Back to school Chiropractic Tips

This article is written by Dr. Steven Cannon, Chiropractor – Neurohealth Chiropractic

The kids are already back to school. For most people this means pencils, notebook paper an mountains of textbooks.

But sending your child to start, or return to school requires some homework from the parents. Here at Neurohealth Chiropractic, we endeavor to be both your chiropractor and educator.

So here are some tips for a healthy start Back-To-School:

BACK CARE 101

Ergonomics: yes ergonomics are just as important for kids as they are at the office. Slumping over a school classroom desk, just like slumping over a work desk, can lead to a lifetime of poor postural habits. Which then in turn will lead to musculoskeletal disorders, spinal joint restrictions (vertebral subluxations) and an increased likelihood of adult onset osteoarthritis.

Students are spending more and more time at computers these days. The following are guidelines that we all should be taking note of:

 

  • Sit up straight with feet flat on the floor or on a footrest;
  • Keep lower arms level with the table and wrists straight;
  • Sit close enough to the keyboard to eliminate stretching but far enough away to avoid leaning;
  • Tap the keyboard lightly. Don’t pound away;
  • Place the mouse within easy reach of the dominant hand;
  • Try and hold the mouse loosely. Don’t squeeze;
  • The monitor should be at eye level, 40-60 centimeters away;
  • If using a laptop, a docking station should be used with a detachable keyboard, separate mouse (instead of finger pad) and the middle of the screen should be at eye level;
  • Take short breaks every 20 minutes. Get up and move around. Go and get a drink of water;
  • Exercise your eyes frequently. Look away from the monitor and focus on distant objects, which will help your eyes blink.

 

Backpacks: An over-stuffed, incorrectly packed or worn backpack can result in a serious injury and affect young developing spines.

How heavy is heavy? Even a backpack weighing 15 percent of a student’s body weight is too heavy to maintain a standing posture. This will cause undue stress on their young spines and can cause vertebral subluxations leading to postural changes and even scoliosis.

The current recommended guidelines is a maximum of 10 percent of your body weight should go into the backpack. This means if you weigh 30 kilograms, then 3 kilograms is the maximum. So with today’s primary school kids, after you put the lunch box and water bottle in you are already at the maximum weight.

To further minimise impact of the backpack, it is also recommended that both shoulder straps be used to help distribute the backpack’s weight evenly between the shoulders. And then the waist strap should also be used, to help distribute the weight onto the hips away from the shoulders.

In addition to creating chronic backache for years to come, improper use of the backpack will trigger neck and shoulder disorders. A study from the University of Sydney showed that the backpack’s weight and length of time had a direct correlation with neck and shoulder posture. The study concluded with that forward head posture increases when carrying a backpack with a heavy load. When we adopt forward head posture, it leads to straightening of the normal curve of the neck, a condition linked with osteoarthritis, headaches and neck pain.

Many schools these days have their own backpacks, with their own logo on the bag. Good news is that all these backpacks are approved for developing spines. They just need to be used correctly i.e. wearing, packing, and weight.

Footwear: Skimpy footwear and platform shoes may be fashionable, but they are certainly not what your feet need! Shoes that cannot provide adequate support can throw your whole skeleton out of alignment. If the foot is excessively pronating (rolling in), this will cause torsion at the knee when walking, running, or standing. This will then cause a shift in body weight into the pelvis, causing hip and low back problems. It can also lead up the whole entire chain causing the shoulders to not be level and to tilt.

Therefore correct footwear from an early age is very important.
Here are a few tips to remember when buying new school shoes

  • Make sure there is plenty of wiggle room in the toe box;
  • Never buy a show for your child to grow into;
  • Avoid hand-me-down shoes if at all possible;
  • Check the length of the foot, from the longest toe. Caution: this is not always the big toe, as 10% of the population has the second toe as the longest;
  • Make sure the shoe bends in the toe box;
  • Check the heel counter and make sure the shoe is supportive around the heel as this controls the foot, and helpt pronation.

Nutrition: Studies have shown a direct link with nutrition and the child’s ability to learn.

Skipping breakfast is not be an option. If you don’t give the body fuel in the way of good nutrition, especially first thing in the morning, it will not function and be able to retain simple instructions and directions.

