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Dr. Adams

The Benefits of Cold Plunging | Hollywood Chiropractor

 

  1. Stress Relief and Mental Clarity: One of the most immediate effects of cold plunging is its ability to jolt the body into a state of heightened alertness. The shock of the cold water triggers the release of adrenaline and noradrenaline, hormones that help the body cope with stress. As a result, many cold plungers report feeling more alert and focused after their dip, experiencing a mental clarity akin to a brisk morning walk or a refreshing cup of coffee.
  2. Enhanced Immunity: Cold water immersion has long been associated with strengthening the body’s immune response. The sudden drop in temperature stimulates the production of white blood cells, which play a crucial role in fighting off infections and diseases. Regular cold plunging has been shown to reduce the frequency of colds and flu, making it a valuable addition to any wellness routine, especially during the colder months.
  3. Improved Circulation and Recovery: The cold plunge is also a favorite among athletes and fitness enthusiasts for its ability to enhance circulation and aid in muscle recovery. The cold water causes blood vessels to constrict, which helps to flush out lactic acid and other metabolic waste products that accumulate during exercise. This promotes faster recovery and reduces post-workout soreness, allowing athletes to train harder and more frequently.
  4. Mood Elevation and Depression Relief: Cold plunging has been likened to a natural antidepressant, thanks to its ability to stimulate the release of endorphins, the body’s feel-good hormones. Many cold plungers report feeling a sense of euphoria and heightened well-being after their plunge, making it an effective mood booster for those struggling with depression or anxiety. Additionally, the invigorating sensation of cold water on the skin can provide a welcome distraction from negative thoughts and rumination.
  5. Skin and Hair Health: While it may seem counterintuitive, cold water immersion can actually be beneficial for the skin and hair. Cold water tightens the pores and constricts blood vessels, reducing inflammation and puffiness. It also seals the hair cuticle, resulting in smoother, shinier locks. Many cold plungers swear by its rejuvenating effects on their skin, claiming a youthful glow and improved complexion after regular dips.
  6. . Improved Circulation and Accelerated Recovery: Cold plunging has emerged as a popular recovery tool among athletes and fitness enthusiasts due to its ability to enhance circulation and expedite the recovery process. The sudden immersion in cold water causes blood vessels to constrict, which helps to flush out metabolic waste products accumulated during intense physical activity. This process, known as vasoconstriction, not only reduces inflammation but also promotes the delivery of fresh, oxygen-rich blood to tired muscles.Moreover, cold plunging facilitates the activation of the body’s natural healing mechanisms. The cold water exposure triggers a process called hormesis, whereby the body responds to mild stressors by upregulating its repair and regeneration pathways. As a result, regular cold plunging sessions can lead to faster recovery times between workouts, allowing individuals to train more consistently and effectively.

Additionally, cold plunging is particularly effective for managing acute injuries and inflammation. The cold water acts as a natural analgesic, numbing pain receptors and reducing swelling. Many athletes incorporate cold plunging into their post-injury rehabilitation protocols to expedite healing and minimize downtime.

Furthermore, the contrast between the cold water immersion and subsequent rewarming can have profound effects on muscle recovery. Alternating between cold and warm temperatures, known as contrast therapy, promotes vasodilation and vasorestriction, which helps to flush out toxins and improve nutrient delivery to muscles. This contrast-induced hyperemia can enhance recovery and alleviate muscle soreness, allowing individuals to bounce back quicker and perform at their best.

In essence, cold plunging serves as a powerful recovery tool that complements traditional methods such as rest, hydration, and nutrition. By harnessing the therapeutic benefits of cold water immersion, individuals can optimize their recovery process, reduce the risk of injury, and maximize their performance potential. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a weekend warrior, integrating cold plunging into your recovery routine can be a game-changer for your overall well-being and athletic endeavors.

Unlocking the Healing Power of Foam Rolling in Hollywood, Florida

Sports Chiropractor

Foam rolling is a simple yet incredibly effective self-care technique that can bring relief to many Hollywood, Florida residents dealing with muscular discomfort and tension. Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast, a desk-bound professional, or someone seeking pain relief, foam rolling can offer you a wealth of benefits. In this blog, we’ll explore the advantages of foam rolling and how this practice can be particularly beneficial for the active community in sunny Hollywood, Florida.

The Healing Benefits of Foam Rolling

  • Relief for Active Lifestyles in Hollywood, Florida:
    • For the active Hollywood resident, the sunshine and beautiful beaches of Florida beckon for outdoor activities. But physical activities often come with muscle soreness and tightness. Foam rolling is a fantastic way to alleviate post-exercise muscle tension, allowing you to make the most of your active lifestyle.
  • Pain Reduction and Prevention
    • Foam rolling can help reduce chronic pain associated with conditions like lower back pain, IT band syndrome, and plantar fasciitis. It’s also an excellent preventive measure to avoid injuries before they occur.
  • Enhanced Flexibility and Range of Motion:
    • Improved flexibility and mobility are essential for enjoying outdoor sports and activities in Hollywood, such as surfing or beach volleyball. Foam rolling can help break up muscle adhesions, resulting in greater range of motion and fewer movement restrictions.
  • Stress Reduction:
    • Hollywood, Florida, offers a vibrant and active lifestyle, but it can also be demanding. Foam rolling can provide a therapeutic, stress-reducing effect, calming the nervous system and promoting relaxation.
  • Quick Recovery:
    • After a day at Hollywood Beach or a rigorous workout at a local gym, foam rolling can accelerate muscle recovery. It enhances blood circulation, delivering essential nutrients to tired muscles, while simultaneously removing waste products.

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How DNS can Improve Performance and Reduce Injury

DNS hollywood, FL

In the quest for optimal physical performance and injury prevention, athletes and individuals in Hollywood, FL, are constantly seeking innovative approaches to enhance their training routines. One such methodology that has gained significant attention in recent years is Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS). Developed by the Prague School of Rehabilitation and Manual Medicine, DNS offers a unique perspective on movement patterns and their impact on overall function. In this article, we will explore the benefits of DNS and how it can help unleash your body’s potential in Hollywood, FL.

  1. Enhances Core Stability and Postural Control:

DNS places a strong emphasis on core stability and postural control, considering them as the foundation for efficient movement. By integrating the deep stabilizing muscles, such as the diaphragm and pelvic floor, DNS helps activate the core and improves its ability to maintain stability throughout various dynamic movements. This enhanced core stability not only increases performance in sports and physical activities but also reduces the risk of injuries in Hollywood, FL.

  1. Optimizes Movement Patterns:

DNS focuses on optimizing fundamental movement patterns, also known as developmental kinesiology patterns. These patterns are innate to human development, starting from infancy, and form the basis for more complex movements later in life. By retraining these patterns, DNS helps restore and optimize movement efficiency, allowing individuals in Hollywood, FL, to move with greater ease, coordination, and precision.

  1. Improves Joint Stability and Mobility:

Through DNS exercises and techniques, joint stability and mobility can be significantly improved in Hollywood, FL. DNS targets the deep stabilizing muscles around the joints, facilitating optimal alignment and reducing excessive stress on the joints during movement. This enhanced joint stability not only enhances athletic performance but also aids in injury prevention by reducing the risk of sprains, strains, and other musculoskeletal issues in the Hollywood, FL, area.

  1. Facilitates Rehabilitation and Recovery:

DNS is widely used in rehabilitation settings to promote efficient recovery from injuries. By restoring the body’s innate movement patterns, DNS helps re-establish the coordination between muscles, joints, and the nervous system. This approach facilitates more effective rehabilitation, enabling individuals in Hollywood, FL, to regain their function, strength, and mobility faster following an injury.

  1. Enhances Performance in Athletics and Daily Life:

The principles and techniques of DNS can greatly benefit athletes in Hollywood, FL, of all levels. By optimizing movement patterns, improving stability, and enhancing coordination, DNS can unlock untapped potential and propel athletic performance to new heights. Moreover, the benefits of DNS extend beyond the sports arena. Improved movement efficiency and postural control can positively impact everyday activities, such as lifting objects, sitting, standing, and walking, leading to a higher quality of life for individuals in Hollywood, FL.

Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization offers a holistic approach to movement and performance enhancement in Hollywood, FL. By emphasizing core stability, optimizing movement patterns, improving joint stability and mobility, and facilitating rehabilitation and recovery, DNS provides a comprehensive framework for unlocking your body’s potential. Whether you are an athlete seeking a competitive edge or an individual looking to move better and reduce the risk of injuries in Hollywood, FL, DNS can be a valuable addition to your training regimen. Embrace the power of DNS and unleash your body’s innate capabilities in Hollywood, FL.

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How Chiropractic Can Help Relieve your TMJ Pain in Hollywood, FL

TMJ pain hollywood, fl

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. TMJ disorder can cause a range of symptoms, including jaw pain, headaches, ear pain, and difficulty chewing or speaking. While the causes of TMJ disorder can vary, one potential treatment option that has gained popularity in recent years is chiropractic care.

Chiropractic is a form of alternative medicine that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, particularly those related to the spine. Chiropractors use a variety of techniques, including spinal manipulation, to alleviate pain and improve overall function. While chiropractic is most commonly associated with back pain and neck pain, it can also be beneficial for TMJ disorder.

