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 […]
Tag: physical therapy
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 […]
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 or looking down at their phones. It also becoming an increasingly common presentation in the Crossfit athlete.
UCS occurs as a result of forward head carriage, an increased thoracic kyphosis (hunchback), and consistently elevated shoulders that round forward. A head that is forward and flexed puts strain on sub-occipital muscles and upper traps, tightening and shortening them. This lengthens, and subsequently weakens the deep neck flexors. When the shoulders are rounded and slumped, the pecs become tight and the rhomboids and lower traps weaken. In the athlete, weakness in the rhomboids and rotator cuff muscles means the upper traps must compensate and fire every time the shoulder moves. Trap dominance may be especially noticeable when performing high rep cleans or snatches, as the aggressive shrug is facilitated by the trapezius.
UCS may manifest as pain in the shoulders, headaches, instability in overhead positions, numbness or tingling in the hands and/or weakened grip. Over time, it will cause postural changes that can put the body, especially the shoulders, at risk for injury. Muscles that are not working synergistically cause the joints they act on to become unstable as the imbalance in musculature pulls the joint out of optimal position. A joint that is not being stabilized correctly or moving in the proper plane will cause repetitive strain on the tissues and lead to complications in the form of impingement, rotator cuff strains, ligament sprains or dislocation of the shoulder.
To treat UCS, the tight, shortened muscles must be addressed first. Stretching, mobilizing and having manual therapy applied through the pecs, upper traps and sub-occipital muscles is a necessary first step. Close attention to posture is also imperative. Many people hold tension through the shoulders and are unconsciously holding them in an elevated position. Throughout the day, make note of shoulder position, then relax and lower them if necessary. Also be sure to pull the shoulder blades back. If you need a cue, think about squeezing them together or pinching your shirt between them. You should always think about this when setting up for a lift. Be sure to also keep the head level on the shoulders, not flexed forward. Think about making a double chin. This is the motion needed to pull the head upright. The final step is to strengthen the weak muscles. The following exercises are ideal for this:
- Scap Pull-Ups
- Y, T, I Raises
- Band Pull-Aparts
- Band Rows
IT Band Syndrome
Though it is typically an issue that plagues the endurance athlete, Iliotibial (IT) band syndrome is becoming more common in those that Crossfit. The IT band runs down the lateral side of the leg, from the hip to just below the knee. Due to its insertion near the knee, many people mistake IT band issues for lateral knee pain. The IT band functions to stabilize the knee. It is a very strong band of fascia, but faulty body mechanics combined with high repetition or high mileage can be extremely taxing on the tissue. This can lead to inflammation and swelling on the lateral aspect of the knee, and pain that can be felt up the length of the tissue, spreading has high as the hip. It may even cause a snapping noise when the knee is bent beyond 45 degrees.
Mechanically, the culprit is instability at the pelvis, knee, and/or foot. If just one of these structures is out of alignment, the knee and lower leg will rotate inwards and put increased strain on the IT band, increasing its contact with the bony structures of the knee joint. A flat or pronated foot can cause the knees to cave in. An unbalanced pelvis creates a leg length discrepancy, increasing the stress on one leg as the majority of load is shifted to that side. This can be due to a structural misalignment, or a weak gluteus medius, a dynamic stabilizer of the lower extremity. There isn’t one cause of IT band issues, so there isn’t just one solution. The underlying cause needs to be found, and addressed appropriately. Running shoes may need to be replaced or be supplemented with arch supports if you are an over pronator. The foot should also be adjusted to ensure the various bones that comprise it are aligned and functioning synergistically. The hips should also be assessed by your chiropractor to ensure proper alignment. The glute med can be muscle tested to determine whether or not it is inhibited. If this is the case, proper strengthening of the muscle should be implemented.
Regardless of the cause, if you are experiencing IT band pain or discomfort, you should address the issue immediately. Resting from activity, applying ice and consulting with your chiropractor are all imperative to resolving the issue.
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 […]
Anterior knee pain, often diagnosed as Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS), is a common complaint in the chiropractic office. This complaint is typically from runners and other endurance athletes who are overtraining, but can also be due to increased load on joints and repetitive impact from […]