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Body Mapping – a New Way of Understanding PAIN

prefer to listen to this article? episode 36 on SportDocDC – wherever you podcast

In a couple of my recent articles I had used the term “threats” to describe how the brain reacts to certain injuries in the body.

 We talked about how extremities like the ankle and hands tend to swell yet the spinal area does more of a splinting lockdown. Two different areas of the body into different reactions.

A lot of this information is coming from some really Cutting Edge Sports practitioners that are in the research world. Much of this information comes from experts that work on pain. The way I had first heard about this was one of these pain specialists talking about how they work on soldiers coming back from the Middle East that have lost limbs. The soldiers will complain about phantom pain.  “Doc, why does my hand hurt so bad? I don’t have a hand anymore.” 

 This led to some really interesting research on why and how we feel pain. Hopefully a lot of what I’m going to go over with you today will at the root of it make a lot of sense. The first time I heard the information I thought there’s no way that that can work. But it is a great way to describe the body. As I started experimenting on some of this with my clients, it was immediately obvious that these new ideas not only worked for a large number of clients but worked almost like a miracle for some.

Over the last couple years this idea has grown. It’s a case of the science catching up with the techniques.   We knew it worked but weren’t sure why.

The boots on the ground practitioners taking the research to their clinics and patients and then sharing the results thereby driving more and better research.   

This kind of thing is happening in all fields. Healthcare, Fitness and diet just happens to be my realm so I love pushing the envelope of new ideas.

 Today I’m going to talk about the idea of “body mapping.”

 Body mapping by itself really doesn’t take much of a stretch for it to make sense. It’s just that the explanation has never been done before. We ALL do it.  We just weren’t seeing it because the WHY had never been asked.

Many of you know if you look at any of my articles on the sister site, BeAwesome365  -I love word swaps.

 Just by changing one or two words you can drastically change the way your brain sees a certain situation. By changing this perspective a lot of times you can change results. Body mapping is this. I’m going to give you a different way to visualize how your body works. 

This idea has a few different terms but I’m going to stick with the wording BODY MAPPING  because it seems to really work with my clients.  This and that’s the way the top dogs are describing it in their lectures.   You guys get what the pros get!

 I’m going to take it one step further though.  I’m going to analogize the whole idea by using the GPS map on your phone.

So hang with me here for a few minutes as I teach grad level neurology in a simple context you can use.

When you whip out your Google Maps and you tell your phone to take you to a certain location immediately all the streets and corners and shortcuts pop up and start to build your starting image.  The GPS will even tell you which directions are slower traveling, spots where more cars are backed up or there happen to be more red lights. This will then allow you to make the decision you want to. 

If you decide to turn at a different Corner than the GPS sent you,  you just do it – the  app adapts and reroutes you.

 So let’s think of the body like this.

In this analogy – 

The location that you’re trying to get to and from are body parts.   As if you stepped on a stone walkway barefoot and the brain immediately senses this. The locations are your foot and your brain.  The signal needs to get to the brain from the foot and back again to set your gait for the next step.

 The roads are your nerve pathway. They run in a certain direction and have all kinds of connections.  There are things in the way that they need to go around, over and through like your bones and muscles.  There are millions of different routes that have potential to get you to the same place.

 So if the locations are the body parts and the roads are your nerve highway and road system,  your fascial chain and skin are basically your map.

 There are  millions upon Millions of receptors in your skin. This is how your brain keeps track of where you are in space and how you’re moving. 

Think of your foot. We always tend to think of the foot as the part of the body that makes us move through our world. But at the heart of it, the primary function of the foot is the ultimate sensor. Every step you take your foot is relaying information to your brain. Not just where you are, but if that stone pathway has sand, snow,  gravel or Pokey sticks lying on it. 

The foot, particularly the skin and fascia chain surrounding the foot,  tells you how much pressure you are putting on the rest of your body.    It senses if you’re going out for a stroll to your mailbox versus Landing after having dunked on James in front of his mom and Big Blue..

Understand that some places in your body have more nerves that focus on these type of Sensations. Nerves for pain, pressure, temperature. Then there are nerves that are deep inside your joints that tell you if you are upside down or if your shoulders are in a position that isn’t safe. There are nerves that keep your heart running without you having to think about it and tell your intestines how much nutrients to absorb and how much to pass on.    Some are highways and some are county roads.

I can go on and on with these kind of explanations but you get it. Neurologists and scientists in these fields spend their entire careers and lifetimes just on certain aspects of one of these. It goes DEEP!

 But let’s make this easy. 

 Your skin and sensors are the map. The nerves are the roads. And the GPS on your phone…, what you are looking at right now?   the actual screen…That’s the brain. Not the location brain, but the overall information processor.   

That’s taking in all that  information at the same time.   It senses everything!

Following me?  

 Let’s say you asked your GPS to get you to your favorite sports based chiropractor. But once the GPS map calculated the route you noticed there was a giant black circular area in the middle of the map.

Basically what’s happening is the GPS isn’t getting the proper information.   It could be that a meteor had landed there and destroyed the entire area. Maybe there’s some sort of federal lockdown and the government and their techy superstar hackers  have issued a blackout for that area. Or maybe there’s an emergency and the GPS has some sort of mechanism that keeps other people and vehicles from travelling there.

At the end of the day, your screen doesn’t care why- it just knows that there’s a big black area on the map. More than likely you will reroute yourself if the computer doesn’t do it on its own. I mean who wants to drive into a great big black area that they don’t know about?

 This is kind of what happens when you have an injury to an area on your body. 

 Let’s say you were wrestling with your friends and you injure your shoulder. Initially, All the brain knows is that something isn’t right. And initially it doesn’t even know if the injury is severe. All it knows is it something is wrong. And the Brain wants to protect the body –  the body is like, super important to the brain. 

Also the brain doesn’t entirely trust YOU.  Yeah, you’ve made some pretty poor decisions about your body in the past, it’s not ready for full trust yet. 

So what it does is kind of black out the area.    The Brain doesn’t have enough information to know what went wrong it just knows there was something painful or it moved wrong and that something’s not right. It feels a THREAT!    (“Threat” is a relatively new term in the sports med world but is very descriptive and accurate.)   see the article  “Different Responses” 

It’s going to take more information before it decides to go into emergency mode or if it just decides to let everything go back to normal.

We’ve all rolled our ankles playing basketball? 

 It’s the end of the world.  You can’t walk.  You scream like the Sorority Girl in a horror movie. The Game Stops.  The other players scatter and the coach or athletic trainer runs out onto the court to see what’s wrong. More than likely you have to be carried out with some of the bigger players carrying you away to the locker room. You see this every other night in the NBA.

2 minutes later, everything feels good again and you come back on the court. Kind of makes you feel goofy that you acted like such a sissy…I mean you feel just fine now.

 That was your brain having a couple minutes to get more information and then deciding based on that information that everything was okay and you can continue on as normal.

 In our GPS analogy. That is the black hole it was there for a minute and then “click” right  back right to normal.

But what happens when the brain doesn’t receive the information?

This is what happens with the soldiers that have lost their limbs. They still have arm pain even though they don’t have an arm. They had something so traumatic and instantaneous that the brain didn’t know what the heck happened.

 Now after some time, if the brain does not receive more information or receives poor and conflicting information it basically keeps the area blacked out. Some of us in the healthcare industry call it “smudged.”  

 If I was looking at a paper map the term “smudged” makes a lot of sense but in our analogy we’re looking at a GPS, so I used a black hole – you could also use a pixelated or diffuse or transparent idea – but either way the idea is the signal isn’t getting through strong and so the brain keeps the area disconnected.

In order to restore the pepper map –   which is where the “body mapping” term comes from,  the brain needs more information.

This is the case of the sprained ankle that doesn’t recover very well. The one that is still sore 5 days later and indeed never really seems to get all the way recovered. Maybe even 6 months later you still have some phantom pain and your foot just doesn’t respond the way it is supposed to. I mean you can walk now and you can go for a little jog but you wouldn’t even want to think about jumping rope. And that’s 6 months later. And when the doctor asks you, “Where does it hurt?” You can’t really even find the area. Basically you just kind of rub your whole foot and ankle and say “ahhhhh  somewhere around here.”

 Well in that case, it’s poor mapping. The GPS isn’t receiving any more information so it just gives the information to the brain that “it’s not sure what’s going on.” 

Now here’s an important point…In most cases the brain doesn’t want to risk you going back to full activity so it just fills that area in the brain map with the best way it knows how to protect the body.  With pain.     Diffused, annoying, broad pain.

The body mapping idea is simply that: 

 -A black spot on the map is filled with pain sensation because the brain isn’t sure what’s going on and that’s how it protects.

Like I see in my clinic  – this pain theory doesn’t work for all issues –  Body Mapping theory isn’t injury based, it’s diffuse pain based.   It’s a different pain than a more severe or “true injury” 

One of the clues that we know this is happening is that with a true injury – like a fall on an outstretched hand – (called a FOOSH injury) the body reacts differently..   When you have an acute moderate to severe injury-  you describe your injury to your doctor kind of like this, “doc it hurts when I raise my arm like this, and it hurts right here.”

 You can describe the injury to your doctor by pushing directly to one area and then moving your body in the mechanism that causes pain.   Like pointing to one specific spot on your shoulder and saying, “it hurts when I do this.” 

 In a body mapping error,  that’s not the case. When I ask you where you hurt,  you rub your entire shoulders, neck, upper back and arm and say,” ahhh somewhere around here”      The area you described  has dozens of muscles, multiple joints, multiple bones. 

It’s not even similar to the way you describe the acute injury.  

The entire area hurts. The entire area of the map has been blacked out.

By understanding the body this way, we can start to affect how to get you out of pain better.

As doctors and therapists we all learn the body the American way.  Often called Western Medical Model.   First you learn all the bones, then the muscles, Then the nerves. Then you learn how each nerve goes to each muscle and innervates or stimulates that specific area.   In the last decade the fascia has been big news in our industries, yeah for something new!  

 And although I agree that is a great way to learn and is the standard for the last three to four hundred years. I think at times, with certain issues,  this is why we fail. We have been taught that the shoulder has 6 rotator cuff muscles, the PEC, the upper back muscles, three different bones. Six different major nerves etc.  

 We, as practitioners, learn that when you throw a ball there is a firing sequence. First the muscles on the back side of the shoulder and upper back have to fire. That is how you load the ball back.   Next in sequence the external rotation muscles fire to allow your arm to go even further back .  This is where the ball starts to turn backwards. So there are additional muscle and joint activities happening in the elbow and wrist. Then as we start to throw the ball the anterior side muscle start.  Muscle spindle cells and Golgi Tendon Apparatus allow a smooth transition from firing sequence to shut down sequence without even having to think about it!    The firing sequence dictates that the pec will start to increase velocity, followed by the muscles of the anterior delt and so on and so on.

 This is what makes being a Kinesiology major so much fun. You can talk such a huge game. When you understand this stuff, you are the smartest guy in the class and you can impress all of your friends. It makes you sound smarter and  what’s even better is so many of these words are huge important sounding Latin derivatives. I feel like a genius and I talk like a genius. Maybe I am…?

 Basic anatomy and physiology I think is a fantastic way to examine and diagnose as well as treat sports injuries. But it has its drawbacks because often the pain has been there for a while and is the body mapping version.

