Top 3 Pain Management Supplements: Harnessing Nature’s Power for Pain Management and Inflammation

Living with pain and inflammation can be incredibly challenging, disrupting our daily lives and taking a toll on our overall well-being. Many of us turn to over-the-counter medications in hopes of finding relief, only to discover that they may not always be effective or can even cause additional digestive issues, further complicating our health.
As a naturopathic doctor specializing in pain and sports medicine, I regularly encounter clients who are seeking natural alternatives to support their pain management. I understand the importance of finding solutions that not only work, but also provide anti-inflammatory benefits and improve our overall quality of life.
In this blog post, I will delve into three natural remedies that have shown promise in relieving pain, providing insights into their effectiveness and their potential to enhance your well-being. Together, let us explore how these natural options can offer you comfort and support on your journey to pain management and improved quality of life.

Curcumin is the active compound found in turmeric, the golden spice often used in Asian cuisine and traditional medicine. Its anti-inflammatory and pain-relief properties include inhibiting inflammatory pathways by suppressing the activity of inflammatory enzymes like  cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and lipoxygenase which works in alleviating pain by interfering with pain signaling pathways and reducing inflammatory pain. It also acts as a potent antioxidant, neutralizing harmful free radicals and oxidative stress that contribute to inflammation.

Boswellia, also known as Indian frankincense, is a resin extracted from the Boswellia serrata tree. It has a long history of usage in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for the management of pain and inflammation. Its mechanism of action involves inhibiting inflammatory enzymes responsible for the production of inflammatory leukotrienes. Additionally, Boswellia might play a role in preserving cartilage integrity, which makes it a valuable option for individuals suffering from joint pain and osteoarthritis. Moreover, it has been found to possess anti-inflammatory properties, which can be beneficial in conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, and arthritis.

Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” holds a significant importance in immune regulation. Its insufficiency has been correlated with escalated levels of inflammation and pain. Moreover, this vital nutrient aids in maintaining optimal bone density and muscle function, thereby decreasing the chances of experiencing musculoskeletal pain and conditions like osteoporosis. Notably, maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D has shown to alleviate pain in individuals suffering from conditions such as fibromyalgia and chronic back pain. Furthermore, a deficiency in this essential vitamin has been associated with mood disorders, highlighting the link between mental health and pain and inflammation. Addressing this scarcity may indirectly alleviate such discomfort and inflammation, offering potential relief in mental well-being.

Nana-adjoa Bourne Naturopathic Doctor

Dr. Nana-Adjoa Bourne, ND

Dr. Bourne is a Naturopathic Doctor and certified Sports Nutritionist at Axis Therapy & Performance located in Toronto. She works from the inside-out, supporting performance optimization and injury recovery alongside physical rehabilitation. She also incorporates IV Therapy into her treatment protocols

Axis Therapy & Performance – Physiotherapy, Chiropractor, RMT Scarborough
1585 Markham Rd, Unit 308
Scarborough, ON M1B 2W1

Axis Therapy & Performance – Physiotherapy, Chiropractor, RMT, Naturopath Riverdale
377 Broadview Ave, Unit 101
Toronto, ON M4K 2M7

Top 3 Reasons Your Muscles Keep Cramping

muscle cramping relief

Muscle cramps and spasms can be incredibly uncomfortable and painful. These involuntary muscle contractions can disrupt your daily life and are often a sign of an underlying issue. Outside of making it difficult to perform at your best during physical activity, muscle spasms can happen unexpectedly, like at night, disrupting sleep and making recovery that much more difficult. In this blog post, we will explore the causes of cramps and muscle spasms and provide you with practical tips on how to reduce and prevent them.

Muscle cramps and spasms can occur for various reasons. In order to combat these things, read below for our TOP 3 reasons that help our athletes understand where their cramps and muscle spasms are coming from: 

1.You’re not properly hydrated: Staying properly hydrated is crucial for muscle function. Dehydration can lead to imbalances in electrolytes like potassium, magnesium, and calcium, which are essential for muscle contractions.

2. You skipped your warm-up or cool-down: Warming up before exercise helps prepare your muscles for activity by increasing blood flow and flexibility. This can reduce the risk of cramps during your workout.

3. Your electrolytes are off balance: Electrolytes play a critical role in muscle contraction and relaxation. Imbalances can lead to cramps and spasms.

