Shoulder Health

Lately at the office, I’ve been dealing with a lot of “gunky” shoulders which have been leading to patients complaining of neck pain, mid back pain and headaches. When I say “gunky” I mean shoulders that won’t go through a normal, full range of motion. Sometimes these issues can be age-related degenerative conditions but, most of the time these “gunky” shoulders are due to faulty postures that have not allowed for full range of motion due to “adaptive complacency”. Adaptive complacency is a coined term signifying when we stop paying attention to stimuli we encounter, we lose control over our health. How this relates to our “sticky” shoulders is that our muscles, ligaments and tendons all tighten to adapt to our poor postures (internally rotated shoulders). This is evident in our stooped, forward postures often seen not only in older population, but also in children and middle aged persons. Today we tend to spend so much time folded forward in our computers, tablets and phones, and the longer we hold these positions, the more fiercely the soft tissue around these joints adapts. These restrictions lead to muscle spasm, pain and/or limitations in ranges of motion the longer they are left untreated. As other muscles are recruited by the brain to make up strength or the range of motion of the affected joint, issue arise above and below the shoulder leading us to believe our shoulder “worked itself out”. A simple way to combat these soft tissue issues is to use the shoulder joint in every degree of motion on a daily basis. Reach overhead, reach behind, touch the opposite top of shoulder blade, then reach the bottom of opposite shoulder blade. If you can’t do these things, try as far as your body will let you just before pain. Over time, you will find yourself reaching further and further. Clean your windows, “wax on/wax off”, scrub the counters. When you go one direction, go the other. If this seems monotonous or repetitious good. If you hate this…good. Go figure another way to achieve the goal of “rolling” the shoulders back and preventing stooped shoulder posture. What I can promise you is that if you sit on Facebook, play video games, crochet, yell at the news/ president from your recliner and don’t give your body some TLC and challenge its ranges and ability, it won’t get better, it’ll get worse. And the longer you wait to do something about it, the longer it will take to bounce back. Hence the saying if you don’t use it, you lose it.

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Spring Cleaning

We have been cooped up in houses and cozy chairs waiting for warmth and better weather to arrive for far too long. With the warmer temperatures coming this week, we are all eager to tend to our landscapes and exercise outside getting the refreshing, spring air. Many of the “spring cleaning” activities we engage in (gardening, weeding, cleaning, raking) all require repetitive motions (twisting, turning and bending) that we usually favor our dominant sides with. These patients present to the office with hip pain, outside back pain, pain down the leg, and mid back pain. Much of the cause of these aches and pains is trying to do too much physical activity, too fast on muscles that have not returned to their most effective length. We tend to be “stuck” in those recliner, couch and car seat postures after our cold, less active winters.

The first recommendation I have, which I find to be the best way to get ready for all the “springtime activities” is to practice the hip hinge.

  • Behind your chair, spread your feet just wider than shoulder width and make sure feet are both pointed forward.
  • Unlock your knees and pull them as far back as possible.
  • Then tighten your belly and pull your hips back without bending knees forward.
  • All movement should occur in hip joint!
  • Repeat ten times, with slow breath cycles

The next best exercise I recommend is to open the shoulder joint to get it out of its “rolled forward” position due to phone and computer use, reading, and any other repetitive seated position.

  • In a seated position, sit tall, breathe deep, and imagine a string pulling you up like a puppet on a marionette.
  • With a long, strong center bring your hands to hip level and rotate palms open by turning your thumbs away from your body.
  • Hold this position for 3-5 breath cycles and repeat 2-3x’s a day.

Note: It is common to hear “clicking” while rotating forearms. However, if the clicking is painful, contact a chiropractor or other health care professional who specializes in musculoskeletal conditions.

As you get ready for spring, I would do these simple exercises 3x/day. If you are going to be venturing out already, perform these tasks before and after your repetitive activities. If you have any questions or concerns please email us at cfcbrick@gmail.com. If you feel any discomfort or pain performing this exercises please call us at 732-920-8188.

