Posts Tagged ‘Muscle

19
Nov
13

How Flexible Should I Be and How Can I Measure My Flexibility?


Low back pain SwisschiroWatching a dancer her leg to her nose is an impressive sight, and many of us can perform similar feats when we’re children. But we begin to lose flexibility as we age if we do not make a conscious effort to remain limber. Inactivity causes muscles to shorten and stiffen, and muscle mass is lost with increasing years as well. However, maintaining flexibility as we get older is of great importance, since it allows us to retain our mobility and reduces the likelihood of aches, sprains and falls as we age.

Optimal flexibility means the ability of each of your joints to move fully through their natural range of motion. Simple activities such as walking or bending over to tie your shoes can become major difficulties if your flexibility is limited. Unfortunately, sitting for hours at a desk, as so many are forced to do on a daily basis, eventually leads to a reduction in flexibility as the muscles shorten and tighten.

There are a number of different tests used to measure flexibility, but the one test that has been used as a standard for years is the sit and reach test. It measures the flexibility of your hamstrings and lower back. The simple home version of the test requires only a step (or a small box) and a ruler.

Before the test, warm up for about 10 minutes with some light aerobic activity and do a few stretches. Then place the ruler on the step, letting the end of it extend out a few inches over your toes, and note where the edge of the step comes to on the ruler. Sit on the floor with your feet extended in front of you, flat against the bottom step (or box). With your arms extended straight out in front of you and one hand on top of the other, gradually bend forward from the hips, keeping your back straight. (Rounding the back will give you a false result). Measure where your fingertips come to on the ruler. They should ideally be able to reach at least as far as the front of the step. Any measurement past the edge of the step is a bonus. No matter how far you can reach on the first measurement, do the test periodically and try to improve your score every few weeks.

If you find that you are less flexible than you should be, some regular stretching exercises combined with visits to your chiropractor can help to restore flexibility and improve range of motion, helping to ensure that you remain limber into older age.

 

12
Nov
13

Applied Kinesiology Found To Benefit Chiropractic Patients with Urinary Incontinence


chiropractor Chapel Hill NCTwo American chiropractors have used applied kinesiology (AK) to aid the treatment of 21 patients experiencing urinary incontinence (UI), with considerable success.  Applied Kinesiology is a technique that uses the strength of a particular muscle (often a muscle in the arm) to diagnose problems in certain organs or in other parts of the body.  The practitioner places pressure on whichever of the patient’s muscles that corresponds the particular part of the body being assessed, and the amount of resistance it gives determines if there is a problem in that area.

Urinary incontinence affects 10% of men and 40% of women at some point in their lives, with women being particularly susceptible to UI following childbirth.  Current evidence suggests that weakness in the pelvic floor muscles, which leads to UI, can result from problems in other areas of the pelvis or lumbar spine as well as weakness in the pelvic floor itself.  Chiropractic manipulation may thus be of considerable benefit in correcting these problems with a concomitant improvement in the symptoms of UI.

Chiropractors Scott Cuthbert and Anthony Rossner assessed patients who had UI by using AK muscle testing to determine the presence and location of musculoskeletal disorders in the lumbar or pelvic regions.  The precise nature of the problem was then assessed by physical examination.  Muscle testing was again used to guide chiropractic manipulation treatment. Interventions that improved muscle strength were continued, and those that failed to do so were not pursued.  Patients were seen for up to thirteen treatments, and for no more than six weeks.

All of the patients treated experienced an improvement in UI symptoms, with nearly half (ten out of 21) reporting complete resolution of their condition following treatment.  It is particularly significant that ten of the patients had presented with long-standing symptoms of UI (at least five years, but greater than 40 years in two cases!).   Annual check-ups for at least two years confirmed that these improvements were maintained post-treatment.

In addition to positively demonstrating the benefit of using muscle testing techniques to aid with chiropractic diagnosis, this research is important in showing the relationship between UI symptoms and musculoskeletal weakness in parts of the lower back and pelvis.  A particular observation here was that the restricted breathing noted in many patients due to trauma to the diaphragm (and other muscle groups associated with inhalation such as the rectus abdominus and oblique abdominal muscles) was also found to impact on urinary continence.

