Sore Achy Knees – And What you can do about it

So do you or someone you know have sore aching knees?  There are tons of potential knee problems out there and obviously I cant diagnose them over a blog – nor should you try to diagnose yourself by reading one!

But…

If this sounds familiar – intermittent or constant aching pain in the front or sides of the knees that came on for no apparent reason (no injury you can remember), pain on going up or down stairs or with prolonged sitting, nothing seems to help, the doctor can’t really find anything wrong even after imaging (Ultrasound, MRI or CT scan), you tried physio and strengthening exercises and it didn’t really help, you tried arthroscopic surgery and it didn’t help…. this post is for you.

If you have a combo of these symptoms or even if you have one of these symptoms you may have irritation to the coronary ligaments of the knee and fascial scar tissue.

Ok bringing that back a little bit – the coronary ligaments are little forgotten about thingies that hold the menisci (much more popular with orthopaedic surgeons and surgery) on to the tibia (lower leg bone). I wrote a paper about these once – it got published – you can Google it if you feel like it.  These suckers are pretty good little pain generators and all they want is a tiny little bit of attention and they will settle down.

Additionally if you have ever injured your knee (or anything anywhere) you will have scar tissue.  Just a fact of life.  Ok, so fascia. What the hell is that?  …. did you ever skin a chicken?  when you peel the skin off of the muscle do you remember seeing that little saran-wrap-like layer? That’s fascia. When I went to school eons ago we didn’t really even learn about it much – they didn’t think that it did much of anything then. Boy were we wrong.  Now it seems the fascia is an important part of our anatomy allowing muscles and bones to slide past each other easily and it even has contractile properties and moves a bit on its own. It is also a good pain generator because as soon as you get an injury there is bleeding and swelling and mess in the area and which causes fascia to stick to itself (kinda like saran wrap).  That is scar tissue and it can cause an altered movement to the surrounding area and a strange pull on the tissue – which in turn cause pain.

Ok, so that is what is going on in your knee maybe… what do we do?  Luckily with deep tissue work, instrument assisted fascial massage and adjustments to the knee, foot and hip these things are actually manageable.  Even if you have had this problem for years.

I have seen patients with this problem go back to playing tennis or skiing after getting themselves treated even if they haven’t gone and done these sports for a long time (years).  I have had patients carried in to the office or come in on crutches that could walk out after treatment – all because of these amazing little pain generators – because the great thing about them is that they just want a tiny little bit of attention and then a lot of the time they quiet down again…. call me if you have any questions!

My Mother’s Bone Broth Soup Recipe

This is a recipe from the old country I thought was my Grandmother’s – and it was originally, but my Mom (at my Dad’s prompting) modified it to make it even better.

Penny Hounsome (trainer extrodinare and wellness coach)  were talking about this on a Facebook Live post this week so this one is for you Penny!

Some of the benefits touted of bone broth soup are as follows (from Google): Bone broth is one of the most beneficial foods to consume to restore gut health and therefore support immune system function and healthy inflammation response. Collagen/gelatin and the amino acids proline, glutamine and arginine help seal these openings in the gut lining and support gut integrity.

This soup came about because nothing NOTHHING used to be wasted and sometimes food was scarce especially after the WWII in Europe.  Now bone broth soup is all the rage for it’s health benefits.  I have made it for years with people exclaiming “yuck” (if they weren’t of European or Asian descent and were used to these things).  I make it because it reminds me of childhood and is delicious.  It’s actually Healthy and Keto friendly too? SWEET.

It’s actually really easy.  Throw all the ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil then let simmer for 2-3 hours- perfect for a rainy or snowy Sunday afternoon.  The marrow amazingly can be spread on rye toast with a bit of salt (please someone point me to a keto bread before I make this again!) – we fought over this part as children.

 

Ingredients:

4-5 beef bones (cut) – they have these at most grocery stores – ask the butcher/meat counter

1 package of chicken giblets

Liquid Chicken Broth

Water

Salt to taste

1-2  carrots peeled but whole

1 onion quartered

 

That’s it really – toss it all in a pot and make sure the liquid covers all of the meat and bones with a bit of room at the top (say an inch or two – this is an old country recipe which means there is no recipe really so I’m guessing)

 

When you serve the soup you can serve the giblets in it (I love them – another item we kids fought over – look up giblets and make sure it doesn’t gross you out – perfectly healthy to eat just some of our non old country sensibilities may be offended).  The soup bones can be fished out and the marrow plopped on toast, spread and salted… super yummy.  AAAANnd you can eat the ‘chewy stuff’ off of the outside of the bones – this grossed my mother out entirely but again fought over by kids and dad this time…

I hope you like it ! I will add a picture when I make it next!

 

I didn’t know I had ribs there!?!

So did you ever wake up in the morning and have trouble turning your neck one way and/or have pain right under your shoulder blade?

