What does a chiropractor know about Diabetes?

What does a chiropractor know about diabetes?

During a new patient history after dealing with the main complaint that brought the patient to the office, I will ask some general health questions assessing for things like diabetes.
What does a chiropractor know about diabetes, aren’t they just for backs? A chiropractor’s scope of practice is limited to neuromusculoskeletal conditions, or conditions related to nerves, muscles and bones, however as primary contact health care providers we just as importantly need to know about conditions that we don’t manage.

Getting back to our question, what does a chiropractor know about diabetes? While diabetes is an increasingly common problem, especially Type 2 diabetes that has its onset in middle age, it is often an undiagnosed condition. Research suggests that 3-5% of the adult population are undiagnosed diabetics or prediabetics.

Thus as a chiropractor we need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of diabetes so patients can get the care and education they need. Some of these signs and symptoms relate to the neuromusculoskeletal system, such as muscle cramps, numbness and tingling in the hands or feet, weakness, stiff and painful joints, contractures of the hands, back and neck pain. I will assess the vibration sense of the feet as this sense is often lost early in diabetes, leading to problems with balance, falls and possibly injuries to the feet and toes which can heal poorly.

Secondly, as chiropractors we can help treat some of the neuromusculoskeletal conditions associated with the condition. Encouraging activity and exercise is an early treatment for diabetes, this can be hard to do if it hurts to move.

  • Conditions that are commonly associated with diabetes that can be helped by chiropractic care are:
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Stiff Hands Syndrome
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder
  • Tenosynovitis
  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Joint pain
  • Dupuytren’s contracture

So hopefully that helps to answer the question, what does a chiropractor know about diabetes?

So if you have diabetes or know someone with diabetes, add me to your healthcare team
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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?

Careers that benefit from regular chiropractic care: Part 2

Careers that  benefit from regular chiropractic care: Part 2

In my first blog in this series I described how after painting my house for several weeks I was feeling quite sore in the upper back, neck and shoulders and those tradespeople who perform a lot of overhead tasks are at risk for neck, upper back and shoulder pain. So what other careers benefit from regular chiropractic care?

The next group of occupations that can benefit from regular chiropractic care are other health care professionals. In my practice I see a good number of nurses, dentists, dental hygienists, massage therapists and medical doctors of all specialities.

Why would these individuals, already in the healthcare world require chiropractic care?

Let us take nurses for example; nurses are on their feet for their whole shift, standing on very hard surfaces often resulting in heel pain. They are often required to lift, move, restrain patients much larger than themselves; this can result in back, neck and shoulder pain.

Dentists and dental hygienists work for long periods of time in one hunched forward posture with their arms extended, this posture puts serious pressure on the joints of the upper and lower back and rib cage.

In my practice I see a number of medical doctors who just like anyone else can get back pain either from their profession, again long hours on their feet, operating in less than ideal ergonomic positions.

Massage therapists are prone to posture related back pain and repetitive strain injuries of the upper limbs.

Lastly are chiropractors themselves, this is a hands on physical job and often we may work on patients much larger than ourselves and as although we try to manage our posture we too can be in prolonged positions that are less than ideal.

All these professions can benefit from chiropractic care to reduce the pain and dysfunction associated with acute injury and regular ongoing care can help keep them performing at their best ensuring a long and healthy career.

So if you know of or are a healthcare professional who is not at their best, or who would like to continue to perform at their best tell them to give me a call, drop me a line, Facebook message or tweet me.

For other careers that benefit from regular chiropractic care, stay tuned.

Dr. K. Finn

For other blogs in this series go to https://yourpickeringchiropractors.ca

Heart Rate

A common question people ask when we discuss exercise is “ how do I know if I’m exercising hard enough?”. What should my heart rate be?

A reasonable question, it can be explained in a number of ways and may differ depending on the exercise goal. Most often we use heart rate as the measuring stick to determine the intensity of exercise, makes sense the harder you work the greater the need for your body tissues for oxygen and fuel, the faster your heart needs to beat to bring the oxygen and fuel around to the various tissues through the blood. We can also use breathing rate, more on that later. The intensity you exercise at is termed the training zone. This is merely a range of heart rate you should be working at to achieve a particular goal.

For example a person having a goal of increasing their cardiovascular endurance may have a different training zone than someone primarily interested in weight loss. Note that any exercise is beneficial for either population but there may be more bang for your buck at certain heart rates.

So how do you calculate your training zone? Typically we use a percentage of your maximal heart rate, well great but what is my maximum heart rate? We use a theoretical maximum of 220 beats per minute minus your age, so at 40 years old your maximum heart rate is 180 beats per minute.

