An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a pound of Cure – Part 2: Stages of Recovery

In my previous blog An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure – Part 1, I discussed my journey with my injury and how I struggled with leaving the sport I loved.

In Part 2, I am going to discuss the stages I believe we go through when we get injured and the science behind the injury and the healing process.

STAGE 1. DENIAL: I told myself it’s not that bad and even though the health care professionals told me it would take 6-8 weeks, in my mind, it would only take two. They don’t know how strong and skilled I am, I thought.

 

The Science

Acute phase (Inflammatory):

  • Lasts approximately 7-10 days after the initial injury.
  • The tissue is swollen, red, warm and/or all of the above.
  • At this stage, the body needs to heal.
  • Rest, gentle range of motion and/or protection of the injured area is important.

 

When the first two weeks passed and my knee was still very sore and I couldn’t bend it let alone run on it, I started to wonder what went wrong. “I should be healing faster than this; I should be back to at least straight line sprints,” I thought.

STAGE 2. TESTING IT: So I tested it – and before I knew it I was trying to convince myself that the sharp pain with every step is normal and it probably did that before.

STAGE 3. IMPATIENCE: I felt I was losing muscle strength and my skills were fading away while everyone else around me was progressing in their skills. So then I started to wonder what the therapist wasn’t doing to boost my healing process. How will I ever catch up?

STAGE 4. RESEARCH: I started researching all the options including consulting Dr. Google. Maybe they misdiagnosed it? Maybe they aren’t even providing the right treatment? I approached my Physiotherapist with my “research” and the therapist reminded me that it has only been three weeks since my injury.  

(Three weeks can feel like an eternity when you’re 19 and itching to get back at the sport you love.) I started to feel myself get lazy. However, remember in stage two when I tested my knee? Well, this caused more damage. BAM! my first setback placing my recovery back to week one.  

 

The Science

Subacute Phase (Repair and Healing):

  • This phase lasts approximately 1- 6 weeks depending on the tissue that is healing and if there is good blood supply to those tissues.
  • During this phase, you want to promote healing, oxygen and blood flow to the injured tissues. It is important to maintain mobility, strength and endurance through guided progressive exercises with your friendly healthcare practitioner.

Note: Stages1-4 can continue until you realize that everything has a process and that you need to trust that process.  It isn’t until you realize that things take time, that you start to heal.

 

STAGE 5. ACCEPTANCE: It isn’t until this stage that you actually start to make gains by leaps and bounds – maybe because the required healing time has elapsed or maybe it’s because you are mentally ready to recover and go through the process.  Whatever the case may be, you’re finally listening to the advice provided to you and you’re listening to what your body is telling you. You start celebrating and focusing on the little improvements and you build on them. Then over time you look back and think “wow” I’ve come a long way.  

You then realize that you can modify your workouts and your training to fit what you can do and you stop focusing on what you can’t, plus you know that at https://healthyusa.co/shred-fx-review-best-performance-enhancing-formula/ you will always find the best supplements to fulfill your workouts. Having an injury is frustrating and can throw a wrench in your plans — whether it’s leaving the sport you love, changing positions or careers, or how you play with your kids. But the process can never go fast enough.

The Science

Remodeling Phase (Maturation):

  • It lasts two months to one year depending on the tissues involved and the damage.
  • This phase encompasses a long period starting when the subacute phase is complete and continuing into a progressive return to sport/ function/life. In the beginning of this phase, around the 6-8 week mark, scar tissue is still forming and can still be remodelled up to 10 weeks.

 

The Equation for Recovery Time

Those stages are very familiar to me, both as a physiotherapist and as a patient. After having three knee surgeries and countless other injuries, I place a lot of importance on proper and careful recovery.

There really is no equation to determine the length of time it will take someone to recover (although I wish there were). It is a question I am asked all the time and even a question I ask when I’m the one lying on the physio table.

As a physiotherapist, I hope I can help others go through this only once or perhaps, with prevention, never really have to consider any of those stages. It is easy to look back and say, I wish I could have prevented that injury. But it shapes you, makes you stronger and teaches you patience. You learn more about your body and you learn the amazing things you can endure — physically and mentally.

We are humans, not robots, and there are many variables to consider when determining our recovery period. Including nutrition, sleep, stress (physical or emotional), and environment.

Each injury has been a different experience. Sometimes I recover quickly and sometimes it can nag me for years. But like I said in my last blog post, recovery from an injury is a lifelong journey, as is maintaining and improving our health, performance and longevity.

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure – PART 1

Injury prevention is something that I value greatly. As a Physiotherapist, I see many athletes struggling to return to sport and, in some cases, making the life-changing decision to stop playing the sport altogether. This is a very challenging journey and one that I, too, understand

MY INJURY STORY

I would like to share my experience with you so that you can understand it may be a long road, and that injuries force you to make a lot of decisions.

I was 19 years old and I had worked my butt off to gain a starting position, as the goalkeeper on a varsity team in my rookie year. I was on Cloud 9 and stayed there until the day of my injury.

