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Quick Health Tips – April 2015

Exercise

Check out this recent article:

5 Tips to Maintaining Muscle Health

These 5 tips do what brushing your teeth does…but for your muscles.

Nutrition

Check out this article on the benefits of grass fed butter.

Grass-fed Butter is a Superfood for the Heart

The next time you are at Wegmans pick up Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter and give it a try.

Cooking

If you like pumpkin, then you’ll love this protein shake recipe from paleomg.com.

pumpkin gingerbread protein shake

Lifestyle/Random

Put a few tennis balls in socks and throw them in with your laundry to cut down on drying time. This is especially helpful with jeans and towels.

Assess your mobility

Find a mirror and lift your arms overhead. It should be easy to hold your biceps to your head (covering your ears) without shrugging your shoulder or having to force it. If this is hard to do or your biceps are not touching your head, then you are at higher risk of developing shoulder and neck pain. Make an appointment today before neck and shoulder pain slow you down this summer.

Muscle adhesion will limit this motion and cause pain. Watch the video below to learn more about muscle adhesion.

Top 5 Foam Rolling Mistakes

1. Only foam rolling AFTER exercise.

Foam rolling is a great way to warm up your body BEFORE exercise.  Foam rolling followed by a quick dynamic warm-up is a great way to prepare your body for movement. To learn how to foam roll and perform a dynamic warm-up click the following link: The 6 Characteristics of a Good Dynamic Warm-up by Eric Cressey. 

2. Rolling over the greater trochanter.

The greater trochanter is a bony prominence of the femur.  If you google it, you can see pictures of it.  If you run your hand down the side of your thigh, you will feel a bony bump at the top.  When you are rolling the side of your leg avoid rolling over that bump.  It can irritate the bursa that is over top of it.

3. Hyperextending low back.

The foam roller is a great way to mobilize your mid back (thoracic spine) into extension.  If you go to the 1:35 mark in the following video (Foam rolling Series) you can see how to perform this.  You will notice that he doesn’t go near the low back (lumbar spine) when performing this movement.  The low back and mid back work differently and hyperextending the low back can irritate it.

4. Using the foam roller on every muscle.

The foam roller works great for most muscles but it doesn’t work that great in the calf area. Try using a massage stick (The stick) instead.  Make sure the calf is relaxed in order to get the deep calf muscles as well.  Sit down lifting your knee straight toward the ceiling let your foot relax so it points toward the floor and relax as much as possible as you roll/massage your leg.

5. Using the foam roller to treat pain.

Foam rolling shouldn’t be used to treat pain. Foam rolling may reduce or eliminate your pain temporarily but ultimately it only delays you from getting the proper treatment.  Proper treatment involves removing adhesion, which the foam roller cannot do. To learn more about this topic click the following link: Can foam rolling remove adhesion?

If you are experiencing pain or have any questions regarding your pain, please click the button below.

No pain, no gain…..right?

Have you ever heard the saying, no pain, no gain?  This saying can be a good thing or a really bad thing.  For example, if a triathlete starts swimming after a long break, it is probably going to be a painful experience.  It’s hard to get oxygen, your arms are sore, and you are trying your hardest not to let your legs become a 60 pound anchor.  At first you have to push through the pain, and eventually it becomes easier. Pain in this case is a part of becoming better, stronger, and faster.  If that same triathlete has shoulder pain on his right side during the recovery portion of his stroke, then that’s a different story.  This is bad pain and indicates that the joint is not working correctly.  This pain would most likely be caused from adhesion in the rotator cuff muscles.  This will cause the joint to move incorrectly and create pain in the shoulder and down the arm.  Bad pain is your body’s way of saying STOP.  If you try to work though the pain and take anti-inflammatory medicine, it will only get worse.  The medicine will allow you to continue to move the joint wrong until something tears.  I like the saying, “No GOOD pain, no gain”.   If you are unsure if your pain is good or bad, please schedule an exam to find out.

Can you really “work through” the pain?

The short answer is maybe, but eventually it will catch up with you.  I have many patients that come in and say they can usually work through the pain but this time it will not go away.  This response indicates to me that they never actually worked through the pain.  Their body compensated by loading up another area.  Eventually there will be no other areas to compensate to and pain will result.  Most of my patients are between the ages of 30-55.  This is the common age range when the body runs out of areas to compensate to.  One of the most common under diagnosed sources of pain is muscle adhesion.  If you have a nagging injury that will not go away or you have been “working through” the pain, please call our office to schedule an exam.  This way you will know if adhesion is at the root of your pain.

Preventing Shoulder Pain: Installment 2

Avoid upright rows and never perform empty can exercises.

Both of these exercises create impingement in the shoulder.

The position of the arms causes the bones in your arm and shoulder blade to jam into the bursa and rotator cuff tendons. This can cause irritation, inflammation, and pain.

If you have to perform vertical rows, make sure you shrug your shoulders at the top.  The shrug will move the shoulder blade out of the way and decrease impingement.

The empty can exercise should never be performed. It has been shown that you will get better muscle activation without the injury risk if you perform the same type of exercise with the thumb pointed up.  So if you are doing the empty can exercise (thumbs pointed down) perform it with the thumbs up.

Preventing Shoulder Pain: Installment 1

5 quick tips to reduce injury during a car accident

This article will provide you with simple tips to reduce your chances of being injured during a car accident (especially rear end collisions).

1.  Always have your headrest properly adjusted. Ideally the top of your headrest should be level with the top of your head.

If your headrest is too low, your head will extend above and over the restraint, which then acts as fulcrum and increases your injury risk. When you are struck from behind, a 1-3 inch vertical rise in your head will occur. This can further bring your head up and over the headrest aggravating your neck.  Make sure the adjustable headrest is locked into position. When the head snaps back, it could make contact with the top of the headrest and may drive it down like a hammer drives a nail.  Unfortunately, headrests are designed for the 50% male (5’10”) population. Taller individuals should still adjust the headrest into the highest position.

2.  Keep the back of your head as close to the headrest as possible.

“Backset” is the distance from the back of your head to the front of the headrest. A starting backset greater than 2 inches decreases the ability of the head restraint to protect against neck injury. Studies have found that neck symptoms increased when the backset distance was more that 4 inches. Read more

To brace or not to brace for impact?

Now that you understand 5 quick tips to reduce injury during a car accident, what do you do if you look in your review mirror and you see another vehicle clearly not planning on stopping?  Should you brace for impact, tensing all of your muscles, or should you try to be as relaxed as possible?  Research shows that people who are aware of an impending collision and have time to brace for impact have better long-term outcomes and less injury.  So you should always brace for impact.  You have a lot of muscles in your neck that can protect the ligaments, discs, and nerves in your neck.  If you relax your muscles the ligaments, discs, and nerves will have to take a much larger percentage of the force and can become damaged.  It is much easier for muscles to heal then nerves, discs, or ligaments.

To prepare for a rear-end collision:

1.Brace your head against the headrest.  This reduces the distance between your head and the front of your headrest. The closer your head is to the headrest the better.

2. Always look forward and NEVER lean forward.  If you have your head turned at impact this increases your chance of injury.

3. Push your foot on the brake pedal and push your back squarely against the seat back.

4. Tense up like someone is going to punch you in the back with a 4000-pound car.

If you are involved in a car accident, it is important to be evaluated as soon as possible. Once more serious injuries like fracture, dislocation, or disc herniations are ruled out, it is important to have your neck and back evaluated by a Chiropractor.  Early treatment can reduce your chances of experiencing pain later down the road.