Why Keystone?

Why Keystone Chiropractic?

Keystone graphic

 

The most common question I get whenever I’m out in public is “Why did you choose the name Keystone Chiropractic?”. After all, I’m not from Pennsylvania (The Keystone State), I don’t live in a city with the name Keystone, and I’m certainly NOT a fan of Keystone Light.

In my world of structural based chiropractic, I see the body as an incredible feat of engineering. Each piece is placed in a specific way for a specific function. When everything is in the right place at the right time, then the body will perform the right functions at the right time. My primary job is to correct and maintain the structural foundation of the entire body:  The Spine

 

Keystone

The structural integrity of the arc is dependent on the alignment and positioning of the keystone in the middle.

 

When we look an arc made of bricks as shown above, the two sides coming together rely on the central Keystone to connect and maintain the structure. What would happen if the keystone were tilted or shifted a little to the right or the left? Would you expect the weight of gravity to wear one side of the arc more than the other? Would you start to notice some bricks shifting out of line with the others?

But Dr. Chung…how does that relate to what you do?

In my practice, I’m looking for the ‘keystone’ of the entire spine. One of the things that separates me from most chiropractors is that I look for something called the atlas displacement complex. The atlas is the top most part of your spine and acts as the Keystone between the head and neck. When the atlas shifts out of place, it can compress the arteries and veins going into the brain, damage the discs and ligaments, alter your posture, and distort the messages going into and out of the brain leading to a wide range of secondary conditions. Ultimately, it’s not the secondary conditions that matter, it’s the fact that the positioning of the atlas affects the structure and function of your spine as a whole.

ADC Poster

Do you have ADC? Catch it before it turns into those unpleasant Secondary Conditions!

How do I know if I have ADC?

Only a chiropractor with a focus on structural correction of the atlas can identify and fix ADC. That requires an in depth exam process and structural chiropractic radiographs to know for sure, but here are some possible warning signs.

  1. You head leans forward in front of your body. You’ll notice this most in the elderly population, but it can start in late childhood/early adult hood. If someone tells you to constantly sit up or pull your head up, this may be you.
  2. Head tilting in pictures – the head tilt is the favorite pose of a college sorority girl, but sometimes it’s truly due to an inability to hold the head up properly.
  3. High shoulders and short legs – if you ever notice that shirts tend to fit you awkwardly from one side to the other, or had it pointed out to you that your shoulders are uneven, you may have ADC. Additionally, tailors, doctors, chiropractors, and PT’s may often times notice that you have a leg that is shorter than the other. If this is the case, many times it is a structural problem in the spine and NOT a leg that is physically shorter than the other.

If you are presenting with any of these signs, ESPECIALLY if you have one or more of these secondary conditions, you may have ADC., and it’s time for a structural evaluation.

Do Kids Get Structural Problems?

“My kids are way too young for spinal problems…”

cute-kids-babies-hd-normal

During my years in practice, people have often asked why we check so many kids in the office. Most people are under the impression that children are way too young to have a structural problem in the spine. For the most part, you would be absolutely correct. About 60% of the kids we check in the office have no structural problems at all, and thank goodness for that.

However, statistics from the Center for Disease Control show some alarming numbers. Each year, over 1 million children between the ages of 0-5 will be hospitalized due to a fall. Another 700,000 will be hospitalized from an accidental trauma. That’s not even including the number of kids who will suffer a trauma to the spine, but are never taken to the ER!

Now think about this, most people will never even know or think about taking their kids to a chiropractor following a fall or trauma. The great news is, that kids are extraordinarily resilient to injury. They bounce back up, and their ability to heal is just much better than that of an average adult. However, structural problems in the spine don’t necessarily cause neck pain and back pain, especially in children. What they can do is create other secondary conditions. Whenever there is pressure in the nerves at the base of the brain from a structural misalignment at the top of the neck, many kids can show conditions like:

 

Infant Adjustment

  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Immune problems
  • Ear infections
  • ADHD
  • Torticollis

 

These are just some of the common conditions that parents bring their kids to chiropractors for. While it’s not a chiropractor’s job to treat these symptoms, they are signs that the nerve supply from a child’s spine is compromised. On many kids, this can be tied to a difficult or traumatic birth process.