Dr. Chris

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“How do I lose weight?”

Such a loaded question, with incredibly loaded emotional responses. I often dance around the nutritional component of my advice because patient responses to “diet” are either defensive or overwhelming. My instructions only act as a “beginning” to your weight loss journey. I encourage you to go WAY further or deeper into nutrition and exercise if weight loss is a major issue for emotional, physical and homeostatic wellbeing. Some of my recommendations include the following:

– drink copious amounts of water (coffee, tea and “sports/health drinks do not count) – Males 102 oz and females 85 oz is the recommended amount

– try to eat 12 different vegetables/fruits per day – veggies are better for you than fruits!

– 30-60 minutes of “mindful” exercise

“Mindful” exercise means movement with the intention of increasing your heart rate to focus on fitness goals. I see people “working out” at the gym or talking on phones on the boardwalk. Great for the soul and improve emotional connections, but not great if you are trying to gain physical superiority. For 30 minutes try to get your heart rate to 65% max. This can be tracked with a heart rate monitor or felt with “just out of breath but able to hold a conversation if necessary”.

Again, overtime I urge you to go further with your workouts and nutritional endeavors, but this is a simple, great start. You do not need a gym or expensive workout equipment. Outside is a great place to start and YouTube or your television has great 10-30 minute yoga and workout videos. The weather is going to get better soon so get out there and get healthy.

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Just Breathe

The majority of my patients sit for long periods at a time because of school, commuting or a desired activity. When questioned about periods of inactivity, often the first response is a defensive “I never sit.” Now, I am not calling on people to get off their butts, but to make sitting more constructive (whether it be required or elective).

First, when in a seated position make sure the feet, knees and hips line up to keep a better, balanced hip position. Next, try to flex the toes towards the shin. Roll the shoulders backward and down trying to get the chest “puffed” up. Tuck the chin ever so slightly (not looking down, but it looks as if you are almost giving yourself a double chin) and take a deep breath. When you breath in, try to create as much height as possible in your spine as if a string is pulling you upward. As you breath out try to pull your abdomen and shoulder blades towards your chair or couch. Repeat the above steps 3-5 times slowly throughout your day. This exercise is meant to be relaxing, yet difficult and invigorating so please have fun with this.

Most of the posture exercises I teach are very similar if not exactly from Foundation Training by Dr. Eric Goodman. Don’t hesitate to find his work on YouTube, www.foundationtraining.comor Amazon.

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Supplements

While nutritional food choices are first and foremost to our approach to a healthy lifestyle at the Chiropractic Family Center of Brick, we know from education and from our personal experiences there are conditions where a supplement can boost the response our patients want. We offer a variety of supplements for sale in the office, but many of our patients and family members use our recommended suppliers to advance their understanding of nutritional supplements.  We can also set you up with a Patient Direct account which allows you to independently order and monitor your personal use of supplements.

We recommend Science-Based Products from Metagenics because they

…meet the highest standards for research and quality manufacturing to help make natural approaches safer and more effective. Here you’ll find a wide range of products to meet your specific needs to help you reach your best health possible.

We also recommend and sell products from Anabolic Laboratories which cites:

Overwhelming research has shown that many of the health conditions prevalent in today’s population are caused (at least in part) by poor diet and a lack of adequate exercise. Nutritional supplements can greatly assist you in obtaining the nutrients you need in order to defend yourself from poor health.

Standard Process has introduced a simpler way to order supplements with a new Patient Direct feature. They believe

At Standard Process, providing high-quality herbal and dietary supplements to support the health of your patients is essential to our mission. Making our supplements easily accessible while preserving the health care professional-patient relationship is at the core of this mission. That’s why we’re launching Patient Direct by Standard Process, a refreshed online patient ordering platform that offers an upgraded, more simplified experience for both you and your patients. Its main objective is convenience, which ultimately improves patient compliance.

Please check out these suppliers and their products, then we can discuss them with you at your next visit.

…and remember, nutrition begins with the food choices you make and the movement you choose for your body!

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