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5 Things You Should Know About Concussions

5 Things You Should Know About Concussions
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Participating in sports is a great way to stay active and in some sports, a level of physical contact is required. However, this physical contact can sometimes result in injury. Although we hope that you are able to play safely, concussions are a common traumatic brain injury that can occur in high-contact sports. This injury can be serious, and it’s important to know what steps you should take in the event that you suspect that you or someone you know has suffered a concussion.

Here are five things Dr. Luciano Di Loreto (Chiropractor) would like you to know about concussions: 

  1. A concussion may be caused by a direct blow to the head, face, neck, or impact elsewhere on the body that transmits force to the head.1
  1. There are multiple ways to get a concussion such as from falling, or a car or bike accident. When it comes to physical activity, concussions have a greater risk of occurring in sports that involve body contact, collisions, and/or moving at high speeds.2
  1. A concussion can be difficult to diagnose because clinical symptoms and signs can change and may evolve over time. The diagnosis of a concussion is based on the assessment of a range of symptoms (i.e., headache, difficulty concentrating, feeling like being in a fog, or emotional lability), signs (i.e., loss of consciousness or balance disturbance), cognitive impairment (i.e., confusion or slowed reaction times) and neurobehavioural changes, such as irritability.2
  1. Recovery: When properly managed, 80–90% of concussions resolve in a short period of about 7–10 days, although the recovery time frame may be longer in children and adolescents.1
  1. The most important factor in concussion management is physical and cognitive rest until the symptoms resolve. From there, a step-by-step guideline is followed that slowly increases physical and cognitive exertion before returning to one’s regular active lifestyle.1

Many chiropractors with first responder training commonly work with other healthcare professionals to support sports teams. Part of their role is to manage cases of suspected concussions and refer for additional medical attention as needed. Dr. Luciano Di Loreto (Chiropractor) & Associates can also help to co-manage the recovery and return to play of athletes.

If at any point you believe someone may have a concussion, contact medical staff immediately to assess the situation. Concussions should never be taken as a light injury and must be attended to. For more information on athlete-related concussions, take a look at our blog post on Returning to Sports after a Concussion.

Source: CCA Blog

References

  1. McCrory P, Meeuwisse WH, Aubry M, et al. Consensus statement on concussion in sport—the 4th international conference on concussion in sport held in Zurich, November 2012. Br J Sports Med. 2013; 47(5): 250-8. doi: 1136/bjsports-2013-092313.
  2. Makdissi M, Davis G, McCrory P. Updated guidelines for the management of sports-related concussion in general practice. Aust Fam Physician. 2014; 43(3): 94-9. http://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2014/march/sports-related-concussion/. Accessed August 29, 2016.
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Keeping Our Youth Heart-Healthy Through Movement

Keeping Our Youth Heart-Healthy Through Movement
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Exercising the heart makes it stronger. It’s a lesson we all know in adulthood, and it begins with good habits that are ingrained within us over time. If we want to make the general population more heart healthy, it’s important to start the lesson early.

The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP), a voluntary organization that focuses on the scientific study of exercise physiology and biochemistry, fitness, and health, came up with a new plan to get our young people moving. The 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth, aimed at those 5 to 17 years in age, is the first evidence-based set of guidelines to address the whole day of a person’s activity, including rest and sleep.1

The rationale behind taking into consideration a whole day of active and passive activity is that the body is always active. It’s about more than concentrated physical workouts—all physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep are necessary in a fine balance for overall well-being.

The categories of movement are broken down into “Sweat, Step, Sleep, and Sit,” and the guidelines encourage youth to achieve high levels of “sweat,” low levels of “sit,” and the right amount of sleep each day depending on their age group1:

SWEAT: When it comes to sweating, the CSEP recommends a total of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity throughout the day, including some aerobic activity. Strengthening activities should be part of that “sweat time” at least three days out of the week. 

STEP: “Step” activities can come in many forms of structured and unstructured physical activities, as long as they are light intensity. One clear example would be walking. Several hours of light movement are needed throughout the day.

SLEEP: Of all the activities, this is the one that should take up most of your time. For those aged 5 to 13, nine to 11 hours of sleep per night are needed. For those a little older in the 14 to 17 year age category, eight to 10 hours of sleep per night are recommended. Along with this schedule, it is recommended that bedtimes and wake-up times stay consistent. 