If you are living in Hollywood, Florida, and experiencing TMJ pain, seeking chiropractic care may be an excellent option for you. Chiropractic care is a non-invasive, drug-free, and natural approach to treating TMJ disorder. It can provide significant relief to those who suffer from TMJ pain and other associated symptoms.

Chiropractic care for TMJ disorder typically involves a series of adjustments to the jaw, neck, and spine. The chiropractor will use their hands to apply gentle pressure to specific points, realigning the jaw and reducing muscle tension. They may also recommend exercises and stretches to improve jaw mobility and reduce pain.

In addition to adjustments and exercises, chiropractors may also use other techniques to treat TMJ disorder. For example, they may use ultrasound therapy or electrical stimulation to reduce inflammation and promote healing in the affected area.

One of the benefits of seeking chiropractic care for TMJ disorder is that it is a safe and non-invasive treatment option. Unlike surgery or medication, chiropractic care does not come with the risks and side effects associated with these treatments. Additionally, chiropractic care is a more affordable option for those who do not want to incur the high costs of surgery or other medical procedures.

If you are considering chiropractic care for TMJ disorder in Hollywood, Florida, it is essential to choose a reputable and experienced chiropractor. Look for someone who specializes in TMJ disorder and has experience treating patients with similar conditions. Ask for referrals from friends or family members or consult online reviews to find a chiropractor that meets your needs.

In conclusion, chiropractic care can be an effective treatment option for TMJ disorder, providing significant relief to those who suffer from pain and other associated symptoms. If you are living in Hollywood, Florida, and experiencing TMJ pain, consider seeking chiropractic care from a reputable and experienced chiropractor. With the right treatment plan and care, you can regain the function of your jaw and live a pain-free life.

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5 Ways to keep you shoulders health for the next 50 years

Shoulder Pain Hollywood

Shoulder Health in Hollywood, FL

Do you have difficulty raising your arms overhead or pain in your shoulders while lifting weights?

A recent study published by the American Journal of Sports Medicine found that as an individual age, the first joint to lose range of motion is the shoulder. The shoulder joint is one of the most mobile joints in the body and with that mobility comes to a tremendous amount of responsibility!

Unfortunately, Shoulder surgeries are becoming far too common and oftentimes are not due to a trauma or accident, but rather due to poor maintenance of shoulder health over the lifetime. Some of the most common causes of shoulder pain include rotator cuff tendinitis, frozen shoulder, impingement, Labrum tears, and AC separation.

While these conditions can be very frustrating and debilitating, the good news is that often times they are both preventable and treatable!

1. Move Daily

The shoulder joint has the ability to reach overhead, behind you, across your body as well as rotate inward and outwards. In order to properly maintain mobility in the shoulder, it is crucial that you take time every day to move your shoulder through a full range of motion.

By taking your shoulder overhead and behind your back daily, for example, you can help ensure that these motions do not become stiff and that, ultimately, your shoulder does not become a pain.

Below are a few unique ways that you can rotate your shoulder on a regular basis in order both maintain and improve your range of motion over time!

2. Avoid Compromising postures

Often times individuals will compromise the mobility of their shoulders without even realizing it!

Two of the biggest culprits that we see in the office are poor posture in the seated position and poor posture while sleeping.

A few ways to prevent shoulder pain while sitting or lying down include:

  • Use an appropriate desk and screen height so that your shoulders repair relaxed
  • Use a chair that allows for proper spine position and avoid an excess forward bend
  • Do not lean on one side for long periods of time while sitting
  • Avoid lying directly on the shoulder or sleeping with your shoulder overhead.
  • If your shoulder is prone is discomfort, use a pillow under your armpit for support while sleeping

Below is an example of how to set up your workstation for success!

3. Strengthen around the Shoulder

Shoulder strengthening may be one of the most misunderstood concepts when it comes to shoulder health.

When most people think of “shoulder strengthening”, they imagine exercises like bench presses, shoulder presses, and pull-ups.

While these exercises are great for overall upper body strengthening, the shoulder requires more specific attention in the form of movements such as external/internal rotation, face pulls, posterior flyes and Powell raises.

Below are a few exercises you can perform in the comfort of your own home with a simple set of bands!

4. Maintain Spine Health

The position of the spine dictates the quality of movement in all of the peripheral joints (shoulders, hips, knees, etc.).

In order to maintain both a high degree of range of motion in the shoulder as well as prevent pain, the spine, specifically the upper back and the neck, must be in good health and alignment.

One of the best ways to ensure your spine is healthy is to be evaluated and treated by a chiropractor!

5. Live a Healthy Lifestyle

Maintaining your physical health and joint health is not an easy task. It does require commitment and consistency in order to see results over the long term. In addition to habits such as regular stretching and exercise, chiropractic treatment, manual therapy, and posture correction, one of the most important factors in keeping any joint healthy is by keeping the ecosystem of your body healthy. This includes habits such as adequate sleep, proper nutrition, supplementation, sun exposure, meditation stress reduction.

 

If you are tired of dealing with cranky shoulders and would like a customized treatment and home exercise plan to meet your needs, please reach out by calling or clicking the link below!

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How Soft Tissue Therapy and Chiropractic can fix your pain!

What Makes Miami Spine and Performance in Hollywood, FL different?

At Miami Spine and Performance in Hollywood, FL we pride ourselves on using the power of chiropractic adjustments to help individuals with conditions such as lower back pain, neck pain, sciatica, and sports injuries. However, what our clinic really prides itself on is using a combination of therapies to provide our patients with lost lasting relief.

Soft Tissue Therapy in Hollywood, FL

At Miami Spine and Performance, we use a number of soft tissue tools to help reduce muscle tension and improve tissue quality so that you can move pain-free. Typically during a treatment session at our office, Dr. Adams will thoroughly examine both your joints and muscles to determine which areas need to be treated and which tool to use. At our clinic we use a number of highly effective soft tissue tools to treat our patients including Active Release Technique, Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Therapy, Muscle Energy Techniques, Percussion massage, and therapeutic cupping.

Active Release Technique in Hollywood, FL

Dr. Adams is the only full-body Active Release Technique provider in Hollywood, FL. Active Release Technique is a hands-on assessment and treatment technique designed to:

  • Restore optimal tissue tension, texture, and interface
  • Improve mobility and strength
  • Improve circulation
  • Reduce nerve interference to allow for proper conduction to muscle tissue

Active Release Technique (ART) is effective at treating a number of conditions including neck and back pain, elbow injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, knee injuries, and plantar fasciitis. ART allows our provider to locate soft tissue restrictions and nerve impingements that may be causing your pain or movement dysfunction. Once the restriction is located, the provider uses a combination of tension, pressure, and patient-guided movement to restore tissue length and quality. Patients often report significant relief of symptoms within only 2-3 sessions of ART.

Graston Technique in Hollywood, FL

Graston Technique utilizes a number of stainless steel instruments to improve soft tissue quality, reduce muscle tension and break up adhesions within the muscle tissue. At Miami Spine and Performance we use a number of stainless steel tools to reduce tension in the spine, shoulders, forearms, thighs, and calves. Treatment with Graston tools is painless and relaxing! We often use this technique in conjunction with therapeutic cupping to first reduce muscle tension and then restore blood flow to the injured area. See our video below for a sample treatment session!

Muscle Energy Techniques in Hollywood, FL

Muscle Energy Techniques involve gentle contract-relax stretching for various muscle groups that tend to become overly tight due to poor posture and movement dysfunction. Some of the most commonly restricted muscles treated with muscle energy techniques include:

  • Suboccipitals
  • Upper Trapezius
  • Pectoralis Major
  • Hip Flexors
  • Piriformis
  • Quadratus Lumborum (QL)
  • Hamstrings
  • Calves

When these muscles become overactive, they may not respond favorable to aggressive massage and other soft tissue techniques involving pressure directly onto the muscle. When a muscle is hypertonic or over-used, we utilize muscle energy techniques to progressively relax the muscle over the course of 2-5 minutes. Once these muscles are properly relaxed and there is no guarding, we are then able to perform more effective chiropractic adjustments!

Therapeutic Cupping in Hollywood, FL

Therapeutic Cupping has been used in physical medicine for thousands of years! This manual therapy technique utilizes suction to improve blood flow to areas that are stiff or in spasm. Cupping can be used pre-training, post-training or on off day to assist in your recovery! See the video below of Dr. Adams using instrument assisted soft tissue therapy in conjuction with therapeutic cupping to help fellow chiropactic Dr. Eric Smith with his neck pain!

 

 

If you are interested in learning more about how chiropractic care can set you on a path to a healthier and happier lifestyle, please feel free to reach out to your Hollywood Chiropractor below!

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10 Health Habits That You Should Adopt This New Year!

Healthy

Hydrate

  • Being that we all live near Hallandale Beach, hydration is particularly important given the humid weather we experience during most of the year.
  • Most men should be drinking roughly 3.5 liters of water daily and women should be drinking 2.5 liters of water daily. If you are physically active and/or are consuming caffeine/alcohol, this number should be even higher.
  • Additionally, adding electrolytes to your water can also help aid in hydration if you are sweating frequently throughout the day.