I remember it like it was yesterday. When it happened, I told my coach not to worry, I’d rest up and I’d be at practice on Monday. However, I never made it to practice — instead, for the months that followed I spent countless hours in rehab, endured multiple flare ups and began to experience a loss in muscle strength and an emotional roller coaster. My heart was broken: I knew I was facing a hiatus from the sport I loved.

After many attempts to strengthen my knee without surgery – it came to a point where my knee would give out while simply running in a straight line. We have tried researching on how does organ donation work to replace my knee but I knew that the surgery for ACL reconstruction would be the best route to take.

After 12 months of rehab, I was finally getting back into the swing of things when I tore my meniscus in the same knee. Back to the operating room I went; the rehab cycle started again.

I was hopeful and determined. I was making strides, slowly but surely. As I worked hard to regain my physical strength I kept my mental game strong by attending all practices, games and cheering on my teammates. I wasn’t ready to let go, playing soccer was all I ever really knew. I started training again for my sport and noticed I was timid on challenges and hesitated on plays.

That’s when the worst pain set in. The pain of knowing in the back of my mind that I had lost my edge. I knew in my heart that it was time to call it in but making that decision felt impossible.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR ME?

Physical injury quite often pays a toll on your mental state. Many questions plagued my mind as I tried to decide my fate in this sport.

  • What will I do if I am not playing soccer?
  • What will happen to my knee if I continue to play at this level?
  • Am I susceptible to more injury?
  • What will happen to the relationships I built with my teammates?
  • How will my parents feel (they are part of this community too)?
  • Am I a failure?
  • Will I get lazy?
  • How does this affect my life in 10 – 20 years from now?
  • Will I be active as I age?

Only I could determine the answers to these questions. I couldn’t go back; I couldn’t blame my parents, coach, teammates, doctors or therapists. Only I could decide what was best for me.

Like many athletes who suffer from injuries, this decision is life-changing. How do you make the decision to stop playing the sport that defined you for the majority of your life? It’s not an easy one.

THE JOURNEY IS THE REWARD

 

Don’t get me wrong, I have witnessed countless athletes return to playing high-level sports after similar or even more serious injuries. My story is about my personal journey and meant to help those see that sometimes a change in direction is ok; it’s not meant to discourage those that are going down the path of returning to their sport.

This injury turned out to be a very positive thing for me (as they say, “every cloud has a silver lining”), however, understand that at 19-years-old, wasn’t easy.  Looking back, it has shaped me and obviously led me into a career dedicated to injury rehabilitation and prevention.

August 16, 2017 marked 13 years since I had ACL reconstruction surgery. How fitting that it was also the first day that the Physiotherapy staff at Real Life Health initiated The FIFA 11+ ACL injury prevention program with the Laurentian Women’s and Men’s soccer teams.

Through my journey, I vowed to return to Laurentian to implement an ACL injury prevention program. I wanted to help others prevent the injury that devastated me and ended my soccer career. I am so thankful to have this opportunity with Laurentian’s Soccer programs and I am proud to be able to offer an injury prevention program that will help athletes achieve their goals by insulating them from injury, and improving their performance.

I don’t regret my decision to stop pursuing and playing soccer. I had many opportunities to learn new things about new sports. I found new interests and redirected my priorities to a lifetime of health and wellness.

People often ask, “Do you have pain in your knee?”, to which the answer is yes, sometimes I do. I know it will be a lifelong journey to maintain the strength and health of my joints (especially my knee).  The scars on my knee remind me of my journey and they welcome me to a club of many others who have gone down a similar path.  A path that, though different than the one a younger me expected, continues to get better.  See you shortly for Part 2!

Only when you know the question, will you know what the answer means

42.

The answer to life, the universe, and everything.

I’ve used this joke a lot, but I’m about to be a Dad, so get used to me re-using jokes.  I think that’s part of becoming a Dad.  That, and I can rarely think of a better way to exemplify what I’m trying to say when I come across broad, over-arching answers.

This topic tends to come up with me one of two ways:

  • I’m making fun of something that is being touted as the new answer to everything (or is being advertised that way to do one thing… get you to buy and consume whatever it is).
    • My call for this year is tea.  No one particular tea, but ones with cool names in general, not the “normal” teas we’re used to seeing (like orange pekoe, earl grey or english breakfast), but the exotic sounding ones, like matcha, yerba maté, and other crazy stuff that might not even be tea but is being sold that way because we don’t know how else to conceptualize it otherwise.
  • I’m trying to explain the “Wellness and Lifestyle” model of healthcare.  Which, if we’re watching the slow decline of society into chronic illness, and chronic illness management, we desperately need.

