Five Ways to Reduce Low Back Pain While Cycling

Setup your bike properly for an enjoyable and pain free ride.

Setup your bike properly for an enjoyable and pain free ride.

Cycling competitively, to work or just for the enjoyment of it is an excellent way to keep in shape and enjoy the outdoors, but it’s no fun at all if your back hurts. Back pain or discomfort while riding a bicycle can result from various factors, such as poor riding posture, a poorly fit bicycle, the wrong-sized bicycle or even from a pre-existing injury. Like any other physical activity, cycling requires some conditioning and adaptation, and if you’re just starting out in this sport, you may want to seek out more information before strapping on your helmet.

Importantly, if you experience recurrent or prolonged back pain while cycling or even afterwards, make sure to seek prompt assessment and treatment. There are also some simple adjustments you can make to keep riding easy, prevent injury or prevent an existing injury from progressing to a more serious problem. Often, simple fixes like adjusting your seat or correcting your posture could help. Read on for helpful tips!

1. Take it easy

Whether you are training for a race or simply working towards your personal best, be careful not to overdo it. On long rides, make sure to take breaks as needed, hydrate and do some stretches or move about. Check out our Resources section for excellent stretches for athletes.

2. The right fit for your needs

Touring, road racing or all-terrain – there is a bike for every rider. Make sure you have the bike that suits your needs. What terrain will you be riding on? How long will your trips be? Are you looking for comfort or speed? When you buy a new bike, or take yours for maintenance, ask to have your bike properly fitted for your individual frame.

3. Posture

While riding, keep a neutral spine by bending at the hips and avoiding the “hunch” in your mid-back. If possible, avoid excessive movement from your upper body and use your back as a fulcrum instead.

4. Core Strength

Having well-conditioned abdominal and back muscles will help to support your upper body while riding and minimize excessive swaying. Your chiropractor can help to guide you and recommend exercises that are targeted to your core, as well as exercises to enhance your overall conditioning.

5. Adjust your bike to your frame

Minor adjustments can make a huge difference. Different styles of bikes require different riding postures, however, this infographic provides a quick reference for general adjustments that can help ensure a relaxed, comfortable posture while riding your bicycle.


Why Stress Affects Everyone Differently

articles_61It is well documented that high levels of stress can contribute to heart disease, cancer, headaches, ulcers, digestive disturbances, backaches and many other conditions. How can one word – STRESS- cause so many unique and different problems especially since the stress reaction is the same for everyone? The answer may be simpler than you think.

Stress is a nervous system reaction that causes your heart to beat faster, your muscles to be tense, your stomach to tighten, and your hair follicles to stand up, all as a way to prepare your body for an emergency. When you interpret a situation as stressful, whether it truly is or not, your brain triggers this reaction by sending a signal over your spinal cord and nervous system to every cell of your body. In prehistoric times, this would have been the perfect reaction to escape from a hungry dinosaur, but in today’s stress filled world and no Tyrannosaurus Rex, this chronic reaction can cause pain, sickness and disease.

Where your body breaks down from stress may depend on whether or not you have a condition known as vertebral subluxation. A vertebral subluxation is a spinal injury that interferes with the normal function of your nervous system which can affect your health on every level whether you have symptoms or not. If you have this in your spine, your body is already pre-stressed.

Many people deal with stress through deep breathing, meditation, exercise and healthy food choices. These are all very good things to do as part of your lifestyle to counter-balance stress, but if your nervous system is pre-stressed, the slightest deviation from the perfect stress management plan can send you into a frustrating, uncomfortable, or painful tailspin. Removing the pre-stressed subluxation can improve your resistance to daily stressors, big or small.

In a pre-stressed condition, your body becomes more vulnerable to outside stresses. You may notice you are affected quickly by stress while other people may seem more resistant. The location of the subluxation can determine what types of symptoms, if any, you experience. For example, someone with nerve interference in the upper part of the neck might get headaches, have allergies, or a feel like they have a stiff neck. Because the nerves fibers that come out of the upper neck also go to the entire body, pressure here can literally cause or mimic symptoms or diseases.

Interference to the nerve supply in the lower back can cause a backache, leg problems and also affect ovary, prostate, bladder or bowel function. Interference to the nerves in the middle of your back can affect your heart and lungs or cause tension, stomach problems, digestive disturbances and discomfort.