Get Sunlight

  • Fortunately for most of us near Hallandale Beach, sunlight is no problem! We have access to the sun almost every day of the year.
  • Spending ~20 minutes in the sun is generally enough to get your daily vitamin D requirement
  • Do not spend too much time in the sun without sunscreen!

Hit Some Weights

  • Resistance Training 2-4x/week can help keep your joints and muscles strong as you age
  • Weight training has a number of metabolic and cognitive benefits
  • Be sure to incorporate a variety of movement patterns including squat, bend, push, pull, carry

Elevate your heart rate a few times per week

  • Beyond just walking and resistance training, performing higher intensity exercise that raises your heart rate has a number of cardiovascular and metabolic benefits
  • Think high-intensity intervals using sprinting, rowing, biking, or bodyweight exercises
  • Be sure to consult your physician before commencing high-intensity training!

Supplement with Omega 3s

  • Supplementing with Omega 3 Fatty acids is important because most individuals do not get enough Omega 3’s in their diet
  • Omega 3’s have been shown to lower the likelihood of atherosclerosis, reduce triglycerides, and lower blood pressure
  • Omega 3’s can be consumed via Salmon, Shrimp, Chia/Hemp Seeds, Walnuts and Kidney Beans

Move throughout your day

  • Many jobs these days require long hours seated on a computer, if you fall into this category, make sure to move your body every hour!
  • Going for walks, stretching, or performing bodyweight exercises all can help prevent joint/muscle tension from developing due to extended postures
  • There are numerous cognitive benefits to performing exercises during the workday including improved working memory and cognitive flexibility

Eat Whole Foods

  • Regardless of your diet preferences (omnivore, pescatarian, vegetarian, vegan), it is important that the majority of the foods you consume come from whole foods
  • Often times when foods are heavily processed they lack the vital nutrients that are used to help your body’s machinery run efficiently
  • Eating non-processed foods is beneficial to nearly every organ in your body, including your brain, heart, digestive organs, and skin

Pick up a New Hobby

  • Having hobbies outside of your work life can be a great stress reliever and provide your mind some need rest and relaxation
  • Learning new skills helps preserve your brain and prevent disorders such as Alzheimer’s and dementia later in life
  • Try picking one hobby that challenges you physically, one that challenges your cognitively, and one that challenges you creatively

Protect your sleep

  • One of the most underutilized health and recovery habits we see in the clinic is sleep
  • Sleep is your body’s most powerful tool to enhance physical and mental recovery and there is no other modality that can replace it!
  • If you are unable to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night, look to take a short nap (20-60min) throughout your day to pay off that sleep debt!

Unplug

  • Excessive screen time (laptop, phone, tablet, television) has been linked to depression, anxiety, and “cognitive clouding”
  • Being immersed in technology 24/7 will overload your nervous system with input is damaging for your eyes, ears, and the areas of your brain that are involved in focus, memory, and cognition
  • Unplugging occasionally will allow you to pursue other meaningful activities such as a hobby, being in nature, exercise, or high-quality sleep

If you are interested in learning more about how chiropractic care can set you on a path to a healthier and happier lifestyle, please feel free to reach out to your Hollywood Chiropractor below!

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10 Facts You Should Know Before your First Chiropractic Adjustment

Chiropractic Adjustment

1. What is a Chiropractic Adjustment?

A chiropractic adjustment is a high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust that is performed on spinal or extremity joints that pushes the joint space slightly behind its normal range of motion. The procedure is usually performed hands-on but is also occasionally performed with a tool or a specialized drop table.

2. What Kind of Training do Chiropractors Go through before Adjusting Patients?

Chiropractic School consists of over 4000 hours of training in clinical diagnosis, anatomy, physiology, physical therapy, nutrition, and manual therapy. Chiropractic students spend hundreds of hours in the classroom practicing chiropractor adjustments and many students spend an additional 500-1000 hours perfecting techniques to deliver safe and effective adjustments.

3. Are Chiropractic Adjustments Safe?

Chiropractic Adjustments, when performed by a trained professional are extremely safe but like any manual procedure, there are risks of injury if the chiropractor does not perform their due diligence prior to performing an adjustment. At Miami Spine and Performance, we make sure to always perform a very thorough health history and examination prior to adjusting any patient in our office.

4. Who can perform Adjustments/Manipulation?

Currently, manipulation procedures are performed by chiropractic physicians, osteopaths, and occasionally physical therapists with advanced training. During school, chiropractors are trained in located joint fixations through palpation of the spine and trained in how to manually remove these fixations with adjustments. At this time massage therapists, acupuncturists, personal trainers, and coaches are not licensed to perform manipulations.

5. How do I know if I’m a good candidate for an adjustment?

Some of the conditions that chiropractic adjustments can help with include neck pain, back pain, disc herniations, joint stiffness, headaches, and sciatica. If you are working at a desk throughout the day, a fitness enthusiast, or an athlete, you could most likely benefit from regular chiropractic adjustments!

6. What is the “Cracking” Sound?

Contrary to popular belief, the popping noise that typically accompanies a chiropractic adjustment is not the sounds of “bones moving” but rather small air pockets releasing pressure from the joints. Some adjustments produce more noise than others and this is not necessarily an indication of an effective adjustment

7. Do I need X-rays before an adjustment?

Most of the time we do not require X-rays for patients before they are adjusted. We use motion palpation and functional examination in order to find areas that need chiropractic adjustments. We typically only refer out for X-rays if we suspect a fracture or bone disease.

8. Do Adjustments Hurt?

Chiropractic adjustments are a manual therapy procedure performed by trained doctors in order to improve the joint range of motion and decrease pain. Most joints in the body can benefit from chiropractic adjustments including but not limited to the spinal column, joints of the foot, Sternocalvicular joint, ribs, wrist, and hip capsule.

9. Can I find relief without a Chiropractic Adjustment?

Of Course! While chiropractic adjustments are valuable tools for helping our patients find relief, we often use manual therapy, corrective exercise, and a number of other modalities in the clinic as an adjunct to chiropractic adjustments. Many conditions such as muscle strain/sprains benefit more from manual therapy and rehabilitation than chiropractic adjustments. We are no than happy to use our other tools if you are not comfortable being adjusted.

10. What is the first visit with a chiropractor like?

We cannot speak to any other offices, but at Miami Spine and Performance your first visit always starts with a 60 minutes exam and consultation with your physician, after which the doctor will explain your diagnosis and the best course of action for treatment. Typically on the first visit, after your diagnosis, you will receive your first chiropractic adjustment!

 

If you are interested in booking a chiropractic appointment with one of our doctors, please click the “Schedule Appointment Now” button below!

 

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The Ideal Morning Routine for Joint Health

Morning Routine, CARS

Often at our office, we get asked by patients, what are the best stretches to perform first thing in the morning prior to starting their day? While the answer may differ for every person depending upon their specific age, injury history, and goals, for those with no significant injuries who want a general program, our #1 recommendation is to perform CARs (Controlled Articular Rotations) for every joint, each morning. 

CARs are active circulation rotational movements of the joint at the end range, meaning that you are taking your joint through all its respective ranges of motion, as far as you can go without compensation. 

Here are 8 benefits of performing these movements every morning as part of your self-care routine:

 

1. Prevent the loss of joint range of motion over time

One of the “effects of aging” that many individuals fear is the loss of joint range of motion such as turning the head or being able to sit down into a squat. The truth of the matter is that these losses of motion are not “age-related” but rather related to lack of movement over time. When you do not use a particular range of motion, your body will adapt and decrease your usable range over time. By moving your joint through a full range of motion regularly, you can prevent this loss of motion over time.

2. Allows you to screen the health of your joints on a daily basis

Before you experience pain in a joint, your body will likely give you clues that there may be an issue present in your body in the form of closing angle pain and decreased joint motion. Most individuals are not aware that they have a joint dysfunction until they are in significant pain and need to heal the injured area. By screening your joints daily via controlled articular rotations, you are able to stay ahead of and address these injury predictors before they develop into a more serious problem.

 

3. Bring nutrition and fluid to your joints

In order for joints to remain healthy and move properly, they require adequate blood flow and synovial fluid. The most optimal way for joints to receive proper nutrition and hydration is through movement. When joints do not move on a regular basis, they lose nutrition and degenerate over time. By moving your joints through a full range of motion daily, you can ensure that your joints move smoothly and healthfully long-term.

4. Increase the number of movement options

Many fitness enthusiasts claim that they would love to participate in activities such as Crossfit, tennis, skiing, or mountain climbing, but their body doesn’t allow them to do so. Oftentimes, joint range of motion is what dictates which movements you can and cannot participate in safely. By maintaining a full range of motion in your joints, allows you to partake in a wide variety of activities and have enough movement options to perform them safely and effectively.

 

5. Decrease Likelihood of injury

The equation for injury is simple when the demands on your body exceed your capacity, you are more likely to become injured. Therefore if you have a large capacity in the form of available joint range of motion, then you are able to undertake more demand without the likelihood of injury. Likewise, when your capacity exceeds demand, this leads to adaptation and improved performance.

