Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Headaches? How healthy are your Shoulders?

I treat headaches day in and day out in our office here in Grand Rapids.  It is one of the chief complaints I get.  If you ever have had a bad one, you know how debilitating a nasty headache can be.  I have them describe the type of headache.  Dull, sharp, frontal, temporal, get worse or better as the day goes on, behind the eye, back of the neck...etc.   To the tee, there is always a little bit of fixation in the upper cervical spine.  The suboccipital muscles are hypertonic and one or sometimes both the suboccipital nerve and greater occipital nerve are entrapped in the fascia of the muscles.  I get great results getting rid of these headaches.  Most of the time it's instant relief.  The problem,  they would usually come back in a few weeks.  This didn't and still doesn't sit well with me.  

About a year ago, I started treating the shoulder and making sure the shoulder blade was moving correctly. All of a sudden the levator scapulae muscle wasn't getting so hypertonic.  The upper cervical spine was staying more stable, and the frequency of headaches dropped dramatically.  So if you suffer from headaches,  make sure your keeping your shoulders healthy.  Work to keep the lower trap/serratus combo strong and healthy.  Keep stretching the levator.  The headaches I can bet will drop in frequency.  

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Strongman Yoke Walk with Pendulum Weights in Grand Rapids

Here is some of the guys from the Grand Rapids Rugby 7's team, doing some Strongman Yoke walks using a safety squat bar with flexbands. The flexbands create a pendulum effect really stressing the core and stabilizers in the hip. Were outside the Train Out Pain Chiropractic Gym. The Guys did 5 trips, 50 meters down, 50 meters back. They had an 50 minutes of metabolic circuits on the inside and finished this with prowler pushes.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday Motivation from Michigan States Games in Grand Rapids

This past Saturday I was one of the medical volunteers at the Michigan State Games.  It was the first time Michigan has had a state games.  I was at the track and field and rugby venues in East Kentwood High School.  First, East Kentwood facilities are impressive.  It's like a small college.  Second, there was some really cool people roaming around.

The Track and Field had events from the 50 yard dash for the kids up to a 5K cross country race.  They had an Elite Mile, that was run in 4:04 seconds.  They had a 2 year old compete in the long jump, the youngest and a 74 year old compete in the 200 meter, the oldest.  It's pretty awesome watching a 74 year old rolling around the corner in the 200 meter.

A 64 year old athlete pole vaulted 9 feet.  A local track standout from East Kentwood, coming off an impressive performance at the Track National Championships in North Carolina, won the 100 meters in 10.96.

I'm sure with the kind of efforts put forth from all these athletes from all different ages and abilities, The Michigan State Games will continue to grow.  The take home message, keep competing, keep playing, regardless of ability.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chiropractic Neck adjustments and Shoulder Pain

Mobilizations of the asymptomatic cervical spine can reduce signs of shoulder dysfunction in adults.

That is the title of the article in pubmed that looked at people with shoulder pain, but absolutely no neck pain.  After the neck was examined and adjusted, the painful abduction arc of the shoulder was reexamined in different people and it was much better in terms of ROM and in a pain scale.  It goes to show that the body is one piece as Dan John is fond of saying.  Treat the body, not just the pain.

Here is the article from pubmed.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fire Hose Conditioning in Grand Rapids

You've seen battle ropes. This is an old fire hose put to great use. It's cheaper, heavier and requires more grip strength. The hose is perhaps one of the best conditioning tools I use. This is Ross VandenBerg, Grand Rapids 7 rugby player. The guys have been showing up every Monday night for some metabolic conditioning at Train Out Pain Chiropractic. They alternated this exercise with trap bar farmers walks. The hose was done for 5 sets 20 sec on, 40 sec rest.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday Motivation from local Grand Rapids Rider

It's pretty easy to make excuses. No time, don't feel good, they have better equipment, the list could easily go on and on. This past weekend Train Out Pain athlete Danielle Musto raced in the 100 mile MBR Lumberjack 100. Congratulations on finishing an impressive 3rd riding a single speed in the open division. Here is a RACE REPORT.

It shows you two things. A strong foundation and strong training can sometimes keep you in the game/race when an unfortunate virus doesn't allow you to be at your very best.  Determination can go a long way.

Are you laying a strong foundation?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Personal health and Performance Arsenal Checklist

Personal health and performance arsenal is an idea I've had where you learn to do the things to keep you healthy and performing at your peak.

No one will have the same tools, programs, stretches, ect...because non one has the exact same injuries or performance goals.  But, with that being said, there are a few things I think will help 80% of the people out there.   I'm basing this on my work with athletes and patients that come into my office and that I've treated and trained on a World Class level for the last few years.

