The 7 Super Secret Ways to Stay Healthy!

Hey Folks!

I have a special level of distaste for these sorts of headlines. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but there is no 7 Secrets that is the answer to everyone’s problems. If only it were that easy!  What really makes people healthy doesn’t involve secrets.  At one point or another you’ve always known.  It’s DOING the 7 (or 10, or 20, or 1, whatever) things that makes you healthy.  But let’s use an example to drive home this point…

So if we had a person who was:

  • Eating a diet of meat, veggies, some fruit and occasional nuts/seeds
  • Supplementing with fish oil, probiotics and vitamin D to shore up the deficiencies created by our food manufacturing practices and lack of interaction with nature
  • Exercising in a way that challenged their strength, flexibility, speed and cardio respiratory endurance
  • Visiting musculoskeletal focused healthcare practitioners like chiropractors, physiotherapists and massage therapists to optimize and ensure quality movement and positioning in their life
  • Spending free time on hobbies, and with family/loved ones
  • Working on tasks that contribute and make a difference, feeling like an important part of the workplace and/or community
  • Getting enough, good quality rest/sleep – waking rested for the next day

Would this person be healthy or unhealthy? MORE importantly, would a person who was doing all these things, who stopped doing even just one of them get healthier or less healthy?

The answers to these questions seem obvious, but how many of us aren’t doing “all of the above”? Most, of the answers from the folks I help in the clinic and gym would probably be considered better than most, but far from complete. “Typical” answers from the general public hit on few, if any of these health producing necessities. It’s difficult asking someone to change such a significant part of their lives (sometimes ALL of it).

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So what is the solution? Achieve as many of these points as possible – EVERY DAY

1. Eat in a way that supports your goals, be they health-related or fitness-related.
2. See a variety of movement evaluating practitioners, Chiro, physio, massage. Get your tight spots evaluated and addressed properly – you aren’t special or perfect, we all have our tight spots.
3. Use your body! Exercise, play sports, move frequently. We can help 😉
4. Respect your body – your health team can provide suggestions as to what you need to mobilize on your own, but experimentation and practice will reveal what you need to work on regularly as well.
5. No TV, cell phones or other lit screens for 30-60 mins before bed. Use this time to stretch, read or “exercise”. Make sure it’s early enough to get 8-10 hours of sleep.
BONUS 6. Keep a journal. Write out your goals, your thoughts and feelings. See how your life compares in reality to how you’d like it to be. Awareness precedes choices, which precede results (thanks Robin Sharma).
6. Take care of your skin because it will protect your body from any harm. We will help you remove skin tags easily.

So, if you are not achieving the level of success you’d like – evaluate your choices for areas you can improve and realize that how you eat, move and think affect your life in every aspect!

Ask me if you’re interested in Chiropractic & Wellness Lifestyle care, as well as if you’d like any suggestions for other Healthcare practitioners!

You can reach me by my contact form (located at the right of this text) OR phone (705) 521-4790.  You can also check my availability and book your own appointments through this link.

Stay healthy Friends!
Dr. Adam Ball

Research of the Day – Nov 10, 2012 – Chiropractic, Performance-enhancing ______

Hey Folks!

So, due to popular demand, I’m back to calling it the Research of the Day. It’s a little late as I was in a seminar from 9-6 today, so I apologize, but I’m not really very sorry at all. Also… I couldnt’ think of a snappier title for todays’ research.

Todays article:

Effect of cervical spine manipulative therapy on judo athletes’ grip strength.

What they did:

  • 18 national level Judo athletes in Brazil who had never had chiropractic care before volunteered to get either actual adjustments or sham adjustments for a minimum of 3 visits, with a minimum of a day and a half between visits.
  • They received either a real adjustment (diversified, better known as manual chiropractic adjustments… the ones where we use our hands and you sometimes hear the “popping” or “cracking”) of sham adjustment (set up on a drop table that the chiropractor directed their thrust into – this table moves and makes a semi-loud noise, which could “trick” an athlete into believing they received an actual adjustment)
  • Then, they assumed a typical judo stance – elbows at their side with 90º of elboy flexion and slight forearm internal rotation and they tested their maximal grip strength using a fancy apparatus you squeeze as hard as you can.
  • They did it 3 times per hand and averaged it over all of the visits.

