Sep 19

Top 3 Ways to Beat Burn Out

Naturopathic Doctor and Clinic Director Erin Wiley shares her insight on burn out.

1. If you don’t want to burn out, stop living life on fire.

Sometimes this is the hardest fact to accept, we’ve all been there. The patterns that have lead us to burn out from overwork and exhaustion lead to more overwork and exhaustion, and yet we often hold onto them. We need a new path if we want to work our way to recovery. That means changing our mindset, changing our behavior patters, refocusing our values, and at our core our health must be integrated into our definition of success.

When it comes to fatigue and addressing overwork we need to value our priorities over endless productivity. We need to value rest and creative exploration as a highly productive time for our body. We also need to understand that movement and exercise are absolutely essential to making energy. From these small mindset changes flows a host of health behavior changes that will nourish your body and restore your energy.

2. Health promotion means being proactive, but it does not mean being perfect.

Taking care of our health needs to be more than just something we do in our spare time, it also can’t wait for the perfect time, perfect recipe, or perfect running outfit. No one has spare time, perfection does not exist and it is a toxic energy sucking stressor. Our actions must reflect our values and be inline with our purpose. We need to set a daily intention to value our self-care, our environment and our community. This means thoughtful attention to our basic human needs such as nutrition, healthy sleep, exercise and social support. We need space for these essentials in our daily routine and we need to celebrate them. A proactive plan can really help focus our intention and make our goals a reality. For most of us that means scheduling our meals, our workouts, our friends and our healthcare treatments with the same emphasis and priority as we schedule our career goals and meetings, because after all they integrate into our success. This also means only scheduling your absolute priorities, keeping our health promotion tasks simple and enjoyable, and getting out of our heads and into our body.

3. Get the support you need.

Sometimes it can be hard to ask for help, but we don’t think so. We value investing in our health because information is empowering and people are more important to us than anything else. If you are feeling burnt out. It’s time to get a professional assessment, run your lab work, and start a treatment plan. We’ve been there, we can help you end the feelings of “overwhelm”, cut through the information overload. Taking care of you is more important than anything else and it absolutely integrates with your success.

When your actions align with your intentions everything changes.

Dr. Erin Wiley is a Naturopathic Doctor with a strong focus on preventative and integrative medicine. She is the Owner and Clinic Director of the Integrative Health Institute, an integrative medical clinic located in downtown Toronto. Erin has a strong clinical emphasis on stress related illness, anxiety, depression and hormone balance. As a naturopathic doctor, Erin is passionate about working with people to help them better understand their health and achieve their health goals.

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Sep 11

Running past the Headache. A case study of how Magnesium may be able help.

“The alarm beeps at 6am. She pours some magnesium powder into one of her three water bottles, straps them to her waist and is off before anyone in the house is awake”.

If you have a performance problem like headaches, case studies are a vital key to discover trends and uncover patterns.  In this runner, I analyzed and documented her symptoms over a span of a two months. The findings: A pattern of running any distance over 10 km would result in a three-day post-run headache. Not fun.

No amount of Tylenol or Advil could alleviate this constant throbbing headache. Something had to change and quitting running wan not an option!

We began supplementing with magnesium.  Please note, it is important to taper the dose to avoid episodes of diarrhea, and you need to do this with the support of your Naturopathic Doctor. With this small change, the headaches never materialized and energy later in the day improved. The musculoskeletal benefits also gave sore joints a break and lessened post-run pain.

By alleviating the headache symptoms, she could continue training and more importantly move on with her amazing life.  Great news for the patient. Let’s find out what was happening on a physiological level.

The body makes energy using the Kreb’s cycle, remember high school biology? Well, magnesium is a part of this cycle which makes it crucial for energy metabolism and ATP production.  Magnesium supplementation is attributed to the afternoon energy perk she was feeling.

A deficiency in magnesium can lead to fatigue, muscle cramps/twitches and reduced performance. Other factors such as posture and gait can come into play. In this athlete, the tension headaches were being created from the additional stress around the neck and shoulders.  By giving the body the tools it needs recovery, it can work in synergy to address these issues.

Serotonin receptors, nitric oxide synthesis and release, and a variety of other neurotransmitters are affected by magnesium concentrations, which may be why it had such profound effects on the post run headaches.

Athletes may put further magnesium demands on their body via strenuous training and sweating. These demands may increase magnesium requirements by 10-20%. Therefore, an adequate intake can reduce athletic fatigue on the nervous system and reduce accumulation of lactic acid.

