Five Ways to Reduce Low Back Pain While Cycling

Cycling competitively, to work or just for the enjoyment of it is an excellent way to keep in shape and enjoy the outdoors, but it’s no fun at all if your back hurts. Back pain or discomfort while riding a bicycle can result from various factors, such as poor riding posture, a poorly fit bicycle, the wrong-sized bicycle or even from a pre-existing injury. Like any other physical activity, cycling requires some conditioning and adaptation, and if you’re just starting out in this sport, you may want to seek out more information before strapping on your helmet.

Importantly, if you experience recurrent or prolonged back pain while cycling or even afterwards, make sure to seek prompt assessment and treatment. There are also some simple adjustments you can make to keep riding easy, prevent injury or prevent an existing injury from progressing to a more serious problem. Often, simple fixes like adjusting your seat or correcting your posture could help. Read on for helpful tips!

1. Take it easy

Whether you are training for a race or simply working towards your personal best, be careful not to overdo it. On long rides, make sure to take breaks as needed, hydrate and do some stretches or move about. Check out our Resources section for excellent stretches for athletes.

2. The right fit for your needs

Touring, road racing or all-terrain – there is a bike for every rider. Make sure you have the bike that suits your needs. What terrain will you be riding on? How long will your trips be? Are you looking for comfort or speed? When you buy a new bike, or take yours for maintenance, ask to have your bike properly fitted for your individual frame.

3. Posture

While riding, keep a neutral spine by bending at the hips and avoiding the “hunch” in your mid-back. If possible, avoid excessive movement from your upper body and use your back as a fulcrum instead.

4. Core Strength

Having well-conditioned abdominal and back muscles will help to support your upper body while riding and minimize excessive swaying. Your chiropractor can help to guide you and recommend exercises that are targeted to your core, as well as exercises to enhance your overall conditioning.

5. Adjust your bike to your frame

Minor adjustments can make a huge difference. Different styles of bikes require different riding postures, however, this infographic provides a quick reference for general adjustments that can help ensure a relaxed, comfortable posture while riding your bicycle.

Why Stress Affects Everyone Differently

It is well documented that high levels of stress can contribute to heart disease, cancer, headaches, ulcers, digestive disturbances, backaches and many other conditions. How can one word – STRESS- cause so many unique and different problems especially since the stress reaction is the same for everyone? The answer may be simpler than you think.

Stress is a nervous system reaction that causes your heart to beat faster, your muscles to be tense, your stomach to tighten, and your hair follicles to stand up, all as a way to prepare your body for an emergency. When you interpret a situation as stressful, whether it truly is or not, your brain triggers this reaction by sending a signal over your spinal cord and nervous system to every cell of your body. In prehistoric times, this would have been the perfect reaction to escape from a hungry dinosaur, but in today’s stress filled world and no Tyrannosaurus Rex, this chronic reaction can cause pain, sickness and disease.

Where your body breaks down from stress may depend on whether or not you have a condition known as vertebral subluxation. A vertebral subluxation is a spinal injury that interferes with the normal function of your nervous system which can affect your health on every level whether you have symptoms or not. If you have this in your spine, your body is already pre-stressed.

Many people deal with stress through deep breathing, meditation, exercise and healthy food choices. These are all very good things to do as part of your lifestyle to counter-balance stress, but if your nervous system is pre-stressed, the slightest deviation from the perfect stress management plan can send you into a frustrating, uncomfortable, or painful tailspin. Removing the pre-stressed subluxation can improve your resistance to daily stressors, big or small.

In a pre-stressed condition, your body becomes more vulnerable to outside stresses. You may notice you are affected quickly by stress while other people may seem more resistant. The location of the subluxation can determine what types of symptoms, if any, you experience. For example, someone with nerve interference in the upper part of the neck might get headaches, have allergies, or a feel like they have a stiff neck. Because the nerves fibers that come out of the upper neck also go to the entire body, pressure here can literally cause or mimic symptoms or diseases.

Interference to the nerve supply in the lower back can cause a backache, leg problems and also affect ovary, prostate, bladder or bowel function. Interference to the nerves in the middle of your back can affect your heart and lungs or cause tension, stomach problems, digestive disturbances and discomfort.

The scary part is that vertebral subluxations, like other serious conditions, can cause stress for decades without any symptoms. Serious problems can occur, many of which could have been avoided by eliminating this pre-stressed condition right away. The birth process, childhood falls, sports injuries and poor lifestyle habits are just a few causes of subluxations. Rather than getting to the cause and removing this underlying problem, many people attempt to chase their symptoms away with drugs, or another type of quick fix, and then wonder why their condition returns. Removing the cause and optimizing the function of your nervous system is a better immediate and long-term plan.

