This week, join me in our Moov Better Mobility WOD 4 as we focus on opening the shoulders and massaging along the thoracic spine.
This week, join me in our Moov Better Mobility WOD 3 as we focus on opening the hips to improve our squat depth, and rolling out the IT band to reduce knee pain.
This week, join Michelle Chinatti in our Moov Better Mobility WOD 2 as she focuses on lengthening the hamstrings, rolling out the quads, glutes, and rolling along the spine and neck.
This week, join me in this week’s Moov Better Mobility WOD 1 as I focus on opening the ankle joint and relieving plantar fasciitis and achilles pain. The feet, achilles, anterior tibialis, and calves provide a solid foundation for most of the functional movements we do in our daily lives.
How does a chiropractor prescribe shoulder care? Read on…
A 63-year-old female presents to Enhanced Movements Chiropractic with complaints of shoulder pain and restrictions. She has had some shoulder issues in the past, but never this frequent or intense. She has been doing CrossFit for nearly 6 months and the pain has progressively been getting worse. She has pain when lifting her arms overhead as well as doing any pressing overhead.
The prescribed treatment plan included restricting any painful positions until inflammation and pain sensitivity went down, while introducing myofascial release techniques to the shoulder complex. Her first visit improved her pain significantly as well as increased shoulder range of motion. During the second visit the myofascial release techniques were continued, while starting to incorporate new movements to improve shoulder range of motion with tools such as kettlebells and Indian Clubs.
Here is a simple video that shows one of the shoulder opening exercises we used:
A 17-year-old male soccer player presented to us mid-back tightness and discomfort when trying to stand with good posture. The patient did not have any significant pain. After the examination, we determined that there was an area along his mid back that was restricted, along with many tight muscles that spanned the mid- to upper-back. We discussed the importance of good posture especially when being seated for prolonged periods of time in school and what that can do to the muscles of the back.
His treatment plan included adjusting the back along with a good amount of muscle release to calm down the over-active and tight muscles supporting the back. In addition to the treatment, we went over some exercises to strengthen his back and also help reverse the stresses that sitting puts on the body; known as Foundation Training.
Last, but not least, we used RockTape to reinforce the proper body position we were trying to achieve. This brand of kinesiology tape is by far the most effective and strongest tape on the market, as it can typically last up to 3-5 days on the body. The RockTape gives our student athletes constant reminders throughout the day to try and stand a little taller and not slouch over. In an effort to try and promote the best postural position we can, RockTape gives that little added support throughout the day to help us achieve our goals faster.
Here is a video showing how to RockTape the mid back to support good posture:
Let’s face it, as a culture we are stressed out. Stress isn’t just bad for our mental health. When something stressful happens, hormones are released from the adrenal glands and travel all around the body. These stress hormones are designed to help get us out of a dangerous situation, e.g. run from the saber tooth tiger. Then we should relax and let the hormones fade away. For most of us, however, being on time to work, heavy traffic, or our jobs in general, are stressful events that increase those hormones on a daily basis.
Managing stress can feel like a full time job.
High levels of stress hormones can cause a wide range of negative health effects such as:
- impaired mental functioning
- trouble sleeping
- increased blood pressure
- dampened immune system
- increase in abdominal weight gain
- decreased muscle mass
Managing stress can feel like a full time job. Fortunately, there are ways to get your body out of this vicious cycle. As we discussed in Part 2: How Does Acupuncture Work?, Acupuncture excels in its ability to balance the body. The nervous system is no exception. Acupuncture treatment takes the body out of the fight or flight state (sympathetic nervous system) and back to the rest and digest state (parasympathetic nervous system). This transition is what’s responsible for the deep state of relaxation patients feel during and after an acupuncture treatment; practitioners call the feeling “acubliss” or being in “the acuzone”.
Anxiety and Depression
Balancing the nervous system isn’t just for stress management. Acupuncture can also be a valuable treatment for anxiety and depression. A study by the University of York in the UK found that acupuncture treatments helped combat depression. After 3 months of treatment, patients experienced improvement in their depression symptoms and were able to decrease their prescription antidepressant usage! Check back to Part 1: How Does Acupuncture Work? to learn more about how emotional health and pain correlate through the stimulated release of endorphins.