It is important to understand that this blog is not medical advice, not every case is as straightforward and that not every supplement is beneficial for everyone.  I work with my patients to create individualized treatment plans according to what systems are under stress and which systems require further support.  The big take away is – don’t ignore your symptoms. They are your body’s way of telling you something is wrong.  Let’s work together so you can change, explore and live!


Dr. Jennifer Tanner, has a broad, evidence based practice with a focus on sports and performance based medicine. Being a marathon runner and having been a competitive equestrian, an active lifestyle is important. Dr. Tanner uses a variety of tools including Acupuncture and Clinical Nutrition, putting an emphasis on “food as medicine” and addressing the root causes of inflammation . In conjunction with the Integrative Health team, Dr. Tanner is thrilled to help people achieve an optimal state of health and pursue their performance based health goals!

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Sep 3

Consuming Under Stress – Does Your Health Care Provider Match Your Expectations?

It’s Difficult to be a Consumer

It is a confusing time to be a consumer. The volume of decisions, the range of options, and the access to information can create much angst and doubt. When this is further complicated by the fear in a health crisis and the choice is of a healthcare provider, there can be even more stress involved.

Health care has been influenced by the industrial age in terms of thinking of the body as separate parts. As we have moved into the technological age we are now realizing the complexities of an ecosystem that is far more nuanced and beautifully influenced by different things.

When looking at how long histologically it takes a cell to recover with pristine diet and frequency of care, there are some time-lines for tissue healing that can be expected. Muscles take 6-8 weeks to repair; ligaments and tendons 12-16 weeks; nerve cells take 12-16 months. These are the facts of healing. Yet, with the right goal and context we are able to feel pain-free within 2-3 weeks.

When ‘shopping’ for a practitioner, it is important to find someone who understands your needs and shares your values when it comes to putting your puzzle together; not every knowledgeable person will have your answer. Being informed involves acknowledging the importance of timing as, when we find our health compromised, the right person and the right information at the right time is key.

With that in mind, here are five things you should know about me:

  1. You are not just a spine to me and your function and recovery cannot be measured by x-ray or MRI.
  2. I am evidence-informed and brain-centric.
  3. I am inspired by the understanding of mechanism and pursuit of simplicity.
  4. I am poly-influenced in technique and paradigm with no particular loyalty.
  5. I aim to not get distracted by the sizzle, but want the steak/tofu burger.

I recently had a conversation with an ER doctor who frankly stated that he didn’t have the proper knowledge or management skills to treat back pain unless there was direct trauma to the spine. This is not a criticism of hospital care, rather a reminder to consumers to understand what services you are accessing and manage your expectations appropriately. It is also a reminder to myself and other professionals to understand our roles with the skills and limitations that we bring to the table.

They say you can’t judge a snail by how it climbs a tree. So, if you’re having a heart attack, don’t book with your chiropractor.

Dr. Tabrizi is a chiropractor, osteopath and a passionate member of both the local and scientific community, whose goal is to teach that the pursuit of optimal health and wellness is much more than being symptom-free. His practice is rooted in the philosophy of treating the person rather than just treating the illness or ailment. As a result of his interdisciplinary training, Dr. Tabrizi has developed a neuroscience-based therapeutic education approach to treating his patients, focusing on healing illness from a wider perspective, placing equal responsibility on patient as well as practitioner. Dr. Tabrizi aims to educate his patients and provide them with the tools and framework needed to integrate pain management and healthy living into the fabric of their everyday lives.

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Aug 29

An Honest Portrayal of What it Means To Face Eosinophilic Granulomatosis

Just over a year ago I was released from the hospital. I had spent nearly a month in a bed, barely able to walk. Weighing in at just over 100 lbs, I had lost 30% of my body weight which left me so incredibly weak that I could not lift my legs and walking to the bathroom left me winded. I had suffered sensory nerve damage in my back, legs, and feet, but those were only miniscule issues compared to the median nerve damage that rendered my left hand completely lifeless, useless, and numb. The cause was vasculitis.

If we want to be specific, I have a form of vasculitis called eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (aka EGPA or Churg-Strauss Syndrome). It’s an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the blood vessel walls all over my body and often affects organs and nerves.

While in the hospital, I saw seven different specialists, and did 14 different types of test (many were performed multiple times), including a bone marrow biopsy and a lumbar puncture (spinal tap). I was poked and prodded all in the name of ruling out other possible diagnoses. In my already weakened state, this was unbelievably tiresome and difficult, yet completely necessary.

My medication treatment primarily consisted of high doses of steroids (prednisone) to get the disease into remission. Once we gained control of the inflammation, I did 5 months of chemotherapy (cyclophosphamide) to suppress my immune system. Since that time, I have been on an oral immune suppressant (azathioprine) which I continue to use today.

