Healthy fascia, healthy human
Get to know your fascia, the layer of tissue that covers our muscles and extends from head to toe. But what is the purpose of this mysterious thin layer that literally covers the entirety of your body without interruption? Primarily made of collagen, the fascia’s main purpose is to attach and stabilize the muscles of your body while encasing and separating vital organs. Because it is thin and tensile, it is quite vulnerable to injury which causes it to tighten and contract and this can be truly painful.
Myofascial pain is not your friend
When the fascia is injured, a primary layer of defense is temporarily stymied: this can pressurize nerves, muscles and organs. And because of its interconnectivity, the pain doesn’t necessarily stop at the point of injury. The acute point where injury occurs may be where most pain is experienced, but myofascial pain is referred pain: it can pop up seemingly wherever.
Treating myofascial pain
Myofascial pain is undetectable using medical scanning techniques such as x-ray and MRI. Instead, it is most often determined by detecting trigger points in the muscle. We use manual modalities including:
- Myofascial release
- Active release
- Trigger point therapy
- Electrical stimulation
- Heat and ice
These treatments relax your muscles and improve circulation that improves the quantities of oxygen and nutrients that reach the injury. If you are suffering from fascial pain, or suspect that you might be, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today.
Your spine is always under pressure
Whether you like it or not, the most common positions we adopt during a given day are putting a disproportionate amount of pressure on our spines, and our lumbar vertebrae is where this pressure accumulates! Here are some statistics as measured by the pressure sustained by a lumbar intervertebral disc:
- Low pressure: lying on your back: ~25kg of pressure
- Medium pressure: standing upright: ~100kg of pressure
- High pressure: sitting: ~125kg of pressure
Sitting and standing are made worse by leaning forward and bearing weight, while forward head posture magnifies the pressure of the head on the spinal column by up to 10X for every inch it is held forward. So if there is one thing we can start doing for our spines right away, it is being aware!
For most people, chiropractic comes to mind only after an injury
This is a shame because chiropractic might have prevented that very same injury. While obviously, this is not a 100% guarantee, a body under regular chiropractic maintenance is more resistant to injury and quicker to recover after an injury occurs. Depending on your level of activity (or inactivity!) you can benefit from the preventative healthcare that chiropractic offers.
Cycling doesn’t have to cause you pain!
For many people, cycling begins when you are a kid cycling around the neighborhood, and for many people it will remain that way, less of a means of transportation and more of a fun way to spend a few hours. But for people who take it as an athletic pursuit, biking down mountainous trails or across miles of open road, cycling takes on a more integral role in their health routine. And that goes both ways: yes it builds muscle and cardiovascular health, but it is also fraught with challenges to the body.
What are the key dangers facing cyclists from a chiropractor’s perspective?
Injuries that cyclists will incur are chiefly due to the repetitive nature of the sport. Below you will find some of the top dangers facing cyclists besides injuries related to crashing!
- Overuse injuries: shock is absorbed through the hands and wrists and filters through to the shoulders; shock is also absorbed by the knees and all this jolting can impact your spine for the worse.
- Poor posture while biking: hunched over the handlebars is not a good look- and it is not good for you either! Your arms should share some of the weight, but not all of the burden. Make sure you consult with a cycling professional to determine and maintain good posture while cycling.
- An ill-fitting bike: a properly fitted bike will help you maintain good posture and mitigate shock and overuse injuries.
Cyclists benefit from chiropractic care
Chiropractic care is an important part of wellness no matter what you choose for sport. Chiropractic adjustment and regular attention to the muscles of the back can help to mitigate the pain inflicted on bikers, especially in the neck and shoulder region. If you are interested in feeling less pain, or preventing pain from interfering with your enjoyment of cycling, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today.
Starting an exercise plan may hurt at first
But keeping the upside in mind can help you overcome the roadblock of beginning. And once you get going, it only becomes easier- like a flywheel, your exercise routine will develop a momentum of its own, and the going will get easier. We believe that exercise is a cornerstone of wellness; in fact, exercise underpins everything we do during a chiropractic appointment. It strengthens the muscles that support the spine, improves core stability, maintains a range of motion, and improves circulation. And while the scientific community is still at a loss as to exactly how exercise creates the benefits that it does, the jury is unanimous in agreeing that exercising 150 minutes per week should be an essential health objective for all adults.
Let the blood flow, in the circulation sense
Blood is your life force- it is the transport network that brings oxygen and nutrients throughout the body and carries away waste products that create problems when they accumulate. So what happens when circulation is stunted? Problems naturally occur when normal blood flow is restricted, including:
- Fatigue; lack of physical or mental energy
- Numbness and tingling or swelling in the extremities
Conditions that cause restriction to blood flow include diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and blood clots. So what can we do to keep the blood flowing as it should?
