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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.



Regimens: Massage Benefits Are More Than Skin Deep

Regimens: Massage Benefits Are More Than Skin Deep

Does a good massage do more than just relax your muscles? To find out, researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles recruited 53 healthy adults and randomly assigned 29 of them to a 45-minute session of deep-tissue Swedish massage and the other 24 to a session of light massage.

All of the subjects were fitted with intravenous catheters so blood samples could be taken immediately before the massage and up to an hour afterward.

To their surprise, the researchers, sponsored by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a division of the National Institutes of Health, found that a single session of massage caused biological changes.

Volunteers who received Swedish massage experienced significant decreases in levels of the stress hormone cortisol in blood and saliva, and in arginine vasopressin, a hormone that can lead to increases in cortisol. They also had increases in the number of lymphocytes, white blood cells that are part of the immune system.

Volunteers who had the light massage experienced greater increases in oxytocin, a hormone associated with contentment, than the Swedish massage group, and bigger decreases in adrenal corticotropin hormone, which stimulates the adrenal glands to release cortisol.

The study was published online in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

The lead author, Dr. Mark Hyman Rapaport, chairman of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at Cedars-Sinai, said the findings were “very, very intriguing and very, very exciting — and I’m a skeptic.”

from the NYTimes
Published: September 20, 2010

At the North Shore Wellness Centre, our RMTs promote health, activeness, and vivacity for their patients. Our RMTs Danielle Tabo, Kandice Leaf, Michelle Woodruff, and Shawn Slingerland specialize in deep tissue massages to rehabilitate the body and maintain general wellness. To book in to see one of our Registered Massage Therapists, please call (604) 980-4538.

Something to keep in mind for the rainy season …

Something to keep in mind for the rainy season …

–Participating in regular leisure-time physical activities of any intensity can lead to a decrease in depression, new research suggests.–

In a large population study of more than 40,000 Norwegian residents, investigators found that those who were not active during their time away from work were almost twice as likely to have symptoms of depression that those who were regularly active.

“Even relatively light activity was associated with significantly less depressive symptoms,” lead study author Samuel B. Harvey, MRCPsych, MBBS, clinical lecturer in occupational and liaison psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, United Kingdom, told Medscape Medical News.

Dr. Samuel B. Harvey

“Therefore, encouraging our patients to do some physical activity in their leisure time, even if it is something very light, appears likely to be of benefit,” said Dr. Harvey.

The investigators note that social benefits associated with exercise, such as increased number of friends and social support, may be more important contributors to this association than biological changes.

However, there was no association found between workplace exertion (such as walking or heavy lifting) and decreased symptoms of depression.

“What was unexpected was just how important the context of any physical activity seemed to be. When people undertook exercise as part of their job, all of the psychological benefits we observed with leisure time activity were lost,” said Dr. Harvey.

“The other surprise was that the biological changes associated with exercise, which had been thought to be important in explaining any antidepressant effects, seemed to be less important than some of the social benefits of physical activity,” he added.

The study is published in the November issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Lifestyle Factors and Mental Health

Although many past studies have found lower rates of depression for people who are more active, “almost all of the published research on this topic has focused exclusively on intense leisure-time activity such as organized sports, jogging, and fitness classes,” write the study authors.

They note that results have been mixed when studies have considered other types of activities.

“Recently, there has been a lot of interest in how lifestyle factors (like exercise, obesity, smoking, etc) and mental health are related,” said Dr. Harvey. “We know that in most developed countries people are becoming more overweight and less active and that this will have an impact on their physical health. What has been less clear is what, if any, impact these changes will have on mental health.”

For this trial, the investigators sought “to examine the bidirectional relationship between physical activity and common mental disorders and establish the importance of context, type, and intensity of activity undertaken.”

They evaluated data on 40,401 participants in the Health Study of Nord-Trondelag County (known as HUNT-2), a trial that was conducted between August 1995 and June 1997.

These participants (50.9% female; mean age, 45.9 years) were asked how often they engaged in light or intense physical activity during their leisure time and how active they were in their workplace. Light activity was defined as any activity not leading to being sweaty or out of breath.