Todays post is the latter of those two options.  Reading through research lately has been fun/tedious, but every once in a while you come across something seriously awesome.  I’m embarrassed I haven’t come across this sooner, to be honest.  but here it is:

Is it possible to have TOO much Nrf2? Stay Tuned... (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Steve Cushman/Released)

Is it possible to have TOO much Nrf2? Stay Tuned… (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Steve Cushman/Released)

Nrf2, a master regulator of detoxification and also antioxidant, antiinflammatory and other cytoprotective mechanisms, is raised by health promoting factors

This article is simply awesome.  Here is laypersons summary of their abstract:

  • Nrf2 is short for nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor 2 (yeah… Nerf 2 is a little easier to say/reference)
  • It’s a “transcription factor”, meaning it leads cells to “read” certain parts of our DNA and causes certain physiological cascades afterwards.
    • And this one activates the transcription of over 500 genes!
  • Things that it does:
    • detoxifies the body of molecules that can be toxic when accumulated to unhealthy levels as well as toxic metals
    • Anti-oxidant activities (reduces “bad” oxidation of molecules that can lead to mutations, aging, or unnecessary waste)
    • Produces anti-inflammatory changes (think, Advil, or fish oil)
    • Stimulates the creation of new mitochondria, and improves the function of already existing mitochondria (think, more energy, easier)
    • Stimulates autophagy – a cleaner for your cells, that gets rid of “trash” that can be problematic if not kept under control
  • Things that increase our amount of Nrf2:
    • Phenolic antioxidants, like plants, herbs and (wait for it…) tea
    • gamma and delta-tocopherols, tocotrienols.  Vitamin E – healthy fats, olive oil, avocado, etc.
    • Long chain Omega 3 fats EPA and DHA – from fish, krill, squid, grass-fed meats, etc.
    • Carotenoids like lycopene (in tomatoes and grapes)
    • isothiacynates from cruciferous vegetables (kale, spinach, broccoli, etc.)
    • Sulphur compounds from allium vegetables (garlic, onions, shallots, etc.)
    • Terpenoids (herbs like cinnamon and ginger)
    • Low level oxidative stress (low intensity exercise, like walking)
    • More intense exercise
    • Fasting/Caloric restriction
  • Chronic Inflammatory Diseases that are prevented/treated by increasing Nrf2?
    • cardiovascular diseases
    • kidney diseases
    • lung diseases
    • Diseases of toxic liver damage
    • Cancer [prevention]
    • Diabetes/Metabolic Syndrome/Obesity
    • Sepsis
    • Autoimmune diseases
    • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
    • HIV/AIDS
    • Epilepsy
    • lesser evidence also points to the improvement of 16 other diseases

Sounds pretty impressive eh?  I like part of the conclusion, “Nrf2 is argued to be both lifespan and health span extending.” [emphasis mine]  FINALLY a focus on not just increasing the length of our lives, but also the quality of those years.

Get out for a hike for some low intensity restorative exercise!

Get out for a hike for some low intensity restorative exercise!

The authors also speak to the potential of having TOO much Nrf2 (which is smart to hopefully nip the “if some is good, let’s crank the knob up to 11!” bud), as it can cause a type of acne in certain cases, and more life-threatening risks in very extreme situations (in mice with a gene removed from their body that would regulate Nrf2, so it just continues to accumulate).  So it DOES NOT follow a, “if some is good, more is better” model either.  Very interesting… Almost like all those things that improve it should be employed, but not to excess.

News Flash – Being reasonable is healthy.

So if we want to improve our bodies detoxification pathways (which are a real thing, that your liver and kidneys help with), tidy up our cells, improve our mitochondrial health and generally improve our lives doing the things that help improve this particular transcription factor is not a bad idea.  What are those things?

  • Eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruit (of various colours and textures) and quality meats and fats
  • Use some herbs and spices to make your food a bit more interesting
  • Consider long term side effects of steroids supplementing a modest amount of Omega 3 fats from high quality sources
  • Move your body at a low, steady pace, most of the time.  Then at a hard pace every once in a while.
  • Avoid overeating, and maybe consider fasting or taking on the mindset from Okinawa of “Hara Hachi Bu” – meaning to eat only until you’re 80% full

Stay Healthy Friends!

Dr. Adam Ball

What You Need to Know to Get and Stay Healthy

Hey Folks!

It’s been a LONG time since I’ve posted!  Apologies for that.  So I’ve been thinking about what sets Chiropractic apart from other professions, and why we’re crucial when we DO share so much of our scope and skills with many other professionals (physics, massage therapists, osteos, athletic therapists, etc.) and it ultimately comes down to our philosophy.

But I’ve spoken about that numerous times before like what do proteins do for the body

.  So while I may hint at it throughout the rest of my life (and this post), I’ll attempt to tackle a different topic today.

Today I’d like to speak about how the truth isn’t sexy.  The true, and ultimate answers with regards to health (and fitness, really) isn’t particularly sexy.  I’ve mentioned that there are no shortcuts before, but that truth continues to shine through time after time throughout the years. There is exceptions like if you smoke and switch over to vaping and try out box mods then you can see the difference quickly. A great brand is the trademark of glass blunts by smoke cartel on this market.

Chiro’s are different because we’re the only profession that is based on the idea that there’s nothing wrong with you.  Intrinsically, you likely have the genetic blueprint to live a long, healthy, happy life.  Some folks (a small percentage… though it seems to be growing) have gene-based alterations in their set point, but, luckily for us, the overarching treatment plan is largely the same.  Assuming you’re physiology is good, and providing the necessary ingredients to provide health to your body isn’t nearly as sexy as rushing you into an Operating Room to cut you open and pull out your ruptured appendix, preventing the immediate risk to your life.