What it boils down to, how well is your body chemistry for supporting your performance and recovery goals? Electrolyte imbalances, dehydration and improper blood circulation all involve disturbances in the body’s essential mineral ions like sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. These minerals play a crucial role in muscle function and nerve signaling. When their levels are disrupted, it can disrupt the delicate balance required for muscle contraction and relaxation. Low potassium, for example, can lead to muscle weakness and cramps. Similarly, inadequate calcium and magnesium can cause muscle spasms.

Chronic electrolyte imbalances may result from conditions like kidney disorders, gastrointestinal diseases, or excessive sweating. Left untreated, they can lead to more severe issues such as heart arrhythmias, seizures, and organ dysfunction. Maintaining proper electrolyte levels is vital for overall health and muscle function.

  • Make it a habit to drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day, paying extra attention to hydration before, during, and after physical activity.
  • Consider incorporating electrolyte-rich fluids, such as natural sports drinks or coconut water, during intense exercise to replenish lost electrolytes.
  • A proper warm-up typically includes light aerobic activity, dynamic stretching, and gradually increasing the intensity of your movements.
  • Cooling down after exercise involves gentle stretching and low-intensity activities, which help your muscles relax and prevent post-workout cramps.
  • Maintain a balanced diet that includes foods rich in electrolytes like potassium (e.g., bananas, sweet potatoes), magnesium (e.g., nuts, seeds), and calcium (e.g., dairy products, leafy greens).

Reducing cramps and muscle spasms involves a combination of lifestyle changes, proper hydration, and dietary changes. While occasional cramps are common and usually harmless, if you are getting persistent or severe cramping, it may indicate an underlying problem that requires more attention. Speaking to a healthcare provider like a naturopathic doctor can help you get to the bottom of why the cramping keeps coming back and holding you back from getting the performance goals you’re looking for. Getting a full health assessment, including bloodwork and a diet & lifestyle assessment will help you see if you are missing any key nutrients that can help with decreasing your cramping and improving your performance. By taking steps to maintain muscle health and overall well-being, you can make sure your body is performing at its highest potential, whether you are competing for gold, or playing with your kids at home.

Nana-adjoa Bourne Naturopathic Doctor

Dr. Nana-Adjoa Bourne, ND

Dr. Bourne is a Naturopathic Doctor and certified Sports Nutritionist at Axis Therapy & Performance located in Toronto. She works from the inside-out, supporting performance optimization and injury recovery alongside physical rehabilitation. She also incorporates IV Therapy into her treatment protocols

Axis Therapy & Performance – Physiotherapy, Chiropractor, RMT Scarborough
1585 Markham Rd, Unit 308
Scarborough, ON M1B 2W1

Axis Therapy & Performance – Physiotherapy, Chiropractor, RMT, Naturopath Riverdale
377 Broadview Ave, Unit 101
Toronto, ON M4K 2M7

Top 4 Reasons to Start Resistance Training

When most people think of resistance training, they often associate it with building muscle and achieving an aesthetically pleasing physique. While it’s true that resistance training can help sculpt the body, its benefits go far beyond physical appearance. Today, we’ll explore the often-overlooked importance of resistance training for some critical conditions that impact overall well-being.

Reason Number 1: Resistance training Improves Your Bone Health

Strong bones are the foundation of a healthy, active life, and resistance training plays a pivotal role in maintaining and even enhancing bone health. As we age, our bone density tends to decrease, making us more susceptible to fractures and osteoporosis. Resistance training, which includes exercises such as weight lifting and bodyweight exercises, stimulates bone growth and increases bone density.

How it works:

  • Weight-bearing exercises create stress on the bones, prompting the body to strengthen them.
  • This stress leads to the formation of new bone tissue and increases bone mineral density.
  • By consistently incorporating resistance training into your routine, you can mitigate the natural age-related decline in bone health.

Reason No. 2: Helps regulate blood sugar

Type 2 diabetes is a prevalent and concerning health condition associated with impaired blood sugar regulation. Resistance training offers a powerful way to manage and even prevent this condition.

How it works:

  • Resistance training improves insulin sensitivity, making it easier for your body to use glucose effectively.
  • It helps control blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes.
  • Regular resistance training can also lead to reductions in visceral fat, another key factor in diabetes prevention.

Reason No. 3: Resistance Training Helps Build a Healthier Heart

Heart health is of paramount importance as it is the cornerstone of our overall well-being. A healthy heart ensures the efficient circulation of blood, delivering oxygen and nutrients to every cell in our body while removing waste products. It plays a vital role in sustaining our vitality and longevity. By maintaining good heart health, we reduce the risk of debilitating conditions like heart disease, hypertension, and stroke.

