Self-Care 101: Understanding the Basics

this entry is by guest author Brad Krause:

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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)
Continue reading

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:

250-589-6325

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.

CLICK TO CALL:
1-250-589-6325

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The Benefits of Personal Challenges

credited to: http://costculator.com/best-rowing-machine-reviews/

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).
Some rights reserved for image: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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.
BUT…
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!