The best part of all is how much kids love getting gentle adjustments. It’s often times a parent’s worst nightmare to take their kids to a doctor. The screaming and tantrums on display at a pediatrician or a dentist can unnerve even the strongest parent. A child and infant adjustment is very different than adults, and you’ll usually see kids jumping on to my tables excited to be checked!

But the most important reason that kids should be checked early is just because it makes sense. When most of us adults develop some bad secondary conditions, x-rays usually show that a problem has been growing in the spine for 15+ years. Why let kids develop the same problems that us adults have had. Just like we take our kids for a dental check-up to ensure that they are free of cavities, our kids deserve a structural check-up to prevent the damage of an atlas displacement complex.

Concussions: Affecting Athletes Young and Old

 

Concussions: The Long Term Effects

Children and Young Athletes are the Fastest Growing Population to Develop Head Injuries

 

One of the hottest topics in sports today relates to an athlete’s recovery from head injuries and concussions. From the NFL, to worried soccer moms seeing their child do a header, to falls at local cheerleading competitions, concussions are quickly becoming a house hold term.

Stories  former boxers and NFL players showing alarming signs of dementia, chronic pain, depression, and early death have create a public demand to protect people with head injuries. This story even showed that a former NFL player was so shaken after repeated head traumas and post-concussive syndrome that he took his own life and donated his brain to research it’s effects.

The American Association of Neurological Surgeons state that over 300,000 sports related concussions happen each year; most of which occur at the youth and high school level.

Let’s face it. Players at all ages and levels are becoming bigger, stronger, and faster. With each hit a young player takes, the greater their chances of suffering brain injury.

Thankfully, our bodies can rebound enough during youth where these injuries won’t create a significant effect on daily life, but what happens down the road?

A great article in Discovery magazine talked about the long term consequences of these hits. Neurons in the brain will stretch, become enflamed, and lose their normal function.

Many of these people will develop the following:

  • Chronic migraine headache
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Vertigo
  • Depression and Irritability
  • Memory Loss
  • Loss of hearing/visual disturbances
  • Difficulty  with concentration

I’ve been fortunate enough to see many young athletes and lots of older former athletes with these exact problems.

What many don’t know is that the brain, along with most any other organ, has a capacity to heal.

However, if a structural imbalance is restricting the flow of blood, nutrients, and nerve impulse through the body, the body’s ability to adapt and heal will be compromised. This can all be related to structural abnormalities in the spine via atlas displacement complex and subluxation.

And what’s the number 1 cause of spinal imbalance and structural shift?? Trauma

Don’t Pop That Achilles Crossfitters! 13.2 Words of Wisdom

Don’t  Pop That Achilles Crossfitters! 13.2 Words of Wisdom

Open 13.2 is a fast and furious workout that can leave you open to injury. Prep properly this weekend!

The Crossfit Open is a call to all Crossfitters to challenge their fitness levels and compare themselves to the best athletes around the world. With that being said, it’s safe to say that we are not all in the same class as Rich Froning, Annie Thorisdotter, and company where our livlihood is dependent on your Games performance. I may get some bad feedback from some people in the Crossfit community for this, but I have to say what is right from my perspective as a health care practitioner.

Let’s take a look at 13.2:

Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 10 minutes of: BoxJumps
115 pound Shoulder to overhead, 5 reps
115 pound Deadlift, 10 reps
15 Box jumps, 24″ box 

 

 

 

On the surface it looks pretty tame. It’s a manageable weight for most people to go overhead for 5 reps, and it’s a very light weight for a deadlift at 10 reps. It’s really the box jumps that concern me this week.

Most Crossfitters take the approach of bounding up and down off the box in a plyometric fashion. It’s certainly the fastest way to progress through the reps, so if you are one of the handful of people serious about getting into Regionals, then maybe this is right for you.

The good thing about this guy is that his achilles won't rupture

The good thing about this guy is that his achilles won’t rupture

 

Now for the 95% of us who are doing this for fun, and Regionals isn’t even in the back of our mind, please read on.

