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Ep 351 – Do You Have Back Pain While Doing Dishes?

Ep 348 – Neck, Back, Ankle, Hip Adjustment & Hypervolt

Ep 345 – Rocktape for Wrist Sprain

Ep 342 – Standing QL Stretch for Low Back Pain

Ep 320 – Why You Shouldn’t Stretch If you Are Injured & In Pain

Why You Should Not Stretch if You are Injured?

Stretching is not what it all said to be.  Yes stretching has benefits such as blood flow, coordination, and can help get you more flexibility but guess what?  There is minimal evidence for stretching and the prevention of injury.

If you ended up getting injured you are likely suffering some tightness, immobility, stiffness, and pain.  Most people jump right into stretching and they think that stretching while injured will help.  WRONG!  It will not help because your body is in spasm.  Essentially, it is in protection mode and that is dictated by your nervous system.  Your body is so smart that its nervous system sends a signal to the muscle and surrounding areas that tells them to “tighten up,” contract and protect that area.

If you stretch in this state, you are only going to be fighting an uphill battle because the nervous system controls everything.  You are not going to stretch intensely and magically get the pain, spasm, and dysfunction to release and I have never seen this personally or professionally happen!

By stretching during the pain you can likely injure the body more and you should move the best you can given your state.  You need to go through ranges of motion, contract muscles, and do it within a painless state if possible.  By doing this you will relax the body rather than putting it through more pain.  When you relax the nervous system, then and only then can you start to work on other areas.

Final thought, stretching is better to help movement patterns but should be done prior to injury NOT during an injury.

Ep 312 – Happy Baby (Spine Mobility & Core)

Happy baby pose is another form of spine rolling but it requires a bit more core activation (especially when going side to side) and some more hip flexibility.  This is a slightly advanced version of spine rolling and when done properly you can add movement not only to the spine, but the muscles themselves

306 – Shoes Are Bad For You & Cause Whole Body Dysfunction!

303 – Spinal Mobility & Rotation (Spine Twist)

Spinal Mobility and Warm Up

Having a stiff and immobile spine can not only limit your motion, but how your nervous system functions.  Your central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord.  How the spine functions has a direct impact on the function of the nerves that come out of the spine as well as the brain and spinal cord.  As a result, it is to your great advantage to make sure you have good motion within the spine.

This exercise, which is a twisting spinal movement is great because it stimulates a lot of the areas of the spine and even the hips.  You can use this spinal twist and movement pattern as a warm up prior to exercise (dynamic warm-up).  Using the hand on the floor you can gain leverage to help improve your spinal twist.  If possible, hold the position for a couple seconds and then proceed to the other side.

Chiropractic vs Physical Therapy (The Major Difference)

The Major Difference Between Chiropractic & Physical Therapy

When you get injured who do you go and see? What is the major difference between the two professions?

Physical therapists tend to look into rehabilitation, strengthening, and stretching exercises.  Basically, when you get injured you try and rehab that particular area.  In my opinion, my most physical therapist places are reactive in that they wait until you are injured (most people do that anyway).  Additionally, most physical therapist will see you initially and then send you to do self directed rehab where you will likely work with a rehab tech and not necessarily with the PT themselves.

Chiropractic on the other hand focuses on adjustments to the spine and other areas to help restore mobility, range of motion, and mechanics to the spine.  This in turn stimulates that brain and spinal cord (CNS) which controls all your body.  Many Chiropractors focus on quality of life, wellness, and being proactive not reactive.

In summery, you should likely being doing both!  You can achieve much greater benefits when you combine therapists and work together than independently.

Ep 294 – Improve Foot Health & Balance With Foam Roller

Improving Foot Health and Balance

With todays modern shoe we often compress and squeeze our feet in there everyday.  Not to mention tight and restricted athletic gear, the lack of barefoot walking, we now have a setup for disaster when it comes to foot health.

The feet are so important because they are literally the first thing that communicates the body with the environment and vice versa.  This communication from the ground up sends feedback to where the body is in space and therefore it influences our body position from that point.  That is why a lot of knee pain, hip pain, and initial phases of compensation (back pain) can be related to poor foot strength.

