Chiropractic Works with Dr. Birk

Another Warning! Epidurals and Back Pain

Posted: May 24, 2017
By: Dr. Ruminder Birk

In the past I have written about how reconstructive care has provided excellent results in comparison with other standard treatments for back pain, and without the potentially harmful side effects. Disk herniation, for instance, is usually dealt with in one of three ways in standard medical care: minor problems are usually prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS); epidural steroid injections may be employed in more serious cases; and, in the most severe cases, disc problems may be treated with surgical intervention, such as lumbar fusion.


Each of these treatments has concerns about long-term side effects that are well documented but rarely made clear to the patients. However, earlier last month we had another warning about epidurals that is unambiguous.


Epidurals are injections of cortisone directly into the spine near to the location of the pain, and they have been used for decades. They typically have good results in the short-term management of pain, but there have long been question marks over their side effects, especially in relation to weakening of the bones.
A US study published in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery in 2013, analysed patients with vertebral body fractures following lumbar epidural steroid injections (LESIs). It concluded the following:

'In the survival analysis, an increasing number of injections was associated with an increasing likelihood of fractures. Each successive injection increased the risk of fracture by a factor of 1.21.'

The increased bone fragility and fracture risk can be a significant problem, especially in the elderly and others at risk for osteoporotic fractures. But last month's warning went further.

New FDA Warning
At the end of April, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a more serious warning about the potential side effects of epidurals:

'Injection of corticosteroids into the epidural space of the spine may result in rare but serious adverse events, including loss of vision, stroke, paralysis, and death.'

Corticosteroids will therefore have to carry a Warning label detailing the risks. The FDA advises the following:

'Patients should discuss the benefits and risks of epidural corticosteroid injections with their health care professionals, along with the benefits and risks associated with other possible treatments.'

The Sane Solution
Any medical professional is unlikely to recommend spinal re-constructive care, but it has been proven to provide relief from back pain without the adverse side effects of other treatments and often at lower cost, and according to the best evidence it is successful in 88-90.5% of cases.
The reason it's not and likely never going to be available in OHIP is an issue of the "business of medicine" rather than what is right or best for the patient.

Speaking of the Business of Medicine - All is NOT Well with Medical Error Numbers

In the US, purely due to medical error, according to a recent press release by The American Association for Justice. It details how 440,000 patients are killed every year by preventable medical errors. That's in the US, but do you think Canada is much different in its approach to medical treatment?

What can we do?
It is becoming increasingly evident that we must take more responsibility for our own health and adopt less of an unquestioning, blind acceptance mentality when talking to our medical professionals.
We can ask questions about medications and medical procedures and do background research online; we can also look at alternative care options that are often 'marginalized' by medical professionals as being 'unproven' when, in fact, they are just as effective AND less risky than many of the established procedures.


Think Happy, Be Happy!

Posted: April 24, 2017
By: Dr. Ruminder Birk

The mind can be a very powerful thing, it can control our thoughts and actions in either a positive or negative way. In some cases, we are completely unaware of how our body may react to certain situations, especially when there is stress involved our flight mechanism can be triggered. Over time our bodies have evolved to react to different situations differently, and in some cases it takes mental strength to view things in a positive light.

When it comes to our health and wellness, the power of positive thinking can either make or break us in a sense. We can't change how our body may react to stressful situations, however we can certainly change how we perceive certain situations. If we tell ourselves that nothing can make us feel better, or that there is no one that can help us get better, then more than likely you'll be stopping yourself from getting the help you need and nothing will help you feel better. However, if we continuously tell ourselves that we are capable of overcoming our sickness or pain, and truly believe it with a positive outlook, amazing things can happen.

According to a researcher at the University of North Carolina, Barbara Fredickson who published a paper in which she outlines how participants 'broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions asserts that people's daily experiences of positive emotions compound over time to build a variety of consequential personal resources. [...] in turn, these increments in personal resources predicted increased life satisfaction and reduced depressive symptoms.' This means that the more we think and act with a positive outlook, the more chances you'll start feeling great again.

