The Adjustment

What do chiropractors do, and how can we help you?

Chiropractors are experts of the spine. We go to school for a minimum of 3 years prior to being accepted into chiropractic college. From there, we go through a rigorous doctorate degree that encompasses many of the same core classes as a medical doctor as well as other specialized classes that have to do with the musculoskeletal system and how to adjust and align the spine.

Throughout that doctorate degree, we learn the specifics of how the brain talks with, and controls your body. Such as how your body has an inhibitory reflex when you touch a burning candle. Your body is equipped with an automatic draw reflex that makes you pull your hand away from the flame without consciously withdrawing your hand. We also learn how the individual vertebra move on one and other and how altered movement of those vertebra can cause pain, dysfunction, altered biomechanics and can also lead to an increased rate of joint degeneration.

When we talk about joint dysfunction (subluxation), we look at a joint that is fixated and that does not move independently from its adjacent segment. These fixations can be caused from stress, inflammation, trauma, repetitive movements and poor posture. When we have these subluxations, they can cause increased pain in the area of restriction, refer pain to another area of the body, it can cause increased muscle tension on surrounding muscles. The increase in muscle tension can be a protective mechanism in which the muscle tightness up because the joint feels vulnerable or it can be caused from a malposition of the spinal segment itself.  Altered spine motion can also alter your biomechanics (the way your body moves).

When your body is aligned and each segment is moving within its normal range. Our bodies have balance in the sense that there is no undo stress on any particular muscle or joint. When we develop these misalignments and fixations our bodies start to compensate for the subluxation. In the area of restriction there is likely be a segment of hypermobility above or below to compensate for the restricted segment or you may start to shift your weight to one side of your body more than the other to create a sense of balance.

You see the body is very smart and will do whatever it can to continue to function as normal as possible, but this often comes at the expense of another joint or part of your body. That is where we come in, as chiropractors we correct those areas of restriction and help to get the patient moving and pain free as best we can.

Each joint in out body has receptors that have various functions that provide feedback to the brain. These mechanoreceptors provide feedback on how much stretch is in each muscle surrounding the joint, the position of the joint in space which allows us to maintain balance and be able to move in space with coordination and balance. These receptors also send pain signals when they are irritated such as when there is lack of motion in a segment or the segment is subluxated. When we assess the joint and finds the restriction we are then able to apply a high velocity low amplitude (HVLA) adjustment to the segment in the direction of malposition or fixation to realign and create motion through the joint. The adjustment also sends feedback to the brain through the mechanoreceptors that tell the surrounding muscles to relax and also inhibits the pain receptors. The final outcome of a HVLA adjustment facilitates proper motion of individual segments, relaxation of surrounding musculature, improves biomechanics and ultimately leads to a decrease in pain.

So, if you have a back, there is a good chance that chiropractic care is going to help you.

-Daniel Hounjet, Core Health Intern

 

 

Balancing Act

How to stay on track during the busy summer

We hear it all the time. Balance. Everything in moderation. Too much of something is usually never a good thing.  But how? How do we balance work, fun, stress, nutrition, exercise, sleep, etc? Some people are great multi-taskers and doers, others not so much and need to focus on one thing at a time.  In my opinion, simplicity and happiness is the answer. Keep it simple, don’t overthink it, and make sure it brings you happiness.

I don’t know about you, but my summer brings a lot more social activities, weddings, BBQs, patio meet-ups, and sporting events.  These typically involve eating out or meals that I do not prepare, alcohol, more sitting that moving, and great conversations. If this is happening at least a couple times a week it can get overwhelming and cause some anxiety in a lot of people.  I love going to these fun events because they bring me happiness, but sometimes the guilt sets in the day after indulging.

