Lower Back Pain: Did You Know?
A study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Medicine estimated that over 80 percent of Americans will experience an episode of lower back pain (LBP), over the course of their lifetimes. An estimated 31 million Americans are affected by lower back pain (LBP) at any given time. The American Chiropractic Association notes the following: Low back pain (LBP) is the single leading cause of disability worldwide. Outnumbered only by upper-respiratory Infections, back pain is the leading cause of missing work. The average cost of a back injury related workers comp claim can be $40,000 - $80,000 per employee.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information estimates that the loss of productivity, (Hours of work lost, days of work missed, and lower wages combined) is over 300 million dollars a year. When the costs of medical care for lower back pain (LBP) is added, the total annual cost rises to over 500 million dollars per annum. In addition, the incidence of chronic lower back pain (LBP) is a major contributor to the opioid crisis, in America.
The above statistics are shocking, and the bottom line is that lower back pain (LBP) affects all businesses. The Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce would like to offer some tips on how to choose a chiropractor.
How to Choose a Chiropractor: A Few Good Tips
Choosing to use a chiropractor, much like choosing a General Practitioner, it is a personal and practical decision. If an employee chooses to make use of a chiropractor, here is a little advice.
Do a Little Research Before Making a Final Choice. Know who your doctor is, and what their credentials experience is. Take a little time check reviews. A quick online search for reviews could save you time, money, and frustration. A good chiropractor should be accredited by independent and peer reviewed organizations. The Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA) is one the largest such groups in Canada.
Get It for Free. Just like a lawyer, most chiropractors offer a free consultation to discuss your injury and pain, as well as to answer any questions, including future costs.
Know What Your Insurance Will Pay For. You should absolutely know what your insurance plan will pay for additional costs will come out of your pocket!
Should the time come when one of your employees is the next person to suffer lower back pain (LBP), you will now be prepared to offer them some advice. The Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce hopes to encourage business owners to be proactive with their employees and thus reduce potential costs.
Spoiler alert! Long-stemmed red roses continue to be the most popular flower for Valentine's Day. But that doesn't mean you can't find beautiful alternatives. Whether you are buying flowers for your wife, mother, daughter, or someone you just started dating, we have this year's most popular Valentine's Day flowers ready to help.
Valentine's Day gifts including flowers, chocolate, and jewelry have been exchanged for centuries. The popularity of the red rose goes back even further, as it was believed to have been the favorite flower of the Goddess of Love, Venus.
This Year's Most Popular Flowers for Valentine's Day
Although we have already mentioned red roses, pink roses are also very popular. They are associated with perfection, beauty, love, and romance, making them apropos for the holiday of love. White roses stand for purity, light pink for admiration and gentleness, and dark pink roses symbolize appreciation.
Red is the color of the day, and red carnations are the second most popular, and less expensive option for Valentine's Day. They are associated with new love and freshness, making carnations the ideal gift for a budding relationship.
Orchids continue to climb up the list as they denote similar meanings as roses, including beauty and love, while adding strength and luxury.
Tulips in red or pink are a popular option for new relationships. As with roses, each color of tulip symbolizes a unique quality. White is for forgiveness and yellow for cheerfulness.
Gardenias represent love, purity and joy. They are one of the most fragrant of Valentine's Day flowers and may be given individually in a bowl.
Peonies represent a prosperous marriage and are the 12th anniversary flower. They are a popular choice for giving to a loved one as they also symbolize romance and good fortune.
Lilies, including stargazers and alstroemerias are popular Valentine's Day choices. They can be mixed in with roses, carnations, and other flowers, or presented as a bunch in a vase. Perhaps the most popular lily for the season is the Casa Blanca lily, which makes a stunning presentation with its large fragrant blooms.
Giving one of this year's most popular flowers for Valentine's Day is the perfect way to show someone you care. Our local florists can help you choose the perfect gift based on your budget and relationship status. Whether you choose a single gardenia or a dozen red roses, they will be a hit.
Looking for a new ride? Shopping for a pre-owned vehicle can help you save thousands of dollars on your next car, van, or light-duty truck, given the steep depreciation rate on new vehicles.
According to data from Edmunds.com, a mid-sized sedan that sells new for $27,660 will lose about $7,419 in value within the first 12 months, despite the fact that most new car warranties extend well beyond the first year of ownership.
Depreciation in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year of ownership slows down significantly - in general, vehicles depreciate less in years 2-4 than they do during the first year of ownership, which is why the top used car dealers focus their business model on delivering savings and great service to their customers.
