3 Training Exercises for Injury Prevention

Injury prevention isn’t optional

Endurance athletes face a dilemma: they know strength training is essential to injury prevention, but the nature of their sport leaves them short on time. The good news is that a little can go a long way – if you choose a training plan that delivers maximum benefits.  We invited Dan Kleckner, Co-owner and trainer extraordinaire of Kutting Edge Fitness Gym in Kirkland, to share his favorite strength exercises for even the most time-pressed athletes.

Here is what he shared:

Planks for core strength

The key to planks is to be sure to keep the core tight and back flat. Try starting with intervals of 30 seconds and work your way up.

Don’t forget to squeeze your glutes a little to keep everything strong. People think of planks as core work, but when you do them correctly, they will build your glute strength too.
planks for strength training

Single-leg Bosu Ball stands

These take practice but they are well worth it, because they build stability and contribute to what we call “fall prevention.” This means you are less likely to lose your balance and crash!

Think about keeping the weight on the middle of the foot, and make sure there is a slight bend in the knee. It may help to focus on a point on the wall or even start next to a railing as you learn to hold your balance. Start with 15 seconds on each foot and work up.

Bosu ball strength trainingDaily Glute bridge

We know you are probably sick of hearing this, but you really do need to activate your glutes before running. The glute bridge is the way to do it.

If you have one, place a flat rubber band around the knees to aid in activation. (You can easily order these bands from Amazon.)

Lie on the floor and bring the hips up to be in line with the shoulders and knees. Make sure you keep the neck relaxed and push through the heels. Squeeze the glutes and hold at the top for 2 seconds. In addition to activating your glutes, this movement supports hip stability.

activate glutes with glute bridge

 

These three moves will take less fifteen minutes per day, and the injury-prevention benefits last years. So even if you think you are too busy, do them anyway. It’s so much better to invest fifteen minutes now than to lose weeks or months of training while you wait to recover from an injury.

What is Active Release Therapy?

Active Release Therapy and Chiropractic Care at our Redmond office

Active release therapy at our Redmond officeChiropractic adjustments are far more effective when combined with active release therapy (ART), especially for athletic injuries. So even if you have been to a chiropractor many times before, you may find we do things a little differently here in our Redmond chiropractic office.

Active Release Therapy (ART) explained

Active Release Therapy (ART) is a technique for opening the tight areas in your muscles. In the simplest terms, the doctor applies pressure to the affected muscles while manipulating them through a range of motion. The combination of precise pressure and movement breaks down the fibrous collagen in the muscle tissue, in effect releasing it.

ART was originally developed to get athletes back to their sport as quickly as possible by working on the scar tissue in their overused muscles. Now this innovative treatment is used worldwide by practitioners to treat everything from problems with muscles, to tendons, ligaments, fascia and even nerves.

Why we combine ART with chiropractic

The goal is to get you moving comfortably again, with your muscles and bones working together. If we only work on your skeletal system, we are leaving out a key element in good movement. This, by the way, is why we always give you exercises to do at home as well.

When your muscles accumulate fibrous collagen, which is really scar tissue, they are stuck just like a knot is stuck in a string.  It doesn’t matter how much you pull on a string, you won’t get rid of the knot until you untie it. ART helps us untie the knot in the muscle.

What to expect during an ART treatment

During your exam the doctor will identify the muscles that need treatment. Then the doctor will take you through guided movements while applying tension on the muscle.  This opens short, tight muscles, and helps break down scar tissue that has developed in them.

What does scar tissue do to my muscles?

Overuse of muscles from a workout or even working at your desk with poor posture, causes the body to produce dense scar tissue in the overused area. With time, this scar tissues prevents the muscles from moving well and you feel “tight”. It is a vicious cycle: you get tight, and can’t move as well, so you move less. So your muscles get tighter and weaker with lack of movement and reduced blood flow. Nerves can even get entrapped in this process leading to weird tingling sensations, numbness, and weakness.

Conditions treated with ART

Problems including headaches, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems, and tennis elbow are just a few of the many conditions that can be resolved quickly and permanently with ART.

What a typical visit looks like

The visit goes in two stages. First, the doctor will use ART, along with chiropractic adjustments as appropriate. We may also apply kinesiology tape to support healing as well. Next, we head into the gym and teach you corrective exercises that will help you fix faulty movement patterns. The more you do the exercises we give you, the less often you may need to come back. See? No rack and crack!

 

Redmond Chiropractor Explains: Microsoft Insurance

As a Redmond – based chiropractor, we get a lot of patients from our excellent neighbor, Microsoft. And one of the most common things we are asked is whether, and how, we work with Microsoft medical insurance plans. So we created a quick FAQ for those of you in this category.

Microsoft insurance and chiropractic care: Redmond chiropractor explains what you need to know.

