Why I would never trust a regular chiropractor to work with my dog…

Why I would never trust a regular chiropractor to work with my dog…

I never adjusted my dog out of concern that his anatomy is different than mine and yours.  I recently completed the first of five modules in a veterinary chiropractic course and let me tell you I made the right decision by not adjusting him. 

Should You Sit On An Exercise Ball?

The trend of swapping your office chair for an exercise ball seems to be fading a bit.  However, many patients still ask me if it is beneficial to sit on an exercise ball rather than a chair.  The exercise ball is an unstable surface that in theory should lead to increased trunk movement which aids in the nutrition of your muscles and vertebral discs and increases the activity of your core musculature.  There are other proposed benefits as well, but let’s find out if they outweigh the negative side effects.

A 2009 study published in the journal Applied Ergonomics, researchers compared an adjustable office chair with armrests to an exercise ball while the participants did a one hour typing task.  The chair and the ball were fit to the subject’s body size so when sitting their knee angle was 90 degrees.  As hypothesized by the authors they found 33% more global trunk motion when sitting on the exercise ball (not found to be significant).  They also found the average rate of change of lumbar EMG and amplitude of lumbar spine muscles to be 66% and 38% higher when on the ball.  Although increased spinal movement and muscle activation are good for spine health, they also increase forces on the spine, which can have detrimental effects on the intervertebral discs.  To test this, the authors looked at the compressive forces on the spine and found that spinal shrinkage was significantly greater when sitting on an exercise ball than the office chair.  Another implication of increased muscle activity is that it can lead to muscle fatigue which can increase your susceptibility of low back injury. 

Another study by McGill published in 2006 in Applied Biomechanics, looked at pressure distribution.  Comparing an exercise ball, an office chair, and a stool they found that the surface contact area was significantly greater with the exercise ball.  The increased contact area actually increases the level of discomfort when sitting on the ball.  This is because the soft tissue is now absorbing the pressure of sitting, when it should be on the boney part of your butt! 

In conclusion, although there seem to be benefits of sitting on an exercise ball, the benefits are outweighed by the significant negative effects to your spine.  For this reason use a traditional office chair at work or utilize an exercise ball for short periods at a time to limit the shrinkage of your spine! 


Stay healthy my friends, 

Dr. Adam 

If Your Dog is Fat, You Are Not Getting Enough Exercise

By this time next year I should be certified in veterinary chiropractic.  It's a year long course for both chiropractors and veterinarians. I'm excited to work with house pets like dogs, but I'm also excited at the opportunity to work with larger farm animals like horses.  

In light of my excitement and my love for animals I thought I would produce this post.  Enjoy!

The health benefits of having a dog are obvious.  Mentally they make you laugh and give you unconditional love when you are only gone for 30 minutes, they make it seem like you have been gone for 30 days.  But first I’m going to touch on the physical health benefits. Whether it is play, walking or jogging, you are forced to get off the couch and move.   Many studies have shown that owning a dog can help to avoid a sedentary lifestyle.  Increasing regular exercise, such as leisure walking can help to decrease the risk of certain cardiovascular conditions.  One study showed that pet owners have lower systolic blood pressure which is the driving force of the contracting heart, than non-pet owners.  Another study showed lower plasma cholesterol levels, as well as triglyceride levels in pet owners.   It is even reported that dogs may show adverse behaviour if their Type 1 diabetic owners are having hypoglycemic episodes which could help their owner avoid an adverse health event.   Finally, pet owners who suffered a heart attack had higher 1 year survival rates than their non-pet owning counterparts.   

More intriguing perhaps than the cardiovascular benefits are the psychological benefits of owning a pet.  Most pet owners do not get a pet to reduce sedentary behaviours but rather to have companionship and an improved quality of life.  In a study that followed just under 1000 participant for one year, it was found that pet owners had fewer doctor contacts than their counterparts without pets.  It has also been reported that certain populations of people that own pets suffer less from depression.  

The authors of one article proposed a theory of how pet companionship can improve cardiovascular health, by reducing emotional stress.  Increased emotional stress leads to a barrage of negative effects on the body.  This is caused by increased sympathetic nervous system function.  We developed this over thousands of years when we had to worry about Saber Tooth Tigers.  If you turned a corner and met up with a tiger you would instinctually fight back or run away (fight or flight).  Nowadays the Saber Tooth Tiger comes in the form of commuting, work deadlines, family stressors etc.  Short durations of this type of emotional stress is good because it can help us get away from the Tiger.  However, when long lasting, this type of stress can lead to chronic disease.  Among other things like exercise, owning a pet can psychologically decrease or limit stressful sympathetic activity.  This decreases potential endothelial dysfunction, chance of cardiac arrhythmias and sudden death, as well as high blood pressure through decreased kidney activity. 

