The Basics of Spinal Osteoarthritis

If you suffer from chronic back pain that wasn’t caused by a known injury, such as a car accident, work accident, or other means, then you more than likely have spinal osteoarthritis. This condition causes a number of symptoms, including back pain, leg pain, and numbness. Although in some cases, osteoarthritis can actually be caused by an accident or traumatic event, in most, it’s through simple wear and tear on the back, including not lifting things properly. In order to fully understand this condition, you need to know the basics of spinal osteoarthritis.

What Exactly Is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is an official method of referring to a disease that causes the joints in the body to degenerate over time. It commonly occurs in elderly people after a lifetime of moving around and doing repetitive motions. However, younger people can end up with it, especially if they are genetically prone to it, have done jobs that required a lot of heavy lifting or those repetitive motions, or are injured in a way that affects the cartilage in the joints.

That’s essentially what osteoarthritis is – the cartilage in the joints breaks down, causing the bones in those areas to rub up against one another. As you can imagine, this causes quite a bit of pain. Once the arthritis advances, it can even cause pitting in the bones at the joints.

Why Does Spinal Osteoarthritis Seem Worse Than the Other Kinds?

Generally, all osteoarthritis is painful. Once the cartilage in the joints is damaged, it hurts. However, in the spine, things are a little different. The spine consists of a number of vertebrae that are wrapped around the spinal cord. In between those vertebrae are discs that comfort the vertebrae and prevent them from rubbing up against one another. Without those cushioned discs, you would be in a lot of pain – and this is what spinal osteoarthritis is. Those discs begin to break down. In some cases, they can even squeeze that cushioning towards the spinal cord, causing pressure on the nerves in that area.

What Are the Symptoms of Spinal Osteoarthritis?

The very first symptom that you’ll notice is aching back pain. In most people, it occurs in the lower back. However, you might notice pain up higher in the back. It all depends on the movements that you typically make throughout the day and there the vertebral cushions (let’s not get scientific here, since that’s what they are), begin to get compressed and bulge.  When this happens, you’ll notice additional symptoms. When they press on the nerves in the spinal cord, you’ll have a great deal more pain and even some numbness. Often, this numbness and additional pain occurs in one or both legs, depending on which nerves are pressed on. In more advanced cases, you might even lose control of your bowels. An additional symptom is weakness in the affected leg or the part of your back where the osteoarthritis is located.

If you notice any of these symptoms, don’t ignore them. It’s time to get to a doctor. Contact us at Solstice Health today to arrange a consultation.

The Importance of Exercise

Exercise is very important. Not just running, or weight training, but also yoga and Pilates as well.

At Solstice Health, we believe that wellness encompasses lifestyle changes that benefit your health. We want to go over some types of exercise and how each can benefit you. Find what you enjoy and do more of it!

Why Is Yoga or Pilates Good?

Here are some points to show why flexibility exercises are beneficial:

  • It’s less stress on the joints.
  • It’s great for flexibility, strength, balance.
  • It teaches effective breathing techniques.
  • It helps with stress and emotional well-being.

Why is Aerobic Activity Good?

You want to keep your heart healthy with aerobic exercises. Whether you’re an athlete or not, aerobic activity increases your endurance. As a result, you can perform better in everything, whether it be work, sports, school, etc. There are all these benefits to exercise. Good examples of aerobic activity include:

  • walking or jogging (treadmill or not)
  • biking
  • swimming

What About Strength Training?
Weight training can help keep your muscles strong. Strong muscles take the load off the joints. There’s less stress across the knee, for example; by keeping your knees strong, the muscle absorbs more of the stress rather than the joint.

Overall, you want to have a balance of all types of exercise. There’s less chance of injury with people who have strong muscles and are flexible.

For more information on health and getting assessed for which exercises are appropriate for any injury or condition, contact us at Solstice Health.

Summer Foods for Managing Your Weight

Some of the worst moments arrive at the end of springtime when women try on their summer bathing suits after a long winter of eating snack foods and relaxing in a sedentary manner. Odds are, unless you’re one of those women who managed to avoid the dessert tray during family holidays and kept hitting the gym on a regular basis, then you are definitely not beach body ready. Now is the best time to start eating some of the best summer foods for managing your weight. Here are some suggestions.