How it works:

  • Strength training helps lower blood pressure, reducing the strain on your heart.
  • It improves cholesterol profiles by increasing “good” HDL cholesterol and decreasing “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • Enhanced heart health leads to a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and strokes.

Reason No. 4: Can Help Improve Mental Health

Physical health is closely linked to mental health, and resistance training has a profound impact on mental well-being.

How it works:

  • Resistance training releases endorphins, natural mood lifters that can alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • It promotes better sleep, reducing the risk of sleep disorders.
  • Increased self-esteem and self-confidence, often associated with improved physical fitness, can positively affect mental health.

How A Naturopath Can Level Up Your Resistance Training

naturopathic doctor

Integrating naturopathic principles and practices with resistance training can further enhance its effectiveness and the overall well-being of individuals. Naturopathic doctors are well-versed in holistic and natural approaches to healthcare, and they can play a crucial role in supporting and optimizing resistance training regimens.

Here’s how naturopathic doctors can provide valuable support for your resistance training

1. Personalized Nutrition Guide

Naturopathic doctors can tailor nutrition plans to align with your resistance training goals. They can recommend specific dietary choices to optimize muscle growth and recovery, and they may also suggest supplements if necessary. This personalized approach ensures that your body receives the nutrients it needs to thrive during and after your workouts.

2. Natural Pain Management

Engaging in strength training can sometimes lead to muscle soreness and occasional injuries. Naturopathic doctors can offer natural pain management strategies, such as herbal remedies, acupuncture, or physical therapy, to alleviate discomfort and promote quicker recovery.

3. Hormone Balancing

Hormones play a significant role in muscle growth and overall health. Naturopathic doctors can evaluate hormone levels and offer natural interventions to help balance them. This is particularly important for individuals aiming to achieve specific resistance training goals or address hormonal imbalances associated with aging.

4. Stress Management

Stress, whether from daily life or intense workouts, can negatively impact your overall health. Naturopathic doctors excel in providing stress management techniques, including meditation, relaxation exercises, and lifestyle recommendations that can enhance your resilience and well-being.

Training goes beyond looks, offering an array of health benefits. By incorporating it into your routine, you can strengthen bones, regulate blood sugar, enhance heart health, and boost mental well-being. These advantages promote longevity, vitality, and a holistic sense of well-being. Naturopathic care further elevates this journey, fostering physical strength and overall health. Whether you aim to improve bone health, manage blood sugar, support cardiovascular well-being, or enhance mental health, naturopathic doctors provide personalized guidance. Remember, resistance training is an investment in long-term health, not just physique. Partnering with a naturopathic doctor to support your training will help you redefine fitness, enriching your life in ways that extend beyond mere appearance and nurture a profound sense of well-being.

Ready to Live a Healthier, Stronger Life?

Book an appointment with our Naturopathic Doctor to get started on your health journey. Get personalized nutrition plan & coaching, bloodwork, and sustainable supplement plans.

Nana-adjoa Bourne Naturopathic Doctor

Dr. Nana-Adjoa Bourne, ND

Dr. Bourne is a Naturopathic Doctor and certified Sports Nutritionist at Axis Therapy & Performance located in Toronto. She works from the inside-out, supporting performance optimization and injury recovery alongside physical rehabilitation. She also incorporates IV Therapy into her treatment protocols

Axis Therapy & Performance – Physiotherapy, Chiropractor, RMT Scarborough
1585 Markham Rd, Unit 308
Scarborough, ON M1B 2W1

Axis Therapy & Performance – Physiotherapy, Chiropractor, RMT, Naturopath Riverdale
377 Broadview Ave, Unit 101
Toronto, ON M4K 2M7

Myth Buster: HITT – is it good or bad?


Is HITT good or bad for you? Well that depends on who’s asking. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a well known and effective form of exercise that involves short bursts of intense activity followed by brief periods of rest or low-intensity activity. It has become popular and known for its ability to help people burn calories, improve cardiovascular health, and build muscle. However, there are some misconceptions and misunderstandings about HIIT, particularly in relation to cortisol and fat gain. Let’s address some of these concerns together

MYTH: HIIT has negative impacts on the body because it increases Cortisol which is your body’s stress hormone

TRUTH: HIIT workouts are intense and can temporarily elevate cortisol levels, which is a stress hormone. This is our body’s natural response to intense physical activity. However, the cortisol increase during a HIIT workout is generally meant to be short-lived and part of the body’s normal stress response. After the workout, cortisol levels should return to baseline. In fact, regular exercise, including HIIT, can help regulate cortisol levels over time by improving the body’s ability to manage stress.

