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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

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.

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

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

Chiropractic Treatment of Tendonitis

Tendonitis is defined as irritation and resulting inflammation of a muscle tendon; typically resulting from over-use. Some of the more common types of tendonitis experienced include: Tennis Elbow (pain in the later part of the elbow), Golfers Elbow (pain in medial portion of elbow), Supraspinatus or Rotator Cuff Tendonitis (pain on the top of the shoulder or neck), and Plantar Fasciitis (Most commonly characterized by heel pain.) Statistically, many people will experience tendonitis at some point in their life. Many physicians still advise “waiting it out”, and report that many cases pass. While this is partly true, what happens in chronic cases that do not seem to remit, or seem to flare-up more often? Many people are left with little to no solution to their problem.

A better approach to treatment of Tendonitis:

While many people seem to recover rather quickly with little to no intervention, if you find that you are someone who has been dealing with tendonitis off and on for quite some time there is a good chance your problem can become chronic. What does this mean exactly? Chronic inflammation of a tendon is characterized as Tendonosis; or chronic tendonitis that has lead to damage at a cellular level. When you have chronic inflammation in a tendon over-time it leads to micro-tears in the muscle. These micro-tears cause the body to trigger a healing response. In an effort to quickly heal the body will produce Type III collagen fibers to “patch” the irritated muscle. Type III collagen is lacking the tensile strength of healthy tissue; making the tendon weaker, and more likely to rupture. Additionally, cases where tendonitis seems to “come and go”  are more likely to become chronic and lead to a greater chance of a more serious injury.

IASTM (Instrument Assisted Soft-Tissue Mobilization) has been shown to promote healing and increase tensile strength of injured tendons and ligaments by promoting a healing response on a cellular level. By inceasing blood flow and fibroblast activity we can activate a healing response. Many people have even reported resolution of their tendonitis. IASTM in addition to stretching, spinal or extra-spinal manipulation, and specific rehabilitative exercise is an extremely effect, and cost-efficient solution.

Wondering if IASTM is right for you?  Click Here to schedule an appointment and start healing!

 

Keep Moving.

 

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

(781) 460-0939

3 Common Dietary Fallacy’s That Could Be Stalling Your Progress

In todays world of health and fitness it may seem like everyone is an expert. All you have to do is log on to your Facebook or Instagram and you are probably flooded with advertisements for “building your dream body”, or “the best weight-loss coach ever”. So where do you start? Who to trust?

Everyone’s body reacts differently. To think that because one diet worked for your friend or training partner does not necessarily mean that it will work for you. Below are 3 common fallacy’s that many people will fall prey too. Avoid these mistakes and enjoy better results!

1.) Cookie-Cutter Diets: If you spend a decent amount of time in the gym you probably know of at least one person who is a self-proclaimed expert thinking that they have found the “secret” to that six pack you have been searching for. If it sounds too good to be true; it likely is! Much of nutrition (coach or not) is trial and error. Avoid a “one size fits all” diet. When searching for a coach look for someone who is willing to listen, assess your indidivdual needs, and take your lifestyle in to consideration. Avoid advice from anyone who proclaims “my diet plan will work for everyone.” You will likely find that you will save yourself a lot of time, and money.

2.) The Only Way to Lose Weight is to Eliminate Fats and Carbs from Your Diet: This is surprisingly common misconception that many people have. Often times I find that people are actually eating too little. It is true that many people are carbohydrate sensitive, but to think that you can never eat carbs is absurd. There is a time and place for all macros. When constructing an eating plan that works for you, I always recommend starting on the higher end of your recommended calories. Figure out your protein and fat intake first; carbs should fill in the remainder of calories. Keep in mind that healthy fats are essential for life. Fat’s should not be dropped below 20% of your daily caloric intake for any extended amount of time. This could actually slow-down your metabolism stall progress!

3.) Don’t ever eat after 6pm: Many people will preach only consuming calories for the first half of the day, stopping eating after 6pm. While this is feasible with an intermittent fasting type diet (read about intermittent fasting Here); it is not recommended for all body types and typically is not something I recommend without guidance. It is not when we eat, but what we eat that makes all the difference. Some lean protein and healthy fats throughout the evening can actually increase your metabolism and supercharge your weight-loss and muscle gain!

Avoid these common misconceptions and you will be off to a great start!

Looking for some professional help constructing a plan that meets your needs? Click Here to schedule a consultation

Keep Moving.