The more we compress our feet, the more weak and de-conditioned we become.  The more this happens, the greater the risk for injury somewhere throughout the body becomes.  In addition, this can lead to poor balance and coordination.

As we age (and after injury) we tend to lose our coordination and balance.  It is very important that you begin to maintain it from the beginning and that anyone suffering from foot pain and/or an ankle sprain properly rehabilitate the foot so that they can get back health without it causing any further dysfunction along the kinetic chain.

In this episode, rather than rolling out the bottoms of the feet to help foot pain, I show you how to focus on strengthening the foot by literally standing on an uneven surface (unsteady) such as this foam roller.  Standing on the foam roller not only requires great balance but is good for the foot, ankle, and to improve leg strength.  As you continue to complete this balance exercise you will notice that the foot will begin to become fatigued and you will likely lose your balance more often.  At that point you will notice the foot, ankle, and balance connection.  Do this exercise until you foot fatigues and you begin to lose balance but remember, be safe and get off early to avoid injury or falling.

 

 

Ep 293 – Decompress and Stretch Your Lower Back

Decompress & Stretch Your Lower Back 

Having low back pain is no fun, which is why you should use this technique for prevention.  This technique allows the bodies vertebrae so separate which will increase the space between the disc.  By doing this technique it is very much like a pump, where the disc gets to decompress and recompress.  The benefit of this is that the spine not only gets movements but it allows fluid to exchange within the spine and disc areas.  It is very useful to do this if you are suffering lower back pain or even after a heavy lifting day.  When performing this low back exercise, make sure you give it about 5 seconds of decompression with a few seconds rest.  Do this a few times and your lower back will likely feel instant relief and you will feel the spine stretching!

Ep 291 – How Chiropractic Adjustments Help The Body

What does a Chiropractic Adjustment Do?  What happens when you get adjusted?

Chiropractic adjustments/manipulations help to restore movement to the spine.  By applying a force or stimulus to the spine (or any joint for that matter) you will increase the joint range of motion which will help with blood flow and healing capacity.  Additionally, we will be stimulating the nervous system within the spine and brain (this is known Neuroplasticity).  This is particularly important because adjustments of the spine can stimulate the brain and the brain and central nervous system controls all the bodies functions.  From pain, movement, reflexes, and perception to our senses such as hearing, seeing, etc (awareness).  Chiropractic adjustments stimulate both the spine and the brain (Central Nervous System).

Adjustments to the spine bring out better sensory awareness to the body.  Better awareness will bring out better movement and better function of you as a whole.  Since the brain controls everything such as our muscles, organs, etc and by stimulating the brain you can and will have reflexive (or secondary) enhancements.

290 – Medical Subluxation vs. Chiropractic Subluxation

The major difference between a Medical Subluxation and Chiropractic Subluxation is actually quite massive, not only by definition but by the treatment as well.  Medical subluxation deals with a dislocation or displacement of the joint.  One of the most common dislocations is seen in the shoulder.  When a medical dislocation occurs there is often intense pain, swelling, as well as disruption of the two surfaces of the joint as well as to the soft tissue structures (such as the muscles and especially the ligaments).  The primary goals of this dislocation is to rest it (usually immobilization) and then when the patient is out of pain, begin the process to stabilize the injury.  Essentially, this is where rehabilitation and strengthening the joint come into play.

On the other hand, we have a Chiropractic Subluxation.  While there are different words for this, the basic premise is that a Chiropractic Subluxation is a spinal segment that is has a reduced range of motion.  This in turn can alter joint biomechanics, physiology, and can cause the body to have neural lesions (decreased neural stimulation).  The decrease in motion can cause the body to compensate while the decreased neural activity can place pressure on a the nervous system which leads to dysfunction and Ill-health as the nerves that leave the spine also go to the muscles and organ systems.  The way Chiropractors go about treating this is by applying a controlled force to help move the joint into a correct position.

Ep 284 – Improve Shoulder Stability With Side Plank (3 Variations)

Side Plank for Shoulder Stability 

If you just suffered shoulder pain and injury then chances are you are having what we call instability to that joint.  First, instability is a term that means too much movement.  Now, the shoulder in general moves a lot but after an injury it can move more.  A common instability injury in the shoulder is a dislocation.