Today's Used Car Dealers Are Different
In the past, used car dealers were widely viewed as unscrupulous, fly-by-night operators who would take advantage of shoppers by concealing damage and mechanical problems.
Thanks to widespread efforts to improve the image of the used car dealership industry, along with online resources like the National Motor Vehicle Title Information Service (NMVTIS), buying a used car from your local pre-owned dealership is a safe, viable alternative to purchasing a new car.
Better yet, buying used gives you access to vehicles that might otherwise be priced outside of your budget, giving you the chance to shop for a more expensive make or model than you might be able to if you were to buy a new car.
Most used car dealers also offer warranties on the vehicles they sell, giving you the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing you're protected against mechanical defects or maintenance issues just like you are with a brand-new vehicle. Known as Certified Pre-Owned programs, these extended used car warranties often come along with added perks like free oil changes, car washes, and special financing options.
Drive Like A Billionaire
If the significant savings on depreciation and extra focus on customer service isn't enough to convince you to consider shopping at your local used car dealer for your next vehicle, maybe this will - Warren Buffet, a.k.a. the "Oracle of Omaha" has long been an advocate of cut-rate cars.
In a BBC documentary about his life, Buffett's daughter disclosed that Buffett liked to buy cars at a steep discount, including cars that had been previously-owned or hail-damaged - despite the fact that Buffet has a net worth of approximately 87.4 billion!
Whether you're getting married for the first time or you're making a repeat trip down the aisle, there's a lot to think about when planning your big day. Thankfully, there are also lots of dedicated wedding experts right here in our community who have the skills and experience it takes to make your big event everything you always dreamed it would be.
Wedding Dresses and Gowns
Wedding dresses are unique in the fact that they don't come ready-made - buying a wedding dress involves choosing your budget, narrowing down the style you like, and having a fitting to try out a variety of dresses.
During your first fitting, plan on wearing the same undergarments and shoes you'll wear on your wedding day, since these both affect the final fit of your dress. You'll be paired up with an expert dress fitter who will make sure you're happy with the color, neckline, and trim - once those details are confirmed, a seamstress will make numerous alterations to give you a truly customized wedding dress.
Whether you plan on having a big formal meal, light appetizers, or even a casual cook-out on your big day, there's plenty of options to choose from in our community. Start by thinking about what kind of food you want to serve, and whether or not you'll be providing alcohol to your guests. Set a budget and contact various vendors for quotes as early as possible - the most popular restaurants and catering companies book up early!
In the past, weddings were usually held in churches, but today's couples are increasingly opting for alternative locations like parks, golf courses, hotels, and even private homes.
Our region offers a wide variety of unique wedding venues which means it's a good idea to start early when looking for your perfect spot to exchange your vows. Some venues also offer on-site wedding services such as food and accommodation, giving you the option of holding your entire event all in one convenient spot.
You've put a lot of thought into planning a renovation for your home or business, you've invested time in researching local contractors and hiring the best one for the job, and you've looked forward to seeing the beautiful results unfold. Unfortunately, things don't always go according to plan. Sometimes it's a small hiccup that you can easily recover from; other times, however, you end up with a massive (and expensive) mess that can only be blamed on your contractor. Here's what to do when your contractor does poor work.
First Things First: Know the Red Flags
Few contractors provide a bad first impression. Most will seem professional at first, but over time, they'll begin to show some warning signs, such as:
Handling a Bad Contractor
If you have a contractor that has done poor work, left you with a huge mess, or perhaps left a job undone, then follow these steps to minimize damage.
Document, Document, Document
Among the most important things you can do when you suspect that your renovation is going to become a bigger headache than anticipated is to document everything. Every single conversation, phone call, email, text message, and every attempt you've made to contact them should be documented. If they've abandoned the job and cannot be reached, send certified letters with return receipt requested, outlining the problems that you're experiencing and ask that they contact you immediately. If you later go to court or seek out the assistance of a third party, these records will play a crucial role in supporting your case.
Use Whatever Leverage You Have
Most contractors agree to accepting a small upfront payment to cover materials and labor and then payment in full when the job is done. If your contractor is dragging out the job, use the money that you still owe them as leverage to encourage them to finish the job. If the job is done, full payment has been provided, and the work ends up being subpar, then the threat of bad publicity may be all it takes to prompt them to come back and make any necessary repairs and improvements. Threaten to take your complaints to a local reporter and post about your negative experience on social media.
