Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A lot of focus in the office is (and one of the articles in our June edition was) regarding Anterior Head Syndrome. But, just as common are secondary conditions such as headaches, neck pain, mid back pain, arm pain and many more. Lots of people suffer with low back pain issues as well.

Lower Cross Syndrome  can affect low back function. One main cause of Lower Cross syndrome is due to the long periods of sitting which affects our structure and creates muscle imbalances. You have probably heard of sitting being referred to as the new smoking! That’s because there are numerous damaging health effects.  When we sit for long periods of time, the muscles in the front of the legs and hip (called hip flexors) become short and tight. This also causes further tightening of lower back muscles.

The thing about the body is that it’s doesn’t work in separate parts, it works as a whole. You can’t affect the front of the body without affecting the opposite (the back of the body). So, dysfunction in the front hips will create dysfunction in the back as well or vice versa. There is always a cause and effect.

Sitting for long periods affects the natural curve and structure in the lower back, creating wear and tear and structural shifts in the lumbar spine. When your hips are under constant strain, especially from sitting, this will pull the hips forward and puts the hamstrings (muscles at the back of the leg) under tension. Think about it - if your hamstrings are under constant tension, they are being shortened all day long.  That results in you having muscles that are under tension for hours a day and the opposite  set of muscles not working and atrophying. 

So, what should you be doing?  Working on strengthening and mobilizing your hamstrings and stretching your hips -  working on activating your glutes, because when you sit on them all day, they are not firing and become inhibited.

To summarize:  Lower Crossed Syndrome involves imbalances of strength and weakness of opposing muscles. There is tightness of the hip flexors, the iliopsoas and rectus femoris and lower back muscles. Weakness of the abdominal muscles and weakness of the gluteus maximus and medius muscles (butt muscles). This distortion creates structural shifts in the lower back most common at the L4-L5 and L5-S1 segments, the Sacroiliac joint leading to secondary conditions like back pain, hip pain leg pain and more.

So what can you do to help with Lower Cross syndrome?
a)    Get your spine and nervous checked regularly to make sure structural shifts of the spine are not affecting you lower back, hip and organ function
b)   Work on making sure you have strong abdominal and gluts strength. Doing plank exercises and gluts bridging exercises. If you need help let me know
c)    Stretch the front of your hips
d)    Since most people in Ottawa are working at a desk 9 to 5 and maybe working out a few times a week. Three hours a week of movement/activity is not going to undo a 40 hour-week’s worth of damage. Getting up every 25 minutes to move and do some mobility  (especially hip ) will go a long way to help with lower cross syndrome.

Friday, November 20, 2015

What is Joint Mobility?
(and why is it important?)

Joint mobility is a hot topic these days and you may have heard me talk about in the office. So, what is joint mobility? Mobility involves and takes into account the joint, the ligaments, the muscles crossing the joint and the nervous system. Joint mobility is training for your joints which brings position awareness, energy, lubrication and helps your joints heal and regenerate.

From a chiropractic viewpoint, it also helps with signals in your nervous system. When you move your joints your brain receives information about the positioning of the joints and your brain then responds to by sending signals back down to the joints. When your joints don’t move, there are poor quality signals sent to your brain.  I remember very early on in school one of our professors saying that Movement is Life. Movement is a requirement to be healthy. That’s why I recommend it to you to do.  

So, when you look at joint mobility, look at it like general maintenance for your body. Just think about how your cars brakes are when it’s been parked for weeks - rust builds on the brakes and they become stiff.  Or think about how various car parts need to oil or grease, and the tires need to be properly inflated to work most efficiently. Our bodies have similar needs to be cared for. Joints are like hinges and need regular oiling and maintenance as well.

What are the benefits of joint mobility to you?
By moving every joint in your body the correct way you really decrease your chance of getting injured. Most injuries that happen to us are due to movements along incorrect joints – twisting with your lumbar spine instead of the thoracic spine, because of lack of joint mobility.
Joint mobility will improve your range of motion – your flexibility.

While stretching is important, joint mobility is extremely important for anybody who wants to be active and especially for athletes. Mobility has real world applications whether you’re grabbing groceries out of the trunk, lifting a baby off the ground or jumping or skating in your favourite sport over the weekend.   

It increases the efficiency of your movement and increases your performance. When people get adjusted, one of things I hear is, “Uh, I can’t move my neck - it was really stuck or blocked.”  (is this correct, or are people commenting AFTER their adjustments that they CAN move their neck) Joint mobility helps to make the movements smoother without any impediments and prevents stiffness. When you have full mobility, it will improve your performance because with full range in your joints you can  lift and you don’t have any blockages in your joints because they are in the right place. 

When thinking about doing joint mobility, you want to encompass your whole body you can start from the top with the neck and work down through shoulders, wrists, upper and lower back, hips, knees and ankles.

The great thing about it is that you don’t have to spend hours doing it or have fancy training.  
Here’s the link for a simple set of quick beginner mobility exercises I have created to get you started.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2GdFsR-0Bo

Monday, April 13, 2015

Capital Chiropractic vs Traditional Chiropractic

Traditionally chiropractic has been used to treat specific health problems and/or conditions. People would wake up with a kink in their neck or stiff sore back and go see a chiropractor.

 Traditional chiropractors focus on goals like decreasing muscular spasm, increasing range of motion, and reducing pain. This is how most chiropractors practice, and I believe most of them are great at what they do. Traditional chiropractic falls under the category of symptom relief/symptom management where the goals are to simply help with symptoms and not correct the root cause of the problem.

However at Capital Chiropractic we acknowledge that our understanding  of the human body has evolved… and as a result of that so has chiropractic . Enter Neuro - Structrual chiropractic.

Think of your spine as the foundation of your house.  If the foundation was off, would you expect the floors to creak, the walls to crack and windows to break down? Now you can spend time patching all the damage, but you would be doing so with the expectation that in a short time the problems will have to be repaired and patched again and again.
And suddenly instead of achieving a true correction and healing, we’re relying on chiropractic like a natural aspirin, just working on symptom relief.
 Rather than constantly patching the damage, at Capital Chiropractic, we choose to fix the underlying Foundation and help your spine go towards Normal Structure.
So if you think that your looking for something different we might be able to help.
If you are tired of constantly patching the problem and you’re looking for a long term solution that you can both feel AND see for yourself, then Capital Chiropractic may be the right place for you.  Once we help restore your foundation we’ll teach you how to keep it that way through our customized recommendations designed for your spine, so that the problem doesn’t come back.
At Capital Chiropractic we are different because we want to help you experience  better health, mobility, energy  and not JUST get you out of pain.