Now that we know the maximum heart rate we need to be able to measure your heart rate, the easiest location is at the carotid artery at the side of the neck, to find this artery, slide your fingers backwards from the mid-line of the neck until you feel it, alternately you could use the radial pulse on the thumb side of the wrist just below the base of the thumb. The higher tech way would be to use a heart rate monitor which uses a sensor strap around the chest and wirelessly feeds the information to a watch. The advantage here is you can save this information to your computer and track your progress.

Now we know how to measure our heart rate, where should it be during exercise? To train your heart for endurance typically you want to work at a higher intensity of 70-90% of maximum , for more fat burning a lower intensity of 50-70% of maximum.

Another way to measure exercise intensity which is proven to be accurate, (actually a method developed by a University of Toronto professor I had) is the talk test. Simply to check if you’re exercising at a moderate intensity of 50%-70% you should be able to carry on a conversation without being breathless, if you are at a higher intensity you would be unable to carry on a conversation.

Put one of these methods to the test the next time you’re exercising and see if you’re at the right intensity for your particular fitness goal.

For further blogs go here https://yourpickeringchiropractors.ca

Different Types of Exercises

By now you’ve seen my posts on the benefits of exercise, if there ever was a fountain of youth it is exercise.

For the uninitiated however, exercise is a loaded word, there are so many types of exercise floating about and all are the “best” at doing something, making you stronger, fitter, leaner, faster etc.

There may be some truth to that for the athlete, the bodybuilder etc., but when I’m recommending exercise or encouraging someone to be more active any exercise is good, with some exceptions, more on that later.

Lets break down some of the words of exercise to understand them better.

Aerobic exercise- aka “cardio”- this probably came into our collective consciousness in the ‘80’s with the “20 minute work-out” the leotards and the leg warmers. Aerobic exercise simply means “ with oxygen” your muscles are using a fuel source that requires oxygen and this exercise tends to be of a longer duration, minutes or longer and is responsible for innumerable health benefits; lowered risk of heart disease, blood sugar control, improved cardiovascular (heart/lung) health, blood pressure and cholesterol, mental health improvements etc. Walking or jogging, aerobic classes, cross country skiing are examples of aerobic exercises.

Anerobic exercise- this type of exercise requires no oxygen and depends on the fuel stored in the muscles for energy. This type of exercise is intense, short lived (seconds instead of minutes) think, sprint instead of marathon. Anerobic exercise tends to be uncomfortable, however it is short lived and can result in increased strength and endurance especially if done in sets or bursts of high intensity.

Resistance training/strength training- is just that working against some kind of resistance, this is what most people think of when they think of “weight lifting”, however you don’t need to go to a gym and lift iron barbells around to get the benefits of resistance training, you can simply use your own body weight or exercise bands to get a positive effect. What kinds of effects, you ask? The list is exhaustive but here are a few; increased lean muscle mass ( we lose muscle as we age), increase metabolism ( as muscle mass decreases so does our internal “ thermostat” so more muscle more fuel burned), decrease diabetes risk/ improve diabetes control, lower blood pressure, reduce cardiovascular disease…etc., you get the idea.

The best message is get out and do something that elevates your heart rate be it aerobic, anerobic or resistance training of some kind every day.



See Dr. Mike Evans great video here for more information.


What does a Chiropractor do?



What does a chiropractor do?

What does a chiropractor do?

This is my second blog post, hopefully after the last one you have a bit better understanding of disc related back pain. So what does a chiropractor do?

The other night my 8 year old son asked for some help with a school project, “ what does your parent do”. So in describing what a chiropractor is and does I thought this would be a good blog topic. Perhaps it should have been the first post but here it is nonetheless.

A chiropractor is a doctor who’s area of specialization is with the joints, muscles and nerves of the body, primarily but not restricted to the spine. A chiropractor is a drugless healthcare provider, using a hands on manual therapy approach to restore function, reduce pain and improve quality of life for people having musculoskeletal problems, back pain, neck pain, headaches, sprains and strains etc.

Chiropractors attend a chiropractic college or university for 4 years after completing an undergraduate university degree. Courses in anatomy, physiology, pathology, biomechanics, microbiology, radiology, x-ray taking among others occur during their first 3 years. Don’t forget most importantly the hands on chiropractic care is intensely focussed on during these first three years. This is followed by a one year internship program treating patients under the supervision of a licensed chiropractor.

Chiropractors will then go on to  practice in a number of settings, solo, group, interdisciplinary(multiple different health care providers) , some will continue in research and the profession has 12 research chair professorships across the country. The federal government established research chairs in general to attract and create world class research centres in Canadian Universities. Others like myself will also teach at chiropractic colleges, something I do on  a part-time basis two days a week. In this role I instruct not only the hands on manual therapy chiropractors are known for but also diagnositic skills, symptom based diagnosis and case based simulation.

Stay tuned for more blogs at https://yourpickeringchiropractors.ca