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Chiropractic for Neck, Back, and Sciatic Pain

Chiropractic for Neck, Back, and Sciatic Pain

Our chiropractor, Dr Antoine Barrier has recently published an article in a French local newspaper Toronto L’Express.

In his article he talks about how electronic devices that we use daily ( including cell phones) have a negative impact on our neck.  He also gives an advice on how to remedy the “text neck syndrome “.

With nearly 5 billion smartphone owners and a daily browsing time estimated at 6 hours, you are probably not spared by this situation. The “text neck syndrome” has been described by Dr. Dean L. Fishman, an American chiropractor.

The « text neck syndrome » is a source of neck pain secondary to your position while you are looking at your smartphone (or others electronic devices like iPads, laptops…). Indeed, an extended head position in flexion may induce some mechanical stress on your cervical spine and shoulders.

Sciatica:  Symptoms and Solutions

You feel some pain in your lower back going down to your leg, and sometimes to your foot: that could be sciatica.

Sciatica is characterized by pain along the sciatic nerve from your lumbar spine to your foot, mainly on the posterior side of the leg.

In 85% of cases, sciatica is caused by a disc herniation. A disc herniation is a protrusion of a damaged or weakened lumbar disc which can press down on the roots of the sciatic nerve and create pain along this nerve.

But there are other causes of sciatica: trauma, lumbar arthritis, heavy weight lifting, bad posture…

However, there are things you can do to prevent this kind of pain :

  • Pay attention to your posture: you need to keep your lower back as straight as possible.
  • Be careful while lifting, pushing or pulling heavyweight.
  • Strengthen your abdominal muscles to maintain and protect your lumbar spine. For that, you can practice plank exercises regularly.

To treat your sciatica, you have different options :

However, if you note abnormally increased pain, neurological symptoms (foot drop, bladder dysfunction, walking issues..) : consult your physician.

Dr. Antoine Barrier joined the Pacific Wellness Institute after successfully operating his practice in Toulouse, France for five years. He is available for chiropractic treatments in our clinic on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.  He welcomes existing patients for follow up visits and new patients for assessments and treatments.

Personalized Lifestyle: What does it mean?

Personalized Lifestyle: What does it mean?

Dr. Wendy Zhou

In today’s consumer world, buying products that are individualized with unique aspects that defines them is a common occurrence.

In the field of health care, individualization can play an important role. After all, not everyone gets the flu during flu season, some family illness seems to skip generations, and people can get an illness that is without a label. All those examples are areas where we see variability in our health and humanity. It is also one of the core reasons why cookie-cutter protocols of 1st line therapies in conventional medicine will not work for a fraction of people.

In order to answer the question of what it means to have a personalized lifestyle and medicine, we should talk about our genetics and epigenetics. According to the New England Journal of Medicine published by John Hopkins Professor, Andrew Feinberg, MD, MPH, epigenetics are “in addition to changes in genetic sequences” which include a process that modifies genetic function without changing our DNA.[1] The modification can be done through a series of signals that travel between the cells. Those signals turn on specific genes in response to the exposures we experience in the outside world. For examples, some well-known influencer of epigenetic changes is heavy metals, pesticides, tobacco smoke, hormones, viruses, bacteria, radioactivity exposure and much more. Without a trigger, our less-desirable genes may never be activated to display its full effect. [2]

In the 21st century living where we are constantly bombarded with information about health and wellness, we can be confused as to what to do. Do we go to the gym or exercise outside? Do we eat gluten or it does not matter as long as we feel fine? Do we follow the new diet trend or shall we do what we know works? All those questions have one thing in common: we are seeking a lifestyle that can make us last a long time on this Earth. With new discovery on epigenetics, we now know that the lifestyle changes we make right now may last longer than us by influencing the next few generations. By changing our environment, we may change our epigenetic signaling to improve functionality in our lives. When we choose to change our lifestyle, not only would we be able to prevent diseases from progressing, we can prevent it from happening in the first place. In addition to disease prevention, we can boost cognitive, emotional and physical function by balancing out our lifestyle in a way that makes the most sense to our lives. Changes do not have to be difficult and painful, it can be stepwise direction on the right path. Even by eliminating a single trigger, we may prevent countless hours of suffering. People may find higher productivity, better emotional control at the time of duress and feel physically stronger by modifying their behaviors in the correct way.

Personalized lifestyle medicine is a powerful tool for the chronic diseases we see today – cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune, Alzheimer’s disease – just to name a few. We know now that those diseases are called ‘chronic’ disease because they are probably stemmed from inflammation in the body that began decades ago. We work upstream and systematically with lifestyle changes: what we eat, drink, move, think and supplement. This way, we prevent inflammation which can lead us to avoid the diagnosis. [3]

In today’s society, a lot of our thinking is still rooted in the past medical way which is a pill for every ill we have. However, it has not always been successful with our chronic diseases. Instead, we should look at a multi-dimensional approach where we utilize multiple concepts of how a disease can be controlled, and use them synergistically together. This is where naturopathic medicine really shines.

Naturopathic doctors function similarly to a family doctor in terms of diagnosis. The similarity ends there. Not only do we understand how conventional medicine approach a problem, we know pharmacology to avoid interactions; we know western herbs along with Chinese herbs; we learned about the traditional German and Europe medicine as much as we did for traditional Chinese medicine. On top of that, we understand and can perform the function of most  alternative therapies such as chiropractic manipulation, ultrasound for pain management, physiotherapy and massage. A referral is common for you to obtain the best care for your personal needs. Because naturopathic doctors spend more time with a patient, they truly can apply the concepts of personalized care. Dr. Wendy Zhou at Pacific Wellness Institute routinely screens for ways to optimize a patient’s health – physically, cognitive and mentally. She believes naturopathic medicine can be used as ‘complementary medicine’ not just as an alternative to conventional care. Book a consultation with her this January to kick start your 2019 in the right direction. Personalize your lifestyle. Personalize your Health.

[1] Feinberg AP. The key role of epigenetics in human disease prevention and mitigation. N Engl J Med. 2018;378:1323-1334.

[2] Weinhold B. Epigenetics: the science of change. Environ Health Perspect. 2006;114(3):A160-A167.

[3] Hunter P. The inflammation theory of disease. The growing realization that chronic inflammation is crucial in many diseases opens new avenues for treatment. EMBO Rep. 2012;13(11):968-970.

Dr. Wendy Zhou has been providing naturopathic services at the Pacific Wellness to existing and new patients. She has experience treating stress-related illnesses, digestive issues, hormone imbalances, thyroid dysfunction, and autoimmune diseases. She also welcomes cancer patients for naturopathic adjunctive cancer care consultations.