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Posts by drstephaniemilley

Should We Be Warning People about the Dangers of Their Chair?

Check Out This Great Article from Dr. Craig Liebenson
On September 13, 2010, in Activity & Musculoskeletal Health, by Craig Liebenson ….Pr Janda’s Warning About Modern Lifestyle Proves Prophetic

The great Czech neurologist Pr Vladimir Janda stated that we are designed to take over 20,000 steps/day. Yet the average American takes less than 10,000 steps/day ! In fact, Pr Janda probably underestimated how much humans are designed to walk as the Amish typically take over 30,000 steps a day. We can say with certainty that 200,000 years of evolution have designed us to walk at least 3x as much as we now do. Our modern lifestyles have led homosapian into becoming homosedentarius. Or, as our German colleagues say homo erectus vulgaris.

What are the culprits? According to a recent summary – Too Much Sitting: The Population Health Science of Sedentary Behavior: Objective Assessment of Sedentary Time: New Findings

■Prolonged sitting
■TV watching
■Computer or internet useage
What is the effect of all this sitting? How about the big one – increased mortality!

If we look at the different modifiable risk factors that shorten life span –

■high blood pressure
It took billions of years before life on earth was able to evolve an upright species. Just 200,000 years ago that became possible. And, now in just the last few decades we have polluted this!

Sedentarism affects lifespan more than any of the other risk factors! Yet, prevention strategies more frequently focus on the others.

This is inline with the just launched “Designed to Move – A Physical Activity Action Agenda” from which the following are taken.

■‎”As economies grow, physical activity is systematically designed, innovated and engineered out of daily life.”
■World Health Organization’s definition of physical inactivity: “Percent of defined population attaining less than 5 times 30 minutes of moderate activity per week, or less than 3 times 20 minutes of vigorous activity per week, or equivalent.”
■2X the Federal Budget of DOE is spent on costs associated w/ inactivity.
■“Betz cells in the brain are essential to the development of fine motor skills” Between ages 7-11 we lose 50% of them!
■“Human beings are designed to move and be active. Our bodies evolved to meet the demands of human existence. And yet, research shows us that, as economies develop, their populations’ levels of activity become dangerously low. The human and economic costs of progress are staggering. Physical inactivity is a looming and dangerous threat to everyone’s health, well-being and quality of life. But most importantly it results in an erosion of human potential. Now, more than ever before, it is time for urgent action.”
■ China’s 1.3 billion citizens are becoming less physically active, at a higher rate, than any other nation: in less than a generation—only 18 years—physical activity declined by 45 percent.
■ “Today, physical inactivity is linked to approximately 5.3 million premature deaths worldwide each year— more than tuberculosis, lung cancer, HIV/AIDS or traffic accidents.”
■“Physical Activity: An Underestimated Investment in Human Capital?” by Bailey, Hillman, Arent and Petitpas (forthcoming, 2012).
■Compared to their inactive peers, physically active childrenwill be significantly healthier and wealthier.
■ Increased physical activity has been shown to lead to reductions in functional decline (frailty), coronary heart disease (CHD), and disability prior to death along with increased life expectancy have all been demonstrated.
More Warnings

■The Surgeon General has reported that only 22% of adults in the United States are active enough to derive benefits from activity. Inactive men 60 years of age who become active have a mortality rate 50% lower than their peers who remain inactive. A study of Harvard University alumni confirmed this result. Men who were initially sedentary, but later began engaging in vigorous sports had a 23% lower rate of mortality than their inactive counterparts (Paffenberger, 1993). A Honolulu Heart program found that retired men who walked >2 miles/day had half the mortality rate (22%) than those who walked <1 mile/day (43%) (Hakim).
■Many physicians counsel patients about smoking and body weight, but not about inactivity (Caspersen, 1985).
What is the primary function of human beings?


A Pain In Your Neck?

When we sit our muscles are active at about 4% of their maximum voluntary contraction ability (MVC). Yet, if maintained for over 10 minutes a negative metabolic state is established (Andersson, Sato). Such low levels of muscle contractions during static work loads can trigger fatigue and pain in the neck. (Hamilton, Jensen, Veiersted). Jensen suggested that any sustained static work load of greater than 10 minutes should not exceed 2% of MVC (Jensen).
Andersson GBJ. Occupational biomechanics in Wienstein JN, Wiesel SW, eds. The lumbar spine: the international society for the study of the lumbar spine. Philadelphia, WB Saunders, 1990 p 213.