The birth of the myth: The reason this seems to have gained popularity is because while the normal stress response is to elevate and return to baseline after the 60-90min session of exercise is over, that might not always happen for a few reasons:

  1. You haven’t given yourself enough carbs and proteins to handle the workout
  2. You aren’t sleeping well, meaning you aren’t getting proper recovery time after your workouts
  3. Your life outside of the gym is also very stressful

Other reasons exist, but it comes down to you haven’t fueled or recovered properly, leading to the workout itself not being the cause of the cortisol increase, but the high intensity of the interval training isn’t helping to calm the system from everything else going on.

MYTH: HIIT causes fat gain

TRUTH: HIIT is not a workout that makes you fat. In fact, HIIT is often recommended for fat loss and improving body composition. HIIT workouts are effective at burning calories during the workout and can also boost your metabolism, which means you continue to burn calories even after the workout is over. The key to fat loss, however, is not just the exercise itself but also your overall diet and lifestyle choices.

The birth of the myth: What might be seen, instead of fat, is the scale isn’t going down, and in fact you look puffier than before. That’s because of the amount of inflammation that is produced with ANY form of physical activity that adds a stress to the body in order for it to grow. As we said above, this is a normal process, but the problem lies when we aren’t able to properly cool down and regulate our system in order to get rid of the inflammation (or puffiness) post workout. This is usually helped by increasing recovery foods after the workout, like protein, and adding in practices that support detoxification or flushing out the system, like saunas, recovery IVs or increasing healthy fats.

MYTH: I will lose muscle from HIIT training 

TRUTH: HIIT can help build muscle, but it’s not typically associated with significant muscle mass gains as traditional strength training. HIIT can help increase muscle definition and tone, especially when combined with resistance exercises. However, if your primary goal is to build substantial muscle mass, you might want to incorporate dedicated strength training workouts into your routine.

The birth of the myth: HIIT is used more so for training endurance and power. Unless you incorporate resistance training into your HIIT workouts that won’t be the focus of your development, which isn’t necessarily a negative. The myth can relate back to that “puffy” look that happens with poor inflammation and recovery management so it gives the appearance of losing muscle. Also, if you do not recover properly, daily movement will feel more fatiguing, which also gives to that illusion.

So is HITT good or bad? There really isn’t a black or white answer to this. HIIT is an effective and time-efficient form of exercise that can be part of a balanced fitness routine. It can help with fat loss, improve cardiovascular health, and enhance overall fitness. It does not inherently make you fat or chronically elevated cortisol levels. The key to making sure you get the most out of your HIIT workouts is in the recovery around it, which is where naturopathic medical care fits in. If you know how to assist your body with appropriate recovery and manage any stress or inflammation that might come up, you’ll be able to see those muscles defined all the better, knowing your hard work is really paying off!

Need help recovering? Book Your Naturopathic Health Assessment Today

If you find that your high intensity interval training is making you feel worse than when you started – it might be time to take a deeper dive into your health. 

Nana-adjoa Bourne Naturopathic Doctor

Dr. Nana-Adjoa Bourne, ND

Dr. Bourne is a Naturopathic Doctor and certified Sports Nutritionist at Axis Therapy & Performance located in Toronto. She works from the inside-out, supporting performance optimization and injury recovery alongside physical rehabilitation. She also incorporates IV Therapy into her treatment protocols

Fat vs Muscle: Not all 5lbs Are Made Equal

When it comes to fitness and body composition, the number on the scale is just the tip of the iceberg. The composition of your body matters as much, if not more, than your total weight. In this blog post, we’re going to dive deep into the differences between 5 pounds of muscle and 5 pounds of fat, shedding light on why it’s essential to focus on more than just the numbers.

muscle is more dense

One of the first and most striking differences between muscle and fat is their density. Muscle is denser than fat, meaning it takes up less space for the same weight. This is why someone with more muscle mass can appear leaner and more toned, even if they weigh the same as someone with more fat. In contrast, fat is bulkier and takes up more space under your skin.

