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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.

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

Back Pain? See a Chiropractor First

It’s no secret that low back pain is the leading cause of disability. Keeping a lot of us not only out of work, but on the side lines of life as well. In fact, it is one of the most common reasons for missed work. Statistically, it has been estimated that more that 30 million people are effected by back pain at any given time. Low back pain is also one of the most common reasons for a visit to a doctor’s office. Many patients however are frustrated when their PCP seems unsure. The truth is, most primary care medical doctors have little training in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions (admittedly). This leaves many patients dissatisfied with the outcome.

Board Certified Chiropractic Physicians are portal of entry providers that have undergone 4 years of musculoskeletal specific medical training in order to diagnose, treat, and manage conditions of the muscles and joints. A Chiropractor will be able to diagnose, make recommendations, and treat the specific cause of your problem, instead of masking it with medications. Majority of low back pain is mechanical in nature, meaning it is caused by tight muscles and joints. A Chiropractor will mobilize the joints, stretch the muscles, and correct the movement. You will quickly notice relief that will last. The leads to improved over-all outcomes, higher patient satisfaction, and most importantly keeps you moving!

If you or someone you know is experiencing back pain, don’t wait call or schedule online today! (781) 460-0939

Keep Moving.

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

Getting to the Source of Your Neck Pain

Neck pain is a common complaint in today’s society where many of us spend far too much time sitting in front of the computer, whether it be for work or for pleasure. Many people find themselves experiencing neck pain that seems to come out of nowhere. Statistically, most people cannot recall the exact incident that caused their pain. Many find that certain activities may aggravate their condition and it may even seem to “come and go”, ultimately becoming more frequent over time.

When trying to determine the cause of your pain there is a few questions you can ask yourself before even seeking help from a provider. When did it start? What seems to make it worse? Does the pain travel or is it a local pain? There are a couple different scenarios that are most common in individuals that I will cover.

If the pain is a local type of pain without radiation below the shoulder it is likely a muscle and joint issue. Many people with this issue may report stiffness in the AM and a tired and achy feeling at the end of the day. Typically, a postural exam shows a forward head carriage and rounded shoulders creating an over-all “slumped” posture. The mechanism of injury is a matter of micro-trauma (sitting, bending, lifting). This will create joint dysfunction over-time. When normal joint movement is lost the muscles will become short and tight further restricting movement. This lack of movement eventually creates an inflammatory response resulting in pain. The discs in your spine that act as shock absorbers rely on movement for nutrition since there is no blood supply. Lack of movement leads to disc desiccation or “drying up” which may aggravate arthritic change or even spinal nerves.

Another scenario which typically has more of a memorable onset is nerve involvement due to disc injury. These patients are often between the ages of 20-40 and are typically active (or getting back into being active.) The same posture discussed above may be present creating that “slumped” appearance. Even a small shift in your head position can increase the amount of force directed through your spine putting you at greater risk of injury. The disc may begin to bulge over-time due to the increased pressure through poor posture or trauma and put pressure on one or more of the nerves exiting the spine. This condition is typically noted as producing burning or numbness that will typically travel below the elbow to the hand. Many patients report that it only affects certain fingers, and they can distinctly define the borders of numbness and/or pain. This may lead to permanent motor or sensory loss.

Left untreated, scenario one may progress to a disc/nerve issue described above. Consult your Chiropractic Physician for a postural analysis and a thorough examination to determine the cause of your pain. By freeing up the joints and muscles and correcting poor posture many people find immediate relief and increases in range of motion. Most importantly, you are taking strides towards better health and preventing future problems. Prevention is key!

Keep Moving.

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

Improve Your Skiing This Winter With These 6 Drills

Now that the snow is about to start falling many of us will be hitting the slopes. If this is your only sport and you have not done much physical activity since last year you will likely find that your feet and lower legs are pretty sore the first few times out!