When training the shoulder and since it moves so dynamically, you also want to focus on shoulder stability exercises.  The shoulder plank (side plank) is not only a great core workout but it can help shoulder strength.  There are three ways you can do this as seen in the video but when doing this make sure you contract you scapular stabilizing muscles (shoulder blade muscles) to keep your shoulder joint in an optimal position.  This will help reinforce the correct joint position.

To complete this exercise do it for time (seconds) and progress to minutes if you can.  Repeat a few times until you start to really feel the muscles fatigue.  This will help shoulder pain and hopefully prevent future injuries to come as well as strength the hand, wrist, elbow, upper back, and core/lower back!

Ep 282 – What To Do When Your Injury Is Not Healing?

What to Do When Your Injury Is Not Healing?

Oh Do I get this question a lot. First, if you are injured or in pain you are already too late.  Pain and discomfort is a symptom of a problem that has been there and is often the very last sign.  Its like your body has been in dysfunction for a while but now your body is crying for help (aka Pain).

If your injury is not healing there are a few steps your need to do.

  1.  Seek a professional to help you with the treatment.  There is a lot of research that shows the faster you seek care the better the outcomes.  You do not want this injury to go chronic as it will lead to a longer treatment time, possible further complications and compensation of the body.
  2. If it is not healing fast enough you need to do something different.  For example if you are stretching a lot, you also need to strengthen and vice versa.  Have you given your injury the amount of a time and have you actually dedicated the time to exercise/rehab it?
  3. Is what you are doing helping it?  If you are not doing the correct exercise and/or getting the results you want chances are it is not helping.  Switch it up!
  4. Nutrition is the foundation for all our cells.  Promoting better health by actually eating foods and an anti-inflammatory diet can and will help your body heal faster.

 

Ep 274 – How To Self Treat a Muscle Spasm (Pain)

Self Treatment of a Muscle Spasm

At some point or another everyone gets a muscle spasm.  Muscle spasms can be caused by a few things such as electrolyte imbalances, trauma to the body, and/or over use or fatigue to the body.

Why Do We Get a  Muscle Spasm?

Muscle spasms are involuntary contractions of the muscle itself and they tend to to be a type of protective mechanism for the body that is initiated by the physiology of the body and nervous system.  This is a way for the body to protect the joint and surrounding areas.  For example, in the mid back you may get a muscle spasm if your turn the wrong way.  A spasm causes pain which prevents you from going any further so that you don’t risk further injury to that area.  Another example is a runner or the calf muscle that spasms due to fatigue.

How to relieve it?

Relief of the muscle spasms as always depends on the cause of it in the first place.  If it is pain based, you are going to need to do a few things.

  1. Time – after an injury and to let the body recover from the injury, you definitely need to give it just that.
  2. Stretching may not help much – If you stretch at all, which I don’t recommend much make sure it is gentle.  Keep in mind I said GENTLE! Less is truly more and if you do too much thinking you can trick the body, you can increase the pain and/or damage.
  3. Movement – Rather than stretching or even over stretching just start to gently move the body within a comfortable range of motion!
  4. Heat – this modality tends to help bring blood flow and sooth the muscle.
  5. Mild Contraction- Give the body some gentle contraction
  6. Light stroking – instead of deep foam rolling or deep tissue, start working the muscle with light touch and moving around the area.
  7. Water and electrolytes- simple as that make sure you get some!

Ep 268 – Juicing Vs. Blending. Which is Better?

Juicing vs. Blending.  Which One is Best For You?

If you are looking to enhance your health you likely came across this subject before. Juicing is a process where you extract the juices from the fruit and/or vegetable and at the same time strip away the fiber.  The result is a very concentrated juice that is rich in anti-oxidants, minerals and vitamins.

The biggest issue with juicing is the fact that you are only left with the juice which can be high in sugar.  Due to the fact that there is no fiber in the juice, it will spike your insulin levels and sugar levels within the blood.  Another problem is that people tend to juice only fruits and not as many vegetables which again, results in higher levels of sugar.

Juicing tends to be best when you limit about 3-5 ounces of fluid and/or when you mix a lot more vegetables than fruits.  The best benefits of juicing is that it can be highly anti-inflammatory and can really help with those suffering from chronic diseases who need bursts of organic nutrients from fruits and vegetables.