What happened:

  • Those athletes who received real adjustments had significantly stronger grip strength readings than those who received the sham adjustments
  • The real adjustments group also improved their grip strength progressively (with each visit it improved over the last)

What does it mean:

  • It means a lot of things. I means these athletes didn’t have neck pain and so had their necks adjusted – They were part of a study. I’m sure they weren’t upset that their grip strength improved though!
  • It reveals there is a lot more going on during an adjustment than reciprocal inhibition of muscle spasm and therefore a decrease in the perception of pain.
  • Their spines were moving better. The proprioception signals coming from their spines were no longer limited, which means inappropriate nociception was decreased to the brain. Meaning more accurate information available for the hand and its’ ability to squeeze something as hard as possible.

My comments:

  • It isn’t always easy to find articles dealing with Chiropractic and its’ effects on performance enhancement. Finding areas of the spine that could be moving better, then making them move better with the ultimate goal of improving FUNCTION and not PAIN or other SYMPTOMS is a much better paradigm to treat from. Besides… who JUST wants to be out of pain… I’d much rather improve performance.

Stay healthy my friends!

Dr. Adam Ball

RED Project – Nov 9th, 2012 – Our world is but our looking glass…

Hey Folks!

Ok, so we’re onto day 2 of the RED project. I changed the name. ROD sounds like a dude… RED sounds like a colour I have a hard time seeing (I’m colour blind). It stands for Research Every Day. Let’s see if it sticks – RED project does sound cooler than ROD project anyway. I’m excited about it!

Todays article…

Acute stress influences neural circuits of reward processing

What they did:

  • Put people in MRI machines and took functional MRIs (to see which areas of the brain were being activated at different times)
  • They showed them playing cards and had them guess if the next card would be higher or lower
  • If they got it right, they were rewarded with money (reward) if they got it wrong it cost them money (punishment) to varying degrees
  • Half of the people had their hand/wrist covered in an icy cold glove to make them uncomfortable before the card guessing – They did this to simulate being stressed out (The nerves for pain and temperature are REALLY just nerves carry the signal for stress, so they cause a similar effect on the brain… beside they can’t ACTUALLY cause the people real pain or the study wouldn’t be approved for funding)

What they found:

  • TOTAL cortisol (a stress hormone) was elevated in the cold hand AKA stressed group versus the control group but NOT immediate levels of cortisol
  • The control group responded with reward areas of the brain lighting up when they were rewarded and not as much when they were “punished”
  • The Stressed group didn’t respond significantly to the reward unless it was high in magnitude but DID respond more to punishment

What does it mean?

  • Stress affects your physiology in a way that is too long winded to explain here however, from what this study is saying, those who were stressed showed different decision making abilities than those who were NOT stressed
  • Stressed Folks were more likely to respond to negative stimulus, meaning when you’re stressed out, it’s easy to focus on the downside of things. Have you ever been upset and had someone “trying to cheer you up” and it didn’t work at all? I have. The positive stimulus doesn’t have as much of an effect as if you were happy
  • Think of this scenario. You’re not feeling fantastic when you wake up, maybe a cold is coming on, you think. Luckily the coffee is already made, since it was set on a timer last night, but as you roll over in bed you realize you’re 10 minutes later than you expected to be. This is aggravating and causes you to pick up your pace a bit, then WHAM! you stub your toe and it’s the worst pain you’ve ever felt. The pain is amplified so much more by the stress. You grab your things in a hurry and leave with a grunt in response to your spouse’s, “I love you! Have a great day!”
  • Now a contrasting scenario: It’s Wednesday evening and you’re just relaxing with a friend. You remember a “hilarious” youtube video you saw over the weekend and realize this person HAS to see it. You watch it together and it’s funny, but for some reason you and your friend aren’t rolling on the ground crying because you’re laughing so hard. You also haven’t been catching up and laughing before the video was shown, and you aren’t as excited about what else you’re going to do that friday/saturday night. All those positive emotions amplified how funny the video was – as well as feeding off each others laughter on the weekend, but not now.
  • The stress response to the cold wasn’t transient – like it would be if a bear wandered into the MRI room with the people… it was longer lived and I would suggest that it is more realistic to the stress we deal with in every day life… Low level and “annoying”… but we can “deal” with it.
  • THEN, the stressed people needed a greater magnitude of stimulus to respond. This sound like anything? Kids seeking “thrills”, people doing extreme things versus being able to appreciate the small things in life, or things being “The WORST thing in the world” versus “oh…. darn… oh well.”
  • These stressed out people seek greater stimulus…. Sounds like society today (playing Call of Duty) versus what people would consider “the good old days” (playing Tag, hide and seek or cards?)

