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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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:


To see the wide ranging services we provide, click on the image below for our YouTube Channel:

How I Overcame Two Significant Injuries – Including A Neck Disc Injury

As a former wrestler and commercial fisherman, and now a forty-something jiu jitsu competitor and weight lifter I have had many opportunities to wreck my body. Somehow I avoided injuries that could side line me for more than a couple weeks for the past 10 years. Except for moderate to minor rib cage and ligamentous injuries, I have been pushing my body fairly hard despite my age and the much younger age of my competitors and training partners. Continue reading

Self Questionnaire Flow Chart for Future Care

Patients often ask me “when should I come back to see you?”

This is a difficult question to answer. In order to help patients self evaluate for their needs of future care, I have developed the following flow chart. Feel free to use it for your own purpose.

please review this Pain Sensation Chart before using the flow chart.



The Benefits of Personal Challenges

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As we get older it is easy to tell ourselves to “slow down” and “act our age.” In some ways there is wisdom in these statements. However, many forty-plus year-olds  take this mantra too far. They stop playing their favourite sports because they do not want to take undue risks. Social circles can also take a hit as we become very career and family focused. Our worlds get smaller  and smaller. In a sense people in their forties begin to prepare themselves for death decades ahead of time. You may think this is a dramatic way of describing the natural process of aging but hear me out.

I understand that we have to be aware of the changes our bodies go through as we age. And hitting your forties does mean some things have changed. At 36 years of age I tore my inner calf muscle doing 42 inch box jumps. Now, I had warmed up and stretched and had slowly worked my way up to these over a period of years. But still, my muscle ripped. This would not have happened at 26. So I decided to omit highly ballistic exercises to forego anything worse happening. I adjusted to my age. Yet I still lifted very heavy weights. I also began to practice jiu jitsu. Having wrestled in school and university, grappling came natural to me and jiu jitsu is slower paced than freestyle wrestling. So even though I “slowed down” I didn’t downgrade my efforts or time spent pursuing fitness, I simply shifted my activity to something more intelligent. In May of 2017 I even competed in the highest profile jiu jitsu tournament in British Columbia. At age 42 I entered the 30 year-old division and won first place. The weight cutting and training camp was difficult and competing against athletes 10 years younger was daunting. But I took the challenge and succeeded. You don’t have to have that lofty of a goal, but it does highlight what is possible.

MMA fighter Randy Couture won the light heavyweight title at age 40 and defended his belt against a 28 year old challenger. He also won the heavyweight UFC title at 44 years of age against a much larger 32 year old opponent. Finally Randy retired at age 47 from professional MMA. Remember that long time NHL hockey player Chris Chelios played until he was 48 and even in his mid forties the Red Wings fitness coach said he was as fit as the 30 year-olds on the team! Jaromir Jagr is still playing NHL hockey at 46 and two years ago was one of the team leaders in points at 44 years old. At least two Olympian medalists during the 2016 Games in Brazil were in their forties. All this to say that you don’t have to hang up your hobbies just because you are in your forties. If you treat your body correctly, you can stretch your athletic prime farther than you think.

Now, let’s say athletics are not your thing, you can push your intellect instead. After finishing university in my twenties, I continued to read copiously. Instead of being “done with all that learning stuff” I put my skills to use in a more varied manner.

Credit: The Marmot (click image to visit).
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I read history, philosophy, science and religious texts. No longer being bound by tests and heavy class schedules, I was free to expand my mind. Even though our learning speed decreases after your twenties, the ability to make accurate decisions continues to rise until your late 60’s and usually is maintained for years afterwards if you use your brain. So instead of being done with learning, I was only beginning. And I continue to devour knowledge. One of the most common traps once our careers are established is to simply entertain ourselves during our down time. Instead, I choose to educate myself. “Use it or lose it” is a catch phrase for a reason. Continued mental challenges keeps your brain young.

I continue to challenge myself in the business field as well. I am planning on shifting my work to focus on both sports medicine (working with a professional team) and eventually to hold an academic position part time then full time. The continual shape shifting of my goals in all areas of life keeps me feeling, acting and thinking young.

As a father of four kids, I am also challenged in terms of energy and time. But I have taken this challenge head on and have reaped the rewards. Many people in their forties are really winding down and foregoing many activities and goals they could still do. But the body follows the mind. If you have decided to stop challenging yourself you will slowly convince your brain and body to get old quicker than it needs to.

Why would anyone ever do that?

Food Coupling? What?

