Top 3 Most Common Causes of Headaches and How To Treat Them Naturally

Headaches are very common but they are definitely NOT normal. Did you know that only 3-4 headaches a year are considered normal? More than eight million Americans visit their doctor for complaints of headaches each year.

In today’s blog I want to breakdown the 3 most common causes of headaches and how you can treat it naturally without the use of medications.

  1. Medication
  2. Foods
  3. Posture

If you suffer from headaches you’re not alone. Nine out of ten Americans suffer from headaches. Some are occasional, some frequent, some are dull and throbbing, and some cause debilitating pain and nausea.

 What do you do when you suffer from a pounding headache? Pop a pill and hope the pain goes away? Although medication is a popular treatment there are better more conservative alternatives.

1. Medication

Did you know that one of the top side effects of “headache” medications is headaches? Medication overuse headaches to rebound headaches are caused by regular or long-term use of headaches medication to treat different types of headaches, most commonly migraines. You may be someone who has been taking headache medication for a long-time now and find yourself still suffering from headaches.

2. Foods

There are several types of food that you may have in your diet that could be contributing to your headaches.

  1. Caffeine
  2. Artificial sweeteners
  3. Alcohol
  4. Chocolate
  5. Foods containing MSG
  6. Salty foods

3. Posture

Forward head posture is a common problem today. For each inch your neck bends over the neutral position of your spine it causes an extra 10 lbs of stress on your neck. Which means that eventually you could be adding an additional 60 lbs on our neck. As you can imagine this not ideal for the health of our spine! It can often times lead to trigger point pain which can especially manifest in the back of the neck and can refer pain into the head and shoulders. That referral of pain can lead to conditions such as tension headaches and migraines. Forward head posture can lead to much more than just muscle pain, including pain that stems from the joints, discs, nerve roots and other nearby structures.

How Chiropractic Care Can Help Treat and Manage Headaches

Some of the most effective treatments for headaches and migraines are unfortunately also the least used. Did you know that spinal manipulation therapy (chiropractic adjustment) administered by a licensed Chiropractor is one of the most effective and least invasive treatments for headaches?

Chiropractors can assess, diagnose, and treat headaches. They can also help decrease the intensity and frequency of migraines. Some of the treatment options may include:

  1. Manual therapy
  2. Soft tissue Therapy
  3. Modalities
  4. Rehabilitation
  5. Lifestyle changes and education
  6. Referral and co-management

It’s important to take headaches and migraines serious and consider visiting a Chiropractor if you often have headaches. You can also consult a Chiropractor if you are looking a more conservative and holistic approach to manage your headaches.

How To Improve Your Gut Health Naturally: A Guide For Beginners

Your gut is made up of trillions of bacteria better known as the microbiome. The bacteria can be divided into two groups, “good” and “bad” bacteria better. These bacteria are vital to our survival and when we consume food we feed either the good or bad bacteria. The so called bad bacteria are ultimately fed by sugar and junk food. The more processed food you eat and sugar-containing foods you consume the more the bad bacteria multiply and takeover. So why is that bad and how does it affect you? As the bad bacteria multiply the harder it is for you to absorb nutrients from healthy foods, because the good bacteria is being overpowered by the bad bacteria.

Diet and gut health are very closely linked. Avoiding certain foods, such as processed foods, high fat foods and foods high in refined sugar is extremely important when maintaining a healthy microbiome. These specific food categories destroy the good bacteria in the gut and promote the growth of bad bacteria. While some are associated with disease others are actually extremely important for the health of your heart, immune system, weight etc.

This article serves as a guide to restore your gut health and get you back on track.

How Can You Improve Your Gut Health?

  • Eat Foods That Support The “Good” Bacteria:

If you want to improve your gut health it could be as simply as eating nutrient-dense diet rich in fiber, protein and vegetables is a first good step. This is easiest and quickest way to quickly replenish the good bacteria in your gut lost to poor dietary choices.