The scary part is that vertebral subluxations, like other serious conditions, can cause stress for decades without any symptoms. Serious problems can occur, many of which could have been avoided by eliminating this pre-stressed condition right away. The birth process, childhood falls, sports injuries and poor lifestyle habits are just a few causes of subluxations. Rather than getting to the cause and removing this underlying problem, many people attempt to chase their symptoms away with drugs, or another type of quick fix, and then wonder why their condition returns. Removing the cause and optimizing the function of your nervous system is a better immediate and long-term plan.

Regardless of your symptoms, a chiropractic examination can locate pre-stressed areas in your spine that may be affecting your health on every level. Research has shown that it only takes the weight of a dime to reduce nerve compression and that nerve compression can exist without pain.

Crisis care is one way to deal with stress, only receiving care when you are hurt. A much better option is to remove the subluxation, and the stress, from your body and keep it out as a part of your lifestyle. This will help you to stress less, live more, and enjoy the quality of life you deserve.

© 2015 The Family Practice, Inc., Dr. Eric Plasker and The 100 Year Lifestyle. All Rights Reserved.

Article originally posted at :

Plant & Rake without the Ache

Lawn maintenance

S-T-R-E-T-C-H Before You Start

Your thighs
Lean against a tree. Bend your right knee and grasp your ankle with your left hand. Repeat with your left knee.

Your Sides
Extend one arm over your head. Bend left from the waist, then right.

Your Hamstrings
Stand. Reach your hands to the sky. Then bending at the waist, reach toward your toes.

Your shoulders
Let your arms hand loose. Rotate your shoulders forward. Then rotate back.

Your wrists

  • Hold one arm out in front of you, palm down. Bend your wrist until the fingers point to the ground. Use the opposite hand to hold this position.
  • Keep your arm straight, place your palm in the “stop” position. Use your opposite hand to hold this position.
  • Place your hands in “prayer” position, and press palms together.

Your Arms & Shoulders
Hug yourself snugly and slowly Rotate at the waist, as far as Comfortable to the left, then right

Your back
Sit, bend form the hips, keeping your head down. Reach for theground.

Overall conditioning
Take a walk, even on the spot. 10 to 15 minutes should do it. Don’t forget to lift your knees and gently swing your arms.

The Right Moves

Lift Right
Make sure your back is straight and knees are bent. Carry the load close to your body. Make sure your feet and body are pointing in the same direction. If you need to turn, pivot with your feet…don’t twist your body while carrying the load. Avoid heavy lifting immediately after bending or kneeling.

Kneel to Plant
Use knee pads or a kneeling mat to reduce the strain while you plant and weed. Keep your back straight and stop frequently to take a break.

Heavy, Light, Heavy, Light. That’s the right way to handle the chores.

Change Hands/Legs
Ease the strain on your back by putting one leg in front, the other behind. Switch legs and hands from time to time also helps.

Check Your Position
Change it often! Kneel, then stand or simply sit and relax for a while.

The Right Tools

Choose tools that are ergonomically designed with padded handles and spring action. Make sure the size and weight are right for you. And always choose the proper tool for the job.

Here are a few more tips:

a hose is easier to manage than a watering can
a good cart of dolly makes moving heavier loads a breeze
a wheelbarrow that is lightweight and has two wheels is a good idea
separate a larger load into several small ones
select comfortable, thick soled, supportive shoes
cover up with a wide-brimmed hat, wear gloves and sunscreen
use well designed, long handled, lightweight tools
Always drink lots of water, have a snack and take a break!

Take Care of Your Back

Back or muscle pain that lasts longer than 48 hours is your body’s way of saying it needs help. See your Chiropractor. Chiropractors are trained to detect and treat spinal problems. They provide expert care for your back, muscles and joint, helping you enjoy life to the fullest.

Give our office a call for more information and to book a checkup before you start into the spring gardening.


Our Have-A-Heart Campaign was a great success!

We raised $726!  Thank you to all those patients that donated.


Dr. Bobby Doscher with Oklahaven patient

Dr. Bobby Doscher with Oklahaven patient Dr. Bobby Doscher is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the non-profit Oklahaven Children’s Chiropractic Center in Oklahoma City, which is celebrating its 50th year of helping the severely hurt children return to health in a natural way. The center has never received state, federal, or United Way funding.

During Dr. Doscher’s thirty year tenure with the clinic, the center has received national and international recognition. She frequently lectures at chiropractic colleges throughout the world. She has also been a speaker at numerous national and international conferences, and has been invited to treat the damaged children in Jordan, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Russia, New Zealand, Australia and across the U.S.