SIT: One of the next-most recommended pieces of advice is to avoid being sedentary. In the 24-Hour Movement Guidelines, it’s built into the plan: no more than two hours per day of recreational screen time, and limited sitting for extended periods.

Following these guidelines can have a significant, positive impact on the body, improving “body composition, cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal fitness, academic achievement and cognition, emotional regulation, prosocial behaviours, cardiovascular and metabolic health, and overall quality of life.”2

These guidelines promote building extra movement into your day without being overwhelmed by one specific category. By promoting regular activity and sleep schedules, it’s a practical beneficial framework for youth (and adults) to apply to their daily lives.

Sourced from CCA Blog

References

  1. Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. CSEP announces new Canadian 24-hour movement guidelines for children and youth: the world’s first evidence-based guidelines to address the whole day. 2016. Available at: http://www.csep.ca/en/guidelines/24-hour-movement-guidelines. Accessed December 5, 2016.
  1. Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. Canadian 24-hour movement guidelines for children and youth: an integration of physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep. Available at: http://www.csep.ca/CMFiles/Guidelines/24hrGlines/Canadian24HourMovementGuidelines2016.pdf. Accessed December 5, 2016.
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7 Tips to Add Mindfulness to Your Routine and Reduce Stress

7 Tips to Add Mindfulness to Your Routine and Reduce Stress
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Mindfulness; it’s become a popular topic for mental health and well-being, but what does it actually mean, and where does it come from? Mindfulness, a form of meditation, has its roots in Buddhism. It is one group of many meditation techniques that originated in Eastern religious or spiritual traditions. Today, it is often practised to help with stress reduction.1

Most commonly, mindfulness meditation is used to help modify a person’s response to stress. A growing body of research shows that the practice is effective in reducing stress and improving mood, and may even help to improve cognition in older adults.2 It has also been shown to improve anxiety, sleep disturbances, stress, and chronic pain.

There are a few other reasons why mindfulness meditation is gaining in popularity: it involves low physical and emotional risk, is easy to implement, is not expensive, and it has the potential to empower people to be more actively engaged in their mental health.2

Many mindfulness exercises involve practising just that—being mindful. It involves focusing on breath, posture, and the space you occupy at the present moment. Often, even just adding a few minutes of meditation to your routine per day can make a big difference in your overall sense of mental well-being. Here are some tips to help add meditation to your daily routine3:

  1. Choose a time. Morning is a calm time in many people’s days, but choose what’s easiest for you and stick to it.
  2. Choose a place. Consistency of space can be helpful to ground your practice. Preferably choose a place that’s quiet and where you can sit quietly and relax for a few minutes each day.
  3. Choose a duration. It’s good to decide before you start how long you’re committed to. Start with five minutes, and slowly build upon it.
  4. Set an intention. At the beginning of each meditation, remind yourself why you are meditating that day.
  5. Set your posture. This is about more than spinal health: having a healthy posture increases alertness in your meditation, and it helps keep you focused. (There are more posture tips below.)
  6. Take a few deep inhales, and a few deep exhales, allowing your body to unwind. As you breathe out, focus on relaxing different muscles and areas of the body with each breath, moving in one direction up (or down) the body.
  7. Choose an object of attention. Not necessarily a physical object, but a point of focus, such as the breath as it flows in and out of the nostrils, or the chest, as it rises and falls with each breath. With a relaxed body and an open posture, this keeps your meditation focused on the present.

Remember, concentration involves placing your attention on one thing or in one place. Mindfulness is noticing everything in its purest form, moment-to-moment. Neither of these things come easily. Meditation is a practice, not just an activity, so it takes time to develop it as a skill unto itself.3

Here are a few tips for setting your posture: try sitting on a chair or cushion. When you first start each meditation, it’s best to find back support in a chair or sit with your back against a wall to maintain a straight-back position. In this position, let the rest of your body hang freely. You can rest your hands on your knees or lap. When you let your eyes close, you allow yourself to bring the attention inward to the body, and to the present moment.3

If you’re able to sit a little bit each day and be mindful of the present moment, not only will you experience noticeable benefits like the ones listed above, the practice will become easier. Commit to what’s possible for you, and stick with it. Happy meditating!