Due to my extensive muscle loss, I required a walker to get around. At first, I used a wheel-less model to get to and from the bathroom, but eventually graduated to a wheeled version, and then to a cane. Being 33 years old at the time and depending on a walker to get around was not only a blow to my ego and previous physical stature (I had once been a two-time MVP on a varsity rowing crew), but more significantly to my mental health.

Prior to my vasculitis, I would have classified myself as having a very good psychological and emotional wellbeing. Since my illness my mental health has been a roller coaster of ups and downs. I get overwhelmed with sadness out of nowhere and without warning. I am floored with emotion when I think back to my experience. What’s worse, I can’t get through a Disney movie without balling my eyes out! I watched Disney’s Inside Out, and Sadness got me real good, right in the feelers (Sadness is a character. If you haven’t already, watch it). All jokes aside, this past year has been an eye opener to me with regard to my mental wellbeing. What I once took for granted, is now something I think about on a daily basis.

You may be wondering where I am today? Only a short year after being released from the hospital, I am now back to work, playing sports, and more or less doing everything I used to! My neurologist says I’m the poster boy for vasculitis and I’ve been told by many health care providers that my recovery could not be going any better.

What is my secret? I honestly do not know, but I will share a few things that definitely helped.

  1. I had good health habits before I got sick.

I’m not saying I was the epitome of health, but I did have good habits that included making good food choices and being active. Having good habits prior to getting sick made my recovery exponentially easier once discharged from the hospital. It meant the only things I needed to do in my recovery, were the things I already knew. I didn’t have to learn new habits or train myself to do things differently.

When it comes to food, I love my vegetables! If any of you have ever eaten hospital food you know what I mean when I say the food is terrible. Vegetables consisted of frozen corn, peas, and carrots, or the occasional iceberg salad (literally nothing else but iceberg lettuce). This is why I couldn’t wait to get out of the hospital and eat real food again.

When it came to physical activity, I used to do everything, including, hockey, ultimate frisbee, snowboarding, surfing, standup paddleboarding, running, cycling, and much more. When I came home, I was itching to be active. I couldn’t wait till I could run again. I desperately wanted to regain my body and do the things I love. I was on a mission.

  1. Do what the doctor says!

I cannot believe how many people see their doctor or healthcare provider and do not follow through with the treatment plan! If they tell you to do your exercises, do them! If they give you drugs, take them! If they tell you to come back in two weeks, go see them in two weeks! I built a large healthcare team to support me and they say they wished all patients did what they were told. It blows my mind that people don’t listen, then complain when they don’t see results!

*My only caveat here is that I built a healthcare team I trust. You must advocate for yourself and if something doesn’t feel right, seek a second opinion.

  1. “What it takes”

This is my new life motto. Once I knew I could recover from my illness, I knew I had to do everything and anything to get better. There wasn’t room for excuses. There wasn’t any time to waste. I had all of the support one could ask for from family and friends, and it was now up to me to do “what it takes”. If I wanted to get my old life back, it had to start with me.

I have one last thing I must acknowledge before I end. While I say this is my journey, and I say that I had to overcome obstacles to be here today, none of this, I repeat, none of this, would have been possible if it were not for the love, support, and sacrifice provided by my family and friends. Whether it was a phone call, a text, a prayer, or a visit, my people came through for me big time! They were the driving force behind me and made my recovery a reality.

It took me a long year before I was ready to share my experience with the world. Truth be told, I still don’t think I’m ready. Building up to this moment, there were so many things flying through my mind. Most significantly, was the fact that I have yet to properly thank everyone who supported me. Every time I try to do so, I get swept up in the painful emotion and memory of how my illness impacted me and those around me. To everyone who helped me, thank you. Thank you times infinity! You got me through the toughest part of my life. I am eternally grateful and am unsure if I can ever truly repay you (but I’ll try).

This article is not meant to be a sob story about how my health hit rock bottom. Nor is it meant to be a boastful story of how strong I am. Instead, it is an honest and cathartic portrayal of my journey. When I was in my darkest place, I was surrounded by many people but yet I still felt alone. I felt like nobody else could understand. I was later connected with an old friend who truly understood and shone light in my time of need. I can only hope that my story reaches someone who needs it.

Greg

Follow my journey to living life on Instagram: @ghummer

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Aug 24

Is your energy gel actually slowing you down?

As an active runner and Naturopathic Doctor, I hear a lot of talk about energy gel and goo’s especially from my running and cycling clients. The challenge they find is that there is so much information and marketing out there, they don’t know which ones to choose? And what if that little package of power was causing more harm than good?