 

6. Allows for Comprehensive Joint Training

Most exercise training that individuals undertake involves single joint or mid-range motions. For example, cycling and walking are mid-range exercises, the lower body is never taken all the way to the end range. Gym exercises such as bench press, pull-ups, and lateral raises all work specific motions of the shoulder joint but do not take the shoulder all the way to the end range of motion. By performing controlled articular rotations, you are able to effectively train your joints into the ranges that are not regularly trained by conventional gym exercises.

7. Improve healing post-injury

When tissue is injured, it is not simply enough to let the tissue rest and be immobilized for a significant period of time. The tissue will heal in the direction that it is prompted to heal. If you do not move an injured joint, then the new cells being laid down into connective tissue have no input as to how to heal properly. This can ultimately lead to scar tissue formation and a disorganized foundation of connective tissue at the site of the injury. By moving your joints through a pain-free range of motion during the healing phase of an injury you can increase the likelihood of an organized healing process and restoration of joint range post-injury.

 

8. Prepare your for life

Life can be unpredictable and may throw unexpected challenges at your body. For example, stepping off of a curve or reaching to catch a falling glass. Oftentimes injuries occur during these unexpected and reactive moments. By performing CARs on a daily basis and moving your joints through end-range, you are able to better prepare yourself for the unexpected difficulties life throws at you.

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How to Structure a Knee Rehabilitation Program

knee injury

Knee injuries can be very frightening and debilitating if not rehabilitated properly. Before commencing a rehabilitation program for any musculoskeletal injury, we advise that you get assessed by a healthcare professional that is able to diagnose your injury, explain the mechanism of your injury and prescribe you a well-reasoned rehabilitation program.

The specifics of every rehabilitation program are going to differ for every individual and will depend upon the actual tissue that is injured as well as the severity of the injury. This article is designed to give a rough outline of the important characteristics and priorities of most knee rehabilitation programs regardless of injury as well as some specific examples.

 

Knee Rehabilitation Phase 0

The Goal of Phase 0 is to reduce the initial bout of inflammation following the knee injure. During this phase, it is advisable to spend as much time as possible not bearing weight on the injured leg and keeping the knee elevated. It is also advisable to wear a knee brace when it is necessary to walk and bear weight on the knee. The emphasis should be placed on icing the knee and reducing inflammation through supplementation, over the counter medications, or prescription medications. This phase will generally last 3 days to 2 weeks depending upon the severity of the injury.

Length of Time: 1-2 weeks

Priority: Reduce Initial Inflammation

Training Modifications: No Physical Training at this time, focus on film study or reading.

Treatment Plan Example:

  • Ice Applied 3-4x/day for 15 minutes
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Keeping injured knee elevated
  • Staying off of affected knee as much as possible

 

Knee Rehabilitation Phase 1

Knee Rehabilitation Phase 1 should begin when you are able to bear weight on your affected leg with minimal pain. During phase 1 of rehabilitation, you are going to begin training the other joints of your lower body (Hip, Ankle, Foot), as well as the core, and stretching the muscles that cross the knee (Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Calves). It is also important during this phase that you begin low-intensity cardiovascular exercise on a bicycle. This will improve blood flow to the injured knee and improve healing times. At this point low-intensity sport, specific drills can be performed (ex. Shooting free throws, Boxing on a heavy bag).

Length of time: 2-4 weeks

Priority:

  • Restore Range of motion
  • Train non-injured body parts (Upper Body, Core, Hips)
  • Regain Balance

Training Modifications:

  • A protective Knee Brace should be worn during exercise
  • Avoid running, sprinting, jumping, and cutting
  • Perform low intensity, sport-specific drills
  • Focus on Upper Body exercise

Treatment Plan Example:

  1. 10 minutes on the stationary bike
  2. Standing Quadricep Stretch, 3 sets of 30 seconds
  3. Standing Hamstring Stretch, 3 sets of 30 seconds
  4. Deadbug, 3 sets of 10 per side
  5. Glute Bridge, 3 sets of 15
  6. Single leg stance, 2 sets of 20 seconds per side

Knee Rehabilitation Phase 2

Phase 2 of rehabilitation is focused on transitioning into lower body stability and knee-dominant exercises. During this phase, unilateral lower body exercises are performed to enhance balance, stability, and strength in the affected leg. Additionally, knee-dominant exercises such as leg extensions and leg curls are used to strengthen the muscles around the knee. Joint training such as CARs and PAILs is used to continue to restore range of motion in the knee and hip of the affected leg. During this time, low-intensity sport-specific drills and running can be introduced as tolerated.

Length of time: 2-4 weeks

Priority:

  • Single leg Exercises (Lunge, Squat, Step-up)
  • Single Joint Movements (Leg Curls, Leg Extension, Calf Raises, Hip Extension)
  • Joint Training (CARs, PAILs/RAILs)

Training Modifications:

  • Moderate intensity running/jogging, ease back into Sports drills.

Treatment Plan Example:

  1. 20 minutes on Stationary Bike
  2. Seated Leg Curls, 3×20
  3. Seated Leg Extension, 3×20
  4. Walking Lunges x100 total steps
  5. Knee Flexion PAILS/RAILS x2 minutes
  6. Standing Hip CARs x5/side

 

Knee Rehabilitation Phase 3

Phase 3 of rehabilitation is the final phase and as such can last anywhere from 4 weeks to multiple months. During this phase, there should be very minimal pain in the knee, and the range of motion should be at least 90% restored. Bilateral strengthening exercises such as squats and deadlifts should be introduced into this phase as well as plyometric exercises to ensure the knee is stable enough to withstand ballistic forces. If there is still a limitation in active mobility in the lower extremity, passive range holds and end range lift offs should be used to expand the range of motion. During this phase, it is also appropriate to introduce live sports drills if applicable while wearing a knee sleeve to improve sensory awareness of the affected knee.

Length of Time: 4-12 weeks

Priority:

  • Bilateral Strength (Back Squat, Trap Bar Deadlift, Leg Press)
  • Plyometrics (Box Jump, Broad Jump, Olympic Lifts)
  • End Range Joint Training (Passive Range Holds, End Range Lift Offs, Eccentric Neural Groove)

Training Modifications: Return to live sports drills at moderate intensity, stay cautious of activities that continue to aggravate the knee.

Treatment Plan Example:

  1. Seated Box Jump 7×3
  2. Hang Power Clean 5×2
  3. Back Squat 3×8
  4. SL Leg Press 3×12
  5. Swiss Ball Hamstring Curl 3×15
  6. Knee Flexion Passive Range Holds

If you are currently dealing with a chronic injury and would like an assessment and custom-tailored rehabilitation program, we would love to help!

 

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How to prepare your Body for Combat Sports

martial arts

Have a Purpose for Each Session

Combat Sports are tough and physical, and while it may be tempting to push yourself to the limit on every session, in the long run, this approach will hinder your ability to excel in the long term.boxing

Periodizing both the content and intensity of the session are important when structuring a week of training. For example, performing hard sparring 6 days a week will certainly result in overtraining and likely injury as well. A more appropriate approach may be to have 2 light/technical sessions during the week, 2 moderate/conditioning sessions, and 2 hard/sparring sessions. Splitting the week up this way will allow you to spend certain periods of the week on technical proficiency and others practicing the sport in a live situation.

Additionally, working on different aspects of your sport throughout the week will help prevent overuse and allow for higher intensity in each session. If, for example, a kickboxer works only on throwing hooks throughout the week, the shoulders, elbows, and wrists may take the excessive strain. Alternatively, making some days more boxing heavy and other days more kick heavy can spread the weekly volume throughout the body.

 

Incorporate Strength Training

Because combat sports competitions are generally centered around weight classes, there has been a bit of a stigma against weight training for combat sports athletes for fear of excessive weight gain or slowing down an athlete. What these athletes don’t consider, however, is that strength training does not necessarily equate to weight gain and can significantly improve an athlete’s durability.

When an athlete is competing in a sport that does involve weight classes, it is pertinent that he or she fills out that weight class with lean muscle tissue as much as possible. Even if you are comfortable at your current body weight, strength training (particularly in a lower rep range) can allow you to become stronger without gaining any size.

Additionally, strength training plays a critical role in injury prevention. Putting external load on your body in the form of resistance training improves the strength of your muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments while also enhancing joint durability. By regularly exposing your soft tissues to load, you reduce the likelihood of these tissues becoming strained or torn.

 

weight training

Prioritize Sleep

Most individuals are aware that proper sleep quality and quantity are important for the body to recover physically and mentally but for combat athletes, sleep is non-negotiable. Combat sports are both very physically taxing as well as psychologically. Getting onto a jiu-jitsu mat, into a boxing ring, or into an octagon requires a high level of mental toughness as well as psychological prowess.

Because the stakes are so high in combat sports, it is extremely important that an individual take advantage of proper sleep to ensure that they are mentally sharp during every practice. In the world of combat sports, a mental lapse can mean the difference between getting punching in the face, strangled, or getting away safely.