Call the insurance company before you visit

Microsoft insurance forms for chiropractic reimbursement

Insurance can be confusing

As much as we try to stay on top of the latest insurance changes, first and foremost, we are doctors. So the benefits teams at the insurance company will always know best what you are, and are not, covered for. In general, chiropractic is covered, but the number of  visits per year you are entitled to varies even among Microsoft employees. So please do use that little phone number on the back of your insurance card and call to find out what YOUR plan covers.

In addition, pre-authorization is usually required for treatments like physical therapy or imaging at your chiropractor’s office. Make sure to tell your chiropractor if pre-authorization is required by your plan. 

After an accident, come in right away

If you are in a car wreck, the most important thing is to come in and be seen right away. Insurance companies are much more likely to reimburse and cover treatment for the injuries if they are documented close to the date of the accident. In contrast, once the injury is several months old, it can be very difficult to secure reimbursement, even when it is related to the accident.

This is just as true for personal injuries and work-related injures as it is for car accidents. So if you get hurt and you have Microsoft insurance, delay may very well reduce the likelihood of reimbursement. Don’t wait. Just come on in and get checked.

Know your deductible

The deductible is the amount of money you must pay prior to your insurance covering any services. If you haven’t met your deductible yet, even covered services may not kick in until it’s been used up.

That’s why it is key to know not only how much of a deductible you have, but if you have met it yet. Please note that even for those with Microsoft insurance, the deductible can range greatly based on individual plans.

Speak to a case manager

After a car accident, the insurance company should assign you a case manager, who will have access to all the details related to your case and allowable care expenses. Make sure to ask your case manager if you have personal injury protection on your policy. Those with policies that include personal injury protection may typically come in for the necessary treatments to a chiropractor, medical doctor, and massage therapist with no out of pocket expense.

Redmond chiropractor office map

We are located just up the road, so we get lots of questions about Microsoft insurance.

These are some of the most commonly asked-about insurance issues and what you can do to secure reimbursement. If you have a question that we haven’t covered please call us and we will be happy to help you.

Redmond Chiropractor Explains: Everyday Activities That Are Destroying Your Neck

Modern life can be hell on your posture, especially your neck. As chiropractors here in Redmond, WA, which thanks to our Microsoft neighbor is one of the tech capitals of the world, every day we see patients who are suffering from pain induced by the realities of a tech-heavy lifestyle.

We know you aren’t going to give up using technology, but raising your awareness can help a lot. So, here are the most common lifestyle-related activities we see that torpedo your neck, and a few tips for combating them.

Redmond Chiropractor Explains: A New Series to Keep You Pain-Free

Texting – Literally a pain in the neck

This one is a doozer, so it’s no surprise that now there is even a term for it: Text neck. What can you do short of giving up your favorite form of communication? First, look up. Try to keep your phone in front of you as much as possible, like this guy below:

Neck position up while texting

Make your smartphone habit easier on your neck by looking straight at it, rather than down.

Next, make sure you have texts set up to work on your computer. As bad as your posture is typing at your desk, it’s even worse when you are hunched over your phone. So use your computer to send and read texts whenever you can. If you’ve got your desk set up ergonomically, this is going to be way gentler on your neck than looking down at your smartphone.

Businessman using smartphone and holding paper cup ina urban scene. Worried businessman in walking on the road and messaging with phone. Young man text messaging through cell phone while walking on the road in the city centre.

Looks familiar? Put your phone down while you’re walking – so you can keep your head up.

There are also some great home exercises you can do to reduce the effects of text neck including the chin tuck. Simply push your chin down and back into your neck until you feel you can’t go back any farther. This isn’t the prettiest stretch, because you make a double chin doing it, but it effectively relieves pressure off of the joints in your neck and relaxes tight shoulder muscles.

The more you focus on preventing text neck, the fewer visits to the chiropractor you will need to make to fix it after the fact.

Sitting down – Is the new smoking

Whether you are in front of a computer, playing video games or watching TV, sitting is the new smoking. So find ways to get up at least every 45 minutes to an hour. If you are watching TV,  pick one or more triggers to get you to stand up and stretch for a few minutes. For example, you can try placing the snacks (or beer) across the room so you at least have to get up to get them. When you do get up, try stretching one arm out against a door jam or wall to open up your short and tight shoulder and neck muscles as pictured in the photo below.

woman stretching chest open to support chiropractic health

This type of open chest stretch supports overall chiropractic health

In addition, keep a foam roller in the TV room and use it while you watch. You’ll be tuning up your muscles and preventing yourself from sitting for too long at the same time. Your neck, hips and glutes will all feel better, and you can still catch that football game guilt-free. (Go Hawks!)