For several months I suffered from “acidic gut.” The bottom of my abdomen was constantly painful and I had mild nausea and bloating most of each day. My condition was most likely brought on by a combination of strong anti-biotics, high sugar diet and stress. Either way, the end result was, I had too little good bacteria in my small intestines and therefore had a fungal overgrowth. With a high sugar diet, fungus is well fed and its colonies grow unabated. As a by-product of fungus feeding off sugar, the fungal bodies are producing acid, which hurts.

At this point, I worked with Liliana Tosic, a registered holistic nutritionist (RHN). Her evaluation gave me the diagnosis I needed and then the solution: food coupling. I must admit I was skeptical at first. It seemed too simple to cure several months of pain.

Food coupling is the notion that different foods are processed at different speeds. So by avoiding bad combinations, you alleviate stress to the digestive system. Further, some foods give off more or less acidic by-products. Which also needs to be taken into account.

Within 3 days of my food coupling diet I felt at least 40% better. I have been on a slow but steady improvement slope ever since. I was quite surprised at how simple and effective “food coupling” was.

In hindsight, this should not surprise me as I have many equivalent scenarios in my pain relief and rehabilitation practice. Many of my patients are incredulous when I say that adjusting how you sit and how you lift can alleviate the majority of disc pain within 2 to 3 weeks. Yet this is the reality. Which can be hard to believe if you have had months of debilitating pain.

If you have not worked with a good nutritionist and you have stomach or digestive problems, I would highly recommend giving Liliana a call.

To your health!

Doing Nothing…. Is Real Good For You!

North Americans are known for living some of the busiest lives in the world. Few other people (if any) have as many competing demands on their time than we do. A few years ago I became aware of how obsessed everyone was with being busy.
“How are things?” I would inquire.
“Oh, you know, super busy.” came the reply.
The way they would say it was one part complaint, three parts badge of honour. It was as though they wanted to signal that they too, were “busy.” Very, very busy.
After going through a very stressful time in my life, I began a journey to live a radically less stressful existence. This meant many things, including stopping the instinct to be busy. I was shocked at how hard my brain tried to keep pushing me back to my old ways. The ways of my culture. Breathless, constant busyness was portrayed at almost every turn. Whether it is the corporate ladder climbing heroine in a movie, the businessman in a magazine ad or whatever, we have absorbed a view of success that demands 24/7 scheduling of our time.
If we have a unifying religion in the West, it is Busyness. Interestingly, our brains and bodies seem to be suffering. Stress-initiated illnesses such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Anxiety/Depressive Disorders and Chronic Fatigue are sky rocketing. We are officially pushing ourselves beyond what we were designed to endure.
Some times in our lives are unavoidably busy. As the owner and operator of a busy clinic, a serving member of my church and married father of FOUR kids under 14 I am a busy man. We also do quite a bit of traveling throughout the year.
I am no longer “busy.”
How did I pull this off? Allow me to explain. Research has shown that being active is healthy, but being negatively stressed is not. A few years ago, TED speaker and researcher Kelly McGonigal unveiled new research showing how our interpretation of our busyness can make the stress good or bad. Her evidence essentially showed that if we are overloaded by things we despise or dread, our bodies suffer. But exhaustion coming from activities we enjoy have seemingly positive effects on us.
Here is my secret to strategically removing bad busyness from your life:
1. Know Your Have-To’s and Make Them Fun: All of us have to do certain things. Work, cook, commute, etc. If you are lucky enough to do what you love, this won’t be hard. If you work a less than ideal job, well, make it fun. If prisoners in Auschwitz were able to find the good in their lives, you can to. This may take some time, but figure it out. No excuses. Your commutes can be times to plug into a podcast or other enjoyable audio experiences. Be hands-free on the phone with a loved one while cleaning/cooking.
2. Know Your Strengths and Grow Them: All of us have a unique contribution to make to this world and our generation. All of us. As a Christian, I believe very strongly that we bring something to the table of humanity that no one else in history could. If you are not engaged regularly in your passion, you will suffer. Just Do It.
3. Balance Your “3 Passions”: I recently discovered a wonderful piece of advice: “Have 3 passions in your life. One that makes you money. One that keeps you healthy. One that let’s you be creative.” Find those and work them into your life. Take up jiu jitsu or biking. Get into it. Do it. Start drawing. Playing the piano. Blogging. Expand your mind and influence.
4. Embrace Doing Nothing: If you wake up on a Saturday and immediately feel the urge to “do something,” you are caught in the Cult of Busyness. Your body and brain are accustomed to always trying to do something. Make money, clean the house, prepare for some future disaster, etc. The survival instinct is in overdrive in most North American minds. Interestingly, it has been proven that being overly busy destroys productivity. For me, the Art of Nothing comes in 2 forms.
ONE, several times a day, even in busy clinic times, I take a 3 to 5 minute break. Either I close the curtain on a treatment table and nap or I watch a funny video on youtube. Just a smidgeon of “nothingness” to alleviate my body and soul. Just living, breathing, existing, being.
TWO, for at least a full day each week, I do “nothing.” I can’t necessarily lay there all day because I have 4 children and a wife. But, I don’t do anything on impulse of “I have to.” I will lay in bed as long as I can before I get up. I only do the bare minimum of “have to’s.” I will chose the activities that I want to do, none that I don’t. I will not push the kids to be “doing something.” I will fight my brain’s push to get me to “BE PRODUCTIVE.” No. I don’t want to produce. I want to just exist.
I am still an amateur when it comes to this. I am no master. And I am constantly shocked at how hard my mind and body fight “just being.” But I am improving. I am coming closer to going back to those childhood days in which there was zero guilt attached to going with the flow of your imagination and interests without checking to see if I was any good at a task or if it was “productive.”
Good luck!

