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.
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.
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!
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!
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.”
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.
Instead, constantly strive for new information. New Ideas, New Wording that makes sense for you.
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!
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
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…
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!
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…
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.
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!
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.
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.
OK- it’s a Friday afternoon and we’re one doctor short for the 2nd week in a row. The office has been slammed busy and for reasons that can only be explained by the BLACK SUPERMOON we have had the strangest, toughest cases we’ve had for the entire year.
This article will help you with the bursa thing, but listen… this isn’t the advice article. That one is here
This one is about understanding at a deeper level. It’s to help you figure out that you are most likely just not doing things correctly. Here. Allow me to explain..
Friday has come and gone. We’re done. It’s sit around the office time. Time to discuss our week and go over cases as we wind down and get ready for the weekend.
And we’ve got gripes. That’s right, complaints y’all!
There is a tremendous amount of misinformation, denial and just straight up fallacy that is hindering our ability, as doctors, to make you guys, as patients, better.
In an effort to let you understand the inner workings of a doctor’s office, I feel like I need to let you in on something.
If you say certain things,as a patient, it just puts you in a different category as far as our expected outcomes. That’s correct…what you say can affect how fast you get better OR even if you CAN get better.
To state it simply – you may inadvertently say something that flips a switch in our minds and labels you, “cannot possibly ever recover.”
This is especially true for things that we find funny. Not funny that you’re feeling pain or hurt or discomfort, we’re not jerks. Funny, in that
you are oblivious to the obvious.
Things like this,
“So what is it?” – and then we explain it and then you nod and ask again, “So what do you think I have…is it bad???”
And then we explain it again with a handout sheet, greatly explaining this condition to the macro-molecular level. And then you ask, with a one eye squint and slight sideways look…“sooooo. What do you think it is?”
Yeah…that. Easy cure: pay attention. You’re never going to get better because you aren’t hearing it. For whatever reason. (You have a choice)
And this classic, “How did I do this?”
What? If you don’t know how you did it – how on Earth should I know?
And really by the time you get to my clinic, often -how you did it doesn’t matter – lets just fix it already.
And then there was this week…
Dozens of patients with musculoskeletal conditions telling us it is their hereditary condition. As if a strained rotator cuff or blown knee is a genetic trait. You’re crediting the wrong cause for your injuries.
So let me set the record straight. There are genetic conditions. There are blood factors that are real. Rheumatoid factors, chromosomal conditions, antibody antigen anti-things. I’m not denying the existence of these.
Low back pain
Cricks in the necks
These are just things that happen.They suck, They Hurt, they make you come to the chiropractor, doctor, PT therapist etc but…
They. Are. Not. Because your grandma had it. This has to stop.
Why has nobody ever brought this up before?!
Wait wait wait, before you try to stop me and go off, I get it – your grandma, your mom and probably your aunt and sister all sprained their ankles at some point in their life. And I understand that you have now as well. But it’s not a genetic weakness, it’s not hereditary and it’s not your crutch to bear for the remainder of your life because of millennia of passed down weak ankle genetics. It’s just not.
Everybody sprains their ankle. It’s 100%
It’s neither causative not correlated it’s just a fact of freaking life. So yes, I’ll work on it and get you better but seriously, You have to understand this now. Injuries happen and people get hurt.
If you want to keep from spraining your ankle there is actually a ton you can do for it that is significantly better than NOT doing something to help your odds out. Blaming it on the “O’Malley Genes” that great uncle Ebenerzer brought across the pond during the Revolutionary War isn’t helping anything. (That’s him in the painting walking behind General Washington…see the limp?)
OK, but how about that bad back…Strained a disc? Yeah I know. It’s also called a herniated disc, others call it a disc bulge, and even is often called annular fiber tears.It may have been described as a stenosis because it was posterior and came into the canal a bit. I’m here to tell you, NAY>>>To preach to you. It’s all the same thing and it will get better and you’ll be normal. Soon.
Relating musculoskeletal INJURIES to genetics and family hereditary lines is like saying you have toe fungus because your granddaddy got trench foot off the coast of Normandy during the BIG ONE!
Mark Twain said it, “the problem isn’t because we don’t know enough, it’s that we know so many things that just ain’t so.”
