Muscle and Joint Chiropractic Fri, 10 May 2013 10:25:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Triathlon Training and Recovery Thu, 18 Apr 2013 18:19:30 +0000 jphipps One of the most crucial pieces left out of a beginner’s triathlon training program is recovery. If you don’t allow your body to recover, then overtraining can occur.  Training for a triathlon can put a lot of stress on your body because you have to train for 3 sports at once.  Learning to balance swimming, biking, and running in the right ratios takes time.  Common warning signs of overtraining include:

  • Sudden drop in performance
  • Changes in your sleep pattern
  • Loss of enthusiasm for training
  • Change in appetite
  • Increased incidence of illness
  • Feeling tired even after easy workouts
  • Moody and unpleasant to be around

Beginner athletes always assume more is better.  This may work for a year or so but eventually you will stop seeing improvements and realize that you have to train smarter, not harder.  The best way to do that is to get a triathlon coach.  Find someone in your area that has a good reputation and listen to everything they say.  If hiring a trainer is not in your budget, then read the Triathlete’s Training Bible.  This book will give you the basics to design your own training program. Everyone responds differently to training and listening to your body is very important.  Your training program will change over the years as you learn what works and what doesn’t work. Most programs will have at least one complete rest day a week and then every 4th week will be an easy week.  It is also important to take a break from training completely at the end of the triathlon season. Learning to train smarter will allow you to perform pain free for many years.


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No pain, no gain…..right? Mon, 15 Apr 2013 11:50:31 +0000 jphipps Have you ever heard the saying, no pain, no gain?  This saying can be a good thing or a really bad thing.  For example, if a triathlete starts swimming after a long break, it is probably going to be a painful experience.  It’s hard to get oxygen, your arms are sore, and you are trying your hardest not to let your legs become a 60 pound anchor.  At first you have to push through the pain, and eventually it becomes easier. Pain in this case is a part of becoming better, stronger, and faster.  If that same triathlete has shoulder pain on his right side during the recovery portion of his stroke, then that’s a different story.  This is bad pain and indicates that the joint is not working correctly.  This pain would most likely be caused from scar tissue built up in the rotator cuff muscles.  This will cause the joint to move incorrectly and create pain in the shoulder and down the arm.  Bad pain is your body’s way of saying STOP.  If you try to work though the pain and take anti-inflammatory medicine, it will only get worse.  The medicine will allow you to continue to move the joint wrong until something tears.  I like the saying, “No GOOD pain, no gain”.   If you are unsure if your pain is good or bad, please schedule an exam to find out.


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Spinal decompression with no machine? Tue, 09 Apr 2013 02:38:37 +0000 jphipps When most people hear of spinal decompression, they think of big fancy machines basically pulling you apart. Or they may think of inversion tables, essentially hanging you upside down.  These machines are supposed to cause decompression in the spine because they distract (pull apart) the vertebrae, taking pressure off of the discs.  It may feel good when you are in the machine but as soon as you stand up and let gravity take effect, most people are back to where they started.

Why don’t these machines have long term results?

Because they cannot get rid of scar tissue in the muscles. Any muscle that crosses a joint will stabilize and compress it.  In the neck and low back there are many muscles that cross these joints.  If you have scar tissue build up in these muscles, then they will always add increased load and pressure to your discs.  Removing the scar tissue with ART, MAR, and IAR, will naturally decompress the spine.

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Can you really “work through” the pain? Thu, 04 Apr 2013 16:37:40 +0000 jphipps The short answer is maybe, but eventually it will catch up with you.  I have many patients that come in and say they can usually work through the pain but this time it will not go away.  This response indicates to me that they never actually worked through the pain.  Their body compensated by loading up another area.  Eventually there will be no other areas to compensate to and pain will result.  Most of my patients are between the ages of 40-55.  This is the common age range when the body runs out of areas to compensate to.  One of the most common pain generators is scar tissue formation in muscles, ligaments, and tendons.  To learn more about scar tissue click here.  If you have a nagging injury that will not go away or you have been “working through” the pain, please call our office to schedule an exam.  This way you will know if scar tissue is at the root of your pain.

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Can foam rolling remove scar tissue? Mon, 01 Apr 2013 18:45:36 +0000 jphipps Foam rolling is a great way to warm up before exercise, but it will never remove scar tissue.

