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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.

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

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

 

3 Gym Exercises to Avoid if You Have Shoulder Pain

This weeks blog post is inspired by a question I get frequently. “What exercises should I avoid for my shoulder?”Shoulder injuries are extremely prevalent in an athletic population. I would bet everyone knows someone who deals with chronic shoulder pain. Often times, the exercises we are doing can aggravate that condition making it worse, and more likely to undergo a more serious injury such as a tear.

What makes shoulder injuries so common? First off, the shoulder and the hip joint are two of the most mobile joints in your body, allowing for all ranges of motion. This also means that they can be quite unstable in many people. Much of this instability comes from muscle imbalances from poor, or improper posture. The forward drawn, rounded back posture wreaks havoc on your shoulders. The space needed for the rotator cuff muscles to pass through the subacromial space becomes too small, leading to friction, tendonitis, and eventually a tear. Whats more, the rounded shoulders locks down the joints in your neck and back. Since the scapula sits on the thoracic cage there is a direct correlation. With no extension present in you thoracic spine it is impossible for you to raise your arm above your head impingement free. Certain gym exercises can exacerbate this problem making it more likely for you to be seriously injured.

Avoid these 3 exercises and increase the health and longevity of your shoulders:

1.) Flat Barbell Bench Press: Many people with shoulder injuries find that they have more pain when doing chest press than shoulder press. Barbell bench press is an unatural movement and for those with tight, immobile shoulders can lead to a serious injury.

2.) Smith Machine Shoulder Press: Since the bar is set on a fixed path it leaves no variability for changes in movement which will cause potential compression of the shoulder tendons.

3.) Barbell Shrugs: Many people have developed rounded shoulders due to lifestyle as discussed above. carrying any amount of weight in front of your body is only going to further contribute to compression leading to injury.

We have helped many people recover from shoulder injuries. If you are experiencing pain in your shoulder don’t wait, call or schedule online today: (781) 460-0939

Keep Moving.

 

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

Effective Relief for Golfer’s Elbow

Summer is upon us and that means a lot of Golf for many people. The problem is, many people have done little all winter in terms of exercise. This leads to deconditioning, and often times injury.

Tendinitis is one of the most common musculoskeletal ailments. I am sure many of you have experienced tendinitis at some point, many of you are probably dealing with it as you read this. Medial (Golfer’s Elbow), and lateral (Tennis Elbow) account for many tendinitis injuries. Medial epicondylitis also known as “Golfer’s Elbow” results when the muscles that flex the forearm and wrist (inside of the elbow) become irritate and inflamed due to over-use or repetitive motions such as swinging a golf club. Even simple activities such as typing or yard work can contribute to the condition. In many cases, the condition is caused by lifestyle (exercise, yard work, computer work, etc.) Repetitive motions can cause the muscles to continue to be inflamed and irritated. Without treatment this could lead to a more serious injury such as a tear.

What are the symptoms? Characteristically, most patients present with pain on the inside of the elbow and forearm. This pain may be sharp at times, patients often report burning, numbness, or tingling around the area as well. Grip strength weakness, swelling, or elbow stiffness may also be noted.

What is the recommended treatment? At initial onset, if swelling and heat are noted ice may be advised to reduce swelling. I typically recommend making the switch to moist heat after the first 24-48 hours. For chronic cases, heat is recommended. The first goal of treatment is to decrease pain and increase range of motion. Secondly, we want to strengthen and balance the muscles. This is accomplished by a combination of manual therapies including electrical stimulation, ultrasound, and manual therapy. Instrument Assisted Soft-Tissue Manipulation (IASTM) is a highly effective, specialized treatment for tendinitis. This procedure works by stimulating local inflammation triggering a healing response on a cellular level, to produce normal, healthy collagen and promote healing.

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

Keep Moving.

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

Preventing “Text Neck”

Though the increases in technology over the last few years have certainly streamlined many of our daily tasks, it has began to wreak havoc on our musculoskeletal system. In fact, some studies have found that such technology may actually be shortening our lifespan. Much of this comes from the poor posture associated with doing tasks such as texting. At the very least, this is leading to conditions such as thoracic outlet syndrome, tendonitis, and degenerative change.

What is “text neck” ? Text neck is a modern ailment that many people will experience from looking down at their phone, tablet, or computer too frequently, for too long. It has been estimated that the average smart phone user spends about 2 hours per day on their phone. The average human head weighs about 12lbs but as we bend forward to look down the weight increases putting extra strain and pressure on the joints, muscles, and ligaments. As a rule of thumb, for every inch your head bends forward, the weight on the spine doubles. This prolonged strain causes inflammation and irritation of the neck and upper back, and over-time may actually change the curve in the spine potentially leading to more serious conditions.

What can you do to prevent it? Avoiding prolonged periods of usage is a good start. The problem is, over-time the inflammation causes the muscles to change length, position, and consistency leading to permanent changes in the muscle and spine. Imagine a 60 lb child hanging from your neck all day. Under this added stress the muscles begin to develop micro-tears causing scar tissue to build which will limit normal muscle function. If you do nothing, this problem tends to build and become worse. Spinal manipulation is a safe effective way to release the tight joints and stretch the tight muscles.
•Visit a Chiropractic Physician to ensure proper biomechanics of your neck and back
•Instead of looking down at your device, try to hold it in front of you to limit forward translation of your head
•Strengthen your rhomboids, and stretch your neck muscles

 

Keep Moving.

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

(781) 460-0939

Chiropractic: An Effective Treatment for Tension Headache’s

I would bet that most of us have experienced a headache at one point or another. The location and symptoms however can tell you a lot about the source of the headache and most importantly what you can do to fix it. As a Chiropractic Physician I see a lot of headache complaints. Headaches can vary from cluster type (most severe), which cause severe pain usually behind the eye, to migraines, and tension type headaches.

Tension type headaches rank as the most common among adults. in fact, more than half of all adults will develop tension headache’s at some point in their life. These headaches are characterized by a dull aching pain in the back of the head, neck, or forehead. Some patients will report that it feels like someone is squeezing their head. There is no known familial incidence for tension headaches unlike other types; they are usually a product of lifestyle.

What causes them? Poor posture and stress are two of the many causes. Many note that the headaches will begin during certain activities such as computer work, slowly building as the day progress’s. Due to many of our sedentary lifestyle’s and technology many of us have developed muscle imbalances in our neck, back, and shoulders. These imbalances slowly build overtime leading to conditions such as headaches, tendonitis, and low back pain.

What can you do to fix it? These imbalances are mechanical in nature and require some intervention (earlier the better!). When addressing tension headaches it is important to address both the muscles and the joints. One of the main culprits in the development of tension headaches is that of the suboccipital muscles. These are a tiny group of muscles attaching the skull to the upper cervical spine responsible for movements of the head. When muscle imbalances develop the overactive muscles (such as the suboccipital group) become irritated, and inflamed. This inflammation causes fascial restrictions (think scabs) on the muscles sheath not allowing for adequate movement and position of the muscle. A combination of specific soft-tissue work, and spinal manipulation is the perfect solution for tension headaches. By freeing the fascia, we may then release the joints allowing us to restore normal biomechanics immediately relieving tension!

If you are experiencing headaches don’t wait, give us a call today: (781) 460-0939

Keep Moving.

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com