They also underwent a physical examination and completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale questionnaire regarding symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Social factors were also collected, including age, sex, marital status, education, social class, cigarette or alcohol use, any mental illnesses in immediate relatives, any somatic diseases, and level of social support.

Inverse Relationship for Depression

Results showed that 4080 participants (10.1%) had case-level symptoms of depression, 6129 (15.2%) had symptoms of anxiety, and 2258 (5.6%) had comorbid depression and anxiety.

Those who participated in both light and intense leisure-time activities had decreasing rates of both depression and comorbid depression and anxiety symptoms based on amount of time spent on the activities.

In other words, “there was an inverse relationship between the amount of leisure-time physical activity and case-level symptoms of depression,” investigators write.

“These associations remained even after accounting for the effects of age, gender, family history of mental illness, current social class, education, marriage status, cigarette use, alcohol problems, somatic diagnoses, and subjective impairment owing to physical illness,” they add.

The researchers write that factors such as social support and social engagement may partially explain the association between leisure activity and lower levels of depression.

However, “we did not find any evidence that biological changes associated with exercise such as alterations to parasympathetic vagal tone and metabolic markers could account for the association.”

Although those who participated in light leisure activity had a slightly lower prevalence of anxiety, there was no association found with intense leisure-time activity.

There were also no associations found between workplace activity and decreasing symptoms of any of the disorders studied.

The researchers note that limitations of the study included its reliance on self-reported activity levels, the cross-sectional nature of the data collection, and that the population was from a mostly rural area “where individuals may be more likely to be active and engaged in outdoor pursuits than those who live in more urban environments.”

However, the results “provide further strong evidence for an inverse association between physical activity and depression.”

Dr. Harvey said that his team is now undertaking a number of additional studies. “We are following up these same individuals to see how their risk changes over time and are looking at how much exercise (in terms of how many hours per week) are needed to see benefit. We are also looking at whether different types of activities have different effects.”

Recommend Activity

“I thought one of the most attractive things about this study was its very big sample size,” Madhukar Trivedi, MD, professor of psychiatry and the Betty Joe Hay Distinguished Chair in Mental Health at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and director of the Mood Disorders Program and Clinic in Dallas, told Medscape Medical News.

“Others have looked at this topic but with much smaller samples,” said Dr. Trivedi, who was not involved with this study.

“It was also interesting that less than vigorous but still regular physical activity of some nature turned out to be effective for decreasing depressive symptoms. So something is better than nothing, although more vigorous is still better than less vigorous for this association.”

He noted that he wasn’t surprised that no benefits were found for workplace activity. “Unless somebody is dedicated to that kind of employment, of being clearly physically active throughout their work day — which is not likely in this large a sample size — the effect is going to be small.”

However, “the anxiety part did surprise me. I would have expected a bigger impact from less than vigorous physical activity on anxiety than depression because there have been studies suggesting that.”

When asked if he had any concerns with this study, Dr. Trivedi said that a common issue in large-scale population trials is determining how many of the participants actually had a diagnosable major mood disorder. “That’s often unclear. What this reflects for people who do have the disorders and what it reflects for those who do not is not always well defined and leaves us as clinicians wondering what to do.”

However, he said the take-home message is that “we know from different sets of data that, at least for depression, some level of physical activity is helpful as opposed to not having activity.”

Dr. Trivedi noted that there is a large proportion of people who think exercise is too hard or that they do not have time for it. “For that population, and it’s a very large population, clinicians should be thinking about recommending that they should at least be engaging in the amount of physical activity that they think they’re capable of. So again, little is better than nothing — which is actually a very good message.

“This study suggests that you should at least try some activity. There’s no loss and there may even be some benefit,” he concluded.

This study was funded in part by the National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Center for Mental Health at the South London and Maudsley National Health Service Foundation Trust, the Norwegian Research Council, and by a grant from the Institute of Social Psychiatry. The study authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships. Dr. Trivedi reported consulting “with a number of manufacturers of antidepressant treatments.”


