Health, Fitness & Injury Managment

Health, Fitness & Injury Managment

 

Mindful movements build brain resilience

Building brain resilience with mindfulness

The latest and greatest on decreasing your chance of Alzheimer's disease or any other form of neurodegeneration involves mindful movement.

A program of mindful movement was developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in the 1970's, by Professor Jon Kabat-Zinn, to treat stress, pain and a range of maladies and life issues that were difficult to treat in a medical setting. The mindfulness-based movements, such as yoga, Pilates, and body awareness, included any physical activity where the participant needed to use their brain to do the activity. The program, known as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was successful at treating stress, pain and other disorders, however the researchers did not know why it was successful. Kabat-Zinn is known worldwide as a meditation teacher responsible for bringing mindfulness into the mainstream of medicine and society.

Fast-forward a few decades to June, 2017, when the Journal of Translational Psychiatry reported on a factor, called the REST1 Factor, that appears to be a key regulator of an aging brain's stress response2.  The report indicates that the REST factor concentration is decreased in a person’s blood under conditions of stress and Alzheimer's disease, leading the research team to suggest that increasing the REST factor concentration may be neuroprotective. 

People who received mindfulness training showed increases in the blood concentrations of REST, as compared with the control group that did not receive mindfulness training. As well, increased REST levels were correlated with a reduction in psychiatric symptoms associated with stress and Alzheimer's disease risk.  All of this data supports the role of REST factor in slowing or minimizing neurodegeneration. 

This is great news for people who participate in Pilates, yoga, and other mindfulness activities. In addition to lubricating your joints, building strength and flexibility in your muscles, you’re also increasing the strength, flexibility, and resilience of your mind!   

1  Repressor Element 1-Silencing Transcription

2 Journal of Translational Psychiatry, https://www.nature.com/articles/tp2017113

 

5 Hazards that Come with Autumn

Gorgeous autumn colours, keeping warm with a cozy sweater, drinking cups of tea while curled up with a book. Thanksgiving has come and gone, as has the pumpkin pie! This past weekend we have truly moved into autumn, here in Victoria. Temperatures are down around the 10's, warmer coats are coming out of closets, shorts are swapped for pants, and umbrellas are becoming de rigour. The slower pace of autumn can be welcome change from the busy-ness of summer. Even with the slower pace, there are a few hazards to consider in autumn.leaves on road

1. Slippery leaves

When it rains here, and despite what many believe, it does rain in Victoria, the multitudes of leaves and the rain combine to make an extraordinarily slippery walking and driving surface. People and cars can end up in accidents. Preventing falls or car accidents can be as easy as clearing walkways of leaves, and driving slower when you are driving on roads covered in leaves. TIP: Moving leaves before it rains is much easier than once they are wet!

2. Brilliant sunsets

Oh, those gorgeous colours. How can they be hazardous? When the sunset is a blinding light that hits your eyes, just below the level of the visor in your car! When this happens, drive slower than the speed limit so that everyone gets home in one piece. TIP: While summer may be over, remember to keep your sunglasses with you to help you see in the drive home from work, or late afternoon trips.

3. Losing motivation

Wetter weather makes all of us less likely to head outside to walk, run, hike, bike and pursue our fitness activities. Many of us lose that “moving feeling!” Losing motivation means you risk losing your fitness, and may experience greater joint and muscle pain through lack of movement. Think of your body like a car. It wouldn’t be good to park a car for 6 months until the weather gets better, would it? It’s not good to park your body until the weather gets warm again either.

TIP: Take advantage of any bright daylight hours whenever you can. If it is sunny, consider taking your worktime lunch break outside. Ten minutes of sunshine each day can dramatically help your mental health! Try to remember how good your body feels when you move it and exercise it consistently.

If you are looking for an indoor activity, consider joining one of Joan’s Pilates classes. There’s also a class open for drop-ins on Saturdays, if you want to test out Pilates and see if it is going to work for you!

If your joints start becoming uncomfortable, that’s a clear sign that you need to get moving again. Schedule a visit with Dr. Buna if you are experiencing pain, and he will help you to get back into your moving groove again.

4. Foggy roads

As temperatures cool, the fog in the morning and evenings can make for limited visibility. In my area, we have university students and staff, and school aged youth walking and riding their bikes along the streets to school. When it gets foggy, remember that these people are still out there on their way to school or to the university. Some will have lights and reflective gear and some will not. Driving slower in fog is always a good idea. Be extra cautious and look for people making their way on bicycle or foot to their destination. TIP: Use your low beam headlights as the light will point down towards the roadway, and will make it easier to see.

