604.739.2118 spinehealth123@shaw.ca

Top 10 Steps to Grow Taller

Your height is determined by your genetics and by environmental factors. You can calculate your approximate height by adding your mother and father’s height, then add 5 inches for males or subtract 5 inches for females and dividing the total by 2. This value is your height plus or minus 4 inches. Since you are unable to alter the genetic component in your height, you can adjust the environmental factors to reach your full height potential. Growth occurs from the time of birth to about 20 years of age. However, between ages 11-18, the rate of growth is accelerated. This is the time that you must optimize the growth. There are 10 steps that you can follow to achieve this: The first component is sleep. The production of growth hormone is accelerated during deep sleep. It is recommended that you get between 9 to 11 hours of sleep every night. The second factor is to stay active. Staying physically active such as swimming, biking, running, or yoga and other sports will assist the growth rate. Jumping, hanging upside down and stretching are also good exercises. Avoid exercise that weigh you down such as weight lifting. For the third step, a well balanced diet is very important to for the body to obtain all the vitamins and minerals it needs to assist its growth. The body needs enough calories (energy) to grow, calcium for bone growth, Vitamin D for bones and muscles, and protein for the essential building block for growth. A lot of fruits and vegetables are always beneficial. Sleep, exercise and diet are the basic factors that maintain...

Low Level (Cold) Laser and Concussion

Traumatic brain injuries are a growing concern with more than 1.3 million Canadians living with brain injuries today. Six Canadians suffer from a concussion every hour. Concussion occurs when an external force injures the brain, either through direct impact or by acceleration/deceleration forces. In addition, the injury can worsen in the minutes and days following the trauma, by alterations in cerebral blood flow, poor oxygenation, decrease ATP (energy) levels and heightened intracranial pressure. There are many symptoms related to a concussion, depending on the degree of the injury. The most common complaints are headaches, neck pain with stiffness, dizziness, nausea, poor balance, fatigue, apathy, light and sound sensitivity, visual disturbances, amnesia, emotional lability (crying, talkative), cognitive impairment (slow reaction time, memory loss) and difficulty with mental focus and concentration. One does not have to lose consciousness in order to be diagnosed with a concussion. Concussion sufferers are more susceptible to severe symptoms following an additional episode. Repeated concussions increase a person’s risk, in later life, for dementia, Parkinson’s disease and depression. Treatment for a concussion may be minimal or may include interventions such as medications and emergency surgery (decompression). Rest with decreased stimulation to the brain, such as a dark room, is the typical initial treatment. Chiropractors have played a key role in the treatment of the musculoskeletal conditions that are often associated with these injuries, including whiplash, subluxation, neck strain, facet syndromes and muscle spasms. Low level Laser, which has been used effectively in the treatment of many different types of acute and chronic conditions, has shown promising results with concussion. Nerve cells use a lot of energy and contain...

How to Pick the Right Pair of Shoes for your Feet

Since we spend many hours every day on our feet, picking the right pair of shoes is very important.   Shoes that are not fitted correctly can cause muscle fatigue, blisters and calluses.  Furthermore, these problems can eventually lead to knee and back pain.  Choosing the correct type of shoe can prolong walking, decrease fatigue and pain. The first factor to consider is the size of the shoe.  Some people like to wear shoes too big or too small.  An oversized or undersized shoe will cause more rubbing and will lead to blister, broken skin and calluses.  The shoe should fight snug, but not tight, will act like another layer of skin that will help protect the feet.  You should not be able to put a finger loosely in the back of your heel when you shift your feet to the forward of the shoe.  In addition, if you have wide feet, you should not wear pointy shoes.  Your toes should be able to wiggle freely in your shoe. Secondly, permeability of the shoe is important.  The shoe needs to breathe well to prevent fungus infection.  Shoes with fabric will breathe better than shoes made with all leather/vinyl.   However, shoes with fabric are not good in wet conditions, such as in kitchen or outdoor.   If you sweat a lot or use the footwear for physical activities, then fabric shoes are better. In addition to the material of the shoe, the sole is also important.  Thicker soles offer more protection.  If you have knee or back pain, the heel of the shoe should be softer to help absorb the vibrations when...