To put it simply, imagine a pound of feathers and a pound of bricks. Both weigh the same, but the bricks occupy far less space than the feathers. Similarly, 5 pounds of muscle will look and feel much more compact than 5 pounds of fat.


Another significant difference is that muscle is metabolically active tissue, whereas fat is not. Muscle requires more energy to maintain, so it contributes to your basal metabolic rate (BMR) – the number of calories your body burns at rest. In contrast, fat is largely metabolically inactive and does not contribute as much to how many calories your body burns at rest.

This means that having more muscle mass can boost your metabolism, making it easier to maintain or lose weight, support hormone regulation and digestion. It’s like having a built-in calorie-burning engine in your body. On the other hand, excess fat can slow down your metabolism, making weight management more challenging.

Muscle Supports Functional Strength

Muscle isn’t just about aesthetics; it plays a crucial role in your overall physical function. Having more muscle mass can improve your strength, balance, and mobility, making everyday tasks easier and reducing the risk of injury. Whether you’re carrying groceries, playing sports, or simply getting up from a chair, strong muscles are your allies.

Excess Fat Storage Can Contribute to Other Health Conditions

Fat serves as an energy reserve, but excessive fat storage can have health implications. Excess body fat, especially when concentrated around the abdomen, is associated with an increased risk of various health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. On the other hand, a higher percentage of muscle can be associated with improved insulin sensitivity and better overall health.

Muscle Wins The Battle

In the battle of 5 pounds of muscle versus 5 pounds of fat, it’s clear that muscle comes out on top in terms of density, metabolic activity, and overall health benefits. While the number on the scale may not change much, focusing on building and preserving muscle can lead to a leaner, healthier, and more functional body.

So, remember that your fitness journey should go beyond just losing weight. Aim to build and maintain muscle, not only for a toned appearance but also for the numerous health advantages it brings. Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or someone just starting their journey, understanding these differences can help you make more informed choices about your health and well-being.

If you’re looking for help to get started and want to build the health you know you deserve, our team will support you. It’s important to make sure as you start you include the right foods to eat, the proper exercises to do, and to make sure the program is giving all the benefits without compromising any other aspects of your health, such as injured joints or poor sleep or over-exercising stress. Understanding how to program or train for muscle building takes time to add it into your daily routine. Work with us, and we’ll get you there!

Nana-adjoa Bourne Naturopathic Doctor

Dr. Nana-Adjoa Bourne, ND

Dr. Bourne is a Naturopathic Doctor and certified Sports Nutritionist at Axis Therapy & Performance located in Toronto. She works from the inside-out, supporting performance optimization and injury recovery alongside physical rehabilitation. She also incorporates IV Therapy into her treatment protocols

Axis Therapy & Performance – Physiotherapy, Chiropractor, RMT Scarborough
1585 Markham Rd, Unit 308
Scarborough, ON M1B 2W1

Axis Therapy & Performance – Physiotherapy, Chiropractor, RMT, Naturopath Riverdale
377 Broadview Ave, Unit 101
Toronto, ON M4K 2M7

Can a Naturopathic Doctor Help With Diabetes?

manage diabetes with a naturopath

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a prevalent chronic medical condition that affects millions of people all across the world. One of the key factors contributing to diabetes is insulin resistance. In this blog post, we will dive into the relationship between diabetes and insulin resistance, exploring causes, symptoms, and management strategies.

Diabetes is a group of metabolic disorders characterized by elevated blood glucose levels, commonly referred to as high blood sugar. The two main types of diabetes are Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 Diabetes: This form of diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. As a result, people with Type 1 diabetes do not produce insulin and require lifelong insulin replacement therapy.

Type 2 Diabetes: Type 2 diabetes is primarily characterized by insulin resistance and impaired insulin secretion. In this condition, the body’s cells do not respond effectively to insulin, leading to elevated blood sugar levels. It is often associated with lifestyle factors such as poor diet, sedentary behavior, and obesity.

What is Insulin Resistance?

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that plays a crucial role in regulating blood sugar levels. When we eat, the body releases insulin to help glucose enter cells, where it is used for energy or stored for later use. However, in individuals with insulin resistance, the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin, making it difficult for glucose to enter the cells.

In order to compensate, the pancreas produces more insulin to overcome this resistance. Over time, this can lead to elevated insulin levels in the blood, a condition known as hyperinsulinemia. If left unmanaged, insulin resistance can progress to Type 2 diabetes.