The way I have dismissed the guilt and tackle the busy nature of summer is to make sure I am balancing the things in my life.  I eat nutrient-dense foods every day, drinking plenty of water, getting in daily movement or exercise (variety), prioritize sleep, and take time for me FIRST.  If my life is way too busy or if I am feeling much too overwhelmed or stressed, I have learned to say no. Setting yourself up for the summer chaos by taking care of yourself and your health first is going to make you feel much better about indulging at social outings.  It’s about the balance. Here is an example:

There is a potluck BBQ/bonfire on a Saturday afternoon.  I know I am going to eat there and try a lot of rich foods and also have a few alcoholic beverages.  Here are some tips on how to stay balanced and on track:

  • Eat a nutrient-dense, healthy breakfast. My go-to, well-rounded breakfast: egg/egg white/turkey sausage veggie scramble with a side of fresh fruit or a side of oatmeal topped with berries and some peanut butter.
  • Get in a workout, a hike, bike ride, or a long walk (No, NOT extra exercise because you are indulging later. Just get some movement in!)
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day (and bring a full water bottle with to the BBQ)
  • Have a lighter lunch with plenty of vegetables, a good protein source, and some healthy fats (Bed of greens topped with fresh veggies, grilled chicken, and avocado with homemade vinaigrette)
  • Make a healthy side dish to bring to the BBQ so you know you will be eating a side of something you prepared at home
  • Have a snack before you go to the BBQ. NEVER go on an empty stomach. That often leads to binging and getting uncomfortably full. Favorite snacks: greek yogurt with chopped nuts or granola, cottage cheese, an apple with cheese, veggies dipped in hummus, a rice cake topped with deli meat and cheese, or a couple hard boiled eggs
  • At the BBQ focus on the social aspect and time with your friends and family
  • Decide how many alcoholic beverages you are going to have at the BBQ (a reasonable amount) and stick to it.  Going overboard with the alcohol can easily lead to going overboard with food as well
  • When you are hungry, dish up a balanced plate with a good protein source, some veggies if available, and try a couple small servings of other sides. Do not overload your plate because you can always have more if you are hungry
  • Do not immediately go up for seconds or to try other foods. Give your body some time to digest and feel how satisfied you really are
  • Enjoy the party. Socialize, play games, relax
  • Be home at a reasonable time to get in your zzz’s

Now it is the day after the BBQ.  Maybe I feel tired or I drank and ate a little bit more that I had planned.  That is OK. Now here is what I DO NOT do the day after some indulging:

  • Lay around and feel guilty for indulging the night before
  • Go exercise for longer than normal to try and burn off the food and alcohol I consumed last night
  • Restrict calories and food because I ate way too much yesterday
  • Eat zero carbs because “carbs are bad and can make you fat”  

*See Coach Dane’s last post about Carbs

  • Go get a really greasy, delicious breakfast, order pizza for dinner, and then eat a pint of ice cream because I already ate a ton and indulged yesterday, so my weekend is already ruined. What’s another day.
  • Lay and sit around all day binge-watching netflix (Hey, sometimes you need that, though)

The next day, carry on like any other day.  It is a new day. Yesterday is behind you. Eat nutrient-dense foods, drink plenty of water, get in a quick workout or go on a walk, read a book, watch some netflix, etc.  Do you see what the difference is between your average day and the day after indulging? Absolutely nothing. It is balance. It may take some time to be compassionate with yourself and kick the guilt out, but it can and will happen.  You can train yourself to have balance with everything in life, not just your nutrition. Stay tuned for future posts on how to balance other things in life.

My challenge to you this summer is to try and find that balance that brings you both happiness and health.  Do the things you enjoy doing and leave the guilt behind. You only have one life to live. If you need some help, our nutrition coaches at Core Health Chiropractic are here for you.  Please contact us at nutrition@uptowncore.com

Be well,

Coach Janna

Prehab for Runners

Spring Into Running

By Daniel Hounjet, Intern, Core Health

As the snow melts and weather turns people are eager to get outside and start running.Because of the climate we live in many people either choose not to run in the winter or they run indoor on a treadmill. So, for the most part individuals who start running are not taking the necessary steps to prepare their bodies for the increased strain on the body and to prevent chronic injuries that come with an increased volume of running. The most common overuse and altered mechanics injuries that seem to plague runners include low back pain, shin splints, Iliotibial band (IT) syndrome, patellofemoral pain syndrome (runners knee) and plantar fasciitis.  I will provide you with a few recommendations to help prevent some of these issues.

