Do You Suffer From Migraines?

Migraine Statistics

These numbers are CRAZY!

Migraines can be caused by many triggers, which include food and drink, environmental, as well as structural.

Unsure if your structure is causing your migraines? Come see Dr. Natalie Graham-Long and we can take a peek!

3 Things Your Car Insurer Won’t Tell You

We’re not even half way through Winter, and we have already endured weeks of snowy and icy conditions.  I even slid through two icy intersections! Thankfully, there was not a lot of traffic and no collisions occurred.  Given the treacherous roads and other distractions, the likelihood of getting into a collision is quite high.  Should you get into an accident, your car insurer might not share these three things with you.
  1. You can see any health practitioner you want. You do not have to see the clinic or person they recommend you to.  I think it’s best to ask why they are referring you to that specific place.  Is it because they are the best or is it because the insurance company and the clinic have a special relationship?  Whose best interest is it to go there?  Yours, or the insurance company’s?
  2. There is more coverage available than the insurance company will indicate. Most Albertans have the right to access up to 21 visits of care based on the severity of the injury.  If you require more than 21 visits of care, there is another type of coverage available for you to use that covers chiropractic, massage and physiotherapy separately.
  3. The insurance companies really do want you to get better.  Scouts honor. In my many years of handing Motor Vehicle Accident care, I have had only one time where the representative was more interested in getting the file closed than getting the patient better.   That’s it. Only one time. Every other time, the insurance company wants you to return to full health.
At Structural Chiropractic we will work with you and your insurance company to make sure you get the care and attention you need. The care includes massage therapy and chiropractic, as well as appropriate referrals to return you to your pre-accident health.

I’m so tired of goals… and it’s only January 10th!

I am already sick of talking about goals.  I hear it at the gym, I see it at the grocery store where they are highlighting healthy (aka diet) foods.  I even hear it at yoga glass. Yoga has got to be an antidote to all of this, and now we have it there as well.

We start the New Year off like it’s a New Beginning; we are going to throw off all the things that we dislike about ourselves when the clock strikes midnight.  Suddenly, we will be that insanely productive, focused and driven person that will attain the perfect weight, the perfect income, the perfect recreational goals, etc.  Then after a few months, life gets in the way of our perfection and suddenly we are left coping, just trying to get through the hard months of the winter. We’re waiting to make it to summer vacation so we can attempt a more realistic version of this pursuit of perfection in September then we might have something to show for the year.  As if we need all this to justify our existence.
That’s overwhelming, but we do it to ourselves every year.  I decided to opt out of that.  I wrote down a few things I would like to achieve this year but then I decided that instead of getting to the end of the year and saying to myself, “another year, and what did I accomplish?”  I decided to answer the question today.  goals
I wrote down what I wanted my year to feel like.  I decided to put the important things first; my family, my friends and you, my patients.  I decided to think about how I wanted my kids and husband to feel about the year.  I decided how I want my patients to feel about coming here.  I decided how I wanted to feel about it all.  Suddenly, it seemed so much less stressful, so much more enjoyable.  I think it is that joyous feeling that is going to make me feel like I have truly accomplished something when I get to the end of the year.
Enjoy 2017. It’s going to be a great year.  We have many fun, interesting and exciting things coming up.  I wish you all the best of health and joy for the year.

– Dr. Natalie.

Are You Hurting Your Back with Yoga?

Young woman silhouette practicing yoga on the sea beach at sunset

Yoga is a great way you can keep motion in your spine and joints. Not only is yoga great for our bodies, but it is also great for our minds. Dr. Natalie may recommend doing certain yoga moves as part of your exercises at home.

Although Yoga is great, we have seen patients come in with injuries or discomfort from yoga class, which we want to help PREVENT.

Here are some tips that will optimize your yoga experience:


1. Don’t Push Your Body Beyond What It Can Handle

Everybody’s body is different. Some people are quite flexible, and others are not. Regardless of where you fall on the flexibility spectrum, our bodies have two different types of limits.

  • Physiological Limit: A zone in which we can stretch & tone, and our bodies will adapt.
  • Anatomical Limit: A zone in which we surpass the joints ability to cope, leading to injury

I am not saying you should not push yourself to go further, as pushing yourself a certain amount will increase your flexibility. I am saying to be aware of your anatomical limit and be mindful while practicing yoga to avoid injury.


 2. Don’t Leave Immediately Right After a Hot Yoga Session

Hot Yoga Rooms can range from 75° to 108° F and temperatures in Airdrie are now headed to the minuses. Quickly switching from two different extreme temperatures will cause your muscles to tighten, scrunch up together causing pain/discomfort.