An easy option, is to use whole ingredients, and mix them in a blender to make a smoothie for people on the go. Adding fresh berries, coconut water, raw egg, LSA (linseed, sunflower, almond meal) together can be one way to get started. Check out our book in reception on different juicing and smoothie ideas.

Parents should focus on natural, whole foods, such as whole grain cereals and fresh seasonal fruits. ‘White’ sugar and flour should be avoided. These give a sudden spike in energy, but what goes up quickly will come down just as quickly and crash and burn.

You should also avoid heavily processed items that are laden with chemical additives.

Pack water instead of soda and juice poppers. And choose raw, organic nuts over candy. Research shows that excessive sugar consumption weakens the immune system and impairs cognitive function.

Sleep: To be able to thrive, we must sleep. If you are not getting enough sleep each night, your body is not recovering and the brain cannot switch off and restore itself.

Lack of sleep not only leads to poor cognitive function but also leads to hallucinations and personality changes.

We are well aware how fatigued we are after spending the whole night awake, and lacking sleep. Lack of sleep has been shown to be linked with increased motor vehicle accidents, increase in body mass index (BMI) and greater likelihood of obesity. It also has links with increase risk of diabetes, heart conditions and psychiatric disorders such as depression and substance abuse. It also decreases one’s ability to pay attention, react to signals or remember new information. This point is particular important to note for children.

So with our children, to thrive academically, they need sleep – and lots of it. According the National Sleep Foundation the average school age child (5-10years) should be achieving 10-11 hours of sleep per night.

Children with fragmented sleep were characterised by lower performance on (neurobehavioural functioning) measures, particularly those that were associated with more complex tasks such as a continuous performance test or symbol-digit substitution. These children have also been shown to have higher rates of behavioural problems reported by their parents.

Over-scheduling, non-enforced bedtimes, sharing a bed with a sibling and breathing problems – such as sleep apnea, and snoring – can rob a child their night’s rest. It is also essential to keep televisions, video games, radios, and telephones out of your child’s bedroom during sleeping hours as these only serve as distractions and will disturbed their sleep.

Checkup: Between the endless trips to the shopping mall for new shoes, new clothes and new school supplies, take a few moments to schedule a back-to-school chiropractic check up for your child. This will help their nervous system to start the scholastic year free of interference and flourish their learning.

And also don’t forget to bring in your child’s school backpack, so that we can check the bag and instruct on proper use of the backpack.

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Proof that chiropractic treatment helps migraine sufferers

Seventy-two per cent of migraine sufferers in a clinical trial experienced either ‘substantial’ or ‘noticeable’ improvement after a period of chiropractic treatment, defying historical skepticism of chiropractics by some medical practitioners.

The randomised clinical trial was undertaken by Dr Peter Tuchin, a chiropractor for the past 20 years, as part of his recently-completed PhD thesis at Macquarie University.

“Around 22 per cent [of patients] had substantial reduction – which means that more than 60 percent of their symptoms reduced during the course of the treatment,” Tuchin says. “What makes this a really strong result is that this was a really chronic group – the average length of time they’d had migraines was 18 years. To get a change of that sort of magnitude in a really chronic group was quite amazing.

“Another 50 per cent had quite noticeable improvement. They either found that the frequency of the migraines was less, the length of time they had them was less or that they didn’t need to use their medications as much. This last result is very significant because some of the migraine medications are very strong drugs which have lots of side effects. Some of the migraine medications also have the problem of giving instant relief to the migraine, but creating another ‘rebound migraine’ the next day.”

The trial used 123 migraine sufferers, whittled down from around 1000 who applied after seeing a television program about the research. This group was divided into a treatment group who received chiropractic care, and a control group who were told they were receiving a form of electrical physical therapy.

“Both groups kept a record of their migraines for the whole six months, noting down how often they got them, how severe they were, how long they lasted, and if there was anything they could think of that contributed to them,” Tuchin explains. “For two months prior to any treatment they just diarised their migraines, followed by two months of treatment and then two months of post-treatment.”

Despite this study, some medical practitioners still dispute the ability of chiropractic care to help migraine sufferers. However, Tuchin believes this is a fast-diminishing group.

“I think the vast majority of medical practitioners are now open to chiropractic, but there’s a very small percentage who don’t realise what developments we’ve had, what inroads we’ve made,” Tuchin says.