When you look at things from a positive perspective, you'll begin to notice that your entire perspective on life will change with it. The sun will beam brighter, the air will be crisper, the birds will chirp louder and most of all you feel lighter and happier. To help you look on the positive side of things, you can always think about the good things you have in yourself instead of the bad. Being grateful for the small things in life such as your family, the roof over your head, or the food on your table is a good place to start. Sometimes remembering how good we have it in comparison to others in the world, can really help us look on the brighter side of things.

And Always Remember - Think Happy, Be Happy.


The Benefits of Low-Level Laser Therapy

Posted: March 27, 2017
By: Dr. Ruminder Birk

Low- Level Laser Therapy also known as photobiomodulation, cold laser therapy and laser bio stimulation, is a medical treatment that uses low-level lasers to stimulate cellular function. Laser treatment has been tested for over 40 years, and has been shown to aid in damaged tissue regeneration, decrease inflammation, relieve pain and boost the immune system. This means there is a good chance laser therapy could be your pain solution, allowing you to live a more active lifestyle. 

The use of Low-Level Therapy (LLLT) has its roots in the late 1960's.  The first to use the laser were ophthalmologists and then dermatologists. However, it was not long before many other medical professions began to see the use of the laser in their fields. However, in 1968, Endre' Mester invented 'laser bio stimulation'. He believed that lower-powered beams could produce cold effects in tissues. He used lasers at low output powers to experiment on cellular behavior. By 1969, he had done a now-famous study on the healing properties of lasers with non-healing or slow-to-heal ulcers which were not healing with conventional therapies. Then Freidrich Plog in Canada used the laser for pain and I.B. Kovacs showed its effectiveness in wound healing acceleration.

Soon thereafter, the LLLT made its way into the Health Canada and FDA for approval for pain reduction. Today, LLLT has many different uses including sprains, back and neck pain, arthritis, chronic pain, nerve pain, ulcers, post-operative care and burns. LLLT has been shown to increase cellular function and regeneration, including cells that create muscle tissue.

Photosynthesis is the process whereby plants use sunlight to produce energy. The energy is then changed through cellular respiration to ATP, which is the fuel for all living things. Unlike what many think, not all laser treatments are heat oriented. LLLT is photochemical and works similarly to photosynthesis. LLLT stimulates the enzyme cytochrome coxidase, which, like sunlight for plants, produces ATP. ATP is needed for all human cells to function and controls other biochemical molecules that lead to cell aging and cell death. With LLLT, the cells metabolism is increased and they survive longer. This suggests the possibility that disease or injuries, since all occur at a cellular level, could be influenced.

Although we’ve seen it in movies for years, the idea of healing with light seems like something far off in the future. Nothing could be further from the truth. LLLT is already on the road to treating a wide variety of ailments, book your consultation today at Atlantis Chiropractic here in Woodbridge to see if this therapy is right for you.


Car Accident Relief is Near

Posted: February 22, 2017
By: Dr. Ruminder Birk

In a metropolis, such as Woodbridge, car accidents tend to be more common than we’d like to admit. With all the cars on the road, odds are either yourself or someone you know has been in a car accident. Some accidents can be less severe than others, however don’t let the damage to only your car be the judge of the potential damage to your body.

Although some symptoms may not appear right away, there is a good chance you could have experienced whip lash or a shift in the alignment of your spine. After a car accident visiting a chiropractor immediately is critical to determine what type of injuries may have been sustained during the collision. As Chiropractors specialize in the health of your bones, muscles and nerves, they would be the best type of health practitioner to visit.

Whiplash tends to be the most common injury people experience during a car accident. Whiplash is caused by the force of impact where your head whips back and forth or side to side quite quickly. Symptoms of whiplash could take a couple days to appear and include but are not limited to; neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain, and arm stiffness. Early care and treatment is highly recommended to avoid long term issues and have a quick recovery. When injuries such as whip lash are left untreated, it can lead to greater health issues with the potential of chronic life long pain. The longer you wait to seek treatment, the longer it will take you to get your life back.

At Atlantis Chiropractic and Wellness, we treat every accident victim uniquely – as no two car accidents are ever the same. First, a thorough examination of one’s spine and overall body is important. Chiropractors can typically see and feel things we aren’t aware of. More than likely you will also be sent for x-rays and depending on severity there may be other imaging tests as well. Once the doctor has identified the extent of your injuries, a program of care will be recommended.

