Hemp and Concussion


Hemp and Concussion

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability in the United States.  In 2013 approximately 2.5 million emergency room visits were for TBIs and in 2012 approximately 329,290 children were treated in emergency departments for sports and recreation-related concussions or TBIs.  A TBI is an injury to the head that can cause mild, temporary brain dysfunction, or it can cause severe, permanent and even deadly brain injury.   A mild TBI is often classified as a concussion.  Concussions are also categorized as Grade I, Grade II or Grade III. 

A Grade I concussion often goes undiagnosed.  It is a blow the body or head that causes temporary confusion with no amnesia (permanent loss of memory for a period of time) or loss of consciousness.  The symptoms of a Grade I concussion usually fully resolve within 15 minutes but may be transient. Headaches and confusion may temporarily return for short periods of time during physical and mental strain for several days after the injury occurs. 

With a Grade II concussion there is still no loss of consciousness, but there is amnesia and symptoms take longer than 15 minutes to resolve.  The symptoms of a Grade II concussion may also be transient for several days to weeks after the injury and are usually triggered by either physical or mental strain.

A Grade III concussion is a blow to the body or head that causes any loss of consciousness.  Just like a Grade I or Grade II concussion, headaches and confusion often come and go for the days and weeks after the injury. 

The transient symptoms of concussion are thought to be caused by an inflammatory response in the brain causing damage to neurons in brain tissue.  The only treatment for concussion is physical and cognitive rest and the use of safe anti-inflammatories that do not increase the risk of bleeding.  With a concussion there is no bleeding in the brain.  However, a severe TBI with bleeding can often initially present as a concussion and initial imaging may not show mild bleeding.  If the symptoms of a concussion worsen in the first 15 minutes then a severe TBI with bleeding should be ruled out immediately. 

 We know that many of the phytonutrients from hemp including CBD and others, work as anti-inflammatories and immune response regulators.  CBD and other cannabinoids from hemp bind to receptors in our endocannabinoid system called CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are primarily located in the brain and central nervous system as well as in the peripheral nervous system, organs and tissues.  CB1 receptors are reactive to anandamide (a naturally occurring cannabinoid we produce in our bodies similar to THC), 2‑arachidonylglycerol or 2‑AG (a naturally occurring cannabinoid we produce in our bodies similar to CBD), THC, CBD, and all other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids.  CB2 receptors are primarily located on white blood cells, tonsils, spleen and other organs of the endocrine system, as well as the central and peripheral nervous systems.  They regulate the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which signal the immune system to increase an inflammatory response.  CB2 receptors are reactive to 2-AG and CBD, terpenes, flavonoids, CBD, terpenes, flavonoids, as well as other beneficial cannabinoids from the hemp plant, but they are not reactive to THC. 

A study done in Isreal on mice and rats showed promising results with post concussion treatment of CBD.  It was recognized that the levels of 2-AG dramatically increased post TBI.  A group of mice and rats were then given CBD, while a control group was not.  The mice given the CBD recovered much faster than the ones who were not given CBD.  CB1 receptors on the neuronal mitochondria play a role in neuronal protection post TBI through the regulation of apoptosis.  2-AG has been proven to also decrease neuronal damage post TBI by regulating the pro-inflammatory cytokines at the blood brain barrier.  The first ever clinical trial on the use of cannabinoids in the treatment of TBI is currently being done by the University of Miami.  It is a five year, three phase study. 

Hemp extract high in CBD and low in THC (less than .3%) is a safe product to take after an injury to help regulate inflammation and immune response without the risk of bleeding.  It should be taken immediately after injury in either a tincture or capsule form in order to enter the blood stream.  Serving size should start around 10-15 mg 3x/day for young patients.  Adults can start with a serving size around 25-35 mg 3x/day. 






Pub Med:

Zhen Xu1, Xiao-Ai Lv2, Qun Dai3 , Yu-Qing Ge3 and Jie Xu4. Molecular Brain. Acute upregulation of neuronal mitochondrial type-1 cannabinoid receptor and it’s role in metabolic defects and neuronal apoptosis after TBI. (2016) 9:75


David Panikashvili, Constantina Simeonidou, Shimon Ben-Shabat, LumõÂr HanusÏ, Aviva Breuer, Raphael Mechoulam & Esther Shohami. Nature. Volume 413. October 2001. An endogenous cannabinoid (2-AG) is neuroprotective after brain injury.


David Panikashvili,a,b,1 Na’ama A. Shein,a,1 Raphael Mechoulam,b Victoria Trembovler, a Ron Kohen,c Alexander Alexandrovich,a and Esther Shohami a. Neurobiology of Disease. The endocannabinoid 2-AG protects the blood–brain barrier after closed head injury and inhibits mRNA expression of proinflammatory cytokines. 22 (2006) 257 – 264

Additional articles:







Preventing Bone Loss-Beyond Calcium


Preventing Bone Loss-Beyond Calcium

Did you know that peak bone density occurs at around age 30? After that time, bone resorption slowly begins to outpace bone formation. Bone loss increases again in women after menopause. Being that bones are the support and a main structure in our bodies, bone density is extremely important to our health.


There are several factors that can lead to increased bone loss as we age, including genetics, smoking, lack of exercise, excessive alcohol consumption, certain medications (such as steroids), unbalanced hormones and menopause. The lower your bone density, the more likely you are to suffer fractures and breaks that can negatively affect your health. The decline in overall health after suffering bone trauma is dramatic, particularly after the age of 65. Studies show that approximately 20% of women ages 65-69 who fracture a hip die within one year. These numbers increase with age, as women ages 70-79 who fracture a hip are twice as likely to die within one year.


The good news is that there are things you can do to increase your bone density. If your doctor has diagnosed you with osteopenia or osteoporosis, you may already be on medication to help with this. However, there are other things you can do to support bone development.



Bones are living tissues that constantly go through a process of building and breakdown called bone remodeling. Osteoclasts are the cells in the bone that work to resorb or breakdown bone. Osteoblasts are the cells that work to build and model the bones. In order for this process to happen correctly, an adequate and constant supply of several nutrients are needed, including calcium, protein, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin D, vitamin K2, vitamin C, vitamin E, boron, potassium and fluoride. Many people only think of calcium when they think of bone health, but that is only one piece of the puzzle.


People taking calcium supplements, for bone health or otherwise, should be mindful of the type of calcium they take as well as the dosage. When purchasing a calcium supplement look for calcium citrate, which is more absorbable and can be taken on an empty stomach, versus calcium carbonate which must be taken with food and may be harder for people with low stomach acid to digest. Also, even though the recommended daily dosage of calcium is 1,200mg for an adult, no more than 600mg should be taken within a four hour period. The intestines are only able to assimilate 500-600mg of calcium at a time. Excess calcium at any given time can lead to excess calcium in the urine, which can contribute to kidney stone formation.