If you train with your pet make sure that they are getting adequate rest and recovery. And for the same reasons that you should be taking care of your health by visiting a chiropractor, you should also be taking your dog to an animal chiropractor. 

If you would like a great recommendation for an animal chiropractor check out my friend’s page here. 

Until next time, stay healthy my friends!

Setting Up a Work Station

Many people suffer from the constant strain of poor posture.  This article will give you the optimal set up at your work station.  However, it is important to understand that any posture will at one point lead to fatigue.  Therefore small changes in posture and micro-breaks throughout your workday will give you most relief. The following information is from the Ontario Ministry of Labour website.

Computer monitor should he at a height to allow your neck to be straight (top of screen at eye level).  If you wear bifocals the screen should be slightly lower so head is neutral when reading the top line on the screen

There should be a 90 degree bend at your elbows, with your arms hanging naturally at your sides

Your hands should be in line with your forearms, so there is no bending of your wrists

Your thighs should be parallel to the floor, allowing your feet to rest flat on either the floor or a footrest

Your chair should have a lumbar (low-back) support to help maintain your natural lumbar curve in the seated position

Your mouse hand should be supported so there is no bend in the wrist

Use a document holder that is adjustable, to the same height as your monitor


Although the above is helpful, less people are using desktop computers as the popularity of laptops increase.  With the screen and keyboard connected, the screen will be too low, the keyboard will be placed too high or a little bit of both.  This means the importance of micro-breaks increase, and more frequent changes in posture will be needed.  

If you follow the above protocol you will put yourself in a less compromising position.  However, you still will put your neck in a compromising positioning.  Losing the normal curve in your neck can cause headaches, neck stiffness, numbness and tingling into the arms and hands as well as shoulder pain. If you suffer from any of these symptoms you should seek out a corrective care chiropractor who can assess your neck and let you know if you would do well under care.



Health - It Takes Discipline

You want something good but are you disciplined enough to achieve it?

Most good things in life don’t come easy.  We must be consistent and chip away at it little by little. The recognition or fulfillment comes after the work is put in. 

As a chiropractor I’ve met many people who want better health outcomes but only few of them are willing to put in the effort to get it.  

Whether it is being consistent with their chiropractic adjustments, at home exercise, kicking the sugar habit or laying off alcohol, staying on track takes discipline, and this is really evident for health.

You want to lose weight, you better have a regimented meal plan and fight off those food cravings.  You need discipline. 

You want to gain muscle, you better have regimented work out schedule and follow through on those days you don't feel like moving.  You need discipline.

You go to the chiropractor and you want to be pain free, let your nervous system start working so your body can start healing from the inside out so you can get off those medications your on.  Well you are going to make it to your appointments, even if the playoff game is on and the leafs are actually playing in it.  You need discipline.

The bottom line discipline seems to breed success.  If you want something you have to do something, and nine times out of ten it needs to be done consistently. 

If you are having trouble with the big things then start small.  

Ask yourself can you commit to getting up at the same time every day, making your bed each morning, shave etc. the list goes. on.  

Start small and build on it.  Build tolerance, and eventually challenge yourself with the big goals. 

It's Not "Old Age"

Have you ever met someone who looks young for their age?

What if that vibrant 65 year old is what 65 is suppose to look like? 

I operated a practice in Wasaga Beach (a retirement town), and it’s no secret that the demographics in Newmarket and Aurora are slightly younger.

“It’s old age” (referring to their complaint), said 80% of people over age 50 who came into the our office on the first visit. 

Is it really old age? 

Fact - There are people the same age that don’t have the same problems.  

If old age was the cause, wouldn’t every one your age have the same conditions?  

Obviously conditions can be associated with age, but let’s be clear, they are not caused by age. 

Most conditions are multifactorial, with lifestyle playing a huge role. There is another major thing that most of us do, and that's delay. 

When the alarm bells are ringing (pain, stiffness, sore, achey, etc.) we tend to put the ear plugs in and disregard what our body is trying to tell us.

I mean we are all guilty of the “it will get better on it’s own”  or “it’s not that big of a deal” mentality now and again.  

As a chiropractor I have had the opportunity to get to know many great people of all walks of life. Some treat their body like a temple and it shows.  They may be in their 70’s and doing things that most people in their 40’s couldn’t fathom. 