This study suggests that combination of AK and chiropractic manipulation of the lower back and pelvis may be very helpful for patients with UI symptoms.  Please call us or visit our office with any questions.

 

06
Nov
13

How Does the VibraCussor Work?


man-with-questions-200-300Increasing numbers of chiropractors are incorporating a VibraCussor into their practice, as they have found that it often helps to prepare the patient for an adjustment. The VibraCussor relaxes the muscles and fascia surrounding the vertebral subluxation that they will be addressing, making their treatments more effective.

The VibraCussor is a vibration instrument that differs from usual massagers in that it uses a piston-like up-and-down movement rather than a back-and-forth movement. It creates comfortable waves of compression that travel through the tissues to the affected muscles and fascia, allowing the instrument to release fascial adhesions, relax tense muscles and increase circulation and lymph flow. It is possible for the chiropractor to vary the frequency of the percussion in order to target specific tissues and tissue depths.

Fascia is the thick, white connective tissue that surrounds the body’s muscles and which keep our organs in place. However, under stress from injury or surgery, the fascia can become too tight and may form fascial adhesions that can be felt under the skin as knots or ropes in the muscles. These adhesions can trap nerves and restrict blood flow and movement of the muscles, which puts the body out of balance. Tight fasciae are often responsible for poor posture and imbalances in the breathing and heart rhythms.

The VibraCussor can be effective in treating myofascial trigger points, frozen shoulder, TMJ (jaw) problems, joint fixation (particularly of the shoulder, elbow, hand, hip, knee and foot), muscle fatigue and fascial adhesions. With VibraCussor treatment, nervous system tension is released, muscle spasms are reduced and lymph and blood circulation are encouraged. This helps to reduce musculoskeletal pain and allows the patient to reduce or eliminate the need for pain medication, in addition to increasing their range of movement.

According to Jeff Banaszak of Back9Fitness.com, “Besides targeting tight tissues, the benefits of mechanical compressive therapy include stimulation of body proprioceptors. Prioprioceptors are specialized cells found within joints and muscles that when activated help protect and improve function. By stimulating the proprioceptors, the therapist can activate a particular muscle needed to control posture, balance and strength.”

Most chiropractic patients report that the VibraCussor is very relaxing, and in addition to releasing fascial adhesions some have reported that it releases emotions as well, helping to eliminate the stress that is so often the cause of the tightness and adhesions in the first place. The VibraCussor is a gentle, non-invasive form of treatment that can be a positive addition to your regular chiropractic care.

 

 

17
Aug
13

The Benefits of Potassium


As the third most common mineral in the body, potassium is responsible for supporting a wide range of bodily activities. Without ???????sufficient potassium, the heart, brain, kidneys and muscles would not function properly. However, the Western diet’s preponderance of processed foods has created a population with a growing risk of potassium deficiency.

Potassium is an electrolyte that is crucial to the body’s electrical circuitry so that proper signals are conducted to and from the brain and between cells. It works in conjunction with the minerals sodium, calcium, chloride and magnesium. Simply moving a muscle requires potassium. Potassium helps to regulate the heart, which is triggered by potassium to contract, squeezing blood through the body a hundred thousand times each day.

In addition to keeping our muscles and heart in good working condition, potassium is also responsible for healthy bone maintenance, protecting against osteoporosis, reducing high blood pressure, lowering cholesterol and helping the kidneys to filter blood. It can also reduce feelings of stress and anxiety and keeps the body’s water levels balanced.

The recommended daily intake of potassium is as follows:

Infants birth – 6 months: 400 mg/day

Infants 7 – 12 months: 700 mg/day

Children 1 -3 years: 3,000 mg/day

Children 4 – 8 years: 3,800 mg/day

Children 9 – 13 years: 4,500 mg/day

Adolescents and Adults 19 years and older: 4,700 mg/day

Breastfeeding women: 5,100 mg/day

Most Americans are potassium deficient. “Relying on convenience and restaurant foods and not eating enough fruits and vegetables is why so many people don’t get enough potassium. Fresh and lightly processed foods, including dairy and meat, have the most potassium,” according to registered dietitian, Marla Heller.