If your efforts to resolve the issues yourself aren't yielding the desired results, then it may be time to seek out help. For example, if you've paid your contractor an upfront amount for supplies and he or she ghosted, then obviously that constitutes theft and you should call the police. Other options include pursuing the contractor via the board that approved their license, hiring an attorney, or contacting the Better Business Bureau, your local consumer protection office, or your state's attorney general's office. In the end, you may not be able to recoup your financial loss, but you can have the satisfaction of ensuring that no one else is taken advantage of.
Improving your home or business comes with risks. As with any large project, taking the time to thoroughly vet the people that you're entrusting with your renovation can prevent a lot of frustration later on.
Looking for a drug-free way to deal with chronic pain, sports injuries, stress, and other medical issues?
If so, you might want to explore acupuncture - the ancient practice of inserting tiny, sterilized stainless steel needles into specific spots on the body to manipulate the flow of energy (known as 'Qi).
How Acupuncture Works
According to the UC San Diego Center for Integrative Medicine, acupuncture works by "stimulating specific anatomic sites - commonly referred to as acupuncture points, or acupoints." This is designed to relieve any blockages of energy within the body caused by injury or illness, which in turn promotes natural healing within the body.
While tiny needles are usually used to stimulate these specific 'acupoints', acupuncture practitioners can also use manual massage, cupping, heat therapy, and topic ointments to promote the flow of 'Qi' within the body.
What Can Acupuncture Be Used to Treat?
The World Health Organization recognizes that acupuncture has been proven to provide measurable, effective relief from a host of health conditions, including:
In addition, the WHO recognizes that acupuncture shows promise in the treatment of a wide variety of diseases, including diabetes, herpes, osteoarthritis, gout, vascular dementia, and colitis. It has even been used to help people in recovery from opioid dependency.
So, the next time you need relief from an injury, chronic pain, or other health problem, why not visit your local acupuncture clinic?
Check out our members that offer this great treatment!
Moving is challenging, as you have to coordinate everything perfectly so that you can move straight from your old property to your new one. Unfortunately, this isn't always possible. The purchase of your new home may take longer to close than you had expected, or any renovations you are working on for your new property could run past their scheduled completion date.
In these and other similar cases, you won't be able to move into your new property right away. If you have already sold your old home or given notice to move out of a rental property, you'll need somewhere else to stay until your new home is ready.
Of course, you could stay in a hotel for the duration, but this can end up costing you a lot of money on top of your moving expenses, especially if you will be displaced for an extended period. Here are some other options available to you to help you save a bit of money in this area.
Many hotels offer attractive rates for those who plan on staying for an extended period. Some have full kitchens, bachelor suite or 1 bed room suites. As an added bonus, hotels also offer amenities like washer and dryer, parking, free local calls, gym, pool. Some are pet friendly.
Websites like Airbnb and VRBO make it easier than ever to find properties to rent temporarily. If you choose to go this route, you'll be renting a fully furnished property that the owners treat somewhat like a hotel. Each property owner sets their own specific rules for their guests, so be sure to do plenty of research in advance to ensure you can find a property that can accommodate children, pets and any other needs you have.
Friends and Family
Of course, you always have the option of staying with friends and family if they'll allow it. Family and friends may even let you stay with them free of charge, but you shouldn't assume that this will be the case. Always offer to pay your way. Even if your host chooses not to take you up on your offer, they'll still appreciate that you took their needs into consideration.
When it comes to real estate, the only thing that is certain is that nothing is certain. You could be without a permanent home for just a few days, or it could go on for months on end. Take some time before you move out of your current property to come up with a contingency plan in case things don't progress as smoothly as you had hoped.
Everyone likes to save money. Some save it in an account. Some save it under the mattress. But, if you could save money, while spending money. Counter-intuitive right? Well, we here at the Chamber of Commerce would like to show you this wonderful way of saving money. If you have just a little patience, you can save hundreds and possibly thousands every year. So, shall we start saving money?
The secret to saving money while shopping is not clipping a whole bunch of coupons. No, the secret is to have patience, and by items at end of each season. Then, if you insist, clip those coupons, and save even more money.
Best Things To Wait Until Spring To Buy
Don't buy spring fashion, furniture or new cars.
Wait Until Summer and Save Big
FYI: Weddings are the most expensive in Summer, we suggest staying away from buying suits and accessories.
Prices on These Items Will Fall in the Fall
See our Comox Valley General Retail page for a list of businesses.