Causes of Insulin Resistance

  • Obesity: Excess body fat, particularly visceral fat around the abdomen, is a major risk factor for insulin resistance. Adipose tissue releases inflammatory molecules that can interfere with insulin signaling.
  • Physical Inactivity: A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to obesity and insulin resistance.
  • Genetics: Some individuals are genetically predisposed to insulin resistance.
  • Poor Diet: Consuming a diet high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and saturated fats can contribute to insulin resistance.
  • Hormonal Changes: Conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and hormonal disorders can lead to insulin resistance.

Symptoms of Insulin Resistance

  • High blood sugar levels
  • Fatigue
  • Increased hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Weight gain, especially around the abdomen
  • Skin changes, such as dark patches (acanthosis nigricans)

How can a Naturopath Help Manage Diabetes

Nutritional Counseling: A Naturopath may recommend dietary changes to help stabilize blood sugar levels.Emphasis on whole, unprocessed foods, high-fiber foods, and low-glycemic index foods

Supplementation: Some supplements  may help manage blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. Naturopaths may suggest specific nutritional supplements, such as chromium, magnesium, and alpha-lipoic acid, which have been associated with improved blood sugar control.Vitamin D supplementation, as vitamin D deficiency is common in individuals with diabetes.

Lifestyle Modifications:Support and encouragement around activity and stress reduction techniques.

Detoxification: Some Naturopaths may recommend detoxification protocols to support the body’s natural detox processes, which can have a positive impact on overall health.

Weight Management: Naturopaths can provide guidance on healthy weight loss strategies, as obesity is a risk factor for both diabetes and insulin resistance.

Education and Monitoring:Patient education about blood sugar monitoring and self-care. As well as collaboration with conventional healthcare providers to ensure safe and effective management of diabetes and insulin resistance.

naturopathic doctor diabetes management

It’s essential for individuals with diabetes and insulin resistance to work closely with healthcare professionals, including naturopaths, and to inform all providers about their medical history and current treatment plans. Diabetes and insulin resistance are closely intertwined. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and management strategies for these conditions is essential for preventing and effectively managing them. By adopting a healthy lifestyle and working closely with healthcare professionals like a Naturopathic Doctor, individuals can take control of their health and reduce the impact of diabetes and insulin resistance on their lives.

Nana-adjoa Bourne Naturopathic Doctor

Dr. Nana-Adjoa Bourne, ND

Dr. Bourne is a naturopathic doctor at Axis Therapy & Performance located in Toronto. She has a passion for helping managing pain, hormones & digestion. She also incorporates IV Therapy into her treatment protocols

Axis Therapy & Performance – Physiotherapy, Chiropractor, RMT Scarborough
1585 Markham Rd, Unit 308
Scarborough, ON M1B 2W1

Axis Therapy & Performance – Physiotherapy, Chiropractor, RMT, Naturopath Riverdale
377 Broadview Ave, Unit 101
Toronto, ON M4K 2M7

5 Reasons You Need a Sports Medicine Naturopath in Your Corner

May 4, 2023 Written By Dr. Nana-Adjoa Bourne, ND

Naturopath consultation

When you hear someone talking about sports medicine, a naturopathic doctor (ND) might not be the first type of healthcare provider you think of. They might not even be the second. Sports medicine looks at both injury recovery and performance optimization for the athletic population. Whether you are an elite performer, a self-proclaimed “weekend warrior”, or just getting into physical activity for your general health, seeing a sports med doc gets you on track to know what your body needs and the best way to keep moving.

As an ND, I focus on holistic health, lifestyle management and “root cause” care – meaning, getting down to what’s really going on with your health. I love working with the body’s innate healing power and our natural environment to get people started on the right path to understanding what best fuels them and what they can do to keep performing at their best – on and off the field. I work with my patients to come up with the strategy we need to best support your health goals and provide that accountability along the way to help you stick to them, until they become the new habits that are best for your lifestyle.

So, when you combine those two together, you get a sports medicine naturopathic doctor – the strategist that works with you holistically to support you in your injury recovery and performance goals!  

What a mouthful! 

And you still might be on the fence, so here are 5 reasons why a visit with a sports medicine focused Naturopath is worthwhile:

1. You’ve suffered from an injury or have a reoccurring pain/issue that crop up

This is usually one of the first things that come to mind when you think about sports medicine. Understanding pain and managing chronic injuries is a big part of this discipline, and naturopathic doctors are here for it. Now, I can’t reset your leg after a break, but I will be there to make sure you keep as much muscle mass as possible for those 6 weeks you are in a cast, because nutrition and supplementation plays into this. Not only that, but your care after a concussion, an ACL tear or even around surgery can benefit from a naturopathic approach to make sure your body is ready to go as soon as the primary injury is healed. Having an ND and our holistic medical training helps to understand and see the entire injury recovery process – from start to finish. 

