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 […]
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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/
Blood Flow Restriction Training article by Core Health intern Daniel Hounjet What is blood flow restriction training (BFRT) you ask? BFRT is when you place a cuff similar to a blood pressure cuff around your arm or leg and perform certain exercises. Once the cuff […]
Chiropractic Treatment for Headaches and Neck Pain
At one time or another, everyone has experienced the unwelcome, throbbing pain of a headache. Some headaches may blindside you; there seems to be no explanation for their occurrence. Others come on gradually over the span of hours or days. The number of headache presentations is outweighed only by the number of causes. Due to the numerous potential triggers, it can often be difficult to narrow it down to the true culprit. Doing so, however, is the key to resolving headaches for the long term. Below, you will find descriptions of various headache triggers, some common and some lesser known, in addition to ways to combat and prevent their occurrence.
Subluxation/Misalignment of the Spine
Headaches and mechanical neck pain are the bread and butter of chiropractic. So many people suffer from chronic headaches that can be easily fixed through a series of adjustments. Often, the cause of neck pain and headaches is stress on the nervous system due to misalignment of the cervical vertebrae. When vertebrae move improperly, the mechanics of the entire head and neck are disrupted. This results in compensations in head position and movement, as well as an increase in muscle tone. Headaches are the culmination of this mechanical and postural dysfunction.
The Fix: Have a chiropractor check your spine and adjust any subluxations in the body. They can also perform manual therapy to any hypertonic musculature of the head and neck. Your chiropractor may also refer you for other therapies, including acupuncture or massage, as they see fit.
Stress & Muscle Tension
When stressed, people tend to hold their shoulders high and clench their jaws. All of this is done unconsciously, of course. Right now, be mindful of your shoulders. Try to lower them. If you can relax your shoulders and they drop, you were likely holding up without even realizing it. The same goes for clenching the jaw. Many people do this while they sleep, resulting in sustained tension in the jaw and temples. All of this upper back, neck and jaw tension leads to trigger points and the radiation of pain into different areas of the body, namely, the head and neck.
Though your upper body muscle tension may not be due to psychological stress, it can be due to the physical stressors of daily activity. Many people who work in jobs which require repetitive upper extremity motion will experience tension type headaches. Athletes involved in impact sports or completing high repetition exercises can also succumb to tension headaches.
The Fix: Identify the source of stress and create a plan to remove or decrease it. If this isn’t feasible, a plan to manage or relieve yourself of stress throughout or at the end of the day can be helpful. This might include taking mini breaks at work, meditation, exercise, baths or scheduling time out for yourself. Also, be mindful of tensing the shoulders and jaw, aiming to keep them relaxed as possible.
Mobility and recovery is key for the athlete. Using a lacrosse ball or roller after a workout, in combination with stretching, will offset tightness. Exercise is a huge stress to the body, make sure you are recovering sufficiently with nutrient dense meals and good sleep.
Allergies, Low Blood Sugar & Dehydration
Food and environmental allergies trigger an immune response in the body. The result of this immune response is systemic inflammation. This inflammatory response can often cause a headache. The body uses the headache as a warning sign to the body, indicating that something is wrong and a larger issue needs to be addressed.
If you’re attempting the new intermittent fasting trend or just forgot to eat a meal or two, you may feel a headache coming on. Fasting too long, dieting too hard or not eating enough can cause the blood sugar to enter a hypoglycaemic range. When the blood sugar gets too low, a headache can ensue. Keep your body hydrated, too! Low hydration and electrolyte levels are notorious for triggering headaches.
The Fix: Discovering the food that sets the body awry is not always easy. It can often require an elimination diet, in which foods that are traditionally more allergenic are removed for a period time to determine the body’s response without them. Allergy tests or panels can also be done to determine food allergies. If low blood sugar or dehydration is the culprit, get some healthy, nutritious food & water in your body and see if the headache subsides once the values have returned to a normal range.
Regardless of the trigger, at the end of the day you are still experiencing the pain of a headache, and you just want to be rid of it! Research supports the use of chiropractic for headache reduction and elimination. Go see one! It is the safest, most effective course of treatment and should be the first line of defence against headache symptoms. Your DC will evaluate your symptoms and spine and provide you with appropriate treatment and advice. You have nothing to lose except your nagging headache.
Low back Pain: Causes and Treatment Low back pain (LBP) is the most common musculoskeletal complaint in the US, and the condition most commonly treated in the chiropractic office. Though almost everyone has dealt with low back pain at some point in their lives, the […]
Upper Cross Syndrome & Trap Dominance Upper Cross Syndrome (UCS) is a group of symptoms that leads to muscle imbalances and pain the upper shoulders and neck. It is typically seen in people with poor, slumped posture and those who spend their days at desks […]
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
Shoulder Impingement Syndrome, a common cause for shoulder pain. Shoulder Impingement Syndrome, also known as Swimmer’s or Thrower’s shoulder, is a common over-use condition that occurs when the shoulder bursa or rotator cuff tendons become compressed within the shoulder joint. The shoulder joint is comprised […]