Instead, it is wiser to hang outside the hot yoga room, in the studio lobby for a few minutes before heading out in the cold. Dress Warm while heading out!


3. Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Modified Poses or Help

We are all good at pushing ourselves past our limits, and trying to be better and healthier overall. But sometimes we are too afraid or to stubborn to get the help we need. If a yoga move is not feeling right, do not be afraid to ask your yoga instructor for help. If you are doing a move improperly, it may be hurting your body instead of helping. If your body is physically unable to do a certain move, there may be an alternative pose that will provide you much needed relief. Yoga is not meant to be a race. The quality of each pose is important. Insuring you are doing them correctly will ensure you are receiving the best benefits for your body and mind. Remember, quality is better than quantity when it comes to your body!


IMPORTANT: If you have low back disc bulging/ herniation’s, disc degeneration, arthritis, postural issues or other back/health concerns please feel free to talk to Dr. Natalie. There may be yoga moves that you should NOT be doing!

Wishing you a healthy / Injury free Yoga Journey!


This Popular Exercise Ages Your Spine


low-back-pain-540x200The CORE has been a big buzzword in exercise circles for a few years now.  We see a lot of people who think doing abdominal exercises will give them a strong core AND a six pack.  This is not the point of doing CORE work.  The core muscles are the deeper muscles that are involved in the abdominal area; the serratus and the transverse obliques and the muscles that surround the spine.  The muscle that gives you the six pack, the rectus abdominus, is only a small component of core strength.

Core muscles are designed to be endurance muscles. They need to be able to contract and stabilize your spine for long periods of time, to keep you upright. They are not designed to be short, powerful and strong muscles like a bicep or a quad.

Therefore, why do so many people train them like that, with exercises like crunches?

Many people are unknowingly causing damage and training muscles incorrectly.

Stuart McGill, professor of spine bio mechanics at the University of Waterloo in Canada has conducted dozens of studies replicating the movement of the spine when doing this exercise.

After replicating the flexing of the human spine, he examined the discs and found they had been squeezed to the point where they bulged.

I know how important it is to sift through fact and fiction to uncover the truth about how to protect your back from injury while you exercise.

The fact of the matter is you should NEVER do crunches or sit-ups. And here’s why:


1) Crunches causes lower back stress.

A 1995 study found sit-ups placed over 3,000N of force on the lower spine, which could cause herniated discs. Imagine willingly applying that force on any other part of your body through exercise? You wouldn’t. If you fall for the crunch myth, you will end up in pain, either in your back, neck or elsewhere.

2) Your spine has a shelf life.  Crunches age your spine.

You only have so many flexions in your spine before it starts to deteriorate. You can’t repair it. You can’t change it. That’s how it is. The more you flex your spine, the more you age your spine. That’s fact. So why would you actively try to flex your spine at its most vulnerable point causing it to age faster and further?

3) Crunches don’t aid good posture; they reinforce bad posture.

Think about it: what is a crunch? You’re just replicating the bent over movement you make when you’re sat at a desk or slumped in a seat.

4) Because you’re doing crunches, you’re not PROPERLY working your core.

You’re becoming weaker, less powerful, and more susceptible to problems. You see, crunches aren’t functional. They don’t replicate ANY natural movement our bodies were designed for. Our bodies thrive on exercises in alignment with their function. Crunching isn’t a natural movement. It actively opposes the purpose of the spine and works against it. We are meant to be upright and be able to bend, twist, reach and extend.

5) And here’s the worst part… crunches DON’T work.

Yes, you feel the burn. But it’s a fake burn – it feels good, but does it actually deliver results? No.

Crunches miss your core muscles. The narrow range of exercise does nothing to strengthen your deep abdominal muscles, your transversus abdominis, or your obliques.

Crunches ONLY work your rectus abdominis close to your skin.
So, the abs you DO end up with tell a lie. They don’t represent strength. They don’t represent inner power. Your core is no stronger for these “cosmetic” abs. In fact, they put your midsection out of balance and increase the risk of injury.


What excercise should you do?


Timeouts are for adults…mostly!

My Pride Was Hurt

My first parenting lesson came as I babysat my 20  month old niece: time outs are for adults. The little girl  spit on me and I didn’t like it!  So she got a time out, I was so angry it lasted for 20 minutes.  Then I learned my second lesson, time outs should match the age of the child, not the adult.  Alas, I was the one who needed all that time to calm down.