The general population tends to eat less protein as they age, often due to a decreased ability to digest it because of low stomach acid. Unfortunately this can be detrimental to bone health. Proper protein intake requires a delicate balance. Too much animal protein creates higher acidity in the body, causing the body to take calcium from the bones to alkalinize the body. Too little protein can lead to bone and muscle loss. The average person will want a moderate protein intake of approximately 0.8-1.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (i.e. a 150-pound person would want approximately 55-68 grams of protein per day). Exercise and other health issues may change the recommended amount.


Supplements can be helpful in maintaining bone health. If you are interested in taking supplements, you should speak with a nutritionist or your doctor about proper supplements and dosing tailored to your body and overall health.



As mentioned, certain cells in bones work to constantly remodel bone tissue. Bone tissue is modeled, at least in part, to the amount of force pulling against the bone. The more muscle mass pulling on the bone, the stronger the bone will be in order to support the force against it. This is why a well-muscled athlete can crash while skiing 40mph down a mountain and get back up with nothing more than a bruised ego, while a frailer individual might break his or her femur just from tripping on a step.


Weight training as we age is essential in order to build and maintain healthy bone tissue. Simply getting on a treadmill for 30 minutes a day will not suffice. The amount of weight used in order to build bone tissue is all relative to the individual. If you’ve never used weights before, starting out with 2-5 pounds will help to get you on the right track. If you are interested in starting a weight-training routine for your bone health, contact a local personal trainer about which program is right for you.

In addition to nutrition and exercise, chiropractic care can help with overall bone health. By increasing and improving joint mobility, chiropractic care helps promote proper weight-bearing physical activity which can help stimulate osteoblasts to build new bone, and help people with body awareness which decreases the likelihood of a fall. Be sure to tell your Chiropractor if you have been diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis, as the type of treatment you may receive will change.

A diagnosis of decreased bone density does not mean that you are destined to a fall that will land you in the hospital. Changing poor lifestyle habits, proper nutrition, and the right kind of exercise can help your bone health and overall well-being.


Beyond Whiplash


Beyond Whiplash

Whiplash is reported in about two million insurance claims per year in the U.S., according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Also known as Cervical Acceleration/Deceleration syndrome (CAD Syndrome), whiplash usually occurs from motor vehicle accidents, contact during sports, and falls.

The soft tissues in the neck are injured through the rapid acceleration and deceleration that forces the neck into hyperextension and hyperflexion. Even a minor fender bender can put significant stress on the spinal ligaments, discs, muscles, and nerves of the neck. 

Sometimes stiffness is the only initial complaint, and it is common for symptoms to develop gradually over the course of the next few days. In severe cases, there can be an immediate onset of symptoms. “Whiplash Associated Disorder” (WAD) is a term used to describe the collection of symptoms that have been triggered by a whiplash injury, and is also used as a classification system to determine severity.  

 Neck pain, headache, and shoulder pain are the most commonly reported complaints post-whiplash, but the all-inclusive list can be fairly expansive. Sleep disturbances, impaired cognitive function, TMD, tinnitus, low back pain dizziness/vertigo, and problems with balance and coordination are just to name a few.

The neck is one of the most highly concentrated areas of nerves that signal proprioceptive information to our brain. When these delicate nerves are injured, our perception of movement and spatial orientation of our body parts is also compromised. People who have suffered whiplash injuries have been shown to have significant impairment in proprioception when compared to healthy subjects (1).

The long-term effects of whiplash are variable, but current research estimates that 20% of those who with whiplash will develop chronic pain (2).  There are several factors that determine prognosis, including those that are related to the environment, collision circumstances, and biopsychosocial factors.

Foregoing treatment is not advised for those who have experienced a whiplash injury. Treatment type and timing of when care was received has been shown to correlate to patient recovery times, and a better prognosis is often associated with appropriate treatment (3).

In the absence of instability, prolonged bed rest and immobilizing the neck after a whiplash injury can lead to a delayed recovery (4). Muscles become weak and contracted, and increased scar tissue can develop, leading to impaired biomechanical function overtime.

Chiropractic care and soft tissue therapies, such as Active Release Technique (ART™), are valuable tools in the restoration of normal joint mechanics and muscle function in those who have suffered from a CAD injury both in the acute stages and in chronic cases (5).

If you’ve experienced the unfortunate circumstance of a motor vehicle accident, or any other whiplash related event, don’t wait to seek treatment. Call us at Evergreen Spine and Sports Medicine to schedule an appointment with one of our Doctors of Chiropractic to get the care you need today.

1.) Uremović, M., Cvijetić, S., Pasić, M. B., et al. (2007). Impairment of proprioception after whiplash injury. Coll Antropol, 3, 823-827.

2.) Castaldo, M., Catena, A., Chiarotto, A., et al. Association between clinical and neurophysiological outcomes in patients with mechanical neck pain and whiplash-associated disorders. The Clinical Journal of Pain, 34(2), 95-103.

3.) Söderlund, A., Olerud, C., Lindberg, P. (2000). Acute whiplash-associated disorders (WAD): the effects of early mobilization and prognostic factors in long-term symptomatology. Clinical Rehabilitation, 14(5), 457-467.

4.) Yadla, S., Ratliff, J. K., & Harrop, J. S. (2007). Whiplash: Diagnosis, treatment, and associated injuries. Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine, 1, 65-68.

5.) Jull, G., Kenardy, J., et al. (2013). Management of acute whiplash: A randomized controlled trial of multidisciplinary stratified treatments. PAIN, 154, 1798-1806.



Piriformis Syndrome


Piriformis Syndrome

The effects from piriformis syndrome can range from an annoying pain in the butt, to a real sidelining injury.

Piriformis syndrome is characterized by pain and tightness in the lower back/gluteal region and can oftentimes radiate down the leg. Numbness, tingling or a burning sensation can also occur, and when severe, weakness in the leg may also be present.

Sound similar to sciatica? Well it kind of is…

The piriformis muscle lies deep beneath the gluteal muscles and acts to rotate the hip and stabilize the pelvis. Running directly underneath the piriformis muscle is the largest and longest nerve in the human body: the sciatic nerve.

A tight, inflamed, or piriformis muscle in spasm can be a painful situation as it is, but it also has the potential to compress and irritate the sciatic nerve traveling right beneath it.

The term “sciatica” is used to describe pain that originates from sciatic nerve irritation, and is typically felt in the gluteal region and radiates down the back of the leg. However, true sciatica is most commonly due to spinal issues like disc herniations, degenerative disc disease, or lumbar spinal stenosis.

Piriformis syndrome is often misdiagnosed because of its similar presentation to sciatica. Furthermore, it is possible to have both piriformis syndrome and sciatica at the same time.  A proper exam and history are necessary to determine the diagnosis.

