The second key to human movement is FLEXIBILITY. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), flexibility is defined as “the range of motion of a given joint or group of joints or the level of tissue extensibility that a muscle group possesses.” That means that each joint and each group of muscles in your body might have a different range of motion (ROM) or a different level of flexibility. Some areas of your body may be very tight, meaning that the muscles feel short and restricted. Some areas of your body may feel very loose and you may be able to lengthen and move those muscles freely.
For example, you might be very flexible in the hamstrings, allowing you to bend over and touch your toes. But your thighs (quadriceps) muscles might be tight (inflexible) so it may be harder for you to stand up straight or bend backward.
Many people who work in an office all day develop inflexible hips as a result of sitting all day. This is one of the reasons that we recommend that you stand up and move for a few minutes every hour.
There are many ways to increase flexibility in muscles that are tight and here at Chirofit Chiropractic Clinic in Chatsworth we do in office and home flexibility training to improve muscle range of motion.
What Is Flexibility Training?
Two ways of increasing range of motion in muscle tissue is stretching, self myofascial release (SMR) and myofascial release performed in office.
At Chirofit Chiropractic in Chatsworth we perform a thorough exam on the first visit that includes inspection of posture and ROM of areas of complaint. During this exam we learn which muscles are tight and we come up with a treatment plan that includes stretching, self myofascial release (SMR), in office myofascial release therapy and in office instrument assisted soft tissue therapy .
Stretching improves flexibility. But you don’t have to do hours of stretching to enjoy the benefits of flexibility training.
Here are the different types of stretching to improve flexibility:
Static stretching: You move into a position that lengthens a target muscle and hold the position for 30-60 seconds. It’s best to remember to breathe as you hold each stretch.
Dynamic stretching: You move in an out of a position that lengthens a target muscle. Dynamic stretches often involve a gentle bouncing movement and are sometimes called ballistic stretches.
Active isolated stretching (AIS): You move your joint through a complete range of motion, holding the endpoint only briefly, then return to the starting point and repeat. Many athletes and active exercisers use active isolated stretching to prevent injuries or muscle imbalance.
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF): is a more advanced form of flexibility training that involves both the stretching and contraction of the muscle group being targeted. PNF stretching is performed by the muscle group to be stretched is positioned so that the muscles are stretched and under tension. The individual then contracts the stretched muscle group for 5 – 6 seconds while a partner applies sufficient resistance to inhibit movement. Then the contracted muscle group is then relaxed and a controlled stretch is applied for about 20 to 30 seconds. The muscle group is then allowed 30 seconds to recover and the process is repeated 2 – 4 times. (This is the type of stretching we typically perform in office)
If you are not sure how to stretch you can take a stretching class or do an online video that focuses just on stretching exercises to improve range of motion throughout the body. These programs generally work on flexibility in the whole body and don’t typically focus on anyone one particular region or problem.
Self Myofascial Release (SMR)
Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release (SMR) stretching technique that has been embraced throughout the fitness and rehabilitation industries. This effective and simple to do technique delivers positive, feel good results. Using the foam roller can deliver improvements in flexibility, muscle recovery, movement efficiency, inhibiting overactive muscles, and pain reduction with just minutes of application
SMR can be done with a variety of tools beyond foam rollers, such as medicine balls, handheld rollers or other assistive devices. Whatever the tool or variation selected, SMR focuses on the neural and fascial systems in the body that can be negatively influenced by poor posture, repetitive motions, or dysfunctional movements. These mechanically stressful actions are recognized as an injury by the body. Adhesions reduce the elasticity of the soft tissues and can eventually cause a permanent change in the soft tissue structure, referred to as Davis’s Law. SMR focuses on alleviating these adhesions (also known as “trigger points” or “knots”) to restore optimal muscle motion and function.
The Benefits of SMR
SMR benefits include:
- Correction of muscle imbalances
- Muscle relaxation
- Improved joint range of motion
- Improved neuromuscular efficiency
- Reduced soreness and improved tissue recovery
- Suppression/reduction of trigger point sensitivity and pain
- Decreased neuromuscular hypertonicity
- Provide optimal length-tension relationships
- Decrease the overall effects of stress on the human movement system
Guidelines to Start Rolling:
Foam rolling should be done before static or dynamic stretching activities, improving the tissue’s ability to lengthen during stretching activities. Foam rolling can also be done as part of the cool-down. Foam rolling activities should be performed on tissues identified as overactive during the initial exam at Chirofit Chiropractic Chatsworth. Most patients can perform foam rolling on their own once they’ve been instructed on how to properly perform the exercises.
Slowly roll the targeted area until the most tender spot is found. Hold on that spot while relaxing the targeted area and discomfort is reduce, between 30 seconds and 90 seconds. During the exercises it is important to maintain core stability. Take the time to experience the exercises and discover how slightly modifying positions or angles can target different areas of the muscle.
Myofascial Release Therapy (MRT)
Myofascial release can be performed in a couple of different ways either by hand or with instrumental assisted soft tissue tools.