 You see your brain doesn’t see your body in motion as anatomy and firing sequences. That happens automatically. Your brain sees your shoulder as a shoulder, your knee as your knee, and your foot as your foot. It doesn’t think to throw a ball by utilizing the firing sequence I discussed above.

It just thinks “throw the ball” and it does it.   You’ve been ingraining that for years and the brain has a whole area set aside to just throw it.

That’s why this  “body mapping” analogy and visualization helps with a lot of different injuries especially, long-term diffuse annoying injuries.

 The brain only recognizes it hurts when you throw or that something isn’t safe yet. 

It senses and relays a threat.  It’s just a different version of pain.   

 So here’s the good news.

 If we can just step back a second and try a different version of treatment, ie use the body mapping version we get more efficient with our doctoring.

Because it is often simple.   The way to fix the issue, decrease the pain and increase the range of motion is simply to give the  brain more and better information. When you can show the brain that it is okay to go into a certain range of motion, that it is okay to stand on your ankle and jump again… That there is no threat. The brain gets good information again.    The black hole on your GPS starts to come back again. Sometimes it comes back slowly and blurry, as I talked about before, smudged. But given enough information and doing it the right way and the picture comes back. The brain remaps the body.

 When there IS NO MORE black hole, and the brain has a good picture of what’s happening. And the information coming from its map is solid, it’s business as usual. Joints start to move better, muscles work the way they’re supposed to and you go on with your happy day.

 When you treat the same injuries with the anatomy and physiology model oftentimes it just doesn’t seem to get anywhere. There’s no direct injury so it’s very hard to come up with a direct treatment.

 The idea is just to give the brain better information.

 What’s so unique about this system however isn’t the explanation or even the understanding.  It’s the hack that we can use. When we think about the skin as our biggest sensory organ – the information system- the MAP…we can then use it to give the brain better signals.

 The skin and the hair follicles around the skin have anywhere from 30 to a hundred times more nerve endings, specifically the type of nerves that tell us about pressure, temperature and oh yeah PAIN.  Why do you think paper cuts hurt like they do?  Tiny injury/Large pain signal…Because there are so many nerve endings there.   

What else is important to know.  Is that pain signals travel quite slowly as compared to the nerves for Movement and Tactile sensation, like scratchy feelings or decompression.

 I once heard it in a seminar that pain signals travel about 2 miles per hour, which is very quick from your ankle to your head. 

However…Tactile sensation like scratch, drag and rubbing and decompression sensation like a cup or Rocktape,  as well as movement travel about 70 miles per hour and bombard the brain with new information.  Faster and and more Amplified than their slow moving pain signal counterparts.

 Basically they, in a fashion, block the pain signals from getting to your brain.

Remember when I said that a lot of this becomes common sense when you see the body with this idea of body mapping?

 So let’s take it to a real life example – we’ll use someone that has never heard of body mapping in their life.

 Picture my eight-year-old boy as he’s running through the house and he bangs his hand on a solid wooden chair.

 His initial reaction, even before he starts to cry,  is to rub his skin around the area very lightly and start to move his fingers and hand.

 We’ve all done this. It’s automatic. The tactile sensation of rubbing as well as immediate movement will decrease the pain faster than doing nothing.

This is how a bunch of guys much smarter than me decided that we could probably use that information to create better treatments for our patients that were having issues involving body mapping.

 To see some videos of this in action check out a few of the ones I put on YouTube as I think seeing a visual is pretty powerful.  Basically we are using the skin to give the brain better information. This has been going on for a few years so it’s not as brand new as it might sound.  .

Treatment involves simply getting in there and just starting to stimulate an area.  We can use a rubber drag tool, a scratchy tool, Rocktape and movement    That is what we did a few years ago. Now we Innovate and test and retest.   We take the skin different directions with different pressures, different tools, twisting, decompression, all trying to modulate cutaneous nerves to connect and communicate with the body and brain faster and more efficiently.

 Sometimes the results are mind-blowing. As a practitioner nothing makes me feel better than helping somebody that has had pain for months Or to get them  feeling better for the first time.

 It’s why I got into the profession.

BODY MAPPING  –  is a new style of seeing the body, a new way of working with the anatomy. And definitely something different than what was being done even a few years ago. It doesn’t work for everything. There’s no way for me to guarantee it or to deliver every time. It depends more on how the brain is seeing the body. 

It’s simply another trick for our practitioner tool box.   

 It’s a way to use existing Tools in a new fashion.

 I think it explains why a lot of the things that we are doing in our clinics via trial and error are working despite us not being able to explain it.

It’s the science catching up to what was working already only we weren’t sure why.

Body mapping is better wording. Is better vocabulary. It is a word Swap and is a super powerful tool that has made working in my clinic more enjoyable.

 I think the idea of looking at this and explaining this via GPS is a very powerful analogy to simplify it.

There you go.  Enjoy it, play with it – and impress the guy in the next cubicle with your newfound knowledge! 

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Different Reactions (need different treatments)

Podcast Available wherever you get yours! #35 on SportsDocDC

As practitioners continue to search for modern ways to look at how the body responds to injury , we also start to look into better terminology and ways to describe new approaches to clients.   

This boots on the ground doctoring involves real life experimentation into what works and what fizzles.  It drives research to new ways of treating and continues to push our industry and others to the cutting edge.   

Generally speaking – I want you to get what the pros and olympians get.   Why wait for 20 years for new treatments to trickle down?   Everything in the modern era has quicker turnover and I don’t think your health care should be any different.

As you all know,  I think the explanation is almost more valuable than the treatment.    If you don’t know how or why something works you tend to make poor decisions.

 Poor and wrong decisions despite your best attempt.

 In an effort to briefly explain a key reason we often make mistakes in self diagnosis and self treatment I want to take an entirely different industry and use it as an example and analogy for what I feel is one of the biggest mistakes in healthcare.

I’m not that doctor that tells you, “Don’t google your symptoms, it’s too scary.”  

 In fact I’m nearly polar opposite, “It’s Your body, you need to be responsible for what happens to your own body. I definitely want you looking this stuff up and coming up with your own ideas. No doctor will EVER know what it feels like to be you-  the way you will.”

So hang along with me for a story involving plumbing that will miraculously explain the inner workings of the human body better than your 101 kines. class.

 At my house we have a water well.   It’s very basic, a hole dug into the ground and a pump that will help pull the water up. There is also a great big blue “water tank”  that is used to help create the pressure.  So when I turn on my hose or sprinkler system the water can get to where it needs to go.

 I spent all last summer tinkering with this simple setup because it wouldn’t work well.

I kept blowing out PVC pipes from the pump to the water well and from the water well to the sprinkler system and I couldn’t seem to get anything to work the right way.   While I’m not handy,  I definitely try- and I love to try things in the vocational realm because I just didn’t grow up with much of this knowledge.

After about the fifth attempt at gluing together my PVC piping. watching the pressure build and an Old Faithful type explosion that would bring neighborhood kids from three houses over, I decided I needed to try something different. The science made sense,  I had everything hooked up the way it originally had been.  Working flawlessly for about 4 years with no problems.   So what’s the problem?

 I then brought out a professional who decided the entire thing was set up wrong and went about charging me $1,000.  He put in a new pump, completely redoing all of the plumbing and pipes and even digging another hole so we had two wells to draw from.

“Ahhh, that’s it, let’s try it now.”… BOOM!   Explosion!    The plumber promptly left  with my money and told me, “I don’t know what’s going wrong. But hey at least you have new stuff. When you finally get it working it should work better.”

 Thanks buddy.

 Analogy number one – 

 This happens to you. 

You have some sort of pain or discomfort or something in your body isn’t working the right way so you start tinkering with it and messing around and doing some things that your PE coach in high school taught you.  Or more likely, something that you caught on YouTube and you play with it for a while. Let’s say 5 attempts just like I did for the piping, but realistically more like 5 months. You probably do it just like I did, fairly half-assed and when it was convenient.

Not surprisingly, It failed.  So you call up your local practitioner, be it a chiropractor, physio, PT or athletic trainer and I also see a lot of people go to their orthopedic surgeons.

Collectively,  we look at the issue, tell you what we think is going on and proceed to work on you. Often times you give us one or two chances and then bail. Also Often times you give us 16 chances and nothing gets better. Either way it was a fail. So just like my plumbing system… what’s going on?

 My well system self help went just like this.

Eventually YouTube took me to a guy talking about how the bladder inside those big blue water tanks will often rupture. Without the bladder you can’t create the right pressure.  You really can’t create any pressure.

 With this new information I had new ideas about how the system worked. So I started looking at my big blue tank.    I noticed immediately that on the top of the blue tank,  there was an air valve like what you would find on your bicycle where you would fill up your inner tubes. Well that makes it really easy to check if there’s any air pressure. So I put my air pressure gauge on there and it showed me that there was about 40 lb of pressure. So I got on my compressor and I filled it up to 60 lb of pressure and tried my system again.

 Explosion. More neighborhood kids. I’m pretty sure one of them had popcorn this time and was really loving the drama. I mean this was the third or fourth week this has been going on.

So I started thinking.   You all know I do a lot of that!

“I’ll bet there is way too much pressure in that tank. In fact if there was too much pressure there wouldn’t even be the ability for water to be stored.  It’s a “water tank” after all.   That makes sense.  Yes, that must be it!   Too much air pressure and too little water, no wonder my sprinkler system only works for about 4 seconds and then it dies out.”

“Once the water pressure Rises and the tank fills up, It should run perfectly.”

Result?   No result.  It did nothing.   

 Finally after another two weeks of no success, but also no more effort (see the similarities with how we treat the body) I went to one of my neighbors who is a very vocational man and has a few years experience over me. He came over with a couple of pipe wrenches and twisted a couple things. He then scratched his  head  and told me he couldn’t figure out what was wrong with the system either.

 Analogy number two – 

 After hoping for a quick fix with your health using one professional, you tend to jump to another one. The other professional may have different wordings and vocabulary and hopefully even new ideas but often, at the end of the day you still have the same issue.  Everyone is missing some key component so your treatment again stalls.

-After a day of thinking  about my well system, my neighbor called me up and said, “Chad I just can’t figure out what is wrong with that system it should be working like a champ. I installed it the first time and it was working very well for about 4 years. We’re missing something.”

 He continued, “Take me through what you have been doing so that I can track it and maybe I can find the mistake.”

You vocational thinking listeners already know what my mistake was because you understand how the well and pump system works. You see I thought I knew how the well and pump system worked. I looked stuff up online and it made a lot of sense. Sound theories, stuff on YouTube that worked…certainly a water tank would hold water.

However,  the people that have a better understanding realize that those big blue water tanks despite saying right on the side that it is a 70 gallon “water tank.” designed in Milwaukee Wisconsin,  actually don’t hold much water at all. They hold pressure. Air pressure. And the air pressure is what pushes the water into the pipes so the pipes can hold water pressure.

 Now this explanation isn’t as good as a master plumber or well worker would describe it.  There’s more science involved.  I can only get into the basics, even after living through the experience.

 The moral of this story is that I had one key flaw.

 Not understanding a water tank and how it worked.  That’s what kept me from fixing my problem.

 Analogy number 3.

 Sometimes we just need the problems stated a different way or described a different way to further our understanding so we can make the best decisions.

 Once we got the pressure right in the tank the system has since worked flawlessly.

 Thanks for hanging with me on my explanations and my three analogies.