Acupuncture / Traditional Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture / Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has an extensive history dating back some 3000 years. In fact, TCM is the oldest continually practiced medical system in existence, and there are recorded instances of its use dating back to thousands of years before the birth of Christ.

Within the practice of TCM, there are many different modalities, and while many people often equate acupuncture with traditional Chinese medicine, this is not necessarily the case. Acupuncture is a modality within the scope of TCM, but it is really just a component, and therefore part of a much larger picture. In addition to acupuncture, TCM encompasses several other modalities, all of which are designed to assist patients to reach a relative state of health and balance. Other therapies that might be employed include moxibustion, herbal medicine, diet and lifestyle changes, and exercise (generally qi gong , or tai chi ).

The concepts of TCM can be quite complex and difficult to grasp. This difficulty lies in the problem of translation- there are some ideas that form the basis of TCM that have no adequate English translation. For example one of the main concepts is the idea of Qi (pronounced ‘chee’), which is a vital substance that nourishes every tissue, organ and cell.

Essentially, the TCM view is that we live in a universe in which everything is interconnected. As a result, what happens to one part of the body will ultimately affect every other part of the body. For this reason, the mind and body in TCM have never been viewed separately from each other, but rather as part of a complete energetic system, and the goal of a TCM practitioner is to re-establish balance and harmony within the system.


How does a TCM practitioner determine what’s wrong with me?

Your practitioner will employ several diagnostic tools to determine what is out of balance. This begins with questioning the patient about their various signs and symptoms, previous medical history, and course of illness. Next is a physical inspection of one’s face, body, posture, and in particular the tongue and its coating. The practitioner will also palpate various body areas, and the pulse at both wrists. Finally, the sound of one’s voice, breathing, and any smells or odors will also form part of the picture. By using the combined information obtained from these diagnostic methods, the practitioner will be able to determine what is out of balance, and the appropriate treatment method(s) will be selected.

Can TCM help me?

It is estimated that 25% of the world’s population makes use of TCM therapies. In fact, traditional Chinese medicine and modern Western medicine are the two dominant medical systems in the world today. Chinese medicine is a complete medical system, with methods and treatments that can address the full range of disease: acute and chronic, traumatic, infectious, and internally generated. However, there are some cases where Chinese medicine may not be powerful enough. Conditions that are particularly far advanced or virulent, or cases of emergency or acute trauma may not be ideal for TCM. On the other hand, Chinese medicine is an ideal choice at the early stages of any disease, or for cases where modern medicine has no effective treatment.

How long will it take?

There are many factors that determine how long a person will require treatment. Generally speaking, newer or more recent problems will require fewer treatments, and chronic or older conditions will take more time. Acute injuries or conditions of acute pain will be treated with greater frequency (2-3 times per week), and chronic conditions are treated less frequently.

Do I have to keep coming back for treatment?

This is a common question, and the answer is not simple. It is recommended that you return for periodic treatments, much the same as you see your dentist. This allows your practitioner to help you maintain a desired state of health. This notion of preventative medical care is one that we at North Shore Wellness Centre consider extremely important, and we try to educate all of our patients as to the importance of regular care.

Is Chinese medicine safe?

In British Columbia, practitioners are governed the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of British Columbia ( ). This is the regulating body of TCM in the province, and it is your assurance of competent, quality practitioners. When practiced correctly, TCM will have no side effects, and is extremely safe. The North Shore Wellness Centre uses individually packaged, sterile, disposable needles so there is virtually no chance of infection.

Is acupuncture painful?

An acupuncture needle is extremely thin, and their insertion is virtually painless. Some needling sites will produce very little sensation, and you may not even know the needles are in place. Other sites may produce a sensation of tingling, electricity, heat, cold, heaviness, or an achy sensation. There may also be a sensation of qi moving up or down the channels. The vast majority of people find acupuncture to be extremely relaxing, and many will even fall asleep during treatment.


“Chinese medicine is a system of folk healing.”

Not true. Chinese medicine has been developed by some of the sharpest minds in Chinese history, and there are more than 40,000 books and pieces of literature on Chinese medicine. Studies are routinely conducted in Mainland China, and new developments in the field of Chinese medicine are common.