Some of the most common causes for piriformis syndrome include long distance running or cycling, sitting for prolonged periods of time, or blunt trauma. Inflammation and/or dysfunction in the joints of the pelvis or hip are often known to irritate the piriformis muscle as well (1).

Research has shown that conservative treatment for piriformis syndrome- such as strengthening exercises, chiropractic, and soft tissue manipulation - can significantly improve a vast majority of cases (2,3).  Active Release Technique (ART ™) is a unique, movement-based, soft tissue technique that benefits a wide array of musculoskeletal conditions- including piriformis syndrome.

So don’t let the pain in your backside get the best of you. Our Doctors of Chiropractic perform a thorough exam and utilize a variety of therapeutic approaches, like ART™, to help keep your body feeling and functioning at its best. Give us a call to schedule an appointment today.

1.) Brukner & Khan, Clinical Sports Medicine. 3rd Ed. 2007. Mcgraw Hill.

2.) Fishman, L.M., Dombi, G.W., Michaelsen, C., Ringel, S., Rozbruch, J., Rosner, B., & Weber, C. (date). Piriformis syndrome: Diagnosis, treatment, and outcome- a 10-year study. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 83(3), 295-301.

3.) Gulledge, B.M. (2014). Comparison of two stretching methods and optimization of stretching protocol for the piriformis syndrome. Medical Engineering and Physics, 36, 212-218.







Headaches and Chiropractic Care

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Headaches and Chiropractic Care

It’s no secret that stress and poor posture plague more of us than we would like to admit, but did you know that 9 out of 10 Americans suffer from headaches?

While there are many different kinds of headaches, the large majority of headaches are directly due to problems with the pain sensitive structures of the head and neck.

More often than not, these problems are related to over-activity, or over-use of the pain sensitive structures- including muscles and nerves. These types of headaches are categorized as primary headaches, with tension-type headaches being the most prevalent in this category.

So what is a tension-type headache anyway? Just like it sounds, tension-type headaches are aptly named to indicate their origin from some kind of mental or muscular tension. When our muscles get tight from stress, or poor posture for example, this over-activity leads to a situation where the body produces fibrous scar tissue in the affected area- much like it would in an acute injury. This creates adhesions within and between the soft tissue structures that need to be able to move freely.

A recent study published in the Journal of Pain Research found that patients with tension-type headaches also had impaired muscle function in the neck and shoulders1.  As you can imagine, having our muscles and soft tissues bound up can directly impact our body’s biomechanics and how we are able to move and function as a whole. The joints in our spine and elsewhere in the body need stimulation from proper movement to stay healthy and operational. When it comes to headaches that originate in the neck, cervical spine dysfunction has been found to play a role in the headache process.

So what can we do about it? Past research has shown that manual therapies- such as chiropractic and soft tissue manipulation- can greatly reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches2.  Active Release Technique (ART ™) is a unique, movement-based, soft tissue technique for the evaluation and treatment of a vast array of musculoskeletal conditions- including those related to headaches. 

At Evergreen Spine and Sports Medicine, our Doctors of Chiropractic are certified in ART™, and utilize a variety of other therapies and techniques to help keep you and your body in tip-top shape. So next time you find yourself with a headache, give us a call to schedule for an adjustment and ART™.

1.) Madsen, B. K., Søgaard, K., Andersen, L. L., Skotte, J., Tornøe, B., & Jensen, R. H. (2018). Neck/shoulder function in tension-type headache patients and the effect of strength training. Journal of Pain Research11, 445–454. http://doi.org/10.2147/JPR.S146050

2.) Malo-Urriés, Miguel & Miguel Tricás-Moreno, José & Estébanez-de-Miguel, Elena & Hidalgo-García, César & Carrasco-Uribarren, Andoni & Cabanillas, Sara. (2017). Immediate Effects of Upper Cervical Translatoric Mobilization on Cervical Mobility and Pressure Pain Threshold in Patients With Cervicogenic Headache: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 40. 649-658. 10.1016/j.jmpt.2017.07.007.

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Men, Running is Never Enough


Men, Running is Never Enough

In a society where appetites, waistlines, and meal portions are ever-increasing, it's easy to think that the best thing we can do is to get out and go for a run or long bike ride.  But as a man, if that's all you're doing, you're putting at your body at risk for a number of health concerns including:  decreased muscle mass, premature loss of hair, decreased bone density (especially with cyclists who do not experience the impact that stimulates bone growth), decreased sexual drive, inhibited reproductive function, anddecreased levels of red blood cells.  The reason?  Low testosterone.  Studies reveal that testosterone levels in men who have engaged in endurance training for longer than one year are 60-85% lower than untrained, otherwise comparable men.  

So what do we do, stop running and cycling?!  Not at all, but it is important to vary the workouts.  Studies have also shown that short, intense efforts as well as strength training can boost your testosterone levels.  There are two easy ways to accomplish this:  

  • Add a few 15 second to 2 minute bursts of high-intensity riding/running followed by slightly longer periods of recovery 2-3 times a week.  
  • Instill a resistance training component to your workout regimen.  Focus on low reps and higher weights which will create a higher intensity workout.  Do not rest more than 1 minute between sets.  

The internet is a great tool for finding workout regimens that incorporate weight training and intervals.    

As with any new exercise, be sure to ease your way into either or both of these new pieces to the workout puzzle.  If you are an experienced and conditioned rider/runner, the intervals will not be too difficult to adapt to, but you must make time for recovery.  With the weight training, be sure to start with lighter weights before moving up into the recommended low rep/higher weight program.  You must ensure that your muscles and neuromuscular system adapt to the new demands placed upon it, and that takes time.  

If you testosterone levels are a concern, please consult your physician.  Levels can be evaluated with a simple blood test, and there are many natural methods to boost levels, as well as ways to keep from prematurely lowering them.  


Hackney, A.C. Testosterone and reproductive dysfunction in endurance-trained men. In: Encyclopedia of Sports Medicine and Science, T.D. Fahey (Editor). Internet Society for Sport Science: http://sportsci.org. 20 Sept 1998. 



Athletic Injuries & The Non-Athlete


Athletic Injuries & The Non-Athlete

As a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician since 2006, and having been both the owner and associate of a “Sports Chiropractic” or “Sports Medicine” office, I am often asked if I treat non-athletes.  While I understand how the office name or my credentials can lead people to thinking I may only focus on athletes—which is my specialty--what everyone needs to realize is that you don't have to be an athlete to have athletic injuries.  

Most commonly, athletic injuries are overuse injuries, sprains, or strains.  A sprain is damage to a ligament (connects bone to bone).  A strain is damage to a muscle or tendon (connects muscle to bone).  Overuse injuries are the accumulation of mini-tears in the muscle or tendon fibers that accumulate with repetition of a motion over time.  The only difference between an athletic injury and what I like to call an “athletic-type” injury is when, where, and how the injury occurred.  

