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Which Way is the Energy Going? Are You Burning Yourself Out?
One of the simple methods that I use to define Yin/Yang theory to patients is to ask the question, "Which way is your energy going?"
North Carolina Acupuncture Board Files Dry Needling Lawsuit
In early September, the NCALB filed a complaint against the North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners over the issue of dry needling, a form of acupuncture that uses solid needles to puncture the skin and muscle tissue to relieve pain.
Mechanism: Experimental Approaches to Understanding Acupuncture, Part 1
The clinical benefits of acupuncture are difficult to ignore, but also can be difficult to explain to a Western audience. For nearly 50 years, relentlessly inquisitive scientists and physicians have been working toward a conceptual model to explain acupuncture.
Omega-3 Fish Oil: An Underappreciated Element of Men's Health
As a clinician with many male patients -- and as a man myself -- I am all too aware of the fact that we like to convince ourselves that we are doing great, when that may be the farthest thing from the truth.
Tailor-Made Knee Pain: The Sartorius Muscle
A patient was referred to my office after receiving treatment from various providers with no results. The patient was training for the Olympics as a marathon runner and was unable to run or walk without severe medial knee pain.
Diagnose Sprain Injuries in MVA Cases With Dynamic X-Rays (Pt. 1)
Am I the only person to notice hospitals are doing a seemingly insufficient job lately in their initial radiological workup of motor vehicle accident (MVA) victims?
Targeting the Bad Apples in the Bunch
While everyone was focused on the conversion to ICD-10, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services released a new report on chiropractic titled "CMS Should Use Targeted Tactics to Curb Questionable and Inappropriate Payments for Chiropractic Services."
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 1)
It doesn't matter if you come to my practice for pain relief, weight loss, healthy aging or something else. The formula I talk about for each patient's fitness strategy is pretty much the same.
The Concussion-Subluxation Complex
In the Aug. 1, 2014 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic, I reviewed some of the literature demonstrating the role of the chiropractic adjustment in post-concussive care.
Chinese Herbs and Pulmonary Fibrosis: A Case Study
"Mary M."* recently celebrated her 90th birthday. Even the former sheriff dropped by to kiss the hand of this diminutive retired teacher, to honor the years she interpreted for him during interviews with Latinas and Latinos.
Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 2
Acupuncture's cultural and historical roots go back to the emergence of Chinese civilization. For more than 2,000 years, acupuncture needling has been continuously practiced on the largest population in the world.
The Modern Application of Ancient Mei Rong
Chinese Medical Cosmetology (Mei Rong) has a well-documented and venerated history dating back to the Qin (221-206 BC) Dynasty.
Making Sense of an Increasingly Obvious Conclusion
Where's U.S. health care heading? Like it or not, the list of telltale signs is growing to a point that stands out to even the most myopic observer. Consider this list of facts as you look into the future of health care in the United States:
Pro-Con: Swaddling for Newborns
The practice of swaddling has been used for thousands of years and was popular until the 1700s, when it was slowly abandoned by many cultures that considered it old-fashioned or barbaric.
Dietary Fat and Prostate Cancer: An Important Update
K.M. Di Sebastiano and M. Mourtzakis published a review paper examining the role of dietary fat on prostate cancer development and progression late last year that does a stellar job of summarizing the available data on fat and prostate cancer.
Born to Energize the Human Spirit: Recollections of Sig Miller
Sig Miller, longtime executive director of the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors (ANJC), passed away on Sept. 17 after a long battle with cancer.
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in the West
We know acupuncture and Oriental medicine as the indigenous medicine of East Asia; in particular China, Korea and Japan are the countries of origin of this wonderful healing system.
F4CP Making a High-Impact Impression
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has released details of its 2016 strategy, certain elements of which are already in play. The strategy includes ads, posters and other resources available to all F4CP members.
Your Billing Questions Answered
I hear a lot of the following questions: I am afraid I may doing something illegal. I have heard I cannot have different fees for the same service.
One Size Does Not Fit All: Exercise and Nutrition According to Your Yin/Yang Body Type
There are countless new exercise and nutrition plans out there, emphasizing the latest ground-breaking research and claiming to revolutionize the way we view health.
It's Time to Review
It is amazing to see the changes that are occurring in the acupuncture profession. Let's look at some of the news and events that have contributed to this growth and awareness.
Too Many to Remember: Tips to Revive Your Ortho / Neuro Test Skills
When I was at Palmer in the mid-1980s, we were given a set of notes in one of our diagnostic courses. The notes covered approximately 70 orthopedic and neurological tests for various regions of the body.
