With the fall weather and impending snow coming many patients will remark that they feel the cold “in their bones”. This is a phrase patients use to share with me that they feel an increase in their arthritic symptoms. There are a few different types of arthritis but often people are referring to osteoarthritis in these cases, this is the regular age related type of arthritis that many people associate with “wear and tear”.
Arthritis by definition is a slow but progressive disease affecting one or more joints in the human body. Arthritis is an active process in which the joint is unable to repair itself as quickly as it is being broken down. And although the “wear and tear” concept fits well with our ideas of aging, arthritic processes are actually more complex than this. Mechanical factors such as heavy lifting and sports are only one factor. Genetics seem to be a strong factor in the development of hip or hand osteoarthritis. Metabolic factors are another contributor, which are determined by the overall functioning of a person’s cells and inflammation within the body. These inflammatory factors are modified by the presence of chronic disease such as heart disease, high cholesterol and diabetes just to name a few. This is all to say that arthritic symptoms may present themselves due to a cumulative exposure to the many risk factors and not just the movement you put through the joint. Therefore, arthritic symptoms are typically best managed through a holistic, lifestyle approach.
There are many treatment approaches to arthritic pain but one of the strongest recommendations within the guidelines includes exercise therapy. Many patients with osteoarthritis tend to avoid activity as they worry that it will worsen the “wear and tear” of a joint, but as discussed above arthritis is an active process and actually responds favourably to exercise. Weight loss is another strong recommendation within the literature for managing pain and improving joint function. Co management of other chronic illnesses and working to improve the overall health of your body and metabolic processes will also help in reducing your symptoms.
Practitioners such as chiropractors and osteopaths are able to prescribe exercise to assist with your symptoms while consults with the naturopath may provide support for your overall well being to reduce symptoms. Using a team approach, Dalhousie Health & Wellness strives to manage arthritic changes through a holistic, lifestyle based approach.
So What is our Autonomic Nervous System and Why is it Important? Our Autonomic Nervous System controls all of our everyday functions, such as blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, digestion as well as other processes. It relies on a series of intricate pathways where signals are sent to and from our body to our spinal cord and then to our brain. Sometimes these signals can get blocked for a variety of reasons, such as tight muscles which the nerves run through, compression in our spine due to disk problems, degeneration of our vertebrae, etc. Long standing imbalances within the nervous system can lead to symptoms within the body. As Osteopathic Manual Practitioners we use a wide variety of techniques to improve the physiological functions in the body and to aim to restore homeostasis which has been altered by ‘somatic dysfunction’ of the tissues. Osteopathic Manual Therapy has been shown to have an effect on the Autonomic Nervous System and in turn its physiological processes according to Rechberger et al in his 2019 research paper, that assessed 23 published studies on it. It did state that even more research was required but with the data available was able to draw a positive conclusion.
A lot of women ask, or wonder, “how soon can I get a massage after I give birth?“
A postpartum massage is a massage that occurs within the first 12 weeks after you've given birth.
Now, if you've had a C-section, or a complicated delivery, check with your doctor first, as some massage techniques may not be right for your specific recovery.
Some of the benefits of a postpartum massage include:
-reduced swelling. Massage can help encourage draining and circulation of excess fluid
-improved milk production. Researchers have found massage can help increase circulation and the necessary hormones to make this happen
-reduce anxiety and depression, massage can help to decrease stress which leads to these feelings or emotions
-better sleep, massage can help to encourage a deeper, restful sleep
Some new moms will find laying on their stomach to still be difficult, for some it will feel totally fine. Some will want to talk through the massage, some will crave quite. It really is up to you and your comfort level, so let us know, and we will make sure that you are comfortable and able to relax.
So, the good news is, you can start massage therapy as soon as you feel ready!
And whenever you are, call 289-668-5433 to book your postnatal massage appointment with Suzanne Hamm, RMT (with a special interest in prenatal and postnatal massage therapy).
We look forward to seeing you at Dalhousie Health & Wellness and helping in your postpartum recovery.
Lots of people get pain around the shoulder and one thing that we need to decipher is whether it is ‘true’ shoulder pain or if the pain is coming from else where and being felt in the shoulder?!
The most common ailment giving pain in the shoulder is irritation of the small joints in the neck. The small joints of the neck/cervical spine are called the ‘Facet Joints’ and we name/number them as they descend through the neck C1 to C7, when these joints become irritated then can give a sensation of pain in different areas as you can see from the image. The joints even though small are very pain sensitive and this is what can trick the body into feeling the pain around the shoulder and shoulder blade.
So how do we differentiate the origin of the pain?