I will make sure your body is flush full of all the right nutrients, supplements, vitamins and mineral to speed up your recovery time! Reoccurring or nagging pain/injuries can also be a sign of underlying nutritional deficiencies (ie. iron, B12, vitamin D, magnesium). I can go order and review bloodwork to make sure everything is up to par! Did you also know “normal” levels for most people may not actually be quite adequate for athletes that are training heavily?

2. Preventing Game Day/Competition Day Fatigue & Burnout

Have you ever had those long tournament weekends where you are just drained after only the first event? Well, a sports medicine Naturopath can help with giving you tips and strategies to help you maintain your energy throughout the entire weekend. We are trained in multiple types of care that can support game day, from snack tips and meal timing to quick acupuncture or B12 injections that get your muscles awake again for the next event. This is of course not the long-term solution that the ND will work with you towards, but understanding when it’s necessary for that moment is a bonus of the sports medicine focus.

3. Optimize Your Sports Performance

B12 injections

This is the 2nd most common thing that’s thought about when you hear sports medicine, and this is where Naturopaths thrive. Our goal with all our patients is to make sure that you are not only “fine” with your health, but in OPTIMAL health. This includes optimal sports performance. Whether you are feeling sluggish at practice, or you’ve plateaued in your performance, an appointment with a Naturopath can help you get to the root of this and support your recovery towards optimization. This goes beyond the basics of sports nutrition and wellness store supplements (although, all still discussed!). We go deeper and individualize your care to understand your specific needs based on your body’s chemistry and advanced testing so we know exactly what to recommend and how those recommendations will influence your performance. Talk about individualized care!! 

4. Effective, Clean Medication Alternatives

Not to say that medications don’t have their place, but some of them don’t have their place in sports performance, especially at the elite levels. A Naturopath can look at the medications you are taking and help you determine what they are needed for and if they are safe for sport (i.e., will it flag you for performance enhancing drugs). With certain medications, a natural alternative can be recommended. NDs also have access to resources that share whether a drug or supplement passes the NSF safe for sport specifications – meaning I can make sure all your recommended supplements are not only effective but allowed in a competition setting depending on your association’s rules and regulations.

Sport supplements

5. Mitigate the negative effects of irregular habits due to practices/competitions/training

Being in sport can be stressful. If you aren’t careful, the schedules and pressure take a toll on the body, not only physically because of injury, but physiologically and mentally too – messing with your sleep habits, eating/ digestion patterns, hormone levels, etc. With an Naturopath on your health team, these habits can be properly monitored, and support can be given to make sure these irregular patterns don’t cause long term consequences. Whether it is teaching you to correct the patterns or supporting you through them with additional treatments (because sometimes, you can’t stop that late night game from interrupting your sleep cycle!). I understand this and will do everything I can to make sure both your performance and health don’t suffer.

The best thing is that working with an ND also allows for the space to collaborate and work with your physical medicine healthcare providers, like your physiotherapists, chiropractors, and athletic trainers, as you strategize and support your overall health. There is more to your injury recovery than the rehab exercises and strength training, you’re prescribed; there is more to performance optimization than adding pre-workout and BCAAs. I’m here to help you think beyond the standard sports medicine/ injury recovery methods so you can know how to sustain your body past the injury or exhaustion and throughout your entire life.

Nana-adjoa Bourne Naturopathic Doctor

Dr. Nana-Adjoa Bourne, ND

“Taking dancers and athletes from overworked and underfueled to strong, confident, and injury free; making their performance feel as effortless as it looks.”

Dr. Nana-Adjoa Bourne, ND is an Ontario registered naturopathic doctor focusing in sports medicine and pediatric care. She believes in her patients being empowered to take care of their health and emphasizes the basics in nutrition, stress management, and injury prevention in order to get them there. As a dancer and lifelong athlete, she understands and cares about sustaining a healthy lifestyle that can keep her body moving and performing optimally in whatever it does. With all her patients, she enjoys talking about the importance of gut health and its relationship with every aspect of the body, including hormones and mood while addressing the whole person on a holistic level.