You can sprain your ankle stepping off of the curb awkwardly in front of the grocery store, or you can do it while playing soccer, or trail running.  Of the hundreds of cases of “tennis elbow” (aka, lateral epicondylitis) I've treated over the years, perhaps 15% max actually played tennis.   Turning a wrench, typing/using a mouse at a computer, painting, and even drumming are all causes of overuse injuries that I have treated as “tennis elbow”.  

The benefit of having a Sports Chiropractor evaluate your painful condition/injury is that we're trained to recognize the tissues affected, diagnose the condition, direct the treatment, and provide you with preventative exercises/stretches to avoid future aggravation of the symptoms.  We address both the joint component and the soft tissue component of the injury which provides for a more complete and speedy recovery.  

If you have an injury you believe needs evaluation by a trained specialist—whether it occurred crashing on the ski slopes, or slipping on ice in the parking lot on your way back to the car—do not hesitate to contact us at Evergreen Spine & Sports Medicine where we treat professional athletes, weekend warriors, and non-athletes the same!  


Slowing Down Runner's Knee


Slowing Down Runner's Knee

As a Chiropractor and Sports Medicine doc, I want to be as specific as possible in my diagnosis so that I can target and treat the offending problem to quickly return patients to their healthy lives.  It is for this reason that I hate the term “Runner's Knee”.  It is a catch-all term for pain.....that runners get.....in the knee.  Brilliant.  There can be many causes of knee pain in the running population, and in other areas of society as well.  To lump them all together under one umbrella complicates the matter and confuses the patient.  

“Why do I have Runner's Knee?  I don't even run!”

“I did XYZ for my Runner's Knee based on an article in a running magazine, and it didn't help.  What am I doing wrong?!”

“My Runner's Knee hurts on top of the kneecap, and my wife's Runner's Knee is on the bottom.  How is this possible?!”

In this post I'm going to talk a little about different types of knee pain that can arise from running, and what you can do to alleviate it.  There are not going to be any vague terms, and I will provide specific recipes to provide relief to each.  

First it is important to understand the origin of your knee pain.  Was there a twist, a direct hit, or is there a history of arthritis or prior injury/surgery?  If not, your knee pain is likely not being caused by the knee at all, but rather the foot/ankle or the hip/pelvis.  In my post regarding knee pain among cyclists, I stressed the importance of a bike fit.  This does not apply directly to non-cyclists, but there is equipment to consider--shoes.  Regardless of activity or activity level, make sure that you have footwear that fits, and that is properly suited to what you will be doing.  I always suggest to any runner that walks into my office with pain, that they visit a running specialty store for an evaluation and fitting.  Get this out of the way before pain starts.  In other words, a) before you start running b) before you significantly increase mileage c) after you have worn your shoes for approximately 350 miles of foot travel

The following will address knee pain by relating its location to the kneecap:

Above & Below:  Typically pain above the kneecap is due to tight or overactive quadriceps muscles.  Tight muscles can be massaged, foam rolled, and stretched to reduce the stress on the tendon attaching the quad to the kneecap, and therefore alleviating pain.  Overactive quads are typically due to weak hamstrings.  The balance of pull between quad (front of thigh) and hamstrings (back of thigh) is most effective when the strength is distributed 60-40 respectively.  If this is off, and the hamstrings are weaker, then the quad will be too strong and put too much pull onto the quad tendon that attaches to the kneecap.  The difference between tight and overactive is often difficult to discern on your own, so I would start with the roll, stretch method [5 min/leg, 3 sets of 30 seconds respectively], and if that doesn't create relief, then visit a sports medicine professional.  

Inside & Outside:  Pain in these areas is often due to a pulling of the kneecap laterally (outside) by the connective tissue attached to the end of the illiotibial band, or IT band.  You cannot stretch the IT band, so do not try.  It is an extremely strong, dense band of connective tissue that runs from the gluteus medius and tensor fasciae latae (TFL) muscles on the pelvis and runs along the outside of the thigh to just below the knee.  If the glute med and TFL muscles are tight, they will pull on the IT band which then pulls the kneecap laterally.  This pulling can create pain on both the outside and the inside of the kneecap.  

The muscles of the outside hip can be rolled and stretched just as the quads in our previous example.  The lateral quad can also be rolled along the IT band to break up any adhesions that may have formed between the muscles of the lateral thigh and the IT band.  The hip muscles become are tight if they are overused, or if there is not adequate movement at the sacroilliac (SI) joints.  For this scenario, a chiropractor can determine the movement of the joints, and address any problems.  Too much pronation or inward rolling of the foot can also cause tightness in these muscles.  This should hopefully be addressed by the shoes that you got fitted to your feet and gait.  Kinesio tape is also helpful for keeping the kneecap where it belongs so that it may travel in its preferred tract on the knee.

Behind:  Pain behind the knee is usually due to a degenerative disease known as chondromalacia patella.  This is a condition where the cartilage that covers the backside of the kneecap becomes warn and tattered.  There is often grinding and some discomfort.  Stretch and roll the quads in the same manner as you would for Above & Below kneecap pain, and it will take some of the stress off of the kneecap, not pulling it into the knee joint so hard.     

The stress on the knees from running can be reduced by shortening your stride.  Refer to my earlier post on changing (or not changing) running stride to learn more about this. 

Needless to say, there are many other knee injuries and ailments that can occur with runners and with all populations.  These are simply the most common overuse injuries seen in runners, and athletes of all sports and of all levels.  If you are experiencing knee pain, and these above methods have not worked for you, please contact an experienced sports medicine professional.  Also, if you are experiencing pain that is more severe than you would assume for an overuse injury, please consult a professional.  

If you have any questions regarding the material covered in this post, or on your specific knee pain, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Stoughton via email at info@evergreenchiro.com or by phone at Evergreen Spine & Sports Medicine 303-670-8902


Fascinating New Study Shows Chiropractic Can Potentially Improve Muscle Strength


Fascinating New Study Shows Chiropractic Can Potentially Improve Muscle Strength

A new study published in the journal Experiment Brain Research has shown that a full-spine chiropractic adjustment can increase the test subjects' ability to increase electrical activity in their contracting leg muscles by almost 60%.  In the study, this translated to a 16% in absolute force generated.  Also shown was a 45% increase in the ability of the brain to activate the particular muscle being tested.  

A collaboration between the New Zealand College of Chiropractic's Centre for Chiropractic Research and neurophysiologist Professor Kemal Turker, “this study is the first to indicate that chiropractic adjustments of the spine can actually induce significant changes in the net excitability for the low-threshold motor units.  The results of the study also indicate that spinal adjustments can prevent fatigue”, according to Dr. Haavik, Director of Research at the NZCC.  

