Archive:

Tags

134 Executive Drive, Lafayette, IN 47905, 765-448-6489

765-448-6489

Posts for: April, 2016

By Dr. Doug Williams
April 27, 2016
Tags: exercise   ergonomics   stretching  
If you are cruising the Internet looking for good stretches, you will find no shortage of options. But, are they all good? Is there an optimum stretch? Is there a best way to stretch? These are all good questions and I hope to answer them for you by the end of this post.

Is all stretching good for you? The answer to this question is no, not all stretching is good. Not all tissue needs to be stretched and not all tissue needs to be stretched all of the time. With that said, most stretches won't hurt you, but they may not be the best thing for you either. The science behind flexibility (the outcome of stretching) is varied and has conflicting data. However, there are some generally accepted axioms regarding stretching that I've listed below:
  • Focus on stretching after exercise as opposed to before. Generally, a slow warm-up is more beneficial for preparing your muscles for exercise, as stretching may place a joint at risk for injury.
  • Stretches held for longer than 10-12 minutes have the potential to permanently change the length of ligaments and muscles. In fact, this type of stretching has its own term called traction. We use traction in the office to alter posture - it is a valuable tool, but really needs professional oversight.
  • Because of the way our bodies are built to maximize certain movements and actions, there are fairly predictable patterns of muscles that tend towards tightness and others that tend towards weakness.
  • Much of the developed world has similar patterns of muscle shortening, which are usually secondary to the amount of sitting we do and the amount of moving we don't do.
Here at the office, I am always on the lookout for the biggest bang for the buck. For something to reach "Big Buck" status, it has to meet these three criteria:
  1. Cover issues that most people have.
  2. Be easily understood and reproduced.
  3. Be simple enough to do in two minutes or less.
The two stretches outlined below meet this criteria and we recommend them often. They will stretch a large number of the muscle groups that tend to become short because of our unique human frames, the amount of time we spend sitting in cars and soft furniture, and generally not moving enough throughout the day.

A few things to remember before you get started:
  1. If you are currently in a lot of pain ( 7+ on a scale of 0-10) or dealing with a new injury, then you need to talk to your chiropractor before engaging stretching as it may aggravate your condition.
  2. Stretching is not about how much you can get out of your body, but how much your body will give you. Stretching should feel like a pleasant pull and you should feel relaxed and more pliable afterwards. If performing the stretches is painful, then you are either pulling too hard or something else is wrong. Try dialing back the intensity - if that doesn't help, then contact us before continuing.
  3. You are not going to undo years of poor posture, injury or chronic pain with stretching once for 2 minutes. Stretching is like putting a little money in the bank with each paycheck; it may not look like much at first, but, over time, your investment grows! Add that to a good exercise, nutrition and supportive chiropractic program, and then you'll see progress!
Go ahead and give the following stretches a try. During the day, work on them once an hour, as long as you keep the above three points in mind. A really good time to stretch is in the shower under hot water - just don't slip on the soap! If you are trying to stretch right as you get out of bed, go slowly as our bodies are naturally stiff in the morning. These stretches would be great to incorporate after exercise as a cool down and after you have been sitting for awhile, like at a computer or while talking on a cell phone.


Remember: Eat Right, Move Right, and Think Right!

Doug Williams, D,C,
Care Chiropractic 
Lafayetette, Indiana
 
 
 

By Dr. Doug Williams
April 20, 2016
Tags: chiropractic medicine   relief   pain  

Next to neck and lower back pain, shoulder issues are one of the most common conditions people present for at our office. You can think of shoulder problems as existing on a timeline (pictured below):

Rarely do patients start out at the far end of the spectrum (rotator cuff tears). Most conditions are amendable to conservative treatment over a long period of time before surgery would be required. Except in cases of severe trauma, the majority of shoulder problems either start with or have a mal-positioned shoulder blade as the central problem.

The shoulder blade, or scapula, is a triangle-shaped bone that sits on the back side of the rib-cage and is connected to your collar bone. The upper arm bone, the humerus, butts up against the scapula to form your "shoulder socket." Surrounding the shoulder blade are several large muscles that hold the scapula to the rib-cage itself. Coming off of the scapula are four small muscles that attach to the humerus to keep it set in place when you are making large arm movements, like reaching or throwing. These small muscles are collectively known as your rotator cuff. Rotator cuff muscles are extremely efficient at doing their job (holding the humerus stable), as long as the shoulder blade is solidly locked in the correct position. It is only when the shoulder blade is either out of its normal resting position, or unstable, that things begin to go wrong.

The most common direction for the shoulder blade to mal-position is forward, which creates a rounded shoulder posture. As you can see, sitting can wreck the normal shoulder blade position! Cars, computers, soft furniture - all of it adds up and starts to shift the position of the shoulder blade. As the shoulder blade shifts, all of the rotator cuff muscles are pulled out of their normal resting position and apply tension abnormally on their attachment sites. Over time, this adds up to tears and arthritic spurs, and can often result in needing surgery. Unfortunately, if a surgery is performed to clean everything up, but the shoulder blade remains mal-positioned, the problem just continues.

The most common error in treating shoulder problems is attempting to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles first. Remember, the problem with the rotator cuff muscles usually only occurs late in the game and as a result of the mal-positioned shoulder blade. Attempting to strengthen these muscles before restoring the shoulder blade to its proper position can actually cause further damage.

The next mistake is attempting to strengthen the muscles that pull the shoulder blade backwards. The shoulder blade is a free-floating bone, which means it is anchored to the torso only by muscular attachment, not a ligament or joints. Thus, the shoulder blade reflects the posture of the rib cage. If the rib cage has an increased curve or is shifted back behind the pelvis, then the shoulder blades will flair and rotate forward secondarily to that posture. Just focusing on the shoulder blade, especially initially, is not very fruitful. Treatment needs to be directed first towards the rib cage posture.


