Why do I need orthotics?

Why do I need orthotics? What are orthotics used for anyway? Why would a chiropractor recommend orthotics?
There are a number of questions, let’s start with what orthotics are and what they’re used for.

Orthotics are custom made insoles for your shoes, designed to correct imbalances in your foot structures, muscles of the lower leg, protect against the forces of hard flooring on your feet.

Symptoms one might experience if orthotics are necessary aren’t limited to the feet, but include; foot, arch or heel pain, leg or knee pain, leg length inequality, hip or back pain even neck pain.

Foot orthotics work similar to braces for the teeth, or glasses for your eyes, they slowly and consistently place your foot structures in the correct position. We use orthotics in all kinds of footwear, even skates and ski boots!

I think I need orthotics what’s next?
During an orthotic examination I perform a static ( not moving) postural assessment, both weight bearing and non-weight bearing, to see how your foot reacts to supporting your body. I assess any mobility issues in the ankle or foot, check to see wear the forces stress the foot as shown in any calluses you may have. Next I have you walk several times in bare feet to assess your dynamic posture, do the toes point in or out, does the ankle roll in with walking?

Next I make a mold of your foot in special foam with you sitting, having your foot kept in the optimal position. The mold is then sent to the orthotic lab and analyzed. The orthotics are then ready in about a week or two.

I have my orthotics now what?
Initially you wear the orthotics an hour or two each day slowly increasing the time you wear them.

Wear them as much as you can , the more consistently you wear them, the better the benefit will be. Often we need to make 2 pair of orthotics to accommodate different kinds of foot wear, i.e. dress shoes vs. running shoes.

How does this fit with chiropractic?
Why as a chiropractor would I recommend orthotics?

Typically the answer is to either be reactive or proactive. If you are already having pain and there are structural or muscular imbalances that are contributing to your pain, orthotics may be part of the recovery process. If during our assessment process I discover some issues that may not be contributing to a pain process but have the potential to, I may suggest the orthotics as a preventative measure.

For more information go to https://yourpickeringchiropractors.cablog/
Or http://www.theorthoticgroup.com/PatientSite/Home.aspx

What does a chiropractor know about ears?

What does a chiropractor know about ears?
This is a question that I’ve heard many times in the past during an examination. So what does a chiropractor know about ears? Why would a chiropractor want to check someone’s ears anyway, isn’t that the job for a medical doctor?

Well yes and no, ears have a couple of functions, one obviously is hearing, the second one is balance. That’s great you say, what does that have to do with my back pain? Well as a chiropractor part of my examination for someone with headache and/or neck pain let’s say will involve assessing their cranial nerves, nerves within the head that includes the nerve that transmits sound to the ear. Someone who has had a neck injury from a car accident for example or a head injury from sports could have neck pain but also have injured this nerve in their head, therefore as a chiropractor we need to check this.

What does a chiropractor know about ears?
Another example might be someone who had a fall and hurt their back let’s say, why did they fall? Are they having a problem with their balance? As I previously mentioned part of balance comes from the ears or it could be from joint in the neck or feet ( as mentioned here) So again we need to assess the ears to determine where there might be an issue.

What does a chiropractor know about ears?
During your google searching about chiropractors you may have run across mention of chiropractors treating childhood ear infections. This may not be as bizarre as it might sound, ( ha a little ear humour there) first off the chiropractor is not treating the infection like an antibiotic, rather managing why the infection might have occurred in the first place. Childhood ear infections are partly due to the fact that a child’s Eustachian tube,( a connection between the middle ear and the throat) is horizontal, this horizontal nature allows fluid to collect in the ear behind the ear drum when they have a respiratory infection, when this tube can’t drain the fluid it becomes a medium for infection to develop. Some chiropractic techniques can help aid in the drainage of this tube thus reducing the chance for infection to develop. As children grow the tubes become more vertical draining easier.

I hope that answers the question what a chiropractor knows about ears.
For other blogs not necessarily about ears go to


What does a chiropractor know about eyes?

What does a chiropractor know about eyes?
What does a chiropractor know about eyes? This is a another question that I’ve heard many times in the past during an examination, in the same vein as last week’s blog here we go. So what does a chiropractor know about eyes?

What does a chiropractor know about eyes?

Why would a chiropractor want to check someone’s eyes anyway, isn’t that the job for a medical doctor or optometrist? Well primarily yes, however you’ve heard the phrase, “ eyes are the window to the soul”? There is some truth to that, in that what is happening with your eyes and vision may tell us something that is going on inside your head. Conversely we can test the eyes to confirm that something is happening elsewhere in the body.