Sleep will also aid in the muscular and nervous system to recover from hard bouts of training. Not only is tough, contact training hard on the body but also on the nervous system. Being in a combative situation usually leads to an increased sympathetic response from the nervous system (think fight or flight). This heightened state of awareness needs to offset with long bouts of parasympathetic activity (rest and digest), which can be provided by high-quality sleep.

 

Ensure Proper Nutrition and HydrationNutrition

One of the best ways to keep the body healthy and free from unwanted inflammation is to make good nutritional choices. Eating lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats will ensure that your body has the proper fuel that it needs for every training session.

Caloric intake is also a critical piece of the nutrition equation when it comes to combat athletes with a high volume of training. While some, select individuals feel better keeping carbohydrate intake to a minimum, this macronutrient is responsible for providing your body with usable energy to be burned during training and daily activities. Carbohydrates are best consumed before and after training and both fuel the workout and allow you to recover from training.

Combat sports athletes are notorious for long training sessions and multiple sessions per day. This means that not only are their bodies losing a lot of water but electrolytes as well. If an athlete is training for more than 90 minutes per day, it is imperative that he or she include electrolytes in their re-hydration beverage to ensure that not only water but minerals are properly replenished.

 

Listen to your body

As an athlete or even an avid-hobbyist, it is sometimes too easy to ignore your body and “train through pain”. This approach, unfortunately, leads to a number of nagging injuries as well as a significantly increased likelihood of serious injury that can take you out of training for months. If you are experiencing consistent or worsening pain in an area of your body, it is always better to have the area checked out by a professional, rather than waiting until it is too late.

 

If you are a combat sports participant looking for a sports-centered chiropractic physician to help keep you healthy, please reach out to our office, we’d love to help you!

 

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How to Recover Like a Pro

Pro athlete recovery

Recovery is the process of returning to a normal state of health, mind, and strength. In the context of training, the ability to “Recover” means not just returning to normal, but even better than before.

For our overview of How to Recover Properly, see Here

When it comes to gaining strength, improving running times, or improving in sports, much of the emphasis is on the intensity and frequency of training, but little attention is paid to the quality of recovery. Proper Recovery is a multi-factorial paradigm that requires active participation in aligning your nutrition, active rest, and modalities with your training schedule.

Nutrition

The first and most important aspect of recovery is what you are (or aren’t) putting into your body. This includes foods, liquids, and supplements

fruits and vegetablesOne of the primary goals of recovery is to mitigate inflammation, meaning consuming anti-inflammatory foods such as

  • Berries/Cherries
  • Salmon
  • Brocolli/Peppers/Mushrooms/Spinach/Kale
  • Avocado
  • Walnuts/Almonds
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

In addition to reducing consumption of pro-inflammatory foods such as

  • Fried Foods (French Fries, Chicken Fingers
  • Processed Carbohydrates (Bagels, Flour Tortillas, Breakfast Cereal)
  • Soda (Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Mountain Dew)

Making these food choices alone can have a profound impact on your body’s ability to fight off inflammation and recover properly from training.

 

Supplementation

It can be challenging at times to eat all of the proper foods every day, which is why recommend supplementing the nutrients that you are not able to get in your diet on a daily basis.

The supplements listed in this article are general guidelines and we always recommend that you consult your physician if you are planning on taking supplements.

If you are interested in a customized supplement protocol for your body, you can book an appointment with our functional Medicine Physician Here.

Supplements that have been shown to aid in recovery include:

  • Omega-3 Fish Oil
  • Co-Q10
  • Glutamine
  • L-Arginine

vitamins and supplements

Movement

While there is certainly value in simply putting your feet up relaxing on the couch during an off day, there is also value in being active on your off days in order to promote blood flow and mobility for recovery. We generally recommend to our patients that they move every day, whether that be a walk, a 15-minute stretch, or swim in the ocean, a daily dose of movement goes a long way.

Activities that we consider to be “Active Recovery Include”

  • Low-Intensity Cardio (Walking, Hiking, Casual Swimming)
  • Stretching or Mobility Work
  • Deload or Light Sessions in the gym

Modalities

Being under the care of a clinician or therapist trained in sports medicine can be an invaluable tool to enhance your recovery from training. Not only will these providers have access to tools to expedite your recovery but can also give you a comprehensive assessment to determine which areas may need more recovery or correction than others.

If you would like to schedule a comprehensive Movement Assessment with one of our providers Click Here!

Some Specific Modalities and Treatments that can enhance your recovery include

Hands on manual care from a trained provider is one of the most valuable investments you can make into your health and recovery. Professional Athletes often invest thousands of dollars annually into their “Recovery Team” to ensure that their nutrition, manual therapy, and corrective exercise is custom tailored to their specific needs.

Dry NeedlingProgramming

In addition to eating right, moving often and utilizing recovery therapies, properly programming and peroidizing your training will also ensure that you have an appropriate balalnce of breaking down your muscles and re-building your muscles.

Most times, individuals just continue to train hard year-round and only take time off for injuries or illness. While, injury and illness are often your body telling you that you are overtraining, we advocate that you take planned deload weeks during the year every 4-12 weeks to recover form a given training phase and prepare your body physically, mentally and metabolically for the next phase of training.

In addition to planning deloads, it is important to also measure your progress to ensure that your weekly volume does not exceed what you are able to recovery from. Weeks and monthly of trianing above threshold will result in “overtraining” and will not allow your body to adapt and supercompensate from training.

 

For more informative videos about this topic and many more, please visit our Youtube channel as well as our Instagram Page.

 

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6 Ways to Keep your Shoulder Healthy and Functional

Shoulder Health Physical Therapy

1. Move Through a Full Range of Motion DAILY

Joints love to move. Moving your joint through its full range of motion on a regular basis helps maintain joint mobility and allows for adequate nutrition and blood flow to be supplied to the joint. The shoulder is one of the most mobile joints in the body with a variety of muscular, ligamentous, and capsular attachments, making it even more important that each motion (ex. flexion, adduction, internal rotation) is performed on a daily basis.

For some daily Shoulder Motion to Practice for Mobility Click Here

 

2. Pull More than you Push

Resistance training is an excellent way to keep your shoulders strong and healthy. Performing Pushing Exercises for the chest and deltoid, Pulling Exercises for the upper back and lats as well as shoulder exercises for the lateral/posterior deltoid and rotator cuff are integral for long term shoulder health and function.

In order to weight train appropriately without over-taxing your shoulder joint, you should be performing 2-2.5 times as many pulling exercises (pull-ups, rows) as pushing exercises (bench press, pushups).

For more specific exercises to strengthen the shoulder safely see our “Upper Body Training” Playlist on our Youtube channel Here.

 

3. Train your Shoulder Mobility

Many of you train to become stronger, faster, lose body fat, etc. But do you train for mobility? Mobility is a physical capacity just like strength and speed are, it must be trained deliberately on a regular basis to see a noticeable improvement.

Performing the Shoulder CARs variation seen above is a great starting point but there are also a number of ways to improve range of motion and motor control long term without excessive stretching and soft tissue therapy.

At our clinic, we use a system called Functional Range Conditioning in order to work with patients to improve usable mobility long-term.

 

4. Show your Shoulder Blades Some Love

We cannot have a conversation about shoulder health without talking about the shoulder blades. The Shoulder Blade (Scapula) is intimately connected to the shoulder both structurally and functionally. If the shoulder blades do not move properly and the muscles connecting the shoulder to the shoulder blade are not engaged, the shoulder will never be able to express its full range of motion.

The Scapula, Humerus, and Cervical Spine (Neck) work together to allow for clean and efficient movement of the upper extremity. When working on shoulder health… Keep your Scapula strong and mobile!

 

5. Strengthen the Small Stabilizers of the Shoulder

“The Rotator Cuff” has gained a lot of attention over the years as it is an area that is frequently injured and deconditioned. The Rotator Cuff is a group of muscles made up of the Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor, and Subscapularis. The role of the “Rotator Cuff” is not only to rotate the shoulder but also to stabilize the shoulder during motion and should be trained in both functions. 

Additionally, the muscles of the rotator cuff often become tight and overworked in individuals involved in powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, boxing, tennis, golf, and baseball. For these types of issues, we often use manual therapy techniques such as Active Release Technique to resolve the tightness and poor tissue quality of these muscles.

 

6. Develop Adequate Thoracic (Upper Back) Mobility

The era of technology and long work hours has caused many of our upper backs to become immobile and excessively rounded (flexed). Regular Motion of the thoracic spine into extension and rotation is critical for upper body and shoulder health. Here are a few variations on training Upper Back Extension and Upper Back Rotation.

The shoulder is most comfortable moving with a neutral or extended upper back, so be sure to get your upper back adjusted regularly to keep a strong posture when moving the shoulder!

Be sure to follow our “Shoulder Series” to gain valuable insight on shoulder health! We will be sharing practice tips to improve in each of these areas on our Instagram.

These are general guidelines that may not apply to you. If you are experiencing any shoulder pain we recommend that you are assessed by a health care professional.

If you or someone that you know is currently dealing with shoulder pain and would like an evaluation and customized treatment plan, please reach out! We’d love to help you.