An Effective Three-Step Protocol
to Correct a Majority of Shoulder Problems


Step 1: Determine if there is an increase in the curvature of the rib cage, or a rib cage shift behind the pelvis, and address this first. Typically, this requires a foam roller and/or a traction block.

Step 2: Relax the muscles that pull the shoulder blades up and forward (trapezius, levators and pectoral minors).

Step 3: Strengthen the muscles that pull the shoulder blades together and down (rhomboids, lower traps and infraspinatus).

After these three steps are addressed, then, if necessary, address the rotator cuff muscles.

 

If you, or someone you know, is having shoulder issues, come to our class on Shoulder Pain and Treatment on Monday, May 2nd at 6:30pm in our office (134 Executive Drive #3, Lafayette). We will be discussing the evaluation and treatment of shoulder conditions, and giving some practical home recommendations.

The class is free, but registration is necessary.
Call the office at 765-448-6489 to reserve a spot!


By Dr. Doug Williams
April 12, 2016
Tags: supplements   allergy   relief  
Over the last few weeks, Emily has posted some great blogs on how the food you eat can cause inflammation in the body and how inflammation can have devastating effects with respect to pain and disease. Last week, we covered some of the types of foods that can actually help to reduce inflammation. However, did you know that eating in ways that reduce inflammation in your body may also help reduce the effects of seasonal allergies? It can!

What exactly are allergies? Most of us may not be able to describe exactly what allergies are, but as the old adage goes: "I know it when I see it." In this case, the it is usually:
  • Itchy and watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Scratchy throat
  • Headache
  • Sinus pressure
A full scientific breakdown of what allergies are is beyond the scope of this newsletter and, truthfully, beyond the scope of this author! What you need to know (and probably already do) is that an allergy is a hyper-response to a non-threatening substance. For instance: flower pollen. For the most part, flower pollen does not contain any toxic chemicals, or dangerous/life-threatening bacteria or viruses. Yet, some people's heads blow up like a wet balloon when pollen is first emitted and others' don't. It is the second part of this statement that should get the gears moving: "OTHERS' DON'T." 

If you are like me, an allergy sufferer, then you should be thinking: YEAH, WHY THE HECK NOT! THAT IS TOTALLY NOT FAIR, I AM GOING THROUGH A BOX OF PUFFS A DAY AND THAT DUDE IS ROLLING IN THE GRASS WITH NO PROBLEM! Okay, maybe you are more mature than me, but you probably know what I mean.

Dr. Dan Murphy did a great review of an article published in the Annuals of Epidemiology on Seasonal Allergies (Rhino conjunctivitis) and Fatty Acid Intake. His summary is fairly technical, but you can read it here. The article looked at over 1000 people and how they ate. Dr. Murphy found a dose-based correlation between the consumers and what they consumed: the ones who consumed foods high in Fatty Acid Omega 6 had more allergy symptoms, meaning the more they ate, the worse allergy symptoms they experienced. Omega 6 Fatty Acids are found primarily in vegetable oil (corn, soy), which are a major ingredient in processed foods that have a shelf life. Think crackers, potato chips, store-bought cookies, and margarine, to name a few.

Another great review of foods that cause inflammation (and guilty by association increase allergies) is Dr. David Seaman's Deflaming Guidelines. In it, he outlines how grain plays a large role in dietary inflammation, along with some fairly simple strategies for how to eat to reduce inflammation in your diet.

I personally try to follow the guideline:
 
If it wasn't hunted or picked, don't eat it!
Hunting down Ben and Jerry's Double Chunk Ice Cream doesn't count!

It makes logical sense that if some foods increase inflammation in your body, others can decrease it, which has been found to be true. You can review last week's blog post on foods that fight inflammation.

Take It Home: If you want less allergy symptoms this year, eat a lot less pre-packaged and prepared foods, and eat a lot more lean meats, fresh fruit and vegetables. Remember, the relationship between your allergies and how you feel is a dose-based relationship. The worse you eat, the worse you feel; the better you eat, the better you will feel!
 
Until Next Time: Eat Right, Move Right and Think Right!

Doug Williams, D.C.
Care Chiropractic, Lafayette, Indiana

Photo Source: Google

Last week, we talked about the devastating effects that chronic inflammation can wreak on your body. Today, we are going to discuss what foods you can add to your diet to help battle inflammation and help you feel better all around!

According to Harvard Health Publications, here are a few examples of anti-inflammatory foods to include in your diet:

  • Tomatoes
  • Fruits (strawberries, blueberries, oranges and cherries)
  • Nuts (almonds, walnuts)
  • Olive oil
  • Green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale and collards)
  • Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines)

You can also add in herbs and spices to your food prep that pack an anti-inflammatory punch. Many of these herbs and spices contain a variety of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins that help maximize the nutrient density of your meals, according to Dr. Mercola.

Interestingly enough, in a recent study, researchers analyzed blood drawn from participants who consumed a small amount of a particular spice each day for how well the blood could dampen an induced inflammatory response in white blood cells, specifically ones damaged by oxidized cholesterol (commonly found in fried foods). These four spices were found to be significantly effective at suppressing the inflammatory response:

  • Cloves
  • Ginger
  • Rosemary
  • Turmeric

By adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet, you are lowering your risk of chronic health problems associated with obesity, diabetes, heart disease and arthritis, to name a few. Focus on a balanced diet with whole, minimally processed foods and you are well on your way to better health!

Photo Sources: Harvard Health Publications