Here’s the problem. Large volume of box jumps can put a tremendous amount of strain on the achilles tendon. If you don’t  believe me, just google the terms “Crossfit and box jumps and achilles”. In fact, several of the open WoDs from years passed have all seen spikes in achilles tendon injuries following a high volume box jump WoD.

Does that mean Box Jumps are a bad exercise?

No! Box jumps are great! They develop power in your lower extremities, make you more explosive, and add a great cardiovascular dimension to any WOD.

The problem is that our achilles tendon and our knees aren’t structured to handle sheer volume of that high impact/bounding movement. They were meant for powerful short burst movements.

 

First, here are ways to save your achilles from the box jump:

1. STEP DOWN FROM THE BOX – if it’s good enough for Julie Foucher, a future medical doctor and well known Crossfit machine, then it’s good enough for you. Watch how she did the WOD and you will see that she stepped down for every rep.

2. Warm up your calf and achilles thoroughly. Heel/toe rocking and stretching the achilles on the wall are important warm up routines for any plyometric routine.

3. Land with your feet flush on the box. Read about it here.

 

Second, check out this video by crossfitmobility.com for some strategy and mobility techniques to help prep your body for this burner.

 

YouTube Preview Image

 

Have a great WOD everyone, and most importantly, stay safe. Just remember this:

You will never remember that you placed 1000 in the world at Crossfit, but you will never forget that time when you couldn’t WOD for 3 months.

Can Sleep Affect Your Weight?

Can Sleep Affect Your Weight?

New Research Shows that Getting Less Sleep Leads to Increased Weight Gains

 

Sleep ProblemsIt’s a pretty well known and established fact that getting proper sleep helps in multiple aspects of life and health. Being sleep deprived can impair someone’s decision making, reduce cognitive/athletic performance, lead to depression/anxiety, and decrease immune function.

But if that doesn’t inspire you, then maybe this will. Researchers from Colorado have found that healthy people who get less sleep are much more likely to overeat and put on extra weight.

In the past few years of practice, I’ve had the privilege of taking care of numerous people with sleeping problems related to structural abnormalities in the upper cervical spine. Ranging from insomnia, sleep apnea, to unproductive sleep. One of the remarkable things about these folks, is that when they get well and start sleeping again, every aspect of their life and health improves.

Why does it happen? 

Sleep isn’t merely about waking up and having energy for your day. Your body is in it’s highest state of cellular repair and turnover. Your body’s most important period for healing are those invaluable 8 hours you spend in bed. It lowers your insulin levels, normalizes your hormonal system, and slows down telomere degeneration (AKA a big factor in aging).

When you lose sleep, the hormones in your body that regulate your weight and control your appetite are not expressed to their fullest capacity. That leads to you overeating and putting your body in a state of insulin resistance (the precursor to diabetes). But that’s a topic we’ll tackle another time. 

How to improve your sleep

1. Get moving – Almost every study ever done on sleep shows that people who get exercise daily will report longer and higher quality of sleep than the days they are sleep deprived. IT doesn’t take much, just something as simple as walking has this effect.

2. Rule out Sleep Disorders – Many people have sleep disorders have no idea. If you’re not getting restful sleep, a sleep study can be useful in identifying potential disorders that are treatable. If have a feeling that your atlas is off and creating sleep related secondary conditions, then it’s important that you get checked by a chiropractor.

3. Get into a rhythm -Sleep loss is also cumulative. When you lose just 1 hour of sleep per day for a week, it will have the same effect on the body physiologically as an old fashioned college all-nighter.  Establishing a solid routine is critical for finding that zone when you sleep your best.

4. Monitor Your Caffeine – There was a brilliant piece of marketing I saw when I was in college. I was in a coffee shop drinking my usual green tea when I noticed the sleeve on the coffee cup. It was a advertisement for a sleeping pill. I wondered how many people at coffee shops have sleeping issues….it was apparently enough for an investment from a pharmaceutical company. Getting your caffeiene levels normalized and figuring out the right timing can make a vast difference in sleep quality.

I’ve Already Had Spinal Surgery, it’s too late for you to help me

“I’ve Already Had Spinal Surgery, it’s too late for you to help me”

spinesurgery

An interesting thing happened to me yesterday at lunch that led me to today’s topic. I was speaking to this woman in the check out line

at Whole Foods, when the topic of chiropractic came up (wow, how’d that happen???).Long story short, she told me about her years of excruciating back pain and how she decided to get surgery in hopes of fixing the problem. Two years later, she still has back pain and more than a few pieces of hardware attached to her spine.