Dr.Tower related a story he saw at a nautical museum in Australia when he was vacationing. A placard described a famous shipwreck and listed the deaths and survivors. One of the guys died at 95. “Due to complications from the shipwreck.” WTF? He was 19 when they ran aground. He lived to be 95! He outlived damn near everyone he ever met and probably every one of his doctors. Seriously!! Using that logic, I’d say the shipwreck was the best thing that ever happened to him. Gave him an extra 25 years from the standard of living of the time.
You don’t need to tell me 17 years later that you have a disc herniation. Or that your 8th grade nurse once diagnosed you with scoliosis or that your sore shoulder that came last week mowing the lawn is most likely not from the car accident of ‘86. Or my friends’ classic, “because I played ball…”
OK, as your treating doctor, it probably is good that I know this info, it helps BUT..as the guy trying to help your life on DRCHADPETERS….I can’t have you carrying around this symptom and named issue as a DISEASE. Carried around like a 50 pound backpack for the rest of your life.
This is why I stated earlier that when you tell us this stuff it WILL affect your recovery and outcomes. Not because it is severe or unique but because you will NEVER get over something you can’t let go of.
This article is built so you can Unburden yourself. 95% of planet Earth has had the same thing you have at some time.
The 5% that have never had an issue, that’s not normal: it’s lucky, or optimal. Normal is what 95% have had and we’ve all had it.
I know I’m fired up but listen please! – I’m not mad. I’m trying to help you and free you and allow you to just go on with your life, don’t overthink pain nor musculoskeletal issues. Please, for your own sake. When it’s gone it’s gone.
Look, I do this daily. DAY-LY.
I see the 300 lb man that hasn’t worked out in a generation and smokes and drinks, is depressed and feels like absolute crap every day, This guy tells me he’s got his grandpa’s back.
NO dude! – you’ve done nothing to help yourself – you’ve got chronic “decondition.” That’s your freaking diagnosis.
You want to fix the worlds medical problems. Fix chronic decondition and you’ve cleaned up 90% and saved trillions!
But it goes both ways.
I also see the super fit, super hot, lean muscular supermodel looking girl from the cross fit gym that practically wants to give up on life, eating right, workouts and relationships because she tweaked her shoulder 3 times over the course of a year.
Please, fit chick..It’s not your weak genetics and it’s not that your gym and the instructors suck, you’re just a bit burned out and overworked. Change stuff up for a while, try a new approach.
It’s time for a reality check on health. I keep seeing the same things every day and I want to help you! You’ve got to get this right in your head or you can’t be helped. AND we, as doctors, know this. You’ll never get active at treating these things because you can’t get over the idea that it IS IN YOUR CONTROL IN THE FIRST PLACE!
This article is simply my plea to take an honest look. Muscle skeletal issues are our wheelhouse and our strong point at this clinic. Our professions see them repeatedly all day long all year long. All ages, sexes, nationalities and morphologies. These issues happen to everyone and anyone and they are all treatable and fixable and when finished and gone – you are done with them –
Your shoulder doesn’t hurt because you PLAYED football. Your shoulder hurts because you hurt it in football back in the day and proceeded to do nothing for 3 decades to help it recover. It’s shredded and sore and doesn’t move right. You’ve got a long road ahead and today is a new day 1, let’s take a small step forward. OR not.
It’s not because your granddaddy hurt his shoulder shoveling coal on the Ole’ Santa Fe either.
And look, I’ve gone on enough. You get it.
This isn’t about treatment and outcomes. It’s just me verbalizing my Friday Gripes – just a wake up call on causes of pain so we can all just get past it and make better decisions to your healthcare. It’s about having hope.
Or you don’t get it and will always have your excuse and disease and have no hope for the future.
It’s not up to me to decide. It’s your body – but being true to what you are dealing with dramatically affects your outcome and responses. I just want you to feel great and get back out there making our world better. It’s all about amping up the positive and down playing the negative.
Picture a Boy Scout campfire. That’s my working image for today’s learning lesson.
Feel free to join in today’s weenie roast – gather around, find a nice log to set yourself on and listen up as camp director Dr.Chad uses his deep slow scary voice and a flashlight to the face to scare the bejeezus out of you in an attempt to relate-
what may be the world’s biggest epidemics of modern times..