In 1992, the State of Oklahoma honored Dr. Doscher, proclaiming and designating a special day as “Dr. Bobby Doscher Day” in recognition of her relentless commitment in providing natural, drug-free health care for children.

To learn more visit

Shovel Right, Shovel Light

snow-shovelDuring the winter months, snow shoveling can be a pain, considering that each shovelful of snow weighs about six pounds. That’s a lot of repetitive lifting, and wear and tear on your back. These back health tips will ease the hassle of clearing your driveway and help keep your back in shape.

  • Download our brochure Shovel Light for more info on correct shoveling.

Warm Up

Before tackling any strenuous activity, a quick 10-minute warm up such as a walk around the block will kickstart your muscles for the activity ahead and help prevent injury.

1. Don’t Let Snow Pile Up

If the weather report calls for several days of snow, frequent shovelling will allow you to move smaller amounts of snow after each snowfall.


2. Pick the Right Shovel

Use a lightweight push shovel. If you’re using a metal shovel, spray it with Teflon, so snow won’t stick to it.


3. Push, Don’t Throw

Push the snow to the side rather than throwing it. This way, you avoid lifting heavy shovelfuls of snow, and abrupt twists or turns that may result in injury.


4. Bend Your Knees

If you need to lift shovelfuls of snow, bend your knees, and use your leg and arm muscles to do the work, while keeping your back straight.


5. Take a Break

If you feel tired or short of breath, stop and take a break. Shake out your arms and legs to recharge.


Keep Comfort in Mind

Layer your clothing so you can adapt to changing temperatures. If you become too warm while outdoors, simply remove a layer or two to maximize comfort.

Stay Hydrated

Even though it’s cold outside, your body still needs plenty of fluids. Be sure to drink lots of water or fruit juice before, during and after shovelling. Remember – if you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

Take it Slow

Rest when you feel tired or short of breath. Stop shovelling if you experience sudden or prolonged joint or muscle pain.

Cool Down

After you’ve finished shovelling, cool down by taking a walk and stretching out tense muscles.

Straighten Up Canada! The Importance of Good Posture for Spine Health



Do you remember being nagged as a child to sit up straight at school or the dinner table? Do you still find yourself slouching at your computer or bending your head forward for long periods while using electronic devices? Canada’s chiropractors want you to Straighten Up! Good posture helps to prevent backache and muscular pain, allows your body to use less energy for daily tasks, helps to decrease wear on joints and prevent arthritis, and increases the flexibility and stress tolerance of your spine. Good posture also makes you look and feel great.

What are some examples of poor posture?

Hollow-backHollow back occurs when the natural curve of your lower back is increased, also called hyperlordosis. When your lower back is arched, it causes your ribcage to protrude and forces your pelvis out of the neutral position, causing your tailbone to point backwards. When these bones are out of alignment, it weakens your abdominal muscles, your hip flexors and your hamstrings. All this together may lead to uneven distribution of pressure on the vertebral discs.

Hollow back can lead to low back pain, deconditioned and weak muscles in the back and abdomen, and other musculoskeletal conditions, such as knee pain.

at-attentionPerhaps you are very aware of your posture and work hard to stand straight and tall. Be careful! Good posture shouldn’t be hard work. If you are standing “at attention” all the time (hypokyphosis), your head may protrude and your shoulder blades may tend to be forward and tilted. As well, this posture increases the natural curve of your lower back, pushes your hips forward, and probably causes you to stand with your knees “locked” or slightly hyperextended. This will weaken your abdominals and hamstrings and shorten your hip flexors, causing them to feel tight.

Hypokyphosis can result in low back pain, thoracic (mid-back) pain and possibly hip and knee pain.

So, remember to stand tall (but not too tall!). Keep your spine neutral and abdomen braced – imagine tensing and stiffening your abdomen to prepare for an incoming impact. Don’t lock your knees – keep them slightly bent and make sure you wear good quality shoes if you are on your feet a lot. It will probably feel awkward at first, but your body will adapt and soon it will be second nature to look and feel great!



Pack it light, wear it right! Backpack safety

backpackBack to school is just around the corner, and with all those new school supplies is often the most forgotten but most important part of a childs back to school wardrobe, their backpack.

Students these days are provided with more and more materials they need to bring on a regular basis. College and university students are often carrying laptops in addition to their daily school books.