So what does this mean for us?  This study has initially shown fascinating results that could have huge ramifications to various populations in society.  

Who needs their muscles firing more efficiently and powerfully?  Athletes, for starters.  The ability to gain a 16% increase in absolute force from a muscle cannot be achieved with most training regimens in less than several weeks, at best.  At the higher end of the athletic spectrum, marginal gains are frequently sought after to give any edge over their competitors.  A marginal gain is typically considered 1%.  Imagine 16 times that in one chiropractic session!!

Another population to consider are those individuals who are either injured and forced to rehabilitate, or suffer from a muscle degrading dysfunction, such as a stroke.  By increasing the ability of the brain to activate targeted muscles, you increase the efficiency of the rehabilitative efforts.  This study has shown a 45% increase in that area, so that should translate to decreased time at the physical therapists' office, and more time living an active lifestyle.  


While this research study is very exciting, it must be mentioned that it is newly completed, and has not had time to be subjected to follow-up studies.  However, where there is smoke, there is typically fire.  Even if some of the numbers do not hold up to repeat studies over time, there is certainly compelling evidence that chiropractic adjustments can benefit muscle function.  It goes with the idea I've used as the basis of my practice for over ten years:  The body works better when it is working the way it is supposed to.  

I will keep my attention focused on future studies of this subject, and am excited for the possibilities of what they might reveal.  

In the meantime, there are other performance and healing benefits that are associated with chiropractic care.  Do not hesitate to contact ESSM to learn more about the benefits, and to take advantage for yourself!!


“Belay on....but hurry up!”  How Climbers Can Self-Treat Belay Neck


“Belay on....but hurry up!” How Climbers Can Self-Treat Belay Neck

At the crag or on a multi-pitch route, there's pretty much no way out of having to belay.  And unless you're using the mirrored belay glasses, or your partner is climbing very, very low angle slab, you're going to be looking up for extended periods of time.  Personally, I consider about 2 minutes to be “extended periods of time”.  

Your partner starts out, and by the time they have either placed the first piece of gear, or clipped the second bolt, your neck is already screaming and you're dying to look down.  This is part of climbing.  You cannot take your eyes off of your ever-ascending partner, and you can't take your hands off of the rope to tend to the aching muscles on the back of your neck.  What I'm telling you is what you already knew:  deal with it.  

After you hear the “off belay” you've been dying to hear, you can look down and tend to the sore, cramped muscles on the back of your neck.  Here's a few tips on how to relieve the discomfort in your neck after you have belayed, either on-site, or at home:  

Look down:  As you look up, the muscles in the back of your neck and mostly at the base of your skull will become cramped from extended contraction.  To alleviate this, stretch them by looking down and tucking your chin to your chest.  I also like what I call the “smell your armpit” stretch.  Put your nose into your armpit, and using your hand on that armpit side, pull your head down with only the weight of your arm.  This will address tightness in the armpit-opposite upper trap muscle.  

Self-massage:  This can most easily be accomplished by rubbing out the sore muscles with your hands.  It helps at the crag or on-route, but what more can you do at home?  I like to take two tennis balls and put them into a sock tying a knot at the top so that the balls cannot be separated in the sock.  Lie on your back and place the two balls at the muscles near the base of your skull and top of your neck.  Just let the weight of your head rest on the balls.  This will create a pressure that relieves any muscle knots as you lay on it.  It helps to lie on the floor, and you may need to add some folded towels under the balls to raise them higher to create the desired pressure. 

Chiropractic:  For more serious and/or persistent neck pain, you might have more than just muscle tightness.  A visit to your chiropractic physician can check for dysfunction in the joints of the neck.  This dysfunction can often be relieved with chiropractic manipulative therapy.  

Belay glasses:  There are now several brands of these available for purchase.  They use mirrors so that you can keep your head straight, but your gaze up on your partner.  Practice wearing them and getting used to the view through them before having your friend jump on their project—it takes a little getting used to.  

Boulder:  Don't want to look up and belay?  Start bouldering.  You will have a 30 second spot, max.  All you need is some crash pads, crazy strength, and a beanie!

If you have pain or discomfort in your neck from climbing or other sports/activities, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Stoughton at Evergreen Spine & Sports Medicine by phone at 303-670-8902 or email at info@evergreenchiro.com.  



“Watch that first step...” Plantar Fasciitis Self-Treatment


“Watch that first step...” Plantar Fasciitis Self-Treatment

Many athletes and active individuals are familiar with plantar fasciitis as pain in the arch and heel of the foot.  Less familiar is what causes the condition, and how to treat it for relief and recovery.  

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia.  The plantar fascia is a web of thick connective tissue that runs from the heel to the toes.  It provides stability to the arches of the feet.  With every step, the tissue will help maintain the integrity of the foot's arch along with muscles along the bottom of the foot.  Like any soft tissue, it is susceptible to overuse and injury.  A Too-Much-Too-Soon approach to athletics, standing long periods on hard surfaces, and engaging in athletics on hard surfaces (volleyball, tennis, etc.) can all cause micro injury to the tissue, as well as subsequent development of painful, restrictive adhesions in the arch.   

Characterized by pain in the heel and arch—especially the first few, excruciating steps in the morning—plantar fasciitis affects a large population of athletes and non-athletes.  So once this painful and often severely-limiting condition sets in, what are the options for treatment and recovery?  Here are 3daily keys to treating plantar fasciitis at home:  

  1. Roll the tissue:  Using either a tennis or golf ball (depending on what your condition can tolerate), roll your bare foot over the ball as it lies on the ground.  This is a form of self-myofascial release, and will help break up the scar tissue and adhesions that are responsible for much of the pain in your foot.  5 minutes/foot
  2. Bonus Tip:  use a water bottle with frozen water in place of a ball.  It will provide you with the myofascial release, as well as cold-therapy
  3. Don't forget the calves!:  The calf muscles pull directly on the heel via the Achilles tendon. Pulling in opposition to this are the muscles of the arch as well as the plantar fascia.  It becomes a virtual tug o' war for your heel.  Use a foam roller to address the calves in the same manner as the balls/bottle are addressing the arch.  Roll from ankle to knee, and hold the position over any knots or sore spots.  5 minutes/leg
  4. Stretch:  After rolling the calves and arches, make sure to stretch the tissues.  The stress applied from stretching will guide the remodeling of tissues after breaking down the adhesions.  To hit all areas, I have patients start by facing the wall in a lunch position with the affected leg as the back leg.  Lean into the wall with the back leg straight to stretch the gastrocnemius (upper calf). Still leaning, bend the knee of the back leg and move your hips backwards from the wall to a position more over the back foot—this addresses the soleus or lower calf.  Finally, with the leg bent, raise up the heel of your back leg to stretch the arch.  3 sets of 30 seconds for each stretch, each leg

If after a few weeks of this procedure and avoidance of any activities that cause/create pain you do not have any relief, contact your local sports medicine specialist.  More aggressive tissue work may be necessary, along with supportive taping techniques.  Beyond that, cortisone shots are occasionally used, and surgery is necessary in a reported 5% of cases—I have never personally known of anyone to have had that in more than a decade of practice.  

