Thursday, January 29, 2015

Advice to the Young Chiropractic Student

This is a pep talk for all the young chiropractic students out there.  Stuff I wish I had been told or had realized at an earlier time.

If you were like me, you went to chiro school because you had a great experience with a chiropractor and wanted to do the same for other people.  There was the bonus of being your own boss and not taking orders from someone.   You go to school and quickly realize, what is all this science stuff?  Histology, embryology, what the hell man.  This stuff is stupid.  Man teach me to move some bones around!

Your first year is crammed with classes you find useless.  You take them to learn stuff for a board exam.  The stuff on the board exam is so out there, the chances of you needing that information are few and far between.  What is the rate limiting step of the Krebs Cycle?  All you want to do is learn to move a bone.

So you join every stupid club imaginable.  2nd trimester students spending their free time setting up on people and learning about different techniques.   You feel like your falling behind because your buddy adjusted C2 before you and your other buddy is taking an extremity seminar.  Your still having trouble palpating C2 in your spare time.   Man will I ever move a bone?

By the time chiro school is finishing the science is behind you.  Your working on people and still worried your not going to be able to move bones well.  What if I can't move a bone and people are paying me?

During this period, you yourself are getting adjusted by every other person in school.  You probably are getting adjusted 3x a week.  If you didn't have a neck problem going into school, you have one now.

A funny thing happens from first day to graduation day though, the value of an adjustment goes down in your thought process.  You get it for free, constantly.  It is being devalued.  Don't let it get devalued to you.  A proper adjustment when needed is still a powerful tool.  It is worth paying for.

You graduate school and wonder if your good enough to start a business.  Will people really pay me to work on them?  How does this insurance stuff work?  What if no one shows up?

You decide to take an associate job.  You will make 30,000 dollars working 45 hours a week, making your employer 100,000 dollars.  Don't take an associateship.  Don't be fooled about the 25% bonus after you see 100,000 of net income.  Don't take an associateship.  But, there are two reasons to take one, you don't know if you like the city and want to see if you like living there.  Reason two, the guy you would be working for is a great teacher and you will leave or stay having learned a lot of stuff.

Learning.  School is all backwards.  They should teach you how to adjust from day one.  That is all you care about anyways.  Bring the science later on.  When you care about why things are working.

Don't worry about grades,  A's or C's.  Pass your boards, but learn your craft.  Learn.  Invest in your learning constantly.   You may not have a lot of money, but their are so many free things out there now that it is not an excuse to not be learning.

Having your own business isn't easy.  You are often the marketer, the biller, the scheduler, the janitor and insurance rep all rolled into one.  You have to hustle to meet people.  Sitting in your office hoping people show up generally doesn't work.  There is no security in owning your own business.  Hence, the associateship path many take, but there is freedom.  Don't trade your freedom for security.  Two years down the rode you will be like, why am I still here.  It is scary opening your own business, but nothing great was ever created without overcoming fear.

Give people your best.  Have great intention.  You got into chiropractic to help people.  Not sell them a health plan. Speaking of selling a health plan, don't get involved with those chiropractic business advisors.  Why pay someone 600-1000 dollars a month to tell you your worth it, go ahead and charge 3-4 grand for insurance plan.  Come on man.   Would you want your mom treated that way?

Get a great accountant.  Let them do the taxes and tell you what to save and when to pay.

Keep your overhead ridiculously low.  No one cares if you have the latest gadgetry.  If your table has more bells and whistles then your car you have a problem.  Chiro means, by hand.  Get good with your hands.  At the end of the day, realize this, with a small room and a simple table I can help people and practice my craft.   The rest is just frosting.  No one stays for the frosting.

If you are bored you are doing it wrong.  Don't be a widget guy.  You invested to much time and money to become a widget guy.  Anyone can screw a screw into the widget.  Everyone is unique, develop your tool box so that not everyone gets the same treatment.

Develop your treatment philosophy.  This is much different then a "treatment plan."  The philosophy should be what you want to accomplish with everyone that steps into your doors for help and how you go about evaluating that.  Have a system.