So that is what I like to call ‘rib pain’

Yes you have ribs there.

The rib cage is literally a cage that surrounds your heart and lungs.  The go from your clavicle or collar bone all the way to the top of your abdomen where you can feel them at the front of you.  They are in the front AND the back of you as pictured below.

Ok, so now that we have had a small anatomy lesson – why on earth does my rib hurt?

It doesn’t exactly.  Here is what happens: The ribs are supposed to swing up and down like a bucket handle gently with every breath. Up with breathing in and down with breathing out. For a number of reasons (lifting, sleeping funny, sitting, reaching driving, just merely existing…) one of your ribs can stop doing this and create irritation in the surrounding muscles, nerves, joints etc.

This tends to cause pain. It can be excruciating in the region of your shoulder blade and may make you want to lean against a door frame to put pressure on the area.  I have seen people with pain all the way down one arm or numbness and tingling in the arm, shoulder or flank, neck pain, headaches, jaw pain… all sorts of issues.

So what can you do about it? Well unfortunately not too much… it may go away on its own (but don’t count on it – I have seen people with this pain that has persisted 6 or more years before they came to see me). You can try lying on a stress ball or getting someone to massage it.  Generally though it will likely come back or only give you temporary relief until you get a chiropractic adjustment.

So there you have it. It is fixable.  I tend to do lots of muscle work surrounding the area and then do some adjustments, apply essential oils and sometimes kinesiotape.  We also give strengthening exercises and talk about desk ergonomics if needed to help make sure the problem doesn’t come back.

If you have this, or someone you know does, please come in and have it checked out or give us a call and we can chat about it.  It is something I have seen a lot in practice and had great success with – I tend to get this myself so I can really empathize with the irritation of this condition.

Broccoli and Stilton Soup

Once upon a time in the distant past I took a trip to London (and Paris) to visit friends of my parents and a friend of mine.  This story takes place in England.  On Salisbury Plain, in fact…

It was a dark and stormy day (really). And my ‘Aunt and Uncle’ dropped my friend and I off at the famous site on Salisbury Plain – that’s right the amazing Stonehenge.  It was our only available time to visit and it was raining really hard so my Aunt and Uncle decided to wait in the car for us because they had been there before and they didn’t want to do battle with the rain.  So anyways, my friend and I went out there with almost no other people and took a walk around Stonehenge, pretty well alone. When does that ever happen? When it is raining sideways on Salisbury plain apparently.  It was quite amazing.  It was also really cold and wet.

Once we were done we went for lunch in a pub nearby.  We all had a Broccoli and Stilton Cheese soup that is maybe the best soup I have ever had. Ever. Maybe it was because I was cold and wet and hungry (hangry but holding it in really), or maybe not.  I have been trying to copy it ever since.

This is the closest I have come and it uses broccoli stalks that I collect and freeze as I use broccoli to feed the family (yep you read that right).  I cut the very end off and cut them in chunks and collect it in a large Ziploc freezer bag – once I have a full bag I can make a soup!

So here it is- hope you enjoy:

1 full bag of broccoli stalk (from freezer)

some broccoli florets (if you have them – I rarely put them in)

2 potatoes pealed and cut in chunks

1 wedge stilton cheese

1 L chicken or veggie stock

salt to taste.

 

Really that’s it.  I throw it in a large pot and make sure the stock covers the veggies and add water if it doesn’t.  Boil until everything is soft and then transfer to blender to puree in batches.

Super Yummy and amazing in this super cold weather.

Enjoy!

 

Scarsdale Chicken and Kale Salad (Keto)

So once upon a time there was a doctor named Dr. Scarsdale and in the 1970s or 1980s there was a fad diet called the Scarsdale diet. I have no idea what this diet consisted of at all but I know my Dad was on it and lost a bunch of weight with this as well as exercise at the time. Mostly he was on his stationary bike for at least an hour per night in front of the TV in the basement.

The only thing that I actually remember about this diet was this recipe which was likely modified over the years by my mom.  It is super easy and makes amazing juicy and healthy Chicken legs every single time.  It became a staple in our household and I still make it to this day.

Actually I made it yesterday…

Ok, so why did I pull this one out ?  Well as you may or may not know already I will be hosting Wellness Wednesdays on my clinic facebook page every Wednesday night at 9 pm eastern in January 2018.  Week 1 is couch to 5 k (mostly because I have to get my tush running again) and then week 2 is the Keto diet with Penny Hounsome, trainer extrodinaire.   You can find it here:

I thought I would get a jump on the keto thing and start a couple weeks early so I could report on my progress (and it keeps me accountable too – bonus!)

So back to the recipe:

Scarsdale chicken

-a bunch of skin on chicken legs

-chicken broth

-paprika

Put chicken legs in oven proof dish.  Pour chicken broth over so it comes up at least mid way or higher on each leg. Sprinkle paprika over top of whole dish. Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes.