References

  1. Horowitz S. Health Benefits of Meditation: What the Newest Research Shows. Alternative and Complementary Therapies. 2010; 16(4): 223-8. doi:10.1089/act.2010.16402.
  1. Morone N, Greco C, Weiner D. Mindfulness meditation for the treatment of chronic low back pain in older adults: A randomized controlled pilot study. Pain. 2008; 134(3): 310-9. doi:10.1016/j.pain.2007.04.038.
  1. How to Meditate | New York Insight Meditation Center. Nyimcorg. 2016. Available at: https://www.nyimc.org/how-to-meditate/. Accessed November 4, 2016.

Source: CCA Blog

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How Sitting Is the New Smoking

How Sitting Is the New Smoking
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There’s no sugar-coating it: North Americans sit a lot. Two-thirds of the North American workforce sits for all or part of their workday.1 When you don’t adjust your posture frequently enough, you’re more likely to experience discomfort while sitting—and you’re inviting a whole host of other musculoskeletal problems along with it.1

Today, on average, sitting takes up more than half of an adult’s waking hours.2What’s worse is that, according to Mayo Clinic cardiologist Martha Grogan, “for people who sit most of the day, their risk of heart attack is about the same as smoking.”3 Based on current trends, researchers predict the number of hours we spend sedentary will likely increase.2

There are other health risks that come from being more sedentary: prolonged time spent while sitting or reclining can tamper with your glucose levels and your metabolism.4 It’s also a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.4 The good news is that if you break up those long periods of sitting, you can reduce your risk of having diabetes, heart disease, or stroke.4

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada5 recommends at least thirty minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity—such as brisk walking or bike riding—at least five days out of the week. If you work Monday to Friday, consider adding a few steps to your commute, or taking two 15 minute walk breaks each workday.

Here are some more helpful tips to help break up your sitting time6,7:

  • Create a schedule to remind you to stand up and move. Programming your day can help you stick to something you may otherwise forget to do. A good goal is 5–10 minutes of activity per hour. For example, if you have a job that involves sitting most of the day, plan to spend five minutes every hour up from your chair and moving around the office (like getting coffee, walking around the building, or taking a restroom break) and spend the other five minutes doing stretches.
  • Walk around on your lunch break. Invite coworkers from your office to go for a walk with you at lunch. You can check out a nearby park or take a new route around the neighbourhood.
  • Park further away and walk. Whether you’re running errands or parking at work, you can choose to park further away and walk those extra few steps to your destination.
  • Walk around the house while talking on the phone or during commercial breaks of your favourite show. You might find other opportunities throughout the day too!

Little changes can go a long way to improve your posture and decrease a number of health risks. Whatever method you choose, you can also use the Straighten Up Canada app and Fit-in 15 program to find small exercises you can do during the day.

 

References

  1. Fenety A, Walker JM. Short-term effects of workstation exercises on musculoskeletal discomfort and postural changes in seated video display unit workers. J Am Phys Ther Assoc. 2002; 82(6): 578-89.
  1. Healy GN, Eakin EG, Owen N, et al. A cluster randomized controlled trial to reduce office workers’ sitting time. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2016; 48(9): 1787-97. doi:10.1249/mss.0000000000000972.
  1. Winslow, R. The guide to beating a heart attack: first line defense is lowering risk, even when genetics isn’t on your side. The Wall Street Journal. April 16, 2012. http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304818404577347982400815676. Accessed November 25, 2016.
  1. Benatti FB, Ried-Larsen M. The effects of breaking up prolonged sitting time. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2015; 47(10): 2053-61. doi:10.1249/mss.0000000000000654.
  1. Stay active. Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. 2016. Available at: http://www.heartandstroke.ca/get-healthy/stay-active#How-much-activity-do-I-need. Accessed November 22, 2016.
  1. Storrs C. Stand up, sit less and move more, researchers say; here’s how to do it. CNN. August 6, 2015. Available at: http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/06/health/how-to-move-more/. Accessed October 14, 2016.
  1. Sit less. The Heart Foundation. Available at: https://heartfoundation.org.au/active-living/sit-less. Accessed October 14, 2016.
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9 Tips to Stay Active during the Winter Months

9 Tips to Stay Active during the Winter Months
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When it gets cold outside, we tend to spend more time indoors doing sedentary activities and it can be difficult to stay active. It’s helpful to plan ahead and set some time aside in your schedule a few days a week to make sure you’re getting the activity you need.