The snow has melted, the streets are dry, the trees are blooming and you’re ready to get your running on… But wait, what is the first thing you should do before exercising? Warm up?! You’re absolutely right. A quick 5-minute warm up will go a long way in injury prevention. When we talk about warming up, we don’t want to go and do static stretches. Instead we want to increase blood flow to the body by increasing our heartrate and go through similar motions as when we’re running. Here are a few exercises that will help warm up properly.

-Butt kickers

-High knees

-Heel walk/Toe walk

-Lunges

 

Warmup

Each exercise should be done for 20-30 feet, 1-2 times. Once we’ve gone through these exercises it’s a good idea to do 2-3 short sprints to really get your HR up. Now that you’re ready to hit the road be sure that your starting with a distance and pace that is significantly below what you ended the previous season. Our bodies are highly adaptable to stresses placed upon it, so it important for injury prevention to slowly build back up to where you where the previous season. By slowly increasing our duration and intensity we are allowing our bodies to adapt to the stresses placed on our body, from the increased strain on our joint, our tendons and even to regain our oxygen capacity.

Cool Down

Our post run recovery is just as important as our preparation and the run itself. That is why there 3 aspects should be incorporated post run. First off, we want to slowly bring out heart-rate down. It may be difficult to do with our busy lives, but having a proper cool down will prevent blood from pooling in our extremities and the unwanted potential for dizziness and or loss of consciousness. Cooling down will also help flush out the metabolite (lactic acid) build up in your legs. Try walking or even a low intensity dynamic stretch will be great to slowly bring that HR back down. Once you’ve cooled down we want to stretch and or roll (foam roller, lacrosse ball etc.) the area that worked the most during the run; calves, lumbar musculature, hip flexors and gluteus maximus and medius. Here are a few stretches to consider.

-Pigeons stretch

-Lunge stretch

-standing calf stretch

-Hamstring stretch

-Stiff leg good mornings

 

Remember that these stretches and rolling these areas are for preventative measures and may not be the right stretches if you have altered body mechanics or are injured. If you suspect you have altered mechanics, (loss of mobility of a joint, hypermobility/ instability and/or loss of motor control) a good general tip to know, if there is an underlying issue and the pain or stiffness is only on one side of the body there is likely something that isn’t working the way it should. If you think you may have a compensation or would like to be evaluated consider seeking professional advice from a chiropractor or Physical therapist.

Advances in Functional Training Excerpt

 

Refueling

Lastly, we want to ensure we are refueling and replenishing lost nutrients. If you are running long distances with a duration greater than 90 minutes at moderate intensity it’s important to replenish our glycogen stores as they will be depleted after an intense distance run. That being said a balanced refuel is essential, consider 4:2:1 ratio of carbohydrates: protein: fat. We want to consume the carbohydrates to restore glycogen levels (glycogen is the muscles energy source for sustained activity). Protein to repair any damage to the muscle due to the increased intensity and lastly fats, which will slow digestion and allow for less of a blood sugar spike post workout. We also want to replenish any fluid losses. Water and a good electrolyte drink will go a long way in minimizing stiffness and soreness. If you are running for a shorter duration under 90 minutes, you are likely not depleting your glycogen stores. Therefore, rehydration and your regular diet will suffice. Research suggests that it is a myth that we need to consume protein within an hour post exercise, and that a balanced meal prior to activity will carry you through your run and even into your recovery. https://jcdfitness.com/2016/09/should-you-eat-fat-in-your-post-workout-meal/

The Journey of Fitness

In the constant pursuit of the fad of the week we find ourselves chasing a mythical magic pill, the path of least resistance, one that will give you the desired aesthetic and performance that we see on Instagram, T.V., or in magazines. Or maybe you’re pursuing fitness because you love the way it makes you feel, you remember a time when you felt more alive and are desperate to get back there.