The practice of traditional Chinese medicine is extremely safe when performed by a competent, registered practitioner. There are currently four professional designations that pertain to the practice of Chinese medicine in BC, these are:

• R.Ac (Registered Acupuncturist)

• R.TCM.H (Registered TCM Herbalist)

• R.TCM.P (Registered TCM Practitioner)

• Dr. TCM

For more information, see the College website at


Educational requirements vary according to the professional designation of the practitioner. For example, the Dr.TCM requires five years of school at a TCM college, and two years of undergrad studies for a total of seven years.


All the information regarding licensing of practitioners is available on the College website at

Recent Studies

As traditional Chinese medicine, and acupuncture gains more popularity in the West, an increasing number of studies are being conducted in order to determine the effects of acupuncture from a modern biomedical perspective. Following is a summary of a recent study conducted by the Harvard Medical School. (Source: .

A team of researchers from the Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital conducted a study to investigate the physiological responses in the body during an acupuncture treatment. In the study, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used in order to determine changes in blood flow, as well as fluctuations in blood oxygen that occurred during acupuncture treatments.

The study consisted of stimulation of needles on a specific acupuncture point on the hand in 13 healthy subjects. Based on fMRI analysis, a clear change in the brain of 11 of the 13 subjects was observed. Researchers noted a decrease in blood flow to the regions of the brain associated with pain, mood, and cravings.

Bruce Rosen, a Harvard Medical School radiologist said that the regions of the brain affected in the test are especially susceptible to dopamine, which he described as a “reward chemical”. He further speculated that the dopamine activity triggers the release of endorphins, which are pain relief chemicals in the body.

Of course, as one neurobiologist suggested, the next step should be a controlled study to compare fMRI results of “genuine” acupuncture versus the stimulation of “bogus” points. However, this study does provide some important information in understanding the physiological activity in the body during an acupuncture treatment.

Health Gains for Grown Up Soccer Players

Health Gains for Grown Up Soccer Players

Being a soccer mom usually means carpooling kids to games and watching them play. But new research shows that women who join in the fun and kick around a soccer ball can dramatically improve their bone and heart health.

Researchers in Denmark recruited more than 70 women ages 20 to 47 who had no history of playing soccer as children or teenagers. Two-thirds of the women were randomly assigned to either a running group or a soccer team. The rest served as a control group.

For 14 weeks, the women in the active groups exercised by running or playing soccer for an hour a day just two days a week.

At the end of the study period, women in both exercise groups had improved on a number of indicators of heart health, balance and muscle strength, compared with the control group. However, the gains were greater among the women who had played soccer instead of running.

For instance, runners improved their maximum oxygen uptake, an indicator of cardiovascular fitness, by about 10 percent. But the soccer players improved by 15 percent.

And playing soccer not only led to better balance and improved muscle strength, but the sport also increased a woman’s bone mineral density by an average of 2 to 3 percent. Given that after age 40 women lose bone mass at the rate of about .5 to 1 percent a year, the gains from soccer are equivalent to reversing three to six years of bone aging, according to the report published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports.

Why was soccer so much better for a woman’s bones and heart? Peter Krustrup, associate professor of exercise physiology at the University of Copenhagen, said that soccer gave women a more diverse workout than running.

“We analyzed the activity patterns during soccer, and we observed multiple sprints, turns, tackles, headers and shots on goal,” he said.  The researchers speculate that the varied activity patterns were more stimulating to bones than simply jogging or running at a steady pace.

Other studies conducted by Dr. Krustrup and colleagues have shown similar heart and bone benefits in male soccer players. One study looked at muscle function and balance in a group of 65- to 75-year-old men who played recreational soccer most of their lives. In a one-leg balance test, the older soccer players performed just as well as 30-year-old men. Older men who weren’t trained in soccer had twice as many falls during the balance test as their soccer-playing peers.

While many people associate soccer with broken bones and muscle injuries, the injury risk among the recreational soccer players studied was low. Although the women kept score and were competitive when they played, the intensity level of the game was far lower than in games played in high school, college or sports clubs.

