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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

 

 

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

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

 

Resolve Chronic Sacroiliac (SI) Pain

It is generally understood (perhaps too well!) that chiropractors fix back pain (even though we do other things as well!) This is for good reason, chiropractic care can be a successful treatment for mechanical lower back pain, even the AMA recommends spinal manipulation before more invasive options are considered. More recently, spinal manipulation has been found to produce the best outcome when combined with exercise (vs exercise alone).

What is the sacroiliac joint (SI) and what is it’s significance? The Sacrum is the triangular shaped bone at the bottom of your spine. Initially, it is composed of 5 separate segments which will typically fuse later in life. The area where the last lumbar vertebrae (L5) meets the sacrum is known as the lumbosacral junction. This is known as a transitional segment as the articulation of joints changes. This change make the sacrum susceptible to injury. The Sacroiliac (SI) Joint is the articulation between the sacrum and the pelvis on either side. This joint acts a shock absorber, absorbing forces as you move. Surrounding the joint is many ligaments which makes movement of the SI joint minimal.

What causes SI Joint pain? Improper bio-mechanics of the spine and pelvis are a common cause of SI joint dysfunction. Tight hips and lower back muscles will pull on the joints and the ligaments irritating the area causing, hip, buttock, or lower back pain. Spinal manipulation in combination with specific exercise and stretching has been shown to be a very effective, long term solution to those suffering from chronic SI pain.

Not sure if you are experiencing SI Joint pain? Call or schedule online today and start healing.

Keep Moving.

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

(781) 460-0939

Eat These 3 Foods and Burn More Fat

Now that summer is approaching many of us are trying to slim down the waist line. The task of taking on a diet can be quite daunting. Who to listen to? Where to start? While there are many diet strategies (all of which are effective for someone but not everyone), sustainability has to be a priority. Consuming certain foods can increase your metabolism and burn more body fat, naturally.
So keep it simple, eat these 3 foods regularly to boost metabolism, burn fat, and eliminate harmful toxins!
1.) Broccoli Rabe- Broccoli Rabe is very high in phytonutrients which attack and eliminate free radicals in your body. This vegetable contains Sulforaphane which stimulates your fat cells and prevents conversion to adipose tissue!
2.) Wild Salmon- The key hear is wild caught. Wild caught salmon have the optimal ratio of Omega-3 fatty acids which improve insulin sensitivity and metabolism shrinking your waist line over-time.
3.) Coconut Oil- Coconut Oil contains a special type of fatty acid known as Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT). MCT’s have been shown to be beneficial in brain health and weight loss. Unlike other types of fats, MCT’s are absorbed into the liver and not broken down in the intestines so can be used directly for energy. Additionally, unlike olive oil, MCT’s can withstand higher temperatures without denaturing. Stick to Coconut Oil for cooking and Olive Oil for dressing.
Looking for some extra help with your own personal weight-loss plan? Click Here
Keep Moving.

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

3 Exercises Every CrossFit Athlete Should Be Doing

CrossFit has certainly become very popular in the recent years, and for good reason, it is a very time efficient way to build muscle and burn body fat! With fatigue however comes laxity in form. This can be a recipe for injury, but it doesn’t have to be.

The amount of mobility required to complete many of the movements is lacking in many athletes; especially beginners. These problems stem mainly from lifestyle. Many of us sit at a desk all day, or have jobs that have altered our posture. This rounded posture that many of us develop may lead to shoulder, hip, or lower back issues.

Though CrossFit does a fantastic job of targeting your “functional fitness” goals, muscle activation is lacking in many athletes which will lead to compensation, and eventually injury. Try these 3 exercises below that target key areas in the shoulders, back, and hips and stay injury free.

1.) Seated Rows- Due to the explosiveness of many moves, and the focus on the entire kinetic system, the rhomboids are one muscle that is often forgotten about. This muscle group in particular is responsible for scapular retraction. Scapular retraction must occur in over-head movements in order for the shoulder to move impingement free. An extremely affective way to strengthen and activate the rhomboids is through the seated row, with a focus on pinching the shoulder blades together.
2.) Face-Pulls– The rear-deltoids are another group that is responsible for good posture, pulling your shoulder blades back. These are often inhibited by over-active or tight upper traps.  Likewise, in order for the shoulder to stay healthy these must be firing and functioning appropriately.
3.) Planks- Do your knees cave or does your lower back round during your squat? Contrary to popular belief, just because you squat and deadlift does not mean you have a strong core. Planks are a fantastic core activation exercise that address’s the entire circumference of the core (abs, oblique’s, glutes, and lower back).
Give these exercises a try and keep the PR’s rolling!