5. Deer, deer and more deer.

Could there be more deer in any other city in Canada? Possibly, but hard to believe right now. Did you know that the fall months are the most active time for deer? Drivers will need to be watchful for these animals crossing the roads at dawn and dusk. For tips on avoiding deer, click here.

 

"Text Neck" - Is it Really a Problem?Text neck affects the neck vertebrae

In a word, yes.

What is text neck?

Text neck is a term used to describe the pain and stiffness associated with the overuse of muscles in the upper back from looking down at your mobile device.  It is a rapidly growing issue among people using mobile phones, tablets and electronic devices. Simply stated, our neck muscles are not positioned correctly to support the head for long periods of time in the "forward tilted" position. The figure below shows the increasing amount of weight borne by the neck muscles when the head is tilted forward.

text neck and the weight of the head

Our heads are meant to be vertical. Holding your head in the forward position for an extended period of time puts strain on the neck muscles, possibly leading to more frequent headaches, neck pain, tingling or numbness in the arms.

Text Neck Affects Youth and Adults

This is a problem that is equally shared between youth and adults. The business world demands that employees are able to connect, perform research and communicate in an instantaneous manner. Lunch breaks may mean that workers are connecting, answering emails or solving problems using their mobile devices. This also means that the neck muscles are working for much longer periods of time, in an anatomically difficult position.

Find yourself getting headaches? Feeling tightness and pain in your neck and shoulders?

There are a few things to try at home and at work:

  1. Start taking breaks frequently.
  2. Look up!! And keep looking up until the neck muscles feel relaxed.
  3. Stretch the neck muscles by slowly and gently turning your head from left...to right...to left...to right. Then move up/down, and on the diagonal.

Find out more

Take time to learn how to take care of your neck, and to relieve your neck pain.

Call Dr. Buna at 250 384 2412 for more information.

 

 

The Sacroiliac Joints and Lower Back Pain

Where are the Sacroiliac (SI) joints located?

The sacroiliac joints (SI joints) are two joints located in your pelvis.  As their name suggests this joint is the union between the two bones, the sacrum and ilium.   If you look at their design, their main function is to transfer the upper body weight from the spine through the pelvis to the legs.  The SI joint has a complex system of ligaments that further strengthen the joint.   Up until the 1950’s anatomical textbooks stated that these joints don’t move.  It is now proven that they move but they don’t move much compared to the knee, elbow or shoulder. 

Sacro-iliac joint

How do we injure these joints?

Acute injuries to these joints occur when participating in sporting or work activities in which the SI joints are subjected to twisting and torsion (eg. golf, tennis, baseball, squash, pickle ball). If there is too much twisting or torsion, or if the movements of the joint are outside the normal range for the joint, the joint becomes irritated and create protective spasm around the joint. This causes the joint to be stuck (immobile). 

Can Health Care Professionals, Such as Chiropractors, Be Educators?

People will sometimes put off coming in to see me, a chiropractor, because “The pain isn’t that bad” or “Something doesn’t feel quite right, but it will get better in a few days.”

A young man came in a few weeks ago, a rower, who had been experiencing limitations with upper back movement and his shoulder for more than a month. “My back hurts sometimes” “I get headaches after rowing” “Sometimes I can’t feel the fingers of my arm when rowing.” As none of the symptoms lasted too long and could be managed with over the counter medications, he assumed that all was going fine.

When he finally arrived in my office, he couldn’t stand up straight or breathe easily, he couldn’t participate in normal daily activities. At this level of inconvenience and discomfort, he decided it was time to seek help.

So now I ask you, how many times have you waited through the lower levels of pain and inconvenience until “YOU COULDN’T STAND IT ANY MORE!” 

A show of hands?

A study I read recently reported that workplace injuries decreased after employees were taught by chiropractors on how to avoid common workplace injuries1. That’s correct – the chiropractors were the educators! Meaning that a visit to a health care professional, such as a chiropractor might prevent injuries as well as help us heal from injuries.

It’s time to re-frame the way we take care of our bodies?

As we move forward in life, and continue living our 21st century lives filled with activities, maybe we need to take advantage of professionals such as chiropractors, people who know how to take care of our bodies, both before we start new activities and when we start to feel that things aren’t quite correct. Much like this recent study shows, I suspect injuries would decrease and costs would decrease as well. Plus there is the bonus of feeling better when you are out being active.

What are your thoughts? I'll look for your comments on our Facebook page.

 

 

1Tuchin, P.J., 1998, Australasian Chiropractic and Osteopathy (ACO) Journal 7(1) pps.8-14.

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