“When you play soccer in the park or among friends, the injury risk is much much lower than if you play competitive games with local rivals from another club,” Dr. Krustrup said.

Dr. Krustrup said that although many adults think their only exercise options are jogging or joining a gym, the study shows the value of recreational team sports.

“We know a lot about strength training, running and cycling because those sports are very easy to study in the laboratory,” Dr. Krustrup said. “But so many people all over the world play soccer, basketball or hockey. It’s very important to understand the health benefits of those sports and to emphasize that there are motivational and social factors related to team sports that may enhance the possibility for lifelong adherence to a physically active lifestyle.”

Article posted from

Chiropractic vs. Medicine for Acute LBP: No Contest

Chiropractic vs. Medicine for Acute LBP: No Contest

Acute low back pain patients demonstrate significantly greater improvement with chiropractic than “usual care.”

By Editorial Staff

With the publication of the Chiropractic Hospital-based Interventions Research Outcomes (CHIRO) Study1 in The Spine Journal, one of the most frequently cited spine research journals in the world,2 the health care community at large may finally appreciate what the chiropractic profession has known for more than a century: Patients with acute mechanical low back pain enjoy significant improvement with chiropractic care, but little to no improvement with the usual care they receive from a family physician.

Published in the December 2010 edition of The Spine Journal, the study found that after 16 weeks of care, patients referred to medical doctors saw almost no improvement in their disability scores, were likely to still be taking pain drugs and saw no benefit with added physical therapy – and yet were unlikely to be referred to a doctor of chiropractic.

The study is “the first reported randomized controlled trial comparing full CPG [clinical practice guidelines]-based treatment, including spinal manipulative therapy administered by chiropractors, to family physician-directed UC [usual care] in the treatment of patients with AM-LBP (acute mechanical low back pain).” (Evidence-based clinical practice guidelines have been established for acute mechanical low back pain in many countries around the world, but sadly, most primary care medical doctors don’t follow these guidelines.) Researchers found that “treatment including CSMT [chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy] is associated with significantly greater improvement in condition-specific functioning” than usual care provided by a family physician.

Study Parameters

cheese king down The Chiropractic Hospital-based Interventions Research Outcome (CHIRO) initiative was “designed to evaluate the outcomes of spinal pain patient management strategies that involve a component of chiropractic assessment and/or spinal manipulative therapy, administered in a hospital-based spine program outpatient clinic.” The study utilized the CHIRO framework “to examine the effectiveness of current evidence-based CPG-recommended treatments for patients with AM-LBP pain.”

CPG “study care” (SC) was compared with the usual care (UC) provided by family physicians. Patients were first seen by a spine physician and then randomly assigned to either the SC group or the UC group.

Patients in the SC group received acetaminophen, a “progressive walking program” and up to four weeks of lumbar chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy. The manipulative therapy was provided “using conventional side-posture, high-velocity, low-amplitude techniques” to the lumbar region only, and only by a chiropractor.

Patients assigned to the UC group were referred back to their family physician, who was “simply advised to treat at their own discretion.” Patients in this group received treatment from “a variety of professionals including family physicians, massage therapists, kinesiologists, and/or physiotherapists.”

All care was provided at a hospital-based spine program outpatient clinic. The primary outcome measure was the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire (RDQ), administered at the beginning of care and at 16 weeks, when acute low back pain is considered to become chronic. The RDQ was also administered at eight and 24 weeks.

Other Important Findings

After 16 weeks, “78% of patients in the UC group were still taking narcotic analgesic medications on either a daily or as needed basis.” (Only 6 percent of this group received chiropractic care.)

Condition-specific improvement after 16 weeks “clearly favored the SC group, with mean RDQ improvement scores of 2.7 in the SC group compared with only 0.1 in the UC group (p=.003).”

While the difference in improvement “was not quite significant at 8 weeks,” it was found to be “clearly significant at 24 weeks of follow-up (0.004).”

Both groups showed improvement in bodily pain and physical functioning, but “patients in the UC group uniquely showed no improvement whatsoever in back-specific functioning (RDQ scores) throughout the entire study period.”