Medical Marijuana – a review


Medical marijuana is a hot topic nowadays. Justin Trudeau’s Liberal party is playing peekaboo with the possibility of legalizing marijuana and certainly helping grow the number of “medical” marijuana dispensaries throughout the country.

One look at social media and google and you get thousands of messages about the miracle healing capacity of Cannabis Sativa. It appears there is nothing a little pot won’t cure. Claims range from pain relief to cancer prevention. Remarkable!

My question is, are these claims true? Or are they a good dose of wishful thinking to help make the bitter pill of legalizing drugs taste better?

Let’s take a closer look.le-microscope

First, you have to realize that less than 7% of all studies done on marijuana are researching its medicinal purposes. This is probably due to the fact that most marijuana research is funded by government agencies and these tend to relate to drugs in a negative sense. Government has a vested interest in understanding the negative effects of drugs in order to treat addicts and form drug use prevention methods. Pro marijuana advocates will say that the big pharmaceutical companies and the government are both invested in the continued ban of legal marijuana and so will continue to only look in the negative direction and downplay positive research. 

Is this true?

In part, I would agree that a large amount of research done by medical schools and even universities are funded by drug companies. And these companies have much less interest in finding natural cures than they do in validating synthetic drugs as the core of health care. Furthermore, there are a growing number of areas in which our culture is becoming aware of the plethora of natural cures available that Big Pharma drugs are not able to out-perform. Natural alternatives to anxiety, depression, blood pressure issues, pain management, etc are emerging as we better understand nutrition, exercise and cognitive behavioural therapy as well as other natural remedies. And if you delve into the realm of anecdotal evidence (both in your circle of friends and online) you will run into some convincing cases in which a marijuana compound was found more effective than a pharmaceutical alternative. I have not problems with the notion of finding natural alternatives to health issues, even in the Cannabis Sativa plant.

But how confident can we be that marijuana has very strong medical benefits? And are there any side effects worth knowing about?


poppy seeds

For thousands of years mankind has used both Cannabis Sativa and the poppy seed for its felt effects. In regards to poppy seeds, they have long been known to help induce sleep. Likewise, cannabis has been known for the intoxicating effects of its most famous cannibinoid compound: THC. For at least the past 5,000 years, humans have known how to extract opium from poppy seeds. And since 1804, we have known how to extract morphine from the poppy seed as well. To this day, morphine continues to be our most potent pain killer. And it is a completely natural extract. My point? Poppy seeds have a very specific medical use that works universally: pain killing. No one can doubt or disprove this. There is no need to hunt through conflicting anecdotal and peer reviewed accounts to see what (if any) are the medically useful aspects of poppy seeds. In contrast, even though we have been experimenting with cannabis for as long as we have been with poppy seeds, we know of only two universal effects that come from marijuana: intoxication and appetite stimulation.

Since at least the 1980’s, hospitals have been giving synthetic THC to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy because of its remarkable ability to stimulate appetite even in extreme circumstances. But the effectiveness of marijuana for the entire host of claims made online remain tenable and less than solidly proven. There are hundreds of cannabinoid compounds in marijuana, THC is only one of them (and the only real psychoactive one). Cannabidiol is another of these and it has little to no intoxicating effects, making it less controversial. Cannabidiol has been touted mainly as an anti-psychotic and anti-convulsant. Yet its effects are nowhere near universally true (in contrast to morphine) or even very repeatable. Some studies have shown some value in cannabidiol for sleep inducement as well as pain killing and muscle relaxants for Multiple Sclerosis and epileptic patients. But the strength of the evidence is not overwhelming at this point. More time is needed because studies have gone in both directions. Cannabis simply does not have a singular, universal medical value that can be proved conclusively.medijuana

As for THC, it does indeed decrease fluid pressure inside the eyes and so will relieve glaucoma symptoms. But the effects only last a short while and because THC is psychoactive, intoxication co-exists with the effects, making it unlikely to be safe or helpful for people who have to go to work with their glaucoma medication. To be under the effects of THC all day is not a recommended lifestyle. Especially when safe, non-intoxicating and long lasting drugs do exist for glaucoma sufferers. THC also dilates the small airways in the lungs, bringing relief to those with asthma, COPD and other chronic lung conditions. Again, this effect is short lived and comes with intoxication and alternative exist in both the natural and pharmaceutical realms.