Citrus Fruit

Did you know that citrus fruit can be used to flavor your food? Ideally, when you’re in the middle of a summer diet, you want to eat foods that taste good, yet won’t weigh you down. Plus, they need to be very flavorful. Some of the best options include chicken topped with some lemon or lime juice or zest (taken from the peel). Plus, you can put chunks of citrus fruit into the water in order to make a tasty, sugar-free summer beverage. The more water you drink, the better you’ll feel, and the more weight that you’ll lose, since you aren’t replacing calories with sugary beverages.


Sometimes, you want light dishes in the summertime. A salad is a perfect option. Salad is low in calories and as long as you don’t top it with a very thick dressing, it will help with your weight loss efforts as well.

Fresh Vegetables

Summer is the best time for fresh vegetables. Many of them, such as broccoli, green beans, and Brussels sprouts can all be steamed and then used as a side dish to your meals. As long as you don’t douse them with butter, they are low in calories and quite good for you as well.


You’ll need some protein to go with the many fruits and vegetables that you’ve been eating. After all, you can’t live of vegetables alone. Sure, there are options like beans, mushrooms, and nuts that contain plenty of protein, but none of them compare to shrimp. These crustaceans are not only tasty, but they are light. They won’t weigh you down as a burger or steak will. Plus, depending on how they’re prepared, many people find them to be quite refreshing. Just don’t sauté them in a ton of butter and garlic, as that will not have the intended effect.

Let the professional team at Solstice Health help you improve your health and wellness this summer. Book an appointment today!

Winding Down: Breathing Techniques for Stress Relief

It’s not uncommon for people to feel overwhelmed after a long day, but some believe that it’s unavoidable and can’t be relieved without seeing a doctor all the time. This is not the case! If you are feeling stressed out, it’s important to remember that everyone has these moments and you can often relieve it and become much calmer with a few relaxation techniques you can perform from your desk or in your home.

One of the best ways to relieve stress and calm yourself down is with deep breathing. It may seem too simple to help, but the act of breathing in and out deeply sends a message throughout your body to relax. Symptoms of stress can include a racing heart and fast breathing, which are all things that a slow and steady breathing exercise can help resolve. Here is a technique you can try to help relax that can be done almost anywhere:

  1. Sit or lie down comfortably.
  2. Place one hand just below your ribs and the other on your chest.
  3. Breathe deeply through your nose, allowing your belly to push outwards. Breathe out through your lips, allowing your belly to go in, helping to push the air out.
  4. Repeat this up to ten times. Do it as slowly and calmly as possible.

By taking the time to relax, you will have helped to relieve the symptoms of stress, which are physical and mental in nature. Neglecting the signs can mean detrimental health effects in the long run. Here is another type of relaxation exercise that can help you relieve the stress built up in your muscles:

  1. Lie down on the floor, face up.
  2. Begin by taking deep breaths (see above for a suitable breathing exercise).
  3. Breathe in, tensing the muscles of your feet, then breathe out, releasing the tension.
  4. Work your way up your body: breathe in and tense another muscle in your body and breathe out to relax it.
  5. Do this for every muscle group in your body.

These stress relieving techniques are a great way to calm yourself when the pressures of everyday life are starting to get to you. This happens to everyone! What’s important is knowing when you are stressed out and how best to treat it. Of course, when the stress is becoming too much and too overwhelming, it may be a good idea to see a physician about it who can advise you on any therapy options you can take.

Come book an appointment with us at Solstice Health to learn more and see how we can help relieve your stress with non-invasive treatments.

Common Injuries in Summer

Summer is the number one time of the year for knee, hip, and ankle injuries. It’s not uncommon for people to spend time playing sports outside that they are fairly unprepared for. For example, if you’ve spent your winter sitting on the couch in front of the television set and then, without stretching, join in on a game of football in your front yard with your neighbors, then you’re more than likely going to get hurt in some way. Of course, this is just one example. Most people end up in the emergency room, and then a sports care institute for additional treatments, in the summertime.

Outdoor Activities Equal Injuries

What typically goes on during the summertime? The answer here is simple: outdoor activities. People head to the park to go for a job. They sign up for 5K and 10K races that are scheduled during these warmer months. On top of this, people also head to the beach, the golf course, and just about anywhere buy the inside of a traditional gym. After all, why work out indoors when you can be outside? The warm weather won’t stick around for long.