Back Pain From Just Sitting?

Prolonged sitting is one of the most deleterious activities most people engage in. After only 3 minutes of full flexion of the spine ligamentous creep or laxity occurs which persists even after 30 minutes of rest! (Gunning, McGill). These ligaments are responsible for protecting our discs so it is no wonder that trivial early morning flexion (putting on socks) or bending after sitting for a prolonged period (picking up a pencil) can lead to a severe disc problem with nerve irritation (Adams and Hutton)

According to Bogduk and Twomney, “After prolonged strain ligaments, capsules, and IV discs of the lumbar spine may creep, and they may be liable to injury if sudden forces are unexpectedly applied during the vulnerable recovery phase.” Once a tissue is strained, it has difficulty returning to its original length.

Wilder showed that the motor control signature associated with low back pain involves – a slow reaction time, decreased peak torque output (power), and increased after discharges when irregular load is handled (sustained elevated muscle tension). Prolonged sitting was shown to further disturb these variables and a brief walking break to improve them again.

Solomonow et al have demonstrated that the creep reaction may be much more stubborn than previously believed. Reduced muscle activity with spasms were found during static flexion periods during a 7 hour recovery period. Multifidus spasm and acute inflammation of ligaments were noted. The dysfunction was reported to outlast the period over which strain occurred by 60X!

Most people when they have a problem or as they age tend to associate activity with risk. Yet, doing “too little too late” is often more dangerous than doing “too much too soon”. If a person has a problem with activity they should seek a health care professionals advice. But, when people are sedentary they often do not have symptoms until it is too late.

Fall prevention is an obvious example. The mortality risk in an elderly person is greater than from cancer or heart disease! Simple exercises such as basic Tai Chi have been shown to reduce fall risk and thus mortality in the coming year in seniors.

Walnuts Give Sperm an Extra Kick!

Researchers have found that a couple handfuls of walnuts a day can make a man’s sperm stronger, faster and better looking. It is possible that this will lead to further investigations examining walnuts as a natural solution to male fertility problems.

The researchers recruited 117 healthy men – none of who were infertile – ages 21 to 35, who were eating normal Western diets.Half the men got a batch of snack-sized packs of walnuts to eat every day on top of their normal diets, while the others just continued normally. The researchers tested their sperm at the beginning and after three months.

Results showed that the men who were eating the walnuts had more sperm that had normal shapes compared to men just on the regular diets. This is attributed to the walnut’s healthful omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins such as folic acid, and minerals such as zinc and selenium which are all known building blocks for sperm development.

Because nuts are high in fat, the dose of walnuts had to be considered. The study used about 75 grams a day which was an amount high enough to raise the omega-3 fatty acid levels in the blood, but did not result in weight gain or elevated cholesterol.

About 20 percent of the men in the study had lower than normal sperm counts, although they hadn’t been diagnosed as infertile. The sperm of these men, it turned out, improved the most after eating walnuts every day for three months.

Other studies in the past have shown that taking fish oils with omega 3 fatty acids also raise a man’s sperm count, however this study wanted to test this phenomenon through real, sustaninable foods like the walnut, rather than from fish based supplements.

The next wave of research will likely look into men with fertility problems, to see if the same elevation in sperm quality and quantity exists.

Bottom line: If you are trying to conceive, add just less than 2/3 of a cup of walnuts to your daily diet. You can eat them plain, or put them over your morning cereal or yogurt.

The New Wave of Chiropractic Medicine

Dr. Milley interviewed at The International Laser Therapy Conference!

23 and 1/2 Hours

A Fantastic message. I couldn’t have said it better myself – and I definitely couldn’t have drawn it better!

New Year, New You

While many people use the  New Year as an opportunity to improve their health, the majority of people fall off the wagon within the first couple weeks of January. This is often because people make unrealistic goals, and expect to make huge behavioural changes right away. When we can’t maintain these changes, we fall right back into our regular unhealthy patterns. So how do we make resolutions that stick? Check out these tips to help make 2012 your best year yet!