That’s it. Really.

Juicy chicken legs every time.

Kale salad pictured above

kale

flavoured olive oil (I used red pepper)

cucumber

avocado

apple cider vinegar

Cut up leaves of kale (small is best in my opinion). cut in cucumber, avocado and pour olive oil and vinegar over top). Eat.

 

Seriously uncomplicated and super yummy.

 

 

Sinus pain, pressure releif

Sinuses.  When they don’t bother you, you don’t even notice them.  When they are stuffed full of fluid they make you miserable.  Sinus Congestion is a multi million dollar industry – how many commercials can you think of that talk about sinus congestion advertising some kind of decongestant or a stuffy, sniffely cold medication? Commercials ain’t cheap so it’s safe to say they make money on selling these things.  That’s because there are few things less comfortable than sinus congestion.

Pressure, pain, headaches, dizziness, post nasal drip and coughing are just a few symptoms of this super fun problem.  Sinus congestion can result from a cold or infection and can continue for ages especially if you have a chronic type of sinusitis (Inflammation of the sinuses).

So why is a chiropractor talking about sinus problems now?  Can I treat sinus infections? No. I don’t treat the infection directly at all (though adjustments do boost the immune system for sure this is not my focus in this article at all).  What I can do is some activation of pressure points and adjustments to release some of the muscles surrounding the sinuses, relax them so to speak, and help them drain.  Sinuses that drain heal faster and guess what … you breathe better. All good all around.

Here are a couple of cases I saw recently:

  1. Patient came in for a regular adjustment on the way home from work because she had severe throat pain and ear pain from a concurrent throat infection.  She was already taking antibiotics and saw her family doc again just before she saw me who told her there was nothing more to do and she had to wait it out.  She was seeing me for a completely unrelated problem but told me this because she was in so much pain.  We decided to try some sinus draining techniques while she was there and about half way through she said to me “Wait, what are you doing?” – I froze…. ‘um why?’ I asked?  “My throat isn’t sore anymore!!!” she said (remember she was going home from work because of this pain).  Ok, cool… she then called me a sorcerer – which I enjoyed very much.
  2. Patient came in from out of town as she was visiting family. She had had dizziness daily for 2 years since the birth of her child.  Had seen ENT specialists and several doctors, tried several medications to no avail.  We decided to do some exercises that are specially designed for her type of dizziness, sinus draining treatment and some adjustments.  She then went to the cottage with family for a week and returned to me. She reported having her first few days in 2 years with no dizziness.  Amazing. (I’m still amazed but not surprised when these things happen)

 

This also works for people who have chronic sinus headaches and other sinus related issues.  Of course every case is different and this may not be the solution but it is pretty easy to give it a shot and very low risk and non-invasive.

So there are really easy, non invasive things that we can try if you have a whole bunch of congestion you can’t seem to get rid of or even if it is new and you are really uncomfortable.   Give me a call if you have any questions

Slow Cooker Coconut Curried Chicken and Cauliflower Rice

So I love Curried Chicken.  This recipe is paleo and Whole 30 and originally came from a website called I breathe I’m Hungry (www.ibreatheimhungry.com).  Originally it had potatoes and jalapeno peppers as well as other things in it but if you have been following my blog and recipes at all you will know that I tend to modify recipes.  Mostly because I’m lazy or somehow I have forgotten to buy an ingredient.  So here is my version. It is way easier than the original and I make it during the winter at least twice per month… I like it even better than the original and I serve it over Cauliflower rice too – my recipe for that is below. I often double or triple the recipe because I never feel like I can get enough of this for lunch.

Coconut Curried Slow Cooker Chicken:

Marinade:

8-12 boneless skinless chicken thighs

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 Tbsp spicy yellow curry powder

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp kosher salt

 

For the curry:

2 cups coconut milk (I use 1 can milk and 1 can coconut cream)

1 Tbsp (or more to taste) curry powder

coconut flour to thicken

 

Oil and spices for marinade in large Ziploc bag and mix well.  Add chicken and mix up to coat all.  Leave in fridge over night or several hours.  Just before you are ready to turn on crock pot put all ingredients listed under curry into it and mix well with whisk.  Heat a pan and coat with cooking spray and brown marinated chicken on both sides quickly then place in slow cooker and make sure chicken is covered mostly with coconut milk.  Set slow cooker for 6 hours on high and walk away (best part).

Is super tender and amazing when you get back to it! That’s it really!!!

 

Cauliflower Rice:

1 head cauliflower – florets removed

olive oil

salt to taste

Place florets into food processor and grind until small pieces resembling rice. Place with oil in deep pot and fry until tender – you may need to place lid on pot – don’t over cook or it will get mushy.