What does a chiropractor know about eyes?

Another example might be someone who had a fall and hurt their back let’s say, why did they fall? Are they having a problem with their balance? As I previously mentioned part of balance comes from the eyes or it could be from joint in the neck or feet. So again we need to assess the eyes to determine where there might be an issue.

What does a chiropractor know about eyes?

Another example to consider is one of a patient with a headache perhaps the headache is due to their vision being poor and not simple muscle tension. Perhaps the patient had a head injury and needs to be assessed for a concussion. If the head injury resulted in a bleed in the brain, there might be increased pressure in the head, this could produce a headache but signs might also show up in the patient’s eyes.

What does a chiropractor know about eyes?

Another example again might relate to lower back pain. Certain types of arthritis, inflammatory types can also produce inflammation of blood vessels in the eye producing a red eye. A red eye is a common presentation to any healthcare provider’s office, is the red eye due to something simple, like a conjunctivitis (pink eye) or something more serious, such as arthritis related iritis? Or increased eye pressure from glaucoma producing a red eye and headache? As chiropractors we need to know the difference.

I hope that answers the question what a chiropractor knows about eyes.
For other blogs not necessarily about eyes go to


Why does my chiropractor care about my skin?

Why does my chiropractor care about my skin?

I am a lecturer at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto.One of the areas I lecture in is on Dermatological conditions or skin conditions. So why does my chiropractor care about my skin? My students often ask me the same thing, why do we need to learn this stuff? We’re musculoskeletal specialists not dermatologists.

Why does my chiropractor care about my skin?
Well my answer to why does my chiropractor care about my skin? Is about 6 hours of lecture and 400+ powerpoint slides long, so for the sake of this blog I will limit this considerably.

As chiropractors we see a lot of skin, and skin often in areas that you are not often able to see easily, i.e. your back, the top of your head or even the soles of your feet. As chiropractors we are also primary contact healthcare providers, meaning we don’t require a referral from another provider prior to a patient attending our office, anyone and any problem can and often walks in. Patients we see on a regular basis, we may identify a skin lesion that is new or one that has changed recently.
Back to the skin, the main things we worry about are the more serious ones, skin cancers, diabetic ulcers or infection of some type.

As I mentioned we see a lot of skin, early skin cancers are not too difficult to identify and the earlier they’re caught the better and most often are not an issue, but sometimes it’s difficult to see your own back.

One early type of skin cancer is called Actinic Keratosis, these are found in sun exposed areas in middle aged and older people and often look like an abrasion or scab that doesn’t heal. These are usually taken care of with liquid nitrogen or excision.

The other two most common skin cancers are also found in sun exposed areas in middle aged or older people and are due to cumulative sun exposure, fair haired/fair skinned people who burn in the sun are more susceptible. These lesions can be red raised lesions or ulcerations in those areas and will require surgical removal.

The least common of the three but most concerning is malignant melanoma. This type of skin cancer is more deadly, can affect younger adults and can occur anywhere on the body. This is the type where we get concerned about certain black moles on the body. Most often moles are benign lesions but, new moles or moles that change are of concern.

We use the mnemonic ABCDE when looking at these moles:
A- Stands for Asymmetry- is the mole symmetrical like a circle or oval? No, more likely to be concerning
B- Stands for Border- are the borders smooth or rough and jagged ? No, more likely to be concerning
C- Stands for Colour- is the mole a uniform single colour or multi-coloured? No, more likely to be concerning.
D- Stands for Diameter – is the mole less than 6mm? If more than 1cm, more likely to be a concern.
E- Stands for Evolution and Elevation- is it a new mole or changing mole? Is a previously flat mole that is now elevated above the skin? If yes more likely to be a concern.
If you have any concerning skin lesion s don’t hesitate to ask your chiropractor or family doctor about them, the earlier the better.

I hope that explains why my chiropractor cares about my skin.
For more information check here: https://www.melanomanetwork.ca/

For more blogs visit here https://yourpickeringchiropractors.cawhy does my chiropractor care about my skin?

Why does my chiropractor care if I smoke?

Why does my chiropractor care if I smoke?
As a chiropractor why do I care if my patients smoke? I mean it’s not like I’m treating their lungs or heart, right? Well no directly I’m not. I will have some effect on your lung function, what? How? By working on your upper back, rib cage and muscles of respiration we can improve the mechanics of breathing.
Now back to smoking, why does my chiropractor care if I smoke?