Yes, our children will make us angry.  I think more so in the summer when they are home to squabble with each other over trivial items like pens and meal time seating spots.  Undoubtedly, the habit of complaining, whining or tattling at mom or dad as soon as they get in the door will need to be redirected (Watch for my next blog post.)


Anger  Management

Sometimes that anger might get the best of us.  However, anger begets anger.  How?  When we succumb to being angry and acting on that anger by yelling or getting upset we reaffirm neurological pathways in our brain.  The more we use one pathway, the more it will start to become ingrained, a bad brain habit, the easy road through our mind.


I like to use a little word to get away from that feeling when everyone is acting up and being unpleasant.  ReBATeS:


  1. Re: remove yourself from the situation. A time out.  I like to take the disruptive child and go somewhere away from the toys or the other kids.
  2. B: Breathe
  3. A: a lot
  4. T: talk calmly about what is going on, it might be difficult as there will often be tears or hyperventilating,  or stories…
  5. E: Endeavour to try to find a new direction.
  6. S: Summarize that we don’t like being upset and that we want to have a harmonious time where everyone can get along.  We can always do better.  Give a little love and move on.


It works to keep us calm and get the kids wound down a little.  What do you think?  Do you have a great approach to your kids’ behaviour?

This Breaks My Heart

A trip to Paradise

I was absolutely shocked when I found out that there are approximately 3 babies a week who die from SIDS in this country.  Over 150 per year.  That number used to be 300.  The significant decline has come into effect since pediatricians started recommending babies sleep on their backs.  Regardless of the improvement in SIDS prevention, it is heart wrenching to think of a family losing a baby so suddenly.  I had friends whose 4 month old passed away unexpectedly enroute to a family vacation in Hawaii.  I just can’t imagine being on a flight to paradise and losing your son, could you?

Local Family

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a workout called Sweat and Stretch for Quinn.  This is the same Quinn for whom the Quinn’s Legacy Run is held here in Airdrie every August.  Quinn was a beautiful four month old when she passed away.  I decided to become a sponsor of Quinn’s Legacy Run it was because I was aghast to find out that EI maternity or paternity benefits are cut off three days after an infant passes away.  Most parents have to return to work immediately or will lose their job, unless of course, the employer is willing to give a compassionate leave, but there will likely be no pay in that situation.  I can’t even fathom coping with the loss of a child and then being forced to deal with financial despair, a return to work and even the physical changes if a mother was breastfeeding.  The situation boggles my mind.

Just Be There

One more thing I feel we need to talk about is how to deal with other people’s grief.  It’s a difficult thing to be confronted with a friend’s grief when they lose a loved one, but please don’t disappear from your friend’s life.  Your friend needs you and everyone else more than ever.  Perhaps you don’t know what to say?  Start with hello and how are you then let the grieving friend direct the conversation.  If the preference is to not talk about it, you will know.  If the preference is to talk about it, you will definitely know that too.  Just be present, it is the greatest present you can give to someone who is grieving.

One Easy Way to Improve Your Child’s Behaviour Today

The Back Story

The school year has come and gone here in Airdrie. Lockers have been cleaned out, spelling tests are over, new teacher assignments have been made and the report cards came home on the second last day of the year! Uh oh, one of them was a doozy! WE weren’t expecting it at all. My husband was pretty upset and wondered why we hadn’t been told it wasn’t going so well. Alas, we can’t change the past, we can only affect the future.

I didn’t know what to do, they don’t have parent teacher interviews during the school year, not after. I took a poll of friends and decided to go to the school to see if I could get some more information. Fortunately, the vice principal was able to spend a few minutes with me. Wow, apparently the teacher told her my 6 year old is like a teenager! I knew what she meant, he’s belligerent and argumentative and if he knows how to make you angry he will do it. Then she suggested we speak again in September so we can talk about different ways my son can earn some privileges at school, 10 points and he can help out at the preschool or work with Mr. Rob, the custodian.

Perfect I thought! Bedtime can be awfully rough with this kid. He just does not want to go to sleep. He’s disruptive during toothbrush time, reading time, and makes getting to sleep difficult for everyone. He’s been asking for Garfield books, he thinks they’re awfully funny. I did once too, wait until he meets Calvin and Hobbes! So off I went to Cross Iron Mils. I left him a book under his pillow just to start things off right and kept another book back so 10 good nights from now he can have himself a second Garfield book.

I told him I got him and end of grade 1 present and he guessed correctly what it was right away. He didn’t go looking for it but when he was changing for bed and stuck his hand under the pillow his face lit up. Then he started communicating and connecting with me in a way I had never seen before! He is so excited about earning his next privilege!