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5 Key Reasons you May Be Experiencing Headaches

Headache Treatment and Therapy

1. Stress

  • Stress can come in the form of
    • Emotional stress
    • Physical Stress such as clenching teeth or poor posture
    • Physiological stress in the form of excessive sugar or caffeine
  • Stress is a normal human reaction that can be used to improve productivity and awareness, but when excessive stress begins compounding, it can detrimental to your health.
  • Though a cycle of stress can be difficult to manage, simple strategies can help such as
    • Deep Breathing
    • Meditation
    • Quality Sleep
    • Eating nutrient-dense foods
    • Proper hydration

2. Posture

  • Common postural stressors include sitting with a rounded back, chin protrusion, or tilting/rotating the head to one side for a period of time.
  • These postures may lead to excessive tone in the muscles of the neck, leading to increased pressure on the nerves and joints.

3. Food/Drink Consumption

  • Food intolerances are one of the least known causes of headaches
  • Food/Drink triggers are very individualized, so be aware of what you are consuming when you are experiencing headaches
  • Common foods and beverages that may trigger headaches include:
    • Caffeine
    • Alcohol
    • MSG containing foods
    • Aged Cheeses
    • Excessively processed or salty foods

4. Hydration

  • Dehydration is a very common and overlooked reason you may be experiencing headaches, particularly living in South Florida.
  • Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink water, try and always have a bottle of water to sip throughout the day.
  • If you are physically active and sweat often, be sure to include electrolytes in your hydration program to replenish what is lost during activity.

5. Movement Quality

  • Poor movement quality and range of motion in the neck, shoulders, and upper back can lead to strain on sensitive structures such as joints, ligaments, and nerves.
  • Regularly moving the joints and muscles of the neck through a full range of motion can reduce the likelihood of excessive strain and headaches.
  • Strengthening the small stabilizing muscles of the neck and shoulder blades can balance muscles and reduce the over-use of larger muscle groups in the neck

 

If you or someone you know has been dealing with headaches and would like to schedule and evaluation with one of our physicians please give us a a call or click the link below!

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Grapplers Guide to Injury Prevention: Closed Guard

Jiu Jitsu Closed Guard

The Closed Guard

The Guard is arguably the most fundamental position in Brazilian jiu-jitsu during which you, the guard player, are on the ground and your opponent is above you looking to pass your guard. Though there are many variations of the guard, the position can be fundamentally broken into two parts: closed guard and open guard.

The Closed guard is a position in which your legs are wrapped around the hips or torso of your partner. From this position you, as the guard, player are likely looking to perform a sweep and gain top position, or submit your opponent from the bottom. 

First, we are going to look at the major sweeps from the closed guard and what physical capacities are necessary to perform these sweeps effectively and safely. The specific technique of the sweep will not be address in this article because every professor teaches their variation, but generally, there are enough commonalities amongst how these sweeps are taught for us to analyze the biomechanics.

Second, we will analyze some of the common submissions from closed guard and talk through the proper execution of these submissions from a biomechanical standpoint.

For each major sweep and submission from closed guard covered below, there will also be a video covering a specific exercise that can be used to improve the quality of execution of these fundamental jiu-jitsu movements.

 

The Scissor Sweep: 

The Scissor sweep is one of the first taught sweeps in a beginners jiu-jitsu class. This sweep involves opening the guard and kicking your opponent with the top leg while chopping with the bottom leg. This “scissoring” action coupled with proper upper body grips will force your opponent to one side with no base. 

While this sweep is basic in its execution and does not require as much mobility as other sweeps, it doesn’t require the ability to quickly shift your hips from square to your opponent into a position where your hips are perpendicular. If you do not have appropriate coordination between your core and hips as well as dexterity, you could potentially excessively rotate through your lower back during this sweep.

 

The Pendulum Sweep:

The Pendulum Sweep is another fundamental sweep in Jiu-Jitsu. Relative to the Scissor Sweep, the pendulum sweep has more set up and mobility requirements. While there are several ways to execute a pendulum sweep, the general premise is that you take away your opponent’s base-arm on the side of the sweep and use the momentum up a full-body pendulum to knock your opponent in that direction.

While the sweep itself involves a scissoring motion similar to the scissor sweep, the momentum behind a pendulum sweep coming from your mobility in your hamstrings and adductors as well as your ability to contract these muscles from end range.

Below is an end-range training variation we use with outpatients to improve hamstring and adductor output for grappling as well as striking motions.

 

The Hip Sweep:

The Hip Sweep is another common sweep variation taught in beginners jiu-jitsu classes. This sweep does require rotation of the thoracic spine in addition to the bracing and hip dexterity requirements of other closed guard sweeps.

During this sweep, you will first look to bring your opponent’s hands down to the mat and then will post on your same-side elbow or hand while turning your torso and hips over your opponent, ideally ending in mount. Proper stability of the arm, shoulder blade, and spine is required to execute this sweep efficiently and safely. Having a stable upper body foundation allows you to build the base for your hips to finish the sweep.

Below we will look at a DNS 10-month transition that can be used to train the mechanics of this position and develop the proper body mechanics for a technical and well-executed hip bump sweep.

 

In addition to sweeping the top opponent, closed guard players are also generally looking for an opportunity to submit the opponent inside of their guard from the bottom. Again, there are several variations in how these submissions are taught, but we will use the common principles of these submissions to break down the mechanics.

 

The Armbar:

The Armbar from guard is one of the most fundamental jiu-jitsu submissions and is generally taught early in the beginner’s curriculum. As with other jiu-jitsu submissions, the specifics of the execution will likely vary from school to school depending on the preference of the professor but the fundamentals of the armbar and generally consistent across techniques. 

The traditional armbar from guard requires holding onto your opponent’s arm followed by a shift of the hips to the opposite side followed by a clamp made by your legs on your opponent’s torso and neck. From this “finishing position”, the bar is extended over the crease of the hip/groin for the submission.

One of the most unique characteristics of the mechanics of the armbar is the briding of the hips into the arm combined with the clamp. Performing this movement safely and effectively requires control of the lower abs and the ability to properly activate the posterior chain (glutes and hamstrings) without overextending the lower back. Below is a drill we use to practice proper lower ab activity with glute and hamstring activation.

 

The Triangle:Jiu Jitsu Triangle

The triangle is another fundamental jiu-jitsu submission that has several unique biomechanical and anthropometric (leg length, etc) requirements to be effective. The requirements to execute a triangle from guard are similar to those of the armbar. The technique involves bridging the hips up and locking your legs around the neck and one arm of your opponent. This position is where the leg length and hip dexterity become important.

The finishing of the Triangle choke itself requires pulling one leg horizontally across the back of your partner and locking the opposite knee around the shin. This requires a high degree of hip external rotation to properly execute this submission without excessive strain on your hip and back or a failed submission.

 

The Cross-Collar Choke:

The cross-collar choke is generally the first submission that is taught in a fundamentals jiu-jitsu GI class. This choke involves gripping the two collars of your opponent with opposite arms and ulnar deviating your wrist, to the pinky side. Generally, when individuals have difficulty with ulnar deviation, they will compensate by trying to complete the choke with the arms and likely fail or over-exerting the upper body. Below is a demonstration of controlled articular rotation for the wrist that we use to improve wrist mobility for grappling and other sports.

 

If you are a jiu-jitsu athlete currently dealing with an injury or would like guidance on how to stay injury-free and have longevity in the sport, book a consultation with us below!

 

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5 Ways to Optimize your Workstation for Productivity

Workstation ergonomics

Most individuals spend more time at their desks or workstation than they do at home. The workstation should be a place that you are able to be productive and comfortable but unfortunately, for many, the workstation is a place associated with stress, discomfort and often times, pain in the neck and back

Below we are going to give you 5 practical tips in order to optimize your workstation so that your body feels great at the end of the workday and you don’t need to be distracted by neck and back pain during your workday.

 

 

1. Ensure the Brightness and Text size on your screen are appropriate

 

This first pointer for workstation ergonomics is one that is often overlooked when an individual is looking to make their workspace neck and back-friendly. The reason that improper brightness and text size can affect neck and back pain is that if you cannot read your screen you will be more inclined to lean forwards towards your computer, resulting in excessive protrusion of the chin, upper back flexion, and lower back flexion.

 

 

2. Place your Desk and Chair at a height that allows you to sit upright 

 

Often times, individuals will neglect the importance of chair and desk height for ergonomic safety and health. Ideally, you want to have your chair at a height that allows you to have two feet on the floor and allow your forearms to rest on your desk.

If your desk is too high, you will be required to have your arms higher and ultimately this will lead to tension in the neck as well as an increased likelihood of carpal tunnel syndrome. Conversely, If the desk is too low, you may be more likely to lean forward or flex your spine excessively to reach the level of the screen.

 

 

3. Have lumbar support on your chair to maintain your natural spinal curvature

 

Contrary to popular belief, your spine is not meant to be “straight”. Your spine has three distinct curves and is shaped more like the letter “S”. When individuals sit for an extended period of time, they are likely to round their lower back. Naturally, the lower back is meant to hold a slight arch, meaning that sitting oftentimes reverses its intended curvature. 

Over time, when this flexed position of the lower back is held for an extended period of time, you are likely to experience lower back discomfort. We often recommend to our patients to use a Mckenzie Lumbar Roll or purchase a chair that allows them to maintain a normal lumbar curvature.