Skiing is a very physical activity. It requires coordination and harmony particularly among the muscles of the legs and hips. If you are more of a “weekend warrior” you are at greater risk of injury  since skiing requires both mobility and flexibility (both of which will likely be lacking if untrained). The following drills and stretches are aimed at correcting and coordinating the balance of the muscles of the leg and trunk. If done regularly they can prevent injury and even improve you skiing!

Since skiing requires first and foremost adequate length of the gastroc and soleus complex (calves) it should be made a point to begin stretching these daily (twice if you can). Hold each stretch about a minute.

1.) Hamstring stretch with towel- lying on your back and keeping your leg straight wrap a hand towel around your foot and pull up while maintaining full extension. Stop once you feel the stretch and hold.

2.) Seated Glute stretch- Sitting, cross one leg across the other creating a figure 4. Slowly bend at the waist, noting a stretch in your hip and glute. Stop once you feel the stretch and hold.

3.) Double knee to chest- Lying on your back, pull both knees into your chest. Stop once you feel the stretch in your lower back and hold.

Foot Drills:

Perform these drills daily or every workout day. Repeat each drill once for 25m. All should be done barefoot with the exception of walking on the heels which should be performed in shoes.

1.) Walk with feet in Inversion (Inside up)

2.) Walk with feet in Eversion (Outside up)

3.) Walk toes pointed in

4.) Walk with toes out

5.)Walk backwards on toes (Heels up, backwards)

6.) Walk on heels (toes up shoes on)

foot drills

 

Keep Moving.

 

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

Chronic Ankle Sprains? Fix Your Feet With These Simple Drills

Most active people have suffered an ankle sprain at one time or another accompanied by swelling, pain, weakness, and a long road to complete recovery!  Many runners and athletes may find themselves more susceptible to future sprains and strains even after the initial problem has resolved. This is because soft-tissue healing can take anywhere from 12-18 months and there is usually always involvement of one or more ligament!

A bit about the anatomy of your ankles. The ankle is held together by several ligaments: on the inside of the ankle you have the deltoid ligaments (less likely to sprain) among others, and on the outside of the ankle you have the anterior and posterior talofibular ligaments a long with the calcaneofibular ligaments to name a few. Most sprains/strains of the ankle occur from excessive plantar flexion and inversion (about 80%) affecting the lateral ligaments (most commonly the anterior talofibular ligaments). These ligaments (even when over-stretched and not torn) take a very long time to heal and when no treatment is given to promote healing will cause the tissue to heal abnormally (think of a patch over a hole) causing less tissue extensibility and improper function. Remember, there is no blood supply to the tendon itself.  Over-time this exacerbates muscle imbalances and leads to a chronic biomechanical deficit. This being said, some intervention is necessary to ensure that the tissue heals properly to prevent future sprain/strains.

In the early stages of an ankle sprain your doctor or therapist should advise a couple of days of rest and elevation. In addition to resting and elevating at home your doctor should also recommend manual therapy techniques to facilitate healing. This may include manipulation of the joint, traction, heat, myofascial release, and eventual therapeutic exercise. It is very important to address joint stiffness early on to ensure proper movement and healing.

“Weak ankles” become an issue when the tissues discussed above heal improperly; usually because no treatment was received. This will exacerbate existing muscle imbalances leading to dysfunction making you more susceptible to injury. The solution to this issue is to reestablish appropriate movement and fix muscle imbalances. Most athletes I see that suffer from chronic ankle sprains exhibit deficits in their gait, hips, and lower leg muscles. These deficits have likely been an issue for a long time and have continued to build until an injury occurs.

Does this sound like you? First, have your gait evaluated by your doctor or therapist, then try these simple drills to help balance the muscles in your feet and lower leg. You will notice a stronger, more athletic ankle!

All drills to be performed shoes-off (except for walking on your heals) and for a length of about 25 meters; preferably on grass or any hard surface:

  1. Walk with feet inverted
  2. Walk with feet toe-in
  3. Walk backwards on your toes
  4. Walk with feet everted
  5. Walk with feet toe-out
  6. Walk on heels

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com