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 […]
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.
-Heel walk/Toe walk
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.
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.
-standing calf 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.
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/
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 […]
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.
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
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