1. Set Realistic Goals. First set a resolution that is attainable over a longer period of time. Losing 10 lbs over 3 months  is what we would call a long-term goal. Then break down that plan to have smaller weekly goals. For example losing 1-2 pounds a week would be a good short-term goal.

2. Create an action plan. Put into writing how you are going to achieve these goals. Consider what day-to-day changes you will focus on, how you will avoid pitfalls, and who to go to if you need assistance with your resolution.

3. Make your health a priority. The most difficult part of keeping a resolution is figuring out how to work it into an already hectic life. Plan ahead so that your first concern is your resolution, and then work life around it. For example, decide how you are going to fit in exercise this week. Write it down on a calendar and think of it as an appointment you cannot miss. Then schedule the rest of your life around it.

4. Share your goals. Studies show that those who discuss resolutions with their friends or family are more successful in achieving their goals. Sharing goals gives one accountability and a supportive structure to help keep them on track. Consulting with a knowledgeable health care practitioner will help you keep your resolution and convert it from a 2 week health kick to a lifelong change.

All The Best for 2012!!

Happy New Year from all of us at the Magna Health Centre!

Dr. Davis and I are  looking forward to a fantastic year of health and wellness blogging. We appreciate all the great feedback we have received on the site, and hope that you will continue to share the gift of health with your friends and family. 

We have some great things coming your way in 2012 so read, remember and pass it on!


Dr. Stephanie Milley & Dr. Christine Davis

Keeping Holiday Stress Levels in Check

The holiday season is nearly here. It’s the wonderful time of year when we indulge in food, drink and celebration. For the most part the holidays bring feelings of love and joy. However, work deadlines, holiday shopping and family events can also be a source for stress, fatigue and even sadness. One study by Greenberg Quinlan and Rosner  in 2006 surveyed thousands of people in the US and found that there was a substantial increase in the following emotions during the holiday season. 


Fatigue  68% 
Stress  61%
Irritability  52%
Bloating  28%
Sadness  36%
Anger  25% 
Loneliness  26%

 The study also noted that holiday stress has a particular impact on women.  Women are more likely to report an increase of stress during the holiday season because in many cases they are still doing most of the meal preparation, decorating the home and shopping for gifts. In addition, they have a harder time relaxing during the holidays and are more likely to fall into bad habits to manage their stress, like comfort eating.

 Holiday stress also has a strong  impact on lower middle-income individuals. This group feels the weight of stress from work plus the seasonal rush to find time to get everything done. In addition, their worries about money are heightened by the commercialism of the season and the pressure to spend a lot of money.

 The holiday season also means that people are much more likely to behave in sedentary ways like watching TV, sleeping, eating and drinking to manage their stress.

 So what should we be doing to help manage our holiday stress levels? Here are 5 techniques which will help to keep you calm and stress free this holiday season.

 1) Deep Breathing: Studies show that engaging in deep breathing activities 3-5 times a day can decrease blood pressure, anxiety and stress. Try this technique.

Sit comfortably and close your eyes. With your mouth closed, exhale deeply through your nose. Imagine that you are pouring the breath out of a jug, starting at the top of your chest and moving down through your mid-torso and into your diaphragm. Pause for two counts at the bottom of the breath, then inhale through your nose. Refill the “jug” slowly, counting to five (or seven if you can make it). Start at the bottom, expanding your diaphragm and belly, then your mid-torso, and lastly the top of your chest and lungs. Pause for two counts and exhale as before. Repeat 5–10 times.

 2) Progressive muscle relaxation: This technique is useful when trying to relax after a long day.  It helps the mind focus on just the activity at hand, and not on the millions of other things that are on your “to do” list. Try this technique. With the eyes closed and in a sequential pattern, a tension in a given muscle group is purposefully done for approximately 10 seconds and then released for 20 seconds before continuing with the next muscle group. The mental component focuses on the difference between the feelings of the tension and relaxation.

  3) Get organized: Creating lists of what needs to be accomplished in the short-term (today) and long-term (this week) will help you prioritize holiday tasks. Creating a budget for gift giving helps you lay out how much you can afford per person and will help you manage the financial stress that can go along with overspending on holiday gifts. Lastly, planning social events in advance on a monthly calendar will help you ensure that you are not overextending yourself with social obligations and parties.