Smoking isn’t just for hearts and lungs any more, smoking or more accurately nicotine( so vaping counts) causes a reduction in blood and nutrient flow to the discs between the spine and the spine itself, now the blood supply to these structures is rather limited to start with and some of the nourishment occurs only by nutrients being transmitted to these structures. This can result in degenerative changes to the spine. Should this happen over a long period of time you may then need a spinal fusion surgery, continuing to smoke will result in a poorer surgical outcome.

Smoking will reduce bone formation leading to a greater risk of spinal fracture especially women who may already have lower bone density due to menopause. If there is a fracture, naturally that fracture will now heal slower as well due to decreased blood flow and decreased bone formation to repair the break.

Let’s leave the effects of smoking on your bones and spine and wonder why else does my chiropractor care if I smoke. If you recall smoking can affect blood flow to certain tissues is rather limited, this would hold true for things like ligaments that connect bones together say in your knee. Smokers who injure their knee ligaments requiring surgical repair will again have poorer outcomes post-surgery and may need revision surgeries later on. Not fun.

Why else does my chiropractor care if I smoke? Smoking has been shown to be one of the strongest environmental risk factors for developing rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, progressive, debilitating and disfiguring form of arthritis, a form of autoimmune reaction characterized by inflammatory joint dysfunction. Eagle Glen Frey recently passed away due to complications related to RA treatment and its subsequent co-morbidities.

So why does my chiropractor care if I smoke? Because I care about you and your overall health.
For more blogs visit here https://yourpickeringchiropractors.ca

Careers that benefit from regular chiropractic care: Part 3

Careers that benefit from regular chiropractic care, is series I’ve spoken on before, last time out it was health care providers.

In a similar vein, this blog’s careers that can benefit from regular chiropractic care concerns our first responders, our emergency personnel, police, paramedics and fire fighters.

Why would a police officer benefit from regular chiropractic care? Let’s think about some of the tasks a police officer might do on a regular basis. There may be a lot of time spent in a car, wearing a belt that may make an ideal sitting position impossible, both scenarios can lead to lower back pain. The job can be very physical at times and may also be caught unawares. Having properly functioning joints and muscles means that you have reserve capacity in those muscles and joints if a situation places you in a suboptimal position.

careers that benefit from regular chiropractic care
I have many paramedics who come for chiropractic care regularly, if you think about this occupation, there’s a lot of lifting involved. One of my veteran paramedics likes to say, “ they haven’t been making the patients lighter over the years”. Again another situation where having a properly functioning spine is necessary to carry out the duties of the occupation.

As one could imagine, firefighters are not particularly kind to their spines or other joints for that matter. In my internship year I was part of a study to educate firefighters about their spines, basic anatomy, proper postures when able and when to seek help. This simple education session resulted in nearly 75% reduction in days lost to injury. Similar to police officers, we want firefighters to have the reserve capacity to respond in a non-ergonomic fashion should the emergency require it, regular chiropractic care can help to make sure that they are functioning at their best.

A common theme for these three careers that benefit from regular chiropractic care is stress. Regular chiropractic care, regular exercise, breathing techniques, are all ways to reduce the stress of these high-stress careers.

careers that benefit from regular chiropractic care

For my other blogs in this series or other topics visit here

Office Ergonomics

What are office ergonomics?

Another common question that I get following helping someone with pain related to sitting, whether it be upper back pain, lower back pain or headaches is, “ how do I set up my workstation, to avoid this in the future?” So what are office ergonomics?

A good question which leads us to the study of ergonomics, (the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment.) efficiency being the key word here. When your body is in an inefficient position it needs to work harder to do the same amount of work and thus fatigue faster leading to strain and joint irritation. Who needs that?

Symptoms that might relate to poor office ergonomics include; back pain, neck pain, headache, eyestrain, elbow and wrist pain and carpal tunnel syndrome.

A couple of key things to keep in mind; the next time you’re at your desk, or perhaps you’re already there reading this.

  • 90/90/90 rule– keep the elbows, hips and knees bent at a 90 degree angle when sitting
  • Support– support the elbows and forearms on arm rests, keep your back against the chair’s backrest and feet on the floor or if unable on a foot rest. Keep body parts close to your body, don’t reach. This might mean using a keyboard tray or using a track ball mouse.
  • Breaks– even with perfect posture your body isn’t meant to sit all day, so take regular breaks. Take microbreaks every hour for a couple of minutes not just for your body but for your eyes as well, get up move around, stretch then get back to work.
  • Sight lines– The monitor should be at or just below eye level, laptops pose a problem here as their screens tend to sit lower, an external monitor is an inexpensive fix.