Commuting by car – The modern neck cruncher

Sitting in your car in traffic for hours is a sure-fire way to make your back and neck angry. Here in our area, the Seattle-to-Redmond commute can easily stretch to an hour or more. As chiropractors and health care practitioners, sure we encourage you to bike to work, but we know that for many people that is simply impractical. So since most of us are stuck driving, try setting yourself up for success in the car as best you can.  Sit upright, shoulder back and down, chest up, no resting over to one side on the window frame or center console.

Look for more Redmond Chiropractor Explains posts in the coming weeks to live pain-free.

Why Sitting at Your Desk Causes Shoulder and Neck Pain

Shoulder and neck pain from desk work

Workplace ergonomics can contribute to shoulder and neck pain

Causes of shoulder and neck pain

There are a lot of causes for shoulder and neck pain, but one of the most common is workplace ergonomics. If you sit at a desk all day, you’re at high risk of pain not only in your back and neck, but your shoulders too.

Since you probably aren’t ready to quit your desk job yet, here’s one step you can take to mitigate the damage and accompanying pain: consider an adjustable standing desk. Here’s why.

If you’re like 99 percent of the desk worker universe, when you sit in front of your desk you aren’t engaging your core muscles, so you tend to slouch. When you slouch at your desk, you look like the guy in this photo:

Shoulder back and neck pain from hunching

Stability balls do not prevent slouching, which directly causes shoulder and neck pain.

Why slouching causes pain

Look at what is happening here. The shoulders are rolled forward, which means all the weight is being pulled to the front of the body. Everything on the front of the body is being shortened and tightened, and everything on the back is being overstretched. This posture is a recipe for pain, and as you can see that sitting posture ball isn’t helping one bit.

Unfortunately, people who are hunched over at their desks like this can be found at companies all over. It doesn’t matter whether you work at big companies like Microsoft in Redmond, WA (which is just up the road from our office) or at one of the tiny tech startups that dot the Seattle landscape. It’s equal opportunity pain!

Standing vs sitting at your desk

Contrary to what you may think though, switching to a standing desk is not the only solution. In fact, a standing desk can be just as bad as a sitting one. Instead, the best way to combat the strain of desk slouch is to change positions frequently throughout the day. That means if you are going to change your desk, it should be an adjustable one.

Ideally, you will install an adjustable standing desk in place of your current stationary one. But even if you can’t do that, just getting up and changing your position every hour for at least five minutes will have a very material benefit. Get a drink of water. Walk a few flights of stairs instead of taking the elevator. Stand at your next meeting. It all helps.

Of course, regular chiropractic visits can help with the immediate shoulder, back, and neck pain too, but taking these steps will allow you to visit less often and live more comfortably in your own body 24 hours a day.

3 Ways Chiropractic Treats Whiplash After an Auto Accident

Woman calls chiropractor after Whiplash in Auto Accident

Whiplash accounts for nearly half of auto accident injuries.

Whiplash accounts for nearly half of auto accident injuries

2.3 million Americans are injured or disabled in auto accidents every year. Whiplash injuries account for 1 million of those injuries, yet most go untreated. That’s because very often people don’t realize until much later that the accident has done a number on their skeletal system. By the time it really hurts and you decide to call your chiropractor, the insurance company has happily walked away.

The truth is that pain can be terrible indicator of dysfunction. So just because it doesn’t hurt right away doesn’t mean everything is okay. If you have been in an auto accident, it’s critical to get checked by a medical professional who specializes in these injuries. We have seen hundreds of patients who started out feeling fine, and ended up in agony months later.

Of course, many people do experience pain right away. No matter which stage you are at after an auto accident, here are three ways chiropractic can help.

Reduce pain

The jolting energy of a car wreck delivers a severe insult to the body. The muscles and bones in you back and neck in particular take a beating. Whiplash is just one example of this. When your muscles are traumatized they can’t support your body properly. What happens? Your body compensates for this by twisting itself into misaligned positions. It’s actually these compensations that end up causing pain over time.

Chiropractic delivers neuromuscular re-education, which is a fancy way of saying that we get the brain to talk to the muscles properly, and get them back to supporting your body the way they are supposed to. Once that happens your body can stop compensating, reducing pain.

Restore movement

With any kind of trauma the body reacts with inflammation. Even if you aren’t feeling it yet, the damage has been done. Chiropractic manipulation works in two ways to address this: First, it addresses the fundamental problem, which is that your range of motion has been reduced. Second, by restoring movement, it allows your body to eliminate the inflammation.

Faster recovery

Medication for car accident

Traditional treatments don’t solve pain, they mask it.

Traditional treatments don’t solve pain, they mask it. Chiropractic helps you get better faster because it’s treating the cause not just the symptoms

It’s important to note that not all chiropractic practitioners use the same techniques, and for many patients that may be okay. But if you’ve been in an auto accident, you really more than just mobility treatments, which is adjustments. They are important but they are only half the treatment.