  • Eat Fermented Foods:

Fermented foods feed the good bacteria in the gut because they are a natural dietary source of probiotics and an reduce disease-causing species in the gut. Foods such as cucumbers, onions, carrots, kimchi, yogurt, miso, kefir are great dietary sources of probiotics and are known to be associated a variety of health benefits such as, improve digestion, better immunity and weight loss.

  • Cut Out Sugars Especially Artificial Sweeteners:

Artificial sweeteners like aspartame increase our blood sugar by stimulating the growth of bad and unhealthy bacteria in the gut microbiome such as enterobacteriaceae and clostridium leptum.

  • Reduce or Eliminate Coffee Consumption:

Drinking coffee every morning actually decreases the stomach acid needed to breakdown food, which may cause some harm to our stomach bacteria. Food that cannot be digested can become rotten and toxic inside the gut and cause further health complications.

  • Avoid Antibiotics:

Antibiotics, by their very nature are harmful to our gut bacteria. They kill not only the bad bacteria in our gut but also our good bacteria too. Unfortunately some of our foods and water supplies contain antibiotics. If you do choose to consume meat, make sure to eat organically raised grass-fed meat and animal products, as the regulatory body that govern these standards forbid the use of antibiotics.

The Bottom Line

“All disease begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates

Our gut is a critical part of our health and wellbeing. The kind of bacteria we feed depends on the foods we consume. The more we feed one type of bacteria the harder it is for the other to thrive in the stomach and create dysbiosis in the gut. To support the “good” bacteria in our gut it is crucial that we eat diets rich in vegetables, fiber, and fermented food. It’s also important that we reduce coffee consumption and avoid antibiotics unless medically necessary.

Top 4 Exercises To Improve Thoracic Mobility

By now you should be convinced that improving and maintaining thoracic mobility is a great idea for many different reasons. The rounded back (thoracic kyphosis) epidemic is upon us and this postural habit starts at a very young age and is detriment to our health. Everyone at some point in time has experienced an episode of upper back pain, shoulder pain, and neck pain just to name a few. On average adults spend most of their day sitting at work, watching TV, using their phones, and driving. We usually do our activities sitting down, rounded through the thoracic spine, which puts unwanted added stress to our spine.

The thoracic spine is built for rotation, flexion and let’s not forget extension. It’s designed to be highly mobile or at least it should be. Because of its mobility it must be used and must be moved.

In order to increase mobility we have to know that it first exists at all. If not we’ll attempt to rotate and bend with something more familiar the lumbar spine. That’s bad news!

In other words your thoracic spine is an important area of your body to have good mobility and range of motion and is probably the reason you experience unwanted aches and pain.

Benefits of Improved Thoracic Mobility

  • Lack of kyphosis (Rounded upper back)
  • A less painful more stable low back
  • More lung volume
  • Healthier shoulders
  • Greater range of motion
  • Improved posture
  • Decreased back aches, pain and stiffness

Today I want to share with you 4 exercises to help promote mobility in the thoracic spine. I recommend performing each exercise daily to reap the most benefit.

Cat/Camel Stretch

  1. Start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders, and your knees directly under your hips.
  2.  Begin by moving into Cow Pose: Inhale as you drop your belly towards the mat.
  3. Broaden across your shoulder blades and draw your shoulders away from your ears.
  4. Next, move into Cat Pose: As you exhale, draw your belly to your spine and round your back toward the ceiling. The pose should look like a cat stretching its back.
  5. Release the crown of your head toward the floor, but don’t force your chin to your chest.
  6. Inhale, coming back into Cow Pose, and then exhale as you return to Cat Pose.
  7. Repeat 5-20 times, and then rest by sitting back on your heels with your torso upright.

Foam Roller T-spine Extension Mobilization

  1. Put the foam roller under your upper back / thoracic spine. Keep your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. 
  2. Place your hands behind your head.
  3. Let your head fall to the floor and try to wrap yourself around the foam roller, extending the thoracic spine over the roller. 
  4. Roll, slowly up and down the vertebrae, pausing on any painful parts (do not roll the neck or lower back, focussing solely on the thoracic spine).

