bones. On the other hand, the ligament involved in an ankle sprain is the anterior talofibular ligament. It is right in front and below the big ankle bone.

So, if the pain is not in front of the outside ankle bone, it can’t be a peronei tendonitis. 

Now, the way in which you hurt your ankle also tells you what’s going on.

If you hurt your ankle by rolling it, most likely you have a sprain AND the pain is right in front and below the big outside ankle bone, you most likely have a sprain. It is possible to strain the peronei with an ankle roll, but much less likely. When rolling the ankle affects the peronei and not the ligaments, the pain is usually where it plugs into the bone of the foot (see pic above). This will not be right next to the big ankle bone, but in the tip of the bone of the foot.

Most of the time you have a proper peronei tendonitis is when you didn’t hurt yourself instantly, but started developing pain for no known reason. And the pain will be behind the ankle bone and sometimes even up the outside of the calf.

How you treat the injury depends on what the injury is. So make sure to have your ankle region pain properly diagnosed!




What Does A Chiropractic Adjustment Even Do?

“Doc, what does an adjustment do?”

I have been asked this a thousand times, so I am going to give you, the would-be patient, a quick low down on joint manipulation.

First, much like medicine, nutrition and chemistry have been with us for thousands of years, so has joint manipulation. For example, the ancient Chinese used it to correct for pain and inflammation. As humans are wont to do, if something works we keep doing it.

And we perfect it.

Over the millennia we have scientifically understood and improved spinal manipulation. Modern day chiropractic is not the chiro of one hundred — or even twenty — years ago.

“What is a joint manipulation?”

Easy answer: unlocking a locked joint.

When we suffer an injury — either a sudden injury, or a slow, over use injury — the sophisticated neuro-muscular system will use postural and structural muscles to lock a joint down. Preventing full and free motion.

Unfortunately, the body tends to over do this response. As a result, other nearby joints suffer as well and the problem can grow. For an easy demonstration try walking around without bending one of your knees. You will be forced to change how the whole body chain works in order to compensate for one single locked joint.

Likewise, when a spinal region is locked down, the problem affects secondary regions, making pain and dysfunction grow. A practitioner identifies the affected region and delivers an accurate and quick (but gentle) manipulation to make the joint move through its full range. By sneaking up on your body, your brain doesn’t have the chance to prevent this motion. And this proves to your Central Nervous System (CNS) that the motion is not only possible, but safe and pain free. This retrains your neural pathways and removes the “lock down.”

It can take a few visits to properly retrain the brain, but it is highly effective. And in some conditions (e.g.: facet imbrication) it can even be accomplished in a single visit.

Manipulation also breaks down scar tissue in joint capsules and surrounding soft tissue. Further enabling proper, fluid motion. For a real look at our manipulation practice, click the video below:

“How many people need manipulation?”

Most people will encounter an issue in their life time that will greatly benefit from joint manipulation.

Headaches: According to the American Headache Association, tension-type headaches are, by far, the most common form of headaches. They can be as debilitating — and even more so — than standard migraines. Fortunately, most tension-type headaches are due to tension and restriction in the neck region of the spine. As a result, manipulation is an integral part of treatment for this ailment.

Low back pain: One in four North Americans will suffer a bout of lower back pain in their life time. And low back pain is the most common cause of worker’s disability for those under the age of 45.

Several government studies over the past few decades have shown joint manipulation to be superior to surgery, injections and prescription medication for treatment of low back pain. The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) of the US Department of Health and Human Services released a 1994 study stating that joint manipulation was a safe, inexpensive treatment that was more effective than standard medical approaches. It was not done by a chiropractic association but by a government assembled panel that included 23 diverse specialists comprised of medical doctors, chiropractic doctors, nurses, experts in spinal research, physical therapists, an occupational therapist, a psychologist, and a consumer protection rep.

The Ontario Ministry of Health (government) commissioned study is the largest standing study on low back pain treatment. Dubbed the “MANGA Report” it made the bold statement of recommending chiropractors as the first line of care ahead of medical doctors!

Several other studies have been done, nearly all of which have come to the same conclusion: for certain injuries, manipulation is the least expensive and most effective treatment.

Now, that being said, not all ailments require manipulation. For these other injuries and pain conditions we use a variety of physiotherapy techniques as well as exercise-based solutions and soft tissue treatments. You need your practitioner to think outside the box and apply the treatment best suited for your problem.

If you’ve tried everything else but have yet to have joint manipulation, please give us a call. And we can discuss whether or not an adjustment would be beneficial for your condition:


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