Your program of care may involve various therapies, from manual manipulation of the spine to low level laser therapy to deep tissue massage. At Atlantis Chiropractic and Wellness in Woodbridge, we have many therapies which would benefit car accident patients and help alleviate any pain or discomfort. During your thorough examination, Dr. Birk will be able to assess the severity of your accident and give you his best recommendation for quality care. Give us a call today for a free consultation and find relief from your car accident discomfort! 

 


At home Stretches for Back Pain and Sciatica Sufferers

Posted: January 23, 2017
By: Dr. Ruminder Birk

Proper exercises and stretches have been proven to help alleviate pain and discomfort for both back pain and sciatica sufferers.  Movement of the joints and muscles keeps the back muscles and spinal structures healthy and strong, thus allowing nutrients and fluids within the discs to keep them healthy and alleviate any pressure on along the spine. Here are a few stretches we recommend at Atlantis Chiropractic:

Piriformis Figure 4 Stretch – 3 reps per leg for 30 seconds’

This stretch help to correct hip imbalances and restore function. It also helps to increase flexibility, improve joint range of motion and improves circulation.


Start by lying on your back. Cross one leg over the other, placing ankle on the opposite thigh above the knee.

Grasp uncrossed leg under thigh and gently pull towards chest. A stretch in the hip of the crossed leg should be felt. Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat. Alternate sides.

Cat/Camel – 3 sets of 10 reps, 30-second rest in between sets

This stretch helps to increase low back strength and muscular endurance, improve stability, functional strength as well as injury prevention.


Begin on the floor on your hands and knees. Hips should be above knees and shoulders above hands. Attain a straight spine position.

Round your back upward, stretching mid-back between your shoulder blades. Relax and let your stomach fall downward as you arch your back. Hold each position for 3-5 seconds and repeat.

Child Pose Stretch- 3 reps for 30 seconds’ each

In addition to correcting low back imbalances and restoring function, the child pose also increasese flexibility, improves joint range of motion and circulation.

 

To start, begin with hands and knees on the floor. Reach out directly in front of you extending arms, palms should be flat on the floor.

Slowly sit hips back toward the floor dropping your head and chest downward as arms extend even further. Hold for about 20-30 seconds and then repeat.

Bird Dog- 3 sets of 10 reps with 30 seconds’ rest in between

The purpose of bird dog is to increase core strength and muscular endurance, thus improving stability and functional strength.

 

Start off on your hands and knees with your head and back in a straight position. Hands should be under your shoulders, hips directly above knees.

Activate core muscles. Raise one arm to should level as opposite leg simultaneously lifts off the floor, extending to hip height. Pause momentarily. Return to start position and alternate sides. Maintain a straight spine position, not allowing your hips to twist or rotate. Do not hyper- extend your lower back when extending leg. Repeat.

Modified Side Plank- 3 sets with 30 second holds on each side with 30 second rest in between

The modified side plank is also great for increasing core strength. A strong core and back helps to support the spinal structure which will alleviate back pain and sciatica pain.

 

Begin on your side with knees bent. Place support forearm directly under shoulder.

Activate core muscles. Lift hips off the floors and attain a straight, rigid position from thighs through your upper body. Once in this position, there should be no movement. Maintain core contraction. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat. Perform on opposite side.


Ways to keep healthy during the Holidays!

Posted: December 22, 2016
By: Dr. Ruminder Birk

We all know how stressful and busy the holidays can be. From last minute Christmas shopping at jam packed malls and shops to Holiday parties and festivities with friends and loved ones, it's very easy to forget about ourselves and overall health. For those people suffering from agonising conditions such as back pain, sciatica, neck pain and migraines, the added stress of the holidays can trigger your unpleasant symptoms. To help you make it through the holidays here are 5 tips to keep you in good health:

Get Some "Me time"

Although the holidays are meant to be shared with friends and family, it is okay for you to get in some “me time” as well- especially for the sake of your health! Getting the right amount of relaxation and putting your health first during the holidays, will help in healing any current conditions you may be suffering from and to prevent any further issues which may creep up.