I remember the first running convention I went to and how excited I was to check out all the products on the market.  My excitement slowly diminished as I went from vendor to vendor reading labels and claims. It seemed that every gel or energy supplement included maltodextrin in its ingredient list…even the organic name brands!  Perplexed, I made a mission to find a healthier alternative.

Maltodextrin is most commonly derived from corn or wheat depending on the manufacturing origination.  It is a polysaccharide starch.  This carb is attractive. It’s glycemic index far surpasses that of white sugar which makes it easily and quickly absorbed into the system without dehydrating endurance athletes.  This coupled with it’s affordable manufacturing costs leaves it a very desirable ingredient in everything from energy gel to, nutrition bars, and many meal replacement shakes. While it can have big benefits for quick energy, it can also be harmful to the digestive system with major performance side effects.

When a patient comes to see me, my goal is to help them improve their health complaints.  Through physical examination and consultation, I often find that the digestive system is overlooked when it comes to athletic performance and that what we ingest can be a major contributor to our symptoms.  When an athlete thinks of becoming stronger, faster and preventing injuries it is essential to look at their musculoskeletal system, but what will really drive results is looking at their health in the context of their entire body, specifically the neurophysiological connections and the health of the gastrointestinal system.

Many people in today’s world are sensitive to genetically modified corn and wheat.  When these foods are consumed, inflammatory pathways are stimulated.  This can both hinder our absorption and performance.  A 2015 study by Nickerson, Chanin and McDonald stated the additive maltodextrin “impairs cellular anti-bacterial responses and suppresses intestinal anti-microbial defense mechanisms”.  This study was geared towards those with irritable bowel syndrome, but what does this mean for the general public? Part of the anti-microbial defense system that is being suppressed is our natural gut flora, or probiotics. These warriors help to modulate inflammatory cytokines IL-1 and IL-2. Without this regulation, our inflammation levels are harder to control, leading to increased injuries and longer healing times.

Instead of relying on the claims on the package, monitor your own performance. The next time you pop an energy gel, pay attention to your symptoms, especially your digestive system:

  • Do you feel gassy or bloated?
  • Has your energy changed?
  • Do you have a mental or physical crash shortly after?
  • Has your mood changed?
  • Do you have a headache?
  • Has your performance changed?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to consider other options, such as making your own energy supplement.  It isn’t as hard or time consuming as one might think.  Simply adding 2 tbsp’s of 100% Maple Syrup to your water or even putting it in a ziplock bag, or reusable squeeze pack.

Why maple syrup?  Not only is it Canadian, but you can check out the nutritional charts from www.purecanadamaple.com

Many people report, that 100% pure maple syrup provides energy support with less of a crash.  It proves vitamins and minerals such as manganese, riboflavin, zinc and in lesser quantities magnesium, calcium and potassium and upwards of 65 antioxidants!

You can get creative with your energy gel recipes.  Try adding lemon or lime, a pinch of Himalayan Sea Salt and a pinch of Turmeric!

The point is, we need to look beyond the symptoms and look for physiological connections.  I can help you assess your environment for performance limiting factors like maltodetextrin. Improving your gastrointestinal absorption will allow your body to circulate the tools it needs to recover and excel!

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25738413

http://www.purecanadamaple.com/benefits-of-maple-syrup/maple-syrup-nutrition/

http://fitnessfortravel.com/is-maltodextrin-bad-for-you/



Dr. Jennifer Tanner, has a broad, evidence based practice with a focus on sports and performance based medicine. Being a marathon runner and having been a competitive equestrian, an active lifestyle is important. Dr. Tanner uses a variety of tools including Acupuncture and Clinical Nutrition, putting an emphasis on “food as medicine” and addressing the root causes of inflammation . In conjunction with the Integrative Health team, Dr. Tanner is thrilled to help people achieve an optimal state of health and pursue their performance based health goals!

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May 30

Pee a little when you run?

Peeing a little when you run is a very common symptom. While the severity can range for an annoying, possibly embarrassing, inconvenience to a huge obstacle in participating in your favourite sport. As a Naturopathic Doctor I care about health promotion and am invested in the quality of your health. For me, running is a wonderful tool for a health promotion and disease prevention and when I hear clients are “peeing a little” I get concerned. Not only because I want you to be happy, healthy and running freely but mostly because “peeing a little” is a sign of pelvic instability, putting you at increased risk for other injuries.