It’s interesting to me, because their program offering shows the state of physiology you’re in directly and dynamically affects the way you respond to information. The SAME information could then make you either happier or less happy, all depending on your mood.

It reminds me of my all time favourite book/quote by James Allen

Respect the Pyramid

Hey Folks!

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Sport-specific training is becoming the new hot thing in young children. The idea is that if little Johnny has already thrown 10000 curve balls by the time he’s 15, he’ll have it mastered and get signed to the big leagues before anyone else. Or if little Susie runs drills and clocks thousands of kilometers a year, by the time she gets to college soccer, she’ll be a shoe in for a professional or national team. We can play out this scenario for any of the sports. Dry land training for Hockey has taken a back seat to heading to the arena all year round to work on skating and wrist shots. You know what else is all the rage these days? Overuse injuries. You know who it’s happening to at an alarming rate these days? Kids.

Something is wrong. Why would making our children better at a sport make them more prone to injury?

It simply comes down to excess. In the western world we very frequently fall into the trap of, “if a little is good, more must be better!” and it works to our detriment. Kids are playing one sport all year round starting as early as 4 years of age. Most sports are unilateral in nature (you hold the stick on one side, wear your glove on one side, are a better shot with one foot, etc.) and that predisposes us to repeat the same movement over and over, whether performed correctly or not. No sport is perfect and they will all lead to their own neuromusculoskeletal limitations. SLAP tears and ulnar neuropathy in baseball. ACL tears and other knee injuries in soccer. Spondylolysis/listhesis in gymnasts. Tennis elbow. Little leaguers elbow. Turf toe. But it isn’t about trying to find the “right” sport – we need to keep that in mind.

Kids used to play a variety of sports and as you excelled at one, you often would excel at others. Michael Jordan gets made fun of for his short stint in the MLB – but do we mean to forget that someone who trained hard enough to become the greatest basketball player ever (specialized training?) ALSO managed to make and play in Major League Baseball? Sure, he was no Bo Jackson, but he beat out a hell of a lot of folks training specifically for baseball!

Gary Roberts, Joe Nieuwendyk and John Tavares were all Lacrosse players as well as hockey players while growing up. All have credited playing lacrosse with making them better at hockey. Why didn’t they just do more sport specific training? Because building a base of athleticism requires more than specialization. It requires intelligent recovery, nutrition, and strength & conditioning.

It helps to think of our performance as building up a pyramid. The higher levels rely on a strong base below them. For most young athletes, recovery is simply sleeping and eating. They’re at an age where faulty biomechanics don’t provide instant feedback, they’re bodies will forgive them… for now. In learning proper biomechanics and how to approach and manage their myofascial limitations at an early point in their careers, they can prevent future overuse injuries due to poor biomechanics, starting now.

Nutrition is something that is also often overlooked in the young athlete. While there is no reason to complicate eating good food, and eating enough to support athletic performance some rough guidelines would benefit a lot of athletes in making them feel faster, stronger and more mentally acute.

Here is a great quote from a Review of the Literature surrounding resistance training in adolescents and children:
“In addition to enhancing motor skills and sports performance, regular participation in a youth resistance training program has the potential to positively influence several measurable indices of health. It helps strengthen bone, facilitate weight control, enhance psychosocial well-being, and improve one’s cardiovascular risk profile. Furthermore, a stronger musculoskeletal system will enable boys and girls to perform life’s daily activities with more energy and vigor and may increase a young athlete’s resistance to sports-related injuries.”
Sounds like training outside of the arena/field/competition grounds might be worth looking into.