Chinese medicine stresses the importance of balancing your emotions, because of this, we have many methods of stress reduction to help you. Qi Gong, Tai Chi, and meditation are some of the classical therapies that connect mind to body and help decrease stress but there are many more. If you’d like to learn more about how acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can help you feel calmer and fortified in the face of stress, click here to contact me to schedule an appointment and learn more. We can all benefit from increased resilience to stressful situations!
According to the Institute of Medicine nearly 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, that’s around 1 in every 3 people. Western medical treatment for chronic pain is fairly limited. Many of these patients take unnecessary prescription medications daily in order to manage their pain. Recently, there has been extensive news coverage on the opioid epidemic in America. Frustrated patients and doctors are looking for other options. Fortunately, there is another solution; acupuncture excels at the treatment of chronic pain! A review of 31 clinical trials, which included nearly 18,000 patients, found that acupuncture was effective in the treatment of chronic back, neck, shoulder, headache, and osteoarthritis pain, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Many [people] take unnecessary prescription medications daily in order to manage their pain.
In 2015, the University of Pittsburgh published a study on the use of auricular (ear) acupressure for chronic low back pain. These researchers found that in 4 weeks of treatment patients experienced a significant reduction in pain and an increase in their physical functioning. They also discovered that pro-inflammatory blood markers (the substances that increase inflammation) declined while anti-inflammatory substances in the blood increased. These results show that acupuncture and acupressure change more than just the perception of pain; these therapies actually change the physical environment in a way that promotes healing1)Vickers, A. J., Cronin, A. M., & Maschino, A. C. et al. (2012, October 22). Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Individual Patient Data Meta-analysis. Archives of Internal Medicine, 172(19), 1444-1453. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.3654.
In Parts 1 and 2 of How Does Acupuncture Work? I highlighted some of the important mechanisms that explain how acupuncture helps ease pain. In any type of chronic pain, I work to balance the nervous system and increase circulation while at the same time supporting the body so it has the strength to recover properly. Long term use of pain medications has many risks and only masks the pain. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine go deeper to relieve muscle spasms, ease pain, and stimulate healing naturally.
Stay tuned for Part 5: How does acupuncture work? To learn how acupuncture can help you become less stressed and HAPPIER!
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Vickers, A. J., Cronin, A. M., & Maschino, A. C. et al. (2012, October 22). Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Individual Patient Data Meta-analysis. Archives of Internal Medicine, 172(19), 1444-1453. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.3654|
It’s an unfortunate truth that injuries are a part of life, but with the multitude of therapies and knowledge available today, there are a lot of ways to treat them. As we discussed in Part 1: How Does Acupuncture Work?, Acupuncture is powerful for pain management. It stimulates the release of pain blocking substances in the affected area and in the brain. With injuries, there is often decreased mobility and you can’t stretch the way you want to because it hurts. This is where acupuncture treatment is useful to help move the “stagnation” (For more on this concept check out Part 2: How Does Acupuncture Work?). Stimulation with needles increases blood flow and lymphatic circulation in the area to help your body heal quickly.
Hot & Cold Therapy
Chinese medicine discourages the use of ice for injuries after the first 24-48 hours. During this first 24 hours, ice helps to alleviate pain and make sure the swelling doesn’t get too extreme. After this initial window, however, heat should be applied or a combination of heat and cold always ending with heat. Heat increases circulation to an area to break up stagnation and make sure the area gets all the blood flow it needs to heal.
The Power of Herbs
Treatment of acute injuries isn’t just about getting rid of the pain. It should also focus on getting you back to your full strength so you don’t hurt that area again. Herbal medicine can be used topically as ointments, creams or lotions, for pain management and injury recovery. Additionally, herbs taken internally support bone health, strengthen ligaments and tendons, and repair damaged muscle. Using acupuncture and herbal medicine we can support areas of the body that are weakened or deficient to decrease the likelihood of future injury.
Stay tuned for Part 4: How Does Acupuncture Work? I will explain how Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine are a vital part of treating chronic pain conditions.