I am a big fan of foam rolling as a warm up.  It will warm up the tissue and temporarily relax your tissue to allow for better range of motion.  However, I would never use a foam roll as a method of removing pain.  If you are experiencing pain, you should be evaluated by a professional.  Most likely you have scar tissue build up in your muscle.  This scar tissue can alter the way the joint moves which leads to pain.  You can think of it as pouring glue into a muscle.  The muscle won’t stretch or contract like it should.  The only way to get rid of the scar tissue is to develop a lot of tension directly on the scar tissue. This is accomplished by using ART, MAR, and IAR.

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Preventing Shoulder Pain: Installment 2 Mon, 04 Mar 2013 22:51:19 +0000 jphipps Avoid upright rows and never perform empty can exercises.

Upright row
Upright row


Empty can exercise
Empty can exercise

Both of these exercises create impingement in the shoulder.  The position of the arms causes the bones in your arm and shoulder blade to jam into the bursa and rotator cuff tendons. This can cause irritation, inflammation, and pain.

If you have to perform vertical rows, make sure you shrug your shoulders at the top.  The shrug will move the shoulder blade out of the way and decrease impingement.

The empty can exercise should never be performed. It has been shown that you will get better muscle activation without the injury risk if you perform the same type of exercise with the thumb pointed up.  So if you are doing the empty can exercise (thumbs pointed down) perform it with the thumbs up.

Preventing Shoulder Pain: Installment 1

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5 quick tips to reduce injury during a car accident Mon, 04 Mar 2013 22:31:19 +0000 jphipps This article will provide you with simple tips to reduce your chances of being injured during a car accident (especially rear end collisions).

1.  Always have your headrest properly adjusted. Ideally the top of your headrest should be level with the top of your head.

If your headrest is too low, your head will extend above and over the restraint, which then acts as fulcrum and increases your injury risk. When you are struck from behind, a 1-3 inch vertical rise in your head will occur. This can further bring your head up and over the headrest aggravating your neck.  Make sure the adjustable headrest is locked into position. When the head snaps back, it could make contact with the top of the headrest and may drive it down like a hammer drives a nail.  Unfortunately, headrests are designed for the 50% male (5’10”) population. Taller individuals should still adjust the headrest into the highest position.

2.  Keep the back of your head as close to the headrest as possible (see picture above).


“Backset” is the distance from the back of your head to the front of the headrest. A starting backset greater than 2 inches decreases the ability of the head restraint to protect against neck injury. Studies have found that neck symptoms increased when the backset distance was more that 4 inches.

3. Don’t sit too close to the steering wheel.

Sitting too close to the steering wheel can result in the airbag hitting you at full deployment speed (around 200 mph).  In an ideal situation you want to contact the airbag after if fully deploys. You should sit at least 10 inches from the steering wheel (measured from the center of the steering wheel to your sternum/breast bone).

4. Buckle up even if you are in the backseat.

I think by now everyone knows to buckle up. Most cars have airbags and without being buckled up the airbags become a deadly weapon.  I think its pretty common to be lazy when you are in the back seat, especially when you don’t have to worry about being struck by a 200 mph airbag. If you don’t want to buckle up for yourself, you should at least do it for the front seat passengers. When the rear seat passengers are unrestrained, the fatality risk to front seat occupants is increased by up to 75%.

5. Don’t allow passengers to put their feet on the dashboard.  If they are in this position during an accident, it could result in serious injury.  Generally you always want to keep your arms and legs away from where the airbag deploys.

The above recommendations are some of things you can do to reduce your chances of being injured in automobile accidents.  The next article, “To brace or not to brace for impact”, will cover what to do if you look in your review mirror and see that someone is clearly going to ram into the back of your vehicle.

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To brace or not to brace for impact? Mon, 04 Mar 2013 22:28:28 +0000 jphipps Now that you understand 5 quick tips to reduce injury during a car accident, what do you do if you look in your review mirror and you see another vehicle clearly not planning on stopping?  Should you brace for impact, tensing all of your muscles, or should you try to be as relaxed as possible?  Research shows that people who are aware of an impending collision and have time to brace for impact have better long-term outcomes and less injury.  So you should always brace for impact.  You have a lot of muscles in your neck that can protect the ligaments, discs, and nerves in your neck.  If you relax your muscles the ligaments, discs, and nerves will have to take a much larger percentage of the force and can become damaged.  It is much easier for muscles to heal then nerves, discs, or ligaments.

To prepare for a rear-end collision:

1.Brace your head against the headrest.  This reduces the distance between your head and the front of your headrest. The closer your head is to the headrest the better.

2. Always look forward and NEVER lean forward.  If you have your head turned at impact this increases your chance of injury.