Posture will dictate more then you think.  That slouch will come back to haunt you.  Quoting Casablanca, "maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life."
Rounded shoulders, forward neck, flexed lumbar all are going to create havoc at some point.

As Dan Gable said.  "If it's important, do it every day.  If its not important, don't do it."

1.  Keep working thoracic extension.
2.  Stretch Psoas, mobilize the Rectus Femoris.
3.  Stretch the pecs (major and minor)
4.  Activate the Glutes
5.  Stretch the Soleus
6.  Foam roll the Vastus lateralis/IT band/Ext. Hip Rotatores
7.  Do one anti-rotation ab exercise

Personal Tools Recommended
1.  12" foam roller.  Denser the better.  Spend 8 minutes with it.  Why 7?  10 might sound like to much, 5 is to little.  7 is precise.  My college football coach had meetings at 3:28pm.  No one ever walked in at 3:30.  Same principle.
2.  Lacrosse ball.  Gets a little more precise than the foam roller.
3.  8ft of rope.  Helping hand when it comes to stretching.
4.  Jump Stretch light band.  You can do so many different things with this.  Stretching to activation work, it's pretty versatile.

So there you go, 7 things I do daily, 4 things I always use to help with them.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kneeling Squat Glute Activation with Band

This is one of the best glute activation exercises I've tried. I actually felt like my glutes were going to cramp up. After just one set, my hips felt a lot lighter more free and my pelvis was in a more neutral state.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Adductor Pain Revisited

Looking at groin pain from a different view point can many times be helpful.  There are a lot of different mechanisms of injury that can cause pain/dysfunction in the adductor group.  One that is often ignored or quite simply not know about is the fascial role the rectus abdominis (RA) can play.

The fascial sheath of the adductor muscles is tensioned proximally by muscular fibers from the RA.  The RA inserts at the pubic crest.  A small medial strip of the tendon from both sides crosses in front of the symphysis pubis and fuses with the fascial sheath of the adductor muscles.

Thus, if you have some adhesions or shortening in the RA muscle, (think countless crunches) you can develop an adductor dysfunction.  An example is an athlete cutting where the adductor really has to stabilize.  When this happens your "core" muscles are really fighting hard to prevent motion, so if there is a tightening in the RA there will be an abnormal amount of tension pulling into the adductor.  Recipe for groin pain.  Another great reason and scenario to look at the whole picture, not just where you're feeling pain.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Alwyn Cosgrove once said the man who doesn't read is in the same situation as the man who doesn't know how to. Pretty powerful message. One of the greatest tools in advancing your education, experience in any field is to read. I've heard it said that if you read an hour a day for five years on one subject its the equivalent of getting a masters in the subject. After ten years, you will be considered an expert in your field.

Besides, reading is fun. I'm not happy if I don't have a few books on different subjects going on at once.

Here's my current reading list.

Athletes Elbow. I have a personal interest in this, as I'm 10 weeks out from surgery on my right elbow.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest. I just finished this, I really enjoyed this series. Pure fiction, but great for before bed. I've heard a few people say it's best to read fiction before going to bed.

Stones into Schools. Just started this one. Looking forward to this as it's somewhat a sequel to Three Cups of Tea. I got a chance to hear the author speak last month. Very cool.

Fascial Manipulation for Musculoskeletal Pain. Just plain interesting stuff.

The Genius in All of Us. Another diving into the subject of nature/nurture. Talent or Hard work. Circumstance or created opportunity. I'm always interested in this topic. Epigenetics is fascinating. Hint: You're in control more than you think!

Body by Science. Excellent science, makes you think long and hard about how much exercise you really need. I like stuff that challenges already established beliefs I carry. Makes you really think through, what you do, what you have athletes do. Always a good thing.

What are you reading????

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Stretching Pecs and Hip Ext. Rotatores for New Freedom

If this, then that, can get you in trouble as a practitioner. It closes your eyes to other possibilities. Recognizing patterns is very, very important, but always keep your mind open to what all can be happening with the body when evaluating a patient/athlete. So when someone asks me for "the best exercises" or "the best stretches" the answer does and always varies. The best exercise is the one that will strengthen the weak link. The best stretch is the muscle that will help fix the muscle causing YOUR dysfunction. But with that caveat, there are a few that can almost universally help.