Foam Roller Kneeling Downward Rotation

  1. Start in an “All 4’s” position (quadruped).
  2. Take your right hand and slide it on the ground across and under your left arm as far as possible.
  3. As you drop your right shoulder to the ground in an attempt to reach across your body, it should bring out a light stretch to your mid back.
  4. Hold this stretch for a few seconds and perform 10 repetitions on each side.

Foam Roller Prayer Stretch

  1. Start in a kneeling position.
  2. Sit your hips back on your heels and push your hands out in front of you (one hand on top of the other).
  3. Next, let your chest drop down to the floor. Continue to reach with your arms together overhead while you let your breath out slowly.
  4. Try to sink your chest towards the ground.

The exercises shared today are not a one time fix for improving mobility. They will not fix any stiffness or aches in one session. If you do notice a small change in movement quality after performing these for the first time you should consider adding these corrective exercises into your daily routine. Consistency is key for progression in mobility, especially in this region of the body.

3 Foam Roller Exercises To Fix Your Posture

Do you wake up with a stiff back? Does your back ache on your drive to work? Do you sit slouched forward for the majority of your day? Are you starting to notice rounded shoulders and your neck protruding forward?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you have come to the right place and you are not alone. Sadly, in today’s age most people would have answered yes to these questions but the good news is that postural problems are totally preventable and reversible.

Why posture’s so important

Slouching all day forces your chest muscles to shorten and tighten, which pulls your spine forward and forces your shoulders to turn inwards. You may be asking yourself “What does that have to do with my posture?”. Well, because your chest is tight and everything has essentially shifted forward, the muscles in your back are forced to lengthen and overstretch which weakens the muscles of your upper back that are designed to aid in posture.

In other words, your chest muscles are taut and pulling everything forward while your back muscles are loose and not supporting your upright posture the way they should be. Proper posture also reduces unnecessary added stress on your muscles and ligaments, which can reduce the risk of injury. The good news is that postural kyphosis (the clinical term for a rounded back), is completely reversible and preventable.

Grab a foam roller

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you all know what a foam roller is. The following 3 exercises using a foam roller can relieve chest tightness and strengthen your upper back muscles to make you look and feel brand new. These are some of my favorite exercises to incorporate into my daily routine and workout regimen. Whether you experience aches and pains in your back or just looking for a good stretch these exercises will work wonders. Try to complete these 3 exercises at least a few times a week until your posture has improved. All exercises should be performed in a pain free range of motion. If you experience any shoulder pain with these exercises please stop immediately and consult your local doctor for an individualized program that is right for you.

All you need is a foam roller and a few minutes. Don’t have a foam roller yet? Here is the link to the one I recommend.

Read on to learn how to do 3 foam roller exercises that’ll help you stand a little taller. Let’s get started!

1. Overhead Reaches

  • Lay on the foam roller and make sure your head and spine are supported.
  • Engage your core by drawing your belly button into the foam roller to ensure your spine is kept in a neutral position.
  • Grab a resistance band or a towel. Make sure your arms remain straight throughout the entire exercise.
  • Start with the band at hip level and slowly raise your arms above your head as far as you can.
  • Complete this exercise for a total of 2 minutes.

2. Jacks

  • Lay on the foam roller and make sure your head and spine are supported.
  • Engage your core by drawing your belly button into the foam roller to ensure your spine is kept in a neutral position.
  • Start with your arms by your sides as if you were doing a jumping jack.
  • Slowly raise your arms towards your ears as far as you can while keeping the palms of your hands facing the ceiling.
  • Complete this exercise for a total of 2 minutes.

3. Alternating Overhead Reaches

  • Lay on the foam roller and make sure your head and spine are supported.
  • Engage your core by drawing your belly button into the foam roller to ensure your spine is kept in a neutral position.
  • Slowly and consistently alternate lifting your right arm and then your left arm overhead.
  • Complete this exercise for a total of 2 minutes.

