<![CDATA[Thrive Chiropractic - Downtown Kingston's Best Chiropractor - Blog]]>Sat, 24 Oct 2020 04:09:31 -0400Weebly<![CDATA[Stay awhile and listen... just don't sit too long]]>Wed, 17 Jun 2020 04:00:00 GMThttps://thrivechiro.ca/blog-chiropractic-back-pain-relief-tips/stay-awhile-and-listen-just-dont-sit-too-longWell it's been about 3 months since COVID-19 has forced us all to change our way of living and to adapt to things such as maintaining physical distance and working or studying from home. One issue that has likely remained consistent is that the majority of us are sitting wayyy too much, especially during this pandemic!

​I'm sure that many of those reading this blog post have heard or are aware that sitting is linked to many diseases but in case you didn't know, I'll be sure to touch on that subject a little later. For now let's pivot and take a step in a slightly different direction to discuss how too much sitting can actually affect a whole heap of things including your memory, impulse control and even coordination.

Work, study, driving, relaxing... We spend far too much time sitting and being sedentary! 

When we are in motion, the neurological pathways especially from our legs provide the primary sensory input to two regions of our brain: the cerebellum and frontal lobe. What this means is that if you're sitting too much then you aren't stimulating or developing those areas of your brain. Why is this so important? Well that's because of the function of these two regions of your brain which we'll delve into next.

Your cerebellum controls coordination of your voluntary movements. This would include your balance, judging distances while moving and knowing when to stop, and also rapid alternating movements. So for those of you who consider yourself naturally clumsy, it may actually be due to your cerebellum not functioning optimally. 

Your frontal lobe is incredibly important for your mental, physical and overall health! It controls cognitive skills and your ability to process thoughts. This includes emotional expression, memory, problem solving, judgment, impulse control, spontaneity and even social and sexual behaviour to name a few.

A lot of "who you are" comes from how well your frontal lobe has developed and how well it functions

With regards to physical effects, your frontal lobe is responsible for inhibiting the sympathetic nervous system. Your body activates the sympathetic nervous system when you're under excessive stress. This response is necessary in some situations, but if it's always switched on then it's terrible for your health. It's exhausting for your body to stay stuck in a sympathetic state for prolonged periods and it causes chronic, low-grade inflammation that affects your organs.

When your spine is healthy, you're consistently active, and your nervous system is functioning optimally, then you have the best chance to have a healthy frontal lobe. 
So that's how being inactive and sitting too much can affect the function of your brain, but what about those diseases I mentioned before? Well sitting has been linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cancers, heart disease, high blood pressure, depression and aches and pains. Even more reasons to sit less!

After everything you've now read, if you're already motivated to get up and get moving more then that's fantastic! But I do want to stress that prolonged sitting only contributes partially to those diseases and conditions that I touched on just a moment ago. The biggest contributing factor is your lifestyle!

Are you eating and drinking properly? Exercising regularly? Getting enough sleep? Maintaining a healthy social network? Ensuring your nervous system is functioning optimally? If you're answering "no" to any of those questions, then sitting less is a step in the right direction but you may need to take some other measures to improve your overall health as well as reduce those risk factors.
We have a saying here at Thrive Chiropractic, "If you know better you can do better". You know that sitting is linked to a variety of diseases/conditions. You also now know how important your frontal lobe is, so you can understand why it's imperative that you take care of it. And you know that your frontal lobe gets stimulated when you're up and active. So now that you know, it's time for you to do!
Chiropractic can help to release and direct all the potential from your brain by adjusting the spine to remove nerve interference to create a clear pathway. It's kind of like high speed internet where the advertised maximum download speeds are really high, however the actual speed you experience at home can be limited by equipment like cables and routers. You may have the most awesome, super healthy brain in the world but your spinal alignment may be limiting how much awesomeness gets through to the rest of your body.
So get up out of your seat more often and get moving to reduce risk factors for many diseases and to stimulate your frontal lobe to keep your brain active and healthy! If you want to align your spine to remove nerve interference and allow your body to access more of your brain's potential, then click HERE to make an appointment.