Medical doctors do AMAZING things.  They literally SAVE peoples lives and prevent deaths that would be imminent without them.  We should be grateful for it (and in those situations, people typically are).  The problem, is that nowadays lifestyle illnesses are responsible for most deaths.  So while Emergency interventions with Medicine can save your life (in the right situation, unfortunately not everyone lives) in the event of a heart attack or stroke, the cause of those issues didn’t happen suddenly. One thing I highlight here is to take care of your teeth as early as possible, many people don’t have money when things get out of control, check out must read for clean teeth and stay healthy.

I’m totally borrowing this analogy from James Chestnut, but you can think of the Medical Community as the “fire department”.  In this analogy your body is your house.  When your house is on FIRE, you call the fire department.  Given good timing and adequate staffing, the fire department saves your house from burning to the ground, but there is likely damage that will need to be repaired to make it “new” again.  When that time comes, does it make sense to call the fire department to come fix your house up?  Would the fire department become frustrated with your calls to them to help fix your house?  Absolutely.

This is where we are right now.  The medical community is overwhelmed and frustrated with the number of people who are “pre-diabetic”, “at risk” for heart attack and stroke or cancer, but don’t actually HAVE those problems.  Makes sense, right?  You have the tool that helps when that situation arises, but it isn’t quite there yet, and you can tell that by the way the person is headed, that they’ll likely get there over time.  If only there was a way to help turn those people around.

Well there is.  The PROBLEM, is that it isn’t very sexy – so it doesn’t appear like it could be the answer.

And thennnnn…

You want to get fit.  You want to pack on some muscle, but you enjoy being able to go for a run, play volleyball on the beach and you don’t want to put on any fat while you get stronger.  Welcome to the goal of everyone.  Some people get past this issue and reorient their goals.  That’s what leads to elite performances in sport.  Strongmen, Throwers and Powerlifters don’t CARE how fast they can run 800m, unless it makes them better at their sport/tasks at hand, which it doesn’t.  Sprinters don’t care if their shoulders lack range of motion and that gymnastics would help make their shoulders stronger and healthier… because it doesn’t help them sprint faster.  One goal – be the best in the world at ONE thing.  For most of us, this isn’t the goal.  And to be honest, it isn’t particularly healthy – but when the stakes are olympic gold, or high salary contracts, I can understand when it’d be worth it.

To prepare for true fitness, you’ll get a million different opinions.  it is likely impossible to be the best at absolutely everything.  Who knows, maybe that will be proven wrong one day, but until then it seems like it’d be true.  So to improve your level of fitness, you need to lift heavy things, move your body in progressively more complex ways, sprint every so often and otherwise move about with a good amount of frequency.  You need to eat well, too, but we’ll cover that next.  There’s no “This ONE move you AREN’T doing and your trainer WON’T tell you about!”  It doesn’t exist.  There’s hard work at intelligent tasks and that’s it.  Work the short time domain and the long one.  Work the heavy stuff, the fast stuff AND the slow stuff.  Use gymnastics, kettlebells, medicine balls, barbells, rings,  and as many other implements as you can.  Give EVERYTHING you have sometimes.  Other times focus on quality and perfection in movement (though that should be the goal for ALL movement).  Work on moving hard and fast when you’re moving, and resting when you need to.  THAT, creates fitness.  No BS, no secrets.

And thennnn…

You want to know what to eat.  We were told fat was bad, and then that maybe it isn’t.  But what about vegetable oils, omega 3 oils, saturated fat and so on?  We are CONSTANTLY barraged with recommendations for supplements to take.  Whether it’s a commercial, a multi-level addiction marketing agency, we never know what to take seriously and what not to.  There is SO much information and contradictory claims out there with regard to nutrition that it has been the topic of hundreds of books.  And it will continue to be.

BUT, this is where that Chirpractic view of HEALTH comes in.  This is where we develop our BS filter.

Most Chiropractors are of the opinion that we don’t need more people trying to put out fires on their own with a garden hose and store-bought fire extinguisher (still speaking in metaphor here… those are actually good things to have around in the event of a real fire).  We don’t want to be responsible for putting out uncomplicated low back pain fires.  We want to increase your health.

Improve movement, mobility and stability in the spine and extremities, and you get healthier people.  Fine tune peoples nutrition to help them provide their body with what it NEEDS, and you get healthier people.  Teach people about the value of friendship, family values, being grateful, and positive thinking and you get healthier people.  THAT is what chiropractors like myself specialize in.  Your back/neck/shoulder/hip/knee/whatever pain will “magically” go away when you cover all these bases most of the time. Just search and read, the delfogo review. You can get some tips and advice there.

Devote yourself to getting HEALTHY, not just avoiding disease.  Be the healthiest, happiest person you know.

Stay Healthy friends,

Dr. Adam Ball

3 Issues with Going the “One Way”

“Before I learned the art, a punch was just a punch, and a kick, just a kick.

After I learned the art, a punch was no longer a punch, a kick, no longer a kick.

Now that I understand the art, a punch is just a punch and a kick is just a kick.”

– Bruce Lee

 

Hey Folks!

 

Today we will address something that has been plaguing CrossFit, Chiro, and life in general since I learned of its’ existence.  That thing is that there is NO ONE WAY.  I know what you’re thinking – That’s not a new idea, Adam.  I know it isn’t, but it never takes long for us to convince ourselves that maybe… just maybe there IS ONE WAY.