Poor posture can be the root cause for many issues we experience every day. Tension headaches, neck stiffness/pain, limited shoulder mobility and pain, and upper back pain are just a few of the common side effects resulting from poor posture. But it doesn’t have to be! There’s a lot of stretches and exercises you can do to correct this problem and help minimize your discomfort and future health complications.

The Best Sleeping Positions For Low Back Pain

Low back pain not only affects us when we sit, walk and run it even affects our sleep quality. Believe it or not some back pain is caused by the way we sleep and sometimes can even worsen our already existing back pain. So what are the best sleeping position for your spine?

You’re probably here because you have some type of agonizing, irritating back pain that keeps you up all night. Well you’ve come to the right place and be prepared for life changing tips. In this article I will be telling you about the 3 best sleeping positions, step-by-step instructions and when it’s appropriate to see your doctor.

3 Best Sleeping Positions

Not only can your back pain be irritated by a poor nights sleep but poor sleeping position can certainly be the cause. For people experiencing lower back pain at night, trying out the following postures and tips may provide relief.

1. Sleeping on your back with knee support

I’m sure you’ve heard that sleeping on your back is usually considered the gold standard sleeping position to maintain a healthy back. If you sleep on your back naturally, try placing a pillow under your knees to help maintain the natural curve in your spine. This position minimizes added pressure on the spine and ensures neutral alignment of the head, neck, low back and pelvis.

In order to adopt this sleeping position, you should:

  1. Lie flat on your back facing the ceiling.
  2. Place a pillow under your neck (1 pillow is best to avoid neck from adopting a flexed position.
  3. Place a pillow under your knees.
  4. For added support place a pillow in remaining gaps between your body and the mattress (as seen in the image)

2. Sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees

Laying on your side is definitely a popular comfortable position most people adopt. However, this position can add strain and pressure on the spine especially the lower back. Maybe you have been told by your doctor to sleep on your back from now on but lets be honest its hard to break old habits especially sleeping habits. Correcting this position is easy. If you’re a side sleeper placing a firm pillow between your knees is a simple and effective way to restore alignment in your spine, hips, pelvis and spine.

In order to adopt this sleeping position, you should:

  1. Get into bed and lay on your side.
  2. Position a pillow to support your head and neck.
  3. Place your knee towards your torso then place a pillow between them.
  4. For added support place a pillow in remaining gaps between your body and the mattress (as seen in the image).

3. Sleep on your front with a pillow underneath your stomach

All my stomach sleepers I’m sure you’ve heard by now that this is probably the worst position to sleep in and puts the most strain on your lower back especially if you already have an accentuated curve. But if you struggle to sleep in any other position placing a small pillow underneath your stomach and hips can improve the alignment of your spine.

In order to adopt this sleeping position, you should:

  1. Get into bed and lie on your stomach.
  2. Place a pillow to support head and neck.
  3. Position another pillow underneath you stomach and hips. This will allow your mid-section to be lifted and flatten out your low back spinal curve.
  4. For added support place a pillow in remaining gaps between your body and the mattress (as seen in the image).

When To Seek A Doctor

If your back pain is worse after a nights rest you should speak to your doctor. You should also seek medical attention if you experience the following symptoms related back pain:

  1. Sudden difficulty passing urine.
  2. Loss of bowel/bladder control.
  3. Nights sweats.
  4. Unexpected weight loss.
  5. Chest pain.

If you’ve been dealing with longstanding back pain that isn’t getting better overtime and is affecting your ability to perform normal daily activities and causing a lack of sleep, you should speak to a Chiropractor. Where you can get assessed and develop a treatment plan best suited for you in order to improve symptoms.

4 Ways To Improve Your Posture Daily

“Posture is less about what we look like and more about how we function.”

Dr. Rebecca Rizk

Posture is something we are continually engaging in on a day to day basis whether it be sitting at a desk, standing, lying down at night, or moving while working out. If you really think about it everything you do your body is engaged in a specific posture. As humans we rarely think about posture until we are faced with some types of aches, stiffness, and pain that demand postural correction.

