Everett Chiropractic Center Blog

March 16, 2020

For Tai Chi Students: Online Training

More stuff from my teacher, from the past…

January 10, 2020

A New Phrase: Longevity Warrior!

https://www.worldhealth.net/news/114-year-old-longevity-warriors-secrets/

December 21, 2019

Your Brain Needs Exercise!

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https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-your-brain-needs-exercise/

November 8, 2019

A Terrible Article on Longevity

Terrible only because it does not mention Tai Chi!!

Here you go: https://www.worldhealth.net/news/tips-staying-active-and-social-you-age/

September 12, 2019

More Active, More Better (Carrots and Sticks)

According to this new research you are five times more likely to die an early death if you are not active (the stick).

This is not new news, it is more news – same theme. ‘Eat less, move more’ has been around a while. ‘Sitting is the new smoking’ has been around a while. It is a fact that every Blue Zone population on the planet (the folks who figured out health and longevity, not to mention happiness), has known for a while.

What you do seems to matter less and less; the authorities are simply trying to get people to move more. Some people suggest that there is nothing they can think of that they would want to do, activity-wise. That is hard to believe.

As a fitness fanatic for over forty years, one of my favorite parts of helping patients get active is coming up with clever choices that fit within their range of physical capacities, and are something that they can and would like to do (they are willing to do). They may still sabotage the plan, but I am not a psychologist.

The beauty of physical activity is that if a person does get active, happy chemicals will take over (the carrot) and they will eventually develop the habit. That is the best kept secret of the healthy, happy, heavy breathers: happy chemicals. Don’t tell anyone!

July 18, 2019

WHY NASAL BREATHING IS ESSENTIAL FOR YOUNG ATHLETES

A great interview with the author of Oxygen Advantage, Patrick McKeown. (From TrainHeroic)

Earlier Posts on mouth breathing issues and nasal breathing benefits (including the one I titled, “Priority #1 Video (Breathing)” which is amazing).

It couldn’t get much more important than this.

June 26, 2019

If you want to lose weight…

Masticate…

I first learned it as Fletcherizing… chewing eat bite 21 times before swallowing. It is big. It is easy. It is free. And it will help.

May 29, 2019

The Big Three

Scroll down a ways and you will find a Post for each of the Big Three exercises…

Start here: https://doctordilday.wordpress.com/2015/07/

May 21, 2019

The Context of “Exercise” – The Dreaded Re-injury

If the subject is back pain, the consensus among many of the ‘experts’ is that the “natural history” of back pain is a series of episodes: the #1 predictor of back is…? Answer: you have had back pain in the past. Ask any athlete that has been around for a few decades and they will tell you that old injuries tend to re-visit and re-occur – we call them relapses if they re-occur within a reasonably close time to relief of symptoms.

So if an old injury is a weak link, what can you do? Well, make the weak links as strong as they can possibly be. If structural stability is compromised, emphasize muscular stability way beyond what would otherwise be considered adequate.

But, it is going to happen (re-injury that is). Then what? You have to start the cycle over again, from the start, and go through each phase as carefully and mindfully as you did the first time. For us, and for most professionals in the business, patients’ injuries were never properly rehabilitated. As soon as symptoms were relieved, either the doctor or the patient discharged themselves from care, and went on as if they were back to “normal.” If exercises ever were seriously discussed, or done, they are dropped (how we got to this series in the first place); and how to maintain progress, or continue progress, never gets discussed: the patient is not there to discuss it.

The re-injury itself may or may not have been avoidable – remember Safety First! But the entire focus of this series is that a full and proper recovery, followed by mindful and correct use of the body, will ensure the fewest and least dramatic episodes in the future. In my case I had regular back pain episodes for 15 years. After I figured out what I just shared here, it was more than 15 years without a single episode – and really only one in the past 20-plus years.

Apply the principles described in this series of Posts, in the absence of symptoms, and you have prevention. Imagine that!

May 20, 2019

The Context of “Exercise” – The Recovery Phase

First there was when to stop.

Then Relief Care context.

Then Rehab, the transition.

Then “core” stabilization or strengthening.

I kind of backed into this series of Posts inadvertently. Initially, I wanted to address some of the issues that could come up in the consideration of why or why not to do an exercise – when to stop doing it.

But, years ago, I did want to do a series on this cycle (injury-relief-rehab-recovery-reinjury). I began with the story about my own back injury and how I progressed to full recovery. (It took 15 years and had almost nothing to do with any of the health care professionals I came in contact with – the rehab and recovery phases didn’t that is.)

So why is it necessary to talk about recovery at all: you are ‘recovered’ after all. Well, in a word: relapse. In the tissues of a significant injury, aging is going to take place faster than in the surrounding, uninjured tissues. That injured spot is a weak link. Now might be the time to take a more global look. To find out if there are other weaknesses that need to be balanced out. Finally, the phrase, “I just want to ‘get in shape'” makes sense. This part is about your longer term future. The point I would make here is the same one I have made all along: what you do should be guided by why you are doing it. Elsewhere (all over) this Blog I have written about setting goals, assessing where you are now, “progressing” in steps to where you want to be. That is all covered. Use the search box on this Blog, using whatever key words seem appropriate, to find a list of Posts. (Start with “progressions” to get started.) Here, too, there are all kinds of ‘normals’ that can guide you into exercises that will give you meaningful benefits safely. And normal is a worthy goal: most people are far from it. It will keep you healthy. How you get there is a journey. And you know about journeys… they all start with a single step:-)

If you need help, let me know.

