Having a practice in a gym, I see many athletes from traditional sports such as football and baseball players, and also Cross-Fit, Bodybuilding, and Powerlifting athletes. One common denominator in many of these athletes is shoulder problems; particularly when striving for that lock out above head (which is a big part of Cross-Fit and Olympic type lifting.)
The problem is not the motion itself, it is achievable and pain-free in those with healthy shoulders. In reality however, most people’s shoulders are not as “healthy” as they think and will eventually be injured unless some intervention is made. Scapulohumeral and scapulothoracic rhythm refers to the ability of all of the muscles of the shoulder complex to work together in sync during over-head movements. When this is all in sync, no shoulder problems are usually noted. However, In todays society majority of people have some underlyeing shoulder issues that prevent this from occurring.
In order for “healthy” shoulder abduction to occur the shoulder blade must retract and rotate upwards allowing for a clear space for the tendons to pass under the acromion. In order for this to occur the rhomboids and mid to lower trapezius needs to be firing appropriately. It also happens that these are two of the more common problems areas for muscle activation in most people. We need to neurologically turn these on!
How do we do this? Step number one is to have your thoracic mobility checked by a chiropractor as this is directly related to scapulothoracic rhythm. We can then look at a few activation exercises.
Shoulders are a naturally unstable joint so it is all about prevention!
Then, Give these exercises a try and enjoy a healthier shoulder!
1.) Standing Bent Row’s from a low pully- An easy modification to the traditional seated row is to stand instead of sitting. Find a low pulley, attach the traditional pull-down bar, knees bent, core tight and focus on squeezing the shoulder blades together. You will feel this in your rhomboids and your mid to lower lats/traps if performed correctly. You can also easily switch it up by changing grips, handles etc.
2.) Standing modified pull-downs- Using a traditional pull-down station, stand about a foot behind the seat in a split stance. Using the traditional lat pull-down bar aim to pull your shoulder blades down and back.
3.) Face-Pulls with a Rope Attachment- Again using a traditional lat pull-down station or a high cable pulley, attach the rope, assume a split stance position and aim to pull the rope toward eye level, separating the two handles while contracting your back by pinching your shoulder blades together (down and back back.)
Hamstring strains/tears are very common in athletes of all types. They often take a long time to heal, with symptoms persisting for several months. What’s perhaps more problematic is that they have a high rate for re-injury!
Why are hamstring strains so common? Many of us have adapted a posture that causes tight hips, hamstrings, and lower back muscles due to our lifestyle (i.e. sitting at a desk all day.) With the hamstrings already under constant tension and the resulting imbalance in your pelvis and hips, the muscles tend to develop micro-tears which will weaken the muscles and tendons despite your bodies effort to heal. With these compensations present it may only take one faulty step, or hard sprint to damage the muscles and ligaments sending your body into a cycle of recurrent inflammation.
At initial onset many people will try to manage the issue themselves with RICE. While this will often reduce temporary pain and swelling it is not addressing the underlying cause. Many people will wait weeks or month before seeking treatment due to “nagging pain.” This is a mistake that will make you more likely to be re-injured. Due to the multiple micro-tears, your bodies healing response is to lye down collagen (think of a scab on your muscle.) Unlike normal, healthy collagen this collagen does not have the tensile strength of normal collagen (think of a scar on your muscle.)
How do we fix it? In order to truly “fix” the issue with the hamstring(s) we have to look at the entire chain. It is likely that you have tight hips, lower back muscles, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. All these muscles must be addressed in order to effectively correct the problem. Spinal manipulation may be recommended to help restore normal biomechanics to the spine, correcting any pelvic imbalances, specific stretches/exercises will be prescribed in order to change the muscles length. Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Manipulation (IASTM) is an evidence based treatment that aims to break-up any scar tissue adhesions that may be forming on the injured muscle. Through stimulation of fibroblasts (cells that help produce healthy collagen), IASTM treatment aims to restore normal, healthy, strong tissue eliminating any abnormal tissue allowing your body to heal properly.
If you are or have been experiencing hamstring pain don’t wait! Call or schedule online today and start healing! (781) 460-0939
Any avid runner will tell you they are always pushing themselves to hit a PR. The problem is, over-time the harder we push our bodies the more likely that they are to break down!
Since running is very linear some of the more common injuries that prevail are those of over-activity, or tendonitis. If you are not already doing so, you should and will need to include cross-training or weight training days if wish to continue to improve at a healthy pace. By working a few key problem areas you will not only increase your PR, you will decrease the likelihood of an injury. Try these 3 exercises below on your next cross-training day and enjoy a faster, healthier run.