Building up the 10 facets of fitness helps in aiding the sport specific athlete. Most sports require their own focus on particular facets of that fitness, but working to ensure enough balance to prevent injury is hugely important. That’s why Coach Drew Nadeau and I have created, “The Program” at CrossFit Sudbury. It is a strength and conditioning program designed to improve sport performance without drilling repetitive movement patterns that are already being honed by your other coaches. We have no problem with sport specific training, we just believe it should be done for the “fine tuning” of your complete performance in sport.

Let us help you build the pyramid the right way. You will complete the program feeling stronger, faster, more powerful and ready to push yourself harder than ever to excel at your sport. Click through to check out the gym or contact drew via email or phone to find out more info!

Email: drew@crossfitsubury.com
Phone: 705 255-7942

Some References to check out:
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2105962,00.html
http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/106/1/154.full
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17710194
http://ajl.sagepub.com/content/1/3/190.abstract
http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=601349
http://www.ilindoor.com/2012/04/07/nhl-star-john-tavares-honed-his-hockey-skills-in-ontario-box-circuit/

Health, not anti-Disease

Hey Folks!

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So, at what point have we started eating, living and thinking in ways that are designed to avoid disease? I was just thinking the other day – there are so many “diet” books, and books on lifestyle interventions like exercise, stretching, meditation, etc. that are designed around preventing or treating a particular illness.

“The anti-cancer diet”

“The diabetes exercise solution”

“Meditate your fibromyalgia away!”

And so on and so forth…

What’s the Problem?

The problem is that we need to pursue health, not avoid disease. There are too many diseases to avoid any one in particular. What happens if you get cancer while eating the heart disease diet? Then you just happened to choose the wrong diet to adhere to?

We love doing things, or taking things for a particular reason. When I recommend to patients that they take fish oil, vitamin D or probiotics, the most common follow up question I receive is, “ok, but what is it for?”

It’s for making you healthy. That may seem like a facetious answer, and to some degree it is, but the truth is that I may recommend vitamin D to someone with MS, someone with rheumatoid arthritis, someone with IBS symptoms, and someone with chronic colds. So then, how do I answer that question?

I’m asking you to take vitamin D because living in northern latitudes we simply cannot absorb any from the sun between the months of October and March. We need to supplement it during those months because vitamin D is an essential nutrient involved with too many reactions in your body than this post can justify OR that science has even elucidated. Fish oil and probiotics can be added to that list – as can exercise, good quality sleep, loving relationships, and a whole slew of other healthy activities.

What’s the solution?

We need to realize that we aren’t eating good food, exercising, and loving each other because some scientist somewhere has “discovered” that it is associated with a reduction in your chances for colon cancer. We do all these things because they’re all associated with being healthy, and healthy people have a far lesser chance of getting sick from all illnesses.

The solution is Wellness and Prevention; it’s using and adjusting our lifestyle to match what our DNA requires from us to build a healthy human being.

So while you might take fish oil “for your arthritis”, you’re also taking it for the health of your nervous system, your cardiovascular health and to improve your insulin sensitivity. You exercise because it makes your knee feel better, but also because it helps keep plaques out of your arteries, and improves your ability to learn. You spend time relaxing because it relieves your headache, but also because it lowers cortisol in your blood, improves sexual function, and improves your recovery from exercise. You avoid grains because it makes you feel less bloated, but also because it lowers inflammation, improves the quality of your gut lining and improves the amount of serotonin and dopamine available to your brain.

How to implement all these activities and behaviors in your life will be saved for another post. If you’ve read my previous posts you probably have a good idea where to start though. Thanks for reading everyone!

In Health,
Dr. Adam Ball

Your DNA doesn’t care about who you are…

As a wellness and prevention practitioner, I face the occasional challenge in regards to patient compliance to a genetically congruent lifestyle far more frequently than I face those patients who have been provided with bad information.  My experiences with patients have taught me something that I’ve heard before, but which really resonated with me today.

