Sports Spine Specialist Chiropractic Team: Athletes strive to achieve their body’s maximum performance by participating in numerous training regimens consisting of strenuous exercises and physical activity and ensuring they meet all of their body’s nutritional requirements. Through proper fitness and nutrition, many individuals can condition themselves to excel in their specific sport. Our training programs are designed for athletes that look to gain a competitive edge in their sport.
We provide sport-specific services to help increase an athlete’s performance through mobility, strength, and endurance. Occasionally, however, the excess workouts can lead many to suffer injuries or develop underlying conditions. Dr. Alex Jimenez’s chronicle of articles for athletes displays in detail the many forms of complications affecting these professionals while focusing on the possible solutions and treatments to follow to achieve overall well-being.
Reaching, twisting, walking, and driving are everyday activities that require upper and lower back strength. An aching back can easily affect daily activities, generate frustration, anger, and affect all-around health. The more back muscle strength an individual has, the more they can accomplish far more without injury. Immense power is not required to protect the body from a back injury. All that is needed is regular, consistent physical activity and exercise. A balance of body strength is vital for preventing injury. However, overdoing one fitness exercise or physical activity can imbalance musculature, leading to injury. Because the back/spine is the central part of the body, complete and proper care is necessary for optimal health and wellness. For individuals experiencing sore, aching, and tired muscles, here are some exercises that will help in the process.
Alternating Arm and Leg Extensions
Alternating extensions help build strength and coordination in the core areas. The back muscles increase their efficiency by creating muscle memory that supports the work shared by all the torso muscles. Upper and lower back muscles must work together to maintain a healthy balance and not overwork each other, causing strain and fatigue.
Start by placing hands and knees on the floor with the head directly between shoulders and facing toward the floor.
Feet are directly in line behind the buttocks and resting on the floor.
Hips and shoulders rest above the knees and hands.
Raise the right hand straight ahead with the arm at full length.
At the time same time, raise the left leg straight behind the body.
Try to keep the arm and leg as straight as possible.
Hold for 10 seconds.
Repeat three to eight times, depending on strength level.
If it is difficult, a modified option is to raise the arm and leg separately.
These can help build back muscles and strengthen the arms, legs, and the front torso area. Plank holds are a recommended starting point. Plank holds can be done on the elbows, palms of the hands, or closed fist hands. The key is to keep the shoulders, hips, and ankles straight like a wood plank parallel to the floor.
Place hands and feet directly on the floor like doing a push–up.
Toes should be on the floor.
Keep the abdominals tight and buttocks lifted to prevent straining the lower back.
Face straight down.
Hold for a count of 10.
Repeat three times.
For those with an aching back, keeping the hips level with the shoulders could be challenging at the beginning.
With practice, it will become easier; then, the individual is recommended to increase the length of time until 30 seconds is achieved.
Then increase the challenge to try more than three repetitions.
A modification for beginners is to start with the body resting on the floor, stomach down.
Then raise the body into the start position from the floor.
Hip raises help to strengthen the lower back muscles to unite and support the lower half of the body. Training the body to work cooperatively is critical for reducing the aching and pain from muscle imbalance.
Rest the body flat on the floor, facing upward.
Place the hands flat at the body’s sides.
Knees should be about shoulder-width apart.
Keep the feet flat on the floor
Pull the feet toward the buttocks.
Look straight up.
Raise the hips as high as possible while pressing down with the hands.
Physical activity that keeps blood moving throughout the body. Examples include yoga, gardening, and dancing.
While the back is healing, go at a gentle even pace for any activity. Jerking and quickly stopping can be hard on joints and discs. When injured, the other muscles try to compensate to avoid causing a flare-up that could worsen the injury and/or create a new injury.
Aching Back Muscles
Strength-building exercises are great for preventing injury and avoiding re-injury. However, avoid overreaching or overstretching with any of the activities. Continuous aching or painful back muscles could indicate something else is occurring that could be:
Regular resistance exercise can help maintain muscle mass and build muscular strength.
Decrease in motor neurons
Aging is accompanied by a loss of motor neurons caused by cell death.
This can lead to a decrease in muscle fibers and size.
This decrease leads to:
Reduced functional capacity
Decreased ability to perform everyday tasks.
Increase in Pro-inflammatory Cytokines
Poor diet and exercise also promote the storage of visceral fat.
This type of fat tissue produces pro-inflammatory cytokines.
This can accelerate muscle breakdown.
Obesity and muscle weakness are associated with high levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Alfuth, M, and D Cornely. “Chronischer lumbaler Rückenschmerz : Vergleich zwischen Mobilisationstraining und Training der rumpfstabilisierenden Muskulatur” [Chronic low back pain : Comparison of mobilization and core stability exercises]. Der Orthopade vol. 45,7 (2016): 579-90. doi:10.1007/s00132-016-3233-1
Kim, Beomryong, and Jongeun Yim. “Core Stability and Hip Exercises Improve Physical Function and Activity in Patients with Non-Specific Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” The Tohoku journal of experimental medicine vol. 251,3 (2020): 193-206. doi:10.1620/tjem.251.193
Smith, Benjamin E et al. “An update of stabilization exercises for low back pain: a systematic review with meta-analysis.” BMC musculoskeletal disorders vol. 15 416. 9 Dec. 2014, doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-416
Suh, Jee Hyun et al. “The effect of lumbar stabilization and walking exercises on chronic low back pain: A randomized controlled trial.” Medicine vol. 98,26 (2019): e16173. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000016173
When dealing with any kind of pain, many types of remedies can help alleviate the source of the pain. Whether muscle pain or cardiac tissue pain, the effects can be long-term if not appropriately treated. Doctors have discovered that low laser therapy can help repair injured muscles that patients have experienced. With low laser therapy, the beneficial effects can help repair injuries that the bodies’ skeletal and cardiac muscles have endured.
When the body gets injured, many people endure the pain later or during the accident. Sometimes the pain is short-termed or long-termed, depending on how severe the injury is. Short-term pain or “acute” pain can be simple, like a sprained joint; however, long-term pain or “chronic” pain, it’s more severe to the body and can have lasting effects. Chronic pain can hinder a person’s body from doing the most straightforward task. When people deal with chronic pain, it can drastically affect the body’s musculoskeletal system and even their cardiovascular system.
When the body’s musculoskeletal system is damaged, many complications can start affecting the joints in many different parts of the body. Chronic pain can cause inflammation throughout the body, causing a person not to have the energy to do any task they planned for the day. Sometimes the pain can be excruciating where the body just completely shuts down. When doctors see their patients, they ask them, “Where does it hurt?” meaning where the pain feels more excruciating on the person’s body. The patient will always tell their physicians that the pain is on their joints or back. So doctors would recommend low laser therapy.
Low Laser Therapy
With low laser therapy or phototherapy, the effects from the treatment can alleviate the pain from the body. Studies show that the application of low laser therapy in injured muscles can significantly enhance muscle regeneration in multiple and frequent applications. Low laser therapy does target the injured muscles because it uses irradiation, which targets the affected muscle while increasing the body’s natural antioxidants and cytoprotective heat shock proteins (HSP-70i). Phototherapy can even help reduce muscle fatigue in athletes when they are in a post-exercise routine.
Studies have found that physical therapists use phototherapy as another form of recovery treatment for athletes. What the laser does is that when it is placed on the affected muscle and joint pain, the infrared wavelength penetrates the skin and starts to affect the targeted area. The infrared wavelengths cause therapeutic effects by decreasing oxidative stress accumulated by the body while also reactivating oxygen species production, improving the body’s mitochondrial function, etc. Another study also shows that phototherapy can also repair cardiac tissue. The study shows that when doctors use phototherapy, it directly affects the intracellular mechanisms in the heart while also activating heat-independent tissues without causing tissue damage to the heart. The study also shows that phototherapy can be effective in various complications, such as lymphoedema and muscular trauma.
All in all, low laser therapy has beneficial properties in preventing muscle and cardiac muscle tissue damage. Its infrared radiation can help patients go about their day without the pain and suffering that their body endures. By reducing ventricular dilatation and preserving the body’s mitochondria while elevating the HSP-70i, the body can start on the road to recovery.