Others treat their body less than optimally, reaching for the the bottle of over the counter meds at the first onslaught of pain or stiffness.  Short term this isn’t going to be an issue, but since our health is cumulative, our body will eventually have to repay it’s debt.  Most of the time these people are on 10+ prescriptions, and the multiple visits to the family physician and pharmacy are the only excitement they will see all week. 

With this being said there is one thing that still blows my mind, and that is how resilient the human body can be. 

People that are on walkers able to walk again, people that can’t turn their neck are able to drive again, people that thought their life was over, getting their life back again.  Truly these are what are called chiropractic miracles.  

Too often a visit to the chiropractor is a patient's "last hope" because they have "tried everything".  A lot of times it's too late to help correct the problem.  Rather than choosing chiropractic because you are out of options and your back is against a wall, start thinking of seeing a chiropractor as an option at the start rather than at the end.

The thing is age is just a number. If you fall burden to your age, you will fail to take action and your health will suffer.  Where you are now does not have to be where you are going. This resilience is what makes the human body so amazing.

No matter your starting point you can always better your future.  A few simple changes could possibly change the trajectory that you are on. 

Your Posture May Affect Your Brain Function.

Tablets, video games, and smart phones are all fun to use and can make life a little bit easier, but with regular use can be a pain in the neck— quite literally. Using hand held devices forces us into a posture where we tilt our head forward to look down. This posture has become so common that researchers have coined the terms iHunch and iPosture to describe it. What many people do not realize is that this type of posture can negatively impact your child’s overall health. For every inch that your child’s head is forward, 10lbs of strain is added to their spine, muscles, ligaments and spinal cord.  This can cause common symptoms such as headaches, neck soreness, numbness and tingling, but research also shows it can impact your child’s mood, memory, behaviour and performance. 


How Posture May Affect Brain Function. - Mood, Behaviour, Memory, Performance

The central nervous system is made up of the brain and spinal cord. Our spines have the very important job of protecting the spinal cord so that our bodies can function properly. When the bones of the spine are out of alignment, or when the curves of the spine are straighter than they should be, this can wreak havoc on the way the entire brain and spinal cord function. Unfortunately the posture that is assumed when regularly using hand held devices forces the neck curve to straighten, and sometimes even reverse. This problem is becoming so common that it is now referred to as “Text Neck”. And this condition is becoming more and more common in children.


Not only can “Text Neck” cause symptoms of pain in the head and neck, but this type of posture has also been related to changes in behaviour, mood, and memory. Researchers from Brazil found that subjects with a forward head posture and forward dropped shoulders was more related to depression. In another study subjects were given instructions to sit up straight with good posture during a mock job interview. Results showed that subjects who slumped had higher rates of fear, worse mood and lower self esteem. On top of that, a German study found that poor sitting posture can negatively affect memory. Preliminary research also shows that poor posture can affect behaviour and cause individuals to become less assertive. What is interesting is that as the device size gets larger it caused subjects to become even less assertive. Finally, a Japanese study from 2009 showed that students with improved sitting posture had increased academic and writing productivity. Therefore having better posture, or should we say normal posture, will increase overall performance.


What causes poor posture:

Phones, tablets, videos games, reading, sitting for long periods, computer use, injuries, backpacks


Poor posture can lead to:

Aches, pain, fatigue, nerve and disc compression, early arthritis, asthma, carpal tunnel type symptoms


At home posture screen for you and your family:

If you would like to assess your posture at home, Click Here for an easy to use posture checklist. 

Supercharge Your Smoothie

Let’s face it, getting quality whole food nutrition all the time consuming. 

A good quality blender can be a time saver and in the long run a potential life saver if you are using it to make green drinks (not margaritas). 

Here are a few additives that I like to add into my smoothies that don’t destroy the taste but help to supercharge it even more. 

Collagen - Great for skin and joints collagen consists of the building blocks of your body.  You can gnaw on a beef bone with tendon and ligaments attached or use the hydrolyzed version that does not affect the flavour what so ever. 

Tumeric - Waking up with a headache, feeling tired and foggy or a lot of chronic joint pain throughout your body you should consider this.  This is a natural anti-inflammatory and can help lower your risk of some major lifestyle conditions. Look for one with black pepper for better absorption. 

Greens supplement - The more the merrier. I tend have the habit of putting it in there even if I’m using a ton spinach or kale. 

turmeric,  greens supplement,  hydrolyzed collagen

turmeric,  greens supplement,  hydrolyzed collagen


Here’s one of my favourites that I make variations of regularly. 

Handful of spinach

Handful of kale

1/2 avocado

1/2 banana

1/2 orange

4-5 strawberries


1 scoop of tumeric

1 scoop of greens powder

1.5 tbsp of hydrolyzed collagen.