Your DNA does not care one bit about WHO you are, how important you may be, or how much money you make.  Not even a little.  THAT is powerful information, and it can be an important reminder to be meticulous with how you spend your time, and what you allow to enter your body (in terms of food, thoughts and movement).

100 times out of 100 your DNA and its’ genes will respond to the stimulus they are provided.  You will only express genes and their corresponding proteins in response to the environmental demand you place on them.  This can mean the expression of vibrant health, or the expression of unfavourable physiological states (often referred to as pathology).

So, this is where the truth comes in, and in some cases where it can sting a little.  If you’re working your butt off, putting in 80 hour weeks, forgetting meals (which doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, depending on what foods you’re eating), neglecting friends and family (your positive social relationships with actual people), and reducing the amount of time you spend sleeping (or avoid it all together) – And all this makes you a billion dollars… well, I hope you have children to pass the money on to, because you aren’t going to be around long enough to enjoy it.

If you don’t make your health a priority now – you will have to at some point (if you’re lucky enough to live).  I know what this is like.  I had 40+ hours a week of classes, supplemented with 40+ hours a week of studying – all leading to something that was going to be my future career, i.e. if I didn’t pass those classes, then I just invested a tonne of cash in an education I wouldn’t be able to use.  That’s a fair amount of pressure and it’s a fair amount of stress – and my body responded with crappy sleep, lots of food cravings and a less than desirable body composition.  When I started out in my first year I would avoid going to the gym, going out with friends and a lot of other stuff I loved doing because I felt like I needed that time to study.  What I found out later on (when I knew I could get good grades without killing myself with the books for hours), was that when I spent that time in the gym or with my friends, that I was more focused when it came to study and I was far more efficient with my time.  My grades improved with less studying.  I retained the knowledge better.  I was healthier and in better shape.  And I grew my relationships with my friends.

What’s the moral of the story?  Your DNA wants you to succeed.  When you provide it what it needs, you will do better in every aspect of your life.  How concentrated are you at work during those 80 hours if you have back pain, blood sugar swings and some mild depression?  Does it make sense to you that you might feel better and concentrate more knowing you are experiencing the best health of your life?

It does to me.  And I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to help it make sense to you too.

 

Cheers Folks!

Dr. Adam Ball

Sudbury… ROCKS!!!

Hey Folks!

So I probably should have written a blog post about a month ago, but life got busy.  Sorry.

For those of you that don’t know, I (Dr. Ball) moved up to Sudbury to take over an awesome chiropractic practice and to bring the message of wellness to the masses up in Northern Ontario.  For those of you that may be new to my site, Wellness is the ability of your body to express and maintain ever increasing levels of health – you just need to provide the right input stimulus.  But what is the right stimulus?

The right stimulus means having access to an appropriate range of motion (having your spine checked out by a good quality Chiropractor, Physio, Massage therapist and whoever else you feel you should consult with), moving your body in intelligent ways (intelligently programmed CrossFit, MovNat, and the occasional other well programmed Strength and Conditioning facility).  Why does this matter?  Because movement charges your brains battery.  I like this great example I heard from Dr. James Chestnut; If you spend your day sitting around eating food and watching TV – are you energized?  Or are you tired?  Conversely, if you get up off the couch and go for a walk outside or do a little exercise, expending energy, do you feel more tired?  Or do you feel energized?  How does that make sense?  It makes sense because the movement of your body activates nerves, moves blood and as many great Chiropractors like to say, “turns the lights on”.  Movement isn’t the whole story though…

Another very important ingredient to the environment you provide your body is your diet.  You need to provide your body with highly nutritious foods (meats, vegetables, fruits, and good quality fats), and avoid those foods that are setting you back.  I’m sorry to say it, but there are foods that are less good for you, and foods that are more good for you, it’s as simple as that.  And unfortunately the USDA and most nutrition and diet “experts” don’t know this yet either, which makes me sad AND makes for conflicting nutrition advice that makes a reader like yourself want to say, “oh shut up, none of you know what you’re talking about – everything in moderation”.  I’ll resort to another great quote to counter the “moderation” dogma, “everything in moderation works so long as you only want a moderate level of health”.  And finally, the MOST important input to your success as a student of health (which we all are)…

Your mental health is the most important part of your internal environment.  De-stressing or finding practices that help you relieve your stress levels (breathing techniques, yoga, tai chi, etc.) are great ways to manage your internal environment.  If you don’t believe in yourself, it will help if someone else does, but ultimately YOU will decide your outcome.  Finding happiness and contentment is a daily practice and everyone has good days and bad.  Setting goals, spending time doing things you love, moving your body and eating well (those sound familiar) will all support a positive internal environment.