Leal Junior, Ernesto Cesar Pinto, et al. “Effects of Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) in the Development of Exercise-Induced Skeletal Muscle Fatigue and Changes in Biochemical Markers Related to Postexercise Recovery.” Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, Aug. 2010, https://www.jospt.org/doi/10.2519/jospt.2010.3294.
Kazemi Khoo, Nooshafarin, et al. “Application of Low-Level Laser Therapy Following Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) Surgery.” Journal of Lasers in Medical Sciences, Laser Application in Medical Sciences Research Center, 2014, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4291821/.
Oron, Uri. “Photoengineering of Tissue Repair in … – Medical Laser.” Photoengineering of Tissue Repair in Skeletal and Cardiac Muscles, 2006, http://medical.summuslaser.com/data/files/91/1585172203_ls8S6pcJwigZfZQ.pdf.
Kettlebell training for the back muscles and back pain prevention can be part of a recommended treatment plan. When experiencing low back pain, many sports medicine experts recommend kettlebell exercise to strengthen the core and posterior chain. However, if not used correctly, kettlebell exercises can worsen back pain.
They are made of cast iron or steel and are named for resembling a tea kettle with an oversized handle. They can be used in one and two-handed movements.
Exercises and Movements for Back Pain
For individuals that are not experiencing back pain, kettlebell training can be excellent for maintenance and injury prevention. They strengthen the core and back muscles.
The kettlebell swing is an essential exercise and is one of the most important exercises when dealing with back pain issues.
A kettlebell is placed on the floor about 12 inches in front while standing with the feet a little wider than hip-distance.
The hips become the hinge.
Extend the arms down to the bell and grip it.
Begin swinging it up and down through the legs and then upward and outward to chest level.
The shoulders are to stay relaxed.
The hips are used to thrust and create momentum to swing the kettlebell.
Keep the spine neutral throughout the exercise to prevent injury.
The arms are to hold the bell only.
Don’t swing with the arms or shoulders, but push through with the hips.
The exercise can be swung up over the head but is not recommended for those with back pain.
They are portable and don’t require a lot of space.
With kettlebells, an individual can train more easily than with barbells.
Kettlebell workouts provide strength training and cardiovascular fitness.
Once the proper technique is learned, individuals can set up a regular regimen at home.
Proper Form and Mistakes
Proper form is crucial. The primary movement most individuals have difficulty with is getting the proper hinging motion at the hip. Most individuals flex at the lower back and place increased pressure on the discs. Proper hip hinge motion means:
Keeping the low back straight
Flexing at the hip
Pushing back out with the buttocks when performing the swing motion.
When done correctly, an individual should be able to stop at any stage and hold that position.
Posture Form Tips
Form issues with kettlebells include:
When picking up the kettlebell, remember to hip hinge instead of squatting to maintain the back in a neutral position.
Drive the hips back in the same way when sitting down on a low chair.
Arching the back
If the pelvis is tilted too far forward, the back arches a lot.
This can narrow where the nerves leave the spine in the low back.
Keep the abdominals tight to prevent the pelvis from tilting forward.
Using the incorrect weight can also cause problems; this could be going too heavy or too light.
Too heavy increases the risk of straining the body and back.
A kettlebell that is too light does not provide the correct resistance to strengthen the muscles.
Another common mistake is overtraining. Specifically, individuals over 50 whose bodies don’t recover as quickly.
Individuals over 50 are recommended to spread out the workout days with more than one rest day.
Proper training before working with kettlebells is highly recommended, especially for those already dealing with back pain. Individuals are encouraged to work with a physical therapist, sports chiropractor, or personal trainer who can teach proper techniques and specific exercises, observe the individual’s process, and make corrections. Improper technique can lead to:
Start in a pushup position with the arms on the floor in front.
Lift the legs, so the tops of the feet rest on the exercise/stability ball.
Knees should be bent to start the movement.
Extend the legs out as straight as possible.
Hold the position for a few seconds.
Return to the starting position.
Common Injuries Associated with Kettlebells: ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal (March/April 2017) “Managing Risks of Training with Kettlebells to Achieve Optimum Benefits.” https://journals.lww.com/acsm healthfitness/Fulltext/2017/03000/MANAGING_RISKS_OF_TRAINING_WITH_KETTLEBELLS_TO.6.aspx
High school football takes a toll on the body. The sport can cause all kinds of injuries that can range from mild – severe. Areas that are commonly injured include:
Chiropractic has become a medically recommended form of treatment and rehabilitation for these injuries but also injury prevention. Today all NFL teams utilize a chiropractic team for players and staff. College teams are also discovering the benefits that chiropractic offers. There are significant benefits that high school football players can attain from chiropractic care.
A chiropractic adjustment, technically known as chiropractic manipulative treatment/CMT, is a primary therapy in sports medicine. It helps to increase flexibility and minimize or eliminate pain during motion/movement. Adjustments have been shown to improve athletic performance.
Athletes who regularly use chiropractic experience a decline in sports-related injuries.
Treatment increases flexibility and mobility, allowing for optimal agility that has been linked to preventing injuries. This is because the body is relaxed and stays loose, even when tackled, instead of tensing up, which is a major contributor to strains and injuries.
Chiropractic adjustments also help increase muscular strength, making the body stronger, and more resistant to injury. It has been shown to promote strength in the muscles after a few sessions effectively. The strengthened muscles also help avoid injury by being able to withstand the hits and recover faster. The strengthened body also helps to increase endurance and stamina.
Many high school players use chiropractic to ease the general pain that comes from general practice and games. Adjustments and massage are highly effective for pain management and alleviate headaches, especially those that come from constant impact to the head and neck. It helps to alleviate soreness, stiffness, and pain from the entire body.
Athletes often experience athletic pubalgia. This is one of the most common causes of injury-related groin pain. Chiropractic can relieve the discomfort within 8 weeks in combination with rehabilitative stretches and exercises. Chiropractic plays a critical role in whole-body care, pain relief and keeps the body operating and performing at the highest level.
When an individual overwhelms their body’s ability to excrete water and waste products consumed, water intoxication can develop. Water intoxication causes disturbances in the body’s electrolyte balance. This can cause a life-threatening condition known as hyponatremia. With a rapid decrease in the sodium levels in the blood, relative to the amount of water, symptoms can develop rapidly:
If left untreated, later symptoms can develop into:
Hession, E F, and G D Donald. “Treatment of multiple lumbar disk herniations in an adolescent athlete utilizing flexion distraction and rotational manipulation.” Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics vol. 16,3 (1993): 185-92.
Pritchett, J W. “A statistical study of physician care patterns in high school football injuries.” The American journal of sports medicine vol. 10,2 (1982): 96-9. doi:10.1177/036354658201000206
Shane, Eric R et al. “Sports chiropractic management of concussions using the Sports Concussion Assessment Tool 2 symptom scoring, serial examinations, and graded return to play protocol: a retrospective case series.” Journal of chiropractic medicine vol. 12,4 (2013): 252-9. doi:10.1016/j.jcm.2013.08.001
Triathlon training involves running, biking, and swimming. This much fitness training takes a toll on the body. Pulled hamstrings, twisted ankles, and sore heels are common, but triathlon training can also cause or worsen back pain. Because the back muscles are connected to many other muscles, certain types of movement after a tough training session can present with back pain. There was an Ironman triathlete study that found that 90% of the athletes suffered some form of soft-tissue injury during training, with 70% reporting low back pain and/or sciatica. A 2020 study in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders found that 14% of recreational half-marathon runners presented with low-back pain.
Triathlon Training Hard on the Back
High-impact activities/exercises, constant repetitive motion, places a heavy pounding on the body that impacts the joints and spine. Using improper techniques will aggravate any issues. The stresses applied from repetitive motions, and poor form can lead to the joints breaking down. If new to intense training the muscles might not be strong enough yet, which could also cause back pain and injury. The back stabilizer muscles tend to get neglected in the training, but these muscles support the structures in the midline, spine, and joints. Strengthening the:
Ensures stability of the spine and joints from all the wear and tear.