If you have any questions regarding the tips above, or your own case of plantar fasciitis, please contact Dr. Stoughton via email at info@evergreenchiro.com, or at Evergreen Spine & Sports Medicine 303-670-8902




Thawing Frozen Shoulder


Thawing Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis is a thickening of the capsule around the shoulder joint that results in a loss of range of motion.  The thickening can be a result of an injury to the shoulder, or immobilization such as holding the arm in a sling for a long period of time.  Many times, the shoulder will “freeze” without any prior significant injury or immobility.  The “freezing” process and onset of the condition itself is not well understood by medical professionals and sports medicine physicians.  

What is known, is that to undo the “freezing” the patient is in for an uncomfortable period of forced mobilization by a trained practitioner.  In extreme cases, with the patient under anesthetic, a medical professional will force the arm's range of motion to tear the thick adhesions of the shoulder capsule.  There are many reported instances of the adhesions being so strong that the humerus bone will actually break from the forced movement before the adhesions release.  Again, this is in extreme cases.  In eleven-plus years of practice, and having seen countless cases of frozen shoulder, I have only known one patient to have had such a break, and that was one of only two that even required anesthetic.  

More commonly the shoulder will be evaluated to determine where the range of motion is lacking, and therefore what portion of the capsule is frozen.  At this point, during treatments that can last several weeks, gradual increases will be made by forcing the shoulder into the areas of decreased range.  A skilled practitioner will be mindful of the keeping the shoulder in the correct positional orientation so that further complications do not arise as a result of just yanking on the arm.  

In addition, the patient will be given exercises to perform at home to continue to gain range of motion, as well as to not lose what has been gained at each visit.  These are often done in front of a mirror to self-monitor how the shoulder is moving, and to ensure that compensatory muscles are not doing too much in the role of moving the arm.  For example, it is very common that when raising an arm on the side of an injured shoulder that the upper trapezius muscle will do more than its fair share of work in lifting the shoulder up closer to the ear to account for the motion that is not occurring at the shoulder joint.  This does nothing for improving shoulder mobility, and can create aberrant neuromuscular patterns which will create problems that will last after the shoulder has healed.  

If you have frozen shoulder, or have noticed that your range of motion is not what it should be, please contact your local joint specialist and/or sports medicine provider.  While the treatment is rarely comfortable, it is far preferable to not having full use of one of your arms.  

If you have further questions about this post, or about frozen shoulder in general, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Stoughton via email at info@evergreenchiro.com or through Evergreen Spine & Sport Medicine at 303-670-8902


Chiropractic in the Golden Years


Chiropractic in the Golden Years

As a Sports Chiropractor, I often get asked if my practice accepts non-athletes.  Commonly the question comes from existing patients seeking care for their parents.  The answer is—and always will be—yes.  Having training that extends past the already rigorous curriculum of chiropractic school only makes me more adept at examining, diagnosing, and treating conditions in any patient population.  As for patients' parents—and all individuals 65 years and older—I believe that they need it as much as their children and grandchildren, regardless of activity levels.  


Chiropractic can play a vital role in ensuring the proper functioning of joints and balance of muscles as patients deal with chronic conditions that are associated with aging.  It is every bit as important that they receive the same, competent care as the younger generations—only with modifications.  


Treating the 65 and older population requires an ability to sometimes sift through a stack of medical records, work around existing medical conditions, and to know when less is more when it comes to treatment.  


Accounting for a previous surgery, pre-existing health condition, or perhaps an artificial joint is very important when it comes to treating any patient, but the painful truth is that we are all acquiring a greater collection of these as we move through life.  Will suggested supplements can have negative reactions with existing medications?  Will certain positions for joint manipulation put artificial joints at risk?  Can the patient comfortably hold positions for exercise or treatment?  


It is important to know the full history prior to beginning treatment.  Some patients whose health has suffered, have extensive collections of medical records that they present in the office on their first visit.  Some are vitally important, and others are not relevant.  It is up to the physician to determine which is which, and to apply the information derived from the records appropriately.  


As we age past thirty years and beyond, our bodies do not heal and recover at the same rate as they once did when we were taking our youth for granted.  Recovery is not limited to healing up from an injury.  Many forms of physical medicine use a breakdown of dysfunctional tissue to allow the body to replace it with more healthy, functional tissues.  This is an important step in recovery from injury, but one must remember that a 70 year old will not recover from this treatment as quickly as a 20 year old.  Swelling may be more pronounced, the body will not clean up the damaged tissue as quickly, and the new tissue will take longer to be formed.  For myofascial work, one should typically incorporate more time in between treatments, as well as taking into account how aggressive that treatment is in the first place.  


Each patient is different in their health, condition, activity levels, genetics, and health history.  For this reason, it is of paramount importance to treat each patient as if they are not a condition, but rather an individual.  A competent, trained healthcare provider will recognize this, and tailor their programs to each patient—there is no place for cook book-care in chiropractic or medicine.  


If you have questions about your health, if chiropractic is for you, or anything you read in this post, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Stoughton at Evergreen Spine & Sports Medicine by phone at 303-670-8902, or email at info@evergreenchiro.com.



Adolescent One-Sport, Year-Round Athletes:  Preparing for college, or the operating table?


Adolescent One-Sport, Year-Round Athletes: Preparing for college, or the operating table?

The adolescent athletic landscape has changed dramatically in the last 2 decades.  Mostly gone are the 3 sport high school athletes, as club teams have risen to prominence and demanded that athletes play one sport year-round.  Not to say that clubs are prohibiting young athletes from participating in other sports, but to remain competitive on high school teams, kids are finding themselves almost needing to play for private club teams whose seasons alternate with the high school season.  This specialization in one sport is creating more polished players by the time they get to college—and may even earn them a scholarship--but at what cost?  

The playing of one sport for 10+ months a year overuses specific muscles and joints.  This creates imbalances in developing musculature, painful overuse syndromes,  and allows the young athlete little time to recover.  

A 10-year study of teenaged pitchers who throw more than 100 innings/year has shown that kids who play baseball year-round are 3 times more likely to end up having elbow or shoulder surgery by the time they are 20 years old, than those that do not play year-round.

