All posts by Dr. Cartile DC

Pain Medicine

Many people believe that pain medication is completely safe and that they don’t need to worry about any potential side effects. The drug industry has done a great job in advertising these products using images of happy smiling people getting on with their days and enjoying life to its fullest; problem solved. The public pairs over-the-counter pain killers with far stronger prescription drugs as “safe and easy”. As you will be able to read in this informative article from, clearly that “safe and easy” idea is misplaced.

The natural therapies offered at the Toronto Wellness Centre (chiropractic care, massage therapy, acupuncture, and naturopathy) have a great and safe track record in helping with many different pains which patients are commonly prescribed these deadly drugs for. Don’t become a statistic: skip the pain medicine and find help.

Read More

Chiropractic Technique

SOT, Chiropractic, wellness, health, chiropractor, stress.

Our body is a complex machine with at last estimated count, 10 trillion moving parts (cells). That is a complex system that needs a complex controlling system. That system is the nervous system. We put our bodies through a lot of different stressors on a day in day out scenario. There broken down into 3 categories of physical, chemical and mental. The physical is simple, gravity is a force that is always affecting us (unless your an astronaut). Simple physics, we need to generate a force to counter it. We do that with our bones and soft tissues. When we put our body in position that increases that load (slouching, lifting, sleeping to name a few) we increase the stressor on the body, so the body either copes with that increase if it can, or it breaks down. Our body is a chemical wonder as well, we are full of hormones, acids, enzymes, neurotransmitters, minerals and many other complex molecules to keep our body running. These systems are designed to be turned up when needed and turned down when not to control the bodies biochemistry. One example is if we continuously put highly processed sugary foods into our body the the pancreatic/insulin system needs to cope with it or our body will break down. The mental side most people can relate to, our body is designed to cope with stress in small amounts and finite amount of time. We use the body chemistry to help us cope. A lot of people today don’t have the break from the stress and then that body chemistry changes the bodies function for too long, so the body begins to break down.

In my journey through my career as a chiropractor, I have found a chiropractic technique called Sacro Occipital Technique, or SOT for short. The reason that this technique really speaks to me is it’s ability to look at and address more that just the physical stressors like many chiropractors, but also address the chemical and mental stressors in each patient that visits my office. All health professional want to find that root cause of the problem, and address it, with SOT it allows me to do that. The brain and spinal cord (or CNS) is surrounded by a sheath called dura. This dura protects the central nervous system from bacteria and viruses. It attaches to our spine at the base of the skull and upper cervical spine and at our coccyx (tailbone). Inside the dura our body has cerebrospinal fluid (CSF for short), and this fluid circulates around that CNS similar to our blood in our bodies to oxygenate and remove wastes from the cells. When we breathe or bite down (chewing, talking, swallowing) we promote that circulation. As a SOT chiropractor, I identify where these problems are occurring and why (ie. Physical, chemical, metal)?

So the next time you get mid back pain, know that it could be from you sitting posture, or stress but that area of the nervous system are related to you stomach and gall bladder and pancreas. With your low back it could be a ligament strain in you pelvis, but the nerves there go to your prostate or uterus. So understanding that relationship and being able to address either side of the equation, will allow a wider scope to address the root cause. Having that nervous system restored to functioning without restriction will allow that body to function they way it should by striving for health.

Read More

Winter Wonderland

Slips, back pain, falls, shoveling, snow

With the first snowfall of the winter, it gives us a quick reminder that winter is coming and it will stay for the next few months. We all love the nice storybook picture of winter landscape, but the reality is there are many perils that come with that winter scene. Every year as a chiropractor I see people in my office that have hurt themselves from shoveling snow or slipping on ice. We don’t shovel on a regular basis and then we ask our bodies to do it when it’s cold and lift sometimes very heavy snow and expect that our body will be fine with that. For some of you out there your body will not be fine with that, and you will get injured. So there are two options you can take. One, wait until the injury and deal with the consequences after it happens. Two, take some preventative steps to reduce the chance of injury. I know which one I choose.

Preventative steps take a few moment of your time.

• First, get you body warmed up. Get the blood flowing and get the muscles warmed to allow them to contract and release with efficiency. Spend 5 minutes running on the spot, lunges, or squats, gentle twisting and then gentle bending to get the lumbar muscles ready for the work.
• Second, dress warm, our body wants to direct blood to the muscles that are doing the activity, if we are cold or dress inappropriately, then our body has to shift blood to colder areas of the body to counteract the heat loss.
• Third, Stay hydrated, wintertime is a time of dry air, and many people don’t realized how quickly the dry air pulls the moisture out of our bodies. You know when you see your breath, that the moisture I am talking about.
• Fourth, use proper lifting techniques. The thing about this one, is everyone knows these techniques but they still tend to ignore them. So use your legs, don’t bend with the back and twist to lift the snow. This is the easiest way to injury your discs in your back. Keep your shoulders above your hips. Push the snow as much as possible instead of trying to lift it. Even with following steps one to three, if you don’t follow step four, your risk of injury is much higher.

