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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

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

 

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

The Top 3 Exercise’s for Sciatica

Sciatic nerve pain or “sciatica” is characterized by burning, tingling, or numbness in one side of the buttock or leg which is relatively constant. The cause is related to compression of spinal nerves as they exit the spine. ” Sciatica” is not a specific diagnosis but a collection of symptoms. The cause of sciatica is commonly due to other medical conditions such as a disc herniation, or degenerative changes of the lumbar spine which decreases the space impinging the nerves. Below are some common symptoms that people note during “sciatica”:

  • Relatively constant pain on one side of the buttocks and/or hamstring.
  • Hamstring or calve pain that is described as burning, tingling, or numb.
  • Pain that is worse when walking or sitting
  •  Possible progressive weakness or “dead leg.”

When dealing with sciatica it is important to first visit a Chiropractic Physician or other spine specialist in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis. Contrary to past beliefs, “resting” the area more than a few days is not recommended. Resting more than a few days may lead to deconditioning of the surrounding muscles which may increase pressure on the irritated nerve(s) making symptoms worse. Additionally, the intervertebral discs in your spine serve as shock absorbers. There is no blood supply to the discs since they consist of cartilage. They rely on movement in order to imbibe water keeping the discs full, healthy, and nourished preventing desiccation and degenerative change. By incorporating the appropriate exercises (and eliminating some bad ones), you can strengthen the surrounding muscles, effectively decreasing pressure on the spine and preventing further occurrence’s or exacerbations. Below are 3 of my personal favorites for bracing the abdomen:

1.)Cat-Cow-

  • Begin on all four’s.
  •  Take a deep breathe in through your nose slowly filling your belly with air.
  •  Arch your back dropping your belly to the ground slowly; head up.
  •  Begin to exhale slowly drawing your hips under your body by contracting your abdomen; hold 2-3 seconds.
  • Repeat cycle (1 cycle = 1 rep)

2.) Press-Up’s-

  • Begin by lying face down on a soft surface
  • Place your palms down as if in push-up position.
  • Leaving your thighs on the ground, begin to slowly press-up, lifting your upper torso off the ground; hold 2-3 seconds, then repeat.

3.) Pelvic Tilts-

  • Begin lying on your back face-up, knees bent.
  • Take a deep breathe in through your nose, arching your back slightly pushing your stomach out.
  • Exhale slowly, pushing your belly button through the floor by contracting your abdomen; hold 2-3 seconds, then repeat cycle (1 cycle = 1 rep).

As always, please consult a health professional before attempting to self-treat.

If you are currently experiencing sciatica pain, Click Here to schedule an appointment and start healing today!

Keep Moving.

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

Improve Your Shoulder Mobility

Anyone who is a regular gym-goer may have heard the term “thoracic mobility” before. It has become a particularly popular topic in Cross-Fit circles and sports where a maximal shoulder end range of motion is desired (the lock out). This is necessary for exercises such as pull-ups, hand stand push-ups, ring work, and over head press’ (power and Olympic lifters are not safe either!). But, what does this mean and how do we improve it?

To perform any above head movement requires first a stable shoulder. This means that all of the associated muscles are firing and working properly providing stability to an otherwise unstable joint (just ask anyone with a shoulder injury!) If you have not accomplished the ability to stabilize the shoulder in these moves; you shouldn’t be doing them since this will eventually lead to injury. Once the shoulder is stable we can discuss mobility of shoulder. Though it is more likely for an injury to occur due to instability, mobility of course plays a factor.

When discussing shoulder mobility in over-head moves I am referring to the ability of the humerus to pass under the subacromial space in the shoulder without impingment. This space is already quite small so it is important that we have appropriate movement of the shoulder (often termed scapulo-humeral rhythm.) When we raise our arms over-head (as we do when pressing) the scapula should begin to rotate after 60 degrees which allows the humerus to pass under the subacromial space. The ability for this to occur is very important for injury prevention of over-head athletes! Shoulder impingements will occur when the space between the coracoid and humerus narrows which leads to the rotator cuff muscles to “catch” as they pass under the structure. Over-time this will lead to fraying and injury of these muscles and potentially tears.

In order to maintain the necessary space for your rotator cuff when lifting your arms above head the scapula must retract and rotate upwards. Mobility of the thoracic spine is particularly important as it will impact retraction of the scapula. Additionally, assumption of a slumped posture (which many of us have from desk jobs) which causes shortened pecs, and upper traps that will pull the shoulders forward creating an anterior tilt in the scapula reducing the space needed. In summary, when the shoulder is not moving properly and the subacromial space is reduced from lack of thoracic spine mobility and tight muscles it will eventually lead to some sort of impingement.

So what can you do to prevent/fix this issue?
•Have your thoracic spine mobility assessed
•incorporate some “pre-hab” in your normal routine; this should include rhomboid, mid and lower trap work.
•Stretch your pecs, and upper traps.

I urge you all to incorporate a bit of pre-hab; your body and gains will thank you in the long run!

Keep Moving.

 

Dr. James Ellis DC, MSACN

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com