I personally recall a young patient who was a great, young volleyball player playing year-round between her club and high school seasons.  After winning the Illinois State Championship in volleyball, she had secured a full-ride scholarship to a Big Ten Conference school.  However, due to the wear and tear on her body, she required shoulder surgery and also a repair of a ruptured Achilles tendon prior to beginning her college career.  And sadly, she never would begin that collegiate career.  The injuries sustained while developing into an adult had followed her to early adulthood and kept her from playing in college at all.  

But professional athletes play and train year-round, right?  Yeah, because they're professional athletes: genetic outliers not in the midst of their bodies' development.  

I cannot argue with the logic that if you want your child to succeed in a sport, that they have to have similar access as their competition—even if that means playing a single sport 10+ months out of the year.  But there has to be an understanding by the coaches, parents, and young athletes that this will create imbalances in the musculature and potentially lead to injury.  To account for this, there must be programs in place to work oppositional muscles to those that are being used regularly in the sport; cross-training can create a more balanced and stronger overall athlete than just focusing on one sport.  Adequate rest and recovery periods must be worked in as well, and there has to be healthy communication between high school and club coaches so that there is not a conflict in training schedules/recovery time.  

Playing one sport year-round isn't a one-way ticket to the operating room, but you do have to be careful and monitor how your young athlete is feeling at all times.  With anything, moderation is key!  

If you have questions or concerns regarding sports injuries for youths or adults, email Dr. Stoughton of Evergreen Spine & Sports Medicine at info@evergreenchiro.com




Runners' Debate Cleared Up:  Heel-Strike vs Forefoot-Strike


Runners' Debate Cleared Up: Heel-Strike vs Forefoot-Strike

In the last 5 to ten years, a movement has been made toward changing the gait of runners to have them land not on their heel, but rather on the fore- or mid-foot.  This trend has gained a lot of followers,  lining up behind minimalist shoe company marketing, spouting off about how our ancestors ran, and even buying those creepy-looking foot gloves; but is it actually easier on the body, and more efficient?  

Studies comparing heel- to forefoot-strikers running at a pace slower than 6:25 minute/mile pace have shown that heel-strikers are more efficient.  Faster than that pace, and the efficiency becomes equal between the two groups.  

As for the forces absorbed by the body, additional studies have shown that they are equal between the groups, but that the forces are absorbed by different joints.  Heel-strikers absorb the forces in the knees, and forefoot-strikers absorb them in the arches of the foot and Achilles tendons.  Pick your poison!  

The simplest way to reduce the forces your body is absorbing is to reduce your stride length.  By doing this, and increasing your stride cadence (steps per minute) you can maintain the same speed while limiting the forces applied to your body through each step.  You may even avoid stress fractures while running in your bare feet or glove-shoes.  I personally do not recommend any one foot-striking pattern beyond, “do what feels best for you.”  Well, that and “ride a bike!”

Like many arguments about what diet/form/shoe/gear/etc. is “best”, it all comes down not to what is popular or which celebrity spokesperson has had success with which method, but rather what works for you.  Everyone is an individual with different preferences, genetics, goals, and injury histories.  In my practice I treat everyone as such, and try to steer people away from adhering too vehemently to any one trend or practice.  Together we work to find the right regimen that creates a balance between the goals of the patient, and their health.  

For more information on running gait, injuries, please email  Dr. Stoughton of Evergreen Spine & Sports Medicine at:  info@evergreenchiro.com



Two Steps to Self-Treat Knee Pain

I've often said that barring direct injury, arthritis, or an old injury/surgery, that knee pain doesn't come from the knee. It is often from either problems with the foot/ankle, or the hip/pelvis. Problems or dysfunction in those areas can create an altered gait, tight/over-active muscles, weak muscles, and trigger points responsible for referring pain to the knee directly.

The muscles originating from the pelvis include the hamstrings, quads, adductors (inside of the thigh/groin), and the muscles joining at the illiotibial band (or IT band) on the outside of the thigh. Together these muscles work to both move the knee, and stabilize it as guide wires on a circus tent pole. Any dysfunction of movement at the hip or pelvis will alter the balance of these muscles, and therefore the function/stability of the knee itself. This can create pain and needless wear and tear on the knee.

As for the foot/ankle, it is literally the base for what the rest of our body stands on. Whatever dysfunction is present there will be translated through the kinetic chain up the leg and into the rest of our bodies.

So what can you do at home to relieve knee pain? There are two things that you can do on your own: roll and stretch.

Foam rollers have gained popularity in recent years and for good reason, they are extremely effective at breaking up muscle knots, trigger point, and other dysfunctional tissue. They are easy to use, and you can target any area of the body on your own. Typically, you sit on the roller perpendicularly and with your hands on the ground as support, roll across the ground so that the roller massages the tissues.

Following a workout, or later in the day (you want to allow the muscles to warm up prior to rolling) roll out the quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, muscles of the shins, and every other area you can roll over that feels tight or sore. This is not a comfortable process. In fact, when you find a spot that especially hurts, hover over that area for 15-30 seconds. This helps break up those sore spots and they will begin to resolve.

Following the rolling, make sure that you stretch each area rolled for 15-30 seconds. The rolling process breaks up tissue in the areas targeted, and to ensure proper remodeling of new tissue, the stretching is critically important. Otherwise, the problems may persist.

If after 3-7 days of repeating this process every other day, the problems still persist, it is time to visit a sports medicine physician. We can diagnose the problem to target the proper tissues and joints, and enact a plan to resolve the problem.

For cyclists and runners, you may be tempted to get a professional bike fit or shoe fit. I would strongly recommend against this prior to having the problem evaluated and addressed by a sports physician. Fits are necessary, but if you do not correct the body's dysfunction, then you are fitting to a body that is not functioning ideally. You do not want a bike or shoe that encourages your dysfunction!

Try these at-home steps first as long as the pain is not severe. Hopefully we will not have to see you in the office, but if we do, knee pain is something that we successfully treat regularly at Evergreen Spine & Sports Medicine.   


What is the popping sound that occurs with an adjustment?


What is the popping sound that occurs with an adjustment?

We get this question all the time in our office.  The fear is that the sound is actually coming from the bone or the cartilage in the joint.  We always answer by letting people know that it is actually tiny gas bubbles forming in the joint.  We know that the adjustment helps to restore normal mobility in the joint, increase blood flow to the area which delivers oxygen, and causes your body to release endorphins (our natural feel good brain chemical).  Some really cool things happen when we adjust you and now you can actually see it on MRI.   Scientists at the University of Alberta wrote an article and released a video MRI of the bubble forming in the joint capsule which causes the "pop."  Check out it out HERE. 