The goal of Myofascial release technique is to restore normal mobility and “glide” between muscular tissue and nerves. It can also help push joint fluid throughout the body and stimulate the lymphatic system, which helps lower inflammation.
The core benefit of MRT is preventing and breaking up dense scar tissue, also called adhesions. Adhesions limit the normal range of motion of joints and muscles because they cause abnormal binding between muscle groups, are very tough and are inflexible compared to healthy tissue.
The reason that ahesions form is to bind injured tissues and keep them stable — however, the adhesions act like a strong “glue” and can often compress or pinch nerves. Nerves sometimes become entrapped by scar tissue, which causes trigger points and pain to develop. The more that scar tissue forms, the more joints or tendons become strained and nerves become compressed.
MRT can address several components related to scar tissue formation:
•acute injuries, including tears or collisions that can happen during exercise or sports
•micro-trauma, which is the gradual wear-down of tissue that’s often caused from aging and inflammation
•hypoxia, which results from tissue not receiving enough nutrients and oxygen
Instrumental Assisted Soft Tissue Therapy (IASTM)
IASTM involves using a range of tools to enable clinicians to efficiently locate and treat individuals diagnosed with soft-tissue dysfunction. Many different materials have been used to make the instruments (i.e. wood, ceramics, plastics, stone and stainless steel).
IASTM introduces controlled microtrauma to affected soft tissue, to which a local inflammatory response is stimulated. This microtrauma initiates reabsorption of inappropriate or excessive scar tissue and facilitates a remodeling of the affected soft-tissue structures. After IASTM treatment, scar tissue can be remodeled so that the cells become organized in a direction that better promotes movement.
All these techniques help to improve flexibility and range of motion in muscle tissue that have become shorten or tight due to knots and adhesions. At Chirofit Chiropractic in Chatsworth we include all of these techniques to treat our patients and we teach patients how to perform some of these techniques at home to improve their flexibility. The next key of human movement we will be discussing is STRENGTH.
The first of three keys to human movement we will be discussing is MOBILITY. The dictionary defines mobility as the ability to move or be moved freely and easily. At Chirofit we look at mobility in the body as movement in the joints. Improper motion in the joints can cause pain, stiffness, and tightness. Have you ever had a pain in your neck or back that when you extend, it causes a sharp pain that almost takes your breath away? This typically is a joint that isn’t moving optimally and your body is giving you the signals to let you know your body is not moving at its maximal potential. As chiropractors we use the chiropractic adjustment to improve motion in joints that have decreased or have abnormal movement due to trauma or micro trauma. Trauma can be a car accident, a fall or a hit from a sport. Micro trauma typically is from chronic improper posture or frequent improper movements such as sitting on a computer all day or lifting weights improperly over an extended period of time. The chiropractic adjustment can treat these joints that are not moving properly and restore proper movement. Improving mobility along with the other two keys of human movement allow the body to move optimally. The next key of human movement we will be discussing is FLEXIBILITY.
Chirofit, the leader in manual and chiropractic therapy in the San Fernando Valley is proud to introduce The Movement! I am calling this post and related posts The Movement because that is the basis of treatment at Chirofit Chatsworth. This blog more of an introduction into how we look at the body and how we treat our patients at our office. Chirofit is a different kind of chiropractic office, we focus on the 3 keys of human movement to treat and heal the body.
The 3 keys of human movement:
Tips for Avoiding Back Injury in the Gym
The last thing you want when you go to the gym is an injury. Weight-training injuries are often caused by poor technique which can tear a muscle or connective tissue, damage a spinal disc, or contribute to a degenerative disorder. Weight trainers in particular are prone to back injuries in the lumbar region or the lower spine that may lead to occasional twinges or long-lasting and persistent intense pain. Here are tips for avoiding a serious back injury during your workouts.
Don’t Use Too Much Weight
Using too much weight is asking for trouble. If you can’t control the weight on its downward trajectory, contain a movement within its boundaries, or have to jerk or heavy the weight to lift it, it’s too much.
Lift Weights Correctly
Heavy objects should always be lifted with smooth, slow movements, not jerky movements that can strain muscles. Do not make any twisting movements and keep the load close to your body. Be sure you lift with your legs by bending your knees, not your back, to pick up the weights. Try to carry weights in the space between your waist and shoulders to avoid strain on the back muscles.
Always Do a Warm-up
A warm-up is low-intensity, quick-paced exercise that boosts blood flow to the muscles and raises the temperature of the muscles to promote mobility and flexibility. Make sure you spend at least 10 minutes warming up before you stretch. This may include calf raises, squats, leg curls, crunches, bench presses, and curls. Be sure you stretch before lifting, too. Here are some back-friendly stretches to try:
– Supported hamstring stretch. Rather than touching your toes, put the heel of one leg on a chair and tilt your pelvis forward. Keep your back straight while leaning forward, reaching with both hands above your foot until you feel a gentle pull up the back of your leg.