Look, I know I’ve explained inflammation a million times but I’ll tell you now, this time its new and improved – I’m better – and there’s new information and a new way of thinking. It’s superior information and application than what I was doing a week ago and I promise to give you a better perspective and the ammo to make a decision that will dramatically affect your life.
I speak on inflammation more than any other topic in my clinic.
Every time you hear an athlete or celebrity talk about this new and improved diet or go vegan or go lectin free or ANY OTHER DIET – this is the basis In the last decade – so has every doctor worth their salt.
Inflammation is THE cause of your problem. I don’t even know what you specifically have but Whatever you have, I’ll take the over bet that there is an inflammatory component.
Let’s start this conversation with the basics – this is a lecture for 5th grade campers after all..so how about a 5th grade level thought process for you, I’d say think about a Sprained Ankle? It is easy to imagine this injury, obviously it is inflamed. EVERYONE KNOWS you treat this issue with ice or R.I.C.E.
The analogy for this is
“Pour some water on that fire, campers! – it’s too damn hot for S’mores”
OK, how about deeper stuff – let’s say high school level learning – things like osteo and rheumatoid arthritis? Psoriatic, Lupus and all the others. How about Bursitis and Tendinitis. Arthritis, any itisis are exactly this – simple, straight up inflammation. “ itis “ is nothing more than the medical 50 cent word for inflammation. Add arthro meaning joint, bursa meaning bursa or tendon meaning tendon in front of it and you have the modern-day-Latin for your condition. This is great news! Dude you don’t have THE disease arthritis you have an inflamed joint.
“Campers, did anyone think to put a pit of stones around this fire?? There’s a lot of dried leaves sitting in the tall grass here…that can’t be safe!”
Which gets me to the next part – if it’s not a disease state it means you can recover from this – it’s fixable! You can fix arthritis and Bursitis and Tendinitis – Hallelujah!
“Thanks Chad, I never knew! And now there’s hope!”
Now lets graduate and move on to the undergrad or college level of issues, this will require a little thinking. Hang with me here. Itis simply means inflamed -how about things such as colitis, Crones, diverticulitis IBS etc.
Gut and intestine inflammation right? Yes – it is – a little more deep thinking but at the cellular level it’s just inflamed – you can fix this too. As well as all the irritable bowel and gas and disaster pants – these issues suck, but still – it’s inflammation here guys, nothing more.
Even with deep metabolic conditions such as gout and Eczema – ittis the inflammatory response, that’s causing all the pain and redness.
“Uh Campers, the fire seems to be a bit out of control. Who threw a pallet and gas on the fire?”
The problem is that inflammation is part of the natural healing process – doesn’t sound like a natural process should cause a problem? Well yours is. Mostly, because your body went on crazy overproduction and emergency mode –
It tried to put out the scouts campfire by building a dam and flooding the valley. Too much and overkill.
Diving deeper – Next we’re going to move to the grad school level, where the cutting edge research and the lecture circuit on inflammation is happening. To where it’s looking like most issues, ( think ALL ) – have a major impact coming from the inflammatory response – things like Alzheimer’s, Type II diabetes (even thoughts on type 1 being at the first stages) and even ADHD? Pretty much every and all Autoimmune diseases to name a few…dozens.
Hopefully I have your attention!
Well maybe that’s just not your thing – all this science on chronic disease and stuff… Not interested.
Well how about a fat ass?
Now we’re talking. Wake up!
Yep the last 10 pounds keeping you from being ripped or the freshman 50 you put on and cant take off.
See? It’s a part of everything and it affects everyone – even you.
So let’s get to that fat belly –
“Chad, you’re telling me it’s the inflammation NOT the triple bacon mac cheeseburger chocolate ice cream diet coke float”
Yes! Well sort of.
Your diet is the culprit, causing the inflammation. Your gut isn’t working right because of all the crappy food choices (even a lot you were told were smart choices) and now you cant even get the good stuff in and too much bad stuff is coming in and your body is using the river to put out a campfire all over again.