“Ohhh, great Chad.  You just took me on a podcast that had absolutely nothing to do with more understanding of the human body and more just a story about your backyard water well. Come on man. How am I supposed to share this one?    No wonder you’ve got like 33 subscribers!”

Wait… here’s how. I want to give you a little bit of information and probably a better understanding or even a little bit different perspective of how I look at the human body and how THAT helps us make better clinical decisions in our office.     Having a little bit different idea will most likely allow you to better diagnose yourself thereby helping you come up with better Solutions.

The idea and title of this article is “Different Reactions.”

 One of the many lectures I give in my office with patients is just this idea of different body parts react to injury, stress or what in the sports world is described as “threats”… differently.

When an area of the body is under “THREAT” the brain immediately takes over to protect the area. Oftentimes it will sinch an area down or splint muscles around it or react with a huge edema and swelling.   A large part of why this happens is the brain is no longer receiving good information from that area. Kind of like the brain’s map of your body gets smudged out. 

When the brain isn’t getting the right information it immediately self protects in order to try to keep your body from sustaining more injury.

 For instance, we have almost all had a sprained ankle at some time. Extremities like the hand and Ankle tend to swell up very quickly. You have all seen ankles that are swollen up like the size of a baseball and are gooey, black and blue and very fluid filled.    Because that’s what happens when an ankle is injured.

 Any of you that have read my other articles, especially the ones about how lower back, upper back issues and a Crick in the neck respond to any “threat” realize that the spine doesn’t swell up like the ankle does. In fact stress along the spine is typically a direct local inflammation but instead of  swelling the body goes into lockdown mode along the spine and contracts the muscles in a splinting/spasm.    Your brain wants to protect your spine and so it locks the muscles down so you can’t move very quickly. You can mentally overcome this and push through it but the body will fight you every time. Like I say in my clinic,  “You just hurt your lower back yesterday –  your body doesn’t want you going bowling today.”

 Now your shoulder reacts differently to threat as well.  Almost any injury in the shoulder will cause the chest muscle, the PEC to contract. When the pec muscle locks down, your shoulder rotates inward and kind of naturally puts your arm into a shoulder sling position. Anyone that has ever had a long-term shoulder injury knows that the shoulder feels best when it is in that shoulder sling position. You don’t see shoulder slings as often as you did in the past because all of us medical grade people now realize THAT was a big part of what was causing  frozen shoulder a month or so after the initial shoulder issue. 

So the way of the shoulder sling has gone by the wayside for the most part. However your body still likes to put the shoulder into a position that causes the least amount of pain so it often will stay locked down.

In fact,  when I see somebody for a shoulder issue in my clinic they will tell me they either don’t remember when the initial pain started or what happened to cause it but the issue has just continued to be achy and tight for weeks.

 Going back to the water well analogy. Almost every day I see someone who comes to me for a shoulder issue that they have already been to three or four other practitioners for.   

 “Nothing helps and I haven’t got better.”

 But at the end of the day, despite what our titles are, a lot of what chiropractors, athletic trainers, physical therapists and physiotherapists see and treat..we do the same thing.

 What this patient needs is not the same treatment from another person but a different look. Because I have a lot of experience with the shoulders I checked the tight pec muscle first. If that thing is locked up there are easy signs that tell me this and I can unlock that Pec prior to doing any shoulder work.  

This is why we have such a good success with shoulder issues in our Clinic. It’s not because we have any radical new approaches that have never been looked at before. It’s because I understand the mechanism and because of that understanding my treatment works in a different order. My stage one is different then their previous practitioner stage 1. And that is what makes a difference.

 To tie it together,  I didn’t understand the full working of the water well system And I went about trying to fix it on faulty information and it didn’t get better.

 Often times  even My Brightest clients don’t understand the full mechanisms of how the body reacts to threats.      I mean even the idea and the term “threats”  it’s just a new way of looking at how the body reacts.

I’ll have a few more articles in the next couple weeks about some of the unique ways that the best sports professionals are looking at how the body reacts.

Anyway, I hope this gives you some enlightenment and new ideas. As always my basic advice for you is:

Go ahead and try to work on your own body. I’m not that doctor that tells you don’t look things up on Google. I want you to know your body. I want you to care and you will always be the best person to decide what is going on in your own body. 

None of us will ever know what it feels like to be you. So experiment. But have some parameters. If you have tried a certain approach for five times and you are not getting better. The answer isn’t that you need to just keep doing more of it.  After the fourth or fifth time of my water well pipes exploding and shooting a geyser to the Moon -I decided I needed a different approach.

 If you are trying a certain approach for work on your own body and it isn’t getting you anywhere after four or five tries, try something else.

 If you’re not sure where to go get professional help or at least try something different.

 It’s an old idea that is credited from Albert Einstein, “Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results is insanity.”

This practical insight is how we come up with some of the all time SportsDocDC classic ideas such as:

 stop stretching your lower back when it is tight, 

stop using a hot tub when you are inflamed, 

stop looking up rotator cuff exercises with a stretchy Red Band every time your shoulder hurts.

And more!

Instead, constantly strive for new information.  New Ideas, New Wording that makes sense for you.

That’s It!

I hope you love the way I present stuff on this website and stay here because I tend to have a pretty good knack for making things easy to understand.  I’m not above asking for help. Please, Like it and Share this article if you think of someone else that would like it.  Leave me a comment.  

If you like this and it makes sense you’re going to love the article and YouTube video that I’m putting together on “body mapping.”  It’s coming soon.

 There’s some really cool new stuff coming down the pipe I play with in our Clinic. 

That’s right, our Clinic runs more like a lab and we run experiments and we throw out the garbage that doesn’t work and use the stuff that continues to push us to get better. Exactly what you should expect and demand on SportsDocDC!

Featured

Are You Healthy Enough To SURVIVE?

find this podcast on SportsDocDC or BeAwesome365 if you want to take it with you!

Recently I took a self-defense / handgun training Workshop from one of my favorite groups, APT (available everywhere AND in Corpus Christi.)   

These guys spend a lot of time getting me up to speed and better at working guns, self defense and just all-around being better in scenarios. One of the things they press the most however is not the use of guns but rather knowing the situation and never needing to actually use your gun. To be aware and smart and make better decisions.

Leading up to this class I was listening to some of my favorite podcasts and they had a guest, similar in training and profession talking about his ideas. I was interested in hearing a different point of view.  

You’ve got to search out other angles in life to gain perspective so I do. I was quite happy that this expert expressed many of the same ideas I have gained from the guys I love but just expressed them differently.   

Even if you don’t make it through this article – get this one point and you’ll be better off in life.

The overlying principal from the best instructors is always this:

Do everything you can to never be in a fight in the first place.

By the time you’re exchanging punches or knife slashes or bullets it’s already got to the extreme and you are in a world of hurt.

Not always, but often, there are a million things you can do to keep it from getting to the “fight for your life” stage. Despite making their money by teaching fighting skills, here’s how you come out alive – the main point expressed is you prep yourself to not let it get to that point.

Many of these experts (or the good ones at least) will tell you the best things that you can do to avoid emergency or survive in a situations actually have to do with things well outside of typical survival scenario.    

For instance:  Are you in shape enough to run away? Are you healthy enough to not die from a heart attack when your adrenaline spikes? Can you lift something, drag something or get somebody else to safety if you needed to? Can you look up from your phone for a minute when you are walking out a back alley at 2 am after 5 drinks?

This was a topic of conversation with my doctors and staff in my clinic this morning because I found it quite interesting and very much along the lines of what I try to push on Drchadpeters.

So with no further ado -today’s column will be called Are You Healthy Enough to Survive?

This is serious business and should be ingrained as scary and intense, but that’s not really the style of this website so plan on some over the top scenarios, where things like the Vegas shooting and carjacking will be substituted for Space Aliens and Volcanoes. I still try keep it humorous and light as that’s just my style but these are real issues that measure a baseline of health and should be eye opening. You need to put yourself into real situations from time to time, as your brain see’s this as role playing and practice.  You never want a scenario to be “the first time” -even if the other times were visualization only. Prep your body, prep your brain to minimize “the freeze!” when the real deal deep stuff goes down.

Now look, I’m all for learning how to survive and run guns and tactical training. Its fun, its intense and its something new – I find it exhilarating, engaging and I seriously enjoy it – it makes me manly  – but any instructor worth their salt stresses the MO (main objective) of any mission (my life) is to make it home to my wife and kids. To survive and live. – so listen up –

You are a million times more likely to die from a heart attack then from a terrorist attack!

In fact, there are more Bicycling deaths and significantly more auto accident deaths than mass shootings.

as in…You are going to be in crazy traffic way more often than in cross hairs!

If you die from a heart condition and leave the kids and spouse at home – you failed the mission buddy.  Run the odd’s – play the odd’s. This isn’t Vegas and you can win.

Prepping for the least likely scenario is smart.

Failing to prep for the more likely scenarios is careless.

The guys I go-to to learn to fight continue ALWAYS stress the importance of “the most likely.” The biggest impact on your survival.

1) be in shape  (this will kill you first – more people die of heart attacks than bullets)

2) learn how to drive a car better. Practice real world defensive driving and anticipating issues (more people die of auto accidents than knife wounds)

3) avoid crappy situations and pay attention  (more people get mugged because they have their hands full of groceries and have a PTA meeting in 10 minutes and have 3 kids at home that need to do homework and need to get dinner on the table and are walking out to a dark parking lot where a white van has pulled up along their car and they are staring into their Iphone and not seeing any of this, than are looking around and seeing the situation.

4) 5) 6) 7)  – i can go on and on – finally around number…

17) fight back – God forbid you ever have to – but it just got real and your switch went to go at “g…” a mindset you have to be ready for and practice.

This article covers #1 only – be healthy enough to get away and LIVE!

To Live you should be able to:

  1. Run around the block – a city block – as in X marks the spot.  Get off the damn X! You need to be able to get yourself away from danger- any active shooter scenario shows this over and over again – this is real and many out there in the “survival game” just don’t have it.  They can run their $3000 guns like John Wick on acid but couldn’t run away from the neighbors shitzu if attacked when taking out the garbage.

I think it is overestimated for a lot of people as we all kind of have a mental image of ourselves in our peak shape –  If you want a true test of overestimation, my favorite self test is to run 1 lap at the track – 1 lap! Time yourself – and guys, that’s only a ¼ mile – probably not even far enough to avoid the bombing planes or tanks rolling in.    I’m in pretty good shape – and I’m slower on the ¼ mile than I was in high school. Significantly slower – it’s just not something we practice.

So be able to run a ways or plan on being captured and traded as slaves to the intergalactic warlords or Siberian mining camps

2. Lift ½ your body weight

This should really be lift all of your own body weight – actual poundage or kilos.  In a number of emergencies you may have to move something out of the way, move cover and concealment over you if you need to hide or throw a desk over – any number of reasons you should be strong enough. Just 3 seconds ago I had a patient say to me, “as long as I don’t lift my own suitcases on this vacation I’ll be fine.” hmmmm. I don’t think you really will.

3. Quickly get in the backseat and out the other side.    

Move dammit! Everywhere emergency situations don’t happen in spaces the size of airport terminal hallways.  Chucky, the 80’s horror movie doll is coming at you with a knife and you need to escape, NOW! – get your body moving in new positions

4. Sprint 60 feet

60 feet is pathetic, I don’t think it will save you but it’s a bare bones minimum because that’s across the street of a typical downtown. It doesn’t even come close to you avoiding a falling jet but the amount of danger you can avoid by simply crossing the street is amazing and if you can do it super fast you are probably 95% safer.   The street thug isn’t wasting his effort cutting across traffic to follow you

5. Crawl

that’s right, it’s down there next to the ground. Your kids love it down there, lots of interesting stuff.  You should join them…often.

