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Want to Improve Your Squat? Improve Your Ankle Mobility

A very common question that I get from many people is: “how do I increase the depth of my squat?” The squat is not only an extremely effective, full-body exercise (if done correctly) but also a valuable tool in determining dysfunction (tight muscles, imbalances, compensations, etc.)

In order to squat well ( and pain-free) several events need to occur:

On the descent (Lowering):

1.) Hips Flex

2.) Knees Flex

3.) Ankles Dorsiflex

On the Ascent (Standing back up):

1.) Hips Extend

2.) Knees Extend

3.) Ankles plantarflex

Obviously, the perfect squat is much more complicated than that. There are several muscles and muscle groups that can greatly affect your mobility in your squat. Some of the more common culprits are Tight hip flexors, hamstrings, and gastrocs.

For many of you reading this, you have likely already foam rolled and stretched your muscles into oblivion. Some of you may have noticed results while others are left scratching their head. It all starts at your feet. Your lack of ankle mobility could not only be the reason that your squat depth is lacking but also the reason that you have hamstring, calve, or lower back pain.

Your feet are your foundation in the squat, so it is necessary to address the mobility of the ankle, particularly dorsiflexion (think toes to shins.) Many of us have restrictions in mobility in our ankles (especially those who have suffered some serious sprains causing the ligaments to shorten.) Runners, swimmers, tennis players, gymnasts this is likely a problem!

Quick Test for Ankle mobility:

Shin to Toe Test:

-Place one foot about 4″ away from a wall.

-Assume a kneeling lunge position facing the wall

-With your front foot planted, lean forward trying to get your knee to touch the wall

Could you do this? If not you likely have ankle mobility issues!

Try This: This same test above can be used a drill to improve your mobility in your ankles. Simply lean forward bringing your knee to the wall until you feel a stretch, then back off. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps.

The most of effective solution to improving your ankle (and likely your hip mobility) is a combination of stretching, drills, and chiropractic.

 

If you are interested in improving your mobility give us a call or schedule online: (781) 460-0939

 

Keep moving.

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

(781) 460-0939

 

 

IT Band Pain? Think TFL

Nearly everyone that has participated in distance running, or functional training has likely experienced hip discomfort at some point either in training or competition. Many people are quick to blame their IT Band, and proceed to beat the tissue to a pulp via their foam roller, dog toys, spoons, baseballs.. I have heard it all.

While there is some benefit to rolling out the vastus lateralis (under the IT band), foam rolling is highly over rated. A bit about the anatomy: The IT Band, short for iliotibial band, is actually not a muscle but fascia. Actually, it’s one of the largest pieces of fascia in the body.The purpose of this fascial sling is to provide spring during gait , and it is also thought to help to stabilize the hip. The point is the IT band is not the enemy, in fact you may be abusing an already over worked piece of tissue.

What is the TFL? The TFL short for Tensor Fasciae Latae is a small triangular shaped muscle. If you have hip pain right now I would bet it is tender. To find the muscle, locate the pointy bone just anterior and lateral to your belt line, this is known as your ASIS. From this point work your way around your waist line and you may notice some tenderness between your hip flexors and glutes, this is where the TFL muscle lies. This muscle will insert on the IT band and serve to regulate length and tonus of the band. Along with aiding in hip flexion and internal rotation, the TFL muscle is also a hip stabilizer (think alignment on a car).

Why the TFL? If you follow along my blog you know that I believe many of our muscluloskeletal problems come from lifestyle, and poor or incorrect posture causing excessive wear and tear. The same can be true here, when we adapt to a sitting posture (if you commute an hour each way to work and then sit at a desk all day, this is you). The hip flexor’s become excessively tight as well as the lower back muscles. On the other end, the glutes and abs become neurologically inhibited due to the fact that they are not needed when you are sitting. The problem is, when you do run, or get active these muscles forget to do their job. Fortunately (and unfortunately) the TFL is already in a “hyperactive” state due to being shortened (contracted) all day. This means that this muscle is now doing all of the stabilizing work of the glutes. I like to use the analogy the TFL is like a VW trying to pull a an eighteen wheeler. It simply is not possible without harm.

So there you have it, now give that IT band a rest!

We have great success resolving hip pain for many people. Call or Contact Us online and see how we can help you: (781) 460-0939

Keep Moving.

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

Chiropractic or Physical Therapy?

Chiropractic or Physical Therapy? This is a question that many people seem to have when they are experiencing either acute or chronic pain. I was actually amazed at how many people do not really understand what either do exactly. This makes it kind of difficult to make an educated decision, right?

Lets start with a brief breakdown of both professions: Physical Therapists (Physiotherapists or PT’s) focus on conservative treatment of musculoskeletal conditions mainly through exercises, stretching, and mobilizations. With a physical therapist the patient will be taking an active role. You can expect to exercise, stretch, and mobilize different muscles during your appointment’s. The end goal is to not only eliminate or reduce pain, but allow the patient to develop the strength necessary to return work, sport, etc.