Its repeatedly using a river to put out a kid’s tiny campfire. Over and over again the kids build a fire up and the river puts it out. Eventually someone up in command central just says”forget it” and decides to use napalm to just strip and defoliate the entire campsite so no-one can camp here anymore and the area will just get a chance to reset and return to a baseline – it will never be the 100 year old woods again with the incredible variety of flora and fauna that took decades to establish because of all the campfires and rivers running the wrong way and brush fires and most of the logs have been used up. BUT, with a complete reset, in time, it will become beautiful and quite functional again. It COULD THRIVE AGAIN. But day in and day out little campers keep showing up with minivans full of wood and kindling and THESE LITTLE BUGGERS keep setting up these damn camp fires all over the scorched earth. They are relentless! Who the hell keeps showing up to camp on a napalmed campsite, that’s insane – everyone can see its been destroyed and isn’t functioning like a campsite. Still, they just keep showing up. And it’s not just on weekends anymore either – there is a line of campers waiting to get in!
Yes – it seems inflammatory conditions are becoming serious business for doctors and consequently for the drug and supplement suppliers working to help.
The WORLD is rushing to find new treatments, drugs, food products, diet books and oils creams, shakes and exercise programs to try and treat your inflammatory conditions and over all they are doing pretty good – there’s lots of progress in all these categories.
Then why do we all as a society just keep getting worse?!
Back to the analogy. I think everyone – doctors, drug companies, Trump, me, nutritionists etc – we’re all missing something. We’re basically firefighters trying to control the burn with:
Omegas fatty acids
Cherry juice (think gout and other metabolic issues)
Active ROM exercises
Glucosamine chondroitin etc
Designer drugs built to target individual issues
Exercise (think to reduce arthritic conditions and create lubrication etc)
How about WD40 and olive Oil (because that’s what Jesus used!
OK the last two are totally fake and wont work – but I seriously heard these both in the last 2 weeks from patients…
Anyway – there’s this list…a handful collection of things you TAKE to blunt the Inflammation complex.
You’ve tried many of these for sure.They work.
Back to the campfire –
For this example let’s use a classic treatment – an NSAID such as an over the counter ibuprofen or naproxen – these are like bringing a 20 oz water bottle to the fire. Pour it right on those hot coals and wa-la it helps – the fire fizzles out on that log and the flames are reduced.
But given time, the fire will return to the area that we just doused because a fire is hot. This is my idea of why if you take an anti inflammatory only when it hurts, you’re missing a better treatment window. The fire has re-flamed.
This kind of treatment, via creams and pills seem to work better if they are used 2-3 times a day. it’s like constantly pouring the water on – for a better effect.
Not the best situation but man, sometimes even a little bit of taking the edge off is worth it.
But now you keep doing dumb stuff such as a hot tub or hot shower or a long deep stretch.
That’s more blood to the area, which feels good initially because blood is like that, but 20 minutes later BAM! The body is inflamed – the fire is stoked and the alarms go off! You just went PRO Inflammatory, not ANTI Inflammatory.
This is the same lecture I always do. I’ve got that scenario mentioned on this site and my clinic’s site a dozen different ways. I’m OK with some anti inflammatories!
But let’s dive deeper here because this is Drchadpeters and we enjoy getting smarter every day.
What if you like eating sugars and carbs or foods you’re reactive to? That’s every bit as detrimental to inflammation.
That’s throwing kindling on the fire! Wow! It just flared back up – bigger than before – But oh! its OK – you’re eating 5-6 small meals per day. Great – you just threw a pack of fireworks on that camp fire.
In fact – depending on what you eat or do at home – you could just be adding perfectly cured hickory logs to your fire and man, those babies burn fantastically – long and hot. As in, “my knee has hurt for 2 weeks” or the all time classic, “my arthritis has FLARED UP” –
yep Truly -It has.
This goes for every its and complex previously mentioned- the initial plan was to make the campfire smaller and less heat – less inflammation. What can we take or do to lessen the burn?
Now – just for a minute, look at this from a different angle. This was brought to my attention today and blew my mind and gave me a concise fifth grader’s understanding of body works.
What if it’s not what you INGEST and ADD but instead what you ELIMINATE from the fire as the treatment?
What I’m suggesting is what if we just pulled the logs out of the campfire?
Look, I know this stuff is deep but your body is constantly taking in stuff – good stuff and bad stuff and often good stuff that for whatever reason is now being attacked by the body as IS TREATED as if it is bad. It’s confusing…I know. But this time I’m speaking literally – your body is confused.
Hang on here for just a second. I’m going to give you an example to deepen your understanding.
Eggs are good for you – the protein and fats make it nearly nature’s perfect food.
The proteins, of course, should be all ground up in your guts into tiny amino acids before they get into the blood.
