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Immune System COVID-19

As a health care practitioner I am always concerned for the health and safety of my patients. With the impact of the COVID-19in Canada and worldwide, I wanted to address this newsletter with advice on how to keep your immune system strong during this difficult time.

Having a strong immune system is vital to prevent/fight any unwanted virus’ or bacteria that penetrate our system. Our immune system does a incredible job by fighting against disease-causing microorganisms, however, sometimes it fails. How can you prevent that from happening? How can we boost our immune system?

Having a Healthy Lifestyle:

Your first line of defence is having a healthy lifestyle. Consider these strategies to help boost your immune system: 

  • Exercise regularly (as easy as 30min of dedicated walking)
  • Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Get enough sleep (7-8hrs)
  • Proper hygiene, such as washing hands
  • Minimizing stress
  • Don’t smoke
  • Eliminate or limit alcohol consumption

Now all of these strategies are something you probably already know, but it’s important to be reminded of them. If you really want to keep your immune system strong, try these strategies.

Now I want to dive a little bit more into the impact that stress, diet and exercise have on your immune system.

DIET:

Your body needs nourishment to help fuel your natural defences against harmful microorganisms. People who are malnourished are more vulnerable to infectious disease because of a lack of micronutrients. It has been discovered that deficiencies in zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid and vitamins A, B6, C and E can alter immune responses. Fruits and vegetables will provide you with most of the micronutrients you need to fuel up your system warriors. However, if you aren’t a big fruits and vegetables eater then take a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement as a substitute. 

STRESS:

The mind and body relationship is a complex topic and it is consistently being tested in the research industry. We do know that stress can cause a wide variety of ailments such as upset stomach, hives and even heart disease. Stress, especially chronic stress can cause a hormonal response that may reduce the number of white blood cells (WBC) in the body. This will reduce your ability to fight infections.  Stress is difficult to define. People react to different things based on their personal lives and it’s tough to fight it. Meditation is something that can help reduce stress. It’s as easy as spending 5 minutes closing your eyes and breathing.

EXERCISE

Exercise is a major pillar to healthy living. Consistent exercise creates major positive changes to the body. Exercise improves the cardiovascular system, lowers blood pressure, reduces blood sugar and controls body weight. In regards to your immune system, exercise will increase blood circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.

Keeping your immune system strong in this global pandemic is vital. Your immune system is your front line against any harmful substances. Fuel your front line with healthy habits so they can protect you!

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The Warm Up

Exercise is a vital component to a healthy balanced life. Without it, people can be more prone to developing diseases that can impact their lives in a negative way. Some of the health benefits that exercise can give are reducing or maintaining a healthy body weight, reducing stress, blood pressure, anxiety and controlling blood sugar. However, some people develop pain when they try and exercise, which can reduce their motivation to participate in an exercise regimen. One of the easiest ways to implement exercise in your routine is by participating in a daily walk or run.

However, some people can develop hip, knee or ankle pain during a walk or run. Warmups and cool downs are something that are very important to do before any exercise regimen. A warm up can significantly reduce a person’s symptoms during exercise and a cool down can minimize post-workout soreness.
 
In this newsletter I am going to go over a warm up routine that will help get the lower body muscles ready for activity.

Lower Body Warm Up

Rules:
1) Complete each stretch on both legs.
2) Complete 2 sets for 10-15 seconds

1. Hip Flexor Stretch:

Kneel on one knee creating a 90° angle with the opposite hip and use a chair for support. Tilt your pelvis backwards to flatten your lower back and transfer your weight forward until you feel a gentle stretch on the anterior aspect of your hip of the lower leg. Maintain the position and relax. Maintain your upper body upright and your lower back flat (not arched).

2. Quad Stretch:

Start in a half-kneeling position with the leg to be stretched behind you. Lean forward from the hips making sure not to let your lower back arch. Pull your ankle towards your buttock until you feel a gentle stretch in the front of your thigh. Hold this position for the prescribed time. Kneel on a soft surface and do not do this stretch if there is pain or too much pressure on the knee cap.

3. Single Leg Swings Flexion/Extension

Stand on one foot and hold on to a stable object (wall, chair or table). Keeping your body as stable as possible, swing the elevated leg forward and backwards without bending the knee.

5) Frog Stretch:

Start on all fours with your knees spread apart and your feet turned outward. Slowly move your hips backward—15-30″—to feel a stretch in the hips, keeping your back flat. It’s important that the movement remains pain-free (do not cause pain). Move forward to release the stretch.

6) Hamstring Stretch:

While standing, place one foot on a small step/stool. Keeping your back straight, press your bottom backwards while bending forwards at the hips.

7) Calf Stretch:

Stand and place one foot against the wall. Place the other leg behind with your heel on the ground, foot parallel to the front one and knee straight. Keep the torso upright and push the hips forward to feel a stretch in the calf.

This warm up can really help improve mobility and get your muscles ready for activity! Hope this will help! 

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Tension Headaches

Headaches can cause a person a lot of distress when it is fully developed. Some people are suffering from this condition frequently and it really put’s a staple in their lives. There are four common types of headaches: Migraine, tension-type, cluster and cervicogenic.

This article will emphasize the symptoms, causes, and treatments of a tension-type headache.

Tension-type headaches develop usually from a muscular origin. The most common muscles that cause this headache to develop are the temporalis, suboccipital, trapezius, and sternocleidomastoid. These muscles will feel tight, ropy and tender to the touch. They will give off referred pain that will travel around the skull and elicit pain in that area. These muscles are stereotypically problematic in a person with a rounded posture. Therefore, posture may directly impact tension-type headaches.

Another big contributor to a headache episode is a stressful mindset. Stress has been considered the “silent killer”. A continuous stressful life will bring on muscular tension and cause referred pain to the skull.

Other small contributors to this condition can be a variety of foods, certain strenuous activities and straining of the eyes.

Tension-Type Headache Classification based on Signs and Symptoms:

A tension-type headache has at least 2 of the following characteristics:

  1. Bilateral location
  2. Pressing/tightening (non-pulsating) quality
  3. Mild or moderate intensity
  4. Not aggravated by routine physical activity such as walking or climbing stairs

Both of the following:

  1. No nausea or vomiting (anorexia may occur)
  2. No more than one of the following: 1) Sensitivity to light 2) Sensitivity to sound 

People with this condition can get a significant amount of relief from a chiropractor. A chiropractor will perform the following techniques:

  • Chiropractic adjustment: Help restores proper joint motion, relax muscles and increase range of motion.
  • Soft Tissue Release: Directly break up adhesion in the muscular bellies that are causing chronic tightness.
  • Prescribed exercises: Reverse muscular imbalances by strengthening weak muscles and relaxing tight muscles.
  • Passive Modalities: Heat is an example that can help relax muscles before treatment is administered.

Tension-Type headaches can be very problematic and annoying for people. However, the good news is that it’s a condition that can be limited or removed if you seek the proper care. Conservative therapy can make a huge difference for individuals that suffer from this type of headache!

If you’re a person suffering from this condition don’t let it take over your life anymore. Come for a chiropractic consultation!