Exercise

Getting the right amount of exercise is always a good thing when it comes to our overall health. It helps keep your joints and muscles healthy by increasing bone density and strengthening muscles. Over the holidays, it is easy to get wrapped up in all the festivities and forget to get in at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. If making it out to the gym is tough due to busy schedules, try doing some light exercises at home; squats, push ups and jumping jacks are all great and easy to do.

Take Wild Oil of Oregano

Oregano Oil is a great antioxidant which has many health benefits, however it mostly associated with helping boost your immune system to help prevent many illnesses and conditions. Oregano oil is made from the leaves and flowers of oregano and it is packed with nutrients like magnesium, zinc and vitamin C and E.  Oh, and did I mention it is also good for alleviating muscle and joint pain? - Bonus!  

Eat Right

As mentioned in an earlier blog - You are what you eat! During the holidays this is crucial to remember. I like to go by the 80/20 rule, 80% percent of my food is healthy and natural, and the other 20% is- let’s just say, all those holiday chocolates won’t go to waste. It is all about balance and not just during the holidays, but all year round.

Get Adjusted

Chiropractic adjustments are always a good idea as it helps you to manage your pain and stress levels by reducing subluxations along the spine, thus allowing the central nervous system to operate at an optimum.  By keeping your spine aligned and fixing the root of the problem, you’ll be back to feeling good again in no time.

By following these simple tips, you should be able to enjoy your holidays to the fullest and avoid any pain or injury!


Finally! Straight talk about Sciatica

Posted: November 28, 2016
By: Dr. Ruminder Birk

Are you suffering from back pain or sciatica? Then it’s likely your biggest problem is pain. But there’s another major problem: bad information. To end sciatica misery you must have the right information. Pay close attention because I’m going to destroy sciatica myths and give you the facts.

     MYTH: Sciatica will just “go away” with some rest.

     FACT: If you are dealing with back pain, buttock pain or leg pain, then you must seek help from a sciatica professional immediately. Left untreated, sciatica can lead to permanent nerve damage - and lifelong pain.

     MYTH: Pain is the only problem associated with sciatica.

     FACT: In severe cases, sciatica can lead to the inability to control your bowels or bladder - leading to embarrassing situations.

     MYTH: You must take pain medications to deal with sciatica.

     FACT: Drugs like muscle relaxants, pain killers, narcotics, antidepressants, and anti-seizure medications have serious potential side-effects and do not cure the root cause of sciatica.

     MYTH: “I must have done something wrong to get sciatica.”

     FACT: Physical work or simply sitting at a desk for long periods can lead to sciatica. Accidents and trauma can also be the culprits. Pregnancy can cause sciatica. Sciatica can affect anyone - including super-fit celebrities like Tiger Woods, Sylvester Stallone, and British Olympic medallist Ian Wynne.

     MYTH: Stop exercising and get several weeks of bed rest to overcome sciatica.

     FACT: Staying active can help to relieve sciatic pain and prevent the pain getting worse. Staying inactive in bed could be the worst advice - based on a recent study in the Netherlands.

     MYTH: Sciatica requires surgery. 

     FACT: NO! There’s been a huge breakthrough in the treatment of sciatica and lower back pain. It’s a new procedure called Non-Surgical Re-Constructive Spinal Care. The excellent results from this treatment have been published in major medical journals. Success rates are up to 90%.

     MYTH: “There’s nothing anyone can really do. I’m just stuck with this for the rest of my life.”

     FACT: With the correct treatment from a healthcare professional who specialises in sciatica, you can find relief from the core cause - and the symptoms.

     MYTH: Getting Sciatica properly diagnosed is expensive.

     FACT: Not true. Dr. Birk of Atlantis Chiropractic & Wellness in Woodbridge is currently offering reduced initial consultations to help people in our community get the care they need.

      Dr. Birk and his team of fully-trained spinal care professionals at Atlantis Chiropractic and Wellness in Woodbridge, have helped over 1,000 patients find relief from agonising back pain and sciatica. This procedure does not require a hospital stay. The focus is on finding - and correcting - the original cause of the back pain and sciatica. According to Dr. Birk, “We use a combination of ultra-advanced technology, for precisely diagnosing the cause of your low back pain and sciatica. This means superior long-term results for most people.”

