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Getting back into working out

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

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My patients often ask how to go about getting back into working out after long breaks in exercise. The simple answer is often the best answer. “Just do it!” The most difficult part is simply showing up to the gym. Start by planning a simple half hour into your daily schedule for physical fitness. If all that means is using that time to go on a walk, by all means, please walk. Do not violate that time.

If you are truly committed to getting back into working out and have the time and motivation to do it, pick an activity you truly love that you are capable of doing without hurting yourself. If you are a beginner and you check out the gym class schedule and can pick between a class called “Insanity” or one called “strength training level 1”, be realistic of your abilities and pick the beginner class. The last thing you need when you are getting back into working out is to hurt yourself or become so sore you don’t want to go back for a week.

The key to working out is consistency. If you can consistently carve time in your schedule to do physical fitness activities that work for you, you will be capable of so much more as you age. It’s sad to see people lose their ability to get around with strength and confidence. When I travel to national parks and the other visitors never see anything that can’t be seen from their car, it is sad. There is a whole great big world out there that is only accessible by foot or bike. Seeing those things have been magical moments of my life. If you aren’t able to walk, bike, hike, your world can get very limited.

As we age, you have to fight to keep your fitness. As the old saying goes, “if you don’t use it, you lose it” Of course this is true. You truly can’t stop moving because once you stop, it’s difficult to start back up and sometimes you aren’t even capable of it.

When you are just getting back into working out, expect your body to be sore. This is a critical time to partner with a chiropractor so that you can manage small injuries before they turn into big injuries. At Active Family Chiropractic, we always want to help. If you have questions on your own fitness plan and want to know what is right for you, call me. If I can’t help you, I will find someone who can.

Chiropractic Treatment for IT Band Syndrome

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Many athletes come to me for chiropractic treatment for IT band syndrome. Often their pain starts on the outside of their knee but they know their back and hip mechanics aren’t good either.

First of all, what is your IT band? It’s the band of connective tissue that starts on your Ilium (the side ridge of your pelvis) and runs down the side of your leg and then attaches into the weight bearing bone of your lower leg (your tibia) near your knee.

IT band syndrome is very common in runners and cyclists. If their core stability isn’t strong to hold their pelvis in neutral as they run, they start shifting their hips to one side with every stroke.

When someone comes to my office for chiropractic treatment of IT band syndrome, I start by assessing their low back mechanics. I also check the mobility of their hips (the actual femoral heads) and then I use my especially sharp and pointy fingers to locate big pieces of scar tissue in the IT band and surrounding muscles.

Is it fun? No. Is it effective? Yes. Does it help? Absolutely.

If you are having problems with your IT band, call us today to find out what your treatment options are.

Avoiding Back Pain from Shoveling Snow

Friday, December 5th, 2014

I thought an article on avoiding back pain from shoveling snow would be appropriate this December. Looking out my window, I am seeing an above average amount of white for this time of year. There are a couple tips I have that will help you if you continue to ignore my advice on plow services being less expensive than chiropractors.

#1 Machine beats man every time when it comes to avoiding back pain from shoveling snow. Unless you are one of my fitness fanatics (Tony are you reading this?) don’t lift thousands of pounds of snow. If you refuse to hire a plow service, at least get a snow blower. If you don’t want to spend the money, go on Craigslist.org. There are plenty of former home owners that have gotten sick of waking up at 5am after a snow storm and have relocated to condos where they don’t need these anymore. They will be happy to get it out of their garage at a discount.

#2- For the people that have to shovel. This includes me at the new office. Shoveling kills my shoulder, even light snows. Using a battery operated leaf blower for the light snows is much easier. My landlord taught me that one and it works great. (unless he brings the battery home with him!) Also, again, if you have to shovel something heavier, make sure you get a shovel with a bend in it and take small scoops.

#3 I can help your back more when problems are small. A little preventative maintenance in the form of an adjustment immediately before and following a big snow is a lot better than waiting until your back is in full spasm and me having to tug your spasm-ing body up my stairs.

#4 On top of all of these tips, you will injure your back less when your core muscles are strong and your spinal muscles are strong.  If you are not at your healthy weight and fitness level, time to get there.  Whether you are a gym person or an outdoor lover, there are plenty of options so that you don’t really have a legitimate excuse.

Feel free to share this article with your friends and family. People often ask me if I am really busy when people hurt themselves shoveling during the winter. My reply is no, they usually wait until the problem get really bad until the spring. That is my busiest season and unfortunately for them the problem is much more set in then requiring a lot more adjustments and money to fix.