Now that the snow removal is out of the way. Ice, is the next big one. Slips and falls send many people to the emergency room every year. Take care and try to keep hold of railings whenever nearby. With every slip of fall, it’s important to get checked out. We can jam our pelvis, or lumbar spine, strain our tailbone or give ourselves whiplash in the neck. Sometimes these falls can be small but lead to bigger problems later on if they are not addressed. The car is no different, motor vehicle accidents in winter increase with black ice and decreased visibility. So take care behind the wheel. If you are involved in an accident, even a minor one, make sure you are getting checked out, as sometime minor whiplash can lead to bigger problems years later. Take care this winter and have a happy holiday season.

Read More

Don’t let your sciatic pain become a lifelong problem

Sciatica, foot drop, back pain, pins and needles, leg weakness, leg numbness.

If you have ever been diagnosed with sciatica, it is important to find the reason for it. Sciatica is a general term that is used to indicate pressure on your sciatic nerve. Your sciatic nerve comprises of 5 nerves (Nerve Roots) that exit your spine. These nerves exit through small holes called foramen. When these small holes are encroached into, whether it is the bone or the disc or swelling of soft tissues this is the most common place for the sciatic nerve to be pressed on. It is important to understand that pressure on the nervous system is a serious problem that can cause irreparable damage if it is not treated. For many people, their treatment consist of pain killers and anti inflammatories and bed rest. All of these things do nothing to correct the mechanical problems that are causing the pressure on the nerve. The bed rest allows all the small stabilizing muscles in your spine to waste away and lose their tone. So after your 3 months in bed you have the same mechanical problems but a much weaker back to deal with them, setting yourself up for a relapse.

If it’s your disc – The discs are central to your body and we have a lot of muscular and soft tissue protection in place. You have to understand that there has been a major injury and/or many small injuries over time to have your body break down this far, whether you have felt them or not. I conservatively tell patients that it takes years for that disc to return to 100%, even if your pain has subsided well before than. So it is important that when you undergo chiropractic treatment and get the bio-mechanics of your lumbar spine corrected, you will need to be proactive and do rehabilitation exercises and regular check ups with your practitioner to maintain the correction. Hydration is very important and reducing and flushing inflammation of the tissues and for hydration of the disc. As adult’s we don’t have a blood supply to our discs, so we rely on movement of the disc move fluids around. Think of it like a sponge sitting in some water. When you push on the sponge water flows out and when you lift your hand off, the sponge sucks it back up.

If it’s your spine – If you suffer from arthritis, both Osteo (wear and tear) and Rheumatoid (Immune response) can create changes in the quality and shape of you vertebrae. Bony spurs and calcifications can project into the foramen and narrow the space where there nerve exits the spine. These are much more difficult to treat, with conservative chiropractic care. The arthritic process has affected the spine for a much longer time frame, which translates into a much longer correction and healing time frame. Any patient at my practice that presents with this type of sciatica, we have great success with improving their condition and quality of life, but this is not a quick fix. The alternative is a lifetime of pain killers and anti inflammatories, is a destructive way of dealing with your sciatica.

I treat patients with sciatica on a regular basis and have great results with it. Conservative chiropractic care is a great first choice of treatment for the condition. Surgery sometimes is required as the damage is too vast, but once you go down the surgical route, your spine will permanently be changed and should be considered as a last resort.

Read More

Whole Body Health

Can a car with bad alignment still be driven? Yes, but will it handle well?? Will the tires last as long?? How about a car running on 5 cylinders instead of 6? Yes, but will it have the same power??
True the car will get you from point A to B. So why do we spend money to have our car get regular maintenance checks?? The answer is simple We want our cars to be reliable and perform like they were made to. We even go above and beyond to put in expensive fuel, and performance parts. In the end if the engine doesn’t have a great spark the car will never reach it’s potential.

Eating organic food, having an exercise regime are great additives to your bodies performance, but that spark is still needed. That nervous system is what provides that spark. If there is any interference from the spine on that nervous system, you won’t get the maximum benefits out of your body. That is the core of Chiropractic Care. Remove the interference and maximize the spark.

Read More

Helping Posture in the Workplace

I hope all of you have had a good chat with your health and safety team about the correct ergonomics of a desk and computer. Here is a quick picture for you.
Ergonomics Helping Posture in the Workplace
A few other easy tips to help

1. Stay hydrated, 1/3rd of your spinal height is made from your intervertebral discs, these 70-90% water. So if your body is dehydrated the discs will not be as protected from injury. Have a glass of water nearby.
2. Take breaks. We are creatures of motion, to sit at a computer/desk for long hours is unnatural to our body. Our ligaments fatigue in 50 minutes and begin to stretch, this is called tissue creep. When this starts, our joints and bones can move into positions that they shouldn’t and increasing your risk of injury. If you can get our of your chair and move for 5 minutes every 50 minutes you reduce tissue creep and risk of injury. Set a countdown timer on your computer to go off every 45-50 minutes.
3. Sit tall. We are creatures of habit. If you slouch in a chair, the odds are you will continue to do so. Make an effort to sit tall in the chair (keep your low back under you). It will take time but you can train yourself to have the good habit of sitting tall.

Read More