Almost Immediate Relief from pain because the treatment is non-surgical, safe, and easy, most patients report an almost immediate relief from their back pain. Patient John B. from Woodbridge wrote, “My back pain was unbearable but the worst thing was the searing burning pain I felt in my buttock and leg... my wife insisted I see a Chiropractor. I’m 95% better in just a couple of weeks.”

Take the Next Step - END the Suffering...


Additional Therapies used by Chiropractors

Posted: October 30, 2016
By: Dr. Ruminder Birk

When you think of chiropractic, you typically think of backs and back adjustments. Though chiropractors do make adjustments to your spine, they have many tools available to them for many different problems. Letís take a look at a few therapies used by chiropractors today.

Braces and Supports

In general, chiropractic tries to get the body moving again. However, at times, braces and supports are needed to give the injured area more time to heal and become stronger. Braces and supports can:

  • Help after an acute injury
  • Stabilize a chronic condition such as scoliosis
  • Improve physical function
  • Slow disease progression
  • Diminish pain
  • Eliminate range of motion in one direction

Orthotics

Eighty-seven percent of all North Americans suffer from foot pain of some severity during their life. Each foot has more than 100 working parts with 26 bones working with ligaments, muscles and tendons to support and balance the weight of the entire body. The simple act of walking puts one and a half times your body weight on each foot. However, foot pain is not normal and should not be ignored. Foot problems can cause problems, not only in the feet, but in the hip, knee and back. That is why your chiropractor may suggest orthotics, which are used to:

  • Provide support
  • Prevent foot deformity
  • Keep foot deformity from getting worse
  • Provide better positioning
  • Relieve pressure on a specific area of the foot
  • Improve the overall movement of the foot
  • Restore balance
  • Improve sports performance

Low Level Laser Therapy

In 1968, Endre' Mester invented 'laser biostimulation'. He believed that lower-powered beams could produce cold effects in tissues. Soon thereafter, the LLLT made its way into the Health Canada and FDA for approval for pain reduction. Today, LLLT has many different uses including sprains, back and neck pain, arthritis, chronic pain, nerve pain, ulcers, post-operative care and burns.

Whole Body Vibration

Originally developed by Russian scientist Vladimir Nazarov, whole body vibration training was used to prevent cosmonautsí muscles and bones from decreasing in density when they were in space; the weightless atmosphere pre-disposed both cosmonauts and astronauts to osteoporosis. Traditional resistance training in micro-gravity situations was useless but scientists found that standing on a vibrating platform stimulated muscle and bone development.

Whole Body Vibration is widely used in commercial and residential applications for its many benefits and can be used by almost anybody to meet requirements such as rehabilitation, getting started in an exercise program or as an additional aspect to any traditional strength and training program.

The Serola Sacroiliac Belt

The Serola SI Belt is designed to hold the SIJ together so the likelihood of it opening beyond normal between treatments is greatly reduced. If the joint re-opens, the Serola SI Belt will minimize re-injury to the joint and its ligaments. During rehabilitation, the Serola SI Belt holds the sacrum to the ilia with the proper tension so that, during exercise, as you bring the ilia backward, it carries the sacrum with it. The ligaments are not stressed and the joint remains intact; this is critical to proper rehabilitation.

Denneroll Neck Orthotic

The DENNEROLL is a cervical orthotic device developed by Dr. Adrian Dennewald, an Australian Chiropractor. Its unique design provides a gentle but effective stretch that assists in the correction of abnormal Cervical Lordosis. The DENNEROLL can assist in relief of pain and muscle tension, as well as enhance patient comfort and improve health.


Chiropractic and Pregnancy

Posted: September 26, 2016
By: Dr. Ruminder Birk

Ah, the joys of pregnancy. It’s an exciting journey to become a new mom. As wonderful as the process is, there are some hefty challenges to bear such as morning sickness, swollen appendages, headaches, nausea, back pain, sciatica, heartburn, sleep disruption, general discomfort and possible Cesarean section. Most of those common ailments may be helped by chiropractic care. 

