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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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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