How Cold Laser Therapy Can Help Your Joint Pain

By Dr. Kenny Chan Cold Laser Therapy, also known as Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), is the use of therapeutic laser light to provide relief from pain, eliminate inflammation (swelling) or to repair damaged tissues. LLLT is entirely non-invasive and has a wide range of applications, from wounds to sports injuries.  It is very effective on musculoskeletal and soft tissue sprains and strains injuries.  It also decreases muscular spasms, inflammation and pain. When an injury occurs, cells in that area may fail to heal or function normally.  LLLT uses low intensity laser light energy to stimulate cells through a number of known cellular pathways in order to encourage tissue healing.  The light energy has billions of photons of visible and/or invisible light that penetrates deep into the tissue structures. The cellular structures have a unique ability to absorb the laser light energy and transform it into chemical energy to significantly accelerate the healing process and reduce pain in the body naturally.  The net effects are cellular regeneration, collagen production for tissue repair and improved circulation. How the Laser work is that the photon energy created by the laser stimulates the cells to produce energy in the form of Adenosine Tri-phosphate (ATP).  This extra boost of ATP causes cells to perform better, faster and more effectively, and results in quicker wound and injury healing with improved circulation. The number of treatments for Laser therapy varies with each condition.  Patients usually average slightly less than 10 treatments to resolve their condition. In some patients, one treatment may be sufficient; however, on average, 3-25 treatments are required. Other factors affect the number...

Proper Nutrition during Chinese New Year can help reduce your Back Pain

In today’s society, time is such a commodity.   The convenience of getting fast food precedes the importance over the quality of food.  What we eat makes what we are, the basic and important building blocks of life.  The type of food you eat determines how strong your spine is.  When we indulge during the Chinese New Year, we should reward our bodies with proper nutrition and a well balance diet. The spine is made of 24 vertebrae.  Between each vertebra is a disc made of tough cartilage with a fluid filled center.  To keep the bone strong, Calcium (dairy products, spinach, broccoli, tofu and salmon) and Vitamin D (milk, egg yolk fish oil and sunlight) are important.  The discs are made up of 80% water which means drinking a lot of water is good.   This is also good for the spinal cord which is comprised of 60% water.  If you have a bad back, try to avoid drinking alcohol, coffee or tea.  Consuming these fluids will dehydrate the body. Inflammation in the ligaments, tendons and muscles can also be related to what you eat.  Factors that will increase your risk for pain and inflammation are lack of omega-3 fatty acids (sardines, salmon, flax seeds and walnuts), fruits and vegetables, vitamin D, potassium and magnesium, and too much of sweets and starches (white bread, pasta and noodles), hydrogenated fats (fried food and snack food) and processed foods (luncheon meat and sausages, cookies and snack cakes, potato chips and French fries).  Even white rice is not the healthiest choice.   It is made of refined flour and offers very little nutrition in...

Shockwave Therapy Maybe the Answer to your Nagging Injury

In today’s world, the daily life of repetitive movements, prolonged weight bearing (bad) postures and lack of exercises eventually causes muscle and tendon strains. The lack of treatment over a long period of time leads to chronic inflammation and pain. Shockwave Therapy is a new non-invasive treatment method for chronic painful condition in the musculoskeletal system. This technology sends very short energy waves traveling faster than the speed of sound into the injured area. These short energy waves, called Shockwaves, are acoustic waves with an extremely high energy peak like ones which occur in the atmosphere after an explosive event such as a lightning strike or a sonic boom. The original use of Shockwaves were in hospitals over 30 years ago to breakdown kidney stones without the need for surgery. Since then, the use of Shockwaves have greatly expanded. With technological advancement, the new machines are smaller, portable and affordable, and uses a lower energy Shockwaves to accelerate the recovery of chronic pain. How Shockwave Therapy works is that the machine sends energy waves into the injured area to create micro-trauma. It is like throwing very tiny pebbles into painful region. In chronic conditions, the brain would stop healing because it would forget about the injury. Under Shockwave treatment, the micro-trauma created by the energy waves reactivates the brain to promotes tissue regeneration and repair, which leads to new circulation for healing. What conditions can you treat with Shockwave? Shockwave Therapy can be used to treat a wide variety of musculoskeletal conditions–particularly those involving where major connective tissues attach to bone such as: Plantar Fasciitis, Achilles Tendonitis, Tennis Elbow,...