Oh I need to get my squat up, I have to do the Smolov method.  Oh, the warm up suggests jumping from 75% to 90% of our working weight, I’ll just slap these 45’s on then.  I’m not feeling great; it must be my serotonin levels.  I’d love to lose some weight, but you can only do it if you do the super mega cleanse, and I’m not ready for that.  Etc.  Etc.  Etc.

 

Issue #1:   We want there to be only one way. 

You have this infection, you need this anti-biotic, and you need to take it for this long.  You want to lose 10 pounds so you need to eat this magic-berry this many times per day before you have your water and air to eat.  We want it to be true.  The number of times I’ve heard, “well just tell me what stretch I need to do”, or, “how many treatments does it take to cure this???” is quite honestly, too many.

 

Issue #2:  People don’t like for there to not be ONE WAY.

People want there to be ONE fix.  ONE stretch they aren’t doing.  ONE piece of food they need to add or omit from their diet that will cure their IBS, add 200 pounds to their back squat and get them an A in their Nuclear Biophysics course at University.  They want that “AHA! THAT is what I’ve been doing wrong!” moment.  They WANT easy.  But easy doesn’t exist – simple does.

Eating veggies, meats, tubers, fruits, and adding in some nuts and seeds is simple.  Coming to the gym and doing the work is simple.  Working on your mobility with a Lacrosse ball, foam roller and some stretches is simple.  Getting adjusted regularly to ensure a healthy nervous system is simple.  Unfortunately simple does not always or usually mean easy.  Endeavour for simplicity, it isn’t always easy, but there is a certain beauty in it.

 

Issue #3:  Many a person has gotten rich off selling you the idea that there is only one way. 

Want to know a surefire way to know when you’re hearing/reading good advice?  When the speaker/writer isn’t going to fight you on adhering to what they suggest.

“I can’t eat ‘paleo’ because I have to have yogourt/milk/oatmeal/etc.”, is a common response I hear to my recommendation for most folks to start with a stripped down paleo approach to eating.  Do you know what an appropriate response to this comment is?  “Ok, then have it – and if or when you’re ready to try going without that item as well, you can”.  Many of the truly successful people are not shoving their rules down peoples’ throats.  Mark Rippetoe doesn’t care if you want to compare Starting Strength to Wendlers 5-3-1.  Robb Wolf doesn’t care if you want to go all primal and add some dairy and wine in with your paleo diet.  Most Chiropractors don’t care if you want to come in once a month instead of once every 2 weeks.  What we do know is that if you stray too far from a plan, it doesn’t work as well, and we know what we know because we do it every day.

 

Notes to provoke your thoughts:

Want to know when you’re being sold something that may be suspect (products, services or advice)?  When the person wants to convince you of its’ truth.

I don’t want to pick on anyone as broad brush strokes are just that, broad, but two examples that come to mind are:

Vegans.  You can’t be “kind of” vegan.  From my experiences they will do everything in their power to convince you of the evils of meat and the saintly power of juicing or kale or whatever.  You can see this in the paleo world too with the “is it paleo” debates, which in my opinion are largely a waste of time.

“Evidence-based” healthcare practitioners.   They are typically extremely confident that their way is the only way.  That is until they learn more.  Until they learn about Crazy Bulk and Dbal Max supplements review at Male Fitness from researchers, from where funding comes from, from bias in statistical analysis (and it’s interpretation), and from poorly written conclusions, abtracts and introductions.  Until they learn about outliers, and paradoxical findings (and responders) and articles that conclude, “while this particular study does not support generally accepted findings, we still suggest that people follow XYZ” and wonder why doesn’t the study support it?

Please keep in mind, these are generalizations, and by far not all vegans or “evidence-based” practitioners are like this, but they come to mind first.  How will you know if the person you’re speaking to is unworthy of your trust?  They don’t listen to your side of the conversation.  Not even a little.  They speak louder to get their point across.  It’s painful to speak and debate with these people and we all get sucked into it from time to time.  Don’t’ waste your time or energy here.

 

Bruce Lee is still viewed with starry eyes.  He was a genius.  He knew that there was no one way, and that the more you learned, the more you realized you knew very little.  After understanding how little you know, you can fully acknowledge the breadth of the subject and how best to approach it.  The important thing to take into account is that we’re all trying to get on the highway to greater health and fitness, but few of us will be driving on the exact same onramp or will be driving the same speed, in my case I always check out the flexmastergeneral, Their newest machine is the Bowflex HVT and it is an awesome tool for my fitness goals.  Where you get on and how fast you go isn’t what matters, heading in the right direction is.  So when you begin to doubt yourself from time to time (and you will), remember, there is no one way, there is only the way you are going – just make sure you’re headed in the right direction.

As always – stay healthy, Friends, and make sure to take a heat protectant yo tour trip with you!

 

Dr. Adam Ball

Strategies to avoid being SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

It’s a cold day in Northern Ontario today (-1 degree Celsius this morning!) and as the warmth and summer weather retreats until the spring, the prolonged daylight goes with it.  Shorter, colder days mean much less time spent outside, as well as less time exposed to direct sunlight.  What does this mean for us?