“Chiropractic is not the be all and end all, but for a good percentage of migraine sufferers the neck is a significant contributing factor, and for them chiropractic treatment is really effective. I’m not saying that everybody’s going to be cured, but there’s very little to lose.”

May 23-29 is National Chiropractic Care Week. This year the theme is safe drugfree treatment of headaches. It is estimated that 10 to 12 percent of the Australian population suffer from migraines which costs the country $1.5 billion each year.

 

Chiropractic and Migraine

Although migraine attacks affect a significant number of people the triggering processes for the headaches are not fully understood.

 

Changes in the function of the blood or nervous systems in specific areas of the brain and changes in chemical balances within the body have been related to the cause of migraine attacks.

So, it is interesting that chiropractic treatment has beenshown to be effective for migraine sufferers.

Migraines are normally divided up into two different typesalthough many more subdivisions exist. These two main categories are ‘common’ and ‘classic’ migraine.

The pain of the headache is normally one sided covering half of the forehead and one eye however pain can also spread from the back of the head over to the eye or in some cases be located over both eyes.

Sensations described include, throbbing, pulsing and stabbing pains.

This is the most common type of migraine accounting for 80-85% of attacks. Research indicates that a change in cerebral blood flow could be responsible for the symptoms of this headache.
Common Migraine

It normally involves:

  • a unilateral pulsing headache
  • more commonly in females
  • is usually found to have started in young adulthood
  • headaches are usually severe although sufferers are able to carry on with their daily activities
  • there is often associated nausea and vomiting.

Classic Migraine

This type of migraine accounts for about 10-15% of attacks with the typical throbbing unilateral headache as in a common migraine, but is preceded by what is known as ‘aura’ or ‘prodrome’. This describes symptoms experienced prior to the onset of the throbbing headache such as:

  • visual symptoms such as flashing lights (scintillation)
  • the presence of a blind spot (scotoma).

This usually lasts up to 30 minutes after which it is replaced by a disabling headache that can last for a few hours to 3 days.

  • Nausea and vomiting may occur.
  • Photophobia (sensitivity to bright lights) is common and bright lights can also provoke the pain.
  • Rest in a cool dark and quiet room is often reported to be the only relieving factor.

Again, the cause of these headaches are not fully understood but are thought to be related to the changes in blood flow, the presence of certain chemicals and the way in which nerves send signals.

If you want to read more about other types of migraine go to Chiropractic and migraine variants.

Triggers

Many triggers have been related to the onset of a migraine attack some of the more common are listed below:

  • after periods of stress (commonly occurs on over the week end or holidays)
  • Foods (commonly; chocolate, caffeine, nitrates, cheese, nuts, wine and many more)
  • Some medications (including vasodilators)
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Hormonal changes (associations with the menstrual cycle)
  • Tension in the neck (especially the upper part of the neck)

But it is important to know that in reality, for many people, the symptoms are a mixture of more than one type of headache. Many specialists, including chiropractors, now talk about a headache continuum, where the, severely disabling, classical migraine is at one end ranging to the, less disabling, mild tension headache at the other end.

Treating Migraine

 

Identification of a specific trigger is essential in the management of the problem in a regular sufferer, with behavioural or lifestyle changes playing an important part in the treatment (e.g. avoidance of certain foods or maintenance of a regular sleep pattern).

Nutritional and herbal support have indicated that the use of supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, calcium, vitamin D among others useful in the treatment of migraine. However always consult your chiropractor or doctor before beginning any supplements.

Medications can be of use in some cases but are mainly prophylactic. Initially over the counter medications can be used but if persistent your GP may advise the use of prescription drugs.

Acupuncture treatment has also been shown to help in some cases among other alternative techniques.

Chiropractic has been shown to help reduce the severity and frequency of migraine attacks in many cases, especially cases of common migraines, and we therefore recommend that you undergo a trial treatment.

Chiropractic treatment also deal with many contributory factors or after effects including relieve of restriction in movement of the neck, muscle tension in the neck, upper back and shoulders and helping correct any postural issues that may influence the occurrence of both migraine and tension headaches.

Are Toxins in Potatoes Possibly Harming your Body?