Training and Overtraining Errors
Even veteran athletes can make mistakes during their training that can lead to sore backs. The biggest mistake individuals make during triathlon training is that they only swim, bike, and run. Training for the specific sport/s is important; but weight lifting, core strengthening, and flexibility training are just as important. Proper rest can become neglected as the individual wants to get in as much training as possible that often gets overlooked, leading to overuse injuries. However, rest is a vital part of training to allow the body to fully recover and operate at full and optimal potential.
Preventing and Avoiding Back Pain When Training
How to sidestep back pain altogether during training includes:
A healthy lifestyle includes proper sleep cycles and is even more important during training. The mental aspects a triathlon competition can create require proper rest. Fatigue can also lead to poor technique/form, placing excess stress on the joints and the spine, leading to injury.
Muscles need to maintain flexibility to preserve function and recovery ability. After a training session stretching and working on flexibility will help with overall performance. Stretching should be done after activity when the muscles are warm, and the fibers can be stretched/elongated for optimal recovery.
Having a solid body foundation is the objective. Everything is balanced with strong muscles supporting healthy bones. Specific exercises that target the multifidus muscles. These are the body’s back brace. Strengthening these muscles will help prevent spinal injury/s. Back-strengthening exercises include:
Plan rest days no matter what. Pushing through will not make the body stronger or able to perform better, and could cause performance to decrease leading to injury. This does not mean sleeping all day, but engaging in active recovery where the body gets the rest it needs while still maintaining fitness. Active recovery includes:
Allows for a thorough recovery and enhances training.
Proper form and technique can really make the difference between staying injury-free and injury/s. Using the right form promotes healthy function. It could help to have gait, swim stroke, and bike techniques evaluated by a professional to ensure that proper form is being utilized.
Stop if the body signals one to stop. This is why the body feels pain. It is the internal mechanism that tells the individual something is wrong. It is not recommended to follow the phrases train through the pain, and no pain, no gain. Individuals are recommended to:
Always pay attention if pain presents and does not go away after exercising or warming up.
Pain that limits function.
Pain that interferes with daily activities.
These could significantly exacerbate a spinal injury and should be checked by a doctor.
Rest and Recovery
During rest and recovery, the body goes back to normal or homeostasis. This is the body’s resting rate or normal phase. The body is always trying to go back to homeostasis. This is done by:
Maintaining core temperature
Blood pressure stable
When exercising/training, the homeostasis phase is disturbed, meaning the body needs a period of rest to return to normal. The process of homeostasis uses a lot of energy, which results in an abundant amount of calories burned. After exercise, there is an increase in excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC. The body uses up more oxygen during recovery than it does before or during exercise. This increase results in burned calories and strong muscles. The most important part of recovery is the rebuilding of muscle. When working out, especially resistance training, tiny tears are made in the muscle fibers. For the tiny tears to turn into growing muscles, they need to repair themselves. This happens during rest. Apart from the physiological benefits, rest helps prevent injury caused by overuse and assists in healing when injuries do occur. Time off helps with mental health as well to refocus, reassess, and apply what has been learned. What rest and recovery can do for the body includes:
Burn massive calories
Refuels the muscles
Improves mental health and motivation
American journal of physical medicine & rehabilitation/Association of Academic Physiatrists. (October 2014) “Efficacy of Aerobic Exercise for Treatment of Chronic Low Back Pain: A Meta-Analysis” https://www.researchgate.net/publication/266682158_Efficacy_of_Aerobic_Exercise_for_Treatment_of_Chronic_Low_Back_Pain_A_Meta-Analysis
Stretch Before and After Journal of Chiropractic Medicine. (Winter 2003) “Changes in low back pain in a long-distance runner after stretching the iliotibial band” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0899346707600718
Finding the right physical activity that elevates heart rate and maintains it for 30 minutes a day increases the amount of oxygen delivered to the heart, brain, and muscles. Some form of aerobic activity will keep individuals moving in a healthy direction. This benefits the:
Amount of energy
It helps to lower:
Finding What Works For You
Doctors and health experts agree that individuals need to perform normal/moderate activity balanced with vigorous/intense activity. Some ideas for both types include:
Sports – soccer, field hockey, tennis, basketball, flag football, volleyball
Skating and skateboarding
House and Yard Work/Chores
Moderate house and yard work exercises:
Washing the car by hand
Sweeping the garage, walkways, sidewalk, or patio
Mowing the lawn
Raking the lawn
Labor intense gardening
Vigorous house and yard work exercises:
Shoveling dirt, rocks, etc
Carrying groceries upstairs
Cleaning and organizing the house
Mix it up
Finding the activities that work for you are important. But mix them up, so you don’t get bored and tired of them. For example, if getting bored with walking, try a light aerobics class, dancing, or something similar.
Try new routes for walking and biking.
Change the room for exercising or stretching.
Exercise at different times, so it doesn’t just become a chore.
Mix up the amount of time exercising. Do a full 30 minute or longer workout one day, then break the workout into smaller 15, 10, 5-minute workouts other days.
Having options allows you to pick and choose what suits your mood and schedule.
Job Physical Activity
If job occupation includes sitting for long periods, try adding short bursts of activity throughout the day:
If the commute permits, walk, jog, or bicycle to work.
Park several blocks away or the furthest in the parking lot to get some walking in.
Use the stairs instead of the elevator for a few floors.
Get coffee or use the bathroom on another floor using the stairs the farthest from the office.
Need to talk to a coworker, take a walk to their office or station instead of e-mail or phone.
Requires specific and measurable goals to work toward. An example could be training to walk or run a race.
Learning the details of an event and preparing/training can generate or restore the excitement and challenge of the activity.
Instead of entering a competition, an individual can help with organizing and planning. This can provide friendship with other individuals interested in the same activity that can lead to working out together and staying motivated.
CrossFit training is a combination of various exercises to work out various muscle groups. CrossFit can be beneficial because:
It prevents boredom by providing a variety of workouts.
It helps maintain balance among various muscle groups.
For example, runners that have powerful leg muscles cross-train to strengthen the upper body.
It reduces the risk of injuries because the combination of exercises allows muscles to recover while working out a different set of muscles.
Whatever the case, it’s all about finding what works for you. But the objective is to keep the body moving to maintain overall health.
Why the brain needs sugar?
The brain needs half of the body’s energy supply because of its complex system. The brain needs glucose for brain cell energy. As neurons cannot store energy, they need a constant fuel supply to function properly. The ability to think, learn and recall information is connected with the body’s glucose levels. When blood glucose levels are low, the ability to think clearly is slowed down as the production of neurotransmitters is reduced, leading to communication disruption. Natural sugars can increase brain health for optimal functioning. When consuming naturally occurring sugar like apples and bananas, sugar is released incrementally into the bloodstream. This maintains energy levels at a steady pace, and the body does not crave more sugar.
Berg JM, Tymoczko JL, Stryer L. Biochemistry. 5th edition. New York: W H Freeman; 2002. Section 30.2, Each Organ Has a Unique Metabolic Profile. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK22436/
Ainsworth BE, et al. (2011). Compendium of Physical Activities Tracking Guide. Columbia, SC: Prevention Research Center, Norman J. Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina. Available online: http://prevention.sph.sc.edu/tools/compendium.htm.
Around a half-million high school students in the U.S. play volleyball. Whether the parent of a volleyball player or part of a recreational league, the goal is to be ready for the season, which means preventing and addressing volleyball injuries. It is a highly demanding sport with quick movements, jumping, twisting, diving, spiking, etc. Despite being fit and healthy, extensive training along with match play takes a toll on the body. Chiropractic can benefit volleyball players.
Common Volleyball Injuries
Why Chiropractic Works
Chiropractic treatment and rehabilitation, especially by a sports chiropractor, is recommended for volleyball injuries because it addresses acute and chronic injuries to all areas of the body. Chiropractic treats the entire musculoskeletal system. Proper joint alignment from chiropractic adjustments in the spine and throughout the body maintains the biomechanic integrity. This reduces high-impact forces in the joints. Soft tissue treatments like instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization can help resolve injuries by providing the tissues with more blood flow into the affected area allowing for faster healing. Most volleyball injuries result from overuse to the joints and muscles, resulting in repetitive strain. In volleyball, repetitive/overuse injuries are common in the knees, ankles, and shoulders. This comes from all the jumping, serving, and spiking.