Enjoy your time in school.  It goes fast.  Learn as much as you can about as many different things as you can.  When you start your own place, try not to worry about the patients you don't have, create the best possible interaction with the patients you do have.  Be a problem solver.  It never gets old and never goes out of style.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Restoring Occipital Glide

One of the main things I see common with neck pain and lack of movement in the neck is the loss of occipital glide in the cervical spine.  If we view the Occiput as the top, C1 is a circular ring of bone that sits underneath.  When there is no longer free motion of flexion, extension, rotation and lateral bending, motion has been compromised.

The ability to have the combination of these movements becomes apparent when you passively move the occiput back and forth.  There is often a restricted side and loss of flexion is the norm now with staring at computer screens and smart phones for hours a day.

When true motion becomes restricted we start to have to much rotation at segments below.  This can create muscular attachments at these segments to become tense.  Think levator scapulae and scalenes.

Restoring Occipital glide in many instances neurologically relaxes these muscles.

For the person being treated, working on keeping flexion in the occiput becomes something that should be focused on.  Picture a string that is being pulled straight up from the top of your head with a very slight chin tuck.  After you hold that position for a few minutes, keep that tall spine and slightly rotate about 20 degrees back and forth.

Occipital freedom plays a big role in how the cervical spine moves.  Address it.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Learning to Eat Color for Your Mitochondria and Brain

These are some of my notes from a lecture from Dr. Deanna Minich, Phd.  "Brain Nutrition and Mitochondrial Health."

Foods have energy that we use.  Healthier foods give more.  Eating sub quality food will lead to premature aging.  These are the signs.
1.  Inflammation.  Any type is considered aging.  New term, infla-aging.  Many times undetected.
2.  Pain.  Inflammation has to be present for there to be pain.
3.  Not able to eat foods you used to be able to.
4.  Lack of energy.
5.  Muscle mass loss.
6.  Muddled thinking and lack of concentration.
7.  Worsening eyesight.
8. Loss of elasticity of tone in the skin.
9. Graying, lackluster hair.

Put a lot of focus on eating "Color."  Most people have a phytonutrient gap.  It's not all about the macronutrients.
69% fall short in GREEN
78% fall short in RED
86% fall short in Purple/Blue
79% fall short in YELLOW/ORANGE
The average person consumes only 3.6 servings of fruits and veggies per day.


Phytonutrients have physiological location and specificity and have both structure and function. For example, Lutein for the macula and vision.  Anthocyanin's for brain and cognition.
Phytonutrients communicate messages to cell networks.  They protect the brain with antioxidants.

It's not all about the Carbs/Fats and Protein.  Focus on getting quality/diverse/frequent color and most diets clean right up.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Fun Videos with Quality Information

Movement with Ido Portal.

Strong women doing Strong "men" lifting.

STRONGWOMEN from bammlondon on Vimeo.

Fungi kingdom is amazing.  Looking forward to learning more about this in 2015.

Friday, January 9, 2015

How to Keep Your Fascia Healthy

How To Have Healthy Fascia: Anatomy Trains Austra…:

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Breathing, Health and Headaches

I've taken two of the Postural Restoration Institute (PRI) seminars last year.  I really like some of the concepts that are covered and valued how they made me look at things at a different angle.  Each course has close to 100 different exercise and variance of a concept.  One of the exercises I continually use is blowing up a balloon.  It's a nice external cue for using your diaphragm and abdominal wall and creating a full exhale.

I'm continually surprised at how some people have the inability to actually blow up a balloon.  They haven't breathed properly in years.  They mouth breath.  Taking air in through the mouth is junk air.  It's the equivalent of eating junk food.  You can survive, but you will get sicker/weaker over the years.

One of the correlations I see with the inability to breath well is a propensity to headaches, whether of the migraine or tension related type.  Now, I'm at all saying learning to breath will get rid of migraine headaches.  Please don't read into that.  But, it's a been an interesting observation.  There has been a reduction of the severity and frequency because of better breathing though.

A few reasons for the potential improvement.

1.  Reduced tension throughout the scalene musculature.  There exists an anterior, middle and posterior scalene.  These are accessory breathing muscles and stabilizers.  When we shallow breath, read breath up, (take a breath in and shoulders raise towards your ears) these muscles get chronically tight.  Imagine doing a bad repetition of an exercise 20,000 times.  This tension can create a lot of compression on the brachial plexus underneath the scalene.  It can create stiffness in the front/side of the neck that makes movement much more difficult.