So for those of you that don’t know me – that’s what I’m about.  For those of you that do, it’s a nice reminder.  Set goals, set the micro-goals that lead to those goals.  How important are those goals to you?  If they’re important they’ll dictate how strictly you adhere to the guidelines that you know will lead to the achievement of your goal.  Slow progress is sometimes “easier” than quick progress.  Set the path and follow it closely.

Cheers Folks!  And to my Element and CFM friends, Miss you guys!

Dr. Adam Ball

The Shoulder Position and Why Your Traps Aren’t Actually That Huge

Hey Folks!

We’re back with an exciting blog post about some proper shoulder positioning – where your shoulder should be, what that helps you to accomplish functionally, and the effects its’ position has on your appearance.  This information will change your life… or maybe just your press, and snatch, and overhead squat, and bench/push ups, and just about everything else that involves your arms… oh, and also the way people look at you (in a good way).

 

Anatomical position AKA where god/evolution/whoever/whatever decided your shoulders SHOULD be.

Due to our forward and front facing world, many of us succumb to what PT all-star Kelly Starrett would call the “D-bag” shoulder position, also known as “bridal” shoulder.  This is bad news for form and function because of the numerous movements and muscles involved with the scapula (what you would call your “shoulder blade”).  The scapula is a weird looking bone that allows our shoulders to have an impressive range of motion.  So what’s the deal with anatomical position, and why should you strive for better shoulder position?  If your scapulae are abducted and protracted (rolled forwards), some muscles in the area are chronically shortened while others are chronically stretched/lengthened.  Imagine having to walk with one flat on and one stiletto on – it wouldn’t be fun, right?  That’s what your shoulders are doing when you have poor shoulder positioning and its’ related shortened and lengthened muscles.  Anatomical position is where your scapulae rest when your muscles are relaxed and unaffected by years of poor posture and movement patterns.  Perfection is near impossible when you take into consideration handedness and unilateral sports (almost all sports) – but having good shoulder position will help with many functional movements which helps insulate your shoulder from injury.

 

Squeezing your pecs together might make them dance, but does not make them work better.

Rolled in shoulders are a danger to us all, but mostly to your lateral clavicles while you’re benching, your wrists, elbows and glenohumeral joint while overhead, and like I said earlier, just about everything involving the movement of your arms.  Pinning your shoulders back while benching means your arms have a solid base to push from, not just air and somewhere for that weight to push your shoulders, resulting in injury.  Having adequate range of motion in your shoulders means your elbows and wrists can take a break during cleans, front and overhead squats or snatches (I’m fairly certain this is responsible for most cases of “crossfit shoulder”).  Aside from the ridiculous tissue stress this poor positioning puts on the joints and their respective connective tissue (ligaments and cartilage), the muscles aren’t at their optimal position either.  When muscles are shortened or lengthened from where they should be they surrender proper force generation due to the sub-optimal overlapping of your actin and myosin (the tiny proteins in muscle responsible for pulling your muscles shorter or “flexing”).  So in short, being in this position makes you weaker than you could be, AND compensating for poor biomechanics in the shoulder with poor motion in the elbows and wrists is a recipe for injury.

Finally… Guys, your traps aren’t that big, I’m sorry… and Girls, believe it or not, this applies to you too.

Everyone knows the guy that errs into the dreaded D-bag shoulder position for the purpose of trying to look “huge”, or “yoked”.  The poor shoulder position and increased kyphosis (humping/rounding of the thoracic spine) it takes to achieve the appearance of larger traps is ultimately going to be more work and more dangerous than working toward a 300 pound clean and 500 pound deadlift.  The ladies don’t like it, and your chiropractor will cringe and have nightmares.  So please, if your pulled into this poor position, make it for reasons (you work at a desk 8 hours a day to make money to live and give to Payday Debt Helpers, you just happened to always do front based exercises, etc.) other than because you want to look “cool”.