Body Soreness Is Reduced/Alleviated
Many athletes, including volleyball players, do not get the proper recovery time from training or playing.
Reduced recovery periods cause body soreness and stiffness that can overlap into an injury.
Chiropractic can reduce and alleviate body soreness.
Chiropractic promotes faster recovery.
Studies show that athletes that receive regular chiropractic care found speed and mobility performance enhanced.
Athletes require fast reflexes and optimal hand-eye coordination.
Speed, mobility, reflexes, and coordination depend on a healthy nervous system.
90% of the central nervous system travels through the spine.
Spinal alignment can either allow for proper nerve flow or disrupt nerve flow.
Even when just one spinal segment is misaligned and out of place, the nervous system can impact reflexes, speed, mobility, and hand-eye coordination.
A properly functioning spine and nervous system will ensure the player is at their best.
Faster Injury Recovery Time
Healing the body properly takes time. Just like the body needs sleep/rest to function properly, so it is with injuries.
The issue for athletes is how much time healing takes.
Individual athletes receiving chiropractic care have been shown to heal faster.
Mobility and Strength
A chiropractic doctor can reduce the pressure around the nerve roots that exit the spine, which will help improve player performance. This includes:
Range of motion
Mobility and flexibility
To find out how chiropractic can help, contact Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Clinic. We will perform a thorough musculoskeletal and nervous system examination.
Ankle Sprain Treatment
How Many Calories Over 24 hours
Myths that offer strategies that avoid the hard work and commitment that diet and exercise demand should be avoided. Individuals cannot expect to experience healthy body composition changes by increasing/decreasing meal frequency if they are living a sedentary lifestyle. It is not important how often or what time an individual takes in calories (has a meal). What is important is how many calories an individual has over a 24-hour period. A study looked at healthy individuals that ate one large meal a day for two weeks and then later ate the same meal but spread out over five smaller meals for another two weeks. It was concluded that there was no statistical difference in body weight gain or loss between the two eating methods. 2000 calories over 3 meals is the same 2000 calories consumed over 5 meals. There is no substitute for proper diet and exercise. The focus should be on what and how much you eat.
Eerkes, Kevin. “Volleyball injuries.” Current sports medicine reports vol. 11,5 (2012): 251-6. doi:10.1249/JSR.0b013e3182699037
Gouttebarge, Vincent et al. “Preventing musculoskeletal injuries among recreational adult volleyball players: design of a randomized prospective controlled trial.” BMC musculoskeletal disorders vol. 18,1 333. 2 Aug. 2017, doi:10.1186/s12891-017-1699-6
Kilic, O et al. “Incidence, etiology, and prevention of musculoskeletal injuries in volleyball: A systematic review of the literature.” European journal of sports science vol. 17,6 (2017): 765-793. doi:10.1080/17461391.2017.1306114
Seminati, Elena, and Alberto Enrico Minetti. “Overuse in volleyball training/practice: A review on the shoulder and spine-related injuries.” European journal of sports science vol. 13,6 (2013): 732-43. doi:10.1080/17461391.2013.773090
Wolfram, G et al. “Thermogenese des menschen bei unterschiedlicher mahlzeitenhäufigkeit” [Thermogenesis in humans after varying meal time frequency]. Annals of nutrition & metabolism vol. 31,2 (1987): 88-97. doi:10.1159/000177255
When back pain presents for a prolonged period, the back muscles reduce in mass but increase fat content, resulting in more stiffness. This leads to chronic muscle fatigue and results in chronic pain symptoms. Adding resistance to a workout routine in weight machines, free weights, and/or resistance bands helps reduce back pain. Studies have shown that specific therapeutic back muscle weight training is safe and can help relieve pain. A sports chiropractic specialist can recommend appropriate exercises for individuals and their specific condition/s to safely participate in strength training.
Back muscles development
With time, back pain and increased fatigue can lead to a fear of moving the body and engaging in physical activity. This results in spinal deconditioning and instability. Weight training works on incrementally/progressively increasing the load that the back muscles can tolerate. This technique gradually improves the body’s ability and strength to perform regular daily activities without strain and in optimal fashion. Weight training improves whole-body health because:
Back muscles and core muscles increase in function and performance.
Muscles are strengthened.
Lean muscle mass increases.
The range of motion of the spine increases.
Body fat decreases.
Guidelines while using weights
When weight training, it is important to understand safety guidelines to help relieve back pain and not worsen or cause further injury. Weighted treatment exercises are for individuals that have been cleared by their physician or chiropractor and are specific to their injury and /or condition. Depending on the underlying pain source, weight training may not be suitable for individuals that have:
Back pain that originates from:
Previous spinal surgery
Nerve root compression
Medical professionals and chiropractors can accurately diagnose and determine if weight training is safe and which specific exercises to perform. Guidance from a trained therapist or therapeutic trainer is recommended for optimal results.
Weight training techniques to alleviate back pain are different from regular weight or resistance exercises.
Trained physical/occupational therapists and sports chiropractors can educate an individual on:
Type of training that will help an individual’s condition.
Therapeutic training can significantly reduce the risk of further injury and damage to the spine.
After initial training, individuals are encouraged to exercise to maintain back muscles and total body health.
Smaller weights build strength progressively
Effective ways to strengthen the spine.
Begin with small/light weights and exercise slowly.
Fast rapid movements or incorrect lifting and pulling techniques can cause additional damage to the tissues.
It is recommended to start with:
Low-load motor control exercises without weights activate and stretch the muscles and improve balance.
Exercise machines can be recommended instead of free weights.
Exercise machines can provide safe, effective, and progressive resistance to the exercises.
The machines can help reduce/prevent injury compared to free weights.
The machines can maintain proper support on the back and spine.
It is recommended to combine regular walking activity with a weight training program.
Low impact aerobic exercises increase blood circulation along with essential nutrients to the muscles and soft tissues.
This promotes healing and reduces stiffness.
Training program and benefits
Gaining the most benefits from strength training, tips to keep in mind:
Warm up for a few minutes using heat therapy and simple stretches.
Try for 2 or 3 times a week for 30 minutes.
Focus on building strength in the core muscles – back, abdominals, obliques, buttocks, and pelvic leg muscles.
There is no need to join a gym or buy expensive equipment.
Work out at home with small hand weights, resistance bands, and body weight.
The therapist or chiropractor will inform the individual on which exercises to avoid, which require extreme or quick moves.
Slow, steady resistance training takes advantage of muscle lengthening exercises and muscle shortening exercises for strengthening.
If back pain presents with a sustained increase, take time off or modify the strength training exercises.
Some soreness is to be expected, but sharp pain is not. If any sharp, sudden pain presents while exercising, stop immediately.
Ice therapy can be beneficial after exercising to decrease inflammation and alleviate pain.
Record the amount of weight when beginning the training and note when progressing to a heavier weight. Consistent improvements in pain, flexibility, strength, and function will help maintain motivation. Consult with a professional sports injury chiropractor today to see if weight training is a suitable and safe treatment.
Carbohydrates and Muscle Growth
Simple carbs are a quick, periodic source of energy. Complex carbs are a recommended source of steady energy. Complex carbs are not as readily available for immediate energy as simple carbs are but are more efficient and healthier. Complex carbs offer sustainable energy, meaning the energy is constant with no crash like simple carbs. Because complex carbs have slow-release properties, they should be the largest component of daily energy consumption.
Carbs prevent muscle weakness.
Some glycogen is stored in the muscles. When those muscles are used during exercise, the body taps into the glycogen stores in that specific muscle. Lifting weights with the arms, for example, access the glycogen in the biceps. Athletes take advantage of glycogen by loading up on carbs by consuming a day or more before a workout. This maximizes the muscle glycogen stores. This delays muscle fatigue, making for a better workout and stronger muscles, and can improve athletic performance.