It means we aren’t connecting with nature as often as we would in the summer (raking leaves just doesn’t have the same allure as laying on the dock by the lake, does it?), which can have a profound effect on our mood.  There’s just something that incites a peaceful feeling about spending time outside.

Not being outside also means we aren’t exposed to the suns rays as much (as well as the changed angle of the sun entering the earth), which means our bodies don’t synthesize as much Vitamin D in the fall and winter as they would in the spring and summer.  Vitamin D is STILL a “hot” vitamin/hormone being studied for numerous connections to both mood and health in general.

The colder weather and lack of sunshine can mean some simple but meaningful changes in our lives.  More time spent indoors.  More time spent looking at screens (TVs, Cell phones, computers, etc.).  Less motivation to get out and move (outside or at the gym).  Less time spent connecting with friends and family.  Like everything in life, these things add up.  The problem is, they add up in a bad way.

Seasonal Affective Disorder exists on a gradient (like most psychological/affect diagnoses), and can affect different people in different ways.  Most people simply report they don’t feel as great in the winter as they do in the summer and depending on severity if they need Family Counseling.  Others succumb to outright depression.  The lack of motivation, fatigue and general malaise that plagues SAD sufferers can be improved upon and sometimes alleviated all together.  The desire to change must be there, which is often the hardest part, but it can be upended by starting small.

I’ll outline a number of ways to approach improving your mood and your life – I suggest you pick and choose which ones work best for you, then, when possible, add in another – until you’ve gone through the whole list.  I don’t suggest trying to do them all at once, unless you already do most of them. There is so much information online about Lasik in Singapore but it is really worth your time to spend a few hours researching and making the proper calls to get the answers that are necessary.

1. Move away from digital screens and fluorescent lighting at night

  • The blue light present in these bulbs and screens send a signal to our bodies through our eyes and skin that it’s “daytime”.  When it isn’t daytime and we’re exposed to blue light our bodies don’t unwind properly and our quality of sleep is affected.  No, it doesn’t matter if you can fall asleep immediately – the quality of your sleep is still affected.
  • Read a (paper) book or spend sometime journaling about 30-60 minutes before bed to the light of some candles, or an incandescent bulb.  Or find some other activity to do in the dark before bed, we’re just looking to reduce your exposure to light here.
  • Turn your clock/phone around/away and get some good quality blinds/drapes
  • These will help to reduce the amount of light you’re being exposed to while sleeping, which will improve the quality of your sleep

2. Get to bed at a decent hour and get enough sleep

  • Getting more sleep in the colder months makes sense, as the sun isn’t up as long.  Ever been camping?  Didn’t you feel pooched earlier than you’d expect while sitting around the campfire?  It’s because you’ve only been exposed to natural light since sunset.  Aim for 8 to 10 hours each night.  I know it’s a lot for a busy person but play around with as much as you can get and gauge how you look, feel and perform

3. Wake up grateful

  • Wake up and try to start your day with gratitude.  Be thankful you’re waking up in a bed, in a room, in a house.  That it’s warm.  That you have at least some food available to you for breakfast.  Many aren’t nearly as lucky/wealthy and are simply thankful to wake up in the morning.

4. Eat breakfast

  • It doesn’t need to be a lot, but have something for breakfast.  Start with something fresh, like some fruit, or veggies in an omelet.  If you’ve got veggies already cut up from last nights dinner, throw them in the pan with some eggs and voila, omelet!
  • Have some grapefruit with your coffee to help the caffeine burn a little extra fat.

5. Take your wellness essentials

  • Vitamin D, Fish oil and probiotics are necessary for everyone, everyday.  I wish this weren’t true, but it is.  We’ve affected both the environment, and our food chain to such a degree that it’s made these supplements necessary in everyday life.  You don’t need a lot, a few droplets of Vitamin D, a teaspoon of fish oil (or a few capsules), and a single small capsule of probiotics will set you up for success.
  • The vitamin D is like a shot of sunshine, the fish oil helps to balance out your mood, mental clarity and level of inflammation, and the probiotics will keep your gut populated with friendlies, reducing the chances of an infectious bacteria to set up shop.

6. Get some exercise

  • Get outside for a walk, do some squats and push-ups, some sit-ups and lunges.  Play sports you enjoy.  Come out to CrossFit and join a group of your peers trying their best to accomplish the same things.  Lie out or pack your gym/exercise clothes the night before.  Have everything you need ready – don’t give yourself the opportunity to make an excuse at the time of decision.
  • Movement through your joints and an elevated heart rate will help with your ability to cope with stress.

7. Have fun with friends

  • Get out to socialize, have a beverage, go skiing, whatever.  Just do something you enjoy, preferably with some people you like.  Vent about what’s bothering you, boast about your successes and laugh.  If there’s anyone you can be completely candid with, it’s friends and family.

8. Spend quiet time

  • Read, watch a movie, listen to music or an audiobook, go for a walk.  As a society we rarely take the time to do these things as it’s often viewed as “wasting time”.  If it helps you unwind and slow down your day a bit, then wasting time is something you need to make time to do, at least once a day.  It can be as little as 5 minutes, but is better off being in the 30-60 minute range.  Journaling and introspection I would put higher on the list than watching “The Avengers” for the 6th time.