I would love to say that meeting me allowed her to have a change of heart about chiropractic and decided to give it a try, but on this particular day, I wasn’t persuasive enough.
It brings me to an interesting point. Every year, hundreds of THOUSANDS of people will under go some form of spinal surgery. These surgeries range from spinal fusions, disckectomies, disc replacements, and more. The purpose of this article isn’t to debate the merits or problems with spinal surgery. There are plenty of articles on the web that you can research on that.

Today, I want to tackle a popular misconception. Many people think that if they’ve had surgery on their spine, then there’s no way that they can see a chiropractor. Now, based on what many people perceive of chiropractic, I can’t say that I blame them at all. If you’ve had rods, plates, and screws placed into your spine, then the thought of someone wrenching or twisting the spine, causing damage in the surgical attachments…it sounds downright terrifying. Here’s the big take home message:

Not All Chiropractic Techniques Are the Same

Infant Adjustment

Most people associate chiropractic with a move you’d see out of a martial arts movie. The truth is, there are many ways to bring about a correction of the spine, and some are very gentle and non-invasive. Some are so safe that they can be used on elderly folks with osteoporosis, new born babies, people with herniated discs, and even people who have had surgery. In my office, I’ve chosen to use only the most precise and gentle chiropractic approaches so that I can take care of people of any population.

Needless to say, safety isn’t the main issue when you’re armed with the correct chiropractic tools. The big question that remains is: Can chiropractic help me even if surgery didn’t?

I was taking care of a patient recently who had had surgery on her neck for neck pain and arm pain. Since the surgery, her pain persisted, and she actually began to develop headaches and fatigue. She was tired of trying to fix the problem and had basically given up on herself. She had an awful fear of having her neck cracked, and on top of that she had a team of doctors that told her that she should never be touched by a chiropractor. Very unlikely that she would ever walk into my office of her own will.

Her daughter actually decided to bring her into the office and give Structural Orthogonal Care a try. After a consultation and an explanation of my adjusting techniques, she felt safe enough to give it a go.

In a few short weeks, not only did her headaches go away, but many of the symptoms she had before the surgery started to go away too. Now here is a VERY VERY VERY important point:

The adjustments did NOT NOT NOT make her pain go away

Now this might sound crazy, but it’s not the adjustment that did the healing. Adjustments in of themselves have NO capacity to heal someone.

The problem was that her neck, specifically her atlas, had shifted so far out of place, that the nerves in her neck were being compressed and irritated. When you add the surgery on top of it, it had locked the neck in a shifted position even further.

The adjustments simply help me to restore the NORMAL alignment of the head and neck. When the spine goes back to normal, then the nerves can work again. It’s that simple.

This is not an unusual situation. In fact, because of my focus on structural correction and the gentle adjustment techniques, I have been referred dozens of patients after surgery in the past few years, and almost all of them respond great.

However, the last point I want to make is this. When you, or someone has surgery, there are very real limitations to how much the structure of the spine can be corrected. I can’t go in there and take hardware out of someone’s spine, nor would you want me to. As much as I love and enjoy helping patients post-surgery, the best thing anyone can do is to have their structure corrected BEFORE surgery becomes part of the picture. That way you can achieve a maximum correction, and have less dependency on chiropractic to stay well.

 

 

8-Hour Energy – Like 5-Hour Energy, but Better

8-Hour Energy – Like 5-Hour Energy, but Better

FatigueIn the past 10 years, one of the most common problems that people talk about is a lack of energy. In fact, if you’re reading this at work right now, you’re probably in the midst of a mid-afternoon crash, and looking for some stimulation to keep your energy and focus up. Don’t worry, keep reading and I’ll provide some  inexpensive tools to help make your work day easier on you for the long term.

The problem has become so rampant, that a tiny 5 ounce shot that promises a world of energy has become a billion dollar product. I don’t know if you’ve done the math lately, but you have to sell A LOT of $3 shots to add up to $1 billion dollars. When combined with energy drinks such as Red Bull and Monster, the industry has become a massive $9 billion dollar industry!