Now then, for the ladies, I know you’re worried you’re going to get “those neck muscles” if you lift heavy.  Doesn’t the fact that there are guys out there compromising their morals (and more importantly, their posture!) for the sake of growing some big traps, convince you at all, that they might be difficult to grow?  Secondly, if you are worried about having the appearance of large traps, and you aren’t doing mobility work to open up your thoracic extension and pull those shoulder back, I’m going to have a hard time feeling sorry for you.  They aren’t large muscles and they won’t look large if you achieve better posture and positioning.  Make it a priority.

So let’s achieve some good quality shoulder position so that we can all function better, hit PRs without injury and even look better.  I will make another post shortly about what you can do to help reverse this pandemic, until then, feel free to ask myself, Annie, Lisa, Joseph, Alex or Rachael how to start the process.

 

Cheers!  And Happy lifting!

Dr. Adam Ball

Why I care about more than your spine, Part 2

Alternate Title: Poor posture is like a rocking chair – it gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere.

 

Back from part 1, here we go again.

With all that having been said – being neurotic about who gives you advice on your health, and what you end up doing doesn’t make me any more money than I do seeing you as a chiropractic patient.  So how am I going to make any money?  Well, getting regular chiropractic care is important.  Your spine needs to be able to move in a full, happy and unimpeded range of motion for your body to express its’ optimal level of health.  If you’re eating well, exercising intelligently and de-stressing, the results we see are going to be much better – which means that hopefully you’ll want your friends and family to go to someone that cares about them as much as I care about you. It’s a lot more work, but it allows me to make a living while still being able to sleep at night.

Working at a Crossfit gym, the folks I see generally have a great grasp of the fitness/exercise side of things and a good idea of what they’re supposed to eat.  What I do see a lot of, is shoulder pain, elbow pain, low back pain and mid back stiffness (usually the mid back isn’t painful unless mobilized gently).  These are all an effect of postural adaptations that are no bueno.  These postural adaptations lead to motion restrictions (limited range of motion), muscular imbalances, injuries and more work for you.  You don’t need or want this type of thing affecting your life and performance.

As an example, consider what’s required to take care of a car.  If you run out of oil, you can’t just fill up your gas tank with premium gas and hope for the best, you need to have oil, and brake fluid, good tires, etc. for the car to operate at its’ best.  In regards to range of motion (afforded to you via chiropractic), your Ferrari can only go fast if you can push the gas pedal down all the way.  If there were a brick underneath that gas pedal, it’s going to affect how fast that car can go.  You can eat a perfect diet, exercise well and live a low stress lifestyle, but you still aren’t as healthy as you COULD be if you were doing all those things AND seeing a chiropractor.

Range of motion, optimal positioning and good posture all are interconnected endeavours.  You can muscle through crap posture to achieve full range of motion, but it won’t get you to the level of fitness you want, and you’re wasting WAY too much energy doing it.  If you follow the elite crossfit athletes (or even if you just know who they are/what they look like) you might notice something they all have in common – great posture, efficiency of movement and effortless full range of motion.

Forcing your way through impeded range of motion (folding in half with a crap shoulder position makes overhead squats hard eh?) is not the intelligent way to do things.  Stretching the appropriate areas, seeing a great athletic therapist, and getting adjusted regularly will help you achieve better positioning – making the movements more efficient, less work, and less likely to cause injury.  You’ve already made the choice to exercise intelligently and (hopefully) to eat well.  Make these choices as well.

Making good choices is the bedrock of great health and is the ultimate sign that you’ve made sustainable change.  What you CAN’T do, however, is cover up bad choices with good ones.  The late Mitch Hedberg once said,

 

“That would be cool if you could eat a good food with a bad food and the good food would cover for the bad food when it got to your stomach. Like you could eat a carrot with an onion ring and they would travel down to your stomach, then they would get there, and the carrot would say, “It’s cool, he’s with me.””