BOOK ONLINE NOW
Thrive Chiropractic
214 Wellington Street
Kingston, ON
K7K 2Y7
(613) 217-1560
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<![CDATA[Who needs a six pack when you've got a keg?! - Abdominal Strengthening]]>Thu, 09 Apr 2020 04:00:00 GMThttps://thrivechiro.ca/blog-chiropractic-back-pain-relief-tips/who-needs-a-6-pack-when-youve-got-a-keg-abdominal-strengtheningYour abdominal muscles are a big part of your core muscle group. They're responsible for helping to support the trunk, protect your viscera, hold organs in place by controlling internal abdominal pressure, and a variety of physical movements. Your abdominals actually consist of 4 muscles:  
  1. Rectus abdominus - Lumbar flexion (forward bend of lower back like when doing a sit-up)
  2. Transverse abdominus - Compresses abdominal contents (sucking in your gut)
  3. Internal oblique - Abdominal compression assisting in exhalation, and ipsilateral rotation 
  4. External oblique - Flexion of torso and contralateral rotation (forward bending and twisting)

Rectus abdominus
Transverse abdominus
​External + Internal obliques

Your abdominals play a huge role in stabilizing your back. They act as an anchor for muscles of the mid and lower back, in fact your abdominals are one of the first muscles to contract when you require stabilization! For example if you're standing still and then raise your arm out to your side, you would think you're only really using your shoulder muscles but what's actually happening is that your abdominals contract first to keep you steady, only then does your shoulder muscle contract to lift your arm. Your brain and nervous system coordinates the activation of your abdominals without you even thinking about it so that you can maintain your balance and stability. Pretty cool!

Quality posture is also supported by strong abdominal muscles. If your abs are weak then it causes your belly to protrude forward and your pelvis to tilt forward. This poor posture shifts your centre of gravity and places more pressure on your spinal nerves, discs, joints and ligaments. Strengthening your abdominals improves the endurance of your back muscles which means less fatigue and being less vulnerable to strain or injury.

Let's take a look at a few simple abdominal strengthening exercises that you can start incorporating at home!

Leg Raises
  1. Lay supine on a flat surface
  2. (Optional) To reduce pressure on your sacrum,  make a diamond shape with your thumbs and index fingers and place your hands underneath your sacrum (the bone  below your lower back that is making contact with the flat surface)
  3. Keep both legs straight and raise them simultaneously (note: the less you raise them, the more challenging it will be)
  4. Slightly lower both legs simultaneously (note: if fatigued then let your heels touch the floor before raising legs again, otherwise don't let your heels touch the floor for more of a challenge)

Cross Body Plank
  1. Start in a pushup position
  2. Lift and extend an opposite leg and arm
  3. Hold this position ensuring your extended arm and leg stay parallel to the floor
  4. With the extended arm and leg, try to touch your elbow to your knee
  5. Fully extend the arm and leg again and repeat

Note 1: If too difficult then you can stop at step 3 and just hold that position (if this is still too difficult, then you can start on all fours instead of pushup position)

Note 2: Another variation to reduce difficulty is at step 2 to only extend a leg while keeping both hands flat on the floor. With that extended leg, bring your knee towards your opposite elbow (this variation is an exercise called a mountain climber)


Side Plank Push Up
  1. Begin in a pushup position
  2. Start to perform a pushup
  3. As you are pushing yourself up, turn your body and raise your arm up towards the sky (you are now in a side plank)
  4. Try to ensure that you maintain a straight back and not to let your hip drop towards the floor when you are in the side plank

Note: For a bit more of a challenge, hold the side plank position for a few seconds before returning to pushup position to repeat the exercise

Bicycle Crunches
  1. Start in supine position on floor with hands on temples
  2. Bend a knee towards your chest, then extend it out
  3. While that leg is extending, bend your other knee towards your chest
  4. Alternate back and forth until you have a good rhythm (like pedaling a bicycle)
  5. This time as you bring a knee to your chest, try to touch your opposite elbow to that knee
  6. Continue pedaling and touching opposite elbow to knee

Note: As you are trying to touch your elbow to your knee, you should be slightly lifting your chest off the floor (like when performing a crunch) so that you feel your abdominals engaging

None of the abdominal strengthening exercises shown should cause any numbness, tingling or pain. If you feel any discomfort or imbalance during any of these exercises then please stop. Consult your Chiropractor, it might be time to have your spine checked. Click HERE to make an appointment.

Remember to keep breathing steadily as you perform these exercises. If you notice yourself holding your breath, you're depriving your muscles of oxygen! To really focus your breathing, concentrate on breathing out as you engage your abdominal muscles, and then breathing in as your body returns to neutral/starting position. 