Regardless of your symptoms, a chiropractic examination can locate pre-stressed areas in your spine that may be affecting your health on every level. Research has shown that it only takes the weight of a dime to reduce nerve compression and that nerve compression can exist without pain.

Crisis care is one way to deal with stress, only receiving care when you are hurt. A much better option is to remove the subluxation, and the stress, from your body and keep it out as a part of your lifestyle. This will help you to stress less, live more, and enjoy the quality of life you deserve.

© 2015 The Family Practice, Inc., Dr. Eric Plasker and The 100 Year Lifestyle. All Rights Reserved.

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Chiropractic in the NFL

NFL Players take a lot of abuse with their bodies. Chiropractic works to return them to top form!

From Global News

WATCH: B.C. has a lot of Seahawks fans ready to cheer for a Superbowl repeat, but one of them will be doing a lot more than cheering. Elaine Yong caught up with Dr. Gerry Ramogida and found out the role he’ll play at the big game.

“There’s so much behind the scenes that you don’t get a sense for when you’re watching a game. It’s a massive effort.”

For the last 12 years, Dr. Gerry Ramogida has had a front-row seat to the spectacle of NFL games as a chiropractic consultant for the Seattle Seahawks. Attending every game, he was supposed to stay with the team for just a couple of years so he could show the trainers how to use some of his soft-tissue techniques. But as players got used to his help on game days, a temporary job turned into a permanent one.

“Over the period of that first season and into the next year, things very quickly became integrated. It’s been a great experience,” he says.

“What sports does is it gives you the opportunity to understand what it is you’re doing and how you can help an athlete perform better by really knowing what they need to accomplish on the field. When you develop that, it translates in how you work with regular people and being able to bring that to the regular clientele.”

Ramogida will be getting on a plane Sunday with the Seahawks, so he can be with the team all next week as they prepare for their Super Bowl showdown with the New England Patriots. His only hope is that it’s less stressful thanlast week.

“Being on the sideline was a special experience, [but] I don’t think my heart can take another nailbiter like that,” he says.

“That was too much. Let’s hope for a 35-14 [win].”

© Shaw Media, 2015


Tips for your first Epic

DSC_0751 (Large)Cycling for most of us includes a few hours a week on the bike. For others it’s their office. BC Bike Race pushes many to levels of riding and recovery they haven’t acheived before. After spending the last 3 years assisting on the medical side, the same similar issues arise each year. Here’s some tips for success at the BC Bike Race.

1. Bike setup

This is your office workspace for the next 7 days, having it setup by a professional bike fitter will do wonders for you. Proper bike setup helps keep you in a naturally balanced posture on the bike, prevents adverse strain on wrists, knees, hips, ankles etc, and helps with preservation of energy.

Bike fitting is a process which will take time so hopefully you have already started, but in case you haven’t you still have time to fine tune your fit.

2. Hydration

For most of us, drinking isn’t a problem, the problem is it’s often the wrong stuff. The issue arises when you are exceeding the ability for your body to re-absorb and rehydrate. Even elete athletes on major sports teams have been tested to show that at least 75% of them are mild to moderately dehydrated.

As Brooks would say “A happy mountain man pees clear, again, a happy mountain man pees clear…”

Through your training routines, see how much water you go through in a typical ride. Then double it. Your intensity at training pace will be different than race pace. Drink your water before you get to the aid stations, Don’ t pour it out. Drink it up. While you’re at it – adding some electrolytes to the water will be a huge help in reducing cramping and fatigue.

3. Fuel

You wouldn’t head off for a epic excursion in your car without knowing where to get gas along the way? The way you replenish your body during an epic will have benefits the next day. Glycogen is the storage form of sugar in your muscles. It’s typically replenished at the end of the day and most often during the first few hours after the race. Some great sources of recovery are chocolate milk, some simple carbs and a bit of protein.

During the day, gels and bars will only go so far to keep your stomach happy. Gels should be used if you’re expecting no more than 3 hrs in the saddle. For those of you riding double that at a casual pace, bring a sandwich or wrap with you. The high sugar content in many gels along with sugary drinks will cause major cramping and stomach distress. The same way that your fireplace doesn’t run well on paper and kindling, the big pieces of wood will burn longer and warmer.

4. Blisters

Blisters and saddle sores are probably the most common treatments needed during the race week. From il-fitting shoes, seats that are not positioned properly, grips at the wrong position, a torn glove, or damp cycling shorts the causes are endless.

Typical care for blisters can include

  • blister pads – help keep the blister enclosed and protected from further wear
  • moist burn pads – soothing comfort and protection for broken skin.
  • moleskin – old standby providing a new surface
  • Brook’s special technique – this is a BCBR favorite, which one can only see in person to believe!

Prevention of blisters?