If you’re having pain at work get in touch https://yourpickeringchiropractors.ca

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Back to school means buying backpacks

Back to school means buying backpacks

We’re getting close to what some parents will refer to as, “ the most wonderful time of the year”, when our kids return to school. Back to school invariably also means back to school shopping, and often at the top of the list is a new backpack.

Back to school means buying backpacks

For some this will be their first back pack and for others a replacement for the holey, tattered mess that barely survived the year.

Here are some tips for buying, packing and wearing a backpack.

What to buy:   Several things to consider here, size, fit and features.

If your child is a kindergartner, the back pack should be roughly the same size as their back, so a considerably smaller backpack than the one your teen needs. Look for padded shoulder straps that can be adjusted to fit snug to their back, and internal pockets. Lighter materials are better such as nylon or canvas.

Older students, can have a larger bag, look for reinforced bottoms, padded backs, internal laptop sleeves, straps at the waist and chest will help to lessen the load on the back.

How to pack the bag:

This is important because the recommendation for those children under 10 years is that they carry no more than 10% of their body mass, that includes the weight of the bag itself! Older kids can have up to 15% of their body weight in the backpack, think about that for a minute, a 200 pound teenage boy should still only carry 30 pounds in their backpack! Check your child’s bag many high schoolers will have twice that, not good for a growing spine. A lot of this weight can be reduced by limiting a lot of junk from the bag, also bringing home and to class only what you need. Sometimes provisions can be made for students to have 2 sets of textbooks one for school and one for home if they’re having pain associated with carrying heavy textbooks back and forth from school.

Pack the bag with the heaviest items at the back closest to the body and use the pockets to distribute the load.

Wearing the bag:

Wear the bag with both straps, even though it’s cool not to, adjust the straps so they’re snug keeping the bag close to the body, not hanging way back and low like a teen boy’s pants.

As always if your child experiences any back pain, give me a call and we can assess the problem for any concerns.

For blogs on other topics, go to https://yourpickeringchiropractors.ca

Hamstring Tear

If you have been watching the world cup in Brazil as rabidly as I have you’ve seen a number of players pull up on a run or after a kick clutching the back of their leg, classic sign they’ve suffered a hamstring injury.

Ever wonder where that term came from, it does sound odd, but the name came from butchers who would hang pigs from those muscles, the ham portion meant the bend at the knee and the string part from the obvious string-like feel of the tendon portion that attaches these muscles to the lower leg at the knee. If you reach behind your knee they are quite easy to feel.

These muscles functions are to bend the knee, many of  you have done “hamstring curls” at the gym lying on your stomach bringing heels to buttocks.

The hamstrings are a group of three muscles that attach to the bottom of you pelvis, the bones you sit on, your thigh and finally just below the knee.

The hamstrings are often tight and as the opposing muscles to the powerful quadriceps on the top of your thigh, the muscles that straighten the knee, they are often injured  when sprinting or when quickly stretched, i.e. as we’ve seen in the World Cup stretching to kick or reach the ball.

Risk factors for injuring a hamstring are varied but include, lack of flexibility, muscle imbalance between quadriceps and hamstrings, inadequate warm-up, age, fatigue (perhaps one of the issues with World Cup athletes) and previous injury to the back, knee or hamstring. Most often the injury is in the buttock area or middle of the muscle, if you suspect you’ve injured a hamstring, stop your activity and ice the area for a 10/10/10 protocol or 10minutes ice, 10 minutes off, 10 minutes ice every hour to 2 hours.

In office treatment will include electrical muscle stimulation, ultrasound, soft tissue therapy and spinal manipulation.  As a chiropractor we see increased hamstring tightness following injury/irritation to your lower spinal joints, so ensuring your spine motion is optimal is an important part of treatment and as a preventative measure.

Rehabilitative exercises to be done at home are important and include some gentle stretching and as pain and range of motion improves,  static strengthening ( without movement) and dynamic strengthening ( with movement)

Below are a few examples of simple home exercises to stretch and strengthen the hamstrings. If you have questions or want more information please don’t hesitate to contact me at drkevinfinn.ca

The hamstrings are important muscles you may recall when I blogged about girls and Knee ACL injuries and there are more exercises in the FIFA11 soccer exercise protocol.

Gentle stretching examples   


While lying on your back, raise up your leg and hold the back of your knee until a stretch is felt.