Rest and Recovery - How To Optimize Performance and Reduce Injury

You are working so hard to accomplish your goal of running your first half marathon, participating in your first triathlon, or getting your first pull up since grade school.  You get on a role and you finally feel like you are getting somewhere.  Your long run on the weekend is getting easier, riding your bike up that big hill isn’t quite as hard anymore, and you are down to using the smallest band to assist your pull up.  Then things start to hurt.  Your right knee hurts every time you run up hill, your left shoulder is hurting in between rides, and your neck hurts any time you reach or lift over your head.   

There are plenty of factors that play into injury, but one of the easiest things to correct is proper rest and recovery.  For many of us it can be something that is hard to incorporate when we feel like we are making such great training progress.  

Rest?  I don’t want to lose any of my strength that I’ve worked so hard for! 

Study after study has shown that incorporating rest into our training actually allows for more gain and helps reduce injury.  The actual amount of rest can depend on the athletes training status (trained vs. untrained) and individual’s ability to deal with physical, emotional, and psychological stressors.

Rest allows the body to recover between workouts.  Recovery occurs when your body returns to its normal metabolic state.  Your body must remove metabolic waste from your muscles (lactate and hydrogen ions) re-establish intramuscular blood flow for oxygen delivery, and regain muscle membrane potential (the ability to contract). 

The greater the stress of the workout, the greater the overall muscle recruitment, and the greater the potential for muscle damage and soreness, therefore the need for longer recovery time.  When a muscle group becomes sore, damaged, and fatigued it is unable to work at it’s full potential.  This leads to muscles imbalances and changes in form, which puts an athlete at risk for overuse injuries. 

Every athlete is different and incorporating rest into a training schedule can look different depending on several factors.  Your ability to recover efficiently will be influenced by your amount of muscle soreness and weakness, your efficiency as an athlete, your appetite, your immune system, your sleep habits, and your digestion.  Working on improving all of these factors will help you recover faster, decrease your required rest time, and maximize your gains during training. 

The specific plan of rest and recovery may vary.  Listen to your coaches and trainers, and follow the schedule that has been laid out for you.  Most plans will incorporate 1-2 days of rest after several days of lighter training, and 1-2 days of rest after heavy training session.   

Injuries may still occur even if you are extremely diligent with your training habits.  That is where the team at ESSM comes in.  It is important to get treatment early.  At ESSM we use advanced soft tissue work like Active Release Techniques™, Graston and dry needling.  We also incorporate chiropractic adjustments, kinesio-taping, rehabilitation exercise programs and massage therapy.  Our goal is to get our patients back to full function as quickly as possible and teach the tools they need to stay better and accomplish their training goals. 



New Study Shows Chiropractic Can Potentially Improve Muscle Strength

A new study published in the journal Experiment Brain Research has shown that a full­spine chiropractic adjustment can increase the test subjects' ability to increase electrical activity in their contracting leg muscles by almost 60%. In the study, this translated to a 16% in absolute force generated. Also shown was a 45% increase in the ability of the brain to activate the particular muscle being tested.

A collaboration between the New Zealand College of Chiropractic's Centre for Chiropractic Research and neurophysiologist Professor Kemal Turker, “this study is the first to indicate that chiropractic adjustments of the spine can actually induce significant changes in the net excitability for the low­threshold motor units. The results of the study also indicate that spinal adjustments can prevent fatigue”, according to Dr. Haavik, Director of Research at the NZCC.

So what does this mean for us? This study has initially shown fascinating results that could have huge ramifications to various populations in society. Who needs their muscles firing more efficiently and powerfully? Athletes, for starters. The ability to gain a 16% increase in absolute force from a muscle cannot be achieved with most training regimens in less than several weeks, at best. At the higher end of the athletic spectrum, marginal gains are frequently sought after to give any edge over their competitors. A marginal gain is typically considered 1%. Imagine 16 times that in one chiropractic session!!

Another population to consider are those individuals who are either injured and forced to rehabilitate, or suffer from a muscle degrading dysfunction, such as a stroke. By increasing the ability of the brain to activate targeted muscles, you increase the efficiency of the rehabilitative
efforts. This study has shown a 45% increase in that area, so that should translate to decreased time at the physical therapists' office, and more time living an active lifestyle.

Cautions: While this research study is very exciting, it must be mentioned that it is newly completed, and has not had time to be subjected to follow­up studies. However, where there is smoke, there is typically fire. Even if some of the numbers do not hold up to repeat studies over time, there is certainly compelling evidence that chiropractic adjustments can benefit muscle function. It goes with the idea I've used as the basis of my practice for over ten years: The body works better when it is working the way it is supposed to.

I will keep my attention focused on future studies of this subject, and am excited for the possibilities of what they might reveal. In the meantime, there are other performance and healing benefits that are associated with chiropractic care. Do not hesitate to contact ESSM to learn more about the benefits, and to take advantage for yourself!!



Is Movement Missing From Your Golf Game?

Like most athletes, golfers are constantly searching for that extra edge in their game. The goal being to consistently shoot as low as possible, there are many options on the market to help achieve this. Ball and club technologies, as well as swing analyses and lessons are prevalent in the golfing community to help hit the ball into orbit, but there is a commonly overlooked aspect of the swing equation—the elimination of joint dysfunction.

Joint dysfunction is improper movement—or lack of movement—between two bones of the body. Joint dysfunction can affect the body by decreasing range of motion, creating muscle imbalances, and affecting neurology and the reproduceability of movement patterns. This may exist without any signs or symptoms of pain.

Range of motion is paramount to a successful golf swing. The back-swing and follow-through are what creates distance on your ball. If your movement is limited by fixated or stuck joints in your spine, then you will not be able to create the distance that you would were everything working properly.

Muscle imbalances are created when muscles that are designed to perform a certain job moving bones meet the resistance of a fixated joint. Now they contract and pull, but the resistance causes them to spasm and become painful. To achieve the desired movement, other muscles must join in. Now the body has muscles doing work that they were not designed to do. This creates pain in areas, imbalances, and a lack of normal, smooth movement. Each of these can negatively affect the swing mechanics.

Finally, when a joint does not function properly, and the muscles around the joint are not in their natural, balanced state, then the neurology of that area becomes dysfunctional as well. There are nerve receptors in the joint and in the tissues in/around muscle that detect movement and body position, and if they are compromised, then the messages that they relay to the brain are inaccurate. This leads to the brain having a slightly “off” picture of how the body is truly positioned. Without really knowing where the body is in relation to itself, the club, and the ball, no amount of lessons, and not even a $5000 club will help you get the most out of your swing.

To address this problem, and to get the most out of your body you need to have the joint dysfunction addressed and corrected. The sports chiropractors at Evergreen Spine & Sports Medicine are ideally suited to this task as they not only address the dysfunctional joint, but also the surrounding tissue problems that have arisen as a result of the problematic joint. This will improve the range of motion, the muscular imbalances, the neurological function, and ultimately your swing—and with far less effort on your part than hitting a few buckets at the range!