Sometimes this sparks something inside you, drives you to want to do more, achieve more, be the best version of yourself, you find your groove and don’t look back. Other times the promises of your well intentioned endeavor falls short and it’s back to the drawing board.

Fitness is a journey, one that is never mastered nor completed. It is an evolving part of your internal fabric driven by variables that change with the world around you. The worst thing you can do is give up on yourself and fill your subconscious with doubt on whether or not you’ll ever find something that suits you.

Sit down and define your ‘why’. Without an intrinsic drive to push you past the points of resistance you leave yourself vulnerable to failure. It has to come from you and it has to hold value with your current set of priorities, without that it is simply another short term solution to a long term dilemma. Align your drive with the intended stimulus and outcome of the given fitness program, if it initially makes you uncomfortable- good! Comfortable is what got you where you’re at, you have to trust yourself and your intuitive nature to what you know you want. Keep putting yourself out there and know that you can achieve what you may think just isn’t meant for you.

Once you’ve set yourself on this path be prepared to work hard and commit to the process as there is always work to do and areas of your fitness you can continue to improve upon. Be ready to reevaluate your ‘why’ as your circumstances and priorities change and adjust your approach accordingly.

Most of all remember to enjoy it. To steal a commonly used quote on happiness, fitness is the journey-not the destination.

-Dr. Crane

IMG_0001Photo by Alex Tubbs of Tubbs Photos

Should I be counting my macros?

Personalized nutrition and macro counting

One of the latest trends in the health and fitness industry is to manage food intake by keeping track of macronutrients, i.e. the amounts of protein, carbohydrate and fats that are consumed in a day.  While there are many benefits to precise measurement of food, it can also be time consuming and hard to implement long term.  If you have been thinking about jumping on the bandwagon here are some questions to consider before making the jump to the next nutritional level.

  • Is the majority of your diet whole unprocessed foods?
  • Are you getting enough of your daily nutrient requirements from the foods you eat and not just from supplements?
  • Are the majority of your beverages non-caloric and non-alcoholic?
  • Are you staying hydrated enough to sustain your activity level and body size?
  • Do you have appetite awareness?
  • Are your eating habits consistent? i.e, skipping meals, eating until over – stuffed?
  • Are you getting enough physical activity? Too much?
  • Do you sleep at least 7-9 hours a night?
  • Can you prepare basic nutritious meals and recipes?
  • Do you shop efficiently for as high quality foods that you can afford?
  • Are you able to make time to plan and prepare a menu?
  • Do you have a supportive environment for nutritional changes?

While we are all human and not many of us are going to be accomplishing every single one of the tasks above, they are all individually great places to start dialing in our nutrition before beginning to count macronutrients. Once you have the majority of these habits in place, the next step then would be to consider weighing and measuring your food to help you achieve your nutrition goals.

Whether you are ready to take on macro counting or trying to just get the basics down a nutrition coach can be really helpful to guide you along the way. Take some time, think about your goals, and do some research on your options for nutrition coaching. Usually working one on one with a personalized coach is going to lead to the best results with least amount of frustration.

 

-Alye Deroma, Certified Precision Nutriton Coach

 

For inquires on our nutrition program please visit here or email alye@uptowncore.com

Wrist Pain: Is it my Forearm?

Walking into a crossfit gym for the first time can trigger a wide range of emotions. Excitement, anxiety and, potentially, mild regret as you stand there watching the current class splash in pools of their own sweat and release guttural noises while throwing heavy things in the air. You’re in too deep to leave, and so you make it through your first workout, exhausted yet invigorated. This is the typical story of the crossfit rookie. Regardless of fitness level, the beginner is new to many of the programmed movements and, in turn, will be adding many stresses to their body that have never been experienced before. Not only are the movements new, but so are the body aches and pains that accompany them. Wrist pain, shoulder impingement, IT band tightness, low back & upper trap pain are a few of the most common issues seen in the beginner WOD-er. In the following paragraphs, we will aim to explain more about the trials and tribulations of each of these issues and how you, a rookie or a seasoned vet, can work to prevent and treat them.