Carbs help muscles recover after exercise.
Recovery goes back to the glycogen stores. Right after exercising, the body needs to replenish its glycogen stores to prevent glycogen depletion. Glycogen depletion, when the stores run out, causes gluconeogenesis. What happens is the body forms glucose from new sources. This is to compensate for the lack of glucose from carbohydrates. This is when the body turns to sources like fat and protein to fill the need. Protein is the last line of defense when energy is required, meaning that energy is running low. When the body breaks down protein for glucose production, it takes what it needs from the muscle/s, causing them to shrink and break down.
Dreisinger TE. Exercise in the management of chronic back pain. Ochsner J. 2014;14(1):101–107.
Lee JS, Kang SJ. Strength exercise and walking effects on lumbar function, pain level, and body composition in chronic back pain patients. J Exerc Rehabil. 2016;12(5):463–470. Published 2016 Oct 31. doi:10.12965/jer.1632650.325
Michaelson P, Holmberg D, Aasa B, Aasa U. High load lifting exercise and low load motor control exercises as interventions for patients with mechanical low back pain: A randomized controlled trial with 24-month follow-up. J Rehabil Med. 2016;48(5):456-63.
Welch N, Moran K, Antony J, et al. The effects of a free-weight-based resistance training intervention on pain, squat biomechanics, and MRI-defined lumbar fat infiltration and functional cross-sectional area in those with chronic low back. BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 2015;1(1):e000050. Published 2015 Nov 9. doi:10.1136/bmjsem-2015-000050
Poor spinal health in adolescence can lead to chronic pain in adulthood. Teenagers, just like adults, can experience back pain from accidents, sports injuries, a sedentary lifestyle, part-time jobs, chores, etc. However, sitting too long in school along with heavy backpacks can also contribute to compromised spinal health. Chiropractic professionals can help these young individuals address and prevent spinal issues/injuries to maintain a healthy spine.
Teenagers Spine Issues
If discomfort or pain is present, much push through, as they and their spines are young. There are common spinal dysfunctions that teens and parents should be aware of. These include:
Teenagers can put a serious strain on the spine from various forms of physical activity, jumping, dancing, and playing. This pressure gets transmitted through the spine. During a teenager’s development, this can result in permanent disc damage.
A spinal deformity or exaggerated curvature of the spine is common and affects young children and teens. It usually happens during the growth spurt just before puberty. This is why it is important to have a teenager’s spine checked regularly and analyzed for signs/symptoms of scoliosis.
This condition is often associated with sports injuries. It happens when teenagers overextend/overreach their backs. It’s most common in gymnastics, weight lifting, tennis, football, diving, and other similar sports.
Protection and Prevention
There are several ways that parents and healthcare providers can help teenagers make healthy decisions to achieve and maintain optimal spinal health.
Sitting less, moving more.
Children are taught to sit from a very young age. In school, watching t.v., or doing homework, teenagers spend more time sitting than their bodies should. Teenagers need to stand, walk and move around just like adults to protect their spines from degeneration and injury.
Playing sports is healthy. However, there is a risk associated with teen sports. Although they are taught to play safely, encourage them to continue to educate themselves about sports injuries and know how to address them.
At Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Clinic, we’re committed to helping young adults and adolescents overcome and prevent spinal injuries that could turn into chronic pain conditions. We are continually developing our chiropractic, and physical therapy treatment approaches to achieve optimal results.
Sleep and Growth Hormone In Children
Growth hormones primarily control growth. The hypothalamus and the pituitary gland regulate this hormone. Sleep plays an important role in the proper function of these glands. A review showed that:
Growth hormone levels rise and peak at the onset of deep sleep
Multiple but smaller peaks were seen during other sleep stages
Individuals that have a delay in the onset of deep sleep have delayed peaks in growth hormone levels
For children to grow properly, they need to have adequate levels of growth hormone. This means they need to have a sufficient amount of sleep. The proper amount of sleep is vital for healthy body composition. A study measured the body composition of preschool-aged children. The study found that children who had proper sleep levels had less overall fat mass and reduced body fat. Children and teenagers need to get the proper amounts of sleep for their bodies to grow healthily.
Clement, R Carter et al. “What are normal radiographic spine and shoulder balance parameters among adolescent patients?.” Spine deformity vol. 8,4 (2020): 621-627. doi:10.1007/s43390-020-00074-9
Driehuis, Femke et al. “Spinal manual therapy in infants, children and adolescents: A systematic review and meta-analysis on treatment indication, technique, and outcomes.” PloS one vol. 14,6 e0218940. 25 Jun. 2019, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0218940
Manansala, Christian et al. “Change in young people’s spine pain following chiropractic care at a publicly funded healthcare facility in Canada.” Complementary therapies in clinical practice vol. 35 (2019): 301-307. doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2019.03.013
A non-invasive method of treating scoliosis. Yoga Has Been Shown To Help Reverse Scoliosis. Scoliosis is the lateral curvature of the spine. The spine bends inward toward the front of the body at the neck region and lower back region. This curve is known as lordosis and bows outward in the middle-back region. This is known as kyphosis. If the spine curves to the side, this could indicate curvature that could be scoliosis. It can be painful and often can affect an individual’s appearance once the measurement goes beyond 25 – 30 degrees. One shoulder is usually higher than the other, and clothing cannot fit properly. If the curve goes beyond 60 degrees, it can affect breathing and cardiac function.
Idiopathic Causes Unknown
This condition can consist of various components, especially with more intense curves. The ribs can shift backward on the side where the curve bulges. Most cases consist of adolescent idiopathic (without a known cause) scoliosis. Because the cause is unknown, there are not a variety of effective treatment besides surgery. Physicians carefully keep an eye for:
Curves under 25 degrees.
Bracing between 25 and 45 degrees.
Consider surgery for intense curvature.
Curves in individuals typically appear between 12 and 20 years old.
Yoga Shown To Reverse Scoliosis
Individuals are recommended to do just one yoga pose daily. However, depending on the type and severity of the curves, it could be more than one. They are asked to perform the pose for 5 minutes or less, depending on the condition. A yoga therapist, chiropractor, and physical therapist can generate significant spinal improvement. This could mean that a curve of 30 degrees could be reduced to around 18 degrees in 10-12 months. Individuals that do the poses at least 4 times a week have shown 80-90% improvement. The pose can be done at work during breaks, etc.
The biggest advantage of this technique is that it is non-invasive; it can help individuals with developing curves, reversing the curvature early. Most curves do not reach the point of surgery. In late adolescence and teen years, the spine is still quite flexible. This can help accelerate the effectiveness of the yoga pose to straighten the spine. The technique reduces the curve from worsening. X-rays will show if the curvature has improved or not. Patients could be asked to do the pose/s twice or more daily depending on the direction the condition is taking.
Gluten causes digestive issues for individuals that have celiac disease or autoimmune thyroid disease. Individuals with these conditions could experience a variety of uncomfortable and/or painful effects. These symptoms can vary based on their presentation. They fall into classifications.
Classical Celiac Disease
With classical celiac disease, symptoms include:
Abdominal bloating and pain
However, these symptoms are more common in children than adults. In adults, symptoms are more similar to non-classical celiac disease.
Non-Classical Celiac Disease
With non-classical celiac disease, severe digestive symptoms may not present as classic celiac disease symptoms but develop other symptoms. These include:
Silent celiac disease is less visible. Individuals might not see any symptoms. However, damage to the intestines is still happening from gluten consumption.
Autoimmune Thyroid Disease
Autoimmune Thyroid Disease or ATD. Autoimmune thyroid disease includes conditions like Hashimoto’s disease. This affects the thyroid gland and causes:
Sensitivity to cold
Negative health effects
Studies have shown that gluten-free helps alleviate symptoms.
Loren M. Fishman, M.D., B.Phil. (oxon). Healing Yoga. (New York: W.W. Norton, 2014).