Supporting our pelvic floor and internal organs isn’t something we tend to think about…until things go wrong.  New moms, post surgical patients and those suffering from constipation are just a few who may be suffering more than others.  During delivery, the muscles of the pelvic floor are stretched and can be weakened.   Possible bruising, tearing and residual pain can contribute to incontinence and as well as prolapsed organs. The chronic downward pressure from years of constipation can also wreak havoc on this region.  What does that mean?  You might pee a little when you run!

Medications and surgical procedures are available for over active or weak bladders but are generally reserved for more severe cases and do not often fully address your risk of injury or love of running.  There is often a huge gap in prescribing therapy and without the right medical advice, we might feel we are left to accept the fact that we have to manage peeing and running, and for me this is unacceptable.

As with any condition, it is important to understand your options and address why you may be suffering.  In regards to incontinence, your practitioner needs to know, are your muscles too weak and you need to support your pelvic floor? Or are these same muscles too tense and in a constant state of contraction?  For some, the root of their problem might stem from a mental emotional platform, or even be attributed to certain foods or bladder stimulants commonly in the environment.  A thorough diagnosis and assessment should be complete and pelvic instability should not be ignored.

Treatment options are available and we believe an integrative model provides the most comprehensive support. Your options might include pelvic physiotherapy, nutrition advice to decrease stimulation from irritation or constipation, and even acupuncture.

In fact, studies show acupuncture is a safe and effective method of reducing the amount of leakage we may experience.  Whole-body benefits are received with acupuncture in which other ailments and imbalances such as post partum depression and constipation can be addressed at the same time.  Often patients feel relaxed and refreshed post treatment.  Four or more weekly acupuncture treatments have been shown to significantly improve symptoms.

Rest assured it certainly is OK to “pee a little” but it’s not ok to settle when you have options and your future running self is at risk. Regaining bladder control is empowering and can reward us with the confidence to maintain an exercise program and active lifestyle.  Naturopathic Doctors are trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture.  Making use of your extended health care insurance can help you live the life you want!

For more information on how to support your pelvic floor, sign up for this months complimentary seminar and Pelvic Floor Program!


Dr. Jennifer Tanner, has a broad, evidence based practice with a focus on sports and performance based medicine. Being a marathon runner and having been a competitive equestrian, an active lifestyle is important. Dr. Tanner uses a variety of tools including Acupuncture and Clinical Nutrition, putting an emphasis on “food as medicine” and addressing the root causes of inflammation . In conjunction with the Integrative Health team, Dr. Tanner is thrilled to help people achieve an optimal state of health and pursue their performance based health goals!

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May 14

Marathon Mom ~ No limits

Marathon mom, can you have kids and run too?

Some may say it’s just not possible. Despite best intentions it is easy to have an endless array of excuses.  The most common of those is, “I just don’t have the time”.  I agree, there is no doubt, training for something like a marathon take up large chunks of your week.  Having children of course, is an entirely different marathon of its own!  Take it from this Naturopathic doctor and mom of 3 awesome kids, with a little flexibility and creativity in your life, these two worlds can merge and any goal can be accomplished! Seriously you can do it, and your body will thank you.

When I first started training, I was with my three children 24 hours a day.  The older two had started school and the youngest was like a Joey Kangaroo, attached to me all the time!  If I can make it work with an additional appendage, so can you! The best part is that taking care of your needs and supporting your running, actually gives you more fuel and builds resilience in your passion for parenting.

My advice, turn training into a family event.  But how do you do this you ask? My toddler can’t run to the end of the street without being distracted by the shiny rocks on the sidewalk (most beautiful rock in the world)!  Participating in what you love makes children happy too. This invitation to participate makes them feel included in their family unit.  Small people are creatures that love exploring and would jump at a chance to go on an adventure, they key is to adjust your expectations and let go of perfectionism in favour of overall efficiency.

If your kids are young, put them in a running stroller.  Be sure to bring some snacks, water and something for them to touch – like a book.  Play games like “I Spy” along the way or take the opportunity to teach them about nature and the changes of seasons.  Expect to make potty and stretching pit stops along the way.  Even planning for a picnic in the forest would be a welcome break for the both of you.  This is where the flexibility comes into play.  If you need to abort mission because of a massive temper tantrum, that is ok.  Don’t throw your training schedule out the window.  Simply try again another day, possibly taking a different route or choosing a different time of day (like having them nap in the stroller!)

If your children are old enough to ride a bike, have them bike beside you while you run. Go on trail runs to make it exciting for the kids. If your kids are teens, they can run with you.  It is ok if you don’t make your usual pace, at this point it is about getting the miles in, not so much the speed.