If you have not been active or worked out your abs in a while, you may feel some muscle soreness or tightness the next day. Your abdominal muscles recover very quickly, so feel free to try out these strengthening exercises daily and feel the difference it will make!  Just be sure to pace yourself based on your tolerance and your current level of activity.

book online now
Thrive Chiropractic
214 Wellington Street
Kingston, ON
K7K 2Y7
(613) 217-1560
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<![CDATA[March of the penguins - Avoid icy slips and falls!]]>Thu, 27 Feb 2020 05:00:00 GMThttps://thrivechiro.ca/blog-chiropractic-back-pain-relief-tips/march-of-the-penguins-avoid-icy-slips-and-fallsWinter in Kingston has been fairly mild this year (knock on wood), however we always manage to get some horrendous days of freezing rain and the odd snow squall here and there. Despite the slippery conditions I always manage to see people out and about walking downtown doing their best to keep their balance.

​This blog post will give you some tips that will help you in avoiding those icy slips and falls when the winter weather takes a nasty turn! And if there's just no way of avoiding it, there is indeed a proper way to fall to minimize injury.

To figure out how to navigate these icy sidewalks and paths when on foot we're going to see how the pros deal with icy weather. For this, we will look to our flightless blubbery friends from way down south!

You can't fall if you're already on the ground!

​So let's breakdown what these jovial creatures are doing to ensure that their feet remain firmly underneath them!
Before we get into the walking on ice part, there are some simple things to be mindful of with regards to your body positioning to help minimize your risk of a slip and fall.
​​
  • Keep knees loose and relaxed so that your body can quickly react and adapt to little slips and changes in terrain
 
  • Extend arms outward to lower your centre of gravity for better balance
  • Spread your feet like a penguin and keep your toes pointed outward to give yourself a wider base for more stability

Correct body positioning? Check! Let's move on to how you should (and shouldn't) be walking on ice and slippery surfaces.

When walking normally our legs support our weight. There's a moment in the gait cycle when our weight is split between both our front and back legsThe problem with walking on ice is that as our lead foot is landing, our legs are at oblique angles. This means that we are much more likely to slip and fall!

Below are some do's and don'ts for when walking on ice.

  • Keep your centre of gravity over your front leg as you're walking  
  • Take short steps to make shifting your weight and centre of gravity from one leg to the other easier
  • Land with a flat foot (avoid landing heel first or on the ball of your foot)
  • Walk slowly and deliberately
  • Hands out of pockets in case you need them to help with balance or support if you're slipping

In the event that you do slip and fall, there are some safer ways to fall that minimize any potential injuries you may sustain.

First let's discuss the absolutely ideal way to fall if you slip on ice! There's only 3 things to remember for this:
  1. Bend your knees - This brings you closer to the ground to lessen the distance that you fall
  2. Turn to the side - Lessens the impact on your head and spine
  3. Tuck your head - Prevent head trauma by tucking your head into your hands for protection

I know that even though it's only 3 things to remember, that's quite a lot to think about in the moment when you're slipping and falling! To simplify it, you want to try to LAND IN THE FETAL POSITION with your head tucked in between your hands (or at least as close to the fetal position as possible by the time you impact the icy ground).

More often than not however, you'll slip backwards and very quickly. In the event that this happens there's some tips below for what to do and what to avoid!
  • Tuck your chin so you don't smack the back of your head on the ground

  • DO NOT brace for the fall by putting your hands or elbows behind you as this may cause a sprain, strain or fracture

  • Keep your hands free to help with your balance and stability (walking with grocery bags can really throw off your balance when on ice!)
  • Don't use your cellphone when walking so that you are attentive and can spot those slippery patches and avoid them altogether

Hopefully you don't end up suffering any slips and falls this winter but at least now you know how to fall properly to minimize impact and injury! ​It may look a little silly to march like a penguin, but I'll go ahead and put my trust in their millions of years of experience traversing snowy and icy terrain to keep my butt from landing on the cold, hard ice!

If you do end up slipping and find yourself down for the count, try not to let it get you down! You may have been proactive and done everything right but interference to your nervous system or an imbalance of your muscles may have contributed to why you took a tumble. It may be time to have your spine checked by a chiropractor to assist you in getting back to doing the things you love and preventing any future falls! Click 
HERE to make an appointment.

BOOK ONLINE NOW
Thrive Chiropractic
214 Wellington Street
Kingston, ON
K7K 2Y7
(613) 217-1560
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<![CDATA[Walking in a winter wonderland - Staying active during the winter!]]>Wed, 18 Dec 2019 19:47:50 GMThttps://thrivechiro.ca/blog-chiropractic-back-pain-relief-tips/walking-in-a-winter-wonderland-staying-active-during-the-winterAlrighty, Thrive Tribe! It's that time of year again where the days get shorter and colder, and somehow your blanket gained 50 lbs making it a struggle to get out of your cozy bed in the morning. As the temperature drops, we often spend more time indoors doing sedentary activities and it can be tough to keep active. You should try planning ahead by setting aside time in your schedule to ensure you're getting the physical activity that you need to keep fit and healthy.