By contrast, blending is a process where you mix all the fruits, vegetables, etc into a blender and maintain all the food components.  By blending, you are breaking down the food into more digestible pieces and increase the foods surface area.  When doing this, you are able to absorb more nutrients and maintain the fiber.  By increasing the surface area you also allow for a slight increase in caloric uptake.  For example, if your fruits and veggies make up about 200 calories it may be about 10-20% more due to the increase in surface area.

Blending is great to help get a lot of nutrients in within a small window.  It is a great way to get a lot of vegetables, fruits, and your nutrients in quickly and while maintaining the fiber which is very important as it slows the rate of sugar and insulin levels in the blood as well as helps to add bulk to the stool.  If you are fairly healthy, don’t necessarily have any chronic diseases, this is a better alternative as it cuts down the sugar.  In other words, its better for the average person.

So those are the two differences between juicing and blending and when you can use the.  Both can be used in different ways to help boost your immune system, get vital nutrients, have the anti-inflammatory effects, and maintain if not enhance your overall health!

Foam Rolling – Fad or Fact?

In the last decade there has been a boom in the fitness industry in the form of “mobility training.” Within the mobility movement, there is an ever-increasing amount of people who understand that muscles, fascia, ligaments, and tendons make up a joint complex and therefore any restriction within these structures can result in a decrease in movement resulting in performance deficits and even pain.

This understanding has lead to techniques, and products that include movement drills, self myofascial release, various types of roller balls, straps bands, PVC pipes, mats, etc, that are geared toward increasing improving mobility and performance within the individual. I have even come across extremely heavy solid metal structures that look like scuba tanks. They are supposed to be laid on top of you and are to compress these soft tissue structures. Yes, I did try it and some of the metal pipe looking stuff was approximately 90 pounds. I swear I could’ve went to a construction site and found similar piping and just painted it. Anyway, within this market specifically, foam rollers have generated big business. They are virtually in every sporting goods business, gyms, and are even found an electronic stores like Best Buy.

What is Foam Rolling?

From rolling is a technique designed to compress or even mash structures. This technique is done to help increase flexibility, and decrease scar tissue by using your own weight and a circular foam roller. It’s basically a way of doing self-massage or self trigger point work using a compressive technique.

How does it work?

Just like deep massage therapy; deep compression to muscles can help restore normal blood flow, which is vital for healthy tissue. By breaking down scar tissue, and loosening tight muscles, you can restore the blood flow and increase flexibility within the joint.

What should I do?

When doing foam rolling, you should compress an area from mild to moderate pressure depending on your own skill for pain tolerance. If you find an area that is tender, obviously you may want to use a little less pressure. Also, avoid rolling over a bone! You will definitely know if you did it the wrong way.

Typical compression time should occur from 5 to 30 seconds. If necessary you may need to work the course of that muscle or even repeat that area. Many people mistake pain for good, therefore, the harder you go, the better. This is not true, and the ultimate goal of foam rolling or any myofascial release or mobility work is to increase movement and flexibility to the area so that the muscles are now supple and soft, rather than tight and tender.

Knowing which muscle or muscle group is not always obvious. If this is a case or your discomfort is not improving, then a proper evaluation is likely necessary.

Why does it hurt?

It is likely for an area of the body to have sore, sensitive, or even painful spots. These spots can indicate areas of dysfunction. In most cases, if you had a sore or painful area, it is likely that something within that muscle needs to be worked out. Just as a warning, you may have some soreness the following day.

What does the research say?

All this stuff may seem practical but what does the research actually say. In one study, they tested the difference between foam rollers and planking before athletic tests in order to determine performance. The results indicated that foam rolling and planking showed that there were no differences in performance. The study also indicated that post exercise fatigue was less in the group who did foam rolling which indicates that individuals can likely increase their workout time and volume and may lead to enhancements in performance in the future.

In this study, the use foam rolling was to help with delayed onset muscle soreness. (DOMS). You guessed it, the results indicated that the group who use the rollers have less soreness.

Another study indicated that foam rolling can help increase range of motion for a period of time without negatively affecting performance.