An excess of sodium in the diet (which is common among Americans) can increase the amount of potassium you need. Others at risk of potassium deficiency (hypokalemia) are those who experience diarrhea, vomiting, malabsorption syndromes (such as Crohn’s disease) and excessive sweating. Alcoholics, smokers, drug users, athletes (or anyone who uses their muscles excessively), and those who use diuretics are also prone to hypokalemia. Symptoms include irregular heartbeat, muscle cramps, irritability, chronic diarrhea, weakness and stomach problems.

Food sources abundant in potassium are meat, poultry, fish (cod, salmon, and flounder), dairy products, legumes and fruits and vegetables (particularly bananas, citrus, avocados, tomatoes, potatoes and green leafy vegetables such as Swiss chard). Cooking destroys potassium, so try to eat potassium-rich foods either raw or minimally cooked (lightly steamed or roasted).

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

 

01
Aug
13

The Benefits of Calcium


Just about everyone has heard about the importance of calcium in maintaining strong bones and teeth. In fact, 99 percent of the calcium in our body is stored in our bones. However, the remaining one percent that is located in our blood and cells is just as important. It is milk-bottles-200-300necessary to maintain many of the body’s vital functions, and if you do not get adequate calcium from your diet to keep the required amount in your blood, the mineral will be taken from your bones to meet the need.

Heart rhythm, muscle contraction, wound healing, blood clotting and transmission of messages between nerves and between cells are some of the important things that calcium facilitates. In addition to helping prevent osteoporosis, calcium may also reduce the risk of colon cancer, lower high blood pressure, reduce symptoms of PMS (bloating, food cravings, pain and mood swings) by 50 percent, and protect against breast cancer.

The recommended daily intake of calcium for different groups is as follows:

Infants 0-6 months: 210 mg/day

Infants 7-12 months: 270 mg/day

Children 1-3 years: 700 mg/day

Children 4-8 years: 1,000 mg/day

Adolescents 9-18 years: 1,300 mg/day

Adults 19-50 years: 1,000 mg/day

Adults 51+ years : 1,200 mg/day

Most signs of calcium deficiency do not appear until it has become a serious problem. Increased bone fractures are the most common sign. Severe calcium deficiency can cause tingling or numbness of the fingers, an abnormal heart rhythm and convulsions. However, these cases are rare. Most people are able to meet their daily calcium requirement through their diet, but supplementation may be recommended for some people. Those who drink large amounts of caffeinated beverages, soda or alcohol, and postmenopausal women may benefit from calcium supplements.

Taking too much calcium can also cause problems, so don’t take any more than is appropriate for your age group. Excess calcium intake (most often by taking too many supplements) has been implicated in a higher risk of kidney stones, heart attack, stroke and hardening of the arteries.

Calcium is best absorbed when taken with a meal, along with vitamin D. Magnesium is also necessary for the proper integration of calcium into the bones, but it should be taken separately from when you take your calcium, as it (and iron) can interfere with calcium absorption. So take any magnesium and iron supplements at the opposite end of the day from when you take your calcium.

Foods highest in calcium include dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt, and dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, Swiss chard, mustard greens and bok choy. Other good sources of calcium are sardines, oysters, broccoli, almonds, Brussels sprouts and seaweed.

 

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

08
Apr
13

How Flexible Should I Be and How Can I Measure My Flexibility?


Watching a dancer her leg to her nose is an impressive sight, and many of us can perform similar feats when we’re ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????children. But we begin to lose flexibility as we age if we do not make a conscious effort to remain limber. Inactivity causes muscles to shorten and stiffen, and muscle mass is lost with increasing years as well. However, maintaining flexibility as we get older is of great importance, since it allows us to retain our mobility and reduces the likelihood of aches, sprains and falls as we age.

Optimal flexibility means the ability of each of your joints to move fully through their natural range of motion. Simple activities such as walking or bending over to tie your shoes can become major difficulties if your flexibility is limited. Unfortunately, sitting for hours at a desk, as so many are forced to do on a daily basis, eventually leads to a reduction in flexibility as the muscles shorten and tighten.