Adults need at least 20 minutes of brisk exercise or 10 minutes of vigorous exercise EVERY SINGLE DAY to achieve health benefits from exercise. Brisk exercise would consist of moderate intensity aerobic activities which would include brisk walking and biking. You'll know your activity is moderate intensity if you find yourself sweating a little bit and if you are breathing harder than when you’re moving about day-to-day. Vigorous intensity activities include jogging or cross-country skiing, and you’re likely to find yourself sweating and feeling out of breath.
Below I'll list a few tips that will help keep you motivated to stay active during these next (hopefully not too many), winter months!

  • Plan activities ahead - Plan some activities and put them into your calendar. You’re far less likely to forget them and they'll be something to look forward to!
  • Find a fun local activity - Kingston is great for local activities! Stay tuned to the Downtown Kingston website for updates on events including Feb Fest. There's plenty of trails and places to go snow shoeing or cross-country skiing; check out Little Cataraqui Creek or Lemoine Point for more info and trail maps. If you're up for something a bit more exhilarating, you can hit the slopes at nearby ski hills around Ottawa and Batawa too! If it's too tough to get out to the trails, grab your skates and find a nearby outdoor skating rink. Or maybe just pull out your camera and go for a walk, find some new perspectives and enjoy the beautiful winter scenery!
  • Layer up!!! - Being cold can ruin a good time which is why insulation is so key! When you keep your body warm, it’s much easier to continue being active outdoors.
  • Fun in the sun - It’s definitely easier (and usually warmer... well less cold anyway), to stay outside while it’s still light out. With the earlier sunsets, it’s easy to miss out on activities if you start them too late in the day.
  • Indoor activities - Look into activities at your local community centre. Or if you have access to a gym, see if there are any classes available for you to try. KFL&A Public Health also has a program called Walk On for walking indoors too!
  • Climb stairs - If you just want to knock out your daily physical activity, then simply add more steps to your day. Put your music on and consider going up and down stairs for 10-20 minutes. Or you can spread it out throughout your day.
  • Online tutorials - Have a look online for tutorials for dance, aerobics, pilates or yoga. There's plenty of great instructional exercise videos available.
  • Find an activity buddy - Find someone willing to commit to being active as often as you are, and set a plan. That could be planning to meet for morning walks or afternoon workouts. Having a friend keeps you accountable.

Just a couple of activity buddies enjoying our daytime skate at Market Square!

Whatever your activity level is, please remember to stay hydrated! It's easy to forget to drink water when it’s cold out, but your body needs just as much hydration in a snowstorm as it does in a heatwave!

For help on setting activity goals based on your specific musculoskeletal needs, you can always ask your friendly neighbourhood chiropractor about what activities are right for you! Click HERE to make an appointment.

Most importantly, stay motivated! Here’s to staying active in the New Year! Catch you all in 2020!

BOOK ONLINE NOW
Thrive Chiropractic
214 Wellington Street
Kingston, ON
K7K 2Y7
(613) 217-1560
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<![CDATA[Pectoral Muscle Stretch - I must, I must, I must increase my bust!]]>Tue, 05 Nov 2019 05:00:00 GMThttps://thrivechiro.ca/blog-chiropractic-back-pain-relief-tips/pectoral-muscle-stretch-i-must-i-must-i-must-increase-my-bustYour pectoral muscle group actually consists of 2 muscles located on your chest: Pectoralis Major and Pectoralis Minor. These muscles can contribute a lot to postural changes if they become too tight. Let's take a closer look at these muscles to better understand their functions and then discuss how to stretch them.
Pectoralis Major is the larger and more superficial of the two pectoral muscles. It's thick and fan shaped, and is responsible for a variety of actions. Its actions are as follows:
  1. Flexion of humerus (when your arm raises forward, such as when bowling)
  2. Horizontal + vertical adduction and extension of humerus (flapping your arms like a chicken)
  3. Internal rotation of humerus (like when you're trying to win at arm wrestling)
  4. Keeps your arm attached to the trunk of your body 

Pectoralis major has an attachment at the clavicle (collar bone) which allows for flexion of the humerus
The attachment at the sternum (the big bone in the middle your chest) allows for adduction of the humerus
The sternum attachment also allows for internal rotation of the humerus

Pectoralis Minor is the smaller chest muscle that lies just underneath pectoralis major. It's thin and fan shaped and has two main actions:
  1. Raises ribs during inspiration (breathing in)
  2. Stabilizes the the shoulder blade anteriorly and inferiorly against the thoracic wall
Pectoralis minor attaches along the front of the upper ribs allowing it to aid in inspiration by elevating the ribcage to allow more air to be drawn into the lungs
The other attachment of pectoralis minor is at the coracoid process (a hook-like bone projecting out from the upper front portion of the shoulder blade), this allows the muscle to stabilize the shoulder against the back of the ribcage

So why is it so important to stretch your pectoralis major and minor?? Well, when your pectoral muscles are too tight then they pull your arms and shoulders forward (think slouchy hunchback styles). Overly tight pectoral muscles contributes to Upper Cross Syndrome, which is a combination of muscle imbalances and poor posture from spinal misalignments.