Well here at the clinic we take a detailed case history and finding the answers to some questions begins to give us an idea and then we perform a some tests on and around the shoulder and the neck, and we can see which one reproduces symptoms.
So what next?
After figuring out where the pain is coming from we can produce a treatment plan to work improve the functioning of the ‘facet joints’ and in turn reduce the shoulder pain!
When clients share their issues, by far, the most common problem for them is their anxiety and they say it just like that…”MY anxiety”. These two words speak volumes. They own the problem as something that is as much a part of themselves as their right hand. The difficulty with this kind of attachment is the subconscious identification that takes root. Anxiety and anxiousness have been accepted and reinforced as a central part of their identity. Unfortunately, this is the beginning of a long co-dependent relationship between an individual and an emotion. To be sure, one would call it dysfunctional.
But what if we could heal the relationship. What if we could befriend the beast? Like many difficult emotions, anxiety is uncomfortable and stressful. Why on earth would I want to befriend it? Well maybe the first step to releasing anxiety from the body is to bring it up in the light of awareness. Most often, we internally look at it out of the corner of our eyes, making sure it’s still there, and then averting our gaze elsewhere, seeking distraction and unhealthy habits. It is time to sit and invite the beast for tea. Eye to eye and with an open heart.
Choosing a safe space, an experienced healer, and committing to the process are all the prerequisites necessary to dive into the journey of healing anxiety. Working with energy medicine and mindfulness training will help shift the body and mind into a parasympathetic state, also known as ‘rest and digest’. This is definitely the missing link when looking at individuals who succeed with anxiety release vs those who struggle to feel free from the emotion. Allowing the body to feel safe, grounded and calm is like laying the foundations for a successful and committed journey. Often, in the beginning of our work together, clients prefer to book a combined session of reiki (or EFT) and mindfulness training for this very reason. The energy shift that takes place is exactly what is necessary to feel inspired and committed to the journey of emotional freedom.
At this point, we are able to befriend the beast. Anxiety becomes much smaller in our mind and our compassionate energy can see this difficult emotion with both warmth and forgiveness. We ,in essence, become stronger in our heart energy as the fear is minimized. This is a recipe for success freedom and empowerment.
Are you ready to befriend the beast? Are you ready to shift gears energetically and find both peace and a sense of empowerment? If so, you may find the world of energy medicine and mindfulness coaching a great opportunity. You can book an Energy Shift by calling Dalhousie Health and Wellness at 289 668-5433.
Dr. Katie Pepper, Chiropractor with a special interest in paediatric care
Recently, we at Dalhousie Health & Wellness have been receiving lots of requests for baby and child chiropractic visits. Dr. Katie has a special interest in the care of infants and children, with experience in paediatric birth and sport injuries and a focus in paediatric concussion management. Some of our most recent requests for paediatric visits include: torticollis, tongue tie, sports injuries, and wellness. Although it may seem unusual these are all conditions we can assist with! We work closely with a network of midwives, paediatricians and paediatric dentists to ensure the best possible care for your little ones.
We use a number of different techniques which are either adapted or completely unique to paediatric care. These techniques are gentler and less intense than those we may use for adult patients. For babies we use gentle pressure- about the amount you would use to check ripe fruit. Most babies can be treated while still on their parent’s lap or chest, some are even happy to lay in a specialized pillow for treatment. Older children may benefit from the use of drop pieces or a gentle adjusting instrument called an Activator.
Chiropractic care is a safe and gentle way to address your infant or child’s injuries or as a preventative wellness practice. Dalhousie Health & Wellness chiropractors are ready to help your baby or child with their specific needs!
Dr. Noelle DeVos, Naturopath- Special Interests in Mental Health, Hormones and Chronic Pain & Fatigue
DR. NOELLE DEVOS, ND, BScFN
Dr. Noelle (ND) is a licensed naturopathic doctor at Dalhousie Health & Wellness. She is dedicated to providing you with excellent care and natural solutions for vibrant health and a thriving mind. Noelle treats a wide variety of health conditions and takes a personalized, functional approach to treatment. She looks at the “bigger picture” of health and helps patients create an internal environment for physical healing and mental wellness. She believes a healthy mind facilitates physical healing and wants to help her patients thrive in life – mentally, emotionally and physically.
Noelle integrates standard medical diagnostics with evidence-based naturopathic therapies to provide patients with excellent care. She enjoys collaborating with other health care professionals and strives to work with your family doctor to ensure patients have the best care possible. She has a huge heart for her patients and wants to help you start your journey towards becoming your true vibrant self.
Dr. Noelle (ND) is licensed with the College of Naturopaths of Ontario (CONO). She has also successfully completed the Ontario Prescribing and Therapeutics Examination which allows her to prescribe certain restricted drugs and herbs including injectable B12, desiccated thyroid gland and bio-identical hormones.