To have health benefits from exercise, adults need a total of 2.5 hours of activity spread across the week, in bouts of ten minutes or more. These activities need to be moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic activities. Moderate-intensity physical activities include brisk walking or bike riding. Generally, you know your activity is moderate-intensity if you sweat a little and breathe 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.1

Here are a few tips to help keep you motivated to stay active during the winter months2:

  • Plan activities ahead. When activities are in your calendar, you’re less likely to forget them. Preparedness also helps set good habits.
  • Find a fun local activity, like snow shoeing, skiing, skating, or cross-country skiing.
  • Dress in layers. Insulate your body. When you can keep your body warm, it’s easier to continue being active outside.
  • Use your daylight hours. It’s easier to stay outside while it’s still light out. It’s easy to miss out on activities when you start them too late in the day.
  • Find indoor activities at your local community centre. This could be aerobics classes, badminton, basketball, or yoga classes.
  • Climb stairs. Deliberately add more steps to your day. Consider going up and down a flight in your home, the mall, or an office building more than once over the course of your regular daily activities. As little as five minutes can make a huge difference for your health.
  • Visit a library to find more motivation. There are plenty of free exercise DVDs you can borrow, including dance, step, aerobics, or Pilates. You can use the return date as a deadline to pick up another one!
  • Sign up for a fun run. You can often find non-competitive “fun runs” in your community that are usually between 5 and 10 kilometers. You can invite friends and family to join in!
  • 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.

Whatever your activity level is, remember to stay hydrated. It is 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.2

Most importantly, stay motivated. Revisit your goals (or look for tips to set new ones) to make sure you’re still on track. Plan ahead and make sure you can envision your goal as you look ahead towards the finish line.

Here’s to staying active in the new year!

 

References

  1. Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines. 1st ed. CSEP; 2016. Available at: http://www.csep.ca/CMFIles/Guidelines/CSEP_PAGuidelines_adults_en.pdf. Accessed November 7, 2016.
  1. Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. 11 ways to stay active in winter. 2009. Heartandstroke.ca. Available at: http://www.heartandstroke.com/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=ikIQLcMWJtE&b=4832209&ct=7596299. Accessed November 7, 2016.
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13 Activities to Exercise Your Brain

13 Activities to Exercise Your Brain
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As a society, we’re constantly reminded to exercise our bodies, but when was the last time you were reminded to exercise your mind? Part of a healthy lifestyle involves exercising your brain. Your brain can be trained like a muscle, and without a good workout now and then, it can eventually shrink over time.1

Sedentary activities are not only bad for your physical health, they can also be detrimental to one’s brain.1 Engaging in more stimulating leisure or social activities are a great start to keeping your brain in shape.2 This is because when you actively engage the brain, more cells can be produced, as well as the connections between them. When the body has more brain cells on reserve, research suggests that this may be able to help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.2 While more research is needed in this area of study, there are other health benefits to keeping your brain active—like boosting your memory and cognitive function—that are worth keeping in mind.2

What Types of Activities Can I Do? 

Any type of stimulating mental activity can help exercise your brain. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to make sure you’re on the right track2:

  1. Does it incorporate new learning?
  2. Is the activity reasonably complex?
  3. Is the activity varied and interesting?
  4. Do you engage in the activity frequently?

Examples of Brain Exercises2

  1. Reading
  2. Listening to the radio
  3. Visiting museums
  4. Taking a course
  5. Learning a new language
  6. Playing musical instruments
  7. Artistic/other hobbies
  8. Participation in leisure activities such as sports, dancing, or gardening
  9. Cultural activities and conversation
  10. Board games, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and other puzzles
  11. Doing simple calculations
  12. Storytelling
  13. Imaginary exercises to stimulate the senses (e.g., recalling a peaceful nature scene)

These are just a few ideas of things you can do to stimulate your brain. When you’re considering your overall brain health, you can also look to your diet, ensuring that it is well-balanced, low in fat and cholesterol, and high in antioxidants.1 Having the right nutrients in your body helps maintain cognitive function and stimulate proper brain function and development.3,4 You can also look to your physical exercise regime—regular physical activity can improve cognition,5 help memory and thinking processes, improve mood and sleep, and reduce stress and anxiety.6

Chiropractors care about your overall health and can help point you in the right direction if you have any questions or concerns about this topic.

Whatever activity you choose, remember that brain health is just as important as physical health, so keep finding new and creative ways to keep those mental juices flowing.