I can always be reached at 763-553-0387 to answer any questions you have or check out my website www.activefamilychiropractic.com

Treatment Options for Shoulder Pain

Friday, October 24th, 2014

There comes a time in most people’s lives where they are looking for treatment option for shoulder pain. I am currently in one of those times myself. After separating my shoulder six months ago while adjusting a patient and straining my rotator cuff, I have been “lucky” to learn all kinds of new stuff on shoulder injuries when it comes to treating my patients. (and myself unfortunately!)

The biggest realization I have had is that your body’s ability to stabilize your shoulder blade to your trunk regardless of the injury is the most important thing. What does that mean to you? If you sit with poor posture and rounded shoulders and engage in the turtle pose while at your computer all day, your shoulder injury is going to be much more painful. One of the most effective yet basic exercises I give people and do myself are shoulder blade pinches. You bring your shoulder blades together and down without moving your arms and hold it for 5 seconds. I do 30 in my car on the way to work. I also make sure my spine is in very good alignment by getting regular chiropractic adjustments. I get my spine adjusted weekly. After my adjustment, even if she doesn’t touch my shoulder, it feel better. I also get regular treatment of deep muscle stripping and chiropractic adjustments to my clavicle, scapula and humerus.

The second of the treatment options for shoulder pain that I have found to be incredibly effective is kinesiotaping. Kinesiotape is that colorful tape you see all over the beach volleyball players during the Olympics. It’s easy to spot since these people barely wear what can be considered swim suits! When you are kinesiotaped properly, you should have some sort of instant gratification. The biggest problem I see is when people buy it at a sporting goods store and put it on their body themselves and end of thinking it doesn’t work. It definitely doesn’t work if it isn’t put on properly AND just because you followed the instructions that came with the box, doesn’t mean you put it on the right way for your injury. I don’t even kinesiotape myself. You simply can’t hold the proper alignment and put the tape on most parts of your body. To learn how to tape properly, I learned from several doctors over the years plus attended two 8 hour seminars simply on taping. On top of that, to tape properly you need a strong background in dissection anatomy. In the case that you weren’t in the lucky segment of society that spend 8 hours a week dissecting a cadaver for 8 months of your life, you probably don’t have the background you need to tape yourself properly.

One of the most helpful treatment options for shoulder pain that I have pursued has been a weekly Pilates practice. Every time I go to Pilates class, my shoulder feels significantly better. I am sure it has a lot to do with the strength building that helps stabilize my shoulder.

If you suffer from shoulder pain, please seek chiropractic care from someone who has experience treating extremities and also who is experienced in applying kinesiotape. You will feel so much better!

Exercise Habits as You Age

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

An important topic for athletes to consider are the changes to make in your exercise habits as you age. Though my older friends disagree, when I divide 90 by 3, it puts in solidly in the middle aged category. Personally I think their disagreement is their own denial but it makes for a lot of fun conversations. As I have gotten older, I have had to change my exercise habits to keep the injuries at bay and feel good post workout.

When I was in grad school, it was nothing for me to go to a step aerobics class in the morning and a high impact aerobics class in the afternoon. Exercise is my Prozac and increasing the stress levels, just means I need more exercise to combat it. Fifteen years later, even one step aerobics class would probably leave me sore and twisted up for a week so I have needed to change my exercise habit as I have aged.

As I have started rounding the corner on 40, I have to add in activities that keep me limber and strong. Cross fit and old school weight lifting have gone away and I have replaced the 140lb squats with one legged squats on unstable surfaces or using TRX bands. I have also added in a pilates class at least once a week. If you haven’t tried pilates, it is hard as heck.. It took me going twice a week for two months before I was strong enough to not have back pain afterwards. If you have done pilates and it didn’t kick your butt, you weren’t paying attention to form and you were doing it wrong.

As far as running is concerned, I love running. Not because it feels good on my body, but because its very nature calms my mind. When I developed an awful case of plantar fascitis a few years ago, it was time to change that up. Obviously, I couldn’t run for awhile however, I fell in love with biking. I still run on occasion with my big dog trotting not too far behind but mainly I bike. My feet, knees and back feel better now and I find it a great stress reliever.  As you age, runners need to focus on strength building and rest days from running.