Tips for packing light and wearing right

All this is a recipe for pain, but a few simple steps may provide for worry free carrying.

1.  A properly fitted pack should include;

  • well padded shoulder straps – The shoulder straps should be at least 2 inches wide and should not fit too snugly around the arms, straining muscles and affecting nerves.
  • a significant waist strap – a hip strap or waist belt can take as much as 50-70% of the weight off the shoulders and spine. The waist belt will equalize the strain on the bones, joints and muscles.
  • compression straps to keep the pack tight together – on the side of the pack they help to keep a less full pack from shifting weight backwards and away from the body.
  • sized to fit the torso of the person or child wearing it – The top of the backpack should not extend higher than the top of the shoulder and the bottom should not fall below the top of the hipbone.

2. Properly weighted pack should be;

  • packed so heavy items are close to the body
  • no more than 15% of body weight for teens & adults and 10% for children
  • filled with lots of compartments to keep contents from moving around while walking

3. Properly worn a pack should;

  • have heavy items close to the body helps keep the weight close to the body’s center of gravity
  • be worn with BOTH shoulder straps – slinging a pack on one side causes strain and a lean to the child wearing the pack
  • be put on with the pack on a table or desk – helps from straining the low back twisting to put on the pack

How much is too much?

To help you figure out what is overloading a pack, we have the following chart.

Shoes 1kg/2lbs
wet towel 1kg/2lbs
6 text books 2.7kg/6lbs
2 binders 1.5kg/3lbs
20 CDs .5kg/1lbs
Game Boy .25kg/.5lbs
water bottle .25kg/.5lbs
sports gear 4.5kg/10lbs
lunch/snacks 1kg/2lbs
laptop computer 2.7kg/6lbs

To determine the maximum weight you should carry

If you weigh Only carry
23 kg/50 lbs 2.2 kg/5 lbs
32 kg/70 lbs 3 kg/7 lbs
40 kg/90 lbs 6 kg/14 lbs
50 kg/110 lbs 7 kg/16 lbs
59 kg/130 lbs 9 kg/19 lbs
68 kg/150 lbs 10 kg/22 lbs
77 kg/170 lbs 11 kg/25 lbs
86 kg/190 lbs 13 kg/28 lbs

Download this backpack_handout for additional help with backpack safety.

So what does this mean in the store?

While this information may help give guidelines for your Childs backpack, real life searches can be a bit more challenging.

To help save you some time we have stopped by a few local locations for back to school supplies to find the best options.

While having the biggest selection, the choices for quality packs is thin. Of the many boxes of packs only one had curved shoulder straps, compression straps and well divided compartments.

  • Watch for thin straps with weak stitching to the main pack. Zippers should be coarse with metal preferred.
  • Seams should be wrapped with edging.
  • Theme bags may be a hit with kids but a theme lunch cooler in a better pack is your best choice.

Another large selection of packs. Obus Forme is the brand of choice with the selection available. If your son or daughter is heading to university with a laptop, Targus makes a few solid packs with laptop sleeves. Watch for a few packs which are very large but not very well designed with weak materials, poor straps and stitching that probably can’t handle the weight which would fill the available space.

Canadian Tire

Suprising enough, our local Canadian Tire store had a great selection of quality packs with two Obus Forme models and another from Outbound which all provided great features for a reasonable price.

Other local stores

Other retailers in town have a selection of packs. From Dakine to Quicksilver, these branded packs may be missing the compression straps and waist belt, so be careful to look thoroughly at the available models.

For more information and to check if your childs pack is suitable, please give Dr. Wilson a call at 250-336-8683 or find a nearby chiropractor at

Information provided courtesy of the BC Chiropractic Association. For more handouts and to have backpack safety information for your school follow this link to the association site.

Thank you Cumberland

DSC00094-SmallI would like to thank my patients, and the people of Cumberland, for your patronage through nearly 8 years. It has been a pleasure being part of the community and seeing the growth and changes around town.

As of April 30th, I will be working full time in our Courtenay office, and would like to invite you to come see myself and Dr. Ernie von Schilling, at 102‐307 5th Street, on the lower level by Linda’s Leather and Lavish Salon.

We have some exciting things in store and additional services to offer you at our larger Downtown Chiropractic office space.

Dr. Colin Wilson
Downtown Chiropractic
102-307 5th St
Courtenay, BC V9N 1J9


How your anatomy affects your movement

20140109_001106Was shared an interesting article posted on The Movement which reminded me why some patients have reoccurring issues with one side or the other of their body.