 

References

  1. Melone L. 10 brain exercises that boost memory. EverydayHealth.com. 2016. Available at: http://www.everydayhealth.com/longevity/mental-fitness/brain-exercises-for-memory.aspx. Accessed November 1, 2016.
  1. Alzheimer’s Australia. Mental exercise and dementia. 2016. Available at: https://www.fightdementia.org.au/files/helpsheets/Helpsheet-DementiaQandA06-MentalExercise_english.pdf. Accessed November 1, 2016.
  1. Lim S, Kim E, Kim A, Lee H, Choi H, Yang S. Nutritional Factors Affecting Mental Health. 1st ed. Seoul, Korea: Department of Food and Nutrition; 2016.
  1. Rathod R, Kale A, Joshi S. Novel insights into the effect of vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids on brain function. J Biomed Sci. 2016; 23(1). doi:10.1186/s12929-016-0241-8.
  1. Chang Y, Chu C, Wang C, Song T, Wei G. Effect of acute exercise and cardiovascular fitness on cognitive function: An event-related cortical desynchronization study. Psychophysiology. 2014; 52(3): 342-51. doi:10.1111/psyp.12364.
  1. Godman H. Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills. Harvard Health Blog. 2016. Available at: http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110. Accessed November 7, 2016.
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Understanding Osteoarthritis: Learn more about the risks

Understanding Osteoarthritis: Learn more about the risks
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Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. In fact, it is a growing epidemic in Canada which is only expected to rise as the population ages. Osteoarthritis is described as the “degeneration of joint cartilage and underlying bone” often resulting in pain and stiffness. Even though osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body, the most commonly affected joints are in the hands, knees, hips and spine. It is often considered as “wear and tear”; however, it is believed instead that it may be due to abnormal stress or injury to the joint(s).

What we know is that osteoarthritis affects one in ten Canadians. By 2040, it is estimated that approximately 470,000 Canadians will suffer from osteoarthritis1. Unfortunately, for many, osteoarthritis is a painful condition that can make daily activities very difficult.

To best manage the symptoms and prevent the progression of the condition, it is important to pay attention to early signs. Although there is no cure for osteoarthritis, there are options that can reduce the risk and relieve pain, stiffness and improve function.

Here are some early signs to take note of2:

  • Joint stiffness: Aching, pain and/or stiffness usually occur in the morning or after a period of inactivity and once movement resumes. Typically, stiffness may decrease after about 30 minutes.
  • Joint swelling: A person may notice some swelling in the joints and a reduction in range of motion.
  • Joint crepitus: The joint may grind, grate or experience a crackling sensation, commonly accompanied by a cracking sound.
  • Pain: Pain is usually worse after activity and improves with rest. Early on, the pain may only be triggered by high-impact activities but as it progresses, there may be more frequent episodes of pain. The joint pain or discomfort may affect the person throughout day.

Here are some tips to help manage the condition and prevent progression:

Exercise: Exercise can help manage symptoms while increasing your endurance and strengthening the muscles that help support the joints. Good options for activity include walking, biking and swimming. Download the Straighten Up Canada app for easy to follow exercise videos. Get moving!

Weight management: Excess weight can be an important risk factor due to the additional stress put on your weight-bearing joints. Even a small amount of weight-loss can help reduce pain and limit further joint damage.

Mobility: Gentle stretching may help improve flexibility and mobility, while decreasing stiffness and pain. Exercises like yoga and tai chi can help manage stiffness.

Heat and cold: Applying heat and cold can help relieve pain when aggravated. Heat can relieve stiffness, while ice may help with pain.

Manual therapy: Manual therapy can help provide treatment not only for pain management, but help improve function and prevent progression. Addressing biomechanical dysfunctions can help relieve pressure on joints.

Positive attitude: Studies have demonstrated that a positive attitude can help increase a person’s ability to manage pain.

Like all medical conditions, it’s important to ask questions and get the appropriate information to best manage the symptoms and slow down progression. Osteoarthritis can alter the way you live your life, speak to chiropractor Dr. Luciano Di Loreto & Associates today.

Sourced from Canadian Chiropractic Association

References

1 Claire Bombardier, The Impact of Arthritis in Canada: Today and over the Next 30 Years, https://www.ergoresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Impact%20on%20arthrisis%20in%20Canada_Today%20and%20over%20the%20next%2030%20years.pdf 

2Arthritis Society of Canada, Osteoarthritis, https://arthritis.ca/understand-arthritis/types-of-arthritis/osteoarthritis
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