Dr. Noelle’s (ND) Background
Noelle was raised by Dutch parents outside of London, Ontario. Noelle grew up in the country helping her parents both in the pig barn and in the vegetable fields. She joined the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve in high school and worked in communications for 7 years. Through her work in the Naval Reserves, she participated in mentoring aboriginal students looking to join the Canadian Forces, assisting with search-and-rescue operations off the coast of BC, and training new recruits in ship-board communications. Growing up, Noelle really had a heart for people and knew she wanted to become a doctor already as a child.
Noelle obtained an Honours Specialization in Nutrition and Dietetics from Western University in order to learn more about healthy eating. She then studied at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine for 4 years in North York, Ontario and completed over 3,000 hours of in-class training and 1,200 hours in clinical training in Naturopathic Medicine. At the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic (RSNC) in Toronto, Noelle was 1 of 7 interns privileged to receive additional specialized training on the “Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (MyalgicEncephalopathy)” Specialty Shift.
Noelle has received additional education in Mind-Body Medicine at Harvard University as well as advanced training in homeopathy at The International Academy of Advanced Homoeopathy in India. Noelle has interned at the Brampton Naturopathic Teaching Clinic (BNTC) in the William Osler Brampton Civic Hospital, where she saw many patients including patients with mental health concerns. Through her time seeing patients, she has discovered her passion for treating patients with chronic pain, chronic fatigue and mental health concerns.
Dr. Noelle (ND) has many interests which she has cultivated over the years. She loves to garden and grow her own fresh, great-tasting vegetables in the summers. Her love for food goes beyond simply growing it though, she also loves to cook delicious, healthy recipes for her family and friends. She likes to stay active by playing on a recreational volleyball team, swimming at the YMCA and going for walks
on trails in the local areas. In her off time, she enjoys learning about biological, sustainable agriculture from her parents on their vegetable farm outside of Ingersoll.
Noelle is a naturopathic doctor dedicated to providing patients with excellent care and natural solutions for vibrant health and a thriving mind.
Noelle offers evidence-based naturopathic treatments which takes into account your unique biochemistry and complete health picture. During your visits, Noelle will teach you how to build a foundation for health and provide you with more targeted naturopathic solutions so you can stop surviving and start thriving in life!
Take advantage of Dr. Noelle DeVos’ free 15-min consults! Call Dalhousie Health & Wellness to book your complimentary consult.
For those who are new to pregnancy/prenatal massage, you might have questions about how it all works, what is safe or unsafe? So today we are going to look at massage positioning. Whether you're in the first trimester, or well into the third, how you lay, or are positioned on the massage table matters.
In the first trimester nothing has really changed in terms of how you receive a massage. However, some women can have their nausea increase when lying in certain positions, so make sure to tell your therapist if you are uncomfortable and need to move or change positions.
Once you're into the second and third trimesters there are techniques a therapist can use to make you more comfortable as your body changes.
Side-lying massage is exactly how it sounds. You lay on your side, and the therapist will position pillows under your head, between your legs to support your knees, and a pillow for you to hug so your arms are supported. It is the safest, most posturally neutral, and comfortable position for massage. From here you therapist is able to massage you comfortably and safely, and still able to perform full body treatments.
Cozy, relaxed, comfy. Isn't that how we like our massages?
Come and give it a try at Dalhousie Health & Wellness
Do you experience: sciatica? pinched nerves? arthritis in your spine? cramping? or fatigue with walking? you may be talking about spinal stenosis.
Spinal stenosis is an arthritic spinal condition which most often affects the low back, but can occur in any part of your spine. Although, it can happen in younger persons, patients with stenosis are typically aged 60 or older.
Our patients most frequently report: hand or leg numbness/tingling, weakness or fatigue with walking, relief of symptoms when bent forward (we call this shopping cart sign) and leg, calf or buttocks pain. Usually these symptoms are brought on by walking or prolonged standing.
Your chiropractor can assist you by performing a history and physical exam to determine the cause of these symptoms as several conditions, such as peripheral vascular disease and disc herniations, can masquerade as stenosis.
Treatment may include: exercise therapy, acupuncture, adjustments/mobilizations, soft tissue therapy, ergonomic advice and lifestyle changes. We determine how well your treatment is working by your walking/standing ability, quality of life and pain levels.
Although stenosis cannot be cured, the team at Dalhousie Health & Wellness can greatly improve your symptoms and help you get back to the things you love.
Hello all, it is Osteopath John here with todays blog which is going to be on Low Back Pain, an extremely common complaint we see here at Dalhousie Health & Wellness.
