Friday, April 29, 2011

10 Health and Fitness Rants

1. Keep hydrated. The more I read about fascia, the more I'm convinced that dehydrated tissue makes fascia "sticky" resulting in more adhesion's in muscular junctions.

2. Thoracic spine is more important then previously thought. I think it's the primary curve affected by gravity in life. When it begins to lock down or increase in kyphosis, it may play a roll in low back pain, midback pain, scapular pain, shoulder pain, and neck pain.

3. Raising your Vitamin D levels takes longer then I would have guessed.

4. This video isn't by any means much weight in the world of lifting. It's good for me though, as this is the amount I lifted before two set backs. Sometimes their mental, hurt my back a year ago, sometimes physical, took this out of my elbow and still doesn't feel quite right.

5. When I start seeing all the hip flexors being tight and dysfunctional (psoas, rectus femoris, TFL, sartorious) I see a lumbar instability in the l5,l4 levels.

6. If you don't learn to manage load and capacity, you will always be dealing with an injury. You have a work capacity, stay in it, stay healthy, apply a load, that falls under your work capacity, you will stay healthy and get better. Apply a load bigger then your capacity, you will dampen your ability to heal, or get hurt.

7. Whenever you hit a Personal Best in anything, shut it down and rest. It doesn't matter if it's a big lift, a running time or a special marker workout. If you take your body to a place it's never been before, it's highly stressful. Enjoy it, rest and then come back. If not, your risking injury.

8. If you work with patients or athletes with chronically tight erector spinae look at them standing. If they stay on their toes, the erectors will stay "on." Cue them to stand on midfoot and watch their erectors magically relax. Posture first, then therapy, or you and they are fighting a losing battle.

9. Everyday, I see more and more how the body is one piece. Today I adjusted a persons T9,10 area and was told, hey my thumb isn't numb anymore. That's some fun, cool stuff.

10. The stuff that got you here, isn't the stuff that's going to get you there. Let me explain. This drills/exercises ect…that got you to 400 deadlift or 18 minute 5k or 3 hour marathon, are not the the things that are going to get you stronger, faster or further. Re-read that. It's crucial to keep you healthy and attaining your goals. To do better, you have to do better.

Enjoy your weekend! Take some naps like Rocco

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

3 Cinder Block Workout

I love being able to work out in my own facility, Train Out Pain, but sometimes because of scheduling conflicts I end up in the garage like the old days. This is the 3 cinder block workout I came up with to show you that for less then 3 bucks you can do a lifting circuit to improve GPP or work capacity, plus, holding a cinder block is just cool.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Books, Dogs and Steven Kotler

 Steven Kotler, I believe, is one of the best authors out there.  He has written two books, both of which I thought were awesome reads.

I read his first a few years ago and have recommended it to numerous friends,  "West of Jesus: Surfing, Science and the Origins of Belief.

 I just finished his second book,  "A Small Furry Prayer:  Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life.    

 One of the reasons I really love his writing style is that through the book your reading you learn so much about so much.  He has this unique ability to draw comparisons from so many various sources from philosophy, psychology, religion, biology, chemistry and numerous other subjects, while keeping you interested with the theme of his writing.

 The latest book, A Small Fury Prayer, takes you on his journey of dog rescue.  

I don't think you have to be a dog person to enjoy the book, like I said previously, you learn about a lot, not just dogs.

If you love dogs though, you will whole heartedly love this book.  I love dogs.  If you've seen some of my video's you will see my dog Rocco in some of them, as he is one of my Saturday morning workout buddies.

My wife and I adopted him a few years back and he has been awesome!

So here are some cool scientifically proven health reasons for adopting a dog.

1.  They improve your mood.  A study was done with AIDS patients and those with dogs reported 50% less depression.

2.  They lower blood pressure better then ACE inhibitor drug prescriptions.  They control spikes in blood pressure from tension and stress better as well.

3.  They force you to exercise.  Dogs need a good walking.  You got an accountability partner now.

4.  Decrease loneliness.  A visit from a pet or dog in research involving nursing home residents. Those visited by a dog reported less feeling of loneliness then those visited by other humans!

5.  Boosts your immunity.  Petting a dog has been shown to increase Immunoglobulin A.

Here is a video of Steven Kotler running through his dog rescue land in New Mexico.  He calls it the Five Dog Workout.  He came up with it as a way for his rescues to learn to bond as a pack and get plenty of exercise to boot.

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href="">The Five Dog Workout from href="">Outside Magazine on href="">Vimeo.

If your interested in helping out or learning more.  Rancho de Rancho de Chihuahua.  All their rescues are special needs that were on the list for euthanasia.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Thoughts on my Blood Work

A few weeks ago I had my blood work done for the first time.  Here are the numbers.

Total Cholesterol  202
HDL  67
Triglycerides  64
LDL  122
VIT D  49

This makes my ratio of Total Cholesterol/HDL basically a 3.  Pretty solid.  I'm pretty happy with my HDL.  In the future I would like to specify to the clinic about the LDL.  It appears that there are two types of LDL, small and large.  The small appear to be more dense and dangerous.  Large are more "fluffy" and are not a big health concern.  The small appear to be more prevalent with high triglycerides and low HDL.

In my research it appears small are more sensitive to carbohydrates and large more sensitive to saturated fats.  Take away saturated fats and your small particles increase and LDL totals.  Take away carbs and your small LDL particles go down.

The one thing that did take me by surprise was my VIT D levels.  I had been supplementing with 5000 IU for about 2.5 months.  I was thinking I would be in high 50s low 60s, my goal.  This was one where I wished I had a baseline to know what I was at before testing.