How on earth you just got onto the set of the new Star Wars movie is unknown to me- but buddy, there are blue and red laser beams flying everywhere at chest level and the smoke from the fire of the crashed spaceships is starting to fill the studio.  Get low and get moving!

6. Jump a 4 to 6 foot fence

Every fence is 6 feet minimum – but I’ll give you 4 for starters only because my staff thought that was unfair.   Every movie that takes place in the big apple has a scene where a guy is trapped in an alley with a fence being chased by dogs, thugs, ghosts – whatever… Getting your butt over a fence is real life, age extending emergency necessity. You have got to have this in your arsenal

7. Pickup hoops/soccer 20 min.

I’ve got back into this after a long time off.  The rapid change of direction was something I just haven’t practiced and in any scenario I can dream up would most likely save your life.  I preach sports science to my athletes often, “a tenth of a second equals 2 feet on a court or field.” 2 feet. If it take you ½ a second to turn around and change direction that’s 10 feet!    It makes an incredible impact in sports and a life saving impact in an emergency. If you can react you most likely can act.

8. Get away – walk or jog one mile/2 kilometers.  

Obvious, and this is prep, not the actual emergency. If this just left you exhausted you’re in trouble. The Zombie Horde never tires and they are on your trail. The first mile just gave you breathing room and time to think. Honestly, survival end of the world type deal you should be able to pack 10-20 miles a day if necessary.  

In one of my classes, an instructor told a story about a partner of his in the earthquake in Haiti.  Total chaos and hell on earth. It took him nearly 7 hours to get back to the hotel just 1 mile away!  No water, office shoes. He had no choice though. What if you just physically couldn’t do it? There is no ambulance, Nat’l Guard or police coming to help you G. You’re on your own!

9. Do A Pull up 

Again, 1 is pretty low – not even standard physical fitness here. There are only a million scenarios I can think of where you would have to pull your own body weight up. Getting back into a raft after falling out is just an easy first. I’ve been there and seen an adrenaline racked, scared out of her wits, mom of kids not physically able to pull herself into the safety of a raft.  It’s scary! What happens when you have to scale the outside of a Vegas Hotel.

10. Swim across the pool

Swimming is an HUGE equalizer for even some of the most fit. Did Anybody else tune into the Cross fit championships a few years ago when the 50 most jacked, most fit people on planet earth got thrown into a swim?  2 of them quit on the spot from shear panic. And these are the most fit. Believe it or not your caveman and native ancestors didn’t have bridges. They got across the damn river or became a Sabre Tooth Tiger’s snack box. You can do this

11. Skip 2 meals

Or 2 days worth of meals. You’re not going to die. Heck if you read some of my other articles you’ll see that depending on how you eat daily, you may not even be hungry.   You may have to hide out in a barn or in a cave somewhere for a day or so at sometime. You’ll be OK.

12. Be, NOT the slowest of all your friends and those around you.

You know what they say about being chased by a hungry bear in Alaska right?  You don’t have to be the fastest, just make damn sure you’re not the slowest.

Last ditch Quick tip from my special forces amigos – “IF you find that you are actually in a run for your life AND your life actually does depend on speed  AND you are indeed the slowest – kick your buddy in the kneecap and keep running.

OK well there we go. 12 objectives that I feel are pretty much a bare bones minimum to being healthy to survive. It was probably my favorite article to write and discuss and heck, maybe I’ll pursue a book about this – its fun to think about but more importantly it should be eye opening and real. It’s important by God! It’s important for you and your family and should be both a goal and a severe wake up call for some.

Tier it out:

I can do 1-3

Just lay down and give up. You’re no help.

I can do 4-6

You are probably in the way and are making it harder for the pro’s to do their job.

I can do 7-10

If you are absolutely diligent about spacial awareness and always on alert for danger and anticipate scenarios and act on your gut instinct and spidey sense – if all that works out just perfectly AND you kind of get to direct your own script here – well then I’d say there’s a 50/50 chance you survive.  But…the idea was to avoid a fight – you are going to have to fight..I hope you’ve trained. If you haven’t, send me an email, I’ll get you in touch with some of the best!

I can do 11-12

You nailed it!

Great – that’s a minimum –  Keep living buddy! See you in TEOTWASKI aftermath!

You Don’t Need MORE Treatments

episode #37 wherever you podcast “SportsDocDC”

If you’ve ever followed my sister site, BeAwesome365 You may recall an article I did a few years ago on that talked about how there is such an excess in our world. So many opportunities, products and options. The article was based on how my kids kept asking me for more more more even at the height of one of the coolest indoor water parks in the world, my kids couldn’t get enough. It drove me crazy. The title of that article is “Some, not more.”   It talks about how I, as the dad, was the real issue though, not my kids.  I paid for this holiday, I wanted to jam the fun down my kids throats!

I’ve seen and listened to many similar ideas that deal with more as a HAPPINESS STRANGLER.    Ideas like we’re much happier if the ice cream shop only has 3 options rather than 50.   Things like this.

This is the re vamp of that idea but from a medical perspective.   It’s taking one of my real life “a-ha” moments and directing towards my clinical findings.    

It’s also a word swap – this time – the word MORE for BETTER.

In my recent SportsDocDC articles I spoke on how the idea of more in the context of treatments for your injuries, ideas like go deeper, harder, more intense isn’t always a good solution. 

The word “More” works like this as well.    More is very often not the best treatment plan.  MORE.  Always with the More.   

 What about more as it applies to clinical treatments. Do you need to come back more often?  More visits, “I just need to see you 3x/week for about uH…8 weeks!”   c’mon man.    

If someone is giving you this racket just ask why.    Why this long?   

This article relates to you as a client as well as to you as the practitioner, for example if you are a chiropractic clinic, Sports Rehab, physical therapy, athletic trainer.

It’s easy, as a practioner to just say the patient isn’t responding well to treatment because they aren’t showing up for appointments or aren’t coming to your clinic enough, not doing their rehab at home.  

This can be and is often true.   But the reverse is also true. Maybe the treatments are In-appropriate and the patient isn’t responding becasue of that.

That’s what this article is all about.

 It’s: Better, Proper, Specifc.  There has to be a “why.”

This is not an argument of  “Is it the patient’s fault or the doctor’s fault?”  

“The client just isn’t doing what they’re supposed to do, He needs more treatments.”

“That doctor is an idiot, I need more exercises and my neck cracked more often.”

 Instead – let’s get into a third option on why More clinical treatments might not be the answer.  

 Perhaps it will be a wake-up call for some of you patients and a call out for some of you practitioners.  The idea, as always is just to get you thinking differently.

Take the patient I had in earlier today. She just keeps returning for business with us. It’s like a boomerang.   “OK, Nell – I think you should be doing good for a few months – remember those key points I gave you – work on that and you should be great.” to 3 days later I see her on the schedule again.  And this time for a full 30 minute intense FMT workup followed by full Chiropractic treatments.  Treatments that I often feel is hurting her. 

If I try to talk to her about how I think she needs to try some other approaches, she really doesn’t even hear what I say. She just tells me, “I’ll be back in a few days, I’m sure this will just take a few more tries, (self chuckle) I’ve really done it this time!”

Some of this may be our age – just being from the era where there wasn’t information available at the rate it is now – I mean let’s get real…It used to take a semester to get thru Texas History in school.  Now 2 youtube videos and a podcast can get me deeper into that topic with better visuals and deeper understanding than anything prior.

Everything just happens faster now.   But only if you take a minute to understand it.

If you’re old school and stubborn and don’t want anything to do that new invention.  If you arent even sure how to “get on that world wide web.” – “It’s just a fad, back in my days we got out the encyclopedia.” then you’re only getting a piece of the information you’d get if you took a modern approach.

Medicine, health, fitness and diet are like that as well.  Ask any bodybuilder, how to I get HUGE!   You won’t hear, “LIFT MORE”  you’ll hear, “Honestly Bro, Fix your diet.  Not more…better.  Different ideas.

Same with psychology, mental health and just Understanding as a whole. 

“You don’t need to fake and push for more happiness, just e aware of your life, do something for someone else and realize a 7/10 on the happiness scale is pretty good”  

Yes, it’s what might be considered unconventional ideas that are what is the real revolutionary changes in our lives.   It’s common sense once we understand it better.

But without new knowledge, we just simply don’t know what we don’t know.   Instead of trying and learning, Instead of modernizing we just go to the default we’ve always known.   

Often our default is MORE.  Let’s just do more.  Hard work, sweat equity, pay for what you get… Because that’s what it was all about.

More.

And I definitely think more is a human default. If I don’t feel awake yet, I need more caffeine. If I’m not getting faster even though I’m doing this running program,  I probably need more miles.

I can’t get my kid to stop crying and throwing a fit at Chucky Cheese’s oh, he probably just needs more tokens and more soda.    It’s just what we do.

 We do it for a health care as well.    Rarely asking ourselves, “Are we doing this correctly?”

We default and think,  “We must not be doing enough.”

I guess, What I’m saying here is that by doing your health, and your body the old-fashioned way. By not understanding new techniques and new ideas, you’re stuck with what you know. And the old way was more visits. The old way was more stretching. The old way was more, deeper, harder- Make it hurt.

 As practitioners though, 2010 to 2021, didn’t just buzz by.  It’s been an incredible decade with trillions of dollars poured into healthcare. And billions of that being done on research and new techniques, new ideas and a new way of thinking.

 That doesn’t mean all your doctors and therapists are up-to-date though. Many of us in the practitioner world have the same problem as the people we see as clients. The inability to adapt. The resistance to change, the experiences we’ve had that have been successful and  just a plain Comfort level of what we know.

I guess my push for you, the person hanging with me to get to the end of this article it’s just to look for better. To experiment. try some things out to see how they work for you and if there’s a better way, well….make the better way, “your way.”

If you’re a practitioner like me, you owe that to your clientele. You got into this field hopefully to be the best at what you do and to make clients better.  Along with that, change is what keeps our own careers interesting.  I can’t imagine doing stuff I did a decade ago.  Not only would I feel I cheated, but I’d get bored with myself!   Learn the new stuff for your own sanity.  Keep it fresh, get passionate again!

 If you are a client, heck! Even if you’re not a client. If you’re a human being- your best friend is your body. It’s the only one you’ll ever have. Make sure  that you’re always working to be good to your best friend.   

This article isn’t real specific today.  It’s not a direct treatment, you’re not going to see me talk about any techniques or new ways of looking at the body. Today’s article is more of a “call out” article.

Run the word swap, you know I love these.

Try substituting the word “more” for “better” in all aspects of life and reap the benefits.

Commencement Speech To the New Era Graduating Classes!


Find this on the SportsDocDC podcast

Although I wrote this one for the class of 2020. I think it applies to all of you from that year as well as all the modern era classes. I definitely BELIEVE every word here and teach my own kids this way. I believe in you guys and I’m excited to continue to grow up sharing and evolving our world together!

Growing up I watched my dad give graduation speeches..pretty much every other year. He is a very popular teacher and fantastic speaker.  I always thought doing a graduation speech would be pretty cool. So I decided I’m going to do one of my own. 