May 18, 2019

The Context of “Exercise” – Rehab Phase “Core Strengthening”

First there was when to stop.

Then Relief Care context.

Then Rehab, the transition.

Now, finally, strengthening the ‘core’ muscles. To begin, there are the following four assumptions: (1) you are pretty much out of pain, (2) you are in adjustment, pretty much, (3) there is little to no pain with palpation during visits to the office, and (4) you do know how to move properly and can demonstrate that.

You can argue whether stretching hamstrings belongs in the Rehab or the Relief phase, but when it comes to core strengthening exercises, failing to factor in the above assumptions can come at a cost.

All of these ‘phases’ overlap in real life. That is where it becomes and ‘Art’.

If you are following the research, then strengthening the core begins with “The Big 3”. These are tried and true exercises that work. They have been studied enough to know that as a way of strengthening, they will work. The Big 3 amounts to abdominal strengthening (ala Stuart McGill if you are absolutely on the straight and narrow). (Personally, this is where I make sure that the Reverse Back Crunch is in place, effective and not painful, then I move patients into the McGill stomach exercise. Second, is the Bird Dog – on the hand and knees, then one arm and the other leg extended. (Like everything else here, we could spend all day talking about the Bird Dog – technique is everything!) Third is the Side Plank: a tough exercise, one which I always give last and bite into carefully. Here too, bracing (but this time the shoulder as well as the trunk) is critical to correctly doing the exercise. Don’t use anything that I have put in a Blog Post as instructions on how to do an exercise: get professional instruction from someone who knows what they are doing.

Strengthening can then proceed, typically, to the repetitive squat, lunge, one-legged standing, and eventually, the gym ball exercises that involve back muscle endurance.

One nice thing about many of these exercises is that they double as balance tests, or tests of what is – or would be – normal. So if you fail the test, you know that you need to do the exercise – and you have not fully rehabilitated your back.

A reasonable time doing all of these exercises (at least to test), without pain, is the evidence that you have rehabilitated a back pain episode to the point where you can think about “going to the gym to get in shape”.

May 16, 2019

The Context of “Exercise” – Rehab Phase of Chiropractic Care

First I talked about when to stop an exercise…

Then the context of exercises given during the Relief Phase of care…

And then there is Rehab. I have been Blogging for 14 years – there are more than 2,000 Posts here. Given that it would probably be safe to say that half have to do with Tai chi, all toll I would guess 75% of all Posts on this Blog could, in some way, shape, or form, being incorporated into a discussion of rehab. The scope of this Post is typical patients, typical exercises, and the typical thought process.

Transitioning from Relief to Rehab is a step into the grey zone. As a chiropractor, I keep track of where, how many, and how often various levels of the spine (or extremities) need to be adjusted. Whether the patient is still in pain or not. And whether there is pain when I touch the injured area with a little bit of pressure. A chiropractor’s first priority is the subluxation. When a person returns for several visits and the same parts of the spine continue to need to be adjusted, that is the time to consider giving the patient a way to keep the joints moving, themselves, in between visits. These exercises are designed to articulate the joints, primarily. They also restore reflex patterns to normal, and retrain muscles and movement patterns. In addition, there may be stretching, and finally – only after all of the rest has been done, strengthening.

Exercises to Articulate Joints

That is a little oversimplification, but it will do. And it is not a category of exercises usually discussed. But, to the chiropractor, it is a very important consideration: it will help patients hold adjustments – and that is how they get the results that they do. Some of the exercises that we recommend you can find on the internet: Brugger’s comes to mind (although when I looked for a video that I could put on my Blog, I was not happy with any of the videos that I saw). It is usually better to discuss, demonstrate, and have the patient perform it in the office. They will do it correctly that way; and I will know that they know how to to it correctly before they are off on their own. Brugger’s Maneuver is the exercise that counteracts many of the ill effects of a sitting desk job, crouched over a computer. It stretches everything on the front side of the body, while it strengthens everything on the back side: and it moves joints at the same time.

We have a neck exercise with the same primary objective: to move the joints and keep them moving while retraining normal reflex and muscle patterns. We call it the Figure Eight exercise. I learned it from a patient, who learned it from a book by an eye doctor, who credited his Tai chi teacher with teaching it to him. (Imagine that!)

Finally, for the pelvis (sacroiliac joints) there is an exercise that I got from a Yoga Therapist (I did not even know that there was such a thing until I met her.) She didn’t have a name for it, so I made one up: you won’t find it on the internet.

The point here is, if you were subluxated, and that caused you to have symptoms, and getting adjusted relieved your symptoms, and there was an exercise that you could do to hold your adjustments longer, when do you think is a good time to stop doing that exercise?

Rehab (especially in the context of back pain) usually, or often at least, also involves the need to stretch the hamstring muscles. As a chiropractor concerned with joints articulating properly, I recommend stretches that also involve making sure that the hip socket moves properly. Here we discuss passive stretching and active stretching (again, it is already part of the Brugger’s conversation).

This Post is already over 600 words so I will take up Spinal Stabilization strengthening in a separate Post.

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