On a side note,  the only thing written on my report from the doctor that read it was, total cholesterol outside of acceptable range.  LOL

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Treat Pain with White Willow Bark Safely

Every year there are to many complications even death from overuse and complications from NSAIDS.  Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs.  Ibuprofen is often called Vitamin I, by many of my patients.  I routinely hear, "I just pop some Vitamin I and that should take care of it?"

For the record, I'm not against NSAIDS.  I've taken them.  I do always tell people not to take them as preventative, (it causes more inflammation) and don't stay on them long.

Inflammation is a major problem though.  It needs to be addressed to get out of pain faster.  Lets look at some natural alternatives.  It turns out the ancients had some pretty cool knowledge.

I was reading that records indicate that White Willow Bark was used in Mesopotamia 6000 years ago!
In the 1800's the active ingredient in white willow bark was discovered and called salicin.  Chemically modified to salicylic acid, then acetyl salicylic acid, which we now call aspirin.

It has been shown now that willow bark when used to control acute low back pain was more effective then placebo and as equal to COX-2 inhibitor or NSAID.   They were less expensive and less dangerous.

Studies show that 240mg of salicin, as compared to Vioxx as a pain reducer was just as effective with less side effects.  240 mg is about the same that is in a baby aspirin.

So my recommendation is to use white willow bark supplement from a reputable company as either part of your primary anti-inflammatory cocktail or to help limit your NSAID use.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Stabilizing the Thoraco-Lumbar Junction

One of the best pieces of advice I got in Chiropractic School was at a seminar about the foot.  Ironically, it had nothing to do with feet.  He said, "Get good at mobilizing and stabilizing the spine transitions."

What he meant was in the neck or cervical spine you have a lordosis.  The midback or thoracic spine has a kyphosis.  The lowback or lumbar spine has a lordosis.  Your sacrum has a kyphotic curve.  The junctions are referred to as C/T junction, T/L junction, and L/S junction.  All require certain amounts of movement and stability.

What I had been doing for the T/L (thoracolumbar junction) was to adjust the specific segment that needed more motion.  Check the Psoas at the attachments as it can attach all the way up to T12 and work a little with the diaphragm.  While this worked and would resolve issues, I found that it wouldn't last as long as I would have liked, especially with cyclists.

That extra kyphotic position of being on the cycle really stressed that T/L junction.  What I gleaned off a Stuart McGill talk was really target their Lat strength.  It really seems to work.

The Latissimus Dorsi has origins from T7-L5 and all into the sacrum facially, then insert into the humerus.  Having patients and athletes incorporate some direct Lat work through chin ups has kept the T/L junction in alignment and working well.

If you work with clients that have this problem, give this a shot.  If you know your T/L junction locks up and gets out of alignment, try a series of chin ups a few times a week and see if this helps correct it.  I believe it will.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday Motivation: Running & Reading (The Key to Life)

Will Smith is one of the most successful people you will ever hear speak. He offers two pieces of advice I agree with. Running (pushing yourself physically) and reading (acquiring knowledge) as keys to a successful life.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

One Simple Movement for Less Low Back Pain

Reading over some information a few weeks ago, I came across a valuable nugget of information from Dr. Craig Liebenson.  Dr. Liebenson is a chiropractor in L.A. that has written a few textbooks, including, "Rehabilitation of the Spine," one of the first text books I bought and read on my own.

Simply put, walking backwards facilitates the glute max.  Walking forwards, no real glute max involvement.  Lack of glutes plays a major role in mechanical low back pain.

Usually I try to get my patients to walk after being adjusted.  Lately, I've tried to get those with weak glutes to find a safe place to add some backwards walking.  Give it a shot.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ultra Marathoner Anton Kupricka Shares His Thoughts

Last Friday I had the chance to hear Ultra runner Anton Kupricka talk at a local shoe store here in Grand Rapids, MI.   He's New Balances new spokesman for their minimalist trail shoe.  Normally,  I would think it's more of a shoe propaganda, but actually Anton was heavily involved in the shoe creating process as it was the shoe he was trying to build on his own for over 7 years.

He showed different products he had bought and how he cut out certain aspects of the shoe to create a light minimalist shoe.  Pretty interesting to see his hand made, customized works.  It started with him having up to 11 stress fractures from high school through college and seeking a better way to run.

Here are some notes I took about his journey in running.  First, this guy is a stud in the world of ultra running.  Never lost an Ultra race.  I think he's competed in something like 11.  We're talking 8-20 hours of running.

He finds his inspiration in other endurance athletes, mostly alpine mountaineers.  Especially, guys like Ulie Steck that climb fast and without oxygen.  He says that's the way he want to run, fast and without much gear.

Some things I found interesting.  Doesn't carry much water.  He drinks from mountain streams and yes, he has gotten sick many times.

In a 100 mile race he will burn something like 15,000 calories.  He only eat about 40 GU gel packs.  So not a lot of fuel.  He says he's trained his body to work under these conditions.

Why he likes ultras, " It forces me to stay in the moment, you can't think in a 8 hour run, I have 6 more hours and You're done.  You will be defeated.  Stay in the moment."

"I like to try to find that flow, where each foot strike is perfect, that is essentially why I run."

He was asked if he got massages.  "No, it's not for me,  I have a chiropractor I see a lot that I trust with all my aches and keeping my body ready."  (shameless plug for chiropractic!)

He has a documentary out called "Indulgence, 1000 Miles Under the Colorado Sky."

Monday, April 4, 2011

Monday Motivation: The Race

You can not lose the vision of the results you're after. This athlete never for an instant thought about quitting. How often do we give up when their is a stumble or fall? If your vision is strong, falls and stumbles will propel you forward. This video will give you chills.