1.The Scapular Retraction- Have you ever had anyone film you running a race or an event? If so, you undoubtedly noticed the change in posture from the begging of the race to the end. In the beginning you were likely chest up, head-up, torso engaged. As our bodies wear and our muscles get tired your shoulders will slowly begin to round forward pulling your head forward. This will not only increase the pressure in your spine, it will decrease the amount of blood and oxygen your body is able to transport to your lungs and brain. Posture is very important to running and gait! by engaging your rhomboids it will ensure better posture even when you are fatigued:
Begin face down, palms down, squeeze shoulder blades together and hold for 2-3s. Perform 3 sets, 10 reps. 3x/week.
2. The Plank- Like upper body posture, lower body posture is equally important. Many runners tend to have over active hip-flexors and lower backs. This is usually always a compensation pattern for a weak core. The core muscles must contract during all phases of gait and running, ensuring a stable lower back and pelvis. Stability= healthy hips and lower back. Lumbopelvic instability in runners leads to injuires such as: runners knee, piriformis syndrome, and hip bursitis. The plank is very effective at circumferential activation of the core (it works all of the muscles).
Begin slow, starting at 3 sets of 10-20s holds. It is important to remember the goal of this exercise is to maintain a neutral spine by contracting your abdomen.
3. Foot Drills- It is our feet that take the brunt of the force when we are running. Even with proper fitting shoes, muscles become tight and often times inhibited leading to issues such as pronation. This will cause issues such as Achilles Tendonitis, or Plantar Fasciitis. Try these drills below to target the key muscles in your feet involved in running and gait.
Perform each drill once for 25 meters, 3x/week.
Already experiencing pain when running or training? Dont wait schedule online or call today!
Each year many people will undergo back or neck surgery to repair a herniated disc. Majority of these surgeries will be a Microdissectomy due to a disc herniation. While some cases of herniated discs may require surgery, many cases will respond to less-invasive treatments such as chiropractic care.
What is a disc herniation? Between each vertebrae in your spine there is an Intervertebral Disc (with the exception of the first 2 cervical vertebrae.) These discs act as shock absorbers between the vertebrae, providing cushioning and flexibility during your daily activities. Think of your discs as shocks on your car, without them your spine would have no give or flexibility feeling every bump.
Statistically, many people have disc herniation’s but not all show symptoms. Typically, the pain will begin locally in the back or neck. If the herniation becomes bad enough to compress a nerve, the pain may progress to the leg or arm. Statistically, many cases will begin locally and progress slowly over-time. There are many different causes for a disc herniation. Contrary to popular belief, many people cannot pin point the exact mechanism of the injury. This is because much of the issue is often related to lifestyle, allowing symptoms to build slowly over-time. It is often poor posture, weight gain, or in-activity that allows the injury to progress. For example, when you have poor posture it places abnormal stress on the muscles which clamp down on the discs limiting motion in the joints. The intervertebral discs rely on motion for nutrition. It is important to note that since they are made mostly of cartilage there is no blood supply. This makes prevention key! Chiropractic helps by addressing the cause of the problem: Immobile joints and tight muscles compressing the disc. By releasing the pressure through gentle, non-invasive adjustments, therapeutic exercise, myofascial release we can serve to relieve the pressure in the disc and establish more normal range of motion reducing inflammation and nerve irritation.
If you are experiencing back or neck pain don’t wait, make an appointment today and start healing! (781) 460-0939
It has been estimated that 80% of people will experience back pain at some point in their life time. At initial onset, people will often consult their PCP for this problem which will likely prescribe a muscle relaxer and rest. When this does not help many people feel that their only option is surgery.
Failed Back Surgery Syndrome is not a syndrome but rather a term that’s used to describe individuals that have had a less than favorable outcome with surgery. While surgery is occasionally necessary it is advised that other, less invasive treatment forms are tried first, Chiropractic care meets that description.
Many people find that 5 or more years post surgery they begin to again experience symptoms of pain, tingling, numbness in the leg, etc. The question I often get is, “But I have been symptom free for 5 years, why is this happening again now?” The answer is, like when we get a cut on our skin our bodies response is to heal that area via a scab and occasionally a scar. It is important to keep in mind that even though the surgery maybe minimally invasive there is much tissue that must dissected through just to get to the spine. Over time our bodies healing response is to lay down collagen, since this collagen will not be as strong as the original it usually heals in a scar like fashion. With this healing response over time this may lead to scar tissue build-up around the spinal nerve which will cause similar pre-surgery symptoms.