2.  Reduced oxygen consumption at a chronic capacity.  Never really read about the rate of decreased O2, but I rationalize that chronic decrease has to have a detrimental effect on tissue quality and well being.

3.  Rib rotation occurs with breathing.  Inhale has internal rotation, exhale has external rotation.  We breath in better then we breath out.  In the west we don't measure or teach a long exhale.  Because of this we have locked internally rotated ribs.  This can lead to ribs that jut towards the ceiling when laying on your back instead of pointing towards your pelvis.  Weaker anterior core strength which potentially can create more psoas tension.  Psoas tension has tremendous attachments into the diaphragm.  Now we start a negative feedback loop of tension and breathing.

Breathing ladder type exercises after you have established a diaphragmatic pattern are an excellent tool to cement this in.  My personal favorite are kettle bell swings.  Swing it, set it down and take one breath in and out.  2 swings, 2 breaths.  Work up to 10 and back down to 1.  You will be tempted to really grab some quick cheap air, resist this urge.  Only through the nose and out through the mouth.  Can make this how you recover between your different sets of exercises as well.

Commit to breathing well and see how your health improves.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Book Review: freestyle

I was somewhat skeptical when I had heard about the book "freestyle" by Carl Paoli.  I assumed it was just another book about some "crossfit" style stuff and would lack much substance.  I was wrong.  Freestyle is a very good breakdown of a few basic moves.

Carl builds the book on 4 basic movements.  The pistol, the handstand push up, the muscle up and the  burpee.   Where I think the book shines is several different progressions for each.  Some are very creative and I can't wait to try them out.  For example, the use of bands around the waist to take some bodyweight off as you proceed to attempt a handstand off paralette bars.

I believe the book "Overcoming Gravity"  does a little better job of breaking down some progressions for things like front levers better, but this has better visuals in terms of real human pictures.  The book is massive.  I think there is to much writing.  That may be more my "pet peeve" then anything though.  I just want the info.  A picture is worth a thousand words.  This book, you get the picture and the thousand words.

If your goal is to master one of these four moves or you want to be able to help someone achieve better movements in these 4 exercises, then it's worth your money.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Mushroom Power

Paul Stamets talk really blew me away.  I've always known that mushrooms are healthy for us.  Anti viral, anti microbial and anti bacterial.  The info at the end about its power against the flu, brings real interest that in the future this may indeed be a real flu solution.  This is pretty amazing talk.  Now, if there was only a way I liked eating mushrooms!  I've tried blending them up into shakes with some pretty dire outcomes.

Friday, January 2, 2015

What is an Athlete?

I'm a big believer that everyone at the heart of it can be an athlete.  Obviously, not everyone can be a great athlete, but everyone can use their body.  That is my definition of an athlete, "The ability to use the body you have been given for the physical task at hand."

Everyone has a different task perhaps in mind.  I always correct people when they tell me they are not athletic in my clinic.  Do you enjoy doing things with your body?  Running, walking, biking, playing with your kids...that is being an athlete.  You don't have to compete at a sport.  You don't have to break world records.

One of my favorite things is helping someone that never considered themselves to be an athlete, discover the love of doing something with their body.  Lot of times, I meet them after the fact.  They have discovered the enjoyment of pushing themselves physically.  (They pushed to hard, or didn't have a clue on training)

Helping them get back to doing what they have a new love for is very satisfying.

Part of the process is though is getting them to understand that this is part of being an athlete.  OVERCOMING.

It's great to line up for a race feeling perfect, having had perfect training, perfect weather.  This is few and far between though.  When the stars align as I say.

Most of them time, you have had to piece meal training.  Injuries, sickness, family, work stress all take a toll. Sometimes you line up with so much doubt about your physical self.  Will my knee hold up, will my calf make it, will that pesky low back keep quite?  It's to cold, it's to hot, it's to windy.

This is also part of being an athlete.  Dealing with the unknown.

Embrace it all.  Embrace the rehab.  Fighting to get back to doing what you love.  Doing boring and monotonous drills.  Resting.  How hard is it for some people to rest!  Rest takes discipline.  If all this is done correctly you can actually come back stronger, better.

You will never regret exploring your athletic side.  It will require a price.  But, that price is far cheaper then leaving that athletic side on the shelf, rusted and never used.

"A ship is safe in the harbor, but that is not what ships are made for."
William G.T. Shedd

This year I hope you explore your athletic side.