Here it is… Well, first, Here’s what it is not:

Ohh the poor Seniors . It’s just not fair!    Robbed of their senior year. Robbed of graduation and the parties and the prom.  Poor poor 2020!

Look y’all. I know this isn’t the norm. But you guys aren’t the norm. You’re 2020. Whether high school, trade school, military or college.  The start of a new decade. The FUTURE. I know none of you would have picked THIS-but in all fairness none of you would have wanted THE NORM either.

This isn’t the article telling you how a virus and world wide quarantine is a good thing. I’ll not be that…fake.  It’s NOT a good thing.

This commencement will however, point out why your last few months of your senior year bonds you together with millions of other young adults -forever. It will point out why change, no…extreme makeover, is your specialty.

This commencement covers why your graduating Class has the chops to take on the modern era of business, the modern era of worldwide production and if you are a senior, right now – the new modern version of college/trade/work.

It will also explain why I believe your generation, specifically your graduating class, will be the best at this the world has ever seen.

Bonded like no other

First of all, just as a class, you guys have a shared experience unlike anything we have ever seen before. 2021 and Future graduating classes will of course be special in their own way however no one will have gone through this quite the same way you have. If the virus or another like it was to hit next year- you’d still be the first. It’s all you. You’re class will be remembered through history.  

Even if it’s 20 years from now and you are sitting for an interview and the person across the desk asks you what year you graduated- when you say,  “2020,” it will mean something.  With exponentially more meaning if the person interviewing you also graduated from 2020, because despite blog articles, Podcasts and CNN documentaries discussed by adults a generation or two removed from you, nobody knows exactly what it feels like unless they went through it the exact same way at the exact same time of their lives.

As you all know, significantly more than previous generations -the world is smaller. The connections that you have to the graduating class of 2020 from different states and foreign countries is much more prevalent than it was just a few short years ago. Your social media friends are not simply the people you see in the hallway between classes.   Many of them you’ve never met in person and most likely will never.   That’s normal for you.  That’s not how my social media is and it’s certainly not how my parents accounts are.  

Sharing THIS Corona/Covid “thing”…only strengthens that bond.

The social values aspect

Again, I do not want to try to point out how a worldwide pandemic is a good thing.  However, I do think your graduating class just got a shotgun approach to social values.

For example, one of the most important aspects of my life, probably the biggest reason I took the career choices I did, was because it allowed me time to travel – which is/was my biggest social value. And that social value changed almost overnight,.  There’s not a lot of family travel happening now and my trips I did have booked are worthless and cancelled.

I’m in front of high school and college seniors a lot. I have four kids of my own and I have never forgot what it felt like to be myself at different ages. I remember what was important to me, even if those values have changed through the years. It bothers me when I hear parents (who are my age) say to their kids that high school, prom, graduation, dates, the dorm life, college sports etc aren’t important!  They are!  

I went through the stage where I wanted to have a Ferrari and a mansion on the ocean and what really drove me and motivated me more than anything else in life was money.

Money, it seemed,  would get me anything and everything I wanted. IT was important and MY #1 social value of those days.

Indeed many of you may also feel that way and let me tell you that’s not wrong. But I do feel for most people in life there will come a time where other life modalities, things other than money make up your primary value.

Money won’t get you everything you want and often CAN’T get you what you want. I have a wall hanging at home that says “ Often the greatest things in life aren’t actually things at all.”  

In my case it is travel and family travel time specifically – I just can’t ever seem to get enough of exploring the world with my crew.

So maybe as a senior, your highest level social values are being near your friends, or living in a certain area of the world or being able to hit up all the hot clubs, that metro vibe. Maybe, like a lot of us on the planet, you saw your values do a complete cart wheel over the last two months and now realize that something that you thought was of the utmost importance in your life no longer makes your top 10 list. 

Conversely, maybe there are things that you thought were relatively important that you now feel play a larger role in your life – maybe the largest!   

I’m not going to tell you what values matter the most, thats for you to figure out and adapt with.  What I want to tell you, is going through an experience like this and shuffling and reshuffling what is important and what holds value in your life is an amazing experience that many adults my age never get a chance to do.   Many never even realize it is a possibility.  

I hope you’ve taken some moments in your life over the last couple months to really think about this aspect and to help get a more clear direction of where you want to go in your life and what you want to hold as TRULY IMPORTANT.    

I want to be one of the first to tell you- You do not need to know where you are going to end up in life and what you are going to do for the rest of your life at this point. 

The Life Compass

During my lectures I often tell my seniors to imagine themselves standing in the middle of a giant “Life Compass” as in “NASCAR track sized giant Life compass.”  The directions headings are your lifetime goals, achievements, you career, family, …bascially your life and they are way out far from you on the horizon. In fact you may not even be able to see the end in sight.  

For most of you it will not be a straight direct path to the end anyway, so you can’t see it.  There is no clear direction from the middle, it’s just horizon in a full 360 panorama.  Your path is unclear, there is no yellow brick road to point your way and no guide telling you where to go or even what adventures you’ll encounter along the way. But don’t make it overwhelming. I have a the cheat code for you, I have a hack that will help.

 YOUR PATH will be wavy and there could be direction changes and it certainly will have different angles as life experiences change your directions from time to time. That’s oK –  As you start to move Along this “life compass,” virtually no-one has a direct line. There is no “right path” – But it sure is nice to at least feel like you’re taking a step in the right direction.   

By knowing your inner values and what makes you happy. To think about a career path, lifestyle, family, entertainment….VALUES in a general idea rather than specifics…it helps. It gives you that first step in the right direction.   

When I lecture to seniors, I am bascially asked, “Tell everyone in the class about being a chiropractor.”  I rarely do. That’s a straight path that just has too many hurdles and problems. What I present is, “Here’s 150 jobs in the healthcare field. 138 of them you’ve probably never even thought about or even heard of.”     

That’s direction.   

The reason this direction rather than path is so important for the class of 2020 is because much of what you’ll encounter out there in the following decade isn’t even invented yet!  You are a part of the innovation and adaptation needed to make these new careers, paths and changes. Understanding your path is windy and that there is NO penalty for changing direction is a huge advantage over the people that cannot adapt to change.

…and you guys obviously handle change VERY well!

How to Handle Adversity

How do you handle adversity and challenge?    These are typical interview questions you’ll get while applying for any job. I don’t care if it’s for the largest Wall Street money management corporations or flipping burgers and washing windows. It’s typical.  

But how about these questions in today’s world? With Your new experiences? 

How about these questions with this little caveat…how Do you handle adversity/challenges/ getting to do whatever you want whenever you want/ making life work despite social distancing and oh yeah during a worldwide pandemic and planetary economic collapse??   

Do you know who has been asked these questions in an interview situation??   

Nobody. Ever.   

Like I’ve said already- You guys are the first graduating class with this particular experience. It’s not some new, crazy, life altering experience for you, it’s just the reality of your senior year. 

Uncomfortable at times? Yes.

Challenging? No doubt.

But I keep hearing my clients say, “I just can’t wait until it all goes back to normal.” 

I notice,

I don’t hear you guys saying this.  

You guys are just adapting. You know that this changes stuff.  Real changes and although it won’t be like this forever, the old normal is gone. it’s not a bunch of kids waiting around for normal to return, you just go. You’ve “got this.”   

You took the punch on the chin and got back up and went to work. And because of your skill set and your experience with modern technology and just having a handle and realistic grasp of a modern and cutting edge world -you didn’t just handle it. You own it.   This IS your generations burden. Your challenge. 

And let me fill you in on something possibly more important. For a HUGE number of the people on planet EARTH for the past two and three generations, you are the first to take on a generational challenge like this. You are the first to have experience with anything this big.

That’s powerful. The people out there hiring you want experience and you’ve got something that a ton of us never got.    

I want to reemphasize, I don’t think this is by itself a good thing- I would never wish something like this on anyone. What I’m saying though, Is experiences are powerful. You learn from them. You adapt because of them. You innovate and invent and modify and learn from them. Your class gets to do it first and that is something.

You, the class of 2020, have been tasked with being self reliable for completion, competition, relationships, responsibility and self productivity more than any graduating class prior to World War II.   

That counts.

Accelerated Learning

I first heard the term accelerated learning when I was telling, ok let’s get real here, when I was yelling at my oldest son to, “get off YouTube already.”

“Get off YouTube?”  he said.  “Dad, I’m not screwing around Over here-  I’m doing accelerated learning.”

In this case, he was learning from Ninja, who was teaching him how to smoke everyone on FORTNITE. 

He was learning how to dominate that game at a significantly faster level than what I was doing by playing it over and over trial and error style. There is no “trial and error time” for you guys. You don’t have time to waste on that.

You guys have grown up in an era of Unprecedented Information. I’m not dead, I’m right here, I can use YouTube, Google and social media to learn things as well. But not even close the way you guys can. In fact for most of the people older than you, trying to complete 2 to 3 tasks at the same time is damn near impossible.

Your generation can listen to music, read a book, watch a YouTube video explaining how to do something in depth at a much faster rate than I learned in school, while texting your friends (multiple friends) and playing a game.  You most likely are teaching your grandma how to FaceTime all while navigating 15 open windows on your computer at the same time.   

I like to think I’m pretty smart. But I can’t handle and process what you guys can. I love the term accelerated learning.   

When your parents ask you to “fix their phone.” that means something. That’s VALUABLE!

A ton of the world has been forced into getting very good at this stuff over the last couple months. We have to do homeschooling and teach our kids on multiple different software platforms. I mean even my dad and mom have gotten very good at running their iPhones out of necessity.   Overnight, the entire world, the majority of businesses as well as universities went online. Because they absolutely had to.

The planet got thrust into accelerated learning. Just check even basic stats for things like YouTube and Zoom and it shows this.

Your generation has already been doing this for years. It’s nothing new. it’s what you were born into!   Your generation ruled accelerated learning but now… you guys don’t rule this, you dominate this.

Many of you even taught your teachers how to evolve the last few months.

The rest of you just rolled your eyes for the first few weeks while the teachers and parents tried to catch up. We’re like infants to your technical powers!

Your class, the class of 2020, has an incredible NEED that has to be filled on a planetary level that you have been tailored and groomed for since your birth.

You are the future leaders, decision-makers, workers, tradesmen, business owners, associates, teachers. The forward thinking, future based, inventing,  decision making generation.

It’s time for you to take your passion, your wishes, your experiences and your knowledge together blended with the super ability to process change, adapt and overcome – to the world.    

Sorry guys.  My friend Troy said it best, “Nobody ever told me life was going to be fair. I’m looking forward to the challenge.” 

So I get it…I know your graduation isn’t gowns and throwing square hats- but that’s not really what it’s all about.   

I think you guys already know what it’s all about and the rest of us are just waiting to find out.   

-Cheers to the Future, You’ve got this!  

Electrolytes – Dude, You Need Some!

Electrolytes are often though of as a DEHYDRATION issue and TRUE it is a part of that. But more importantly, they work in the NEUROTRANSMITTER system in your body.

When the electrolyte/water ratio gets funky in your body, all kinds of weird things can hapen.

Supplementation of these components is a HUGE part of my practice and a huge part of performance, recovery, muscle spasm and tightness.   It’s one of my Four Reasons Why You’re Tight!

