If you are suffering from shin splints try this exercise (link above). This will help strengthen your Tibialis Anterior the main muscle on the front of your shin and the muscle responsible for flexing your foot (opposite of pointing your toes). For more info on shin splints see my article here.
Lower cross syndrome is named for the crossing tightness and weakness that occurs in the lower back, core, and hip muscles. In LCS, tightness of the low back muscles crosses with tightness of the iliopsoas (hip flexors) and rectus femoris (main quad muscle). Weakness of the deep abdominal muscles crosses with weakness of the gluteus maximus and medius.
This pattern of imbalance creates joint dysfunction, particularly in the lumbar spine, pelvis, hips, and knees. Specific postural changes seen in LCS include anterior pelvic tilt, increased lumbar curve, and knee straightening. Stress is increased on the low back and hips due to tight muscles and can cause pain in the low back when running, walking, and standing for long periods of time.
LCS is common in females, individuals that sit for most of the day and individuals that perform repetitive activities such as running and jumping. Many common injuries that plaques the active person can stem from LCS. Treatments for lower cross syndrome consist of postural training, Active Release/Graston on overactive muscles, and rehab exercises for underactive muscles. Additional home treatments for Lower Cross are foam rolling the quad and anterior hip muscles, Nature Made High Potency Magnesium 400 mg – 150 Liquid Softgels
for overactive and sore muscles, and anti-inflammatory nutrition for proper healing. Anti-inflammtory book.
In Lower Cross Syndrome the anterior hip is chronically tight and lacks motion due to muscle overactivity and posture. If one can not move through the anterior hip, the low back has to become hypermobile or have too much motion. This can lead to low back pain and inhibition or weak core muscles.
The anterior hip consists of the large muscle of the quadriceps, Rectus Femoris, and the large hip flexor, Psoas. When these muscles become chronically tight, the anterior hip capsule or ligaments begin to shorten. Now the hip can not translate or move through its proper range of motion and the gluts are put into a weakened, elongated state. The lumbar spine compensates by increasing its curve which causes the core muscles to weaken and shut off.
This process leads to overuse of the low back and pain, glut and core weakness, and hip impingements. If you have hip or low back pain, and/or Lower Cross Syndrome the click here to see this weeks exercises.
Yours in health
Dr. Justin Hildebrand
This week we are going to discuss the cervical (neck) disc herniations. The cervical spine or neck consists of seven vertebrae and five disc which allow the spine to be flexible.
When the discs (much like the Lumbar Spine) become irritated they can begin to migrate posterior or backwards and cause pain. When the disc migrates it can become a bulge or herniation.
A herniated disc usually is caused by wear and tear of the disc. Today, we speed this process up due to postures such as rolled shoulders and forward head posture. These positions place a large load on the lower neck and place the disc under increased pressure. Herniated discs are much more common in people who smoke, Cervical or Lumbar.
Herniated discs in the neck can cause pain, numbness, or weakness in the neck, shoulders, chest, arms, and hands. Early signs are pain in…
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I recently read an article about “Dietary Crackheads and Obesity” and was very interested. Although the term “crackhead” maybe extreme, I believe the effects of sugar, flour, and refined grains have on the brain maybe surprising to you. The problem with these carbohydrates is that when we eat them they induce addiction cchemistry in the brain, which makes us want them more.
Through the fall and winter we indulge ourselves with Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter treats and foods. These extremely pleasant, grand meals and treats may fill us with great memories and happiness but they also trigger the reward system of our brains limbic system. Fulfilling the reward gives us pleasure so we continuously seek this pleasure with sugar and refined grains.
How many of us have to have bread with a meal, a sugary drink throughout the day, or something sweet in the evening? These cravings are not just your specific taste in foods but your brain seeking its daily or hourly fix. Whenever we are craving for these foods the addiction chemistry is working overtime in the brain.
Trust me, you are not alone when it comes to eating with your brain. After long days at work or stressful weeks, I feel my limbic system craving chocolate and sweets. Many nights I sit and eat M&M after M&M without contempt. When this happens to you there are a few tricks that can calm our cravings.
If you are like me, I do my cleaning, housework, and chores on the weekend. I also do not indulge in sweet delights as frequently on my days off as I do during the fast passed, stressful week days. Our brain and also responds to physical activity and completing goals. Doing yard work or housework has an appetite suppressing quality and produces a reward much like snacking on high carbohydrate foods.