Cross training can be fun for the family too. Pop a lifejacket on them and hit the pool, cycling with the chariot or finding mommy and me classes in your neighbourhood.  My youngest would join me at boot camp and climb on my back for an additional weight during push ups and crunch times.  The quality of your workouts might be a bit different now but the closeness and opportunities to bond are more than worth it . Plus, you will be sure to get a few good laughs in and the gains in your health pay dividends.

As Naturopathic Doctors our job is to promote health.  Studies show that two hours of sunlight and Vitamin D exposure a day can prevent autoimmune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis.  In today’s world of electronics and boxed food, instilling an active, outdoor lifestyle in children who are inspired by nature is priceless.

If you are a marathon mom and you want to enjoy physical activity but are struggling with mood changes, fatigue, poor sleep quality and lack of motivation. I want to work with you to break down those obstacles, to address your hormone balance, optimize your sleep and set realistic expectations that will put you on the path back to running or help you run better. Let’s build some momentum together.

Dr. Jennifer Tanner, has a broad, evidence based practice with a focus on sports and performance based medicine. Being a marathon mom and having been a competitive equestrian, an active lifestyle is important. Dr. Tanner uses a variety of tools including Acupuncture and Clinical Nutrition, putting an emphasis on “food as medicine” and addressing the root causes of inflammation . In conjunction with the Integrative Health team, Dr. Tanner is thrilled to help people achieve an optimal state of health and pursue their performance based health goals!

 

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May 1

I’m Not A Vending Machine. You Deserve More Than A Cheap Snack.

I would like to extend a sincere ‘thank you’ to all of the patients who have pushed me to be better and inspired me to look beyond.

Yet this is challenging as we are at an interesting time in our history. With unprecedented resources and technology to access information we have become very self-reliant in acquiring ‘expertise.’ As everything becomes more complicated with the speed of change and the pace of life, there is a false sense of knowledge that the smartphone bestows upon us that is causing us to make errors with a false sense of certainty. The instantaneous nature of our society makes us beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied with the speed of nearly everything, including our healing and recovery.

We all strive to be better and constantly evolving, but part of that process is getting rid of our thought viruses. As a chiropractor and clinician, I try to be malleable and not attached to a technique or a dogma, despite the pigeon-hole that is often associated with what a practitioner with my designation ‘should’ do.

One of the greatest achievements of evidence-based medicine is the knowledge that we achieve maximum outcomes if our interventions are biopsychosocial.

Simply stated:

You are not just your back pain, but rather, a sophisticated individual that is juggling more than you could ever imagine with the gravity of pressure that is physically and emotionally expensive to manage.

(P.S. You sit too much, as a result your glutes are not activated and you have a stiff ankle and a tight calf).

As you search for treatments, there will be many paths and many traps along the way, so be cognisant of the fact that quality care is not about chasing symptoms, but rather looking at the drivers of pain and dysfunction. I acknowledge that I may not know the whole answer but, as a patient-centric care-giver, it is my goal to provide the most appropriate care to the best of my current understanding.

Yet this is also a reminder to myself to not use other experts in my life as a vending machine. Unless it’s an organic, paleo vending machine with kale chips and perfect posture—and a dash of Tito’s vodka. ‘Cause that would be amazing.

Dr. Tabrizi is a chiropractor, osteopath and a passionate member of both the local and scientific community, whose goal is to teach that the pursuit of optimal health and wellness is much more than being symptom-free. His practice is rooted in the philosophy of treating the person rather than just treating the illness or ailment. As a result of his interdisciplinary training, Dr. Tabrizi has developed a neuroscience-based therapeutic education approach to treating his patients, focusing on healing illness from a wider perspective, placing equal responsibility on patient as well as practitioner. Dr. Tabrizi aims to educate his patients and provide them with the tools and framework needed to integrate pain management and healthy living into the fabric of their everyday lives.

This is what his clients have to say about his approach:

“After seeing Dr. Tabrizi I had almost immediate relief from my pain. After a terrible pregnancy, I have been struggling to walk with sore feet and imbalances in my core.

His suggestions for exercises are simple and easy to do, tailored to what I need, and have made an almost immediate difference in the way I walk and feel. I am standing up straight and learning to walk again!

He explains to me how to correct things in a way I can understand yet is based in scientific evidence. After my first visit, I left IHI with four simple exercises to practice at home. 

His approach to treatment is holistic, personalized, empathetic yet empowering. 

After my second treatment I felt incredible. I have seen so many doctors and felt like they were very disconnected with how I would feel after a treatment – that they just wanted to get their money and see me next time. Sometimes I would be in pain from the treatment, other times I wondered if it did anything at all.

