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. Continue reading

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. 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:


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

Our Manual for “How To Sit Properly”

Many office workers feel they are doomed to low back pain because they sit for a living.


There is an easy solution that will protect your low back from injury.

PLEASE download our FREE PDF manual that shows you how to sit properly! Our easy to follow steps will help prevent your lumbar discs from succumbing to injury.


Lumbopelvic Hip Complex?

What is the Lumbopelvic Hip complex? Essentially, it is the key to solving most low back pain.

It is the body chain created by your low back, your pelvis and your hips. As you can see below, they are all interconnected. Many types of low back pain begin when the low back muscles are weak and the hips are stiff. Therefore, taking good care of your lumbopelvic hip complex is as simple as strengthening the proper core muscles and making your hips flexible.

In fact, most people with disc problems need to look at their injury through the lens of the lumbopelvic hip complex, and not zero in on the disc alone. 


Your core muscles are made up of any and all muscles that attach to your pelvis. This means that besides the front and side abdominals, you need to strengthen your lower back and buttock muscles as well as the inner thighs, hamstring and hip flexors.

This type of global approach to core strengthening allows the pelvis to be under better control and therefore experience more resilience and less pain. And in order for lumbar discs to be healthy, the pelvis and hips have to be flexible. If not, whenever we lift something or move around, the leg bones pull the pelvis into positions that are harmful to the lumbar spine.

A good core exercise program incorporates an upper and lower body strengthening program as well as core muscle rehabilitation. Flexibility is also vital.

Another commonly overlooked aspect of low back care is the use of balance exercises. By challenging a patient’s balance, we train the body to control its center of gravity which is mainly manipulated by the lumbopelvic hip joint complex. A strong, flexible and co-ordinated lumbopelvic hip complex means a happier lower back.

Please watch the following videos for examples of patients overcoming low back pain through this type of rehabilitation.



Low Back Exercise

Low back exercises are like flossing daily, they can keep the doctor away!

The following are 3 basic low back exercises for people who don’t have low back pain and want an easy, daily routine to keep the chiropractor away:

1. Ball Extentions
get on your knees, feet against the wall
– roll the exercise ball into your lap
– drape your body over the ball
– slowly straighten your legs until top of your chest is OFF the ball, but your belly is ON the ball
– hands at ears
– bend forward until chest touches ball, then curl back to lift chest (NOT belly) off ball

2 sets of 15-20 repetitions

photo courtesy marin/

2. L Sits
lay flat on your back
– hands flat on ground next to your hips
– bend knees and bring them up to 90 degrees (perpendicular with floor)
– straighten legs out as much as you can and hold this position
2 sets of 30 seconds

photo courtesy marin/

3. Side Planks
use hand to prop yourself up on your side
– straighten legs and raise hips up to form straight line with your body
– hold for 30 seconds flip over and so same on opposite side
Do 2 x each side overall

photo courtesy marin/

Exercise Is Key To Treating Low Back Pain

Many low back pain sufferers jump from one treatment to another and never get relief.

They will try chiropractic, massage, physio, acupuncture, etc. And yet continue to suffer.

In the past 2 years I’ve had the privilege of teaching a “Low Back Recovery” class at the University of Victoria. I never cease to be amazed at how many people needlessly suffer from lower back pain.

As a chiropractor I believe in “hands on” treatment. Deep tissue work, stretching the patient and adjusting their spines are all very key in treating low back pain.

However, very often, the missing ingredient is exercise.

For the past 10 years, I’ve worked in an exercise rehabilitation clinic and have been able to add exercise to the other treatments I do on my patients. The results speak for themselves.

If a patient does not begin and continue a low back exercise program, they will most likely never get full relief:


 head image by giopuo