I want to share 4 simple techniques you can apply to your daily routine to improve your posture and prevent future health problems.

#1 Shoulder Roll

  • Start with one shoulder, gently pull it up towards you ears then back as far as it can go, and then allow it to drop down.
  • Repeat this on the other shoulder.
  • The shoulder roll will help with blood circulation, improve motion in the shoulder joint, and allow for deeper breathing.

#2 Align The Head and The Shoulders

  • Make sure your ears are directly above your shoulders.
  • Your neck is gently pulled back.
  • The forehead is raised up and the highest point of the body.
  • The chin is relaxed downwards.

#3 Lengthen The Spine

  • When you’re siting down or standing, stop and take a deep breath in, and without curving your spine, stand as tall as you possible can.
  • While you maintain that same position and height, take a deep exhalation.
  • This exercise is a great way to lengthen you spine, while strengthening you abdominal muscles.

#4 Contract Your Glutes

  • While you’re walking, squeeze those glutes with each step you take.
  • Having strong and engaged glutes supports and protects your lower back from injury.

Poor posture means that unnecessary weight is being placed on your joints, muscles, and ligaments. Not only will this cause unwanted pains and aches, overtime it will results in more severe health conditions of the respiratory and digestive system.

If you spend a lot of time sitting down, its very important to get up and move around, ideally once every 20-30 minutes.


As a Chiropractor I hear a ton of misconceptions and myths about back pain that ABSOLUTELY blows my mind. Back pain is among the most common cause of disability in today’s world and just about everyone will experience back pain in their lifetime. You are not alone! Even as a back expert I experience bouts of back pain too. In today’s article my goal is to weed through the clutter of myths and misconceptions on low back pain and show you the facts/truths. If you are among the millions of people who suffer from chronic low back pain it’s so important to know what is truly going to help your back pain get better. It’s as simple as just knowing what works and what doesn’t work to help you heal faster and believe it or not the healing process starts at home.

Before we get started I just wanted to let you know if you are someone who is tired of suffering from chronic pain and hasn’t had improvement or has seen every healthcare professional out there and you’re about to lose hope – you’ve come the right place and I am so excited to have you. What you know and how you treat your pain with ultimately effect how you heal. Don’t let the following myths about pain management keep you from feeling better.

MYTH #1: I have a bad back, so I should stay in bed and rest.

I am just going to start off with this statement – MOVEMENT IS MEDICINE! Prolonged bed rest is actually associated with higher levels of pain, greater disability, poorer recovery, and greater absence from work. I know what you’re thinking, “I’m in pain and any movement hurts”. I hear you but just remember pain is a signal not a hindrance. In most cases, stretching, walking, swimming are some ways to help keep you mobile and get you through back pain better than bedrest ever will. Say it with me out loud – movement is medicine!

MYTH #2: I need an X-ray or MRI to cure my back pain.

Thankfully in most cases diagnostic imaging is not necessary. A thorough clinical assessment (medical history and physical exam) by a Chiropractor is usually enough to identify the problem and get you back to normal. Chiropractors are well equipped to know how serious your back pain really is. TRUST me more often then not your back pain is curable without any imaging!

MYTH #3: I need surgery to cure my back pain.

There is a small percentage of people who may need a referral to the surgeon but this option should only be considered once a trial of conservative care (pain management treatments) was not successful. Most back pain, even chronic pain is not treated with surgery. Don’t be so quick to turn to surgery because once you go under the knife you can’t go back. Take time to try different natural, drug-free interventions such as Chiropractic care. I promise you will be shocked at the results.

MYTH #4: I hurt my back, so I’ll probably have a bad back from now on.

Remember pain is very common, but with a good pain management and back pain prevention protocol you can have a healthy back even with a history of back pain. Staying active, mobile, flexible and maintaining good posture (with sitting, lifting and bending) are great ways to keep your spine healthy and prevent further injury. Try to avoid lifting heavy objects and smoking, maintain a balanced diet and control your weight. Keep in mind most back pain goes away in a few days. If your back pain persists talk to your Chiropractor.