 

It would be nice if things worked that way, but they don’t.  You can’t workout really hard for a month and a half, and then spend the rest of the year sitting on your butt.  You can’t workout at the gym, but eat crappy food and be stressed out all the time and not sleep and expect to see results.  You can’t see a chiropractor, but never move your body and expect results.  We (chiropractors, athletic therapists, and other manual therapy options) give you access to a full range of motion, but we don’t provide the movement to those joints.  You do.  Address your posture, get adjusted regularly and stretch your business.  Make good choices – your body will thank you.

Cheers,

Dr. Adam Ball

Why I care about MORE than your spine, Part 1

Alternate title: I can’t let someone else worry about it, unless by someone else, you mean me.

Eating quality food is a pre-requisite for quality health

I recently attended a chiropractic seminar that was full of folks who are very concerned about your health.  But from what I can gather, they are only concerned with knowing you’re getting adjusted (by them, of course).  I like the general ideas they run with, in theory.  The idea being, that as chiropractors we understand the biomechanics of the spine and its’ effects on the nervous system, and therefore your health better than anyone else.  We learn (for years) how to adjust specifically to correct any motion restrictions/subluxations/misalignments that may be preventing you from expressing the health you’re meant to.  This is a very good thing and is hugely important to human health.  This is where their effort to make you healthy ends though.

Let dietitians worry about diet.  Let physiotherapists and personal trainers worry about the muscles and exercise.  Let therapists worry about mental health.  This is the idea running with the folks running this recent seminar I attended.  Well that’s a great idea… in theory.  It’s a great idea until 6 months into your chiropractic care with me you still aren’t getting the results we’d expected.  It’s great until I learn that your lack of health is because the dietitian that is taking care of your nutrition believes that you need to be eating 9-12 servings of grains a day and that eating too much meat will give you cancer.  Uh oh.  BIG uh oh.

Problem 1: Most people giving dietary advice don’t know what they’re talking about.  Without going into a lot of details and talking about all the exceptions, the human species has evolved (or been created) to eat a diet that is congruent with our genetics.  What this means, is that our genes are meant to express health, but they can only be “turned on” if the signal we send (via our lifestyle and nutrition) asks them to.  This means no grains, legumes, and in some cases no dairy.  Read more about what we SHOULD be eating here.

Problem 2: Most people giving exercise advice don’t know what they’re talking about.  You don’t need to spend hours in the gym.  You don’t need to exercise LONGER, and for many people, doing this will make things WORSE.  I’m not telling you not to exercise.  I’m telling you to be smart about it, but most people don’t have a good idea of what being smart about exercise means.  Exercise is a stressor in your life.  Fortunately it is a healthy, predictable, measured and planned stressor.  An intelligent exercise program will make you healthier, without stealing all your time.  Read more about how you SHOULD be exercising here.

Problem 3: If you’re doing these other things correctly/intelligently, then you will experience health a lot more quickly (due to decreased stress levels).  I can’t morally have you come to my office 3 times a week for 13 weeks knowing that if I was intelligent enough to address your diet and lifestyle, you’d need just a fraction of that amount of care.  It would make me a lot more money if I told you to eat according to the USDA food pyramid, exercise using isolation machines and stairmasters, and then come see me whenever you felt you weren’t making progress (indefinitely, in this situation).  I do care about making money (we all have to live), but I want to make my money from making you healthy, and having you tell your friends and loved ones.

My goal as a health care provider is to make you healthier every time I see you.  To influence you to make healthy decisions, and to give you the ability to make those decisions more easily.  I won’t compromise my morals and assume you’re eating and moving well.  Maybe it’s neurotic or obsessive of me, but I’ll sleep better knowing you’re out there making good choices.  Within that same vein you shouldn’t compromise your health by expecting your body to produce excellence while you feed it crap.  I can make your spine move more appropriately but I can’t make you eat well, exercise and de-stress.  If you care about yourself you’ll make a commitment to doing those things.  I’ll be providing you the information and ability (as well as referring you to sources I know and trust) to make good decisions as well.

Good work, team,

Dr. Adam Ball

Let me know what you think, if you disagree, or if you love grains!  Drop a comment! – Please share this on Facebook/Twitter too!

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