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More Info on Headaches


This article was written by Dr. Sarah Brise and recently published in Kamloops Momma Issue #17.

Headaches: Common Causes and Quick Fixes.

We all know how hard a New Year’s Resolution is to keep if you’re not feeling 100%. Unfortunately, lifestyle changes, work routine, or daily activities are all common causes or chronic or recurring headaches. Before you head to the medicine cabinet for painkillers, check out these common causes and try one (or a few!) quick fixes.

1. Dehydration – Many of us get so busy during the day that we forget this simple but very important step: DRINK WATER! Make sure you’re drinking at least 8 glasses per day, at regular intervals throughout the day.

2. Low Blood Sugar – Going right along with dehydration, do you get so busy that you forget to eat, or maybe go too long between meals? Make sure not to go longer than four hours between healthy meals or snacks. And junk food doesn’t help – a snack high in sugar can cause your blood sugar to spike, which in turn causes a blood sugar crash later on with a nasty headache to go with it.

3. Caffeine Withdrawal – Ok, maybe you’re trying to cut back on caffeine in the new year- good job! Headaches are normal as your body adjusts to the lack of caffeine, and they should subside in a week or two if you stick it out. You can try cutting back the caffeine gradually or switching to weakly steeped green or black tea to wean yourself off slowly and decrease withdrawal symptoms.

4. Change in diet/food craving – The New Year is a great time to break bad eating habits, and a popular route is to kick-start new healthy habits with some sort of nutritional “cleanse” that may cut out things like sugar, wheat, dairy, and processed foods. Any major or sudden change in diet can cause symptoms like nausea, headache, diarrhea, and low energy. Just like with cutting out caffeine, these symptoms can last 1-2 weeks. You can lessen these symptoms by making small changes to your diet over time.

5. Eye strain --- If you spend a lot of time in front of a computer or reading, eye strain can cause headaches. Make sure to take a break from reading/screen time at least once every hour, and see your optometrist if you feel like you have to squint or strain in order to see properly.

6. Muscle tension – Stress causes muscle tension, which causes headaches, which causes more stress…… it’s a vicious cycle! Most people don’t realize that a lot of the time the muscle tension isn’t just contributing to your headache, it IS your headache! It sounds strange, but when your neck or upper back muscles are tight and strained it often causes your brain to interpret those pain signals as coming from your head. It’s often referred to as referred pain or trigger points. Taking time to stretch tight and sore muscles can help, as can regular exercise. If you still feel like your muscles are tight and sore, you may get headache relief from muscle or joint treatments: you can see a chiropractor, massage therapist, physiotherapist, or other health care practitioner.

7. Jaw (TMJ) problems – Jaw problems go hand in hand with muscle tension. Jaw clenching, grinding, or problems with bite causes muscle strain around the jaw and neck, which again can refer pain to the head. You should discuss jaw problems with your dentist. Also, manual therapists (example: chiropractor, massage therapist, physio) can also work on jaw muscles both inside and outside the mouth to relieve muscle tension.

8. PMS/Hormonal – These are larger issues that you may want to investigate if other approaches have not been helping. You may need to consult with a Naturopathic or Medical Physician.

On a final note, if you suffer from chronic or recurring headaches, you may get relief from manual therapy. Manual therapy consists of hands-on treatment of joints and/or muscles and includes: chiropractors, massage therapists, and physiotherapists. It’s important to work with your health care practitioner(s) to figure out the cause(s) of your headaches in order to plan appropriate treatment.

Dr. Sarah Brise is a chiropractor, kinesiologist, and certified Active Release Techniques ® (A.R.T.) provider at Kamloops Active Health.

NOTE: This article is for general information purposes only, and is NOT intended to replace the examination and advice of a Registered Health Care Provider.


Elbow, Wrist and Hand Pain

potters' hands

Chiropractic and A.R.T.® Combine to Treat Elbow, Wrist and Hand Discomfort

Pain in the elbow, wrist and/or hand can be debilitating. Many of these injuries are a result of repetitive strain or a movement you do over and over again. It may be a task at work or it may be doing a hobby you really enjoy.

Chiropractors are “bone and joint doctors” and injuries to the elbow, wrist and hand can be caused by lack of mobility in these joints too.

Just like adjusting the joints of the spine to restore mobility, we also provide relief by adjusting the joints of the elbow, wrist and hand.