Are Toxins in Potatoes Possibly Harming your Body?

What you need to know about natural toxins found in potatoes and potato skins and the effects on your body

Guest Article by Nate Miyaki – Nutritionist, Author of Feast Your Fat Away
Try to eat a bird in the wild, and it will try to peck off your hand.

Try to reel in a Marlin without being prepared for battle, and it will take you for a swim and then stab you in the heart.

The point is that all animals have defense mechanisms against potential predators.

Guess what?  So do plants, but they are just not as obvious as claws or teeth.  They have more innovative ways of trying to NOT get eaten.

Most plants produce some sort of toxic compounds that they use to ward off insects and animals.  Who cares right?  Well, those same compounds can be problematic for both human digestion and overall health.

Now don’t panic… eating that salad is not going kill you.

As you know, it’s the dose that makes the poison with any natural toxin.  Small exposure to a toxin – such as the alcohol in a glass of red wine or a dark beer – has an antioxidant effect and can actually improve your health.  But large and frequent exposure – like a daily Jack Daniels Attack – can cause alcohol poisoning and liver disease.

Today I want to talk to you about the toxic compounds in a food that’s near and dear to my heart – POTATOES, aka – taters.

TATERS AND TOXINS

First, lets establish I believe in a relatively moderate carbohydrate approach for those who perform anaerobic training on a regular basis… Not too low, not too high, and eaten at the right times of day.

While sedentary populations generally do better with a lower carbohydrate approach, some controlled and well-timed carbs can help an athlete properly fuel and recover from intense strength or cross-training sessions.

Yet we know the many problems associated with concentrated sources of refined sugar, gluten, cereal grains, and other foods in a typical Y2K diet.  That’s the value of a Paleolithic approach to nutrition – eliminate the crap without the complexity.

So where can we turn to for anaerobic carb fuel?  Many Paleo proponents who exercise intensely regularly recommend potatoes and/or sweet potatoes as their primary carb source.

I agree, with a subtle caveat — the preparation of those potatoes matter, especially if you’re eating them on a near daily basis.

Remember, the frequency of exposure to a toxin, and the dose, makes the difference.

I’ve worked with athletes that tried regular potatoes as their primary starch fuel and complained of side effects such as inflammation and joint pain.

Others have tried sweet potatoes and complained of bloating and other gastrointestinal distress.

In both cases, the fact that they were eating “carbs” in general was blamed.  But the reality was it wasn’t the glucose/starch that was the problem.  It was the natural toxic compounds coming along with, and protecting that starch… the plant’s natural defense system.

PEEL TO FEEL BETTER

Lets start with the bad news first.  In addition to starch, potatoes contain toxic compounds called glycoalkaloids.  This is their own little toxic compound they use to ward off predators (like us humans) from eating the potato and thereby killing it.

The good news?  The majority of these glycoalkaloids are located in the skins of potatoes.

Thus, if you eat potatoes on a regular basis, I suggest you peel, boil, and eat them without the skins.  Why? You end up with good starch that you can use as anaerobic fuel (if you workout intensely), along with a decent variety of vitamins and minerals that are found in potatoes, but WITHOUT the potential drawbacks of overexposure to the toxic compounds found mostly in the skins.

Sure, that means you’re throwing away a little bit of the fiber of the potato, but I think you’ll agree it’s best to pass on a couple grams of fiber if it means you eliminate most of the TOXINS too!

What about sweet potatoes?

Now, the science is not so clear when it comes to sweet potatoes, as they are a completely different classification of plant from regular potatoes, and don’t contain these particular toxins we’ve identified in potatoes.  But my personal anecdotal evidence as an athlete and coach is clear.

I’ve worked with many strength trainers that complained of GI distress when emphasizing sweet potatoes as their primary carbohydrate source.  I experienced this personally.  My suspicion was that some compound located in the skins caused it.

It makes sense logically right?  The skin is that outer layer that wards off predators, especially those that don’t walk around with a handy-dandy peeler.   So we tested this theory…

And sure enough, when the same peeling method was applied, removing the skins of sweet pototoes, the GI distress went away for the majority of my clients.  The consistency was too much to just be coincidence.

RICE CAN ALSO BE NICE

I look at the skins of potatoes and sweet potatoes much in the same way I look at the bran of rice.