All in all, the effects of marijuana on a variety of medical conditions is not cut and dry. Even when positive studies are found, they are not very strong and often you will find other studies that failed to replicate the findings. However, if an individual is finding success with a cannabinoid compound, I am not against its use. I support the right for doctors to oversee and prescribe a variety of cannabinoids (often with little to no THC) in the few cases in which better alternatives do not seem to exist. I don’t see, however, how wholesale legalization has to come hand in hand with the few cases in which genuine medical marijuana usage can be rationalized. It is also curious that it is mainly the psychoactive THC that gets most of the attention from medical marijuana activists. Could it be because it is marijuana’s main intoxicant? And that rationalizing its use would excuse chronic intoxication? Maybe. Just maybe.

Before closing this brief article, I have to speak about the negative side effects of THC and marijuana.Since the 1980’s, the percentage – by weight – of marijuana that is THC has arisen in the United States from an average 3% to approximately 12%. This has not occurred naturally but is the result of synthetically manipulating the strains. sad-woman-1347879026vylMuch the same way men have bred animals and plants over the centuries. Obviously, the main drive for increasing THC concentration is to maximize intoxication in chronic users who are now desensitized to former dosages. This phenomenon occurs with all artificial intoxicants. And the 12% figure is an average in the U.S., not worldwide. Some strains have been found to be as high as 35% THC by weight. A staggering dosage that is not in the least naturally occurring.

With the rise of THC percentages in recreational marijuana we have seen a rise in the ill effects of this drug. The most susceptible — as is always the case — are youths. Studies in both the U.S.1 and Canada2 have shown — with functional MRI’s, blood work, psychological evaluations, brain mapping and sociological research — that a developing brain exposed to marijuana use well before the age of 17 is at risk of cognitive, mood and behavioural disorders. Further, the higher the usage, the lower the youth’s chances are of attaining financial health and independence in adult life. Chronic early use is needed to truly trigger serious disorders but the risks are still ominous. Considering the growing push to render marijuana use socially acceptable combined with the sharp rise in THC concentrations it should be no wonder that health care facilities are reporting more and more issues with adolescent and young adult marijuana use.

Proponents of marijuana legalization will say that alcohol is also a drug and that it causes more carnage in our culture than marijuana. Both claims are true. However, alcohol use is much, much higher than marijuana use. Partly because it is legal and mostly because it is culturally acceptable. If marijuana use reached the same levels of use in North America the societal ills caused by this drug would not diminish, they would only grow exponentially. Unleashing another negative substance on our youth and culture is not an improvement by any means. I cannot comprehend this version of the pro-legalization argument.

bar-back-alcoholRemember that alcohol can be used in moderation. A glass or two of wine can even be beneficial in every way to your health with zero side effects. It is much harder to use marijuana without intoxication or side effects unless you strip it of its psychoactive compounds (which I do not see any medical marijuana dispensaries doing as this would most likely curb sales downward). And before singing the praises of local dispensaries, realize that a Journal of American Medical Association study, John Hopkins Medicine study as well as a Globe and Mail investigation found that the labels on pot products from such stores were grossly inaccurate. Shedding a poor light on the ability of such outlets to regulate the quality and safety of their drugs. Considering the negative side effects of THC and the shakily established “medicinal” value of Cannabis Sativa, pushing for nation-wide legalized marijuana on every street corner – a la neighbourhood liquor store — seems to be a thinly veiled attempt at plainly and simply legalizing an intoxicant for the pleasurable effects it produces. Arguments can be made as to the economic consequences of legalizing pot, yet this is a different argument than the medicinal one.

All things considered we have pain-killer drug addictions and alcoholism rates on the increase so why should we legalize yet another intoxicant on our future generations? For those who truly derive benefits from cannabinoid compounds, let hospitals monitor and administer dosages such as they do with the all natural morphine and other opioids. In my honest opinion, at this juncture, any other call to wholesale legalization is not supportable by hard clinical science. It would also dangerously fool youth into sinking into potentially life altering disorders if they follow the pied piper down the unrestrained use of a drug that is now getting a make over as “super healing compound.”

Be wise. Be prudent. Be informed.