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!

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.

Give the gift of Health…

Give the gift of Health…

Give the gift of health, this Christmas, with a North Shore Wellness gift card!

Come in to our clinic or call us at (604) 980 4538 to buy one now!

Our services include:
– Chiropractic Care & ART
– Acupuncture & TCM
– Class IV Laser Therapy
– Counselling
– Naturopathy
– Osteopathy
– Registered Massage Therapy

To book in call (604) 980-4538 or access our online booking site here

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.”


Lest We Forget

Lest We Forget

In Flanders Fields
by John Mcrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead; short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe!
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high!
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Today we honour those who have given their lives serving Canadians and helping people of other nations.

The Role of Water in Wellness & Staying Hydrated

The Role of Water in Wellness & Staying Hydrated

Did you know that your body weight is approximately 60 percent water? If you’re like me, you’ll know that it’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day. By keeping our water levels normal, our body is better able to regulate temperature, protect and lubricate our joints, and keep the tissues in our body moist. Each day our body is working hard to keep everything working as it should, whilst it does this, it loses water through breathing, sweating, even digestion. To keep our bodies in peak condition, it is essential to drink lots of water and re hydrate the body. This can be done by drinking water and eating foods that have a high water content.

Here are our favourite ways to stay hydrated:

1. Infused Water

  • Mint, & Melon Refresher
    • For this recipe, all you need is:
      • 1 thinly sliced lime
      • 1 cup of diced honeydew melon
      • 1 minced mint sprig
      • 1/2 sliced cucumber
    • Place the ingredients in a pitcher with water and pour over ice to serve.

2. Fruit Slushies

  • “Pink” Lemonade
    • For this recipe, all you need is:
      • 1/16 cup of lemon juice
      • 1/2 cup of chopped strawberries
      • 1/4 cup of raspberries
      • 1/2 cup of watermelon
    • Place the ingredients in a blender with ice, serve in a chilled glass.


3. Steamed Vegetables

  • This one’s great to add as a side plate to any meal!
  • Simply, pick out your favourite veggies and place them in your steamer with the pot filled to the 2-inch mark with water.
  • You can add a seasoning of your choice to the veggies once they are cooked to your liking.

*Our favourites are potatoes, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower with a couple slices of lemon or lime for flavour.

4. Broth-based Soups

  • Butternut Squash and Lemon Chicken
    • For this recipe, you will need:
      • 5 cups of water
      • 1/4 onion diced
      • 4 tbspns of lemon juice
      • 1 knor cube
      • 3 slices of ginger
      • 1 1/2 cups of boneless chicken
      • 1 cup of steamed butternut squash
      • 2 stems of fresh cilantro
    • Bring the water, lemon juice, knor cube, ginger, and onion to a boil.
    • Place boneless chicken and butternut squash in boiling water.
    • Turn element to low for 10 minutes.
    • Pour into bowl and garnish with cilantro

Our services include:
Chiropractic Care & ART
Acupuncture & TCM
Class IV Laser Therapy
Registered Massage Therapy

To book in call (604) 980-4538 or access our online booking site here


Down with the flu?

Down with the flu?

North Shore Wellness Centre has some tips for this years cold season.

Here in Vancouver, it feels as if it is always raining and with the rain, most of us are caught with the flu. To stay at the top of your game this flu season, follow our wellness and prevention tips:

  1. Avoid people that are sick… and remember to wash your hands if you do encounter a not-so-well friend.
  2. Stay home when you are sick… it’s important to get lots of rest to allow your body time to heal itself.
  3. Take care of your body… in addition to getting lots of rest, eating and exercising will help your body stay happy and healthy.
  4. Wash your hands frequently… and avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.
  5. Consume more Vitamin C… Vitamin C has been shown in clinical trials to reduce the intensity and duration of the common cold. Did you know you can get vitamin C from potatoes, broccoli, and lemons, in addition to oranges!
  6. Drink lots of water… Dehydration inhibits the immune system.
  7. Eat garlic Fresh garlic has powerful anti-viral and antibiotic properties to kick start your immune system.
  8. Avoid sugary foods… in addition to processing artificial sugars, your body’s immunol function can be decreased for up to 5 hours.
  9. Have a glass of wine… Studies show that those who drink one glass of red wine a day have a decreased risk of getting the flu by 20%
  10. Take a break… Those who work in high stress environments get sick more often than people that take time to relax
  11. Maintain Wellness… If you’re finding that each time you feel healthy and well, it only lasts briefly, it may be because you’re not maintaining your wellness. We recommend patients book in at least once a month, for maintenance appointments here at the North Shore Wellness Centre. This will maximize your health potential and keep you feeling your best. A healthy lifestyle starts with you!

Our services include:
Chiropractic Care & ART
Acupuncture & TCM
Class IV Laser Therapy
Registered Massage Therapy

To book in call (604) 980-4538 or access our online booking site here


Welcome Sarah Wilson – RCC, MA

Welcome Sarah Wilson – RCC, MA

Please welcome Sarah Wilson to the NSWC team! As of October the 12th, Sarah will be working with our family of practitioners to help bring the best care for our patients. As we know, sometimes our coping strategies are not supportive of our lifestyles and relationships. Counselling provides a healthy opportunity for self discovery and gives a safe space to explore habitual choices that we make and how they may negatively or positively affect our lives.

In her practice, Sarah uses a holistic and integrative approach, as well a she holds the belief that everyone has the capability for wellness.  She believes that the body holds immense wisdom and that there is a complex interplay of biopsychsocial factors influencing distress and well-being. Sarah trusts that health and wellness are not passive activities but rather extremely involved, and that what you are thinking is what you inevitably gravitate towards and become. Sarah aims to help her patients feel better by approaching issues with curiosity and openness.

Having obtained her Master’s Degree in Counselling from City University of Seattle, Sarah is a Registered Clinical Counselor with the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counselors (BCACC). She completed her undergraduate at the University of British Columbia in Anthropology, where she focused on Eastern philosophies and perspectives.

In addition to being a RCC, Sarah is also a 500 hour yoga teacher and has received certification as a Trauma Informed Yoga Practitioner. This aids her in using the body as a resource in therapeutic treatment of individuals exposed to trauma.

Sarah’s training and experience has allowed her to work successfully with individuals or families in need of support with:

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Disordered eating
  • Family issues
  • Grief
  • Relationship issues
  • Self-esteem
  • Self-harm
  • Sexuality and sexual orientation
  • Stress management
  • Substance use issues
  • Trauma

Her personal experience with trauma has inspired her to explore many aspects of psychology, health and resilience. As a mother, daughter, wife and friend; Sarah knows the importance of relationships and self-care.