From the monthly archives:

October 2011

Most of the injuries I see in the Emergency Room can be avoided with a little planning. So let’s think about how to lift heavy objects without hurting your back.

Most of us know, it doesn’t take much to twist, strain, or otherwise tweak your back. Proper lifting techniques and a little thought can help avoid these painful episodes.

So here are some basic reminders:

Plan your lift – think about how you’ll move and where.

Set your feet shoulder width apart. Bend your knees and lift with your legs – never your back.

Tighten your stomach muscles and keep the load close to your body.

Don’t twist.

If you have a belt or a back support, wear it.

If you have to strain to lift something heavy, get some help! Your friends and family would prefer to help you lift something heavy than nurse you back to health.


Have you ever taken a fall? It seems to hurt more when you’re older. Oh, those brittle bones!

Falls are still the most common home accident. Children and the elderly are most at risk. This is especially true during winter weather, when we come home on icy sidewalks and stairs, and enter the house with wet shoes.

We probably can’t eliminate slips and falls entirely. But we can do this:

Get rid of throw rugs, or if you insist on them, tape or tack them down.

Don’t put purses, toys, or other clutter in halls or on stairways intending to put it all away later.

Use nightlights and stairway light. Make sure you have clear passages between lamp switches and doorways.

Put non-slip mats in bathtubs. Install handrails.

Window guards and safety gates are a must if you have small children.

Rocket science? Nope. Just common sense.


For the next minute I want you to stop slumping, slouching, sprawling, drooping, leaning, flopping, hanging, and hunching.It turns out that our moms were right when they told us to stand up straight, or to sit up like proper civilized beings.

We thought they were just picking on us, but in fact good posture has an impact on our overall health. It affects our joints, spines, muscles, and the way our systems work together.

Just think for a moment how you feel if you’ve been slouching on a couch all evening, or typing all day in the wrong chair.

Good posture isn’t hard to achieve. Our bodies aren’t really straight. There are natural curves at the neck, the upper back and lower back. Good posture is simply arranging yourself so that you maintain those natural curves, whether standing or sitting. Just be conscious of your body, and listen to Mom.

And for goodness sake take off your hat at the dinner table.


Listen, I don’t want to panic anyone, but did you know that there are more than one hundred million bacteria in every millilitre of saliva in your mouth?

From over 600 species?

Don’t worry, it all tastes good when you add chocolate anyway.

But I’m just trying to get your attention so we can talk about the excitement of regular dental care.

I know hours spent in the dental chair are not your favorite, but it’s critical. Most dentists advise cleanings and checkups every six months. Checkups for kids are suggested before school starts, and for you if you’re about to travel overseas.

Along with that, brush twice daily with soft bristles, and use a toothpaste that contains fluoride.

The whole idea is to clean away the plaque, and material that can irritate gums and cause decay or gum disease.

Mouth rinses with fluoride are also useful.

And did I mention flossing?

It is said that the eyes are windows to the soul. But doctors can learn a great deal about the body by looking into the mouth also, and this underscores the importance of dental health.

Researchers know that gum disease, also known as periodontitis, is linked with a variety of systemic diseases.

We also know that diabetes, HIV infections, and blood cell problems lower the body’s resistance, and that can make gum disease much worse.

Some evidence links oral bacteria with stroke, arterial blockages, and heart disease. More research is needed to nail all of this down, but meanwhile it makes sense to think of oral health as a key part of our overall health. And all the more reason to visit your dentist regularly.

And lastly, you might wonder if it’s still safe to kiss your spouse on the lips. I highly recommend it.