Wrist Pain

As a crossfit athlete, you are almost guaranteed an experience with some type of wrist pain. This could range from a mild ache post-workout to an uglier, chronic pain. Unfortunately, it’s the nature of the beast as the majority of functional movements performed in the crossfit setting require repetitive or prolonged wrist extension. Pushups, ring dips, front squats, cleans, thrusters, overhead squats, handstands. The list could go on. Performing these movements under load and in a fatigued state can push the joint into hyperextension and increase the potential for ligament sprains, muscle strains and cartilage tears. These are more of the severe injuries you could encounter, and they are actually located at the wrist joint. However, the type of pain that most people experience in their wrists is actually referred pain from the forearm. If you thought the list of exercises that put the wrist into loaded extension was long, start thinking of all the times you are required to grip something during a typical 60 minute crossfit class. Yeah. Almost the entire time. Holding on to a bar, a weight, a rope, a rowing handle. Cue Popeye forearms. Even if you don’t leave the box unable to grip your blender bottle and car keys, the repetitive use of these muscles class after class, without any stretching or treatment, is enough to elicit wrist pain. For the most part, people neglect caring for their forearms not because they’re lazy, but because they don’t even realize their forearm muscles are sore until a practitioner digs into them with a thumb or soft tissue tool. It’s pretty common to think that if a joint hurts, then the problem must be there! Often, it’s not, and this is especially true with wrist pain. At least once a week, be sure to show your forearms some love in at least one of the ways listed below.

Here are some ways to keep the forearms & wrists happy:

  • Wear wrist wraps! These are a low cost way to provide support to the joint & prevent wrist hyperextension
  • Strengthen the wrists by improving grip strength. Farmer carries, pinch grip weight carries, loaded barbell holds, and timed hangs from pull-up bar are all great ways to do this.
  • Stretch & roll-out the forearm compartments with a barbell after workouts
  • Have a practitioner perform active release or instrument assisted soft tissue work on the forearms

If you can relate to any of the following statements, your wrist pain may be due to a more serious issue. You should seek out a medical provider for an exam and diagnosis.

  • Stabbing, sharp, shooting pain at the wrist or hand
  • Hearing a snap or pop, followed by pain
  • Pain that doesn’t go away regardless of treatment or position
  • Bruising at the wrist or hand
  • Weak grip holding lighter objects like a coffee cup, or inability to grip a heavier object

 

Shoulder Impingement

Crossfit is notorious for high-rep overhead movements such as push press, overhead squats and handstand pushups. This can be great for the guns, but not so great for a shoulder that isn’t being mobilized properly after class or outside of the gym. Repetitive overhead movements without preventative shoulder care can put you at risk for shoulder impingement syndrome, an issue that causes inflammation and micro-tearing of the rotator cuff muscles. The tendons in the shoulder can then be pinched under the acromion process of the scapula, causing pain and limiting range of motion. The first step in preventing this problem is to ensure you are properly warmed up and increasing the load on the shoulder at an appropriate pace. Addition of weight to movements should be done gradually, and when choosing a weight for the WOD, a load that is suitable to your skill level should be used. If you’re not sure what you should use, ask your coach. At the same time, listen to your body, and if you begin to lose proper form or if movement becomes unstable, take a quick rest before continuing. The second way to prevent shoulder pain is to take care of them after class! Stretch & use a lacrosse ball on the muscles of the upper back, pecs and arms. Tightness in any of these regions can pull the shoulder out of ideal alignment. You should also work to strengthen the muscles of the rotator cuff to create resilience. Finally, see your chiropractor at least once a month to ensure your body is moving properly and have any soft tissue issues addressed.

  • Maintaining a proper, upright posture with shoulders back when sitting or working
  • Using proper technique when lifting or performing exercises
  • Strengthening the rotator cuff and upper back muscles
  • Stretching the anterior shoulder and chest, neck and back muscles
  • Regular chiropractic visits