  • clean dry clothing – make sure your shorts fit you properly. Any extra movement will create opportunities for chafing
  • quality shorts – cycling shorts come in all shapes, sizes and qualities. To the same extent that you would bring a well equiped bicycle for such a journey, a high quality seamless chamois will be very beneficial in the long run.
  • creams & salves – from Bag Balm and Body Glide to the many other brands of anti-chafing creams and powders, they all have the same benefit of trying to remove any chances for chafing in the saddle.
  • well fit saddle – keeping your movements to a minimum with proper seat placement, such that your pelvis is not rocking side to side helps reduce further chafing.
  • dry socks and well fit shoes – you’ve probably spent a lot of time in your cycling shoes, but with technical terrain you’ll be off the bike occasionally. Wear a good solid shoe with well fit footbed or custom insole and some well fit cycling socks to keep you comfortable mile after mile.

5. Get care

At the BC Bike Race, we have built an incredible team to keep you going from start to finish. From our Massage team to the MASH and medical staff, our bike mechanics, aid stations and catering services, we’ve got you covered.

If during the week you find some aches and pains which are slowing you down, come over to the Medical Tent and we’ll be happy to help you get back and rolling pain free! From chiropractic care to our team doc and wound care specialists we’re there for you.

If you have any further questions, submit your comments below or come see us at Day Zero.


10535626_10152169742357111_4434898807949317404_oIn my practice and on the field, I have used many different brands of kinesiology tape. For the best combination of strength, adhesion and price I choose RockTape for my office. Look for the famous coloured strips of RockTape on cyclists at the BC Bike Race this summer.

Kinesiology tape has been in North America since the late 90′s but has gained extensive exposure after the Summer Games in Beijing in 2008. Support for injuries, reduction of swelling, or even just conservation of energy, RockTape can provide that winning edge in competition.

A recent seminar with Dr. Jeff Spencer, longtime chiropractor on the Tour de France with Lance Armstrong, he offered it as a key tool in his bag for helping the USPS and Discovery Channel teams win 8 times.


Go Stronger for Longer with RockTape

rocktape-rollsROCKTAPE is the only Kinesiology tape engineered to meet the demands of endurance athletes like runners, swimmers and cyclists. Unlike other products, ROCKTAPE can be used both to apply compression to promote recovery, or decompression to relieve pain and swelling. Similar to the Kinesiology tape in the Olympics and that Lance Armstrong wrote about in “Every Second Counts”, ROCKTAPE is used by professional and amateur athletes everywhere.

Come find out more at the Medical tent of the BC Bike Race or check out ROCKTAPE online.

RockTape to the Rescue


Be it in the office or in the arena, I often use RockTape to help aid in improving patient recovery or getting them back in game shape sooner.

The hockey player above had a first period collision and strained the shoulder. We taped him up to help reduce the strain on the joint and get him back to play for the second period.

In our office we often apply tape following a treatment to provide a postural or corrective reminder to the tissues in the body.

BC Bike Race

In the field

In the field

Straighten Up Canada! The Importance of Good Posture for Spine Health


Do you remember being nagged as a child to sit up straight at school or the dinner table? Do you still find yourself slouching at your computer or bending your head forward for long periods while using electronic devices? Canada’s chiropractors want you to Straighten Up! Good posture helps to prevent backache and muscular pain, allows your body to use less energy for daily tasks, helps to decrease wear on joints and prevent arthritis, and increases the flexibility and stress tolerance of your spine. Good posture also makes you look and feel great.

What are some examples of poor posture?

Hollow-backHollow back occurs when the natural curve of your lower back is increased, also called hyperlordosis. When your lower back is arched, it causes your ribcage to protrude and forces your pelvis out of the neutral position, causing your tailbone to point backwards. When these bones are out of alignment, it weakens your abdominal muscles, your hip flexors and your hamstrings. All this together may lead to uneven distribution of pressure on the vertebral discs.

Hollow back can lead to low back pain, deconditioned and weak muscles in the back and abdomen, and other musculoskeletal conditions, such as knee pain.

at-attentionPerhaps you are very aware of your posture and work hard to stand straight and tall. Be careful! Good posture shouldn’t be hard work. If you are standing “at attention” all the time (hypokyphosis), your head may protrude and your shoulder blades may tend to be forward and tilted. As well, this posture increases the natural curve of your lower back, pushes your hips forward, and probably causes you to stand with your knees “locked” or slightly hyperextended. This will weaken your abdominals and hamstrings and shorten your hip flexors, causing them to feel tight.

Hypokyphosis can result in low back pain, thoracic (mid-back) pain and possibly hip and knee pain.

So, remember to stand tall (but not too tall!). Keep your spine neutral and abdomen braced – imagine tensing and stiffening your abdomen to prepare for an incoming impact. Don’t lock your knees – keep them slightly bent and make sure you wear good quality shoes if you are on your feet a lot. It will probably feel awkward at first, but your body will adapt and soon it will be second nature to look and feel great!