Let’s say I had pneumonia a few weeks ago and had to take antibiotics for a two weeks session and now my gut bacteria is basically gone and the proteins are now not ground up properly and some of these full proteins get through the gut wall and directly into the blood system.
Well, what happens it that all the magic in the blood senses these proteins as foreign invaders and starts the attack – keeping you healthy and preserved. But – and it’s a huge BUT – over day by day of egg protein sneaking in my system the body actually makes antibodies for these proteins and just basically says – “eggs are bad, they’re invaders!” and the attack continues on and on to the point that the guts may even begin to implement early warning air raid sirens when eggs are introduced.
Now the eggs that are supposedly good for you, just aren’t anymore. They are the kids campfire and the body sends the flooding to quelch the problem. Now multiply this by every day because damn dude, you love yourself some eggs in the morning and multiply that by the other 100’s of proteins that over the last decade the body has made a defense system for and you can see how it seems like we’re reactive to damn near everything. It’s because in reality we most like ARE!
This is why our sprained ankle still hurts and seems to never be healing, why our knees are always sore and why you run to the bathroom like you’ve got dysentery every time you have your morning coffee.
I think its a bigger player in aging than your number of trips around the sun. You’re not getting older, your body is starting to reject more and more stuff and eventually gets confused about all the proteins such as those in joint tissue, skin, hair etc. This is the definition of Autoimmune disease – the body is attacking itself.
One more thought – it’s now pretty much known that long term anti inflammatory use as NSAIDS and sometimes even short term use directly affect and in essence punch holes into the gut wall allowing for these food particles to be attacked. The very ammo we were using for short term inflammation control now allows for more long term and chronic inflammation. AGH! Its like you can’t win.
But you can – it takes work and patience and being true to yourself and could take outside help and blood work but you can treat the entire body with a better anti inflammation diet. It’s all the rage in the NFL – just give it about 6 weeks to really show up – it’s all you’ll hear about.
Yes, an anti Inflammation diet is tough – it will be hard and it’s mind numbing because it just goes so deep – I can go WAAAAAY deeper on this guys – (see Lectin article coming out soon) but this is a good start.
I also think we as American Humans need a reset sometimes and I feel this is a HUGE reason why keto/paleo and intermittent fasting work so well – the food choices are just less. Less things to be reactive and consequently less of an inflammation cascade.
I think this is why the body feels so incredible during a true fast (after a bit of hunger discomfort) and why so many in Functional Health, the guys that actually care about healing and causes, suggest fasting and diet resets and cleanses for everything from acne to fat loss to cancer treatments .
Conversely, it’s the reason WHY there are so many misconceptions and poor advice and why simple advice like, “go Gluten Free” just doesn’t even cover it and actually is most likely leading you down the wrong rabbit hole.
(warning: another analogy) Gluten is THE rock start right now, but honestly – Gluten is just a guy in a band that has become the poster boy. He’s truly not special at all and there are a ton of similar rockers and many of them rock even harder than gluten.
It’s also why I can’t offer you a fix – This stuff is deep and it’s personal and there is a multi prong approach that is totally doable but tough if you don’t have a reason.
It’s why I can get away with having a beer and pizza and really aside from feeling bloated and foggy I’m not nearly as bad as my brother who couldn’t walk the next day his body is so reactive with rheumatoid.
But, it’s also why, the same brother knows he is playing a different game than me with different stakes and doesn’t want the pizza and beer – he wants to feel good.
And really, over time, the foods that the body attacks can be reintroduced and most likely he’ll be fine.
Again, I don’t have a solution for all of you but I would like to call a wake up and shout out to look at ELIMINATING the cause vs ADDING buffers. Cause vs treatment vs ELIMINATION. It’s not a two player game.
Remove the logs, hell, remove the entire fire pit and camp site and plant a garden of wonderfulness there instead and reap the benefits for the rest of your life.
As Dr. Steven Gundry of the “Plant Paradox” says, “What you DON’T eat is more important than what you DO eat.”
All these crazy guys eating and preaching ideas like this are actually the leaders in the next change in the diet revolution. These guys are attacked as nuts, New age and hippies but they will go down in history as the innovators, researching and understanding the inner workings of our body and responses to what we put in it.
We have come such a long way from calories in/calories out. I want you to Get in the game!