Often the pain can be alleviated through treatment of the muscles of the forearm. One technique that works especially well is ART® and the Chiropractors at Kamloops Active Health are trained in this technique. They are able to break apart the adhesions and scar tissue that has built up in your soft tissues and may be causing your pain or injury to keep coming back. After these soft tissues have been stripped and loosened, prescribed stretches and exercises are an integral part of the recovery process.

Through follow-up strengthening exercises we ease any residual pain left after treatment and help prevent your injury from re-occurring. For many, the chiropractic approach replaces the need for surgery often associated with pain in the elbow, wrist and hand.

Conditions that may benefit from this type of chiropractic care include:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tennis and golfers elbow (epichondylitis)
  • Tendinosis
NOTE: This article is for general information purposes only, and is NOT intended to replace the examination and advice of a Registered Health Care Provider.

Foot Pain

feet and ankles

Restoring Mobility First Step in Treating Foot and Ankle Pain

Foot pain is a common condition with many causes, and there are many forms of treatment available. Chiropractic treatment of foot pain at Kamloops Active Health focuses on restoring function to the joints of the lower leg, ankle and foot. If any of these joints are limited in their mobility the other joints of the foot, knee, hip and pelvis may compensate, placing extra stress on these joints.

Once mobility is restored, attention must be placed on the muscles of the calf and foot. Because the calf muscles attach to a bone in the foot or ankle, tightness can cause undo stress on these joints and ultimately lead to pain. Treatment of these muscles can be achieved through ART® (Active Release Techniques) performed by a trained chiropractor or by various massage techniques used by a Registered Massage Therapist.

Once the foot, ankle and lower leg are treated, stretches and exercises to strengthen the involved muscles are a crucial step in the recovery process. This becomes especially true if you have a reoccurring or chronic problem.

If structural problems are detected in the foot, you may be a candidate for orthotics or a supportive device and the chiropractors at Kamloops Active Health have referral relationships with qualified professionals who can help you.

NOTE: This article is for general information purposes only, and is NOT intended to replace the examination and advice of a Registered Health Care Provider.

Knee Pain

runner's knees

Multiple Approaches to Solving Knee Pain

Knee pain can be due to a trauma or can result from compensatory stress from joints above or below. If you have injured your knee playing sports, twisting, or just working around the house chances are you’ve strained/sprained one of the muscles or ligaments surrounding the knee. There are many ways to treat this type of injury including the soft tissue technique Active Release (ART®), done by the chiropractors at Kamloops Active Health.

If there is no specific trauma associated with your knee pain and it started gradually, it is more likely due as a result to strain placed on the knee due to dysfunction in either the hip and pelvis or the foot and ankle. A full assessment of all these joints is important to localize where the problem is coming from so it can be treated appropriately.

Specific rehabilitation programs also play a key role in resolving knee complaints. Programs can be designed to re-train and strengthen the knee after such things as patello-femoral pain syndrome (runners knee), ACL/MCL(ligamentous) sprains and IT Band syndrome. With conditions such as Osteoarthritis affecting the knee joint, treatment can greatly reduce pain and improve functionality in a joint that is stiff and sore.

If your knee pain is due to trauma, an old injury or arthritis that has crept up on you, your Kamloops Chiropractors Dr. Brise and Dr. McCall may be able to help!

NOTE: This article is for general information purposes only, and is NOT intended to replace the examination and advice of a Registered Health Care Provider.

Shoulder Pain and Injuries

Shoulder Pain Can Have Many Causes

Anyone can experience shoulder injuries, and many do. Whether competing in sports, having a physically demanding job or working around the house and yard these injuries cause pain and limit movement and function.

Grouped together, the major shoulder muscles are called the “rotator cuff”. These muscles perform most of the movements of your shoulder and if one muscle is injured you can experience localized pain, plus pain from the resulting limitation of shoulder movement.

Some common descriptions used by patients with shoulder injuries include: not being able to sleep on their side, pain with movements above shoulder height, pain with reaching or twisting the arm, or feeling like the arm is weak or unstable.

If you experience any of these symptoms, the chiropractors at Kamloops Active Health can help you. Through careful examination they diagnose your injury, treat the affected muscles and then put together a personalized rehabilitation program to restore strength, function, and movement.

Next time you experience shoulder pain call the chiropractors at Kamloops Active Health. Dr McCall and Dr Brise have both received training in ART®, a soft tissue technique that is ideal for treating many shoulder and rotator cuff injuries, and they have the rehabilitation knowledge to give you specific exercises to restore your shoulder’s function.

NOTE: This article is for general information purposes only, and is NOT intended to replace the examination and advice of a Registered Health Care Provider.