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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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 is placed on the arm or leg you pump the cuff up to the point where you are restricting 80% of the blood that is trying to return to the heart (venous blood flow), while allowing the blood to reach the area of treatment (arterial blood flow). The reason it only restricts flow returning to the heart is because veins that are being restricted are closer to the surface of the skin in comparison to the arteries, therefore the cuff only affects the vessels that are close to the surface of the skin.
BFRT allows individuals to exercise with 20-30% of their 1 repetition maximum (1RM) while going through a specified exercise. BFRT allows for significantly less strain on the joint while still achieving the benefits that you would see with traditional strength and mass gaining exercises.
The exact mechanism is yet to be determined, but personal testimonials and current research suggests that there is proof in the pudding. BFR can be utilized by a broad range of individuals some of which include athletes, weekend warriors, wounded soldiers and elderly. Some of the measured benefits include;
- Decreased recovery time post-surgery
- Decrease bone healing time and decrease in muscle loss when a limb is immobilized.
- Allows for a decreased strain on the joints and surrounding soft tissue while obtaining the benefit of heavy loads
- Increased athletic performance due to increased muscle activation and increased protein synthesis
BFR has shown a decreased recovery time from surgeries such as ACL replacement, patella tendon rupture or Achilles tendon reattachment. One of the big reasons for BFR benefit in individuals who are recovering post-operation is that they are able to begin rehab earlier and are able to regain their strength without heavy loads. BFRT has been turning heads and is now used by several NFL players, some of which include Adrian Peterson and Jadeveon Clowney.
With the increased research and success that BFR patients are seeing, it is no wonder it is quickly becoming a staple in many rehab and performance clinics
BFR is exceptionally safe and can be utilized by a broad range of individuals as previously mentioned. As BFR becomes more known and researched it will surely become clearer what the exact mechanism is that causes these benefits.
There are a few contraindications which include; deep vein thrombosis, pregnancy, varicose veins, high blood pressure or cardiac disease. If you have any of these conditions be sure to consult your physician or trained health care provider.
Schedule your blood flow restriction session online via the homepage
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 […]
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.
Deep Tissue Massage in conjunction with the Chiropractic adjustment Chiropractic and massage therapy work together simultaneously creating a synergistic effect resulting in much faster recovery time. Correction of one’s structure often occurs more easily and with less discomfort when both modalities are used together. The […]
Sitting properly to reduce back pain Neck and back pain due to posture is a growing problem. A vast majority of our patients present with symptoms that arise from cumulative stress placed on the body through poor ergonomics. Did you know that the average full-time […]
Before we get too far into the do’s and don’ts let’s get a better understanding of what bad posture is actually doing to your spine. As you progress through development from infancy to sitting, sitting to crawling, crawling to standing, and standing to walking- running- jumping- etc., you are changing the dynamic of how your body holds and distrubutes weight throughout each phase. In doing so, you form 3 primary curves of the spine. First is the lordodic cervical curve that would look like a reverse c-shape from the side, second the kyphotic thoracic spine, and finally the lordotic lumbar spine. Each curve serving a purpose for the overall stability of the spine and all the mechanisms that attach and rely upon this structure to function. This shape and form is very intentional as our bodies are much smarter innately than we give them credit. By forming this intentional shape, our weight is evenly distrubuted from our head down to our toes to transfer weight and force evenly from the spine to the extremities and allowing for the muscles, tendons, and ligments to peform their duties without becoming stressed. By changing any one of these shapes or curves in the spine, we thus alter the stress load throughout the entirety of the spine. So by losing that curve in your neck or flexing your head down looking at your phone, you’re implicating every function thereafter that relies upon the shape. Leading to tightness in the cervical flexor muscles (front of the neck) weakening and overusing the cervical extensors muscles in the back of the neck and upper shoulders which leads to stiffness, tension, pain, headaches, loss of mobility, and eventually structural breakdown or degeneration of the spine. This is happening at an alarming rate as patients are presenting at as early as 18-20 years of age with symptoms consistent with the breakdown that was just described. I’ve used the cervical spine as my example for the sake of simplicity but you could go through this process with each region of the spine and each region will be affected by the other once things begin to breakdown.
We all know technology is going no where and chances are we are going to spend more time sitting, in front of computer or phone than ever before. So make the changes now to avoid having to deal with the complications later.
Head and neck must remain neutral – eyes level to the horizon
Elbows low and in contact with the torso
Get up and move around! Take breaks, alternate with standing if you have the option.
Exercising consistently is the most beneficial pro active measure you can take against bad posture
Focus on strengthening the upper back and core musculature to most efficiently offset negative stress due to posture
Please let me know if you would like to go over any posture related questions or concerns on your next visit.