There are a number of different tests used to measure flexibility, but the one test that has been used as a standard for years is the sit and reach test. It measures the flexibility of your hamstrings and lower back. The simple home version of the test requires only a step (or a small box) and a ruler.

Before the test, warm up for about 10 minutes with some light aerobic activity and do a few stretches. Then place the ruler on the step, letting the end of it extend out a few inches over your toes, and note where the edge of the step comes to on the ruler. Sit on the floor with your feet extended in front of you, flat against the bottom step (or box). With your arms extended straight out in front of you and one hand on top of the other, gradually bend forward from the hips, keeping your back straight. (Rounding the back will give you a false result). Measure where your fingertips come to on the ruler. They should ideally be able to reach at least as far as the front of the step. Any measurement past the edge of the step is a bonus. No matter how far you can reach on the first measurement, do the test periodically and try to improve your score every few weeks.

If you find that you are less flexible than you should be, some regular stretching exercises combined with visits to your chiropractor can help to restore flexibility and improve range of motion, helping to ensure that you remain limber into older age.

Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

19
Dec
12

What Are Reflexes and How Do They Work?


Many of us probably recall our childhood visits to the pediatrician.  And some of us might even remember being amused and surprised when the doctor used a little hammer to tap just below our knee and our lower leg jumped in response ALL BY ITSELF!   R
Later in life, we may have learned that physicians use this simple test to judge the health of our nervous system.  Even more specifically, we may have learned that they use it to test one of our many reflexes-the patellar or knee-jerk reflex.
But what exactly are reflexes?  In medical terms, a reflex is described as a “sensorimotor arc”.  This arc occurs when a sensory receptor neuron (such as a pain receptor in the skin) receives a stimulus and sends a signal to a motor neuron in the central nervous system (spinal cord).  The motor neuron then sends a response to the proper effector (a muscle or gland) without needing to involve the brain.  So our body’s reaction occurs automatically without us having to think about it consciously.
Our reflexes come into play in a variety of ways and serve a variety of purposes from our earliest days.  Newborn babies have a considerably larger number of reflexes than adults.  These reflexes evolved over time to help ensure the survival of the infant.  Rooting, sucking and hand-to-mouth movements are all reflexive in a baby so that the infant is more likely to get enough food.
Adults have reflexes too, but some are obvious and some are not.  For example, reflexes help us maintain our body’s internal temperature.  If the body is exposed to cold, it shivers to maintain a core temperature of 98.6°F. If it’s hot outside, the body sweats to keep itself from overheating.  We also depend on our reflexes to maintain our body’s position and balance.  Our muscles have a constant awareness of their shape.  When the muscle changes shape by stretching, an automatic signal is sent to adjust the muscle shape to maintain our posture.  It is a signal that happens so quickly that we are not aware of the continual adjustments our muscles are making in order to keep us upright.
There are countless other examples.  Our pupils dilate in the presence of low light.  We blink when debris is flying toward our eyes.  Our mouths water at the scent of food cooking.   Some reflex reactions are more dramatic, such as pulling your hand back quickly when you touch a hot surface, ducking to avoid a blow and extending your hands to brace for a fall.
A doctor may perform reflex testing if he or she suspects any nerve damage.  Reflex testing can be used to help determine the presence of a spinal cord injury or neuromuscular disease.  Different parts of the body can be gently struck with a mallet, and the type of response points to the type of damage.  A response that is absent or weak can indicate peripheral neuropathy, motor neuron disease or muscle disease.  Conversely, an excessive response may indicate damage to the spinal cord above the area responsible for hyperactivity.  A response that is different on each side of the body (one knee reacts more or less than the other, for instance), may be an indication of the early onset of a degenerative nerve disease or an acute trauma.
Our reflexes can provide a useful window into the health of our nervous system.  And the next time you get a checkup at the doctor you will know what that little hammer is for!

Dr P. Dubois, DC, CCSP

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois,a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system.Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

 




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