​This is a common occurrence for students who slouch during class and are hunched over during study sessions, and also common for people with desk jobs and other keyboard warriors who sit hunched forward staring at computer screens for hours on end. This poor posture places a lot of extra stress on your neck, upper back and spine - ouch! 

Since you now know why stretching the pectorals is so important, let's review a few simple stretches to loosen them up!

  1. ​Stand in the middle of an open doorway and place hands and elbows at the same height on either side of the doorway
  2. Lean your body forward letting gravity take you deeper into the stretch
  3. Focus on pushing your chest forward while simultaneously bringing your shoulder blades together at the back
  4. Locate and target your tighter pectoral muscle fibres by changing the height of your arms to feel where you get the best stretch

If you can't get your elbows to reach the sides of the doorway, just have your hands and as much of your forearms as you can get on either side of the doorway instead

​​
  1. Start by standing perpendicular to a wall with your arm fully straight to your side
  2. With an open palm and fingers pointing up, press your hand flat against the wall
  3. Lean into your hand so that some of your weight is being supported by the wall
  4. Now pivot your feet 45 degrees away from the wall
  5. Pivot your hips so they are square and in line with your feet and legs
  6. Now follow through and pivot your shoulders and torso so they are also square and in line with your hips, legs and feet

  1. Find an empty corner where the walls form a right angle
  2. Start with hands up and elbows and arms at 90 degrees
  3. Place your forearms at even heights on either side of the walls
  4. Slide your arms down the wall as your lower yourself into a lunging posture
  5. Keep your back upright and perpendicular to the floor
  6. Gently push your body forward by using your back leg to drive your torso forward

This same stretch can be performed in an open doorway as well

  1. Stand facing a wall with one arm straight out to your side (as if you're trying to hug the wall with that arm)
  2. Move forward so that you're pressing your whole arm, hand and shoulder against the wall
  3. Start to slowly pivot your torso away while ensuring that you keep your whole arm in contact with the wall
  4. Continue to slowly pivot away until you can feel the stretch in your pectorals

You can try this stretch with your arm against the wall at different angles to stretch different pectoral muscle fibres. Try it with your arm angled about 30 degrees lower and then try again with 30 degrees higher and you should be able to feel the difference

None of the stretches shown should cause any numbness, tingling, pain or discomfort. If you feel any of those aforementioned messages from your body during your stretch, please stop and consult your Chiropractor, it might be time to have your spine checked. Click HERE to make an appointment.

Remember to keep breathing as you stretch! If you notice yourself holding your breath, you might be forcing the stretch too much and should probably ease off a touch. You should find that you're able to stretch further when you relax into the stretch. It just takes a bit of mindfulness, practice and consistency to stretch properly.

Be consistent and try out these pectoral stretches a few times each day to really feel the difference it can make!

book online now
Thrive Chiropractic
214 Wellington Street
Kingston, ON
K7K 2Y7
(613) 217-1560
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<![CDATA[You can do it, put your back into it! - Proper lifting technique]]>Fri, 04 Oct 2019 04:00:00 GMThttps://thrivechiro.ca/blog-chiropractic-back-pain-relief-tips/you-can-do-it-put-your-back-into-it-proper-lifting-techniqueSometimes back pain and injuries can be avoided altogether by being mindful and proactive. Lifting things is a part of every day life but it can also be an easy way to hurt your back if done improperly. In some cases improper lifting can be the cause of either immediate or chronic pain; so it's definitely in your favour to lift properly to lessen your chance of injury and reduce the amount of stress on your spine and body!