I almost always use electrolytes as part of the treatment protocol when a client has nonspecific and seemingly goofy symptoms. It’s a MUST with any sort of muscle spasms, cramps, charlie horses but also used with weird presentation stuff such as twitches and nervy sensations.

I also use it when a patient has multiple complaints that just seem unrelated –  “Hey Doc my leg, toe, knee, elbow and back all hurt.”

Maybe your last couple workouts have tanked or you just feel “off.”  This stinks, and this inconvenience is keeping you from your goals!

I often have clients describe their muscles as “feeling Heavy.”

It could be you have an ELECTROLYTE issue. OK let’s get real here – you do.

In my clinic, I’m known for most for muscle and joint stuff. However I take a lot of pride in seeing things differently and from a unique perspective.

In most body conditions and/or injuries I see, there are 5 main components – Muscle, Joint, Connective Tissue, Nutrition, Inflammation.

Nutrition is one of them.  It’s real.   Most things in life have at least 3 of the 5 components happening at the same time.  It’s no biggie, it’s not like your falling apart, there are just a few things happening simultaneously.   You can easily have a nutritional component as well as muscle and joint stuff.  It’s not either/or –  it’s all the above. You need ELECTROLYTES – it’s a simple fix.

But, like life, sometimes simplicity still takes a little explanation….so please, read on and learn.

Basically speaking – electrolytes are the vitamins and minerals that tell the muscles how much to contract or relax – they help control the proper tension, so a depletion in one or multiple electrolytes cause weird symptoms. Usually muscle spasms, Charlie horses or weaknesses in athletes but can manifest different ways.  Electrolytes are also neurotransmitters, a huge 50 cent word that means it connects your body.  Basically, they run the information highway system of the body.

BUT – “I drink a ton of water!”

Dehydration is always thought of as too little water but should more accurately be thought of as the ratio between water and electrolytes. Too much water with no electrolyte replenishing can mess you up …the ratio is off.   You sweat more than water, you need to put back in more than water. The most common electrolyte combo lost during exercise is sodium and chloride (salt). That’s why your sweat is salty. This is why the majority of products designed to replace electrolytes are high in salt.

This was a great idea in the 1960’s when Gatorade was invented.  – The problem in the US is that we get plenty of salt and I personally feel electrolyte replenishers for most US athletes should be lower in salt.

BUT   “I take a magnesium or potassium pill or eat a banana”, “I slurp Pickle juice”

My personal observation and what is being used most often, is that replenisher drinks do better when all the electrolytes are put back into the system at one time – think of it as topping off the levels.   One mineral by itself (think “eat a banana” for low potassium) seems not to work as well or works slower than all at once, such as potassium with the host of all the others.

  • Sodium – Choride  (together form typical table salt)
  • Magnesium – Potassium and Calcium are the macro essential electrolytes
  • Selenium – Zinc and Phosphorus the micro essential ones

Again, my professional opinion: every athlete should do a replenisher round of electrolytes for 2 weeks to a month a few times a year (daily dose.)

Athletes doing a HUGE amount of work may need it much more frequently.  Personally, I use them pretty much every week day and supplement higher levels with sporting events.

BUT -“I drink Gatorade/Powerade/Pedialyte/anything found in a cooler at the store.”

The other factor to watch is that some of the main combos (magnesium and potassium) are NOT stable very long in water – that’s why a good full spectrum replenisher used as a therapeutic dose and supplement should be in powder form (or a tab) and not on the shelf in a bottle like GATORADE.    I have looked at hundreds of combos of electrolytes and have formed my own opinion on a favorite brand.  It contains all the electrolytes, is low in salt and is in a powder or pill (not pre-mixed.) Taste is an important factor for each individual. 

Gatorade, PowerAde and the ones like that are great during activity if you’re OK with the sugars but they are not the therapeutic dose you use to treat problems.

Hopefully this makes a lot of sense.  You can have your electrolytes tested with blood work but usually you will have symptoms and weird complaints while at a sub clinical level, meaning you won’t find anything on blood work.  At any rate, a container of this stuff costs much less than the test so I usually just tell people to try it and see if it helps.

There are a lot of us out there that need electrolytes and your typical athlete; even on supplements is usually not getting enough of these key elements in their diet.  Find a brand or two that works for you, change it up every few months so it’s different sources and different levels of ingredients and improve your body!

Galloway Method of Running

Intervals of Run/Walk – a brief summary of what you need to know to go forever!

I have a new friend named “Joyce” who is about to embark on her first 5K run event after a four years hiatus.

She’s going to do the Galloway Method of which I have spoke about and is my “go to” style of running (Jeff Galloway info and links) for every event I do. (run interval walk interval)

Here’s the scoop in a nutshell – click Jeff’s link to dig in deeper.

You run for a designated time (ex: 3 minutes.)

You then walk for 30 seconds

repeat

so as an example:

My suggested time intervals for her (this being her first time attempting it) was a three minute run with a 30 sec walk. This is also my suggested interval for nearly everybody interested in trying this style out.

Based on personal experience and my background in physiology and sport – I don’t want her going much more than 30 seconds on her recovery because lactic acid tends to spill out into the muscle.

Lactic Acid wont affect your performance (you burn lactic acid for fuel.)  It does however cause a burning sensation on the start of the next run interval and why have that?  30 sec is plenty of recovery time to top off ATP levels and get your breathing back.

Another suggestion I have for her is as she continues to improve on her Galloway method over the months is to notice when she is looking at her watch wanting a rest period.

Three minutes is a good baseline start but if you can modify the run period you’ll cover more ground with not much additional effort.

For Instance I run a 3:45 and rest for 30.  

If I was continually looking down at my watch to see how much time is remaining before I rest at the at 3:30 mark – I would know I was pushing it a bit too far. It isn’t coming easy and natural now.

I could and should then back off my run interval to 3:20.

You strive to rest before the run gets tough. Each Interval.

 Make it easy, this equals more fun and no reduction in your pace. Over time the interval will get longer but should not reach the painful, tough stage.

Lectins are wrecking your body.

Lectins (hint: Gluten Is One Of Them)

Ep #17 on the SportsDocDC podcast –

Lectins are wrecking your body.

You haven’t heard of this yet?  You have, just by a different name.. Lectins are the proteins that get through the gut lining undigested.  They cause the reactive food idea that I’ve spoke about before. Essentially, your body treats lectins like an allergy –  in that it starts an immune response to try and rectify the situation.

Ever heard of Gluten?  That’s a Lectin. It’s definitely not the ONLY lectin, just the popular one right now.  Multiple Lectins are prevalent in grains and wheat and even gluten free wheat, corn, quinoa, and in all kinds of foods. They are also common in Nightshades like potatoes, eggplant and sweet potatoes – all of which light me up within minutes of eating. You can’t escape them – they are everywhere! Like Freddy Krueger when you sleep, Lectins are there when you eat.

Reactive foods

I have had tons of results with working on the dietary removal of reactive foods and recently have started playing with extremely low carb/low sugar diets similar to Keto diet.

Like I said, lectins are everywhere and Dr. Gundry and others think these are the reactive agents. The cause of darn near every single one of our ailments, diseases, pains and fat storage.

I have been harping my clients  – it’s all about the diet – all of it. Your fat belly, your gym productivity, your tiredness, your disease and achy joints.  Your misery. So, the idea of Lectins as the “culprit” to all our misery I find extremely interesting.   

By simply removing these foods from your diet and allowing the gut to in essence “heal itself” your body can stop the High alert signals it is sending out over and over again and burning you out.

This process is commonly called, “Leaky Gut”  – stuff that shouldn’t get through your guts and into the blood, does. This is an easy idea to visualize but I dislike the name

My brother, a high school wrestling and football coach went from being tip top and working out daily with high school kids to walking with a cane pretty much within a month.  

The cause?  the auto immune “disease” rheumatoid arthritis. Although it took me a while to convince him and a few failed attempts, once he controlled the reactive foods in his diet, the inflammation went away and he was back to normal. If he slips up he gets drilled again and it takes him a few days to respond and get well again. This is a common roller coaster for most auto immune diseases.

Think about the disease itself – call it what you will, Lupus, Arthritis, Rheumatoid, Crohn’s, colitis, thyroiditis, tendonitis….I don’t care about the name, without inflammation,  there is not disease. So forget the name, stop the inflammation and the body reaction! That’s how you stop it.

Well, as I state over and over again on this page – the healthcare system is in a major leaping step and on fast forward right now and if you snooze you lose – I feel where we are at in healthcare is akin to the first time antibiotics came on the scene in health and revolutionized our entire horizon of healthcare. Its THAT BIG…RIGHT NOW!

But, just like the last quantum leap, many will be left behind so I preach that it is up to you to be aware of these changes and treatments and see what works for you.  Don’t wait or expect your doctor to be on the same page – it might not be their thing. Yet.

The fasting, the keto, the diet centered treatment for disease, functional medicine, getting back to working out and using the body…we’re there! I think the Keto idea is fantastic and I like this idea of Lectin a lot. The science is valid. It really seems to be the next step and is easily tested and rechecked and Dr. Gundry is the spearhead in this movement. If you are interested this is the guy you check out. Just as I feel Keto’s best spokesperson is Mark Sisson and I think a combo of these ideas may be the breakthrough we’ve been needing.

 As with anything, I think it deserves an experiment – on yourself – right now.  

There is however a rub…It seems that all the literature and write ups kind of blow this off as a non issue but it’s a BIG issue.  For most – THE issue. A huge deep breath and gut check prior to just diving in…

This is one of those good food/bad food plans..  “Foods with lectins are bad, m’kay” (South Park counselor voice.)

There is a lot of things, a lot of foods that are on the list. Like everything. Seriously, I struggle with this idea and the plans that are similar because of how restrictive they are. There’s just nothing to eat and it seems we are all kind of stuck with eating the same stuff over and over again for infinity.

Here’s the response as it should be.

“Yeah, that’s right.”

Now Gundry wrote a book on this.  He can’t just come out and say “Yeah, that’s right” and get famous. There’s no money in that and its an exceptionally small book if that’s all there is to it. But despite that all of our arguments that food tastes great and our system is the best and “can I make a peanut butter, kale, smoothie, chia birthday cake with paleo frosting?”  it’s still true.

Look,

Eating shit makes you feel like shit. Eating shit makes your body function like shit.   

Now nobody else writes like  that so I just did.

In fact the food we eat also eats like shit.

The stuff we spray on our plants and food isn’t great either and very very few of us actually hunt and gather the majority of our food anymore.

Nor could we.

The authors and all the proponents of this life changing, “get control of your body and change your world” have a business to run. They can’t just come out and call you fat and lazy and seriously, I can’t either. But if you are trying to change your life, such as my baby brother no longer walking with a cane and feeling like he just slept with an  Indonesian Sun bear – type changes – its going to take some serious moves. Cutting out gluten on the odd numbered weekdays ain’t gonna cut it.

Just try it – experiment on yourself – that’s human nature and a line I say daily in my clinic – “you need to become your own best doctor – it’s your body.”

Or you can just say screw it, there is no way I’m giving up bread and milk and peanuts it’s just too damn important in my life.  You can always go the route of “I’ll just take the pill for whatever I have and then take a pill for what that pill’s side effects are and then another for that one’s…” on and on forever – If that’s your route –  then 2 things:

  1. You’re in trouble
  2. This is the wrong website for you

I hate to throw my dad out here but he’s had amazing results playing with some of this stuff – He did the whole life challenge and lost something like 35 lbs in 8 weeks.  He felt and moved and looked better. His skin issues started to clear. But it was torture for him.. He couldn’t wait to be done with the 8 week challenge to get back to the shit that was making him feel like crap.  He’s probably the smartest man I know but he’s not in the right place for this kind of thing. He doesn’t want someone telling him what to do.