So what gives? Why are we as a society running on fumes in terms of energy?

Are we not sleeping enough?

Is it my job?

Are we born with a caffeine deficiency?

I remember a time when I was in chiropractic college and early in my first year in practice when I suffered with the same type of experience. I never drank coffee, but I’d come to depend on a lunch time nap as well as a pick me up tea to get re-energized for the afternoon shifts.

It just didn’t make sense to me that people inherently needed a pick me up during the middle of the day, so I began doing some research. I knew that my structural alignment was sound and my scans showed healthy function of my nervous system already. The next place to start looking was my eating and sleeping patterns.

Without getting into too much detail, I found three very important things:

1. I was beginning my day on the wrong foot with my sleeping pattern

2. The food that I consumed was spiking acidity, inflammation, and  insulin in my body creating a biochemically LOW energetic state.

3. My lowest energy days followed 3 consecutive days without exercise.

Now here’s the thing. I’m not a believer in quick fixes. Actually, let me rephrase that, I believe that quick fixes exist, but it’s a thought process that’s unsustainable and makes failure inevitable. That’s on top of the detrimental effects that some of these energy drinks have been associated with.

I’m a HUGE believer in strategic solutions that make doing the right things in my life easier. Thankfully, with a combination of some will power and the help of some inexpensive services and phone apps, these strategies can help create a higher energetic state for the long term.

8-hour Energy Strategy

1. Start the Morning Fresh – There’s a lot of debate about how much sleep the average adult needs. The truth is, everyone operates well with varying amounts. The most important factors are consistency of sleeping times, and the timing of your wake cycle.

A friend of mine told me about the Sleep Cycle App for my iPhone onesleep cycle day. It allows you to place the phone under your sheets and it senses for how much you move in your sleep. You set an alarm with a 30 minute window to wake you up. Using this criteria, the application will sound the alarm during your lightest period of sleep.

The end result is waking up at a time when you will feel refreshed….EVEN if it means waking up a little earlier than your set alarm time. Once I began using this App, it made 5AM seem MUCH more bearable. Best of all….It’s FREE.

2. Get the Right Fuel – I’m not going to go into too much depth here today, but I decided to go eliminate gluten from my diet, and heavily reduce the amount of grains and sugar I eat on a day to day basis. I switched to a more Paleo type of an eating plan.

Now for a guy that ate white rice almost everyday of his life, this was no simple task. However, by changing my biochemistry, I noticed an immediate improvement in my energy levels. The lunch time nap became a thing of the past, and my 3pm crash was basically gone.

I got the help of an App called ShopWell. You can scan the barcode of a food product and it will let you know if you should eat it based on your customized preferences. Really neat tool.

Deliver LeanAnother great tool is the use of the new food delivery systems like Deliver Lean. It takes the guess work out of what to eat, and it really makes it affordable for most people. When you take a look at the amount of money you spend eating out, Deliver Lean is really a huge bargain.

Healthy snacking is right around the corner now, so be on the lookout for a new site called Graze.com.

 

3. Get Moving – It doesn’t have to be extreme, but our bodies are built to move. It doesn’t have to be a full workout or running miles at a time, but movement will help keep your brain oxygenated and alert.

Sometimes it just took that extra 15 minutes right after I wake up to do 50 push ups before I hit my morning shower. Sometimes it meant doing a 10 minute workout at the gym at lunch time. Or, if you’re a pretty fast runner, why not knock out a quick mile?

Now is this a different way of doing things?

Absolutely, but here is how I see it. If you have to stare at a clock and fight back that miserable feeling of fatigue every……single……day, then wouldn’t it make sense to take on a few changes to make your life better? Take it or leave it, the choice is yours.

4 Suprising Ways to Protect Your Heart

Broken Hearts – More Than a Valentine’s Day Problem

heart healthIn honor of Valentine’s Day and Heart Health Month, today’s blog is dedicated to that spectacular little engine inside your chest.

Although I’m no cardiovascular expert, with more and more people each year seeking out structural orthogonal care for secondary conditions like high blood pressure and arrythmia, I’ve started to become more familiar with problems of the heart.