As for feeling better in the morning post exercise, we really need to stretch after our workouts. When you are younger, you can get away without stretching for a short time but take advantage of that too much when you are young and you develop really shortened muscles and a lot of stiffness that doesn’t have to be there. Does stretching always feel good? Absolutely not but you still need to do it. As far as how far to push yourself; if you can’t breathe there, you shouldn’t be there.

One last thing, don’t underestimate recovery days. I fully subscribe to the theory of “everyone needs to break a sweat every single day”. However, some of those days I do it by hitting up a big Three Rivers Park and going on a seven mile walk. Though I would feel as if I cheated the workout gods when I was 23 by walking, now, that definitely counts as exercise.

The biggest thing you can do to keep your body limber, fit and injury free is to change what you do every day. Using different muscles and joints in different directions is the key to spreading out the force and keeping your body healthy as you (we) age.

Weight Lifting and Back Pain

Monday, August 25th, 2014

I see it in my chiropractic office all the time, one of my athletes is at the gym weight lifting and back pain strikes. As a life long weight lifter, I have tried everything from CrossFit to Barre classes. I should probably clarify, I didn’t try either of them just once, I spent six months minimum getting in depth on each so while I am not an expert at any of them, I have done more than just dabble.

My first tip applies to dead lifts and squats. Your risk of injury is much greater when using heavy weights. If I am doing squats or dead lifts, I cut the weight I am capable of for a set of 12 by 3. For example, if I am doing squats in squats in a Smith cage with 100lbs, I cut the weight to 30lbs. Then I do the squats but only using one-legged squats. It won’t be too easy, trust me. The other thing I like to do is mix it up and make it more full body by doing the one legged squats and using my 15 lb each barbells to do over head presses. So, squat and press, squat and press.

For the dead lifts, you can use the same system. I usually dead lift about 60 lbs. Today I did one-legged dead lifts with 15 lb weights. I have been focusing on other things lately so I hadn’t done these in awhile. My balance was awful for the first set and I had to stop a lot of times to keep from falling over. Once a couple weeks have gone by and my body starts to accommodate to these, I am going to roll a mat under my foot and give myself an unstable surface to balance on. You would be shocked how using just a little bit of weight and unstable surfaces fire tiny little muscles that you usually don’t work and give you a great burn from your workout.

Here is another weight lifting tip so you don’t have back pain later. Pay very specific attention to how your abs are engaging during your set. Translation, make sure they are engaging with each and every movement. If you power through your set and don’t use good form, you will hurt yourself. If the weight is so heavy that you lose your form on the last rep, that is a bad thing too. Back off on the weight or decrease the number of reps in your set. If you aren’t using good form, you aren’t working the muscles you intend to work anyways, so stopping early is the best option.

As always, for more tips or questions about your injuries, call my office today and speak directly to me. Active Family Chiropractic, Dr Lori Goodsell 763-553-0387

Back Pain and Pinched Nerve Pain During Golf

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Have you ever had back pain and pinched a nerve during golf? It hurts and early in the season it is more common than you think.

What causes back pain and pinched nerve pain during golf? Typically it is a result of spinal damage, poor technique or both. If your spine does not move properly on a segmental basis, meaning each vertebra needs to rotate, flex, extend and side bend on top of the others, it will be much more easily injured when brought through extreme ranges of motion. Also, if you have any prior history of disc disease or spinal injiury and arthritis of any sort, it is more likely to be easily injured. Is there hope for your golf game even with a little (or a lot) of spinal damage? Absolutely. Here are a few tips to get you golfing with less pain.

First, you need to properly warm up before you golf. This does involve being willing to look a little stupid in front of your friends so you will need to suck it up to feel good. I would suggest doing planks or sit ups to activate your core muscles and prepare them to contract during your golf swing. Doing walking lunges will also help warm up your legs and butt muscles. I also recommend doing spinal rotation while keeping your hips very still and quiet. Going back and forth several dozen times will help your body prepare for the extreme rotation associated with golf.

Secondly, you know your back always feels sore after your first few times golfing. Pre schedule your visit with your chiropractor before you hurt yourself. The old saying, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure applies here. My patients that get adjusted regularly and take care of their spine with regular chiropractic care have better swing mechanics, less pain during their round and less recovery time. They end up playing a lot more golf in the season because they are not stopped by pain. Tiger Woods has had his own private chiropractor his entire career and while he has recently been sidelined, he has been quoted numerous times on what an invaluable member of his team his chiropractor has been.

Thirdly, make sure you have good swing technique. Don’t try to evaluate this yourself. A PGA pro will be the best person to help you improve your swing mechanics to avoid damaging your back.