Scoliosis in Children

Approximately three out of every 100 people have some form of scoliosis. Scoliosis can occur in child or in adults, most likely due to degenerative changes. In this article, we will be focusing on scoliosis in children. Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine. A normal spine has a few curves from the side view, but the spine should be straight from the back view. In scoliosis patients, the spine bends to one side or the other, causing compression of one side of the body. Scoliosis also involves a rotation of the spine, in which the individual vertebra’s bones twist around the long axis of the spine. Two very important things you must know about scoliosis are how to detect it and how to prevent it from getting worse. In 85% of the cases, the cause of the curvature is unknown and is categorized as idiopathic scoliosis. Scoliosis can also be inherited or caused by a birth defect, a neuromuscular disorder, cerebral palsy, neurofibromatosis or Marfan syndrome. Although the spine is bent in an unnatural position, there are usually no symptoms. Some people may experience vague muscle back pain, stiffness, or fatigue. The most common curves are convex to the right in the upper back (causing the right shoulder to be higher than the left one) and to the left in the lower back. One hip may also be higher than the other. A parent or friend may notice that the spine appears curved. Forward bending of the trunk may also show one side of the rib cage higher than the other side. Early detection is the key...

Study showed that monthly maintenance of the back has long term benefits

In the August 15, 2011 edition of Spine, an article by two medical doctors, Dr. Mohammed Senna and Dr. Shereen Machaly, concluded that spinal manipulation is an effective modality in chronic nonspecific low back pain. Furthermore, those patients who maintained spinal manipulation treatment maintained their good results while those patients who did not maintain their spinal manipulation returned to their pre-treatment levels of pain and disability (Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2011 Aug 15;36(18):1427-37). Therefore, after chiropractic treatment had resolved the low back pain, having maintenance treatment of once a month is a good way of keeping your spine healthy. A spine is made up of many joints. After about age 12, blood supplies going to these spinal joints (disc) are gone and the only way the discs get their nutrients is by motion. The old cliché “if you don’t use it, you lose it” is true for all joints. Monthly adjustment will keep the disc moving properly and, thus, a healthier spine. Even if your back feels fine now, if you suffer from periodic low back pain, perhaps it is time to visit your...

Backpacks Can Affect Your Children’s Health

BACKPACKS CAN AFFECT YOUR CHILDREN’S HEALTH by Dr. Kenny Chan As summer ends and fall is approaching, the start of another school year begins. As we shop for new school supplies and new clothing, we must also keep in mind our children’s backpack. There are an alarming number of children putting their back at serious risk because they are improperly using backpacks. In the United States, figures showed that almost 60 percent of youths experience back pain by the end of their teen years. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates 7,277 emergency room visits each year results from injuries related to book bags. In addition, reports also showed that backpack related injuries are up 330 percent since 1996. Chiropractors are seeing more children having shoulder pain and upper and lower back pain. It appears that children’s backpack are getting bigger and heavier every year. Their teenage body are not developed enough to handle that kind of load and, thus, cause serious damage to a child’s health for a lifetime. Hauling a heavy backpack every day may cause serious postural misalignments. These postural imbalances can cause restrictions and inflammation in the spine and eventually neck and back pain, headaches and osteoarthritis. There are four area that parents can help in the management of their child’s backpack: buying, packing, lifting and carrying. Buying the right kind of backpack is very important. Don’t buy the biggest backpack you can find – make sure the backpack is appropriate to your child’s size. Buy canvas or vinyl; leather is too heavy. Choose a backpack with a molded frame and/or adjustable hip strap, so that...