Final Thoughts

Foam rolling should be part of your routine. The research shows that it can help with range of motion, recovery, and will not negatively affect performance. . It can be used prior to exercise or as a form of recovery from an activity. This is a great inexpensive tool/therapy that can go a long way. If you are new to it, give it a try and if you have some experience with it, go ahead and create a solid routine. Remember, if you don’t get the results you are looking for then you may need to take a step back and re-evaluate.

Stretch Away Your Neck Pain

Here is a tutorial on how to stretch your neck properly.

Tendonitis and Bursitis – Things You Need to Know

I get so many patient’s each year that are diagnosed with bursitis or tendonitis.  The problem is that after they are diagnosed, tend to walk away uninformed with what tendonitis is, what causes it, and what to do about it?

Typically, my patients tell me that they went to a doctor, were seen for about 3-4 minutes and walked away with a physical therapy prescription.  While tendonitis/bursitis is not hard to diagnose, it is often an over used garbage can term thrown out by many medical professionals who notice that a patient has pain, but yet has some mobility and/or weakness, thus, tendonitis and bursitis.

So what is tendonitis?  What causes it and how the heck can you finally get rid of this nagging injury?

BURISITIS: 

Lets start out with bursitis.  First, a bursa is a fluid filled sac within the body. It is often located near a joint where many tendons cross.  The fluid filled sac (bursa) provides a cushion so that the tendons don’t rub over the bone and cause fraying of the tendons.   It allows the tendons to move more easily when a joint is being used. Think of a rope that you throw over a door and start to pull and push each side.  What would happen to the rope over the door? Well, it would start to fray!  A cushion (bursa) in this case would help to prevent this.

Okay, so you know what a bursa is but what is bursitis?  Anytime you hear “itis” you should think inflammation. So you guessed it, bursitis is inflammation of the bursa.  Most of the time you hear bursitis being but bursitis can be diagnosed pretty much anywhere there is joint and tendons!

What does it feel like?

Bursitis is often tender, uncomfortable, achy, stiff.  Often times, patients have swelling, inflammation, and heat or redness present.

How do you get it? 

Many people get bursitis from too tight of muscles that put excess strain on the tendon and joint.  This compresses the bursa and can cause the inflammation.  Most times a bursa will become irritated not as a result of trauma but as a result of repetitive use (throwing a baseball, bad mechanics while walking, etc)

Tendonitis

Tendons are the extensions of the muscle that attach muscle to bone. They are often think, elastic, and very strong.  You often see them portrayed in anatomy pictures as white or grey.  If you were to inflame or irritate the tendon it would be called tendonitis.

What causes it? 

Excess tension (tightness) on a tendon, the inability for a muscle to slide or glide properly past other muscles, repetitive use, are common ways to inflame a tendon.

What does it feel like?

Typical tendonitis can be sharp with the contraction of the muscle/tendon but it can also be achy, painful and hurt with movement or contraction of the joint.  Anytime a muscle contracts, it pulls on the tendon and has the possibility to cause pain. Common areas of tendonitis include bicep tendonitis, Achilles tendonitis,  rotator cuff tendonitis, forearm tendonitis (golfers elbow or tennis elbow).

What to do about tendonitis and/or bursitis?

Most of the time, patients come to me with an existing case of bursitis/tendonitis.  They typically have been do a medical doctor who told them to “stop activity and rest.” Again, most patients have tried this but with no lasting results.

Most patients wait about 2-3 weeks before they end up in my office. Just a rule of thumb (and one of my mentors told me this), if your ache or pain does not go away in about 7 days on its own, its more than likely that it will linger around for some time!

Most doctors want you to stop all activity that causes you the irritation and that’s not always a bad thing, however, I feel that people should be active.

Another way to combat injury is ice.  This helps reduce inflammation and allow the body to heal faster. Inflammation is not a bad thing, rather it’s a sign that the body is healing and working properly. Ice can help you move on to the next phase of healing faster.

In my office, I use a lot of Active Release Technique (A.R.T.), Graston technique, manual therapy and Kinesiotaping to help treat the injury successfully.  Most of the time, tendonitis and bursitis is effectively treated when combined with manual therapy.  I personally believe that a strong rehabilitation program is also important so that you don’t reinjure yourself.  Hope this helps.  See you soon.