Chiropractic care is not only safe for pregnant women, it’s the ideal form of health care because it is holistic, drug free, and promotes a healthy body. Since the nervous system is the control center for the body, any kink or misalignment will cause interference in the proper functioning of the body. This may cause or worsen the “challenges” mentioned above. So, if the communication between the body and brain are restored and working without restriction or less resistance, there will be fewer discomforts that the pregnant woman will endure. Not only that, the benefits of using chiropractic care may provide you with a more comfortable pregnancy, faster and easier delivery, and higher chances of having a natural birth and quicker recovery from the birthing process.

Your chiropractor is your wellness advisor. Their goal is to teach you how to be as healthy as possible. They will be available to answer your questions, assist you in having a carefree pregnancy and optimize the birthing process.

Some of the changes to your body as well as the added weight to the body of the pregnant woman causes neuromuscular as well as biochemical problems such as:

  • Joints can misalign

  • Spinal and pelvic muscles undergo stress

  • Spinal and pelvic muscles become fatigued

  • Lumbar and thoracic spine curvatures

  • Vertebrae can misalign

  • Strain of pelvic and spinal ligaments

  • Strain of muscles, joints and spinal structures

  • Changes in the normal  spine curvature

  • Changes in the spinal biomechanics

These stress induced situations cause pain and discomfort. Chiropractic adjustments throughout pregnancy may alleviate these issues as they develop. The techniques a chiropractor uses are noninvasive, safe and drug free. The procedures that will assist a woman dealing with the structural changes and stress her body is undergoing can include:

  • Gentle Spinal Adjustments

  • Exercises and Stretches

  • Massage

  • Nutritional Counseling

  • Education

Spinal adjustments for a pregnant woman are performed on special tables or adjustments to tables to provide safety for the baby and allow for the expectant mom’s growing belly. Chiropractic care is a wonderful way to ensure a comfortable and stress-free pregnancy. In addition, there are some things you can do yourself to allow for fewer discomforts and better alignment during your pregnancy.

  • Be conscious of unbalanced stances, or lifting and carrying on one side of the body. Alternate sides to ensure you are not favoring one side.

  • Avoid long periods of time being immobile, in positions that do not support your spine and that do not reinforce proper posture. Try not to have your knees higher than your hips and try to avoid crossing your legs.

  • When sleeping use a pillow under your legs to support your spine.

  • Avoid wearing high heels.

  • Make sure you exercise and stretch to maintain strength and flexibility. 


Headache sufferers you are not alone

Posted: August 23, 2016
By: Dr. Ruminder Birk

If you have suffered from headaches, you’re not alone. In fact, you are part of over 2.7 million people in Canada suffering, according to Statistics Canada. Most people at some point in their life will experience a headache, the throbbing sensation in your head that doesn’t allow you to focus on anything but the pain. The common reaction for most who encounter this pain is to immediately pop a pill. Many take medicine and assume that all is well until the next headache takes place.

There are two forms of headaches, those that are symptoms associated with some other medical illness (called secondary headaches) and those that are not. When a headache is an isolated event and is not a symptom of another ailment, it is categorized as a primary headache. That’s because the headache is the primary condition. Primary headaches can include other symptoms and conditions which are due to the headache itself.

All headaches affect your daily life activities. They limit your ability to function normally because it is nearly impossible to distract yourself from the pain when you haven’t gotten some form of relief. Headaches can cause pain in your head, neck pain, nasuea, dizziness and in severe cases vomiting, vertigo and sensitivity to light.  Headaches of this variety are not related to a disease or illness.

Primary headaches are defined as:

  • Tension headaches
  • Migraine headaches
  • Cluster headaches
  • Cervicogenic headaches

Nowadays many patients we see at the clinic have been suffering from Forward Head Syndrome (FHS), these are characterized as headaches due to poor posture.  This condition is categorized by misalignment in the area between your shoulders and head, causing you to tilt your head forward. The spine has a natural curve supporting the head. When you force or shift your head forward the curve is eliminated and the discs that cushion your vertebrae bear the load of that weight. When this posture is continued for a long period of time the disc starts to bulge. 

Sitting at a computer, playing video games, carrying heavy bundles, driving a car or any other imbalanced position sustained for long periods of time can cause the tendency to shift your head forward, altering the proper alignment of your spine. Luckily for patients our clinic in Woodbridge helps treat the many different types of headaches, from tension to FHS with drug-free therapies.

If you feel you have suffered long enough it may be time to see a Chiropractic and get your life back on track!