 

 

4. Take breaks regularly to move your hip and hips through a full range of motion

 

Microbreaks are an area of workplace ergonomics that most individuals partake in by necessity. After sitting for hours working on a project, it is natural to walk to get up, stretch, and walk around. Though walking around the office for a few minutes is a great start, we want you to be even more specific with your microbreaks. We recommended getting up for 5 minutes from your desk every hour or two.

While sitting at work, generally, the joints of the spine, as well as your hip and shoulders, are in a flexed position. Standing and walking, however, are positions considered to be relatively neutral. We know that joints love to be moved in all directions regularly, so what we want to do during our microbreaks is not only stand and walk but actively extend our joints. Here are some examples of extension based movements that can be performed during your breaks at work!

 

5. Practice Proper  and Controlled Respiration through your abdomen

 

Proper respiration is one of the most significantly overlooked aspects of posture, ergonomics, and even physical activity. When individuals become stressed at work, their posture breaks down and they begin slightly hyperventilating (taking quick breaths). 

Taking these short, choppy breaths forces you to use your shoulder elevator and neck musculature to assist in the breathing process. This causes a buildup for tension in the upper back and neck and puts small degrees of compression through your spine.

By focusing on expanding your abdomen while breathing, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth, you will be able to decompress your spine, protect your lower back and inhibition the muscles of the neck that commonly contribute to pain and tightness.

For more details on how to breathe properly and begin to train for respiration, please see the video below.

Breaking Down Weightlifting Movements: The Snatch

Athlete Performing a Snatch

The Olympic Snatch is one of the most complicated and effective weightlifting movements that is frequently used in sports performance, CrossFit, and barbell sport.

The Snatch itself involves Lifted a barbell from the ground to the overhead position in one motion. Traditionally, the snatch is caught deep in a squat position requiring a significant amount of upper-body stability and lower body mobility.

Part of what makes the snatch such a unique lift is that any small deviation from proper technique and mechanics can result in a missed lift. For other major lifts in the super total such as the deadlift, Clean and Jerk, and Squat, small deviations can be compensated for by strength and grit. This is why the Snatch is called by some “the most athletic movement in Olympic Sport”

 

The snatch itself is typically broken down into three primary phases; the first pull, the second pull, and the catch

 

The First Pull:

During the first pull, the barbell is lifted off of the ground up to the crease of the hip. Within the first pull, the knees are pulled back to make room the barbell around the knees and then return forwards as the bar is brought towards the crease of the hip.

The physical demands of this position include primarily proper thoracic (upper/middle back) extension, foot stability, and the ability to appropriately load the hamstrings

While there is much debate as to the appropriate torso height for the liftoff phase of the snatch, most coaches will agree that a rounded upper back is an efficient position to pull from, which means that some level of thoracic extension, without composing the neck or lower back is ideal.

Additionally, the ability to stabilize the arch of the foot is critical for the liftoff phase as the foot is to be in full contact with the ground and any deviation away from the balanced position can result in a missed lift or injury, particularly when the weight increases relatively to your max. Most lifters also use an Olympic weightlifting shoe designed to improve dorsiflexion capacity of the ankle, though at times at the expense of a properly centered foot and stabilized arch.

The initial lift of the bar during the snatching from the ground up to the top of the knee requires a proper hip hinge during which the hamstrings and posterior chain are adequately loaded to produce maximal force and reduced the compressive load on the spine while lifting the bar. Likewise, the bar is taught to be kept very close to the body to reduce strain place on the lower back during the lift.

 

The Second Pull:

Once the bar has reached the top of the thigh or hip crease, the second pull is initiated in which the body uses triple extension (hip, knee, ankle) to propel the bar vertically. Once the bar has reached the maximal height, the lifter descends into the catch position to receive the barbell.

Athletes vary in at which point they initiate the second pull. Some athletes chose to extend just before the bar reaches the crease or the hip but the majority of weightlifting coaches teach the lifter to be patient during the first pull and explosively triple-extend once the bar reaches the hips in the snatch. An early second pull can result in an inefficient bar bath and potentially a leak of potential vertical force to propel the bar upwards.

Important characteristics for the second pull are more related to training athletic qualities and synchronizing extension of the hip, knee, and ankle. From a mobility and motor control standpoint, however, the ability to properly extend the hip while stabilizing the spine is arguably the most important physical characteristic for executing an efficient and safe second pull.

Hip Extension is not only an important motion for the snatch, but also a variety of fitness movements including the deadlift, running, bridging, and lunging. Often individuals possess very little hip extension and use their lumbar spine (lower back) to extend during a lift or athletic movement. When we can effectively address pure hip extension, through manual therapy and specific exercises, we can expand your force capacity as well as significantly reduce the likelihood of a lower back injury.

 

The Catch:

After the lifting drops under the barbell following the second pull, the catch position requires the lifter to have two feet planted on the floor and the arms locked out overhead. Once the lifter catches in a stable position and stands up to the standing position.

The “catch” phase of the lift is by far the most physically demanding in that it requires a tremendous ability to sit into a deep squat with an upright posture and lock the arms out overhead. The squat itself has numerous prerequisites that we will cover in a later installment of this series, but the difference during this lift is that the squat is required with a barbell locked out overhead. A traditional powerlifting squat has very little upper body mobility requirements beyond enough shoulder rotation to hold the bar. The front squat does require a relatively upright torso as well as upper body extensibility for the front-rack. However, neither of these compare to the demands of the overhead squat.

To catch the barbell in a stable enough position to stand up and maintain a successful lift, the shoulder complex must have a tremendous degree of overhead stability coupled with adequate upper back extension to take the strain off of the shoulder joint itself. 

Additionally, a physical capacity that is not talked about frequency is the ability of the wrist to radially deviate (bend towards the thumb side). Generally, at higher levels of Olympic weightlifting, lifters will grip very wide on the bar to both meet the hip crease during the second pull and reduce the overhead mobility requirement during the catch. Because the wrist is a small and complex joint, we mustn’t place the wrist in a vulnerable position during the snatch.

 

Common Injuries Seen in the Snatch

If you are a Crossfitter, Olympic weightlifter, or other athlete and would like a joint-by-joint injury risk assessment as well as therapy to correct these findings, please reach out to us at 754-231-8338, we would love to help you!

10 Push-ups Progressions for Strength, Size, and Stability

Push ups

The Push-up is one of the most battle-tested exercises to develop your chest, shoulders, triceps, and your abdominals. There is a reason that everyone from Elementary Physical Education Teachers to NFL strength and conditioning coaches uses this exercise – it’s a fundamental movement that has unlimited regressions and progressions, making it usable for anyone.

At its core, the pushup is a very simple exercise, but making slight variations to ensure proper muscle activation and technique turns this simple exercise into a challenging full-body exercise. Doing simple down-and-up push-ups in just the beginning of the endless variations and progressions of this exercise. 

Working through a proper progression on an exercise is very important for getting the most benefit from the exercise and protecting your joints from unnecessary injury. Unfortunately, due to poor technique and rapid progression, individuals frequently experience shoulder pain and wrist pain when performing pushups.

Before beginning any exercise program be sure that you have the pre-requisite joint range of motion to perform the exercise. In the case of the pushup, it’s important you have adequate shoulder extension and wrist extension in order to perform the exercise safely and properly. If you are experiencing pain during a push-up, see a qualified professional to give you an assessment to help you correct the issue!

We recommend working through these progressions slowly and once you are able to perform variation for repetitions and multiple sets with flawless technique, try the next variation!

Isometric Holds

    • Brace your abdomen
    • Be sure your entire hand is in contact with the floor and rotating slightly outwards
    • Maintain a slight Chin-tuck

Eccentric Pushups

    • Start in the same position as the isometric push-up
    • Slowly lower yourself down for 5-8 seconds without losing your brace of chin tuck
    • Once you have lowered yourself all the way down, restart at the top

Incline Pushups

    • Find a surface that is elevated and allows for a comfortable position of the wrist
    • Lower yourself to the surface over the course of 3 seconds with good form
    • Think “Push the surface away” as your press-up

1.5 Rep Pushups

    • Start by performing one full eccentric pushup to the ground
    • Instead of pressing all the way up, press yourself up until your elbow are roughly 90 degrees
    • Return down to the ground under control and press yourself back up to the top

Pushups with Shoulder Tap

    • Perform a Full Repetition of a push-up with good form
    • At the top of each repetition, lift one hand up and touch the opposite shoulder
    • When you lift the hand off the surface, maintain the integrity of the rest of the body

Single leg Pushups

    • From the starting position, lift one leg off of the ground
    • Keep the leg lifted as your perform full pushups
    • Do not arch the back or shift your hips when the leg lifts

Elbow to Knee Pushups

    • Start by performing one full pushup with good technique
    • Once you reach the top of the pushup, lift one arm and the opposite leg up off of the ground
    • Touch the lifted elbow to the lifted knee, without excessively moving your spine

Push-up to Sit out

  • Start by performing a full pushup with good technique
  • At the top of the push-up, lift one and one leg off of the table
  • Turn your body and lift the one leg up towards the ceiling with maintaining contact of the opposite limbs

Plyo Pushup

    • Perform a full eccentric pushup with good technique and a short pause at the bottom
    • From the bottom of the pushup, push explosively through your hands and attempt to lift slightly off the ground at the end of the repetitions
    • Catch yourself in the pushup position with a slight elbow bend and reset for the next repetitions

Clapping Push-ups

    • Perform a controlled eccentric pushup until your chest touches the floor
    • Once the chest touches, push explosively through the ground and clap you hands together while in the air
    • Land with “soft elbows” as to not put too much strain on the wrist and reset the position for the next repetition

Want to Train for Performance? Start with your Glutes.