 4) Create Strategies to Minimize Stress: Shopping earlier or shopping online can help decrease the stress from store line-ups and mall parking. You may also consider forgoing gifts entirely and donating to your favourite charity. Lastly, delegating responsibilities such as chores, cooking, and purchasing presents means that you are  more able to enjoy the season instead of dreading the responsibilities that go along with it.

 5) Make Time for Exercise: It is important to aim for 30 minutes of exercise a day. Using an online tool like will help to monitor your exercise levels and food intake over the holiday season.

 This season concentrate on positive emotions and staying healthy. Only then can you really enjoy the best of what the holidays bring.

In the Spirit of Mo-vember: Prostate Cancer, What Do We Know?

Short, dark mustache

Image via Wikipedia

Whether it be a Handlebar, a Fu Manchu or a Mr. Belvedere, mustaches are making their appearances this month thanks to Mo-vember. The prostate cancer awareness project first started in Melbourne, Australia in 1999 and has been gaining attention ever since. What is the message from this month-long whisker-fest? Men, go get screened for prostate cancer. So in the spirit of Mo-vember, this author thought it was only fitting to share some of the facts on prostate cancer.

The good news is that if you are diagnosed with prostate cancer your odds of surviving five years are roughly 90%.  The bad news is that researchers haven’t figured out how to prevent prostate cancer, and this could be because they are looking at two different versions of the disease. The first is a slow-growing version that men may die with, but not die from. The second is an aggressive and potentially fatal version which has a faster onset and progression. Both forms of the cancer seem to exist, but we do not yet understand why there is a difference and what to do about it.

What we do know so far is that there are certain things that help the prostate and other things that harm it. Below are a look at a couple of things researchers are working on.

1) Green Tea 
Several studies have shown a link between a high consumption of green tea and a dramatic reduction in prostate cancer. The downside is the affective amount is at least 5 cups a day, an amount that few people drink. High quality green tea extract is being looked at as a supplement, but unfortunately we are not there yet. In the mean time, green tea has many other fantastic qualities, and it is an easy and inexpensive way to potentially protect the prostate. So drink up!

2) Tomatoes and Lycopene
While lycopene can be found in watermelon, carrots and papayas the greatest quantity comes from tomato sauce. Studies have shown that men who had the highest levels of lycopene in their blood were 60% less likely to be diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. Whether it’s lycopene or something else in tomato products, we know that it’s certainly beneficial to include tomato products in your diet.

3) Flaxseed
The estrogen-like compounds found in flaxseed may be responsible for slowing the rate of cell division in the prostate gland. This could translate into slower growth of  cancerous tumours. Further research will dictate how the role of flaxseed fits in to prostate cancer treatment, but in the mean time eating a tablespoon a day may be a reasonable supplement.

4) Diet, Exercise and a Healthy Lifestyle
We all know the benefits of following the advice of author and health activist Michael Pollan. “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly vegetables.” Regarding exercise we know that excess weight wreaks havoc on all of our bodily systems. Now we have other reasons eat well and remain active. The risk of fatal metastatic prostate cancer is 54% higher in those who are obese compared to those of normal weight.  Other studies have shown that men who are overweight are no more likely to get prostate cancer, but they are more likely to die of the disease. In other words, this is one of the thousands of reasons to eat well and exercise.

In conclusion, prostate cancer awareness is a year round effort. For this month though, go ahead and grow a mustache, but more importantly call your doctor and arrange for a prostate check.

Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Turkey Pumpkin Chili. What do these three words have in common? A delicious dish!  Thanks to  for this great recipe.

 Serves 6

Besides adding a sweet nutty flavor to dishes, pumpkin is a ready source of vitamin A, which boosts the nutrition content of this offbeat chili. Garnish each portion with a dollop of sour cream and chopped cilantro.


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
2 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound ground white or dark meat turkey
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their liquid
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée
1 cup water
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained


Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, jalapeños and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add turkey and cook until browned. Add tomatoes, pumpkin, water, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and add beans. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes more. Ladle chili into bowls and serve.


Per serving: 280 calories (110 from fat), 13g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 55mg cholesterol, 580mg sodium, 23g total carbohydrate (8g dietary fiber, 7g sugar), 20g protein