If you are a Paleo geek, you already know the problem with most cereal grains – “anti-nutrients” such as phytic acid can inhibit mineral absorption and cause GI distress.  Brown rice is no different.

Yet in more informed Paleo circles, especially those that include regular intense exercisers, white rice is often included as what is referred to as a “safe starch” option.  I agree 100%.

The “anti-nutrient” or phytic acid that is problematic for digestion and nutrient absorption is located in the bran of the grain. This is removed in the milling process that essentially changes brown rice to white rice.

That’s why cultures that eat a lot of rice generally eat white rice.  It’s probably due more to natural intuition than scientific method.

CAVEMAN AND CULTURAL CONCLUSIONS

I believe evolutionary history teaches us valuable lessons about optimum nutrition for health, without information overload, or waiting for science to “catch” up to what nature has been trying to teach us for centuries.

I also believe some cultural approaches to nutrition can do the same for merging health with modern performance and physique goals.

As I wrap this thing up, I’m looking down at my Japanese-style dinner. The side of rice is white, and the sweet potato next to it is peeled, boiled, and mashed.  In a cultural diet that includes these foods on a regular basis, that’s for a reason!

-Nate


Hey, it’s Mike here… Thanks Nate for a great article!  I recently met Nate and have found him to be one of the most knowledgeable guys I’ve talked to about nutrition in a long time.

10 Life-Changing Reasons to Drink More Water

Has it occurred to you today that you are thirsty? Guess what – by the time you experience the sensation of the thirst, you are already dehydrated. That thirst is your body calling for re-hydration.

Your body is composed of roughly 60% water1. That means when we are dehydrated – and most of us spend our days constantly dehydrated to some degree – we are affecting the performance of the majority of our body.Nearly all of our systems do not function as well without the proper water intake

So, really, what does this mean? Why should we drink more water?

  1. If you don’t drink water, you will die. It’s that important. Depending on our environment, we can live only a few days without water – maybe a week. We can live much longer without food. For most of us, we should prioritize the consumption of water far more than we currently do.
  2. Prevent cancer. Yes, that’s right – various research says staying hydrated can reduce risk of colon cancer by 45%5, bladder cancer by 50%6, and possibly reduce breast cancer risk as well.7
  3. Be less cranky. Research says dehydration can affect your mood and make you grumpy and confused.3 Think clearer and be happier by drinking more water.
  4. Perform better. Proper hydration contributes to increased athletic performance. Water composes 75% of our muscle tissue!4 Dehydration can lead to weakness, fatigue, dizziness, and electrolyte imbalance.
  5. Lose weight. Sometimes we think we are hungry, when actually we are thirsty. Our body just starts turning on all the alarms when we ignore it. For those of you trying to drop some pounds, staying hydrated can serve as an appetite suppressant and help with weight loss.
  6. Have less joint pain. Drinking water can reduce pain in your joints by keeping the cartilage soft and hydrated. This is actually how glucosamine helps reduce joint pain, by aiding in cartilage’s absorption of water.
  7. Flush out waste and bacteria. Our digestive system needs water to function properly. Waste is flushed out in the form of urine and sweat. If we don’t drink water, we don’t flush out waste and it collects in our body causing a myriad of problems. Also combined with fiber, water can cure constipation.
  8. Prevent headaches. Sometimes headaches can be caused by dehydration, so drinking water can prevent or alleviate that nasty head pain. Next time your head hurts, try drinking water.
  9. Make your skin glow. Our skin is the largest organ in our body. Regular and plentiful water consumption can improve the color and texture of your skin by keeping it building new cells properly. Drinking water also helps the skin do it’s job of regulating the body’s temperature through sweating.2
  10. Feed your body. Water is essential for the proper circulation of nutrients in the body. Water serves at the body’s transportation system and when we are dehydrated things just can’t get around as well.

 

Quick rules of thumb for drinking water:

  • Drink half your bodyweight in ounces of water (if you weight 160lbs, drink 80oz of water each day).
  • Carry a bottle everywhere with you as a reminder to keep drinking.
  • Eat raw fruits and vegetables – they are dense in water. You can get water from food, not just from beverages.
  • Drink water and other fluids until you urinate frequently and with light color.