Pack it light, wear it right! Backpack safety

Proper use of a backpack

Proper use of a backpack

Back to school is just around the corner, and with all those new school supplies is often the most forgotten but most important part of a childs back to school wardrobe, their backpack.

Students these days are provided with more and more materials they need to bring on a regular basis. College and university students are often carrying laptops in addition to their daily school books.

Tips for packing light and wearing right

All this is a recipe for pain, but a few simple steps may provide for worry free carrying.

1.  A properly fitted pack should include;

  • well padded shoulder straps – The shoulder straps should be at least 2 inches wide and should not fit too snugly around the arms, straining muscles and affecting nerves.
  • a significant waist strap – a hip strap or waist belt can take as much as 50-70% of the weight off the shoulders and spine. The waist belt will equalize the strain on the bones, joints and muscles.
  • compression straps to keep the pack tight together – on the side of the pack they help to keep a less full pack from shifting weight backwards and away from the body.
  • sized to fit the torso of the person or child wearing it – The top of the backpack should not extend higher than the top of the shoulder and the bottom should not fall below the top of the hipbone.

2. Properly weighted pack should be;

  • packed so heavy items are close to the body
  • no more than 15% of body weight for teens & adults and 10% for children
  • filled with lots of compartments to keep contents from moving around while walking

3. Properly worn a pack should;

  • have heavy items close to the body helps keep the weight close to the body’s center of gravity
  • be worn with BOTH shoulder straps – slinging a pack on one side causes strain and a lean to the child wearing the pack
  • be put on with the pack on a table or desk – helps from straining the low back twisting to put on the pack

How much is too much?

To help you figure out what is overloading a pack, we have the following chart.

Shoes 1kg/2lbs
wet towel 1kg/2lbs
6 text books 2.7kg/6lbs
2 binders 1.5kg/3lbs
20 CDs .5kg/1lbs
Game Boy .25kg/.5lbs
water bottle .25kg/.5lbs
sports gear 4.5kg/10lbs
lunch/snacks 1kg/2lbs
laptop computer 2.7kg/6lbs

To determine the maximum weight you should carry

If you weigh Only carry
23 kg/50 lbs 2.2 kg/5 lbs
32 kg/70 lbs 3 kg/7 lbs
40 kg/90 lbs 6 kg/14 lbs
50 kg/110 lbs 7 kg/16 lbs
59 kg/130 lbs 9 kg/19 lbs
68 kg/150 lbs 10 kg/22 lbs
77 kg/170 lbs 11 kg/25 lbs
86 kg/190 lbs 13 kg/28 lbs

Download this backpack_handout for additional help with backpack safety.

So what does this mean in the store?

While this information may help give guidelines for your Childs backpack, real life searches can be a bit more challenging.

To help save you some time we have stopped by a few local locations for back to school supplies to find the best options.

While having the biggest selection, the choices for quality packs is thin. Of the many boxes of packs only one had curved shoulder straps, compression straps and well divided compartments.

  • Watch for thin straps with weak stitching to the main pack. Zippers should be coarse with metal preferred.
  • Seams should be wrapped with edging.
  • Theme bags may be a hit with kids but a theme lunch cooler in a better pack is your best choice.

Another large selection of packs. Obus Forme is the brand of choice with the selection available. If your son or daughter is heading to university with a laptop, Targus makes a few solid packs with laptop sleeves. Watch for a few packs which are very large but not very well designed with weak materials, poor straps and stitching that probably can’t handle the weight which would fill the available space.

Canadian Tire

Suprising enough, our local Canadian Tire store had a great selection of quality packs with two Obus Forme models and another from Outbound which all provided great features for a reasonable price.

Other local stores

Other retailers in town have a selection of packs. From Dakine to Quicksilver, these branded packs may be missing the compression straps and waist belt, so be careful to look thoroughly at the available models.

For more information and to check if your childs pack is suitable, please give Dr. Wilson a call at 250-898-8683 or find a nearby chiropractor at

Information provided courtesy of the BC Chiropractic Association. For more handouts and to have backpack safety information for your school follow this link to the association site.

Thank you Cumberland

DSC00094 (Small)I would like to thank my patients, and the people of Cumberland, for your patronage through nearly 8 years. It has been a pleasure being part of the community and seeing the growth and changes around town.

As of April 30th, I will be working full time in our Courtenay office, and would like to invite you to come see myself and Dr. Ernie von Schilling, at 102‐307 5th Street, on the lower level by Linda’s Leather and Lavish Salon.

We have some exciting things in store and additional services to offer you at our larger Downtown Chiropractic office space.

Dr. Colin Wilson
Downtown Chiropractic
102-307 5th St
Courtenay, BC V9N 1J9