9. Get Adjusted

  • Chiropractors and other manual therapists (Physio, massage, etc.) help to create, and maintain your full range of motion at the joints in your body.  The communication from your joints and surrounding tissues to your brain stimulates the movement-pleasure pathway, making you feel good.  More importantly, regular adjustments set you up with access to a full range of motion, so you can use it regularly on your own.  Using your full range of motion on a regular basis will help to maintain that range, and therefore keep you feeling great (and necessitate less frequent visits to your manual therapists – don’t worry we don’t mind so long as you’re being healthy!)

Use all, or some of the above suggestions and you should notice a difference with your mood, mental focus, physical health and even boost your immune system.  Our bodies are like an organic vehicle or house, and we want to maintain that vehicle with the best parts and ingredients as possible.  Take good care of your body; you only get one!

Stay healthy, Friends!

Dr. Adam Ball

Increasing ability versus decreasing disability

Hey Folks!

I am a healthcare practitioner that specializes in movement, nutrition and wellness. Also, I have a free dental check up with free teeth whitening Kits containing carbamide peroxide. My job is making people better.  That’s a very subjective goal, but it’s a crucial goal for sure.  Many people live their lives simply hoping they don’t encounter illness or disability.  Many hope it won’t “get” them.  I’m here to tell you, you can do more than hope.

In my practice I help people perform better.  I also help people experience less pain.  Some simply prefer to experience less pain and are happy with that much progress (it’s an easy progress indicator to gauge).  I’ve often been heard saying the perfect time to see a Chiropractor is 1 day before you start to notice any symptoms (whether they be as obvious as pain, or as subtle as less quality sleep or digestion).  This is a difficult goal – and in my opinion isn’t one we need to be concerned with.  So why do I use that example then?  Well…

Do we only eat well until we notice a change, and then stop and wait for the change to go away before eating well again?  Do we only go to the dentist when the pain is so bad we can’t handle it, then wait until that happens again to return? Elan Kaufman – See why to choose KCDH As Your Child’s New Dental Home. For once in a while, go in front of the mirror and smile. Not to offend you, is your smile presentable? Perhaps you’ve realized that seeing your teeth as others do is far different from seeing your teeth under a layer of toothpaste foam every morning. It can be upsetting, right? Maybe your teeth look more yellow than you would like, or maybe more crooked. Well, I have a solution for you, go to Greenville Cosmetic Dentistry.

Then why do we treat our spines (and therefore our nervous system) that way?  We go to the Chiropractor, and then don’t return until we’re in so much pain we can’t tie our own shoelaces.  It’s time to take some initiative and improve our situation.  It’s time to start taking the “moving well” out of eating, moving and thinking well a little more seriously.  Being in the gym is one way to do that.  Seeing a Chiropractor is the other.  They do not replace each other and both are crucial.

I’ve read literature showing Chiropractic improves high jumping, judo athletes grip strength, blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, our ability to withstand mental stress, and obviously, our range of motion (and therefore how our body moves).  It’s inspiring and frustrating (chiropractic controlled trials are hard to perform and therefore are hard to come across).  Once you’ve read the literature and learned the physiological mechanisms for said changes, it makes sense.

This is how most perceive Chiropractic works:

Chiro Dx

This is what actually happens:

Subluxation and Adjustment diagram 

–       Courtesy of James Chestnut DC CCWP

So, the effect goes from the joint, all the way up to the brain.  It communicates and moves on to numerous other structures in the nervous system and eventually the body. Finding a cosmetic dentist in Beverly Hills to replace old dental implants can be a painless procedure if you find a provider that specialized in this type of treatment. So along with the improvement in how the joint is moving we experience lowered stress levels, improvements in heart health measurements (cholesterol, blood pressure, heart rate, vasodilation to the organs, etc.), a greater ability to learn (improved concentration), and tons of other benefits – all because your joints are moving the way they should be.

I’ve seen countless people come in grouchy, and leave far happier.  I’ve seen that happen on the Chiropractic table and I’ve seen it happen after training in the gym.  It comes from activating movement-pleasure pathways from the joints, to the brain.  When you receive that message through exercise, it is far more “clear” if your spine has access to its’ full range of motion.  Chiropractors (and some other manual therapists) are experts at providing you that range of motion.  The frequency with which you can benefit from an adjustment could be as little as once a week (after an initial phase of care), or as infrequent as once every 6 weeks.  Gauge your performance, your sleep, your digestion, your range of motion and even your mental clarity and mood – they’re all indications of your health status, and how your body is treating you.  It takes some trial and error, but you’ll find anabolic steroid that works well for you.  For most living a fairly healthy lifestyle, this ends up being once every 2 weeks to once every 4 weeks.

For everything in life (and health) we live in a dynamic balance.  When we get cold we shiver, when we’re warm we sweat, when exercise or stress demands it, we raise our blood pressure.  Everything has a reason and everything has an effect.  Our ability to accommodate and then recover from stressors best demonstrates our level of health.  Chiropractic adjustments help us to address, and recover from the demands of our environment.