 

 

Keep Moving.

 

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

(781) 460-0939

Find Relief From Back Pain While Building a Killer 6-Pack

Spring has finally sprung, and that means that bathing suit season is just around the corner. By this time many of you are second guessing that 2nd piece of pie on Christmas Day. With warmer weather, we also tend to become more active (many of us for the first time since fall). Not only does the extra body fat look bad, it wreaks havoc on your spine and muscles making you more susceptible to an injury.

The extra body weight tends to pulls your body forward, changing the curves in your spine and position of your muscles. With this change in posture it puts your spine in a “loaded” position (think of a car that is not aligned properly) adding unnecessary wear and tear to your body. A strong core is important for more than just aesthetics, it is responsible for supporting our upright posture, and providing us with flexibility and stability. When discussing effective core strengthing techniques it is important to note that we want to activate the entire core (abs, oblique’s, lower back muscles, pelvic floor, and the diaphragm). Try these exercises below and enjoy stronger, more appealing core!

Perform this routine 3x/week, 3 sets of 10 repetitions per exercise.

1.) Diaphragmatic Breathing– Lying on your back, knees bent, place on hand on your chest and one hand on your abdomen. Take a deep breathe in through your nose and focus on making the hand on you abdomen rise while limiting the rise in your chest (avoid chest breathing.)

2.) Pelvic Tilts- Begin lying on your back, knees bent. Place your hands under your lower back. Focus on pushing your back into your hands by contracting your abdomen, rocking your pelvis posteriorly.

3.) Planks- Begin face down, resting on elbows and toes (knees for beginners) maintain a level “neutral spine” by contracting your abdomen. Careful more to arch your back.

4.) Supine Leg Lifts- Lying on your back, legs straight, arms at side, slowly raise and lower legs careful not to allow your legs to touch the floor.

5.) Stability Ball Pull-In- Begin by lying on top of a stability ball, belly facing down. Slowly begin to walk your hands out until just your feet are on top of the stability ball. This will look like a push-up position with your legs resting on the ball. Slowly pull your feet toward your chest by contracting your abdomen.

Keep Moving.

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

(781) 460-0939

3 Exercises that Every Runner Should be Doing

Any avid runner will tell you they are always pushing themselves to hit a PR. The problem is, over-time the harder we push our bodies the more likely that they are to break down!

Since running is very linear some of the more common injuries that prevail are those of over-activity, or tendonitis. If you are not already doing so, you should and will need to include cross-training or weight training days if wish to continue to improve at a healthy pace. By working a few key problem areas you will not only increase your PR, you will decrease the likelihood of an injury. Try these 3 exercises below on your next cross-training day and enjoy a faster, healthier run.

1.The Scapular Retraction- Have you ever had anyone film you running a race or an event? If so, you undoubtedly noticed the change in posture from the begging of the race to the end. In the beginning you were likely chest up, head-up, torso engaged. As our bodies wear and our muscles get tired your shoulders will slowly begin to round forward pulling your head forward. This will not only increase the pressure in your spine, it will decrease the amount of blood and oxygen your body is able to transport to your lungs and brain. Posture is very important to running and gait! by engaging your rhomboids it will ensure better posture even when you are fatigued.

2. The Plank- Like upper body posture, lower body posture is equally important. Many runners tend to have over active hip-flexors and lower backs. This is usually always a compensation pattern for a weak core. The core muscles must contract during all phases of gait and running, ensuring a stable lower back and pelvis. Stability= healthy hips and lower back. Lumbopelvic instability in runners leads to injuires such as: runners knee, piriformis syndrome, and hip bursitis.  The plank is very effective at circumferential activation of the core (it works all of the muscles).

3. Foot Drills– It is our feet that take the brunt of the force when we are running. Even with proper fitting shoes, muscles become tight and often times inhibited leading to issues such as pronation. This will cause issues such as Achilles Tendonitis, or Plantar Fasciitis. Try these drills below to target the key muscles in your feet involved in running and gait.

Interested in learning more? Click Here for instructions on how to complete these exercises!

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

(781) 460-0939