Although there usually isn’t anything wrong with being outside of long stretches of time, accidents can occur when you least expect them to. That jog in the park can be interrupted when you trip over a tree root, a stone, or even a branch on the path, twisting your ankle. Trying to play volleyball on the beach can lead to a shoulder, hip, or even knee injury. You can hurt yourself playing golf, or even during one of those races. While none of this should prevent you from enjoying these activities, you do need to keep in mind that you might get hurt.

What Your Options Are When You Injure Yourself

If you should happen to hurt yourself while out and about in the summer months, the first thing that you need to do is get checked out. There’s always the possibility that you broke or chipped a bone. In addition, even what seems like a simple sprain might become something that plagues you for some time to come. When this happens, you do have options, such as regenerative techniques and even surgery.

Although surgery is often the last option after those regenerative techniques have been attempted (in many cases, the regenerative options work well enough that surgery isn’t needed), it can help you move around freely again after the healing period is over. This all depends on how badly you managed to hurt yourself while trying to have fun during those warm summer months.

Don’t let a fear of an injury stop you from having fun. Now that you know that you have options in case you do hurt yourself, you can relax and enjoy your time outdoors on the weekends. Those summer days won’t last forever, and at some point, you’ll end up back indoors when the weather turns. What we’re trying to say is that you should enjoy the weather while it lasts.

Contact us today at Solstice Health to learn how we can help you get back on your feet this summer.

Benefits of Sun Protection

In sunny climates, it’s always important to slap on that sunscreen, even though not everyone remembers to do it. Read on to find out why sunscreen is important all the time!

Sunlight is important for Vitamin D production in your body, but it is also responsible for skin conditions including skin cancer if you aren’t careful. UV rays can trigger skin disorders if you aren’t applying that all-important sunscreen and wearing protecting clothing such as hats. Proper shielding of your skin can prevent potentially life-threatening conditions such as melanoma.

Perhaps you might not be too concerned with skin conditions as a result of sunlight, but what if you also knew that exposure to sunlight can also accelerate the signs of aging on your skin? Scientists have found that wrinkles, fine lines, and other skin inconsistencies can be prevented in people under the age of 55 with ample skin protection. Protecting your skin with sunscreen can also preserve collagen, keratin, and elastin in your skin, keeping your skin soft, young, and supple.

A more short-term issue with sunlight exposure, especially in bright and sunny places such as the beach, is sunburns. Your skin gets red, swells up, and blisters start to form. All this due to UVB rays! Frequent sunburns put you at a greater risk of skin cancer.

So, what are the best kinds of sunscreen and how often should they be applied? Look for broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect yourself against UVA and UVB rays. UVB is responsible for sunburns, while UVA penetrates deeper into your skin, causing more long-term effects including wrinkles and certain kinds of skin cancer. Look for sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to 50. Higher does not always mean better: SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays, whereas SPF 100 will only block 99% of UVB rays. Higher SPF products can even cause skin problems and allergies as they contain higher concentrations of powerful active ingredients, which may be harmful if you frequently apply sunscreen.

Contact us at Solstice Health to learn about how we can improve your overall wellness.

Benefits of Staying Hydrated

It’s well-known that we should all be drinking more water. But how much water, and why?

Water is the best way to maintain your body on a regular basis. Water helps carry nutrients around your body, including your cells, organs, and stimulate the digestive system. Without water, your body’s waste management would falter and lead to health problems down the road.

Many people aren’t drinking enough water, especially in hot weather. You risk dehydration if you aren’t drinking enough water to meet your body. The amount you drink can vary for many reasons, including age, weather, and activity (whether you are exercising or sitting for 8 hours, for example). Old people don’t sense thirst as much as younger people, leading to more cases of dehydration for people reaching a certain stage in their lives.

The rule of thumb is simple: if you feel thirsty, you’re already in the early stages of dehydration. Drink plenty of fluids regularly throughout the day to ward off thirst, at least 30 to 50 ounces (1 to 1.5 liters). Don’t drink it all in one go, since your kidneys aren’t able to process all of the water at once.