I'm sure most of you have heard this one before, "lift with your legs, not with your back". Well, it's decent advice but not entirely accurate. Proper lifting technique does indeed require your back to share some of the lifting duties as well. Let's go over proper lifting technique step by step! 
  • ​​Keep a wide base of support with your feet about shoulder width apart
  • Squat down by bending at the hips and knees. Alternatively you can squat down and kneel on one knee, just make sure you keep your hips and knees bent at 90 degrees
  • Maintain good posture! Keep your head up, push your chest out slightly, keep your shoulders back and make sure you've got an arch in your lower back so that you're engaging your back muscles instead of putting excess stress on your spine. (Just imagine you're a gorilla and keep your butt pushed back and slightly up! This will ensure that you maintain the arch in your lower back when you're squatting to lift).
  • Get an even and balanced grip on either side of the object you're lifting
  • Lift the object by slowly straightening your hips and knees (while maintaining the arch in your lower back!)
  • Keep it held close to your body with your hips and shoulders in line
  • To change direction, pivot your feet with small steps to allow you to then turn your whole body instead of twisting your back
  • Do the steps oppositely to place the object down in front of you, making sure that you maintain that arch in your lower back (gorilla style!)
Proper squatting lifting technique
Proper kneeling lifting technique
While lifting things seems like a simple enough task, you really do need to be mindful as there are a variety of risks associated. Risk factors to keep in mind include:
  • How heavy the object is that you need to lift
  • The size and shape of the object can make it difficult to get an even grip on both sides
  • If you need to carry the object over a long distance, consider putting it down part way to take a break
  • The height of the object you're lifting may mean you don't need to squat down, but remember DO NOT TWIST and make sure to keep your hips and shoulders in line! (I really can't stress this enough!)
  • If you need to be lifting things repetitively, remember that as your body gets tired your lifting technique may get sloppy. Be mindful and take your time!
Pivot your feet to change direction. Be sure that you DO NOT TWIST!
There you have it - proper lifting technique! Huzzah! Another thing I should mention is that two sets of hands are better than one! This is especially true for lifting those big, heavy and awkward shaped objects! So recruit a friend, family member, colleague or co-worker to help share the lifting load.
If you've been doing a lot of repetitive heavy lifting or maybe your body just hasn't been feeling quite right, it's probably a message from your body that maybe it's time to get your spine checked! Click HERE to make an appointment.
Oh, did I forget to mention to MAINTAIN THE ARCH in your lower back and NOT TO TWIST when you're lifting? Alright, well now you definitely know! 

BOOK ONLINE NOW
Thrive Chiropractic
214 Wellington Street
Kingston, ON
K7K 2Y7
(613) 217-1560
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<![CDATA[Piriformis Muscle Stretch - What a Pain in the Butt!]]>Tue, 10 Sep 2019 20:29:17 GMThttps://thrivechiro.ca/blog-chiropractic-back-pain-relief-tips/piriformis-muscle-stretch-what-a-pain-in-the-buttYour piriformis is a small muscle located deep in the buttock. It has 2 main functions depending on the position of your hip. If your hip is in extension (such as when you're standing up), the piriformis is responsible for external rotation of your femur (thigh bone). If your hip is in flexion (such as when you're sitting in a chair) then the piriformis muscle is responsible for abduction of your hip (spreading open your thighs).

Your piriformis is a small, flat muscle in your gluteal region that is pyramidal in shape. It has attachments along the lateral aspect of the sacrum and at the greater trochanter (hip bone)

Passing underneath the piriformis muscle is your sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve and its branches innervate the entire leg! That means that if your piriformis muscle is too tight, injured or dysfunctional, it may press down on the sciatic nerve and block the normal nerve function. That description is actually a condition called Piriformis Syndrome. There can be varying symptoms but pain and numbness that travels down one leg is the most common complaint.

Your piriformis can tighten up from too much walking, running and even from too much sitting! In my opinion, it's one of the most important muscles to stretch! Follow the pictures and instructions below to start stretching your piriformis!

  1.  Sit flat on floor with legs straight in front of you
  2. Bend your LEFT knee and cross that leg over your straight leg 
  3. Hug your LEFT knee towards your chest
  4. As you hug your knee, gently rotate/twist your torso to the LEFT (this should feel natural)

To deepen this stretch then as you hug your LEFT knee, try to hug it up towards your RIGHT shoulder.

Swap LEFTs and RIGHTs to stretch the other piriformis.

  1. Sit in a chair or on a surface where your feet are free to dangle or rest flat
  2. Cross your RIGHT ankle to rest on your LEFT thigh slightly above the knee
  3. Ensure that your shoulders and hips are facing the same way (don't let your body twist)
  4. With your butt flat in your seat, start to lean forward and reach out towards the ground in front of you
  5. You should feel the stretch on the piriformis in your RIGHT butt

To deepen this stretch then as you're leaning forward, you can use your RIGHT hand to apply some downward pressure on your right knee.