Athletes deadlifting

For anyone that participates in athletic training or has been through physical therapy, some phrases that might sound familiar are “strengthen your glutes”, “Turn on your glutes”, “Active your glutes”, “Your glute isn’t firing”, etc. If you are able to use the prime movers and stabilizers of your hip effectively, then you will take the strain off of the joints of your pelvis, lower back, and knee.

 

The reality is that a muscle is never on or off, and even for every given muscle strength is very specific. A muscle may be weak in one position and strong in another depending upon the position of your body.

 

It is for this reason that a lot of rehabilitation and strength training for athletic performance emphasizes strengthening the glutes. In a performance setting, this may include Weighted Hip Thrusts, sled drags, and sumo stance deadlifts. In a therapy setting, this may include exercises such as glute bridges, clamshells, and kickbacks.

 

When most individuals are referring to the “glutes”, the muscles specifically they are referring to are the glutes Maximus, our bodies most powerful hip extensor, as well as our Gluteus Medius, a hip abductor and internal rotator. The gluteus medius is also responsible for the stability of the pelvis during locomotion. There are, however, a number of other small muscles in the hip that support the larges glute muscles and provide both stability and motor control to the hip.

 

While training the glute to prevent injury and performance is a great idea, oftentimes the proper intent behind the training is lacking. The ability to use and control the hip through a full range of motion is significantly more important than being able to generate a lot of force in one exercise. Additionally, activation of the diaphragm and proper respiration builds a critical foundation for adequate hip movement and glute activation.

 

When training the glutes in a therapeutic or rehabilitation setting, it is more valuable to break down exercises into the joint being used and specific motion or function, rather than focus excessively on which muscles are working. 

 

Hip Extension: Hip extension is an important move because it is used every day during walking. Each step we take requires a slight amount of hip extension. During running or sprinting, our hip demands even more extension. 

If we do not have an adequate hip extension range of motion and control, then other parts of your body such as your lumbar spine with compensating by excessively extending during movement. Because the primary muscles of the hip extension are the glute and hamstring group, it is important that we have the ability to use these muscles functionally and independently of the muscles of the lower back.

 

Examples of exercises that will help improve hip extension include Bridge Variations, Birddogs, and lunge variations.

 

 

Hip Abduction:

 Hip Abduction is when the leg travels laterally from the midline of your body. A common compensation for this movement is the lateral bending of the lumbar spine and torso. 

If the hip does not have proper abduction range of motion and control, you will generally compensation by tilting your pelvis and using your obliques and lower back muscles to compensate. Over time, this can lead to overuse of the joint of the lower back and pelvis and ultimately pain.

Exercises that improve hip abduction included Sidelying clamshells, band walks, and side bridges.

Hip Rotation:

The ability to adequately internally and externally rotate your hip is one of the most important joint motions in your whole body. Not only does your ability to control hip rotation improve your performance in athletics, but it also is a great indicator of overall hip health.

Hip rotation is driven by smaller muscles of the hip such as the Gemelli group and the piriformis. Though these muscles are often stretched and massaged, they are underdeveloped and often neglected when it comes to training and therapy. Having adequate hip rotation will prevent excessive rotation of the lower back or knee during movements such as a golf swing, a tennis stroke, or a roundhouse kick.

Because in many cases, the active rotation of the hip may be minimal, it is best to train this motion through repeated hip rotation, isometric contractions, and end range holds.

Hip Stability Training:

In addition to the three movements described above, The gluteal muscles and piriformis also act to stabilize the hip during single-leg stance and gait. This is why single-leg training has tremendous benefit even beyond improving balance and are an important part of your overall glute and hip development.

Starting with timed single leg balances and progressing to eye-closed variation or standing on an unstable surface is a great starting point for single-leg training. Once you feel comfortable and stable in a single leg stance, you can begin to incorporate exercises such as single-leg RDLs or single leg plyometric variations.

 

Remember, if you want to perform well in the gym, on the court or on the field and keep your lower body and spine healthy, you need to train your glutes through a variety of loading patterns and planes of motion. 

 

If you are dealing with hip, pelvic, or lower back discomfort and want some direction on how to improve your function long-term, give us a call and book an assessment with one of our physicians!

 

 

The 7 Habits of a Highly Effective Shoulder

Shoulder Health

 

1. Cervical Spine (Neck) Mobility

The Neck and the Shoulder complex are intimately related due to their joint proximity as well as the number of muscles that attached to both the shoulder complex and cervical spines, such as the upper trapezius and SCM (sternocleidomastoid). If these muscles become restricted at their cervical attachment, this can put a significant strain on the shoulder and restrict motion. Individuals with poor mobility in their necks have a tendency to compensate for neck motion with shoulder motion, leading to overuse and unnecessary muscle tension and adhesion development.

 

 

2. Thoracic (Upper Back) Extension

 

In order for the shoulder to be able to express its full range of motion, the thoracic spine (upper back) but be able to extend in order to create an environment for the shoulder to work properly. If the thoracic spine does not extend and you are performing a task that requires the shoulder to lift overhead, you will be forced to compensate through lumbar (lower back) extension as well as put excessive strain on your glenohumeral joint (shoulder). Because of the intimate relationship between the scapulothoracic joint and the shoulder, a poorly moving upper back will lead to poor shoulder blade movement and ultimately will impact the entire shoulder.

 

3. Proper Diaphragm Function

 

Of all of the requisites on this list, this one may the one that is hardest to connect to the shoulder. Most individuals think of the diaphragm as an involuntary muscle associated with breathing and abdomen, how could it be related to the shoulder? A strong case could be made that in order for any joint, particularly the spinal joints, shoulder, and hip, that the diaphragm respiratory and stability system must first be intact to express proper movement. This concept of “proximal stability for distal mobility” starts with core stability and proper diaphragm function. By using the diaphragm to produce intra-abdominal pressure, you are able to lay down a strong foundation for your shoulders to move off of.

 

4. Shoulder Blade (Scapula) Movement

 

The glenohumeral joint or the shoulder cannot be talked about without also mentioning the shoulder blade. The humerus and the scapula work very intimately together to produce movement in the shoulder joint which is the meaning of the nerve” Scapulo-humeral rhythm” The shoulder relies on the shoulder blade to slide and glide for all motions of the shoulder. Even if you have a very strong and mobile shoulder if your shoulder blade does not do its part in moving and stabilizing the shoulder, you will not be able to move effectively. Be sure that when you are training and mobilizing your shoulder that you don’t neglect its partner in crime… The scapula!

5. Adequate Joint Centration

 

The shoulder joint itself is a “ball in socket” joint meaning that the humerus has a round end that fits into the glenoid fossa which is a carved out socket for the shoulder. While this type of joint is able to express a large amount of range of motion, all of this freedom comes at a cost… instability. There are numerous muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other soft tissues that are required to work in sync in order for the shoulder to move properly and safely. The function of these tissues is not only to move the shoulder but also to center the shoulder in the glenoid fossa. When the shoulder sits nice and snug into the capsule, it is most able to express its full range of motion and significantly decreases the likelihood of a soft tissue injury related to the shoulder. Joint centration can be best trained through carries, get-ups, and plank variations.

 

6. Rotator Cuff Activation

 

When most individuals think of shoulder health, they think of the rotator cuff. This muscle group is made up of four muscles; the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. These muscles have two primary roles, shoulder movement, and shoulder stability. These four muscles play a significant role in shoulder joint centration (see #5) by stabilizing the head of the humerus in the joint during motion. If an individual does have good control and strength in the rotator cuff, they will more likely to use large muscles such as the Latissimus Dorsi and Pectoralis Major. Not only are these large muscles no designed to be stabilizers for the shoulder, but if too much is asked of them (primary movers and secondary stabilizers), these muscles can be more prone to injury and long term overuse. 

 

7. Full Range of Motion

 

As you can see from the prior 6 key factors to shoulder health, there are many joints and muscles that all act in synergy with the shoulder to ultimately lead to healthy and functional movement of the shoulder. Of course, improving your range of motion in the shoulder itself should be a priority. Regular stretching and mobilization of the shoulder is an important piece of shoulder health. If the thoracic spine, shoulder blade, and stability are all working properly, but the shoulder itself does not move well, then you will be limited functionally. Work on your shoulder range of motion regularly through controlled articular rotation and end range training. The shoulder is one of the most unique, complicated, and impressive joints in the body, treat it well and it will give you an abundance of movement options!

If you are currently dealing with any shoulder pain, discomfort, or want to improve your shoulder health long term, give us a call!

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