But maybe you do…Or maybe you’re close. OR – maybe I’m just going to plant a seed in your brain and the idea is there if you or a loved one needs it someday. I’m just hoping to make you aware here.

My idea?   If you try something and it has “miracle drug” type effects then it’s probably something worth internalizing and just learning from.   My dad example – His eczema went away with dropping milk but he’ll try to sneak in other dairy because damn man, he loves ice cream and cheese.

Lectin removal? I’m going to try this stuff because I love the way I feel and the more I experiment with this stuff the more I start to really feel it – almost with each meal. I’ll not lie and tell you it’s easy – I still love a rum and coke on occasion and I still like a pizza with friends so at this point in my life I’m not on the train hardcore as a lifestyle change – BUT. A HUGE BUT – I am pretty straight as an arrow with these changes for 6 days at a time and I don’t slack off more than one meal in a row because I feel like crap –

The changes I’ve felt are amazing!

On this note – I don’t really have an issue I’m trying to erase from my life either.  I don’t have skin issues, I don’t have arthritis, i don’t have brain fog – I just want to look my best naked, be strong and live to be 120. If I needed the ammo for an issue, I want to know where it is and how to use it.

That’s why I bring it up. That’s why I push you to look into it and see if its your brand of ammo.

I think as we all get older and try to become wiser the old adage “know thyself” pertains to so many different aspects – I guess those Buddha’s and philosophers really were on to something – “know thyself’ in your business, in your relationships, in your emotional and brain game and know thyself in your body and health.

It is all too easy to just ignore the fact that coffee makes me explode every morning and somehow I just accept that as normal. DUDE! Coffee is not good for me – for like 2 years my body has been screaming this to me. I just love caffeine in the morning and conveniently blow off my body’s terrible OVER reaction for a quick jolt. Experience makes students of us all? Hardly – we just take in whatever we want, listen to what we want to hear and ignore or justify what we don’t.

Here’s just another call out to actually listen for a change and to try new stuff.  New stuff, so you have new information and therefore can make better decisions. Better your life!  

That and because this stuff is the future of health care -100 years from now this will be standard stuff.   Just like we now know cigarettes aren’t actually calming and good for you and a little cocaine in your cola probably isn’t a benefit. This whole food thing was common knowledge 10,000 years ago and it will come back around again- it IS the future – those of us doing the future of medicine right now are just ahead of the game!

How and Why You are TREATING your Tight Muscles Incorrectly.

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I’ve presented this idea in lectures as:

4 Simple Reasons you are Treating Chronic Tight, Stiff and Sore Muscles Incorrectly.

Stretch is soooo 1990s…

You’re doing it like your Parents.

and in some form or fashion the doctors in my clinic and myself give this lesson, I’d say…a dozen times per day.

Here’s the gist…I’m just going to point clients to this article and save my breath from now on saving me 1000’s of hours in “groundhog day-esque” repeats.

To Cut to the chase, your muscles are TIGHT primarily because:

they are too short OR

they are too long OR

splinting in an effort to protect an injury OR

you have an electrolyte issue.

PAY ATTENTION NOW!

These each have a different treatment. If you don’t finish this article. Get that.

Back in the 1980’s and 90’s – The old way was – “stretch muscles if they are tight.”

Now look, the music was better then but that advice for treatment, was off. Despite stretching tight IT bands daily for years, runners still had tight IT bands every day. They’d think, “hmm, I must have to stretch more.”

Sciatic pain was typically called “piriformis syndrome” and the figure 4 stretch was touted as the next big thing. Much Like the IT band deal though, It didn’t work well and the pain just came back each morning and you’d go through the same routine over and over forever.

That advice is now OUTDATED and why YOU ARE DOING THE WRONG treatment.

Then 2010 Came around. A great Era to be in the sports rehab/performance world. Graston and FAKTR Tools, Tak Balls, Deep Tissue RELEASE techniques blew up as the sports worlds exploded. Millions of dollars poured into the professional sports worlds, Analytics and dollars per performance was defined and Crossfit went from a workout in your garage to a legit Sport claiming Prime Time Television slots on ESPN. It was truly a golden Era of Human Performance experimentation and the aftermath we’re in now is a cornucopia of sports related careers that are exciting and cutting edge. There are 100’s of techniques to try and thousands of products from Vibration Guns to Cryochambers. We have stuff now that look like they came off the set in Star Wars. It’s a blast!

The 2010 era philosophy of the guys like me became:

“Stretch didn’t work fast enough or at all. Now we just BEAT the muscles into submission. RELEASE, COMPRESS, CRUSH, DEEP, MORE, HARDER. we went from tennis balls, to Lacrosse balls to Shot puts. from foam rollers to Squat bars – push more, beat harder, kill the muscle!

SUBMIT tightness, TAP OUT soreness, KNOCKOUT Roundhouse kick stiff shoulders into a Chuck Norris meme, CUP the low back until the 3 inch hickies are still showing a week later. (What?! Michael Phelps won golds galore with those hickies…it MUST work!!!) And If not, I’ll throw some pink tape at it.

A decade later…ala’ “Now” we look at our place in the sports practitioner world and can proudly state, “well, that’s not working too great either.”

It’s like stretching, It seems to work, it feels good, or in this case “bad, in a good way.” Except that the athlete/client returns a week later feeling the same way. Then we reply the same way as a our parents generation, “hmmm, maybe we just need to do more.”

Gives you perspective doesn’t it. We’re in the same trap.

Please allow me to offer a modern alternative. Something we can evolve here and take forward with us into the future.

Although I’m often introduced at lectures as, “Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for Dr. Chad Peters. He’s a sports based chiropractor from S. Texas and he HATES stretching.”, that’s just not true. I don’t hate stretching. I don’t hate foam rolling, balls, tools rehab, exercises, release and these treatments either. I also don’t magically “adjust” away the subluxation my amigos on YouTube push. I use these things. All of them on nearly every single client that comes in every single visit. But I don’t use them more. Or harder, Or deeper.

Please Browse around this website and the SportsDocDC YouTube channel. I’ll show you a better way. I don’t use or teach the tools the old way.

Nope, I opt for the modern version. A thinking mans game. I arrogantly like to think of it as chess to checkers. This revolutionary idea sounds more like this…

“First thing’s First – Find out WHY you are tight. There can be multiple reasons why and each reason has a different approach and unique fix.”

Seems better doesn’t it? Not a one treatment fixes all approach?

Stay tuned to this page because one of my next articles will be even more basic.

“Different body parts react to “threats” differently.” Meaning,..

Just by stopping for a second to acknowledge, “This is the back, this is the foot, this is the shoulder.” you can gain great insight into how the body reacts and therefore have a more clear direction on what treatments get you fixed, FASTER!

Hopefully none of this comes at you prompting this reaction: “OH NO! That’s just too much thinking. I’ll never be able to figure out what I should do!” but more so, “ahhh, I get it now! (lightbulb cartoon above the head) Now I can make better decisions for my own health.

Let’s get some more info out there, maybe this time you can make a better decision.

4 Reasons why you experience muscle tightness AND how treatment differ

  1. A basic muscle contraction.   (short muscle tightness)

So this is the basic, what everyone thinks they have. You could have a muscle that is just a little too tight and needs a stretch. Think of a bicep flexed.

The muscle is shortened, the joints come a bit closer together and you just need to relax this baby. This is typical a day or two after the gym, after a long run or when starting up exercise again. Muscles can and do get “tight” and some of the basic stuff from our high school track days still apply. Throw a little heat in there like a hot shower or manual work like a massage and man, “that feels gooooood”

Stretch is definitely a treatment option for this type of tightness and moderately “OK” for warm up, as in, it wont hurt you. But here is better warmup ideas than stretch –it’s the future after all

But, I’d bet this is NOT what you have.

If you’re to the point you’re seeking advice and medical healp, keep reading.

Here’s the rub (the 1st of multiple)  – this is almost NEVER what happens with an injury.

It is also almost NEVER what happens with long term pain and tightness.

version 2 is the exact opposite…

  1. An elongation of a muscle (long muscle tightness)

This might seem counter intuitive so try to keep your head from exploding while I drop the science like the Beastie Boys in ’94.

Most muscle injuries and in my opinion, nearly ALL OF THEM on your posterior side, such as 1) hamstrings,

2) Low back,

3) Upper back and neck “I hold all my tension here” &

4) Butt (think sciatic stuff here) are almost always muscles that are too long.

“WHAT?? Tight muscles that are too long? ..puh! impossible!”

I’ll explain. Keeping with our earlier analogy of the flexed bicep.

Go ahead, flex that baby – nice…feel your bicep flexed. “Tight”

Now, straighten your arm. All the way, as if you were going to hyper extend your elbow. Funny how the bicep still seems “tight” isn’t it?

That’s right, despite being too long, that elastic muscle is still way too tight and hence, the mistake that most of us make when self treating. It may be a different VERSION OF TIGHT.

If we just touch aka “palpation” we get “tight” as our feedback. Remember when I mentioned that I’m introduced as the guy that hated stretching? i don’t hate stretch, I hate the word “tight.”

Tight describes what I feel but not what is going on. I’d prefer short/long or contracted/ elongated. Its a better description and would improve treatments in the clinic . More importantly , Understanding of this would REVOLUTIONIZE home treatment!

An elongation of a muscle shouldn’t stretch at all, it should shorten into a more proper and pain free position.

How does this apply to you? I’ll tell you first how it applies to me. I see people in my clinic that have had the same IT band issue or “sciatic tightness” and have diligently stretched the area for weeks with no change.

They are treating it all wrong.. 90’s style. How it applies to you is that often, YOU are the fool doing it all wrong. So stop it!

“But it feels so good..” please… (see) Therapy vs Therapeutic…And why you’re screwed.

True, extra blood to the area does feel good but you are creating a poor therapy loop and not improving your condition and you are seriously hijacking your recovery. I don’t care what feels good, you want to improve yes?

The problem is with flexibility. A term that is thrown around way too much and should have basically died in the 1990’s. In the modern era we want to look at “mobility” or simply, how the body works in movement. I don’t care so much about your hamstring flexibility when tested by a sit and reach test but more about how your hamstring works in a real world application such as the back, hip, knee and ankle all bending together as you lift something off the ground…MOBILITY!

Remember in the 90’s when an Olympian or NFL player went down with a hammy? The trainer would run out and immediately start stretching that baby. You ever see that nowadays? NO WAY! –maybe for a cramp (keep reading, this one is down below)  Electrolytes – Dude, You need some but not a pulled muscle. The hammy almost always is injured in a “fast stretch” elongation injury. DON’T stretch it. Despite what your coach and PE teacher back in the day taught you. That era is dead, there’s a better version now!

Moral of the story here? Don’t stretch it unless you know for sure. Could you be OVERSTRETCHING? Yeah..not could you , you are. My advice… assume elongation – I think it’s about 90% of the cases. I can test most areas to see, you may or may not be able to do so. I don’t know your education or body awareness. I don’t have the book out yet to explain this all, but I’ll try my best on this website!.