So as much as I love seeing people go from grimace to smile, I enjoy even more hearing that people are sleeping well, loving life and performing well at their hobbies.  Take care of yourself.  Eat well.  Spend time with your loved ones.  Exercise with purpose.  And see your Chiropractor.  Don’t live life from back twinge to back twinge – let me help you go from good to great – It would be my pleasure.

In health,

Dr. Adam Ball
BHSc MScACN DC NMC

If you’d like to book an appointment yourself, Click Here.  If you’d like to speak with me, send me an email through the contact form, or call the office at (705) 222-7213.

Research of the Day – Nov 14, 2012 – Exercise… It’s good for you… Surprise!

Hey Folks!
I’ve skimmed about a dozen articles today and can’t really find a topic or good quality article I feel like reading, so I chose an easy and semi-boring one, in my opinion. Either way, here it is:

Todays Article:

Resistance Training and Older Adults with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Strength of the Evidence

What did they do:

  • Searched far and wide for articles regarding resistance training and type 2 diabetes outcomes, musculoskeletal outcomes and body composition outcomes between the years of 2000 and 2011.
  • Combined the results from all those studies into a meta-analysis to glean more accurate results than any one study on its’ own

What did they find:

  • 3 studies met the criteria! Not very many and not enough to create statistical significance that wasn’t already found in the original studies, but if you’re the author, you’ve already worked hard to find the info, so you combine it and analyze it anyway… Then it gives people like me an “ok” article to link to and say resistance exercise is good.
  • Resistance training was associated with better muscle strength, functionality and size
  • Resistance training had a favourable but non-significant (meaning it could have been chance) effect on HbA1C (a measure of how high and low your blood sugar gets over a period of time)
  • Moderate and small effects were also favourable for blood pressure and LDL cholesterol, respectively
  • Body composition was unchanged

What it means:

  • Exercise is good for you – could potentially reduce the signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes (and metabolic syndrome – associated with cardiovascular disease)
  • People got stronger before their body composition changed AKA You are going to get stronger FIRST, and THEN you’ll lose weight and look “cut”, “toned” or whatever other silly adjective you’d like to use for functionally designed
  • Blood pressure, cholesterol, and many other markers that are regularly measured to gauge health will improve when you exercise, but it takes time.

Not overly life changing findings, I know. But a nice reminder to keep up with the great efforts on the gym – If it’s important, do it every day.

Stay healthy, Friends!

Dr. Adam Ball

Research of the Day – Nov 13, 2012 – Weightlifting and injuries, so You’re saying there’s a chance…

Hey Folks!
Research of the day! I’m out a limb here – examining a paper reporting injury rates among Olympic Weightlifters. No one ever learned anything by turning a blind eye to the things they love just because they love them!

Todays Paper:

Injury Rates and Profiles of Elite Competitive Weightlifters

What they did:

  • They took data from USA weightlifting training camps (where the athletes train to prepare for world championships, olympics and other important competitions in weightlifting) regarding training hours, injury location, injury severity and injury nature
  • The weightlifting teams medical staff (MDs, physios, chiros, etc.) provided their information about any injuries that ocurred to the athletes while they were at the training camp with regard to type of injury (strain, sprain, contusion, fracture, etc.) location (knee, hip, elbow, etc.) nature (acute, chronic, recurring) and severity (time recommended to miss from training)
  • They took this data from 1990-1995

What they found:

  • Over the 6 years there were 560 injuries, of which 326 were located in the low back, knee or shoulder
  • 459 of those 560 injuries were considered a strain, sprain or tendonitis
  • 507 of the 560 injuries resulted in a recommendation of missing less than 1 day of training

What does it mean:

  • It means being competitive at Olympic Weightlifting carries about the same risk of injury as playing just about any other sport.
  • The authors suggest the injuries sustained are less severe as there isn’t any off centered or lateral movement during the weightlifting movements – lateral movements or off centered movements that are often attributed to causing stability injuries to soccer, football, and other sports players.
  • Rates of injuries and complaints in later life were similar to non-weightlifters, but not as bad as retired wrestlers.

What do I think:

  • We have the benefit of diversifying our training, and so not being exposed to the same movements every day (imagine training the snatch, clean and/or jerk, 6 times a day… THAT is repetition) – something that increases the chances of injury
  • We have the disadvantage of not being elite level athletes with thousands of hours of training and familiarity with the movements – something that would reduce the chances of injury
  • The point being… There’s ALWAYS risk to living life (and training). Daring to be great, pushing your comfort zone boundaries and endeavoring to be in better physical condition requires stresses being placed on the tissues of the body, which always carries a risk.
  • The question you can ask yourself is whether or not the risk is worth having better bone density, greater muscle mass and better insulin sensitivity, all things that are related to greater quality of life as well as greater longevity. You all know where I stand on this issue.
  • What we CAN do, is make sure we’re aiming for perfect form, that we’re making an effort to maintain a neutral spine at all times, that we’re keeping our shoulders in healthy positions when pulling or overhead, and that we’re pressurizing the trunk properly when bracing for a lift. THESE THINGS ARE IMPORTANT.
  • It’s also good to know that I’m not alone when my knees are a little achy after a heavy oly lifting session.

Stay healthy, Friends!

Dr. Adam Ball