Dr. Jeff Spencer DC, the chiropractor for Lance Armstrongs Tour de France wins thinks that one of the big keys to unlocking upper and lower body rigidity is to stretch the hip external rotatores and the pecs. There are numerous stretching techniques out there; PNF, contrax/relax, static, resisted(meridian), AIS (active isolated stretching) and plain static. When your by yourself, I like AIS, if you have a partner perhaps, resisted (Bob Cooley and Dana Tores made this famous) or PNF. There are some great youtube videos out there to pick and choose for these muscles, but give these two muscle groups a good working over for the next few weeks and see how you feel. If you feel freer, then keep them in your personal health and performance arsenal. Tomorrow I'll go over that arsenal and how to start one.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Jump Stretch Training in Grand Rapids

This is a jump stretch band squat. I really like these for metabolic finishers. 30 seconds of work, 30 seconds of rest. Repeat a few times. Try to get as many reps as possible in each set. Keep track and see in a few weeks if you can beat each set total.

The big blue bands add about 75-125lb of tension at the top depending on your height. Bands are a great tool as they train acceleration. You're moving as fast as possible. Where in a traditional squat without bands you have slow yourself down at the top. Bands allow you for very dynamic training. This exercise when done with more tension (more bands) less reps, can really improve the vertical jump.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Monday Motivation: Mike Tyson Training & Knockouts

Hope you had a great weekend, here is a clip of Mike Tyson. Regardless of your opinion, you can't deny for a few years, he was considered unbeatable. I've heard from a few trainers, that he would work till he puked and keep coming back for more. Evander Holyfield, renowned for his fitness, said Mike was the only one who had ever out worked him when they were coming up in the ranks as young teenagers.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Protein Shake Controversy

Wow, this was a real kicker. Part of me isn't surprised and part of me was like, are you kidding me! Consumer Reports just put out an article where it looked into the protein powders of a few protein supplements looking for harmful heavy metals. Alls I can say is wow. Heres the article for yourself. CONSUMER REPORT. Thanks to Nick Tumminello for the helpful article.

To think I've been slugging down these shakes since I was 15, sometimes 3-4 a day! I guess you really have to go local organic foods, if you truly don't want any surprises. I know I will not be ingesting these powders anymore. One customer lost.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Superman Push Ups w/Valslide in Grand Rapids

Here is another new exercise I've been playing around with. It definitely is a great core workout. I like it because unlike a plank, this is a core exercise with what I call a movement challenge. While no exercise is truly sport specific, this would be great for rock climbers. Looking at myself do the exercise, I think it can also be used as a bit of a diagnostic tool biomechanically. You can see what hip wants to open up and which one doesn't under a heavy load. Interesting!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Learning New Exercises & My Thoughts

Lately, there has been all kinds of research and books that have flooded the market about the plasticity of the brain. How you can indeed build new connections and synapses. One of the big ways to do this is to do something challenging where the brain really has to focus in. Some great examples of this are learning a new language or learning to play a musical instrument.

Physically I think there are some similar analogies that can be seen with learning new exercises. If you have been doing the old staples, (squats, deads, bench, dips, pull ups, push ups, curls, ect...) I believe your missing out. Don't get me wrong, they're old staples because they're great exercises, and should be foundational exercises of a great program. But, if that's all you are doing, you are missing out on some important attributes.

First, whenever you change something, even slight, such as your stance, you start to recruit muscles in a different way. This alone will lead to new soreness and growth. But that's not totally what I'm after.

Completely new exercises are what I'm talking about. Doing something that your first time trying you don't feel coordinated, you feel like you can't make your body do what you want it to do. Basically learning new movement patterns. I'm not talking about doing cleans off a swiss ball, where the danger out weighs the benefits, but trying out an exercise like a Reverse lunge with Valslide, or a TRX push up with one foot elevated.

As you learn to master the new exercise, your body creates muscle memory, your moving and stretching the fascia in new ways, your creating in my opinion a more athletic body. You're learning to coordinate new muscles, the mind body connection is further strengthened, and with all new research on fascia, potentially a list of other beneficial things.

So if you haven't felt a little foolish physically in awhile, pick a few new exercises that once learned will be a helpful supplemental lift for the old staples, your athletic ability will thank you.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

New Yoga Class Starting in Downtown Grand Rapids

Starting this Thursday night at 730 PM, Shaina Smith will be starting a yoga class in the loft of Train Out Pain Chiropractic. She will have additional classes, on Monday and Friday mornings at 730 AM. It's a drop in rate of 10 dollars. You can't beat that. Whether your after flexibility, stress relief or health and performance, come give this yoga class a shot, it will be a fun time.
Located at Train Out Pain Chiropractic, 1217 N. Monroe. Grand Rapids 49505. We're almost on the corner of Leonard and Monroe. See you there!