As a Board Certified Chiropractic Physician I am trained to restore normal biomechanics to the body. Spinal manipulation along with Instrument Assisted Soft-Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) is an effective treatment for the build-up of post surgical scar tissue. By breaking the adhesions in the joints and muscles we can restore normal function.
Does this sound like you? Don't wait, call today and start healing.
Perhaps now more than ever people are aware of their posture and the ill effects it may have on their health. And for a good reason; recent research has suggested that the effects of poor posture are shortening our life span!
In the short term, posture can wreak havoc on our musculoskeletal system. The classic “rounded shoulders and hunched back” posture that many of us have began to develop due to our sedentary lifestyles causes muscle imbalances, impingements, and tendonitis. This is due to the compressive nature of poor posture. Over-time, these effects become more difficult to reverse. For anyone who is active this is a bad news! The resulting muscle imbalances lead to altered rhythm of the hips and scapula, making a shoulder or lower back injury more likely.
Chiropractic care is essential to good posture. If you are already noticing discomfort in your neck and lower back now is the time for intervention. If you are concerned about your posture but don’t have any pain currently don’t wait! Spinal manipulation and myofascial release is essential for anyone who spends a lot of hours sitting at a desk. By freeing the joints and muscles we can break the break this cycle and re-educate the muscles restoring proper biomechanics preventing pain and injury. This means less chance of injury, and more fit, functional physique!
Interested in fixing your posture? Call today and schedule an appoinment: (781) 460-0939
Tendonitis is defined as irritation and resulting inflammation of a muscle tendon; typically resulting from over-use. Some of the more common types of tendonitis experienced include: Tennis Elbow (pain in the later part of the elbow), Golfers Elbow (pain in medial portion of elbow), Supraspinatus or Rotator Cuff Tendonitis (pain on the top of the shoulder or neck), and Plantar Fasciitis (Most commonly characterized by heel pain.)
Statistically, many people will experience tendonitis at some point in their life. Many physicians still advise “waiting it out”, and report that many cases pass. While this is partly true, what happens in chronic cases that do not seem to remit, or seem to flare-up more often? Many people are left with little to no solution to their problem.
A better approach to treatment of Tendonitis:
While many people seem to recover rather quickly with little to no intervention, if you find that you are someone who has been dealing with tendonitis off and on for quite some time there is a good chance your problem can become chronic. What does this mean exactly? Chronic inflammation of a tendon is characterized as Tendonosis; or chronic tendonitis that has lead to damage at a cellular level. When you have chronic inflammation in a tendon over-time it leads to micro-tears in the muscle. These micro-tears cause the body to trigger a healing response. In an effort to quickly heal the body will produce Type III collagen fibers to “patch” the irritated muscle. Type III collagen is lacking the tensile strength of healthy tissue; making the tendon weaker, and more likely to rupture. Additionally, cases where tendonitis seems to “come and go” are more likely to become chronic and lead to a greater chance of a more serious injury.
IASTM (Instrument Assisted Soft-Tissue Mobilization) has been shown to promote healing and increase tensile strength of injured tendons and ligaments by promoting a healing response on a cellular level. By inceasing blood flow and fibroblast activity we can activate a healing response. Many people have even reported resolution of their tendonitis. IASTM in addition to stretching, spinal or extra-spinal manipulation, and specific rehabilitative exercise is an extremely effect, and cost-efficient solution.
Wondering if IASTM is right for you? Schedule a consultation today and start healing!
Are you interested in having more energy and burning more body fat naturally? Current dietary recommendations fall short for a favorable body composition in many people. The abundance of carbohydrates and lack of lean, quality protein in our diet's causes many of us to feel lethargic, bloated, and all around unmotivated!
Currently the RDA for the macronutrients are as follows:
•Carbohydrates – 45%-65% of your daily calories
•Fats- 20%-35% of your daily calories
•The daily recommendations for protein are currently 56g/day for men, and 46g/day for women (or .8 g/kg of bodyweight.)
A quick note on physiology, essentially everything we eat turns to sugar in the body. The rate that this this occurs can be analyzed via the glycemic index. Ideally, you want to focus on eating foods that break down slower and will yield a more steady blood sugar level. If we structure our diet as above as you can see you will have a diet that consists of a lot of carbohydrate’s! This makes it very difficult to maintain stable blood sugar levels throughout the day as they are quickly converted to sugar and subsequently body fat.
A more sensible approach for carb sensitive individuals: When attempting to construct a healthy eating plan figure out the amount protein and fats first, then plug in carbohydrates to fit left-over calories. Lean proteins supply your muscles with much needed amino acids which are necessary for repair of tissue. Eating a high protein diet will naturally increase your metabolic rate due to the amount of energy required for digestion! Long term, it will aid in increasing lean body mass allowing you to consume more calories and still maintain a healthy weight. By keeping your blood sugar levels stable you will have more energy, and less of the “afternoon fog.” So next time you go to reach for that 3pm snack, choose something that is higher protein, while skipping the sugar and carbs and enjoy a leaner more athletic physique.