How can Chiropractors help in Concussions?

Concussions are taken a lot more seriously now than ever before especially in professional sports. Concussion is a traumatic brain injury that results in swelling of the brain. It usually occurs from a direct trauma to the head or when a violent head movement that causes the brain to bash against the skull bones. The primary sign of a concussion is a loss of consciousness. Other signs and symptoms may include headache, memory loss, vomiting, nausea, dizziness, blurred vision and ringing in the ears. There are three most common causes of a concussion are: 1) automobile accidents (with or without hitting your head); 2) falling and hitting your head against something; or 3) a blow to the head during a sporting event, such as hockey. Depending on the severity of the injury and how the concussion is managed, the result may range from a mild head pain to a more serious brain damage. However, most concussions are mild and usually required rest and time. Medication and surgery are usually not required. However, what is often overlooked in a head trauma is the injury to the neck. Whiplash type injuries are very commonly associated with a concussion. This soft tissue injury in the neck can also contribute to the symptoms of a concussion, such headaches, dizziness, numbness and tingling in the head and arms. A Chiropractor can assess the neck for soft tissue injuries and misalignments. Chiropractic adjustments, massage and other modalities can help control the swelling and spasms of the soft tissue and reduce the nerve pressure from the neck structures. The most important point that we should take...

A Simple Stretch may help your chronic Back Pain

In my practice, I have noticed that many of my chronic back pain patients have tight hamstrings. The hamstring is a muscle that runs from your lower buttock to the back of the knee on each leg. Simply stretching the hamstring may help or even cure your lower back pain. Since this muscle attaches to the back of the pelvis, the tight muscles can pull the pelvis out of alignment and cause the lumbar spine (the lower part of your spine) to loss it normal curvature or lordosis. This can cause increase pressure on your discs and spinal joints and ultimately inflammation and pain. Over time, this can lead to irreversible degenerative changes to the spine. Even if you have treatment on a regular basis, if this problem is not corrected, you will still suffer intermittent lower back pain. To determine if you have tight hamstrings, you can do an easy self check. While lying down on your back, have someone lift one leg (do not raise the other leg) to a point of tension. Your leg should be close to 90 degrees (perpendicular to the floor). Do the same to the opposite leg. If you cannot reach close to 90 degrees, then it is time to stretch. Stretching the hamstring is very simple and easy. The following guidelines also apply to all stretches: 1. Do not hold your breath. Take slow deep and long breath to help relax your body. 2. Do not force your stretch. Stretch to the point where you feel a good tension and not pain. 3. Hold your stretches. Never bounce when you stretch,...

Can Drinking Water Decrease Your Back Pain?

It is hard to imagine how simply drinking water can help decrease your back pain. Therefore, I have written this article to help you understand how important water is to you spine. During the summer when the weather is hot, I noticed that patients with back pain may be associated with a lack of water intake. Proper hydration level is very important for the body to reach its maximum healing potential. Back pain can be greatly relieved by simply increasing daily water intake. Or to put it another way, back pain in many cases is caused or exacerbated by chronic dehydration. To realize why water is so important, we must first understand the structure of the spine. The spine is made up of many bones (vertebra) joined together by a disc. The disc, the cause of severe back pain, is very flexible and allows the spine to move in many different directions. This structure is made up of a tough outer ring fibers and a middle gelatinous substance called the nucleus pulposis, which is primarily WATER. During the day, when you are standing or sitting, gravity causes compression of the disc, thus, squeezing water out. At night when you sleep, water is reabsorb and the disc is rehydrated. If you measure your height in the morning and compare it to at night, you may see yourself taller in the morning. It is similar to a sponge increasing in size when it absorbs water. That is why you may have to adjust the rear view mirror when you drive to work in the morning. Once we understand why water is...