The thing I remember most about my first weeks in school for Chinese medicine was thinking to myself “This makes so much sense!” I was certainly already a proponent of Chinese medicine, having been a patient for many years, but getting the inside scoop on how it all works was mind blowing. At its core, Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine are based on a system of principles that are highly logical. Once you begin “speaking the language” it all starts to make perfect sense.
4 Basic Ideas
The fever is external; it’s caused by something (a virus or bacteria) coming into the body…
Every symptom can be broken down and evaluated using 4 basic ideas:
- Is it caused by something internal or external?
- Is there an element of heat or cold?
- Is it yin or yang in nature?
- Is it caused by excess or deficiency?
This is the ground level of where we begin with each patient. Take a sudden onset of a high fever for example, we can break it down using the following principles.
1) Internal or external? The fever is external; it’s caused by something (a virus or bacteria) coming into the body and stirring up trouble. Early Chinese doctors did not have germ theory but they understood it wasn’t something that just happened in the body.
2) Hot or cold? This one is easy, a fever is hot.
3) Yin or yang? The concept of yin and yang is a little more complicated. Yin is classically described as the dark side of a mountain. It is cool, quiet, and without much activity. It’s the support and frame that allows for yang to take shape. Yang is the bright side of the mountain. It is bright, warm and bustling with vibrant life and activity. By describing it as two sides of a mountain, it reminds us that they are intimately connected and one does not exist without the other…So back to the fever. A high fever could best be described as yang, the body is full of warmth and is actively fighting to battle the sickness.
4) Excess or deficient? A high fever is excess. It’s caused by something coming into the body. Deficient is for things like fatigue or a weakened immune system that is the result of long term deterioration. When things are excess they need to be cleared from the body. When something is deficient, we need to use acupuncture and herbal medicine to support the body to help regain strength.
All these ideas can be summed up in one word: Balance. The goal of every treatment is to encourage the body back to a state of balance.
Movement vs. Stagnation
Another piece of the puzzle that doesn’t fall under these 4 basic principles is the idea of movement versus stagnation. All parts of the body need to move well on their own and in relation to one another. Think of a river, when there are no obstacles or blockages, the river moves smoothly down its path. The water is clean and clear. Any debris that gets into the river is naturally washed away. If there is an obstruction in the flow of the river, the water gets murky and muddy. Debris build up. This idea can be reflected in the body. Areas of pain are often the result of obstruction from injury to the tissue. Instead of everything moving the way it should, gunk gets backed up. In western terms, the body cannot clean up the damaged areas because the clean healthy blood and lymph cannot get to the area and even if it could get there, the obstruction would prevent it from getting cleared out. As athletes we are intimately aware of what it means to stop moving. When you’re sore and you stop moving, things get tighter and more painful. We know that the best recovery from a hard workout is to keep things moving. This is why active recovery is so important.
So what does this mean for treatment with Chinese Medicine? Every time you are treated with acupuncture and Chinese medicine, your practitioner will evaluate how your symptoms stack up using these principles. If there is heat, we work to cool the body. If there is cold, we warm it up with techniques such as acupuncture and moxibustion. If something is obstructed and causing pain, we work to increase movement through the area with acupuncture, cupping, gua sha, or herbs. If you have an external invasion, like a cold or a flu, we give herbs that push the pathogen out of the body. Through western research, many of these herbs have been shown to be antiviral and antibacterial. If there is a system that is deficient, we use acupuncture, moxibustion, and herbs to support it so that the body is able to regain its innate strength.
Acupuncture channels or meridians are groups of related points that cross over the body. This is what sets acupuncture apart from some other types of therapies such as trigger point injections or dry needling. Modern Acupuncture is based thousands of years of empirical evidence. With this knowledge, ancient practitioners studied the effects of stimulating different areas. They learned which points would boost the immune system and which would calm nausea through careful and dedicated study of their patients.
Having a better understanding of some of these basic principles, you can start to see that the possibilities for acupuncture and Chinese medicine are essentially endless. Following these patterns, acupuncture can benefit nearly all symptoms and ease most conditions; it’s not just about pain. Chinese medicine can help you sleep better and have a brighter mood. It can strengthen your body’s ability to digest foods and eliminate toxins. It can also help you work out harder and keep you healthier in all aspects of your life.