Next time you feel your reward center telling you to eat that candy bar or have another piece of bread try going for a walk or performing a small task that you are putting off until the weekend. Also, remember you are not alone nor should you feel guilty for giving in to your cravings. The first step is admitting and then working towards replacing the cravings with activity.
Yours in health,
Dr. Justin Hildebrand
The low back consist of five lumbar vertebrae and the sacrum or “tail” bone. Between these vertebrae are discs that act as ligaments and allow the spine to be flexible. A disc is a little like a jelly donut, with a softer center encased within a tougher exterior. When the discs become irritate they can begin to migrate posterior or backwards and cause pain. When the disc migrates it can become a bulge or herniation.
Many factors play a role in disc herniation. The most common are flat-back posture (plumber’s crack), prolonged sitting, working in a slumped position, and incorrect lifting/bending posture. All of these factors place increased pressure on the disc and can lead to irritation and possible herniation.
The symptoms of disc irritation or herniation are pain in the low back, buttock or hip (most common) and radiating pain down one leg. Pain is generally worse in the morning and subsides with movement, increases with sitting or driving, and is irritated with changing of position such as sitting to a standing and rolling over in bed.
According to the Mayo Clinic “Conservative treatment… relieves symptoms in nine out of 10 people with a herniated disk. Many people get better in a mo
nth or two with conservative treatment.” Treatments consist of correcting seated posture, adjusting activities of daily living, corrective exercise, and treating dysfunctions with manipulation, Active Release, and anti-inflammatory nutrition.
The classic disc presents with the symptoms: pain in the low back and/or buttocks area that may or may not travel down one leg. The pain is generally in the SI joint or back of the hip. It will increase with sitting or being slumped over.
The disc patient generally has a flat low back and tight posterior muscles. The hamstrings are tight so the patient can not generally bend down and touch their toes easily and the “piriformis” muscles are tight so sitting in a cross legged position is not comfortable. This presentation generally looks as if the back is rounded and the buttocks is clinched while standing.
Most disc presentations state “I just bent over to pick something up and had pain in my back.” Repetitive flexion (bending) or rotation movements set up the low back for injury.
So if you are dealing with disc-like symptoms click here to see rehab exercises.
Yours in health,
Dr. Justin Hildebrand
With Midwest winter weather upon us, many people will be transitioning to more indoor workouts and training. One downfall to being active is that the weather does not always allow us to get our activity in year round. If you are a competitive runner, a weekend warrior or a person that enjoys a nice walk or bike ride through the neighborhood the snow and cold can keep you inside and bundled up.
Although a nice warm cup of hot chocolate or hard cider sounds cozy on a frigid winter day, we still have to find ways to keep our bodies healthy and in shape. Many choose alternatives to being outside and exercising such as running or walking on a treadmill and riding a stationary bike. These great pieces of exercise equipment help keep ones cardiovascular system in shape but can lead to injuries when heading back to the road or trail when the weather allows.
Using a treadmill or stationary bike does not engage the glute and ankle muscles like their road counterparts. While your endurance may not decline during the winter months, one’s hip and ankle stability generally does. It becomes more important to start a core/glute and ankle strengthening program and working on generally flexibility so that when your competitive season begins or take to the outdoors again you are ready for action.
When working on core strengthening it is important to also include breathing techniques. Improper respiration can aid in many dysfunctions and the development in pain. Many of us hold our stomachs tight to appear to be smaller than we are. Doing this blocks the diaphragm and does not let it push downward when we inhale. This decreases the strength of the protective muscles of the spine and hips.
When the diaphragm can not fall properly, other muscles have to assist in rib expansion. The neck and shoulder muscles pull the ribs upward, instead of them moving downward and out. This type of respiration can lead to shoulder and neck pain along with headaches. The lower extremity muscles than have too help stabilize the spine instead of the hips or pelvis. This shift in stability can increase to the risk to many injuries.
Long term improper breathing can lead to overuse injuries and syndromes in the spine and extremities. Over using the neck and shoulder muscles can cause tendinitis in the shoulder and below, nerve entrapments that mimic carpal tunnel, and disc injuries in the spine.
Click here see exercises that help correct your breathing.
Your in health,
Dr. Justin Hildebrand