– Side-lying quadriceps stretch. The classic hurdler’s stretch that involves sitting upright while extending one leg in front and bending the other is safer when done lying down. Lie down on your right side with your head on your right arm, your legs stacked, and your spine aligned. Bend your left knee, bringing the foot to your hip and using your hand to pull the foot toward your tailbone. Repeat for both sides.
– Reverse curl-ups. The class leg raise puts a great deal of stress on the spine. A reverse curl-up puts less torque on your spine while still targeting the abs. Lie on your back with your arms extended and palms down. Bend and raise both knees to a 90-degree angle to your torso with your feet off the floor for the start position. Next, bring both knees to your chest while you lift your hips off the floor the return to the start position before repeating.
Consider Chiropractic Treatment
Chiropractic adjustments can be an excellent preventative form of care for weightlifters and it can treat injuries that have already occurred due to weight training. A chiropractor can help you evaluate your posture and recommend changes to prevent injury. Along with adjustments, supporting therapies like physical therapy and sports massage can reduce the risk of back injuries at the gym.
How to Fix My Pinched Nerve
Pinched nerves can be excruciating and they are one of the most common reasons people visit a chiropractor. A pinched nerve can limit your range of motion by making it painful to look over your shoulder or bend over and it can reduce your quality of life. (more…)
Back pain is often chronic and it may range from mild to debilitating. Whether it’s from an acute injury, poor posture, work-related strain, or aging, lower back pain can reduce your quality of life and make even basic daily tasks difficult and painful. Many people who have no sign of spinal abnormalities on X-rays still suffer from excruciating pain that may include sensitivity to pressure, pain after prolonged activity, stiffness, cramping, muscle spasms, and pain that gets progressively worse and lasts longer.
Lower back pain is one of the most common reasons people seek out chiropractic care, a holistic approach that can target the cause of your pain instead of the symptom for safe and natural pain relief.
Common Causes of Low Back Pain
About 80% of people experience back pain at some point in their lives. In most cases, pain is centered in the low back and 2-10% of people with lower back pain develop chronic pain. The lower back is a frequent target for pain because is bears most of the stress and strain of daily life. The weight of the upper body also puts a lot of stress on the upper back. The spine, which works to support all of your upper body weight, is comprised of more than 30 vertebrae. Between these vertebrae are spongy pieces of cartilage called spinal discs that absorb impact, keep the spine in alignment, and prevent the vertebrae bones from grinding together.
If the spine is out of alignment, these discs can herniate, which happens when the soft filling of the disc pushes through the outer portion. This can put pressure on the nerve running through the spine and cause significant pain. Discs also wear and shrink due to lost moisture with age, leading to a condition known as degenerative disc disease. A slipped or herniated disc in the lower back that puts pressure on the nerve can cause extreme pain, tingling, or numbness to radiate to the buttocks and down the leg in a condition called sciatica.
While damaged or degenerated discs are often to blame for lower back pain, several other conditions can also lead to pain:
– Sprains and strains. Strains and sprains often cause back pain in weekend warriors who are inactive most of the week but engage in high-impact activities at the end of the week. Overstretching muscles and ligaments in the back can cause small tears that cause swelling and pain.
– Spondylolisthesis. Wear and tear of the ligaments and joints in the spine make it difficult for the spine to hold its normal position. When vertebrae can move more than they should, they can slide on top of each other. This can cause the bone to put pressure on spinal nerves.
– Vertebral fractures caused by osteoporosis, or brittle bones.
– Spinal stenosis. Stenosis is when the space around the spinal cord through which the nerves run narrows, putting pressure on the nerves. This is usually caused by bone spurs that develop due to osteoarthritis.
– Scoliosis. This abnormal curvature of the spine can cause significant back pain.
Chiropractic Treatment for Lower Back Pain
While back pain can go away on its own after a few weeks in some cases, it can also be debilitating and lead to chronic pain for months or years. Chiropractic care is a whole-body approach to wellbeing that seeks to address the underlying cause of your back pain rather than relying on painkillers with serious side effects that only offer temporary relief and potentially dangerous surgery that often makes the problem worse.
When you see a chiropractor for back pain, a medical history and exam will be conducted to learn the source of your pain. A comprehensive and personalized treatment plan will be developed to address your condition and help your body heal.
Chiropractic adjustment is a standard treatment for spinal misalignment to relieve pressure on your nervous system, improve spinal health, and improve your overall health. Chiropractic adjustments can be a very effective way to relieve back pain and manage pain caused by herniated discs and degenerative disc disease.
Your treatment may also include therapeutic exercises, physiotherapy (physical therapy), and therapeutic massage to address problems with soft tissues like muscle and ligaments.
Schedule an Appointment
Are you struggling with lower back pain that impacts your daily life? Chiropractic treatment is a natural and safe way to treat many forms of back pain, including chronic pain from a slipped disc and pain caused by spinal misalignment. Several studies have found that manual forms of therapy used by chiropractors are effective in the treatment of lower back pain, including non-specific chronic back pain with no known cause.
Contact our office today to learn more about the benefits of chiropractic care for back pain and to schedule your initial appointment.