If you would like professional assistance in developing an eating plan that works for you call or e-mail today to schedule an appointment! (781) 460-0939
Sometimes life can be a pain in the neck. If you are like about 60% of the work force you probably spend majority of your waking hours in seated position; whether it be on a long commute, in a cube all day, or worst yet the combination of both. The muscles of your upper back, and neck become tight, irritated, and all around unhappy.
Hitting the gym and being active is a great way to not only combat stress but give some of the other muscles in your back, such as your Rhomboids, some much needed activation work (you can read more about recommended exercises Here .) It is however possible to make the situation worse with poor form, or poor exercise choices. Below are some pit-falls to avoid:
1.) Barbell Shrugs- Most people with neck discomfort due to posture have tight upper trapezius muscles (traps). The barbell shrug is an essentially useless exercise for anything but trap work. Worst of all, majority of people use bad form when they shrug. Do your best to avoid shrugs if you are experiencing neck pain.
If you insist on shrugging try this quick fix: Grab a light pair of dumbbells, Retract (pinch together) your shoulder blades bringing the dumbbells slightly behind you, and focus on squeezing your upper back in the top of the movement. In addition to limiting pain, it will increase your trap development with less weight.
2.) Smith Machine Shoulder Press- I think most would agree that anyone with back issues should stay away from Smith Machine movements. Since the bar is confined to one plane of motion it does not allow for variability in the movement of the shoulder joint. Since the upper back is already tight and irritated it will likely lead to a more serious injury.
3.) Stomach Crunches with Hands Behind Head- Placing your hands on the back of your head during a crunch flexes your spine under tension which is a prime mechanism for a disc herniation. This position also increases stress on already irritated muscles. Instead, try crossing your arms across your chest and lifting your shoulder blades off of the floor.
If you are experiencing neck pain, now is the time to act to prevent future problems. If you would like to schedule a consultation click on the Appointments tab above!
Sciatic nerve pain or “sciatica” is characterized by burning, tingling, or numbness in one side of the buttock or leg which is relatively constant. The cause is related to compression of spinal nerves as they exit the spine. ” Sciatica” is not a specific diagnosis but a collection of symptoms. The cause of sciatica is commonly due to other medical conditions such as a disc herniation, or degenerative changes of the lumbar spine which decreases the space impinging the nerves. Below are some common symptoms that people note during “sciatica”:
- Relatively constant pain on one side of the buttocks and/or hamstring.
- Hamstring or calve pain that is described as burning, tingling, or numb.
- Pain that is worse when walking or sitting
- Possible progressive weakness or “dead leg.”
When dealing with sciatica it is important to first visit a Chiropractic Physician or other spine specialist in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis. Contrary to past beliefs, “resting” the area more than a few days is not recommended. Resting more than a few days may lead to deconditioning of the surrounding muscles which may increase pressure on the irritated nerve(s) making symptoms worse. Additionally, the intervertebral discs in your spine serve as shock absorbers. There is no blood supply to the discs since they consist of cartilage. They rely on movement in order to imbibe water keeping the discs full, healthy, and nourished preventing desiccation and degenerative change. By incorporating the appropriate exercises (and eliminating some bad ones), you can strengthen the surrounding muscles, effectively decreasing pressure on the spine and preventing further occurrence’s or exacerbations. Below are 3 of my personal favorites for bracing the abdomen:
Begin on all four’s.
Take a deep breathe in through your nose slowly filling your belly with air.
Arch your back dropping your belly to the ground slowly; head up.
Begin to exhale slowly drawing your hips under your body by contracting your abdomen; hold 2-3 seconds.
Repeat cycle (1 cycle = 1 rep)
Begin by lying face down on a soft surface
Place your palms down as if in push-up position.
Leaving your thighs on the ground, begin to slowly press-up, lifting your upper torso off the ground; hold 2-3 seconds, then repeat.
3.) Pelvic Tilts-
Begin lying on your back face-up, knees bent.
Take a deep breathe in through your nose, arching your back slightly pushing your stomach out.
Exhale slowly, pushing your belly button through the floor by contracting your abdomen; hold 2-3 seconds, then repeat cycle (1 cycle = 1 rep).
As always, please consult a health professional before attempting to self-treat.
If you are currently experiencing sciatica pain, schedule an appointment and start healing today!