The Summary

A point is rewarded for the positive behaviour desired and 10 points earn a privilege.

Safety and Precision

If you have been to my practice and gone through the process of becoming my patient you know that it is a more complex process than you have experienced in other chiropractic offices.  I will have spent a great deal of time speaking about precision and specificity, these are two of the most important areas of your treatment that I need to focus on.  Why?  Two reasons simply, results and safety.

I am obsessed with the results my patients get.  There is no greater joy in practice than seeing patients get well and stay well.  Okay, well, is a boring word.  I want to see my patients experience more than just well.  I want them to get their lives and their joys back.  I want to see you get your life and joy back.  I want to see you fully experiencing the rich texture of life.

The second thing I am obsessed with is precision.  Precision in correction is the technical rule above all.  Frequently,  you will hear me mention scientific and objective in regards to the way NeuroStructural Correction is performed.  Medical doctors and dentists frequently send patients to Structural Chiropractic because they know they are in safe hands.  

The specialized x-ray views that Pureform Radiology takes for me are done for the reason of precision.  There is a great deal of anatomy within the neck and I need to know where that anatomy is.  The top bones in the neck are about the same width as the bone in your pinkie and it needs to be treated with a very specific angle and touch.  

Touch is very important and that is why corrections are require only 3-5 pounds of force whereas other practitioners are using 30-50.  All of the corrections are performed after NeuroInfrared testing.  All of our corrections are performed with the patient in a stationary position, there should never be any movement on the patients part as that cannot be controlled by the doctor.
Above all, your safety is foremost with the precision of NeuroStructural Correction.

Airdrie Has Embraced Structural Chiropractic

Airdrie Has Welcomed and  Embraced Structural Chiropractic
Our first month in business has  come and gone.  It was a complete whirlwind of getting the office completely  dressed and ready.  Of course, before we were completely organized people  started showing up!  The last day of the month had us run off our feet with new  patients and some of Dr. Natalie’s clientele from her last practice.
Dr. Natalie has started  introducing Structural Chiropractic to the community. One of her most fun  activities was to present to the kindergarten class at Ecole Francophone. Sixty loud and excited 5 year olds can ask a lot of questions!  Dr. Natalie also  presented to Airdrie Women in Business and even got roped into a volunteer  position.
This summer, Structural  Chiropractic will be in the Airdrie Canada Day Parade!  We won’t be throwing out  candy, but we have ordered one thousand items to give away.  It should be an  absolute blast. We will be hosting the first Grow Your Business Airdrie  discussion night.  Our topic will be “How to Be a Better Networker.”
We will  meet July 22, at  7:30 pm. Please watch for more info to come on this event!
We are already starting to plan  for our Grand Opening in September!  It’s going to be a blast. We are working  on bringing some very unique activities to that event. We are also planning to  host one or two Ladies’ Night Out events in the fall.
Lots and lots of exciting  things will be happening here throughout the year. Dr. Natalie loves to plan  and has even started thinking about what to do for Halloween and (heaven help  us) Christmas!


Firstly, what are baby  reflexes?  Every child is born with reflexes like the finger grasping reflex.   That is that adorable picture you have of your child holding on to Daddy’s  finger.  It’s a baby reflex that should disappear around five or six months when  the pincer grasp (picking up objects between the forefinger and thumb) develops.   There are many others such as the rooting reflex and the startle reflex.  For  most people they will disappear at specific times throughout infancy.   Unfortunately, for some of us those reflexes will be retained.  I seem to have  held on to my startle reflex and the only thing I will say about that is please  don’t ask me to be on your softball team.  It’s really hard for me to catch the  ball when I am blinking so hard that I can’t see anything, and you will be  embarrassed when I cover my face with the glove!  Don’t worry, I turned out  fine… I think.
There is one reflex that does  cause a lot of problems when children hang on to it.  It is the reflex that  contributes to children wetting the bed.  Some children will continue to wet the  bed because of mechanical issues such as a small bladder, or deep sleeping.   However, many children with persistent night time bed wetting do so because  they have continued to cling to the infantile reflex that signals the bladder to  empty.  If the child has reflexive bed-wetting, Neuro Structural Correction can  help them.  There are a few simple tests that can be done to determine if a  child is clinging to the baby reflex.  If yes, a course of correction and home  exercises can change the situation.
I can not tell you the absolute  look of relief on one of my patient’s face when I told him that his bedwetting  was not his fault!