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Month: February 2018

Back and neck pain at work? Think Ergonomics!

Back and neck pain at work? Think Ergonomics!

An improperly prepared, non-ergonomic work environment will cause pain and trouble with eyestrain, muscular strain and associated pain of the neck, shoulders, upper and lower back and legs, not to mention the arms and wrists.

Some tips and tricks for setting up an ergonomically correct work station:

Changes to make to your work set up:

1. Position your keyboard lower than your elbows (try raising the height of your chair and folding the legs on your keyboard.)

2. Push the keyboard farther back on your desk, so that your forearms and palms are supported by the desk when you type. Or, rest your palms and forearms on a keyboard wrist rest and the armrests of your chair. This seems to reduce tension in arms and shoulders.

3.  Stay aligned. Keep your keyboard directly in front of your monitor. If you have to look sideways to view it, you increase the risk of upper body pain.

4. You may be eligible for a free consultation.  Contact your human resources department to find out if you have an office ergonomics consultant with their employer.

 

Proper desk posture:

1. Sit at a 90 degree trunk-to-thigh angle (made more comfortable with an ergonomic chair- moveable back independent of the seat pan and waterfall seat design),

2. Sitting straight and all the way back in the chair, ensuring lumbar support (with ergonomic chair, separate piece, or rolled-up towel- secure with elastic or tape)

3. Keeping elbows close to sides, at a 90 degree angle and keep keyboard at neutral elbow height (arm rests are generally NOT recommended)

4. Keeping feet flat on floor or footrest with knees slightly lower than hips

5. Placing wrists on soft padded wrist rests to keep neutral (not essential and should be only used occasionally)

6. Keeping screen height at a position that keeps the neck straight (top of viewing screen should be at or slightly below eye level and screen should be perpendicular to work surface to prevent glare)

7. Taking frequent breaks to stretch out and allow muscles to relax or at least look away from screen, take deep breaths, and stretch

8. Back of knees should not come in direct contact with the edge of the seat pan (there should be 2-4 inches between the edge of the seat and the back of the knee)

9. Have enough space under your work surface so that you can pull your self all the way up to the edge of the desk with room for your legs and knees to fit comfortably

10. When using a mouse, do not bend your wrist upward. Make sure you are sitting high enough for the workstation to be slightly below elbow height so that your hand rests naturally on the mouse

If you do have neck, back, shoulder and/or wrist pain that might have been caused by ergonomic problems, Chiropractic and Active Release Technique are great modalities used in the treatment of these problems. Click here to learn more about our Chiropractors and ART.

 

 

Antioxidants … what are they and why do I need them?

Antioxidants … what are they and why do I need them?

What are antioxidants?

The vast majority of life depends on oxygen for its existence. Paradoxically, oxygen is a highly reactive molecule that damages living organisms by producing reactive oxygen species known as free radicals. Free radicals are molecules produced when your body breaks down food, or by environmental exposures like tobacco smoke and radiation. Free radicals can damage cells, and may play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases. Consequently, organisms contain a complex network of antioxidant metabolites and enzymes that work together to prevent oxidation damage to cellular components like DNA, proteins and lipids.

In general, antioxidant systems either prevent these reactive species from being formed, or remove them before they can damage vital components of the cell. However, since reactive oxygen species do have some useful functions in cells, the function of antioxidant systems is not to remove oxidants entirely, but instead to keep them at an optimum level.

A recent study conducted by researchers from London found that 5 servings of fruits and vegetables reduce the risk of stroke by 25 percent. Antioxidants may also enhance immune defense and therefore lower the risk of cancer and infection.

Antioxidant substances include:

 

What foods should I be eating to increase my intake of antioxidants?

  • Vitamin A and Carotenoids:
    • Bright-colored fruits and vegetables including: carrots, squash, broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, kale, collards, cantaloupe, peaches and apricots
  • Vitamin C:
    • Citrus fruits like oranges, limes etc; green peppers, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, strawberries and tomatoes
  • Vitamin E:
    • Nuts, seeds, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, vegetable oil, liver oil
  • Lutein:
    • Dark green vegetables – kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach
  • Lycopene:
    • Tomato and tomato products, pink grapefruit, watermelon
  • Selenium:
    • Fish & shellfish, red meat, grains, eggs, chicken and garlic

 

Take home message

Antioxidants are found abundantly in beans, grains, fruits and vegetables. Try to eat fruits that are brightly coloured and dark, leafy vegetables. It’s best to get your antioxidants from foods instead of supplements, and try to minimize your exposure to oxidation stress like a nutrient poor diet, sunburns, smoking and pollution.

 

 

Are You Reaching Your Wellness Potential?

Are You Reaching Your Wellness Potential?

The perception of one’s health and wellness varies greatly among people. Some perceive it as whether or not they live in the absence of pain, symptoms or disease. The reality is that we are all able to maximize our health and wellness in many ways. We shouldn’t wait for some symptom, pain or problem to surface before we take action.

All of the therapies at the North Shore Wellness Centre can help you improve and maximize your Wellness Potential. Each of the therapies and therapists can help achieve this in many ways and we recommend you discuss this with whomever you see.

As practitioners we remind our patients not to wait until they are in crisis. Pain is often one of the last things to present, as people get tighter and lose more range of motion or function. Therefore, pre-active treatment, which usually involves getting assessed and treated even if you are not experiencing pain or other symptoms, is the best course of action to optimize health and wellness.
As a Chiropractor at the North Shore Wellness Centre, I recommend that people get in to see me, or Dr. Anita Hildebrandt, once per month to have us assess range of motion, muscle tightness and overall function. In virtually all cases we find stiff muscles and stuck joints in people who aren’t even experiencing any pain or symptoms. Furthermore, we find that these people feel dramatic improvements after their treatment. Many competitive and professional athletes make sure they get treated even more frequently than once per month, especially during their respective seasons, as they want to make sure their bodies are able to give them 100% of what they are capable of. A few degrees in increased range of motion may enable a faster skate/run/swim/etc with the associated enhanced functioning. Everyday people, like most of us, find that they’re able to do more and want to do more when they get checked out at a frequency of once per month like we suggest.

 

The reality is that we are all made up of moving parts, and the better we can keep these parts functioning, the higher the level of wellness we are able to achieve and the longer our bodies should be able to function at an optimum level. In addition, the better balanced and enhanced our joints, muscles and spines are – the better the brain is able to communicate with our other systems. All of the body’s organ systems rely on communication from the brain to function optimally and to enable the body to regulate and function as well as possible. By keeping the joints in the spine moving correctly we are able to achieve a higher level of Wellness because the brain and body are able to do their jobs more effectively.

 

So, please take our advice and get assessed and treated before the end stages of your body’s dysfunctions present themselves as pain or other symptoms! Improve and maximize your body’s Wellness on a regular basis! If you haven’t been treated for a month or longer we strongly recommend that you come in for an assessment today!