Chiropractic is a profession that focuses on diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal condition’s related to joints and muscles of the spine and extremities. Chiropractic Physician’s often do more manual therapy in the form of soft-tissue manipulation, joint manipulation (adjustment), and passive modalities. Patients assume more of a passive role making chiropractic care ideal for patients in acute pain (sprain/strain, disc herniation, whiplash, muscle strain/tear, etc.) Chiropractic Physicians focus more on “foundation” or joint movement than physical therapists, which tend to focus more on the muscle movement.

So which is right for you? BOTH! Depending on your stage of healing, you should be seeing both a chiropractor and a physical therapist. Typically, I will see a patient first, then once the joints and muscles are moving well enough they will be referred to PT in order to strengthen the muscles. A good therapist will recommend both therapies, as addressing both the muscles and the joints is the only way to completely correct a musculoskeletal problem.

Our office routinely works with medical doctors and physical therapists for the better patient outcomes. Our mission is to provide the best in evidence based chiropractic care. This often means working with orthopedists, medical doctors, and physical therapists to accomplish better, more permanent results. Most importantly, keeping patients doing what they love to do, and out of surgery!

If you are experiencing muscle or joint pain we can help! Call or schedule online: (781) 460-0939

Keep Moving.

What is Piriformis Syndrome?

One common complaint in just about every Chiropractic clinic is that of the dreaded “Sciatica.” Contrary to many people’s beliefs “Sciatica” is not a diagnosis but rather a symptom. Sciatica simply means that someone is experiencing pain or discomfort in their back and leg. The question that the clinician must answer is always; “why is this happening?” Scatica can be the result of a few different diagnoses. It could be the result of a nerve being pinched by a disc herniation, it could be the result of arthritis, or quite commonly it is caused by tight muscles in the back, glutes and hips.

So what is “Piriformis Syndrome” and what does it have to do with sciatica? One common cause of sciatic nerve impingement is the piriformis muscle. This muscle lies deep to your glutes and works as and external rotator of the leg. In majority of people the sciatic nerve passes underneath the piriformis muscle, however in some the nerve passes through the muscle making it more susceptible to impingment. Most patients presenting with this condition complain mainly of deep, dull gluteal pain. This can also be experienced as burning and tingling in the leg which is noted by many people depending on position. One of the main causes of piriformis symdrome is poor biomechanics of the pelvis and spine. This could be due to muscle imbalances, poor posture, or simply an increase in training intensity or change in terrain. When the muscle becomes too tight, it spasms compressing the neve causing you pain!

Runners pay attention, this is one of the most common problems runners present with in my office! Why? Running is very linear, relying mostly on the glute maximus for hip extension and the quads for hip flexion. This means that the glute maximus will often develop trigger points causing spasms which will compress the prirformis muscle.

A few tips for prevention:
•Your body is like a high peformance car, it is very in-tune and even the smallest deviation can cause major problems. See a Chiropractic Physician! Poor biomechanics will always lead to issues.
•Warm-up before your work-out’s with light jogging or walking.
•Stretch your hamstrings, calves, and glutes

Think you may have Piriformis Sydrome ? We have successfully helped many runner’s and athletes with this condition. Give us a call! (781) 460-0939

Keep Moving.

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

Back to School: Back Pack Safety Tips

It’s that time of the year again. Many kids and teens are gearing up to go back to school. For many people that will mean a decrease in activity compared to their summer schedule. This decrease in activity level and increase in time sitting can cause problems with the muscles and joints of the back and neck, throw in a back pack that is too heavy and not properly fitted and you will have one unhappy back! Follow these tips below and stay healthy and pain-free this school year.

1.) Do not buy a backpack that is too large. A medium sized back pack is recommended. This will help to avoid over-loading.

2.) Be sure that the your back pack is tight to the back. It should not hang more than a few inches below the waist line.

3.) Be sure to wear both shoulder straps. This will evenly distribute the weight throughout your body lessening the load on your back.

4.) Load the heaviest books into your backpack first, keeping them closest to your back.

5.) Have your posture checked by a Chiropractic Physician to ensure that your muscles and joints are functioning appropriately.

 

backpack

Have you had your posture checked? Call or schedule online today: (781) 460-0939

Keep Moving.

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

Friday Night Class – 160902

1. Pause Box Squats 8×3
Increasing

2. Front Squats 3×8 across

3. 5 Rounds of
1 Min assault bike sprint
15 Overhead walking lunges w/ plate

4. GHD Situps – 60 Total Reps

Shoulder Pain? Skip the Bench Press

The bench press is a great way to build strength and power. The problem is, even when done correctly a serious injury is possible and some in some cases likely. Read below to find out why.

The shoulder is one of two ball and socket joints in your body (your hip being the other). This means that the joint is capable of going through 360 degrees of motion (think of a golf ball sitting on a golf tee, that’s your shoulder.) If you can picture that analogy, you can see how the shoulder is an inherently unstable joint.

What does all this have to do with the bench press? Theoretically, If you have balanced, symmetrical shoulders you are less likely to have a serious injury. This does not include the majority, however. If you look around the room right now you will likely see many people slumped over their phones, shoulders and head forward. This rounded shoulder posture unfortunately represents many of us to some degree. With the shoulders pulled forward there is insufficient room for the rotator cuff muscles to pass under the acromion, leading to an impingment, or possible tear. Bio-mechanically, the barbell bench press fails from the get go. In a barbell bench press your shoulders are fixed in one plane (due to the bar), this means that your body cannot even compensate to avoid impingement. That pain you feel in your shoulder during the movement, don’t ignore it!