 

 

Most everyone knows about common lifestyle changes and solutions for heart health, so we’ll just gloss over them for a refresher. These include:

  • High quality Omega-3 Supplementation
  • Quit Smoking
  • Increase Cardiovascular Exercise
  • Decrease Dietary Sodium

After doing some serious research, I found some surprising facts about heart that may help out. Be warned though, some of these may contrast with what you have thought to be true. For my research/science based readers, the sources are linked.

  1. Switch up your cooking oils – Vegetable oils from sources like sunflower, corn, and soybean oil are huge sources of Omega 6 fats. While there is nothing inherently wrong with Omega 6, Americans as a whole get WAY TOO MUCH, and it’s causing more damage than saturated fats (1, 2)Vegetable oils also have a low smoke point which make them more susceptible to leaving rancid oil residue on your food.

    Make the switch to: Coconut oil, organnic grass fed butter, palm oil.
    WHOA, all of those are loaded in saturated fats. Very true. However, saturated fats are actually great for cooking. They have a high smoke point, and in the case with coconut oil, are loaded in medium chain fatty acids, which are burned off by your body very quickly. Plus, research is starting to show that saturated fats (from the right sources) are not bad for you, and are necessary to a healthy body.

  2. Get Strong – Many folks get their fitness on track most often by increasing their aerobic exercise. This is a great way to start, and it certainly has a profound impact on cardiovascular health. However, many studies are pointing to lean muscle mass as a huge factor in cardiovascular health. What does that mean? It means we have to do resistance training.(3, 4)

    Push UpsMake the switch to: Weight lifting. Now it doesn’t mean that you have to go out and start throwing huge weights over your head. Something as simple a regimen of  push ups and band exercises help build lean muscle tissue.

  3. Throw Out the Simple Carbs- Any substance that spikes your blood sugar has a detrimental effect on the body. Sugar toxicity is quickly becoming the scapegoat for many chronic disease processes. Ultimately, it has had a much larger impact on cholesterol and blood pressure than many of us had ever imagined.

    The biggest problem is, we had no idea how much bread and pasta could cause so much sugar toxicity, leading to insulin resistance and overeating. For your heart and your blood chemistry, low carbohydrate focus is the direction science is leaning (5, 6, 7)

  4. Make the switch to: Low carbohydrate foods. This does not mean sugar-free. Sugar free is just a term to mean artificial sweeteners, which are a non food. Eat real food that are rich in colors like vegetables and lean meats.
  5. Check the Brain – The nervous system is the master control system for the entire body. Nothing happens in the body without permission from the brain. Therefore ensuring optimal brain health will play a crucial role in heart health.There are numerous tools to help improve brain function. Biofeedback is a growing field Blood Pressurethat helps people use psychological tools to manage their brain function. Things like meditation and hypnosis also have shown promising roles in blood pressure control

    However, one of the biggest keys is the vascular flow between your brain and the body.
    Structural abnormalities in the upper cervical spine can alter the blood flow in and out of the brain. When this happens, signals to the brain are misinterpreted and heart rate, rhythm, and blood pressure can be thrown off. Particularly, the area of the Atlas has shown to be a sensitive area that can have a huge impact on blood pressure (8,9)

    Make the switch: How does one see if their structure is causing secondary conditions in the heart? Visit a structural orthogonal chiropractor for a consult. But that’s enough shameless promotion from me for the day 🙂

Just like there’s no one solution for any disease, there’s not just one solution to help make the heart stronger. It takes a multifaceted approach, and most importantly a commitment from you to embrace a stronger and healthier lifestyle.

 

Is This Silent Problem Killing Your Workout?

Killing Your Workout

Structural Abnormalities and Lifting Efficiency

Anyone that knows me or has been following my work knows that I’m pretty passionate about exercise and fitness. Today’s blog is not about the benefits of exercise; at this point, I think we all have a good grasp of that concept. Today is about identifying road blocks that may be making your workouts less efficient, and more prone to injury.

But first, let’s take a look at a couple of pictures:

A Squat with a tilted pelvis will cause the weight overhead to be tilted as well. The body will absorb the compressive stress of gravity unequally.