Dr. Tabrizi listens and is giving me the tools to help heal myself.

By doing the simple exercises I have already seen a big difference in not only my body and have less pain but also positive effects in the way I view my injuries and a renewed hope in my ability to heal myself. “ ~ N. Stewart April 28, 2017

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Apr 17

When Miscarriage Strikes…

By Lauren Berger, MSW, RSW

For as long as women have been getting pregnant, they have been having miscarriages.

It is estimated that approximate one in every four to five pregnancies end in miscarriage – no small number.  However, many women consider miscarriage to be a point of shame.  They feel it is something to hide, not to be discussed, and they are therefore left to suffer the loss alone.  Losing a child, unborn or not, is an unbearable pain.  I know because three years ago I lost identical twins when I was five months pregnant.

To say I was devastated would be a gross understatement.  I felt like I had a treasure ripped from my hands, and there was no satisfying reason why.  I wondered what I had done wrong; not in my pregnancy, but in life, to deserve such a loss.  A sense of guilt is a very common response to miscarriage.  So is shame.  To me, that is the most important thing to dispel.  Most of the time, miscarriage occurs because of a medical complication.  We rarely feel shame for a broken leg or contracting the flu, so why with miscarriage?  In discussing this idea with others, it seems that many feel inadequate; they had not been able to carry the pregnancy to term, so something must be wrong with them.  They also feel a sense of failure, not only regarding themselves but that they have failed their partner and other family members.  Some even feel that because a pregnancy has to do with the reproductive organs and sex, there is an inherent shame surrounding the issue.

The loss of my twins came as a shock.  During an ultrasound, we were made aware of a small problem that would likely be able to be resolved with a procedure, but by the time we had another test done, it was too late.  With the wind still knocked out of me, it was necessary to arrange a time to be admitted to hospital to deliver my babies. Once the birthing ordeal was over and we were given privacy to spend time with our daughters, the gravity of loss fully hit.  Here were two girls, tiny but beautiful, that will always be loved, but will never grow. We named them, had a very small funeral ceremony, and they were gone.  Even my belly went down immediately, as if it didn’t want to remind me of what had been there only 24 hours earlier.

While I can’t tell you how to feel about a miscarriage, what I can tell you is you are absolutely not alone.  You could say that I was fortunate – I was surrounded by incredible support.  I never had to be alone if I didn’t want to be.  My friends let me tell my story over and over again because it made me feel better to process it than to keep it inside; never mind that is was sad or hard for them to hear.  What I found most surprising is how many people came out of the woodwork to share their story with me as a way to comfort and tell me I wasn’t alone.  Everyone from close family members to near strangers that work at my dental office offered a hug and the knowledge that they had been through the same.  No one wants to be part of this club, but the members are caring.

Through my experience, and the experiences of those around me, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to help ease the pain of miscarriage.  While everyone mourns differently, and there is no right or wrong way, here is a collection of things that seem to help:

  • Tell your story. Whether you want to share it with a friend, an online forum, or your journal, getting your story off of your mind can make you feel less alone and help you move forward.
  • Whether you were one day or nine months pregnant, your loss is valid. Some women seem to preface their story with, “I know it was really early, but…” as if they are supposed to brush off the importance of their loss.  For most women, the moment the test turns positive she begins falling in love with her baby and fantasizing about everything from what colour eyes the baby will have to it’s high school graduation.  A new life is created and connected to immediately.  Therefore, at any stage, it is a significant loss to have those hopes, feelings of love, and plans for the future taken away.  Make no excuses for why you feel the way you do.
  • No, not everything happens for a reason. This is a personal pet peeve comment.  While I think they are trying to offer comfort or an explanation where there isn’t any, when a well-meaning friend says “Everything happens for a reason”, it may feel like she has just said that you were meant to lose your baby.  Again, this is nearly always coming from a very loving place, but the phrase offers little comfort.  Do not take it to heart but rather try to understand that your friend is trying to offer you words of comfort (whether it comes across that way or not).
  • Mourn and remember in ways that are meaningful or helpful to you, not what others think you should do. Some may not understand why you choose to hide out on what would have been your due date or why you visit your baby if he or she was buried at a cemetery.  I’ve had close friends of mine suggest that I should try to forget about special dates or cannot believe that I chose to hold my babies after I delivered them.  The fact is, if it feels right to you, it doesn’t really matter what others think.  Everyone mourns differently and we should not place judgement on anyone’s choice of how they move forward, remember, or ease their pain.  Do what feels right for you.  There is no right or wrong.
  • Time does heal all wounds, but there is often a faint scar. You will not feel the Day One fresh pain of loss after a year.  As time goes on, most women accept their loss and move forward with their lives.  They often go on to have other children or make satisfying choices in their lives.  These new endeavors, however, are not exactly a replacement for what they have lost.  Some things are irreplaceable.  And that’s okay.  You can go on, be happy, live your life, and still remember the baby you lost.  Several years later, there is still a song on the radio that reminds me of when I lost my twins, and I always change the station when it comes on.  But, now that time has passed, it no longer makes me cry.  Take notice of how things evolve over time – things that may have led to devastating emotion will likely be easier to tolerate or not bother you much at all.  Take comfort in that as a sign of your healing and ability to move forward.