At Active Family Chiropractic, we are always here to hep you feel better. Call us to schedule your appointment and let us know ahead of time if you would like to bring your golf club with for a swing analysis.

Exercise and Back Pain

Friday, April 26th, 2013

Exercise and back pain: after new years resolutions start, pain isn’t far behind.  Far be it for any chiropractor to discourage new business. However, I’d rather see you when you are feeling good than when you are buckled over and dragging a leg behind you. Injuring yourself having fun is not fun!

In the 13 years that I have been a chiropractor, I have seen everything. I have had patients crawl out of the back of a Suburban like a big St Bernard after being driven to my clinic by their wives. People have called me from their toilet after sitting down and not being able to get up. You name it, I’ve seen it.

Since last month’s article was worthless after two feet of snow fell. (It was on yard work and biking) I’m going to take another stab at giving you tips to not hurt yourself having fun.

#1–Runners-You are probably expecting me to tell you to not run, it is bad for your joints. I love to run. Run your little hearts out. Just remember that rest days and cross training are essential for athletes of all sports. If you are going to train 15 mile weeks, concentrate on three separate five mile runs, not five three-mile runs.

#2–Cross Train-Whatever you do the most of, your body will mold in that position. That is why we see so many bikers with neck pain, desk jockeys with pain between their shoulder blades and yoga junkies with bad knees and shoulders because their bodies get too flexible. Without each element of fitness: cardio, strength and flexibility, your program is not complete.

#3–Include low/no impact activities to keep yourself strong and injury free. Yoga, pilates, paddle boarding…all wonderful things to mix into your cardio and strength training. They are also the most frequently missed aspects of a workout program. All incorporate a lot of stretching and strength of the little stabilizer muscles in your core. You would be surprised how much better your back feels after paddleboarding or pilates.

#4–Don’t forget the weights. I was playing tennis last summer at the Bell Courts. There was a great group of 70 year old ladies playing next to my friend and I. The ladies that were in great shape and still able to play tennis, were the ladies with the muscles. Strength training helps with posture, osteoporosis, your clothing fitting better, looking great on the boat this summer and simply feeling strong and confident.

If you have managed to wreck yourself already this year, I love seeing new patients. You can call my Plymouth office at 763-553-0387 and speak with me personally. We can figure out what you need to get back to having fun. www.activefamilychiropractic.com

Improving your core strength to enhance your performance

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Core strength is critical to your performance in every single sport. The body’s core includes the back and abdominal muscles. It can be a weak link in many athletes. In runners, having a strong core prevents injuries to other joints including your hips and knees and helps you to drop your time. In cyclists, strong back and abdominal muscles are crucial in getting power to the pedals. Golfers rely on a strong core to help bring distance to their shot as core strength provides them with power by keeping the shoulders and hips working in a coordinated fashion. For our country skiers, a strong core is vital to generating power over long distances while minimizing effort to the rest of the body. The bottom line is that having a strong core creates stability in your body, allowing you to perform at your highest level. It helps you increase your speed, endurance and power.

How do you increase your core strength? Along with the usual crunches on the exercise mat, here are some basic exercises you can do to increase your core strength for any sport. Many athletes push themselves extremely hard while doing these exercises, I see multiple injuries caused by athletes forcing greater repetitions when their core is not contracting. If you feel the contraction leaving your stomach and going toward your back, gluts or hip flexors, you will injury yourself.

Many times people do not feel they have a strong core because the nerves that come out of the spine which deliver messages to the abdominal muscles are not working properly. When this happens, the core muscles do not contract in a strong and coordinated fashion regardless of how many exercises you do. How do you know if this is happening with you? If you have had chronic back problems or injured your back recently, you can be assured that the power output to the nerves is keeping your muscles from firing to their fullest potential. A visit to your chiropractor to determine where your spine is impacting your muscle strength is very important to staying in tiptop physical condition so we can stay active and keep enjoying our sports. Call our office today if you find that your spine is causing you to not perform at your best.

Plank Tips from Dr. Lori-the closer your feet are together the tougher this one is! Keep your butt down and inline with your spine.

Side Plank Tips from Dr. Lori–contract your core at all times–my hips are a little too high in this picture, try to maintain a straight line with your body.

Mountain Climber Tips from Dr Lori-quickly jump back and forth with your legs (pretty difficult to describe in a photo) keep your core contracted and continue for one minute.

Crunch Tips from Dr. Lori-to avoid injuring your neck, keep your chin tucked in.

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