I will offer you this though. Try whatever you want but if you don’t feel serious improvement, say 85% better sensation AND movement in about 4 treatments try something different than what you’re doing. In other words, If you’ve tried something 4 times and it hasn’t helped, try something else, possibly the opposite.

A year of, “it’s just not stretching, think I need to stretch more?” is crazy talk. Try something different. How do you think I figured all this out anyway?

 3. Protection along the spine

This is the big papa of them all. You will almost always get moderate to severe muscle spasm with any issue around the spine. Simple but painful conditions like a rib out of place or a disc strain cause a HUGE spasm, and because of that spasm – a HUGE amount of MIS – TREATMENT.

I can explain this as well.

This time let’s imagine a sprained ankle – immobile, black and blue, and swollen up like a thanksgiving turkey. OUCH – Now you all know not to heat and stretch this injury correct?  The acronym RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) has made it common recovery and first aid even my grade-schoolers understand.

“So what Chad? It’s not my ankle that hurts right now, My freaking back is all locked up and killing me!”

Well, most issues along the spine are like this, they are sprains and stress to connective tissues…the new sports med term – “threats” to the area..

Most likely a disc strain in the lower back or a rib in the middle and upper back. (Disc strain hurts to cough or sneeze and especially hurt while changing position with getting out of bed and the car the worst…Ribs feel like you’re being stabbed when you breath deep)  I have YouTube videos on this – learn here…

https://www.sportsdocdc.com/discInjuries (more on a disc strain)

And as promised, Rub #2 –Despite the injury being physiologically similar to the sprained ankle, the spine reacts differently than the sprained ankle. It really can’t allow for swelling like the ankle because there is all kinds of important stuff in that area.  Lots of nerves, important blood vessels and oh yeah, the spine. That’s important. So the body being the miracle of God that it is finds another way to immobilize the area and make it tough to move around so you don’t make it worse by being stupid. It locks up all the muscles in the area. Like I say in the clinic, “The brain doesn’t want you bowling tonight.”

The lock down is a protection mechanism to slow you down and not allow you to bend and twist quickly. (I hear “I couldn’t turn my neck to back out of the driveway today.”)

That’s smart! Your body is thinking for you…

The trouble is, it’s a muscle that’s all spasmed and tightened and easy to feel because it’s TIGHT.

So all of us- you, the doctors, chiros, massage therapists, PT’s, foam roller masters, trainers or well wishing friends and family can feel this.

“Darn Mel, that’s one tight back, you want me to sit on you and stretch that out for ya?”

But see, the muscle isn’t the issue. The issue is the disc or the rib and although usually a very simple and small issue, it hurts like crazy because there are millions of nerves RIGHT THERE so you want to DO SOMETHING. Remember, the issue is NOT the muscle – most likely its inflammation at the strain.  Inflammation doesn’t respond well to heat at all. Nor stretch, Nor Therapy Balls, Nor massage, Nor metal Tools, doorknobs, desk Corners or your spouse’s best intentions and rub downs.

In fact all your best intentions to relax the muscle, bring some heat to the area and stretch it out have an immediate feedback loop to your sore body. The injured area feels this and relays the info to your brain, similar to this…(use airline terminal voice) ”Say brain, I’m getting some strange responses here. Too much movement, inflammation is getting worse and this just isn’t safe, why don’t you just ratchet up this muscle a little tighter for a while until were out of the storm.”

An ever continuing spiral of despair and pain and this can go on for weeks! Basically starting over day 1 every. single. morning. The same loop the tweaked hamstring goes through.

Treat the inflammation. Treat the actual problem. Ice that thing. Inflammatory control treatment all the way, or at a minimum, at least don’t heat it and stretch it and do the wrong thing!

You’ve heard the poor advice…48 hours of ice, followed by 48 hours of heat and then contrasting ice and then 48 hours of heat sounded good from your coach in high school and all of us have heard this great-sounding-but-based-on-nothing-other-than-sounding-good-and-easy-to-remember-seminar-type-advice.

That advice is wrong – 1990’s advice and outdated. If it’s inflamed treat is as such, treat the problem, not the spasm!”

Some athletes are inflamed for weeks because of their sport, some people have immune-problems (rheumatoid issues, arthritis) or dietary reactions (IBS, colitis) that keeps them inflamed for weeks, some people have to go to work or have kids or live a real life and keep it inflamed day after day.

Here’s another way I can maybe help out. I ask all my clients 2 questions for any back issue.

Q1) Does your injury respond to anti-inflammatory (think Advil or Aleve) medication?

Does this make it feel better, even takes off the edge?

If yes, guess what? You’re inflamed. There’s no pain reliever in most anti-inflammatories, just anti-inflammatory…so if that works, adding stretch and or heat, which brings more blood is a “pro-inflammatory”.

You are basically doing the opposite of the medicine.

Despite that  “slap your forehead and say ‘a-ha’ – cartoon light bulb floating above your cranium” moment I still hear the standard low back protocol at the ER is 800 mg Ibuprofen and hot shower or massage..    BUZZ , wrong.. they are the opposites, a chemistry equation that does not equal – This terrible advice is great for my day to day employment as a chiropractor but we can all be better. We’re all smart and can figure this stuff out.

Q2) Does a hot shower make it feel great….for like ten minutes and then you can’t put on your socks because the pain returns so quickly.

Right. C’mon man. I don’t need to explain this all again.

I’m including this brief Follow up because people naturally just want to hear what they already believe and a couple of these ideas may have just shaken your belief system.  I’ve been doing this for 15 years so I’m going to give you a little bonus Q and A.

(the Q is the patient, the A is me..)

Q: “but really?, it feels so good”

A: “sorry. I know, ice doesn’t feel as therapeutic as heat – but often what feels good does not equal healing you for some conditions.”

Q: “something that small, like a little strain, can’t hurt like this right? This is a 9/10 here doc”

A: “ever had a paper cut? A piece of dust in your eye?”

Right, pain is such a liar. Pain is simply the signal. The “ENGINE MAINTENENCE” light.  Most often it’s all dependent on the amount of nerves in the area that dictate the pain not the severity of the injury. There are tons of nerves in the fingers, eyeballs, reproductive organs and along the ribs and discs, they hurt.

#4 Common Reason for “tight ELECTROLYTE ISSUES

CRAMPS, SPASMs or charlie horse. Easy fix -as it’s usually nutritional – you most likely need electrolytes in your system…

This article has become much longer than I expected and Electrolytes is such a huge issue I’ll not go into detail about it today. I have more on this website and podcast however so learn about it. Electrolytes are typically thought of as a dehydration issues and that’s true they are. But they are also a critical part of the neurotransmitter system. Bascially, how the brain controls the muscles.

If you get cramps at all, usually in the feet and calves the house bet is on you needing electrolytes. Get some.

Electrolytes

you can also have more than 1 of these 4 problems. Say, a disc strain in the lower back and depleted electrolytes. Your fix is to start taking the electrolytes and start inflammation protocol. All the stretch in the world and time off, rest and recovery isn’t going to get you better. Slow outdated ideas offering little benefit.

Q: “screw you Mr. know-it-all think your so smart doctor guy. I’m just going to do what I believe is right despite all the long term fails.”

A: OK, I made that one up, only a handful of people really tell me that.

But they think that..We all seek advice we already believe is true.

Just remember the 4 application theory I mentioned earlier. Try whatever the heck you want to try. 4 times. If you aren’t significantly better however, try something new, perhaps the above advice and see if it doesn’t help you make better informed decisions on your health and on your own body.

I know this article was a little longer and I preach all through this website, “simple explanation.”

In order to be simple it often needs explanation.

Explanation takes time the first time through and I hate advice without knowing the “why.” Now it should be simple to understand.

Like Biggie said, “And if you don’t know, now you know!

Are your Doctors, Therapists and Trainers Failing You?

episode #12 at SportsDocDC wherever you podcast!

This is actually a very common complaint that we hear in our Clinic.

In fact, I hear this nearly on a day-to-day basis.

The client, perhaps this is you, has tried seemingly every treatment option and protocol available and still feels terrible.

It could be diet plans that have failed, workout systems that just haven’t cut  the fat, or perhaps low back pain that just seems to come up three to four times a year despite all types of interventions.  

I’ve seen this with seemingly healthy people, but most often patients with a  health history that consists of a binder where, ”please list all medications you are taking” is a handout sheet that has been copied because there are way too many to remember.

Rather than me ranting on in a never ending Looping debate about problems with the healthcare industry, with incompetence, with lack of drive and willpower, or with the evil empire that is the food industry or the us versus them attitude – let me take a different perspective. I want to give you an outsider’s look.

HOW SECURITY TRAINING TAUGHT ME ABOUT HEALTHCARE

Aside from healthy living and lifestyle, I spend a lot of time researching and diving into personal safety. Everything from classes on survival to how to shoot a gun better to how to teach my own kids personal safety at their schools- it’s just a topic I really enjoy.

No matter what opinions are being taught, and believe me there are as many opinions in the safety/tactical/security world, as there are in the medical/health/fitness world, there is one overlying rule that every single instructor states prior to any learning.

“Personal security is MY own responsibility.”

When asked what led Andy Murphy of the popular “THE SECURE DAD” podcast into a life of thinking, writing and discussing personal security, he answered it like that.

He says, “After Columbine it became evident, even for me as a high school kid that Personal security is MY own responsibility.”

He has parlayed this lifestyle into a fantastic website, top podcast, social media and amazon top-seller.  Andy’s actually given me a lot of perspective about a lot of topics not related to his intended objective.

So for him and me and other like-minded people, It doesn’t matter if this entails you having “ situational awareness” while walking through the parking lot at Walmart, being a certain length behind the car in front of you at a stoplight, to having flashlights in Prime positions around your house should you encounter The Boogeyman.

The fact that personal security is your own responsibility empowers YOU to act on your behalf.   

Of course we still have policemen, firefighters, military super ninjas, video cameras and weapons as well as routinely get our brakes checked in our car and put new batteries in our fire alarms. Even with an arsenal of people and ideas and technology to help us, when security becomes an issue it happens too fast to rely on someone or something else to help us.  It’s up to you!

Maybe the first and most powerful tip in the security world is to avoid the things that get us into a dangerous situation in the first place.

Become aware.  

So how does that relate to your health?

Because Healthcare has to be like this. Exactly like this. You and only you are responsible for your body and your health.

You can use outside sources such as your doctors, chiropractors, personal trainers, dietitians, celebrity weight loss sources… the list goes on and on.

You can use these pros for ideas and opinions, for help.   They have the triple T –  great tips, tricks and tools. 

But until you decide it is time to fix your body nothing is going to happen.

If what I take 45 minutes to fix in my clinic, you take the next 10 hours undoing, its a net loss and an eventual breakdown and fail.

Your doctors aren’t failing you. Your trainers aren’t failing you. You are failing yourself.

It may not be your fault, you may have been led down the wrong path to begin with. You may have a huge emotional component tied up into your health that needs to be dealt with first. 

There is a list as long as the internet and a never ending self-help category on Amazon into the “why.”   The why is what you control.  And that is the fix.  That’s the turning point.

What I’m telling you is that you need to make your health your responsibility. There is no magic diet, magic pill,  workout program, or secret Voodoo Chiropractic Shaman adjustment that is going to radically change your path.   

Use the experts in the health field for their opinions and their ideas. They have shortcuts and the triple T. But ultimately, the realization that your body and your health are your responsibility will be the most important step you ever take towards feeling GREAT again.