3. Push your foot on the brake pedal and push your back squarely against the seat back.

4. Tense up like someone is going to punch you in the back with a 4000-pound car.

If you are involved in a car accident, it is important to be evaluated as soon as possible. Once more serious injuries like fracture, dislocation, or disc herniations are ruled out, it is important to have your neck and back evaluated by a Chiropractor.  Early treatment can reduce your chances of experiencing pain later down the road.


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Vitamin D and Cod Liver Oil Wed, 28 Nov 2012 14:37:49 +0000 jphipps With the winter months upon us, we need to start thinking about vitamin D supplementation.  The best method of obtaining vitamin D is through sun exposure, but what is the next best thing?  Some professionals make the argument for cod liver oil. The following article explains why all cod liver oil is not created equal. The best product on the market is BLUE ICE fermented cod liver oil.  I personally like the cinnamon tingle version (click her for product details). Fermented cod liver oil doesn’t taste very good, but it is so packed with nutrition that it’s worth it.
Please read this article to learn more: Cod Liver Oil Basics and Recommendations.
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Preventing Shoulder Pain-Installment 1 Tue, 27 Nov 2012 18:32:40 +0000 jphipps Shoulder pain is one of the more common reasons patients come to Muscle and Joint Chiropractic. We have excellent results using Integrative Diagnosis™ with MAR™ and IAR™ and ART® to treat the soft tissue surrounding the shoulder, but understanding how the shoulder works is crucial to preventing you from having to visit the Chiropractor’s office. The shoulder (glenohumeral) joint is designed for movement.  This becomes obvious when you look at the structure of the joint.  The amount of support from the bone is minimal.  If you think of a softball sitting on top of a golf tee, then you can imagine how much bony support (the area that the golf tee is in contact with the softball) that the shoulder receives.

Since the support doesn’t come from the bone, the soft tissue surrounding the shoulder plays a huge role.  The group of muscles that cross the shoulder (rotator cuff muscles) contract to stabilize the shoulder.  To get a better understanding of how the rotator cuff muscles work, click the following link (Rotator Cuff ). The tendons of the long head of the bicep and tricep also cross the glenohumeral joint, but their role is outside the scope of this article. There is also a labrum, shoulder capsule, and ligaments to help support the shoulder. All of the above structures can be damaged during improper exercise technique, so learning proper technique is crucial to every exercise you perform.  So if you want to get HUGE or swim in an Ironman triathlon or anything in between, then start taking care of your shoulders.  These installments will cover some common mistakes that occur at the gym.  It is always best to hire a fitness professional to watch your form and correct any technique flaws that you may have.  Time and money spent now will save you a lot of hassle in the future.

The seated horizontal row is a very common exercise performed incorrectly at the gym.

First mistake is pulling the elbows too far back.  The elbows should only go until they hit the side of your torso.  See below:

Wrong-Elbows too far back[/caption]

Correct-Elbows at torso[/caption]

If you pull your elbows too far back, two major problems arise. First, your shoulders roll forward and place stress on the front portion of you shoulder capsule and ligament. This can lead to shoulder instability because these structures become slackened. Second, when your elbows come behind your torso, you are more likely to pinch your shoulder blades together and shrug your shoulders.  This will lead to a strong rhomboid  and upper trapezius contraction without major contributions of the lower trapezius or serratus anterior.  This will be discussed more in a future article but it essentially will lead to muscle imbalances that can lead to shoulder damage.  Instead of pinching your shoulder blades together, you should imagine pulling your shoulder blades down and back. You also have to be careful that you don’t pull your shoulder blades too far down because too much scapular depression can encourage the forward shoulder roll. This is why it is beneficial to have an expert observing you.

Wrong-squeezing shoulder blades together, elbows too close to side and elbows too far back.[/caption]

The picture above also shows the elbows too close to the torso. This will encourage forward rolling shoulders as well.  The elbows should be off your side about 20-40 degrees.

Another common mistake that can occur is neck protraction.  This is where the head moves into the forward head position. See below:

Wrong- Chin is too far forward[/caption]

The neck should be retracted (also called packing the neck in some circles of the strength training world) at all times during the exercise.  Basically you should make a double chin.

There are many variations of the horizontal pull and the above tips should be followed on them as well.  If you want to dive deeper into the row, Eric Cressey, MA, CSCS has an excellent video entitled 8 ways to screw up a row. He focuses on the standing one arm cable row which is a better exercise than the seated horizontal row. Standing one arm cable rows force the core to contract more because your body has to resist the rotational force from the pulling arm.

Hopefully these tips will help you the next time you’re at the gym.


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