  1. Lay supine (flat on your back, facing up)
  2. Create a "figure 4" by crossing your RIGHT ankle just above your LEFT knee
  3. From this position, you now bend and raise your LEFT knee (this will also cause your RIGHT leg to raise)
  4. You should notice an opening created by the "hole" of the figure 4
  5. Reach through the opening with your RIGHT hand
  6. Interlock your fingers to hug your LEFT thigh and gently pull it towards your chest
  7. You should be feeling the stretch on your RIGHT piriformis muscle

  1. Start prone (laying faced down)
  2. Use your hands to push yourself up part way
  3. Bring your RIGHT leg forward so that it's crossed and resting on the floor in front of you
  4. Ensure that your hips and shoulders are facing the same direction (do not twist!)
  5. Bend forward at your waist to deepen the stretch

Experiment with this stretch when you're on the final step and are bending forward. If you bend diagonally forward to either the left or right, you will feel different parts of the piriformis stretching.

None of the stretches shown should cause any numbness, tingling, pain or discomfort. If you feel any pain during your stretch, please stop and consult your Chiropractor, it might be time to have your spine checked. Click HERE to make an appointment.

Don't ever force the stretch. As you're reaching into the stretch, try to breathe out. As you breathe out, focus on keeping the leg on the same side as you're stretching relaxed. As the piriformis muscle relaxes, you can gently push/pull to deepen the stretch. You should find that you're able to stretch further when you relax into the stretch. It just takes a bit of mindfulness, practice and consistency to stretch properly.

​Try some of these great piriformis stretches out for yourself and feel the difference it makes! 

BOOK ONLINE NOW
Thrive Chiropractic
214 Wellington Street
Kingston, ON
K7K 2Y7
(613) 217-1560
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<![CDATA[Community Workshop Series]]>Fri, 16 Aug 2019 15:05:00 GMThttps://thrivechiro.ca/blog-chiropractic-back-pain-relief-tips/community-workshop-series3653457STRESS LESS; LIVE BETTER
Join us for our workshop on Wednesday, August 28th 2019 starting at 6:00pm, where we will discuss the importance of managing stress. We will be covering topics including:

  • Autonomic Nervous System – Fight or Flight response
  • What occurs when your body is in a state of stress?
  • Proven ways to reduce stress – Physiologically and psychologically
  • Sleep and cortisol levels – How does this affect your health?
To register, go to the following URL and click on
“Stress Management Workshop”.
​We are thrilled to be a part of such a great community! We are the only Chiropractic centre located conveniently in the Downtown Kingston Core and we want to help as many people as we can to get pain free and to have their health thrive!
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<![CDATA[Sleep Your Way To Better Health]]>Wed, 14 Aug 2019 17:07:24 GMThttps://thrivechiro.ca/blog-chiropractic-back-pain-relief-tips/sleep-your-way-to-better-healthDid you get a good night of sleep last night? Maybe you’re unsure what a “good night of sleep” equates to. So let’s explore what good quality sleep really is, why it's so important for your health, and look at some good sleeping postures.
 
Firstly, let’s get straight into the meat and potatoes - according to The Mayo Clinic, this is how much sleep you should be getting:
Okay, so now you know how much sleep you should be getting which is awesome! Now that you know better, you can do better to meet your sleep goals; whether that be to increase or reduce how much sleep you’re getting. That's right - over sleeping can be as detrimental to your health as under sleeping! So try to get into that sweet spot range of sleep every night.

Did you notice that I wrote EVERY night?

Try to avoid putting yourself in a position where you create a sleep debt and are forced to catch up on sleep. Quality sleep is just as much about consistency as it is about quantity. Let's look at it another way; you wouldn't starve yourself until you're withered and then catch up on eating by going to an all you can eat buffet, right? Of course not, your body requires consistent energy from food to maintain its health.
Sleep is the same way in that you should be getting consistent amounts every night. It's a time for your body to rest, replenish and regenerate to prepare for the all the mental, physical and emotional requirements of the following day.
All right, so now you know about the importance of quantity and consistency as it pertains to good quality sleep. But WHY is quality sleep so important for your health?

The Good:
  • Learning and memory - Sleep helps the brain commit new information into memory and has been shown to enhance problem solving skills in both children and adults. 
  • Regeneration - Your body produces more proteins when you're sleeping. These proteins form the building blocks for cells, allowing them to repair the damage caused by stress, UV rays and other harmful exposures.
  • Athletic performance - A study of collegiate basketball players showed speed, accuracy and reaction times all improved when the athletes got proper amounts of quality sleep.

