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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

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

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

Chiropractic Care: A Non-Invasive Treatment for Disc Herniations

Each year many people will undergo back or neck surgery to repair a herniated disc. Majority of these surgeries will be a Microdissectomy due to a disc herniation. While some cases of herniated discs may require surgery, many cases will respond to less-invasive treatments such as chiropractic care.

What is a disc herniation? Between each vertebrae in your spine there is an Intervertebral Disc (with the exception of the first 2 cervical vertebrae.) These discs act as shock absorbers between the vertebrae, providing cushioning and flexibility during your daily activities. Think of your discs as shocks on your car, without them your spine would have no give or flexibility feeling every bump.

Statistically, many people have disc herniation’s but not all show symptoms. Typically, the pain will begin locally in the back or neck. If the herniation becomes bad enough to compress a nerve, the pain may progress to the leg or arm. Statistically, many cases will begin locally and progress slowly over-time. There are many different causes for a disc herniation. Contrary to popular belief, many people cannot pin point the exact mechanism of the injury. This is because much of the issue is often related to lifestyle, allowing symptoms to build slowly over-time. It is often poor posture, weight gain, or in-activity that allows the injury to progress. For example, when you have poor posture it places abnormal stress on the muscles which clamp down on the discs limiting motion in the joints. The intervertebral discs rely on motion for nutrition. It is important to note that since they are made mostly of cartilage there is no blood supply. This makes prevention key! Chiropractic helps by addressing the cause of the problem: Immobile joints and tight muscles compressing the disc. By releasing the pressure through gentle, non-invasive adjustments, therapeutic exercise, myofascial release we can serve to relieve the pressure in the disc and establish more normal range of motion reducing inflammation and nerve irritation.

If you are experiencing back or neck pain don’t wait, Click Here and make an appointment today and start healing!

 

Keep Moving.

Dr. James Ellis

(781) 460-0939

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com