The inclusion of NSAIDs and manipulation/mobilization performed by physical therapists were no more effective in treating patients than family doctors who offered patients advice and acetaminophen. The study found: “[T]he addition of NSAIDs and a form of spinal manipulative therapy or mobilization administered by a physiotherapist to the lumbar spine, thoracic spine, sacroiliac joint, pelvis, and hip (compared with a detuned ultrasound as placebo manipulative therapy), to family physician ‘advice’ and acetaminophen were shown to have no clinically worthwhile benefit when compared with advice and acetaminophen alone.” [Italics ours]

The study criticizes a 2007 report that had derided the efficacy of spinal manipulation by pointing out that the older report based its conclusions on the outcomes of therapies performed by non-chiropractors. The 2007 study concluded that patients “do not recover more quickly with the addition of diclofenac or spinal manipulative therapy.”3 By contrast, the CHIRO study noted: “Although spinal-manipulative therapy is currently administered by many different healthcare professionals, including: chiropractors, osteopaths, orthopedic surgeons, family physicians, kinesiologists, naturopaths, and physiotherapists, the levels of training and clinical acumen vary widely. The study design used by Hancock, et al., therefore, differs from our study because [their study] did not use chiropracticspinal manipulation, and current guideline based care does not endorse any forms of spinal manipulation administered by any other practitioners.” [Italics ours]


  1. Bishop PB, Quon JA, Fisher CG, Dvorak MFS. The Chiropractic Hospital-based Interventions Research Outcomes (CHIRO) Study: a randomized controlled trial on the effectiveness of clinical practice guidelines in the medical and chiropractic management of patients with acute mechanical low back pain. Spine Journal, 2010;10:1055-1064.
  2. Brunarski D. “Impact of the Chiropractic Literature.” Dynamic Chiropractic, Dec. 2, 2010;28(25).
  3. Hancock MJ, Maher CG, Latimer J, McLachlan AJ, Cooper CW, Day RO, Spindler MF, McAuley JH. Assessment of diclofenac or spinal manipulative therapy, or both, in addition to recommended first-line treatment for acute low back pain: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet, 2007 Nov 10;370(9599):1638-43.

Article reposted from Dynamic Chiropractic

ART … Is it right for me?

ART … Is it right for me?

You might have heard of this acronym from a chiropractor, massage therapist, athletic therapist, or physiotherapist, and not really known what they were talking about.  Dr. Michael Leahy, the founder and developer of ART, is a doctor of chiropractic in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He utilized his background in aeronautical engineering and anatomy to develop a system of treating soft tissue injuries not responding to other forms of therapy.


Here is some essential background information on ART to give you some insight into a very effective treatment protocol.

What is ART (Active Release Technique)?

ART is a soft tissue system that is centered on movement based massage techniques. It can treat problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. Some of the conditions it can help resolve include headaches, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee pain and tennis elbow. There are over 500 specific protocols within the ART system to diagnose and treat a multitude of soft tissue based problems. Each ART session combines both the physical examination and treatment as the provider evaluates the texture, tightness and movement of the soft tissues using his or her hands. Most of the conditions that can be resolved using ART occur as a result of overused muscles.

You are probably wondering what causes an overuse condition. Aren’t muscles meant to be ‘used’? An ‘over-used’ muscle (ligament, tendon, etc.) can change in three important ways. First there are acute conditions. These include strains/sprains, pulls, collisions and tears. These present more as an acute injury. Secondly, there is the accumulation of small tears, otherwise known as micro-trauma. This is generally seen with tasks involving repetitive motion like throwing, running, using a mouse or a keyboard or improper sitting and standing posture. The third is when the muscle is not receiving enough oxygen, in which case the muscle enters into a state of hypoxia.

Each of these factors can contribute to the production of tough, dense scar tissue in the affected area. This scar tissue binds up and ties down tissues that need to have the ability to slide freely past each other. As scar tissue builds up, muscles become shorter and weaker, tension on tendons results in tendinitis, and nerves can become trapped. All of this combined can contribute to reduced range of motion in a joint, loss of strength, and pain. If there is a trapped nerve present, you may also feel tingling, numbness, and weakness.