Water isn’t the only way to stay hydrated. Fresh juice, fruits, salad, and vegetables are good ways to absorb fluids. Tea and coffee also count as hydrating fluids, but water is still recommended as the best and healthiest way to go.

Learn more about how we can help maintain your wellness no matter your age at Solstice Health.

Foods to Eat More of This Summer

Now that summer is in full swing, there are many healthy foods currently in season that are not only tasty but will also help you beat the heat. Here are just a few of the ones we recommend to stay healthy and refreshed!


It’s clear from the name that the watermelon is packed with water to help you stay hydrated in the heat. While it’s important to drink water, you can mix up the routine by eating a couple slices of fresh watermelon for the same hydrating effect!


Blueberries are chock-full of antioxidants and nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. They can protect your body from cell damage and the more negative effects of aging. Blueberries have even been found to help maintain a low blood pressure with regular consumption.


Cherries are packed with beta-carotene, which helps to keep your lungs and brain healthy.


These are a tasty summer berry that is rich in soluble fiber, which helps to lower or maintain your cholesterol levels. Eating lots of food rich in fiber can help prevent weight gain and even help you with your weight loss goals!

These are only a few of the foods in season this summer that provide you with refreshing nourishment. Keep an eye out for these on your next supermarket trip!

Contact us at Solstice Health to learn more about our nutritional services.

Eating in Moderation: Watching Your Carbs

Summer means gathering together, and also eating! Many large holiday season meals involve things such as potatoes, lots of bread, cake, and much more besides. In other words, there’s a lot of carbs that can go into your diet without you noticing. Here’s how to moderate your intake over the holiday season and to make sure you stay healthy while enjoying delicious food!

  1. Watch what you drink: Avoid sugary drinks like soft drinks and sweet tea or juice. Sugar can have a lot of carbs that add up if you’re having them with every meal. Don’t use fruit juice as an alternative: fresh fruit is better than sugary fruit juice, as it has all of the benefits and none of the carbs.
  2. Cut back on staples: Staple foods include bread and potatoes, which are both delicious but also highly packed with carbs. The biggest offenders are white bread, which are low in fiber while being high in carbs. Even bread made from whole grains contain lots of carbs. If you want the nutrients found in whole grain or rye bread, there are other types of food to get it without the carbs.
  3. Snack healthier: Holidays can also mean a time for a lot of eating between meals, such as popcorn during a movie or chips. Try healthier low-carb alternatives, such as nuts, almonds, yogurt, and even cheese!
  4. Drink less: Alcohol is nothing but empty calories. There are no nutrients to be found in booze and beer in particular is notoriously high in carb content. Drink in moderation and alternate with a healthy drink such as water.
  5. Bake with low carb alternatives: Holidays are a time for dessert! There are many guilt-free ways to enjoy dessert, including low-carb flour, which are made with alternatives to wheat. Just beware that it may turn out slightly different out of the oven than if you used ‘proper’ flour!
  6. Eat more protein: Protein helps build muscle mass and lose weight. Meat, fish, eggs, nuts, cheese, yogurt, and beans are all rich in protein. Protein will help you feel full faster, boost metabolism, and in the long run help decrease your weight.

Contact us today at Solstice Health to learn more about how we can help you achieve your nutritional goals.

Relieving Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term condition that can dramatically reduce one’s quality of life to a debilitating extent. This is a result of symptoms including swelling of the joints, inflammation, and pain. The joints affected typically are in the hands and feet, but can occur in any joint of the body including hips and knees.

Symptoms may include stiffness and fatigue that seems impossible to get rid of. The causes are still unknown to scientists but it appears to be related to the autoimmune abilities of the body that are being directed against healthy tissue cells. Rheumatoid arthritis can not only affect one’s body, but one’s state of mind: stress, depression, and anxiety can follow as a result of this condition.

Home remedies can include applying heat on the areas with pain, while cold temperature treatments such as soaking the joint in cold water, using cold packs, or ice wrapped in a cloth can help numb the pain. You may also stand to benefit from massage therapy and diet changes including the use of fish oil supplements to boost your joint’s chances of relief and recovery.

There is no treatment to cure rheumatoid arthritis, but where joints are damaged as a result they can be repaired and relieved. Contact us at Solstice Health to learn more about how we can help you enjoy life again.