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

What are Chiropractic adjustments?

chiropractor adjustment

Chiropractic care is a holistic approach to healthcare that focuses on diagnosing and treating mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system. One of the cornerstone techniques in chiropractic care is the chiropractic adjustment. So let’s talk a bit about what chiropractic adjustments are, how they work, and their potential benefits!

What Are Chiropractic Adjustments?

Chiropractic adjustments involve the skilled application of controlled force to a joint. The goal is to improve the joints function and alleviate pain. When the muscles around the joint have been tight for prolonged periods of time, or the body has sustained some sort of injury – this can cause the joints to stiffen up and have reduced range of motion. This stiffness can lead to: headaches, sharp pains with certain movements, and nerve irritation to name a few. By using manual techniques to manipulate the joints, chiropractors aim to restore proper alignment and mobility to the affected area.

How Are Adjustments Done?

chiropractor adjustment upper back

Chiropractors first start by assessing the area of pain. This might include asking you to do certain movements, they may perform special orthopaedic testing or by palpating the area. Some Chiropractors will also use x-rays during their assessments.

During a chiropractic adjustment, the chiropractor uses their hands or specialized instruments to apply quick, controlled force to a specific joint. This is a safe technique and does not involve the cracking of any bones. This quick thrust forces the joints to open up back to it’s normal range – and this often creates the “popping” or “cracking” sound. It’s just a gas bubble release from the tight joint space – imagine pulling a suction cup off a wall – when you pull it slowly it doesn’t make that pop – but if you pull it off quickly – it gives you that satisfying sound!

In Ontario, Chiropractors have at least 4 years of specialized training during their doctorate program for becoming a chiro. When performed properly – adjustments are a safe and effective option for pain relief. However – it is important that you are getting adjustments from a trained professional – because if done wrong – it can do more harm than good.

Benefits of Getting an Adjustment

  1. Pain Relief
    • One of the primary reasons people seek chiropractic care is to alleviate pain, especially in the neck, back, and joints. Chiropractic adjustments can help reduce pain associated with conditions like sciatica, herniated discs, arthritis, and muscle tension.
  2. Improved Mobility & Function
    • Adjustments aim to restore proper alignment and movement of the spine and joints. This can lead to improved mobility and function, making it easier to perform daily activities, workouts and improve your sports performance
  3. Reduced Muscle Tension
    • Chiropractic care often includes soft tissue manipulation techniques, such as massage and myofascial release, which can help reduce muscle tension and improve circulation.
  4. Prevention of Injury
    • Regular chiropractic care may help prevent injuries by maintaining proper spinal alignment and joint function. Athletes and individuals with physically demanding jobs often seek chiropractic care for this reason.
chiropractor neck adjustment

Chiropractic adjustments can offer a range of potential benefits, particularly if you have musculoskeletal issues, pain, or certain health conditions. It’s important to note that the effectiveness of chiropractic care can vary from person to person, and not everyone will experience the same results.

At Axis Therapy & Performance our Chiropractors always combine a manual therapy & exercise therapy into your sessions. Your appointments will be minimum 30 minutes long – we don’t just crack and go!

Ready to experience the benefits of seeing a Chiropractor?

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

Shoulder Impingement: The 3 Most Common Causes

shoulder impingement, physiotherapy

Shoulder impingement can be a very painful condition that affects individuals from all walks of life. It accounts for about 44%-65% of all reported shoulder pain cases in the general population. Whether you’re an athlete, a desk worker, or a weekend warrior, understanding the root causes of shoulder impingement is crucial for effective treatment and prevention. In this blog post, we will explore the three most common culprits behind shoulder impingement, equipping you with the knowledge to take charge of your shoulder health.

1. Staying in a rounded posture for prolonged periods of time

One of the leading causes of shoulder impingement is sitting in a forward posture for hours on end. Modern lifestyles often involve long hours spent hunched over desks, laptops, or mobile devices, leading to a rounded shoulder position. This rounded posture compromises the natural alignment of the shoulder joint, resulting in compression and irritation of the tendons and tissues within the shoulder. Over time, this repetitive stress can lead to impingement. It is essential that you try and get as much movement through your day as possible. The body is designed to be in constant movement, and staying in ANY position for long durations can lead to pain. Even if you maintain the “perfect position” for 8 hours a day – eventually something will hurt.

2. Overuse and Repetitive Movements of the Shoulder Joint

Frequent and repetitive overhead movements can contribute significantly to shoulder impingement. Activities such as throwing, swimming, weightlifting, and even painting can strain the rotator cuff tendons and surrounding structures. When performed excessively without proper rest or recovery, these movements create inflammation and micro-trauma, narrowing the space within the shoulder joint. This restricted space increases the likelihood of impingement. By incorporating proper warm-up routines, utilizing proper form, and allowing sufficient recovery time between activities, you can reduce the risk of impingement due to overuse.

3. Muscle Imbalances and Weakness Leading to Shoulder Pain

Muscle imbalances and weakness in the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint can also lead to impingement. When certain muscles in the rotator cuff or scapular stabilizers, are weak or underactive, other muscles compensate, altering the mechanics of the shoulder joint. An example of this is when your pec muscles are overly tight from sitting rounded all day, and your posterior shoulder muscles are overly stretched out. This imbalance can cause abnormal movement patterns in the shoulder joint and ultimately can contribute to impingement. Regularly incorporating strength and stability exercises that target all the rotator cuff, scapular muscles, and upper back can help correct these imbalances and provide the support needed to prevent shoulder impingement.

physiotherapy for shoulder impingement

What Can I Do About My Shoulder Impingement?

Shoulder impingement can be a debilitating condition, but understanding its causes empowers you to take proactive steps towards prevention and recovery. Our physiotherapists can help you identify the root cause of your shoulder impingement, create a customized treatment plan that will help you manage the pain through both manual therapy & exercise prescriptions. Regular and consistent physiotherapy sessions for your shoulder pain will help you to better understand your condition and equip you with prevention and effective pain management techniques.

Read about how a physiotherapist can help you manage your shoulder pain

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.