The Bad:
  • Cortisol - Sleep deprivation has been shown to result in higher cortisol levels the next evening. Cortisol plays an important role in a variety of bodily processes including inflammation, sleep/wake cycle, and blood sugar levels. High levels of cortisol is also linked to lower back pain.
  • Increased risk of depression - Chronic sleep deprivation has been shown to create a desensitization to serotonin receptors. Low serotonin levels influences mood in a way that may lead to depression.
  • Stress - The body goes into a state of stress when it's sleep deficient. Stress is well researched to be a contributing factor to many diseases.

The Ugly:
  • Heart disease - Too little sleep; as well as too much sleep, has been linked to increased risk of heart disease.
  • High blood pressure - Sleep deprivation reduces your body's ability to regulate stress hormones which can lead to high blood pressure. HBP is the leading cause of death worldwide and is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
  • Diabetes - There's an increased risk for diabetes in those that either sleep too much or too little.
  • Reduced immune function - Sleep deprivation suppresses immune system function. This could lead to a greater potential risk of developing cold, flu or other diseases.​
As you can see, consistently getting the right amount of sleep is an incredibly important part of maintaining your health! So you may want to think twice before you pull your next all-nighter; or the next time you tell yourself you'll just watch "one more episode" ​during a TV series binge when you've got responsibilities the next morning.
Let's talk about sleep posture next as I'm often asked if there's a "right way" to sleep. The short answer is, yes!

The right way to sleep is to be in a sleep posture that maintains and supports the natural shape of your spine. Let's take a look at the side sleeping posture below.
You may have noticed that there's a pillow in between the guy's legs. This can help reduce physical stress on the spine as you sleep. If you lay on your side right now, you'll notice that your leg against the bed/floor is flat and parallel, but then your other leg is bent at an angle because your knees have come together. That angle of your top leg puts extra pressure on your hip which transfers to your spine.
When sleeping on your side, your neck needs a little extra cushioning underneath it for support since your head is wider and thicker than your neck is. Be sure that your neck is in a neutral posture and does not bend towards either the ceiling or the floor.
There should always be a little extra cushioning to support the neck when sleeping both sideways and supine
Now if we look at a supine sleeping posture (laying on your back), you'll notice that there's a pillow tucked underneath the guy's legs. To better understand why that's there, go ahead and lay down flat on your back, relax your body, and pay attention to your feet. For the vast majority of you, you'll have found that both your feet flared outwards.
As your feet flare outwards this creates a chain reaction going up your leg. Your feet flare/rotate outwards, your shin bones rotate, as do your thigh bones and then your hips. That rotation puts a lot of pressure on your pelvis and lower back.

Putting a pillow or a bolster under your knees forces them to bend slightly. Because your knees are bent, it breaks the chain reaction and minimizes the foot flare and stops the rotation of the rest of the leg which prevents all the pressure at the hip, pelvis and lower back. You may find that when you wake up that the pillow under your knees is now on the floor or beside you. That's typically expected as most of us naturally roll and shift positions when we're asleep. It's not a problem though as the goal is to minimize the duration of the stress on our body.

Quality sleep is an incredibly important part of our health! We spend about a third of our lives sleeping, so that's a lot of stress on your body if you haven't been getting enough sleep, been over sleeping, or aren't sleeping with good posture. So have you been getting good quality sleep? And have you been practicing proper sleeping posture? It's never too late to have your spine checked! Click HERE to make an appointment.

BOOK ONLINE NOW
Thrive Chiropractic
214 Wellington Street
Kingston, ON
K7K 2Y7
(613) 217-1560
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<![CDATA[Community Workshop Series]]>Thu, 11 Jul 2019 22:03:51 GMThttps://thrivechiro.ca/blog-chiropractic-back-pain-relief-tips/community-workshop-seriesSPINAL HYGIENE
​Join us for our workshop on Tuesday, July 23rd 2019 from 6:00 – 7:00pm, where you will learn a set of practices designed to maintain your spinal health.
 
As we guide you through a series of stretches and exercises, we will be discussing what spinal hygiene is, why it is so important, and how proper spinal hygiene practices can help with a variety of things including:
  • Preventing spinal degeneration
  • Promoting intervertebral disc health
  • Maintaining spinal health
  • Improving range of motion and flexibility
To register, go to the following URL and click on “Spinal Hygiene Workshop”.

https://thrivechiro.janeapp.com
We recommend you wear something that you feel comfortable in that is easy to move around in. And don't forget to bring water!
 
Please bring a yoga mat, if you don't have one we will have some available to rent for $2.
 
We are thrilled to be a part of such a great community! We are the only Chiropractic centre located conveniently in the Downtown Kingston Core and we want to help as many people as we can to get pain free and to have their health thrive!
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