Loren M. Fishman, M.D., B.Phil. (oxon). “Isometric Yoga-Like Maneuvers Improve Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis—A Nonrandomized Control Trial.” Global Advances in Health and Medicine. February 24, 2021. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2164956120988259
Fishman LM, Groessl EJ, Sherman KJ, “Serial Case Reporting Yoga for Idiopathic and Degenerative Scoliosis.” Global Advances in Health and Medicine. September 1, 2014. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.7453/gahmj.2013.064
Tennis is a sport that can be enjoyed by individuals of all ages and provides optimal physical activity and cardiovascular exercise. Although it can be leisurely, it does require being light on the feet with quick, starting, stopping, turning, and twisting movements for those new to playing tennis. If back pain is present, playing can be difficult. One study showed almost 40% of tennis players missed one or more tournaments because of low back pain/problems. A 2016 study found that tennis players with low back pain have difficulty moving their muscles with ease.
Know and Understand the Risks
Playing tennis has its risks when it comes to back pain. What can bring on or worsen back pain are the repetitive motions, like swinging, serving, volleying, and the uneven force placed on the body. This force is the power and momentum that is used for certain swings like serving and forehands. What happens is it does not evenly distribute through the body, increasing the potential to cause strains and sprains. For example, the serving motion repeatedly puts a hyperextension force through the spine. The result is overuse injuries.
No one wants to injure their back for those new to tennis and those who have been playing for years. This is where off-court conditioning comes in and preventive measures. This includes:
Trying to smash the ball too soon can result in a rotator cuff injury.
Stay Aware of Your Body
Playing tennis can cause an individual to become distracted; however, it’s crucial to be mindful of the body and what’s going on.
Pay attention to the heat.
Proper rest between games
Hydration to prevent muscle cramping
Stretching before and after playing
Warming up and cooling down
Take a break and stretch out if pain symptoms present.
Never play through the pain that could result in worsening or creating new injuries.
Pay attention to proper form.
Apply modifications to prevent and avoid worsened back pain. This could be serving more simply or hitting around a stroke that generates pain symptoms.
After a match, rehydrate the body and cool down. This could be a little walking around the court, if possible getting in a pool or water splash park, and let the musculoskeletal system recover. Do some spinal exercises afterward, like yoga poses. Applying anti-inflammatory creams or gels can help keep the muscles loose and promote circulation. Anti-inflammatory foods can help with pain and inflammation.
There are individuals with spinal conditions that should not play tennis. These include:
Acute disc herniation
Active bone injury/s – fractures and stress fractures
Spinal instability – spondylolisthesis
A spinal condition involving nerves and/or the spinal cord
Consult a doctor before adding tennis to a physical regimen. Tennis is an aerobic activity that has several benefits. It keeps the body physically active for mental and physical wellness. The hormones released can help mitigate musculoskeletal pain and negative emotions like depression and anxiety that can come from experiencing back pain.
Magnesium supports a healthy immune system. It helps maintain:
Aids muscle relaxation after exercise/physical activity
Magnesium is essential in several biochemical reactions; a slight deficiency can increase cardiovascular disease risk. Deficiency can also lead to an increased risk of insulin resistance. Magnesium-rich foods are also high fiber foods. Dietary fiber helps with:
Helps control weight
Stabilizes blood sugar
Recommended sources of Magnesium include:
Green vegetables – spinach, swiss chard, and turnip greens
Nuts – almonds and cashews
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Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. (April 2016) “Trunk muscle activation, fatigue and low back pain in tennis players” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1440244015000845
Jahnen-Dechent, Wilhelm, and Markus Ketteler. “Magnesium basics.” Clinical kidney journal vol. 5,Suppl 1 (2012): i3-i14. doi:10.1093/ndtplus/sfr163
Katz, David L et al. “Cocoa and chocolate in human health and disease.” Antioxidants & redox signaling vol. 15,10 (2011): 2779-811. doi:10.1089/ars.2010.3697
Wang, Jinsong, et al. “Dietary magnesium intake improves insulin resistance among non-diabetic individuals with metabolic syndrome participating in a dietary trial.” Nutrients vol. 5,10 3910-9. 27 Sep. 2013, doi:10.3390/nu5103910
Stretching out for everyday wear and tear. The body was designed for movement, mobility, and physicality. When discomfort, aches, and pain present in the neck, shoulders, back, and joints, it is often from a decrease of natural body movement. Many think that sitting still and resting is the best solution to alleviate the pain. While it is important to rest, it is the type of rest that helps the body. Sitting still with no movement is not recommended. The muscles, ligaments, and tendons need to flex and stretch out to help reduce pain and prevent injury. Safe, chiropractic-approved stretches can increase mobility and fluidity, helping the body stay flexible and loose.
Stretching Out For Everyday Wear and Tear Is Important
Whether experiencing pain or are getting ready for the day, there are many reasons why stretching is important. One, stretching is essential to optimal joint health. When muscles surrounding the joints become tight/tense, this significantly reduces mobility in the joint. Regular stretching lengthens the muscles, relaxing the joints to move without discomfort/awkwardness. Stretching optimizes blood circulation to flow smoothly through the body. Routine stretching helps reduce stress and improves energy. Other benefits include:
Post-workout/exercise/physical activity soreness and pain relief
Improves athletic performance
Helps heal existing injuries
Stretching Safe at Home
Chiropractors often recommend stretches for patients to follow to help improve their progress between appointments. If persistent pain is presenting, consult with a qualified chiropractic doctor before performing any stretches. If done incorrectly, they can exacerbate pain and cause further damage. No matter an individual’s lifestyle, the wear and tear of everyday life can cause tightness, inflammation, or generalized pain. Developing a regular stretching routine can address any tense, tight, sore areas that will help keep the body pain-free.
Most individuals feel tailbone pain from sitting for long periods of time. Reasons for tailbone pain can result from:
Sitting in the wrong position
All can injure the tailbone and/or the surrounding muscles and tissue.
Tailbone stretching improves movement and flexibility in these muscles and tissue, maintaining the tailbone’s health. One recommended stretch is the piriformis cross leg stretch.
Lie flat on the back.
Bring both knees toward the hips.
Rest the right ankle across the left knee.
Wrap both hands around the left thigh
Pull toward the chest.
Hold for 20-30 seconds.
Slowly bring down both legs and return to the starting position.
Repeat on the other side.
Wrist and Hand Stretch
For those that are constantly writing, typing, or lifting regularly, wrist and hand pain can begin to present. Stretches for the hands and wrists can:
Reduce the risk of injury
The prayer stretch for the wrists and hands is specifically designed to strengthen the muscles and tendons in the wrists.
Standing with the back straight and feet shoulder-width apart.
Place hands together in a prayer position.
Hands in front of the face.
Pressing both palms together, slowly spread the elbows apart.
Begin to lower the hands to waist height
Stop once the hands become level with the belly button or when the stretch is felt.
Hold the position for 10-30 seconds.
Return to the original position.
Repeat as needed.
When tightness or soreness presents in the knee, stretching the hamstrings can help. The hamstrings go through a great deal of wear and tear, supporting the hips and knees, maintaining mobility and flexibility.
Standing with the back straight.
Step forward with the left foot.
Flex the left foot and keep the right foot flat.
Loosen the hips and bend the right knee.
As the right leg is bent, keep the left leg completely straight with the heel pressing into the ground.
If maintaining balance is difficult, use a wall for support.
Hold the position for 10-15 seconds.
Return to starting position.
Repeat on the other side.
Body Composition Health
The Gut’s Hormones
When a meal enters the stomach and intestines, it triggers the digestive tract to release hormones that create the full feeling. These are the gut’s hormones, with each having a specific set of actions and effects. Examples include PYY, GLP-1, and GIP. Gut hormones are essential because they signal the body to slow down or stop eating. Therefore, the size of a meal influences the number of gut hormones that get released. The body releases larger quantities of gut hormones in response to meals with a higher caloric density. This is because larger meals usually contain more calories. This is one reason the body feels more satisfied after a large meal. Smaller meals are less satisfying, which means an individual will want to eat again after the meal.
After eating comes the digestion and absorption of macronutrients. This is known as the postprandial state. The body is in storage mode during the postprandial state. Even though the metabolic rate increases after a meal, the contents of that meal get broken down and stored for fuel. Four hours after a meal, the body goes back to its baseline state, which primarily burns through the stored fuel. Eating frequent, small meals throughout the day means the body spends more of the day in the postprandial storage state.