Winter Wonderland of Price Cuts
Most of the things that you would buy in the Winter, should probably wait until after Christmas. After Christmas, they are generally steep, steep markdowns, as manufacturers race to get products off their books, in preparation for the following year's taxes.
Here at The Chamber, we hope that these shopping tips will keep you shopping -- but more importantly saving -- throughout the year!
Tipping in restaurants has long been the norm here in Canada, but despite the fact that it's a common (and expected) practice, how much you tip, when, and where, remains a personal and often highly controversial choice.
A recent survey by CreditCards.com shed some light into the differences between tipping habits not only across the country, by between different age groups, genders, and even political affiliations.
Facts About Tipping
Collectively, about 80 percent of the survey's 1,002 respondents reported always tipping in restaurants, with the median tip rate being 18 percent, and people earning over $75,000 annually top the charts in terms of the average size of their tips.
Tipping isn't limited to restaurants - nearly one-third of those surveyed tip both the baristas in coffee shops and housekeepers in hotels, while two-thirds also tip their stylist or barber. Whether you tip when getting your hair done often depends on your age - the older you are, the less likely you are to tip outside of restaurants.
In fact, tipping isn't the norm across the world - in many countries tips aren't expected, while leaving a tip in some regions is considered to be an insult. In Japan, leaving a tip can lead to confusion, while China is also a no-tipping country. Switzerland's labor laws mean that restaurant staff are already well-compensated through their salary, and therefore, servers do not rely on tips to make up part of their wages.
When you shop local, you do far more than get the items that you want quickly and conveniently. Buying local stimulates the economy in our community, helps benefit local schools and charities — and it even helps the environment.
Look at some of the many reasons why it is important to shop and buy locally.
Buying Local Keeps Money in Our Community
When you buy locally, the small business you are making your purchase from certainly benefits, but the benefits keep growing. A small business that does well is likely to hire more people, who then spend more money in the community.
Buying locally also pours money into the local institutions who need it. Taxes are paid locally, boosting the community's libraries, schools, and infrastructure. Local businesses are also more likely to donate to charities in the local community, helping make improvements that all can enjoy.
In fact, when independent think tank The New Economics Foundation compared similar purchases made at chain stores vs. those made with local businesses, the experts determined that buying locally puts double the money into the community than occurs when you make a purchase at a chain store.
Buying Local Is Better for the Environment
Whether you buy online or from a major chain store, it typically requires some major effort to get your item to you. Trucks must haul products across the country, burning up fossil fuel and contributing to pollution.
In addition, products that must be packaged for shipping typically end up requiring extra packaging to survive the journey intact. Compare buying, say, a pre-packaged set of nails at a big box store — with your purchase sealed in one of those packages that practically require power tools to open — to picking out just the nails you need at your local hardware store, with the friendly local owner popping them into a simple paper bag (or even into the bag you brought yourself). All that extra packaging typically ends up in landfills or the ocean, adding to environmental damage.
Buying Local Results in More Diverse Choices for Customers
When you go to one big box store after another, you will see the same product choices, over and over. The only real difference is in price — and often that difference is a matter of pennies.
Buying locally is a whole different experience. Each small business in our community is unique, offering a true connection with customers and a real understanding of their visitors' needs. Think about the diversity of stepping into a local boutique to do some clothes shopping versus perusing the offerings at chain stores, which all seem to look the same. Local artisans and craftspeople can show off their wares and build a following when you shop locally.
In addition, local businesses are typically far more flexible, adjusting to meet the immediate needs of customers much more quickly than giant national chains can do. They can also do a better job of stocking the products our community members want, since they are part of the community.
Buy Local to Help Keep Our Community Unique
Related to the previous reason to buy locally is the idea that those unique products lead to a one-of-a-kind shopping experience. No one goes to a big box store to browse or to enjoy recreational shopping. But when your local shopping district is filled with local retailers, you create a sense of self-image that help defines our community. Our unique businesses are something to be proud of, and when we all support them, they create a reason for other shoppers to come visit our community.
By supporting local businesses, we can also help entrepreneurship thrive, which adds to local prosperity and innovation. Every local retailer is one of our neighbors who has taken a risk to try to make our region a better, stronger place, boosting the economy and helping lift friends and neighbors into the middle class.
When we all look for ways to buy local, we tell all our neighbors that we believe our community is worth investing in. We put our money into things we care about, including our local schools, and we enjoy a better purchasing experience overall personally. Shopping and buying locally is a win-win for you, for small businesses, and for our community.