Like any other devastation in life, we have choices on how to handle it.  If you process, mourn, and take your time, you’ll continue to live your life and find your happiness again.  If this seems easier said than done, perhaps you would benefit from additional support.  Never by shy or embarrassed to ask for help, whether from a loved one or a professional.  There are so many resources available to you, and you deserve the care (self-care and the care of others) to help you go forward.  You are not alone.

**Disclaimer:  The advice in this article is for informational purposes only and does not replace the diagnosis/treatment of a licensed medical or mental health professional.**

Lauren Berger is a Registered Social Worker providing counselling and psychotherapy at IHI.  Check her out at www.laurenberger.ca, drop her a line at lauren@laurenberger.ca, follow her on Twitter: @LaurenBergerMSW, or sneak a peek at her Instagram: laurenberger_msw.

 

 

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Apr 10

When to start your race training for running.

The weather is nice and we Canadians are peeling off the layers!  We all have the urge to get outside and move.  Motivation tends to be high this time of year. As a Naturopathic Doctor I want to help you capitalize on this momentum and help you plan your spring and summer race training for running programs.  If you want to achieve a goal it is important to set a milestones, be objective and keep yourself accountable.  My best advice is to choose a running event that will challenge you, but still fit into your schedule and respect your health limits. It is important to push yourself, to encourage changes in body composition and mental emotional states, but we also need to respect injury potentials.  If you are new to the sport, I recommend googling the races near you to get a better understanding of all your options.  Start with the long term goal in mind and choose the distance for your ideal event. Running goals can vary in distance, starting from 1km-10km, to a marathon or even and ultra marathon!  If the idea of long term training sounds tedious, don’t let it detour you,  from a health promotion perspective it is so worth it!  The long runs give you time to ponder life.  Once you cross the finish line, not only will you be empowered by your accomplishments but you will be loving your toned muscles, gleaming skin and strong heart!

A well structured training program is essential. For example, if you are training for a full marathon, you will need to start your program 16-20 weeks before the event.  If you are local and planning to run Toronto’s Scotia Bank Waterfront Marathon that is held in October. This would mean you would need to start your training in May or June. It is important to give your body enough time to prepare for the event to prevent injuries.  If those injuries do occur, your Naturopathic Doctor can assist you in your recovery process.

As a Naturopathic Doctor I want to see you succeed, not only to achieve your goal but also to help you live your best life, by fighting and preventing chronic disease.

Here is a check list of how I support clients who want to run.

  • I will evaluate your training program to assess for your risk of injury and ensure it is matched to your goal. If you don’t know where to start, I will help you find a program that is right for you.
  • I will help you set up an optimal “recovery plan” that includes support for sleep, nutrition and digestion, and immune function. So that you get the most value from your workouts, build strength, avoid injury, and work efficiently.
  • If you have hit a plateau in your training and performance or are suffering from a chronic injury. I will help you understand how to adapt your environment. When you are meeting your body’s needs, you will build strength, modulate inflammation and promote tissue healing.
  • I compliment the support of your physiotherapist, chiropractor or conditioning coach and my services are covered under most health insurance plans.

Participating in a marathon is a bucket list item that anyone with sneakers can accomplish and I want to help you get there.  Usually we toy with the idea for awhile until we finally gather up enough courage to sign up!  If a full marathon isn’t your cup of tea, start at a level that feels comfortable for you, maybe that’s a 5km.  Accomplishing your goals will boost your confidence and your health and you will be quickly looking for your next event!

Dr. Jennifer Tanner, has a broad, evidence based practice with a focus on sports and performance based medicine. Being a marathon runner and having been a competitive equestrian, an active lifestyle is important. Dr. Tanner uses a variety of tools including Acupuncture and Clinical Nutrition, putting an emphasis on “food as medicine” and addressing the root causes of inflammation . In conjunction with the Integrative Health team, Dr. Tanner is thrilled to help people achieve an optimal state of health and pursue their performance based health goals!

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