We’re not completely symmetrical and we all move a bit differently.

While movement in general should be as free and stable as possible, our structure has a say in what the extent of the movement we can attain, both with, and without treatment.

This different movement will also affect nearby tissues which complicates your clinical picture.  Come in for an evaluation and, if needed, an adjustment to make sure the range of motion you have is actually ready for action.

So keep on training, but listen to your body, and most of all have fun!

Comparative Safety of Chiropractic

Chiropractic has an excellent safety record but no healthcare method is completely free of risk. If spinal manipulation were a prescription medica­tion, its rate of major adverse effects would justify calling it remarkably safe. The area of greatest controversy is vertebrobasilar accident (VBA), or stroke. Chiropractic students are taught best practices for recognizing impending strokes, appropriate care and caution are given strong empha­sis, and the profession endorses the use of informed consent.

Full understanding of this issue hinges on the question of whether the rare stroke that occurs following a visit to a chiropractor was actually caused by chiropractic treatment or occurred for reasons not associated with it. Only recently has large-scale, rigorous research addressed this issue, with two large reviews of all records in the Canadian province of Ontario. Because Canada has publicly-funded universal healthcare, this data is presumed to be comprehensive. Questions of a possible causative role for spinal manipulation raised in the first study, by Rothwell et al appear to have been fully resolved in the later Cassidy et al study.

Rothwell Study (Canada, 2001)

Rothwell et al reviewed all records from 1993-1998 and found a total of 582 vertebrobasilar accident cases in the province. Each was age and gender matched to 4 controls from the Ontario population with no history of stroke at the event date. Public health insurance billing records were used to document utilization of chiropractic services during the year prior to VBA onset. Slightly more than 90% had no chiropractic visits in the year preceding their VBA. Of the 57 individuals with VBAs who did visit a chiropractor in the 365 days preceding the VBA (out of 50 million chiro­practic visits during the 5-year period studied), 27 are believed to have had cervical manipulation. Of these, 4 individuals visited a chiropractor on the day immediately preceding the VBA, 5 in the previous 2-7 days, 3 in the previous 8-30 days, and 15 in the previous 31-365 days.

Compared to the controls, there was an increased association of VBA among patients who saw a chiropractor 1-8 days prior to the VBA event, but a decreased association of CVA among patients who saw a chiroprac­tor 8-30 days before the event. Rothwell et al found no association between recent chiropractic visits and VBAs in patients over age 45. However, patients under age 45 were 5 times more likely to have visited a chiropractor within the week prior to the VBA and 5 times more likely to have had 3 or more visits with a cervical diagnosis in the month preceding the VBA. Though Rothwell and colleagues explicitly cautioned against using their data to infer a cause-and-effect relationship between spinal manipulation and stroke, some used their data to make such a connec­tion. There were a total of 6 strokes within 7 days of neck manipulation in the under-45 group, out of approximately 15 million total neck manipula­tions during the time period evaluated.

Cassidy Study (Canada, 2008)

Several years after the Rothwell study, Cassidy and colleagues completed a review of the same Ontario records evaluated by Rothwell’s group and extended the time period covered in the review by three years. They performed additional analyses to determine whether patients who had seen a chiropractor were more likely to have had a stroke than patients who had seen a medical physician. This question, which had not been part of the earlier Rothwell review, was crucial because patients in the early stages of a stroke commonly experience symptoms (headache, neck pain) that may lead them to consult either a chiropractor or a medical doctor.

Cassidy’s group found that it was no more likely for a stroke patient to have seen a chiropractor than a medical physician. In fact, those visiting a medical doctor rather than a chiropractor were more likely to have had a stroke, although this difference was not statistically significant. The authors concluded, “The increased risks of VBA stroke associated with chiropractic and PCP [primary care physician] visits is likely due to patients with headache and neck pain from VBA dissection seeking care before their stroke. We found no evidence of excess risk of VB stroke associated chiropractic care compared to primary care.”

Rothwell DM, Bondy SJ, Williams JI. Chiropractic manipulation and stroke: a population-based case-control study. Stroke. May 2001;32(5):1054-1060.
Cassidy JD, Boyle E, Cote P, et al. Risk of vertebrobasilar stroke and chiropractic care: results of a population-based case-control and case-crossover study. Spine. Feb 15 2008;33(4 Suppl):S176-183.