Bandy, WD et al. “The effect of time and frequency of static stretching on flexibility of the hamstring muscles.” Physical therapy vol. 77,10 (1997): 1090-6. doi:10.1093/ptj/77.10.1090
Freitas, SR et al. “Stretching Effects: High-intensity & Moderate-duration vs. Low-intensity & Long-duration.” International journal of sports medicine vol. 37,3 (2016): 239-44. doi:10.1055/s-0035-1548946
Hotta, Kazuki et al. “Daily muscle stretching enhance blood flow, endothelial function, capillarity, vascular volume and connectivity in aged skeletal muscle.” The Journal of physiology vol. 596,10 (2018): 1903-1917. doi:10.1113/JP275459
le Roux, C W et al. “Attenuated peptide YY release in obese subjects is associated with reduced satiety.” Endocrinology vol. 147,1 (2006): 3-8. doi:10.1210/en.2005-0972
Maintaining the body’s musculoskeletal system and keeping it strong can be done through chiropractic and by managing general overall health. This system includes the:
These all work together to support the body’s weight and allow for movement.Injuries, disease, and aging can cause stiffness, pain, and other issues with mobility, function that can lead to various conditions and/or disease.
The musculoskeletal system
The skeleton provides the framework for the muscles and other soft tissues. Working together, they support the body’s weight, help to maintain proper posture and the ability for movement. Various disorders and conditions can lead to problems with the musculoskeletal system. This includes:
Focusing on overall health and maintaining it will keep the system in top form. This is done by:
Eating a healthy balanced diet
Maintaining a healthy weight
Regular physical activity/exercise
Chiropractic support will take the body to optimal health levels.
How does the system work?
The nervous system is the body’s central command center. It controls voluntary muscle movements. Voluntary muscles are controlled intentionally. Large muscle groups are utilized to do activities like lifting a large object. Smaller groups are used for movements, like pressing a button. Movement/motion occurs when:
The nervous system which includes the brain and nerves, transmits a signal to activate the skeletal/voluntary muscles.
The muscle fibers contract/tense in response to the signal.
When the muscle activates, it pulls on the tendon.
Tendons attach muscles to bones.
The tendon pulls the bone, generating movement.
For the muscle to relax, the nervous system sends another signal.
This signal triggers the muscle/s to relax/deactivate.
The relaxed muscle releases tension
The bone is moved to a resting position.
The musculoskeletal system functions to help stand, sit, walk, run and move in general. The adult body has 206 bones and more than 600 muscles. These are connected by ligaments, tendons, and soft tissues. The parts of the system are:
Bones support the body, protect organs and tissues, store calcium, fat and produce blood cells.
A bone’s outside shell encapsulates a spongy center.
Bones provide structure and form to the body.
They work with the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues to help with movement.
This is a type of connective tissue.
Cartilage provides cushion to the bones inside the joints, along the spine, and ribcage.
It is firm and rubbery.
It protects bones from rubbing against each other.
It is also found in the nose, ears, pelvis, and lungs.
Bones come together and form joints.
Some have a large range of motion, for example, the ball-and-socket shoulder joint.
Others, like the knee, allow bones to move back and forth but do not rotate.
Every muscle is made of thousands of fibers.
The muscles allow the body to move, sit upright, and remain still.
Some muscles help with running, dancing, and lifting.
Others are for writing, fastening something, talking, and swallowing.
Ligaments are made of tough collagen fibers
They connect the bones and provide stability to the joints.
Tendons connect the muscles to the bones.
They are made of fibrous tissue and collagen
They are tough but not as stretchable.
Conditions and disorders
Various conditions can cause problems with the musculoskeletal system. They can affect the way an individual moves. The most common causes of inflammation, pain, and mobility issues are:
With the natural aging process, bones lose density.
Less-dense bones can lead to osteoporosis and bone fractures/broken bones.
As the body ages, muscles lose their mass, and cartilage starts to wear down.
This can lead to pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion.
After an injury, an individual might not heal as quickly.
Pain, inflammation, and joint stiffness are the result of arthritis.
Older individuals are more likely to develop osteoarthritis. This is from the cartilage inside the joints breaking down. However, the condition can affect individuals of all ages.
Other types of arthritis also cause pain and inflammation. This includes:
Back pain and muscle spasms can result from muscle strains or injuries, for example, a herniated disc.
Some conditions like spinal stenosis and scoliosis can cause structural problems in the back.
This can lead to pain and limited mobility.
Different types of cancer affect the musculoskeletal system, for example, bone cancer.
Congenital abnormalities can affect the body’s structure, function, and appearance. For example, clubfoot is a common musculoskeletal condition that babies can be born with. It causes stiffness and reduces the range of motion.
A wide range of diseases can affect bones, muscles, and connective tissues functionality.
For example, osteonecrosiscauses the bones to deteriorate and the cells to die.
Other disorders, like fibrous dysplasia and brittle bone disease, cause the bones to fracture/break easily.
All types of injuries can affect bones, muscles, cartilage, and connective tissues.
Injuries can occur from repetitive overuse. Examples include:
Carpal tunnel syndrome, Bursitis, and Tendinitis
Injuries to the tendons, ligaments and other soft tissues can lead to chronic conditions.
Maintaining musculoskeletal health
Recommended ways of maintaining a healthy musculoskeletal system are to keep the bones and muscles healthy by getting:
Regular physical activity and exercise
This includes weight-bearing exercises combined with cardiovascular activities. Strengthening the muscles will support the joints and protect/prevent damage.
This is so the bones and muscles can recover and rebuild.
Maintain a healthy weight
Added weight places pressure on the bones and joints.
This causes various health problems.
If there is added weight, it is recommended to consult a health coach and nutritionist about a personalized weight-loss plan.
They can help make healthy food choices that will make for strong bones and include anti-inflammation foods.
Quit tobacco use
Smoking decreases blood flow in the body.
The bones, muscles, and soft tissues need proper blood circulation to maintain health.
Regular chiropractic adjustments
Adjustments will help maintain the body’s balance and alignment.
This, along with recommended stretches and exercises, will take the body to optimal health.
Healthy Body Composition
This is one of the best strength exercises for building general functional low body strength. The muscle groups that get worked include the:
Squats work almost every muscle in the legs. This also builds core strength to help with everyday movements like pushing, pulling, and lifting. There is no need to load added weight on the back to benefit from this exercise. Using the body’s weight is a perfect workout. This can be done with several variations once strength is built up. The objective is to focus on strict form for maximum effectiveness.
The feet should be shoulder-width apart.
Bend at the hips
Don’t let the knees go past the toes.
Lower the body until the thighs are parallel to the floor
American Chiropractic Association. Back Pain Facts and Statistics. Accessed 1/5/2021.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Arthritis. Accessed 1/5/2021.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Arthritis-Related Statistics. Accessed 1/5/2021.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders & Ergonomics. Accessed 1/5/2021.
Merck Manuals. Effects of Aging on the Musculoskeletal System. Accessed 1/5/2021.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Healthy Muscles Matter. Accessed 1/5/2021.
Although it is not officially summer, the past few weeks sure feels like it. Especially for those with joint discomfort and pain. As the body ages, individuals may notice their joints have some mobility/flexibility issues in the summer heat. Again, the heat and humidity are the culprits. The hotter it is, the more the body is susceptible to inflammation and swelling. The more prone an individual’s body is to swelling, the more pain can present. Barometric pressure can also have some form of impact on joint health. The pressure changes can cause the joints to become more sensitive. When the pressure changes, individuals often speak of their joints feeling tighter combined with stiffness, leading to a cycle of swelling and pain.
Whether it’s the hip, knee, elbow, or hand, all of the body’s joints have fluid in them. It is a gel-like substance known as synovial fluid. This is what lubricates the joints and keeps them functioning smoothly. However, the temperature and humidity levels can change the thickness of the fluid in the joints. This means that the synovial fluid can become inflamed with the weather changes. This is a symptom when the joints begin to feel like they cannot move and/or are becoming stiff. Joint inflammation can become more common and chronic as the body gets older.