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

Fix Your Posture- Part 4

If you have not been following a long I have been discussing the beginning stages of what some may consider as an epidemic; “postural syndrome.” I have now  addressed three very important groups of muscles that are necessary for proper postural alignment.  If you missed these posts simply click on the links to catch up (click here for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).

Continuing in our quest for great posture, today I will talk about an often over-looked sourced of rounded shoulders; the pectorals. The pectoral muscles are better known as the bench press muscles as they are responsible for adduction of the arms, and humerus. The pectoral group (composed of a major and a minor) also help to move the scapula anteriorly and inferiorly against the thoracic wall allowing for smooth motion. The pectoralis minor is of most concern as it directly attached to the scapula (shoulder) and ribs. This will serve as a perfect lever to pull those shoulder into a rounded position distorting the curves of your spine and placing abnormal stress on the muscles of the back, shoulder, and neck.

The pectoralis minor serves as a secondary breathing muscle that may be recruited in those that are deconditioned. The muscle lies in close proximity to the Thoracic Outlet, which is a small opening in your neck and shoulder where the nerves of your spine exit to innervate your limbs. When shortened this muscle may serve to close down that space creating an impingement on the nerves exiting the spine. This is commonly marked by tingling, numbness, discoloration, or coldness in the hands.  It is in your best interest in other words to be sure that this muscle is of adequate length and not causing any impingements!

Click Here to learn the #1 stretch for short, tight, pectorals!

 

Keep Moving.

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

Fix Your Posture- Part 3

If you have not been following a long I have been discussing the beginning stages of what some may consider as an epidemic; “postural syndrome.” So far we have addressed two very important groups of muscles that are necessary for proper postural alignment.  If you missed these posts simply click on the links to catch up (click here for Part 1, Part 2). It is important to not that these changes however do not just affect the head and neck but rather the entire spine. Moving down now to the mid-back we will begin to discuss the Rhomboids.

As discussed previously, many of us develop these postural changes due to our daily lifestyles. It is important to continue to stretch and strengthen these muscles, as many of our daily habits are fighting against proper posture; remain patient! In the image to the left we see the relative change in weight of the head due to the “slumped” posture. This position will pull he shoulders forward neurologically inhibiting the Rhomboid’s. The rhomboids are composed of a major and a minor. They are responsible for scapular retraction (pinching the shoulder blades together) and rotation of the scapula (the opposite of the picture to the left.) The rhomboids are very important for scapulothoracic rhythm ( raising your arm above your head without impingement) so Cross-Fitter’s tune in! Many people will develop rotator cuff issues due to inactivity of these muscles. Pay attention to how you are sitting currently, you will probably notice that your shoulders are pulled forward. This position means that the rhomboids are not currently active. The issue with this is over-time many of us will adapt this posture no matter what the position, seated or standing, walking, running, working-out etc. This is a recipe for disaster for anyone who is actively into working out. In fact, many of you probably do not even know how to properly contract your rhomboids. With over activity of the upper trapezius and levator scapulae the rhomboids often forget how to work properly so it is important to include rhomboid work into your routine on a weekly basis even after you have began to notice improvements in your posture.

Want to learn how to fix your posture? Click Here.

 

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

Fix Your Posture- Part 2

In last week’s post I discussed the beginning stages of a “postural syndrome” that occurs due to many of our sedentary lifestyles. I addressed the upper trapezius, and levator scapulae muscles which become increasingly tight in many of us pulling our shoulders forward creating that “slumped” postural appearance and forward head carriage.

It is important to begin stretching these tight muscles immediately if you are experiencing back or neck pain. If these muscles stay in this abnormal strained position no matter how many times we mobilize the joints the muscles will be pulling everything right back.

 

Be patient! These postural distortions did not happen over-night and will not be fixed over night. Much like your muscles make the necessary connections to learn to ride a bicycle or a skateboard, your body will also adapt to abnormal postural stress’s creating a “postural syndrome” seen above.

Now that we have began stretching the tight, over-active, muscles, we must also address the muscles which have become under-active due to these compensations. The group of muscles that we will address today are known as the Deep Neck Flexors. Due to the forward head carriage (see above) these muscles become increasingly under-active due the over-activity of the upper trapezius and levator muscles, among others we will discuss.

The deep neck flexors are a group of muscles consisting of the Longus Colli, Longus Capitis,  Rectus Capitis Anterior, and Rectus Capitis Lateralis. This group of muscles is responsible for forward and side bending of the head and neck. They serve to support the weight of the head, and stabilize the head and neck; similar to the abdominal core making them essential for proper posture.

Click Here to read he full article!

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com