If you love to bench here are a few recommendations that will help you avoid injury, and actually get stronger!

  • Get adjusted! majority of us lack extension in our back, this motion is necessary to avoid shoulder impingement.
    Try starting out with some light, high repetition pectoral fly’s. This will allow for a more dynamic warm-up, stretching and activating the muscles.
    Stretch your pecs regularly
    Strengthen your back using exercises like the seated row.
    Avoid barbell shrugs

If you are experiencing shoulder pain don’t wait, call or schedule online now: (781) 460-0939

Keep Moving.

Fast, Effective, Sustainable Weight Loss

We have all been there, the previous months have some how slipped away and now you have only a few weeks before your beach vacation that you were hoping you would be 10 lbs lighter for. For many people this may mean a diet of chicken, lettuce, and water for the next few weeks in order to lean out. The problem is, the calories consumed in the aftermath will likely cause you to gain twice the weight back, not to mention wrecking your metabolism! This method is not sustainable and will lead to “yo-yo dieting.”

Looking to drop a few pounds fast, the healthy way? Try skipping breakfast. Yes, skip breakfast. For many years we have all been told that breakfast is the “most important meal of of the day”, however recent research has suggested skipping a meal such as breakfast could have many positive health benefits, including weight-loss! The idea is better known as “fasting.” Fasting is the idea that you do not consume any calories for a period of time. Research has indicated that fasting any where from 15-24 hours may actually jump start the metabolism, allowing your body to burn more body fat, naturally! Sounds good, right? If you are interested in learning more I have a more detailed post on intermittent fasting here.

If you are interested in learning more about Fasting, or would like to set-up a consultation to develop an eating plan that works for you, we can help. Click Here to schedule a consultation.

Keep Moving.

3 Surprising Condition’s Chiropractic Physicians Treat

I hear it every day; ” I thought all you guys work on is backs.” It is a very common misconception that all chiropractic is good for is back pain. While we are now the recommended treatment for chronic back pain by the AMA, chiropractic is effective in treating many other musculoskeletal disorders. Chiropractors are musculoskeletal specialists, trained in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal and nervous system disorders. Unlike medical doctors whom have a variety of different training, Chiropractic Physicians undergo 4 years of specific training in the anatomy of joints, muscles, and body biomechanics.

That being said, we have a plethora of knowledge on more that just the spine! Check out these 3 very common conditions below that Chiropractic commonly treats:

Headaches- Much research has been done on chiropractic care’s (spinal manipulation in particular) effect on headaches. Headaches can occur for many reasons, your Chiropractic Physician will complete an examination and determine the cause of your headaches before recommending treatment. Chiropractic care is specifically touted in the treatment ofTension (Cervicogenic) Headaches.It has been estimated that as many as 80% of common head aches are Tension (Cervicogenic) Headaches. These headaches are characterized by tightness in the neck, upper back, and head.Characteristically settling on the sides and front of the head after a long day.

Carpal Tunnel- Carpal Tunnel is a common condition that affects nerves in the neck, hands and wrist. In particular the median nerve is effected, which originates from the cervical spine. Often times, tight muscles, known as trigger points can be the cause of the characteristic hand and wrist pain. By freeing the joints and muscles around the nerve this may serve to lessen the pain and improve function.

Vertigo and Balance- Chiropractic Physicians are experts of the muscles and joints. Inside and around your joints aremechanoreceptors. These sensory receptors respond mechanical pressure (touch, vibration, etc.) and they are responsible for regulating proprioception. Proprioception allows you to know where your body is in space (balance!) There is much research that shows positive effects with spinal manipulation and increased proprioception and balance.

Call or schedule online today: (781) 460-0939

Keep Moving.

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

 

Chiropractic & Sports Injury Prevention

How many of you have a nagging injury that seems to flare-up from time to time but has not been bad enough to actually do something about it?

Statistically, many people are injured being active every year. Many of you likely have desk jobs, or jobs that cause you to be seated most of the day. You may of even noticed that after you began your post-college career you began to experience discomfort in your neck, back, or shoulders. If you thought there might be a correlation you are most likely correct, your job could actually be bad for your health!

It turns out, many people have postural issues that predispose them to sports injuries. In fact, while sports are often blamed for injuries, many times it is something that we are doing everyday that has likely triggered a problem allowing the injury to happen. If all of the muscles and joints were functioning properly this injury would of been much less likely to occur.

Chiropractic Physicians are experts of the musculoskeletal system. Much of what we do is try to restore “normalcy” to the body. With chronic postural changes impingments, tendonitis, and tears are more likely to occur. The longer these muscle and joint imbalances are left untreated, the more likely they are to lead to injury. If you are experiencing discomfort, don’t wait. Make the change now, prevent the likelihood of an injury. Your body will thank you!

Keep Moving.

Dr. James Ellis

(781) 460-0939

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com