There are many misconceptions associated with Low Back Pain and over the last 20+ years there’s been huge advancements in the research for Low Back Pain, however not all of the informations has trickled down to patients.
So let us have a look at a few concepts and ideas, primarily mechanical loading can lead to ‘failure’ of the disc, muscles, ligaments or small joints of the spine. We can use the idea lifting of a box as an example to how the back can be become painful. You could lift one box which is extremely heavy and this could apply an excessive load which the back is unable to handle and this in turn will lead to injury and pain. To try and limit this occurrence health and safety execs, etc set limits on maximum safe lifting loads. However we are all individual and our tissues/discs/joints can all become strained at different levels of ‘load’. So what might be safe for some may be too much weight for others. Repetitive lifting of light boxes, well within lifting limits could actually cause more damage then lifting just one heavy box that is over the recommended limit, continuously carrying a light box could also stress the discs, muscles and joints of the spine. Does this mean that no lifting at all should be carried out? A short answer is no. As with most things in life it is all about finding the right balance for your body. ‘Loading’ our spines can ensure good bone density, muscle growth, and encourage blood flow. Although for anyone that does put mechanical loads through their backs it is important for them to understand the importance of rest. The same idea as when you go to the gym, it is not beneficial, but actually detrimental to work the same muscle groups day in and day out. Allowing periods of rest between lifting/loading of the spine will help to minimize the risk of injuries, there is also research demonstrating even the time of day can have an effect on the pressures put on our disks, it states that earlier in the day the higher the risk of injury. So how come it seems that some people are able to lift heavy objects with poor form every day and seem to be completely pain free? Well these are the lucky ones which have a good balance and endurance of all the muscles of the back/core, as each muscle group will engage in the right order and stabilizes the whole back. This prevents excesive strain through one part of the spine and this ensures that the load is distributed evenly through the back. Think of the muscles as the Guy Wires that all have to have the correct level of tension to keep the spine in its optimal position. Others unfortunately can lift the lightest load just slightly awkwardly and it leads to immense pain. This is indicative of poor posture, muscle imbalance, and can be predisposed by genetics and a history of spinal injuries.
Now even without carrying a box or a load, we have gravity constantly putting forces through our backs, and poor posture, a weak core, and again a history of injuries can predispose us to low back pain without even any lifting involved. In these scenarios even a light strain can be enough to be the ‘straw that breaks the camels back’, and it can be what would seem to be a minimal load such as sleeping awkwardly, bending forward to tie your shoes, etc that lead to a pain that seems completely disproportionate to the movement that caused it. This is classic but demonstrates there was an underlying issue, as our spines should be able to easily deal with these movements/activities etc, without going into spasm.
Ok, let us say we’ve over exerted it and now the back has become painful what next? You book in to see an Osteopathic Manual Practitioner, a Chiropractor or another type of Manual Therapist which is most likely be beneficial. Therapists’ can help to reduce the pressure placed on the spine, muscle, tendons, ligaments and discs. As well as encouraging healing of damaged tissues, here at the clinic we attempt to look further than just the site of pain, attempting to improve biomechanics all through the body so loads and strains are dissipated equally. Exercises maybe prescribed during sessions to help you recover faster, hopefully prevent future flair ups. Core strengthening is often a go to exercise but there are several studies that show core strength has little to do with future low back pain and it is instead endurance of the core muscles that are of more importance.
The time of day should also be considered in regard for exercises, this is due to our disks being more hydrated in the morning and this extra fluid increases the pressure within the disc and therefor stretching down to touch your toes could increase the risk of injury as the disc can be thought of as a “jelly filled donut” and there is more chance of the jelly being pushed out if we put to much strain on the disc too early in the morning. It is also important to re-educate the body on correct form and movement, to assess what is not moving but should be and whats is moving too much. Our body is very good at compensating, so you may have a very stiff spine but are able to bend down and touch your toes easily, all this movement could be coming from hamstrings and hips and it may be dysfunction in the spine might be missed as your visual range of movement appears to be above average. These are just some of the considerations that have to be taken into account for rehabilitation exercises and it shows that a ‘one size fits all’ approach is does not exist. If there is restricted/immobile areas of the spine then other areas have to take extra strain to accommodate them and if there is too much movement then instability can also cause problems.
It is also the same with strengthening, too much in the wrong area can be problematic and not enough strength/endurance can lead to future back complaints.
So it really comes down to in depth assessment, to understand what really is the cause of pain, and then producing a patient specific care plan to address all the issues to hopefully provide you long lasting and effective pain relief!
Call Dalhousie Health & Wellness today to book your individualized plan towards helping solve your low back pain for good!