The purpose of ART is to find these areas of scar tissue where the various soft tissues have formed an adhesion to each other. Once that area is found, tension is applied and the muscle is moved in an anatomically specific direction to maximize friction under the contact area. This breaks up the adhesion (scar tissue) and allows the structures to slide freely past each other, restoring motion to the area.

Any other questions about ART? Ask Dr. Terry Dickson or Dr. Anita Hildebrandt today!

For more information please see:

A little information about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

A little information about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a medical system that began in China thousands of years ago. Treatment is designed to activate the innate healing responses that the body naturally has. The theory is based on Qi or vital energy which flows through the body and is influenced by the complementary opposites of yin and yang.

This concept forms the basis for all TCM disease processes, diagnoses and treatments. When the flow of qi is disrupted, this imbalance can result in disease or illness. The correct diagnosis of the disease or illness is then distinguished within a framework known as “pattern differentiation” and “differential diagnosis”


Diagnoses and Treating the Root Cause

Pattern differentiation is the primary principle used in order to identify and treat the root cause of each condition.

The TCM practitioner begins with an in-depth consultation to assess a patient’s overall health, diet, lifestyle choices and emotional state.

Once the pattern is identified, a comprehensive treatment protocol will be developed that may include acupuncture, herbal medicine, diet, exercise and lifestyle recommendations

A few of the most common conditions treated with TCM include:

Women’s Health Skin Diseases
  • PMS
  • dysmenorrhea
  • endometriosis
  • Urinary Tract Infection
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Acne
  • Urticaria
Chronic Disease Management Other Benefits
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Asthma
  • Rheumatic Diseases
  • Weight Loss
  • Allergies Relief
  • Sports Injuries and Athletic Enhancement
  • Acute and Chronic Pain Management


Natural Ways to Protect Yourself from Radiation Exposure

Natural Ways to Protect Yourself from Radiation Exposure

With the nuclear reactor crisis in Japan occurring people in BC and along the West coast of North America are in a panic regarding what to do in case of a radiation exposure.  This article will discuss some things that can be done to protect your body from the effects of radiation.

Potassium Iodide and Protecting the Thyroid

Potassium Iodide is used in the case of a radio logical or nuclear event to protect the thyroid from radioactive iodine. Potassium Iodide works by blocking radioactive iodine from entering the thyroid as it is already saturated with iodine.  This in turn reduces the opportunity of the radioactive iodine to be absorbed by the thyroid.  Please note, Potassium iodide is not protective from other radioactive elements other than radioactive iodine and should only be used under the direction of a doctor or local public health official.  Over consumption of iodine can cause burning of the mouth and throat, nausea, vomiting, stomach aches, thyroid goiter and even coma.

Natural Sources of Iodine

Natural sources of foods with the highest amount of iodine include sea salt and fortified salt, kelp, dulse, seaweed and other sea vegetables.  Other food sources include fish, seafood, egg, dairy and vegetables including strawberries and asparagus. The dosing of iodine in sea vegetables is significantly lower than potassium iodide drop dosing,  making it a safer way to get iodine over the long term. Including the above foods, especially kelp and seaweed in your daily diet will ensure that your iodine levels remain closer to normal levels rather than at deficient levels.

Antioxidants and Radiation

Antioxidants are a great way to protect your body from radiation, heavy metal damage and general toxins in our environment.  Medical research is showing the protective affects of antioxidants for patients who are undergoing radiation therapy.  Short and long term injury to healthy cells, including tissue damage and increased risk of cancerous transformation can be prevented by antioxidants.1 Ensuring our body has sufficient antioxidants will help protect our bodies from the damaging effects of radiation and general toxins in our environment.

Radiation Protection and Heavy Metal Removal

There are many tools that Naturopathic Doctors have to help to both protect your body from radiation and heavy metal exposure.  Some of the treatments that your Naturopathic Doctor may use include nutritional recommendation, IV vitamins (Myers cocktails contain very effective antioxidants with protective effects), botanical herbs, and homeopathic preparations. For your individualized plan please contact a Naturopathic Doctor at North Shore Wellness Centre