Weather and the joints
The summer heat and humidity can affect the joint because:
The tendons, ligaments, and muscles expand in this type of weather
The heat can restrict individuals from moving around. Non-use stiffens the joints
Joints that have worn down cartilage could have exposed nerves that are reacting to the temperature changes
Humidity causes the body to lose water by sweating. This can reduce the fluid around the joints leading to stiffness, immobility, and pain.
However, not everyone has joint problems in the summer heat. Many have joint issues when it’s cold, damp, or raining. Other’s are at their best in cool, dry weather. It depends on an individual’s body and how their joints react when the temperature changes.
Maintaining joint health for the summer heat
When joint discomfort or pain presents in the summer, there are a few easy ways to gain relief.
Properly Hydrate the Body
Water and sports drinks maintain the fluid levels in the body, specifically, it keeps the joints moving. One way to hydrate the body can be achieved by eating healthy fruits and vegetables. Water-rich fruits and vegetables include:
Over-The-Counter pain ointments and creams
Arthritis and anti-inflammatory creams/ointments can ease joint pain by allowing more blood circulation in the affected areas.
Dressing for the heat
Wear loose, natural fiber, breathable clothing that allows the body to move freely while maintaining a cool temperature.
Relax in the air conditioning
Get into the air conditioning. The cool air can help reduce joint inflammation.
Get in the Water
Swimming or just wading through doing some light exercise in the water cools the body’s core. In addition, the buoyancy of the water relieves pressure on the joints.
Body Composition Testing
The body is made up of as much as 2/3’s water. Even though much of the body is made up of water, the percentage of body composition changes based on functional needs. Essential functions of water include:
Water is the building block to almost every cell in the body
It regulates the body’s temperature through sweating and respiration
Carbohydrates and proteins for energy are transported via the water in the blood
Water assists in the removal of metabolic waste through urination
It is part of the shock-absorbing system that protects the brain and spinal cord
Water is part of the saliva and fluid that lubricates the joints
The amount of water in the body depends on various factors. This includes:
It is referred to as Total Body Water or TBW.
TBW is constantly changing with gains and losses of fluid in healthy adults. The body can detect irregularities and compensate for losses and/or gains to make sure that the systems are balanced.
The information herein is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional. Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. In addition, we provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.
We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.
Morton, Darren, and Robin Callister. “Exercise-related transient abdominal pain (ETAP).” Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.) vol. 45,1 (2015): 23-35. doi:10.1007/s40279-014-0245-z
Peeler, Jason et al. “Managing Knee Osteoarthritis: The Effects of Body Weight Supported Physical Activity on Joint Pain, Function, and Thigh Muscle Strength.” Clinical journal of sports medicine: official journal of the Canadian Academy of Sports Medicine vol. 25,6 (2015): 518-23. doi:10.1097/JSM.0000000000000173
Quick, D C. “Joint pain and weather. A critical review of the literature.” Minnesota medicine vol. 80,3 (1997): 25-9.
Timmermans, Erik J et al. “The Influence of Weather Conditions on Joint Pain in Older People with Osteoarthritis: Results from the European Project on OSteoArthritis.” The Journal of rheumatology vol. 42,10 (2015): 1885-92. doi:10.3899/jrheum.141594
There are different types of muscle from a biological perspective, however, there is no such thing as lean muscle. Lean suggests the absence of body fat. But the fact is that all muscle is lean muscle. It is important to build muscle mass as the body ages, however, it is more important to build lean body mass. Here is the difference.
Lean Body Mass
Lean Body Mass is the total weight of an individual’s body minus all the weight from the fat mass.
Lean Body Mass (LBM) = Total Weight – Fat Mass
Lean Body Mass includes the weight of the:
Because Lean Body Mass consists of various components, any change in the weight of these areas is recorded as changes in lean body mass. However, the weight of the body’s organs will not change. Bone density does decrease with time and age, but will not significantly affect the weight of lean body mass. With lean body mass, 2 areas of focus include:
Sometimes, individuals use the term lean muscle referring to the shape of the muscles. However, both types of muscle are lean and fat-free.
The difference between muscle mass and lean muscle
The strict definition of muscle mass is the weight of the muscles of the body. When individuals say they are gaining muscle mass, they typically mean that the muscles look and feel bigger.
Lean muscle masson the other hand is a term often used when someone is referring to the weight of the muscles, not factoring in the amount of fat that could be present within a muscle.
Combining Lean Gains
Increases in Skeletal Muscle Mass are also an increase in Lean Body Mass. What tends to happen is individuals combine them as lean mass gains or lean gains. However, an increase in Lean Body Mass does not always increase muscle.
This is because body water makes up a significant portion of an individual’s Lean Body Mass. For example, a body composition analysis of a 174-pound male.
98.1 Total Body Water + 35.5 Dry Lean Mass = 133.6 Lean Body Mass
Water makes up more than 55% of total body weight
This is normal for healthy adult males
Lean Body Mass consists of three components, two of which are water.
Everything else grouped together makes up the individual’s Dry Lean Mass.
This includes bone minerals, protein content, etc.
Muscle gains contribute to Lean Body Mass gains, but so does water. The difference is that water levels can fluctuate throughout the day depending on:
The muscle tissue itself contains a significant amount of water. Muscle tissue is comprised of up to 79% water. Research has shown that resistance training increases intracellular water in both men and women. This creates an issue when looking at lean gains.
Lean Mass gains can happen quickly, and the increases are mostly body water
Measuring Lean Body Mass and Muscle Mass
What not to do
Don’t try to use a scale to calculate changes in Skeletal Muscle Mass. A popular method used is to estimate muscle gain from the number on the scale and applying fitness websites/magazine tips. The problem with this technique is that estimating progress has many factors that can influence an increase in body weight. These include:
It is the difference between total body weight and body fat weight. However, these calculations are more for helping physicians determine the appropriate amount of prescription medication/s or if an individual will be undergoing anesthesia and not a computation of overall body composition.
Paying Attention to Weight Loss
Paying attention to weight loss is an inaccurate reflection of lean body mass, muscle mass, or lean mass.
Weight loss, or gain, does not reflect overall health and body composition.
Resistance training/weightlifting workouts combined with added protein will generate a muscle mass percentage increase
Skeletal Muscle Mass is connected with Lean Body Mass
Everyone’s body composition is different, making the proportion of an individual’s skeletal muscle mass to Lean Body Mass unique.
Lean Mass or Lean body mass is the safest term to use to describe gains.
Which Is More Important?
When it comes to tracking muscle gain or fat loss, it all comes down to what tools are being used to measure progress.
If working with just a weight scale, an individual will only know their weight increases or decreases.
This is difficult to see the difference in weight gain from water, muscle, or body fat.
For individuals that want accurate measuring of their muscle gain and assessing their health, then body composition analysis is the key.
Body Composition Difference
The information herein is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional. Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the musculoskeletal system’s injuries or disorders. Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.
Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, CTG*
Licensed in Texas & New Mexico
Galán-Rioja, Miguel Ángel et al. “Effects of Body Weight vs. Lean Body Mass on Wingate Anaerobic Test Performance in Endurance Athletes.” International journal of sports medicine vol. 41,8 (2020): 545-551. doi:10.1055/a-1114-6206
Köstek, Osman et al. “Changes in skeletal muscle area and lean body mass during pazopanib vs sunitinib therapy for metastatic renal cancer.” Cancer chemotherapy and pharmacology vol. 83,4 (2019): 735-742. doi:10.1007/s00280-019-03779-5
Ribeiro, Alex S et al. “Resistance training promotes an increase in intracellular hydration in men and women.” European journal of sports science vol. 14,6 (2014): 578-85. doi:10.1080/17461391.2014.880192
Ten Haaf, Dominique S M et al. “Protein supplementation improves lean body mass in physically active older adults: a randomized placebo-controlled trial.” Journal of cachexia, sarcopenia and muscle vol. 10,2 (2019): 298-310. doi:10.1002/jcsm.12394
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