Adjustments are important but once the motion has been restored, you need to work on stability, too which requires deep tissue work, therapeutic exercise targeted at your individual state, and very often, what we like to call “homework” which are steps you must take in between visits to aid in healing.

In our chiropractic and rehabilitation-focused practice we see many patients who have experienced rear-end collisions, T-bone accidents, head-on collisions, work vehicle related accidents, and more. It is our goal, first and foremost, to relieve the acute neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain and emotional pain that patients so often walk in with immediately following their accident.

How to Alleviate Pregnancy-Related Back Pain

eastside-ideal-healthLower back pain and pregnancy, unfortunately, go hand-in-hand. In one survey, 68.5% of women reported some level of lower lumbar discomfort during their pregnancy. This doesn’t mean, however, that you have to resign yourself to nine months of an achy back. There are natural ways to alleviate the discomfort.

1. Swimming

Women hardly ever consider swimming as a viable activity during pregnancy. It’s a good exercise because gravity has no effect on your body when you’re suspended in water. This decompresses and takes the pressure off your spine.

2. Watch Your Footwear

It’s perfectly acceptable to stay fashionable even when you have a bun in the oven. However, ditch the pumps. High-heel shoes cause spinal pressure by increasing the curvature of your back. Your center of gravity is also altered when pregnant. Wearing high heels will make you even less stable.

3. Webster Technique

If the pain is persistent, then consider seeing a professional certified in the Webster technique. This is a form of chiropractic care designed specifically for pregnant women. The method helps to adjust the spinal column, discs, and adjacent nerves, all without drugs and invasive surgery. Continue Reading →

4 Benefits of Kinesiology Taping

eastside-ideal-healthVery few people outside the chiropractic community are familiar with kinesiology taping. The treatment method has a lot of scientific studies behind it. Thousands of patients also swear by it. The benefits of kinesiology taping are numerous; it will help improve quality of life if you have a recurring ache or injury.

1. Taping Naturally Relieves Pain

RockTape is known to alleviate pain by interfering with pain receptors in the brain. The tape pulls and applies pressure on the skin. This disrupts the pain receptors’ normal pathways. This double-blind study confirms the efficacy of kinesiology taping in patients with shoulder pain.

2. RockTape Improves Blood Flow

The pull on the skin also leads to improved blood circulation. This delivers more nutrients and oxygen to the injured site. It also flushes out toxins and irritants that causes inflammation. This is especially useful for treating inflammation resulting from a sprained joint.

3. Kinesiology Taping Improves Posture

Even healthy people are guilty of poor body posture without even realizing it. RockTape can gently remind you to maintain proper posture. It does this by slightly pulling on the skin when your body begins to sag. This helps you strengthen the postural muscles on your own. Continue Reading →

The Best Sleep Positions for Preventing Neck Pain

eastside ideal health-2-2016Everyone has experienced morning neck pain. This is often the cause of poor sleeping posture. While there are various treatment methods, the first thing you should do is analyze your body when lying in bed. Neck pain and sleeping position have a strong correlation, so be sure to adjust your posture as needed to prevent neck and back pain from sleeping.

Ideal Sleep Postures to Prevent Neck Pain

Sleeping on your back is the ideal position since it lets the entire spine rest in a natural position. You should, however, keep your knees slightly bent upwards to prevent too much arching of your back. It may help to keep a pillow under your knees.

If you prefer sleeping on your side, then make sure the pillow allows your head to rest in a position even with your body. Also be sure not to curl your body too much and consider keeping a pillow between the knees. This keeps you comfortable while ensuring proper spinal alignment. Continue Reading →

Seattle Chiros: Waist training without the corset for a strong core

corsetWomen have been cinching their waists to achieve an appealing hourglass figure for hundreds of years. This is not a 21st century trend, ladies! In fact it started in the 1800s with corsets. Remember those rigid garments that would  limit women’s movement and lead to fainting from lack of oxygen and abdominal blood flow?
I beg you to question the increasing popularity of the modern ‘waist trainer’ and learn the facts before jumping on the bandwagon.

Here are some of the side effects:
1. All major internal organs are pressed inwards
2. The vital diaphragm muscle cant do it’s job – making deep breathing impossible!
3. Digestion is interrupted, reflux issues are aggravated, and food intake affected.
4. Ribs are bruised and compressed, while core muscles lose tone and function (a key player in low back pain)


So what can you do for a permanently cinched waist? I highly recommend something that has side effects including hourglass figure, great mood, and better energy…exercise! Take up a Pilates or Barre class that focuses in on tightening your core and glutes simultaneously, to achieve the “hourglass” look. Your body will thank you 🙂

Can’t make it to the gym? Here is a great waist cinching workout you can do at home. http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/abdomial-exercises
Edited by Justin Vorhees