Chronic nonspecific back pain is a horrific reality
And its presence in society is growing. Nonspecific low back pain, either acute or chronic, is defined as pain that has no detectable cause. As more people shift into the seats of white-collar office work, back pain is on the rise, peaking now as the second leading cause of workplace disability in the United States.
Sarcopenia is universal
Risk factors for sarcopenia include age, gender, and level of physical activity.
Everyone on earth is affected by the loss of muscle mass that comes with aging. But it is not the same for everyone, and only you get to decide how severe sarcopenia can really be. Sarcopenia sets in at some point during our thirties, and this beginning stage is perhaps the most crucial. Moderately active people may notice insignificant changes in muscle mass while inactive people may lose as much as 3-5 percent per year! This is a particularly bad precedent to set when you consider that sarcopenia only accelerates as we reach toward our sixties and seventies.
Today, watch out for when the Comfy Couch Turns Ugly
Your sofa should be a place for relaxation
The world will be watching the Kansas City Chiefs play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers today, and most will be watching from a reclined couch while stuffing their face with carbs. This ritual has become a tradition that hinges on becoming a national holiday in America as the Super Bowl grows in popularity every year. It makes sense too, because from the comfort of your home you can watch others mercilessly pound each other and be glad it is not your spine getting crunched play after play. But believe it or not, your spine is not entirely same either.
Sitting for long periods of time is hard on your spine
Studies show that sitting loads your spine with up to 3 times as much pressure as standing. What’s more, few sofas offer the support necessary to encourage you to maintain good posture. Most of us end up melting into the couch, which can have serious consequences for your spine if you spend a lot of time watching television or reading. Chances are, you are not going to stop sitting on the couch; instead, you can take proactive steps to relieve the stiffness that besets your back after sitting on the sofa for long periods of time.
Stretches to relieve back tension after a sofa session
- Spinal Twist: Sit up straight in a chair and slowly rotate your torso to one side, grabbing the back of the chair if you can. Only go until you feel a gentle stretch in the shoulder and oblique muscles of the core
- Spinal Elongation: stand straight up then bend at the waist and hang with your fingers reaching down toward your toes. Don’t go any further than the feeling of a gentle stretch. From here slowly raise back up to a standing-tall position then reach your hands up toward the sky and clasp them together. Hold for 3-5 seconds.
- Stretch the Neck: clasp your hands on the back of your head and lower your chin toward your chest until you feel a gentle stretch in the neck muscles.
- Stretch the hamstrings: the hamstrings are paired muscles which get tight and create a pull on the lower back, often resulting in uneven alignment of the spine. Sit on your butt with one leg tucked in criss-cross apple sauce and the other extended. Reach for the foot of the extended leg until you feel a slight stretch in the hamstring.
These stretches target the hamstrings, lower back, shoulders and neck, all the areas which are prone to tightness after a sofa session. Taking 3 minutes to stretch after an hour of sitting on the sofa can work wonders toward undoing the cycle of tension that eventually leads to back pain.
Please do yourself one more favor today when you get up during the halftime show, walk past the chips and soda and 7 layer dip. See if you can find a carrot to crunch on. And as you hear that crisp cool carrot shatter in your mouth, be glad that is not the spine of your favorite quarterback making the crunching noise on this great American holiday known as Super Bowl Sunday.
Core stability contributes to spinal longevity
Your core is so much more than a six-pack of abs. It is an entire network of muscles that stretches from the top to the bottom of your spine, lending support to the vertebrae which are constantly under pressure, keeping you upright, preventing injury, and enabling a full range of motion. But too many people let their core stability fall by the wayside as they remain sedentary for hours each day. The deep-lying muscles in the core are almost always activated and thus they become overly tight while the phasic muscles which lend support and strength to the spine become weak from underuse. The result is a destabilized core which leaves you at risk for injury, spinal degeneration, and back pain. It’s time to pull yourself out of this vicious cycle.
A game plan for improving core stability
The best way to start is by ensuring your spine is aligned so that all the other good work you will do will build from a solid foundation. The chiropractic adjustment restores the spine to proper alignment, reducing pain and improving range of motion in the process. From here, we focus on stretching the overly tight postural muscles while gently exercising the underused phasic muscles to restore balance to your core.
Core stability means a longer life
This is no exaggeration. Your spine is the conduit of the nervous system and the framework which keeps you upright. But its lifespan is finite and most likely shorter than your overall lifespan. Maintaining good spinal health keeps you upright and healthy as you approach old age, and it is an important way of preventing injury and dysfunction. If you are interested in improving your spinal health, the core is the best place to start and the time to start is now! We can help- if you are interested in improving core stability to improve spinal health, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today.