A Squat with a tilted pelvis will cause the weight overhead to be tilted as well. The body will absorb the compressive stress of gravity unequally.

Level weight, level pelvis, gravity acts on the structure of the spine equally.

Level weight, level pelvis, gravity acts on the structure of the spine equally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now looking at each of these pictures, let’s ask a few questions:

Which lifter is going to be more efficient?
Which lifter will be able to support more weight in the squat position?
Which lifter is likely to reduce their chance of injury?

My money is on the lifter on the left. It just makes sense. A level foundation is a critical element to power lifting. It’s not optional.

Now this is a problem that can be fixed by many approaches. It can be addressed by fixing some issues involving technique. It may be a flexibility/muscular issue. It can be a wide variety of things. My job is not to become your new strength coach, physical therapist, or trainer. If you are having issues in those departments, then seek your appropriate professional.

However, in many cases that I see in my practice, the problem is a Structural Abnormality. While most people will look at someone’s lifting posture on the surface, I’m actually assessing what they look like on the inside. If they look like this image on the right, then no amount of training or therapy is going to help protect this man’s lifting ability.

A structural x-ray assessment of a near normal pelvis and spine.

A structural x-ray assessment of a near normal pelvis and spine.

A structural x-ray assessment shows that the pelvis and spine are clearly tilted to the left. Can this affect a lift?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with dozens of ball players,  triathlon athletes, runners, power lifters, and Crossfit athletes. With the sheer amount of training and work that they put their bodies through, structural abnormalities can be almost inevitable.

The worst part is that many times, shifts like these can occur without pain or secondary conditions. Athletes are typically looking for a performance edge. To run a little bit faster. To lift a little heavier. To throw a little farther. All of which requires a normally functioning spine and nervous system.

Think about it, if your body was like a house  would you ever allow the foundation to be built unlevel? Of course not. The house would come apart. Then once that starts affecting vital structures like the plumbing and electrical system, then you REALLY have a problem on your hands.

If you’re serious about achieving new strength/fitness goals, and if you’re serious about the long term sustainability of your body, then a structural assessment will be a critical part to your growth as an athlete.

Can Running Hurt my Structure?

Can running hurt my structure?

Running is #1 exercise of choice for people seeking to increase their fitness. Programs like Couch to 5k have spurned millions of Americans to strap on some running shoes and hit the streets toward better health.

However, running is the most common source of sports related injury in the country. Injuries to the foot/ankle, knee, hip, and low back can often side line a runner for weeks, while knocking the wheels off their fitness goals. I see this far too often when taking care of runners with chronic injuries.

Running like this over time will cause structural shifts, and pain. What's wrong in this picture?

Running like this over time will cause structural shifts, and pain. What’s wrong in this picture?

Many times, the problem isn’t the sport itself, but the way the sport is performed. Improper running form from poor running posture or repetitive heel striking are the most common culprits. Over the course of dozens of miles, heel striking can jar all of the joints of the lower extremity causing the spine to shift out of place. Of course, once the spine shifts out of place, then secondary conditions will inevitably result.

So how can you make running safe?

  1. Change your form. Go to your local running store like “The Runner’s Depot” which usually give great classes on Natural Running, POSE, or Chi Running.
  2. Evaluate your footwear. If you’re wearing the wrong shoes, then you will continue to get injured. Most local running stores have experts ready to fit you for the right shoe for your specific foot.
  3. Get checked for any underlying structural shifts that may be causing weak running posture and reduce your body’s ability to heal and repair.

Don’t let injury knock you off track from your weight loss and fitness goals. Run long, and run safe.

Ladies. I know you're just admiring my form....my running form

Ladies. I know you’re just admiring my form….my running form

ALSO. There’s a FREE intro to Chi Running at the Runner’s Depot Store in Davie on Saturday February 9th.

Chi Running Class
11:00AM – 12Noon
Runner’s Depot – Davie
Learn proper running form that will keep you performing your best and running injury-free. Certified Chi Running Instructor, Dr. Alan Miller will explain and demonstrate the proper technique for good running form and run you through some quick drills that you can use in everyday practice to keep you running healthy and happy!
FREE Class – Open to Everyone – Limited Space
Call now to reserve your spot – (954) 474-4074