That is it for this one too!!!

This is a super easy one and is really yummy. Love love love this one.

 

 

 

Yellow Split Pea Dhal – Modified… from About.com via Katie Mellor

So in the winter I love soup and comfort food.  This recipe is kind of a combo   of both… It came originally from one of my closest friends Katie – via the website About.com.  It is vegetarian and can be vegan and has a ton of turmeric in it which is amazing for you – said to do everything from help prevent Altzheimer’s Disease and Cancer as well as a natural anti-inflammatory.  Anyways I don’t eat anything unless it tastes good.

This one tastes good.

Love making up a batch of it and taking it for several days for lunch.

Here is the recipe from About.com and following it are my modifiers (how I make it for myself)…

1 cup yellow split peas, uncooked

2 cups water or vegetable broth

1 tsp tumeric

1/4 tsp cayenne

1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp margarine

1 1/2 cumin (whole seeds or ground)

2 whole cloves

dash pepper

In a large pot bring peas and broth to a slow simmer and add turmeric, cayenne and salt. Cover and cook 20 minutes stirring occasionally.  In a large skillet or pan heat onion, clove, cumin in the margarine and cook 4-6 minutes.  Add onion and spices to peas and allow to simmer at least 5 mire minutes.

Serve with rice or alone in soup bowl.

 

My modifications:

I do not add onion but fry the spices alone in the margarine (onion makes me toot and I think my patients wouldn’t appreciate that… Certainly Ryan, my husband, doesn’t).  I double the broth and cook much longer until the peas are mushy and less formed… just my preference… see how you like it.

Hope you make it and enjoy!

Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.)- A.K.A. “the winter blues”

Wow that’s a bunch of acronyms right up there…

Ok so Seasonal Affective Disorder- the definition from Google is below – saved you a step there, didn’t I?

“Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also called winter depression, winter blues, summer depression, and seasonal depression, is a mood disorder subset in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year exhibit depressive symptoms at the same time each year, most commonly in the winter.”

From the Mayo clinic website here are some symptoms of SAD:

“Signs and symptoms of SAD may include:

  • Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having low energy
  • Having problems with sleeping
  • Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
  • Feeling sluggish or agitated
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
  • Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide”

You may have one or a combination of the above symptoms.

Ok, so does this sound like you or someone you know? If so you should talk to your doctor and see if you need to take further steps for your mental health but there are some other things you can add to the regime recommended by your doctor.

One amazing thing is a Seasonal Affective Disorder Light.  The basic premise of this light is that it must shine into your eyes (not directly but while you are looking at something else, say a computer screen) for about 20 minutes to 30 minutes per day.  Receptors in the eye are stimulated which triggers the release of Serotonin (the “happy” hormone).  These lights have been found to be very effective and I have recommended them for my patients.  I generally recommend them from the website below because I know that these ones have the right bulbs and light being emitted to stimulate the receptors mentioned above.

www.northernlighttechnologies.ca/

If you have more questions about this please don’t hesitate to contact me.

And if you do have thoughts of suicide, please tell someone.  You are not alone.

Suicide hotline for immediate help in Toronto call: 416-408-4357

Make your own Essential Oil Body Butter

I decided to make body butter this year as some of the Christmas Gifts I am giving out – The one pictured is using Young Living’s Gentle Baby Essential Oil which is terrific for new moms and babies and helps with Mother/Baby bonding, is good for cracked nipples from nursing and is great for skin recovery (stretch marks) but also makes a great hand cream for dry skin.  I decided to give this one to people who handle lots of babies (and Moms) – Midwives and Pediatricians that I know.

You can make any ‘flavour’ body butter and it is surprisingly easy.  The hardest part was ordering ingredients (which I got online in bulk from a company called New Directions Aromatics here in Mississauga – I now have enough for several batches and will definitely make more!)

This is surprisingly easy to do yourself at home and makes a beautiful fluffy cream that smells great.  Best of all you know exactly what the ingredients are and they are all super healthy and natural.

Here is how:

Body Butter Recipe:

1/2 cup Shea Butter

1/2 cup Cocoa Butter

1 cup Coconut Oil (I had this in the cupboard from the health food store)

1/8 cup Calendula Oil

1/8 cup Jojoba or Sweet Almond Oil (no nuts in mine or in my house so…)

1 teaspoon Vitamin E Oil

20-40 drops Essential oil of your choice (depends how strong you wish it to smell)

Melt Shea , Cocoa Butter in a double boiler and add Coconut Oil.  Stir until melted.  Add liquid oils and essential oil and stir.  Pour into mixing bowl and refrigerate a few hours until it is a  soft solid.  Take out and beat with a hand blender until it is light and fluffy.  Put in to containers for use.

 

That is it!

some really nice oils to use are Peppermint and PanAway for pain or Lavender for relaxation.