Footsteps of the Sages: An Apprenticeship with Dr. Kezhan Zhang
When I met Dr. Kezhen Zhang in May 2013, I was his translator and the integrity, creativity, and passion he demonstrated as a practitioner and advocate of the medicine convinced me to travel to Beijing to study with him.
February, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 02
The Bike Body
Working With Cyclists
By Erik Dalton, PhD
It's astonishing the money and time many elite and "weekend-warrior" cyclists devote to retrofitting racing bikes to conform to their bodies rather than first restoring function to the most critical piece of racing equipment: the rider's body.When muscle imbalances, faulty movement patterns and joint fixations distort the body's bony framework, the cyclist is led on a never-ending journey searching for that perfect bike fit. (Fig. 1)
My personal mantra: "Fit the body to the bike, stupid!"
Bodyworkers and functional movement trainers whose practices cater to amateur and elite cyclists are keenly aware of the clinical and performance advantages gained by restoring optimal mobility, flexibility and stability to the biker's muscle/joint complex. It makes sense to first get the kinks out before sending the client off for an expensive and sometimes useless bike retrofit. Without hands-on maintenance and functional fine-tuning, cyclists often unknowingly reinforce dysfunctional movement patterns ingrained from long-forgotten micro- or macro-traumatic injuries.
Confusion and controversy over this chicken-or-egg (bike-or-body) thing is primarily due to lack of understanding of the Law of Cause and Effect. For instance, let's say a bike shop performs a retrofit and Bob, the cyclist, smilingly pedals away on his newly reconstructed machine feeling secure and pain-free. Life is good... or is it?
Unfortunately, if Bob is one of many "flexion-addicted" Americans with a sedentary job that keeps him glued to the computer terminal day-after-day, gravitational exposure will gradually drag his body into a big "C" curve. (Fig. 2) In time, Bob's brain relearns this aberrant posture as normal and on weekend outings his "hip-flexed" desk posture morphs into a similarly distorted riding posture. (Fig. 3)
To make matters worse, stubborn pain-spasm-pain cycles often appear as the hip stiffens and the imposed stress destabilizes sacroiliac and low back structures. In the presence of lumbar spine instability, the brain may decide to lock down the low back and ribcage with protective muscle guarding. Thoracic cage rigidity not only inhibits proper diaphragmatic breathing but also sends shock waves through the thoracolumbar and pectoral fascia and into the upper extremity joints where reverberations are met with strong resistance from habitually locked hands, elbows and arms. (Fig. 4) Meantime, compensations from adhesive hip capsules also traverse down through Bob's knees, ankles and feet searching for a weak link in the lower kinetic chain.
Cyclists who opt for a bike retrofit prior to receiving manual therapy to release fibrotic hip capsules and hip flexors, soon notice a loss of endurance and may develop soft tissue or joint sprains associated with lumbopelvic imbalance. Oddly, many flexion-addicted cyclists attempt to work through the injury despite sensing a noticeable reduction of speed, power and efficiency. "No pain, no gain" is an unacceptable working model for those seeking longevity in the cycling sport.
Does decreased hip angle equal less power?
One of the most common bike positions used by "flexiholics" has the hip flexors locked short and the hams and glutes overstretched and weak. This imbalance pattern as described by Vladimir Janda in his lower crossed syndrome, forces the pelvic bowl to be drawn too far forward creating a decrease in hip angle. (Fig. 5)
Cyclists who consistently ride with an anteriorly rotated pelvis and decreased hip angle are subject to capsular and ligamentous adhesions and a subsequent loss of economy and power. To accommodate the loss of hip extension, many recreational and competitive racers compensate by posteriorly tilting their pelvic bowl and rounding their backs into a hyperkyphotic posture just to increase hip angle and power. The famed cyclist Andy Pruitt believes that changing the seat height by a mere inch alters mechanics and motor control patterns of every joint in the lower extremity. By decreasing seat height, excessive force is transferred to the patellofemoral joint, while raising the saddle too much strains the hamstrings, low back and hands.
Stand and try this: Lift one leg with the knee bent about 90 degrees as high as possible without straining or rounding the back and forcing hip flexion. Most people are able to comfortably hip-flex about 90 degrees. Try this maneuver again except this time forward-bend your trunk about 50 - 60 degrees, while raising the knee. Notice a dramatic reduction in the amount of hip flexion? Try both tests again and this time, measure available hip flexion by observing how high your foot raises off the ground. This test illustrates what can happen to hip-impaired cyclists: decreased hip flexion = greater effort = more work = poor performance.
Riding Postures and Rehab
The first order of business when treating adhesive (motion-restricted) hip flexors and capsules is to mobilize the hip in all three cardinal planes. (Fig. 6a) To restore myofascial balance, fast-paced "spindle-stim" maneuvers such as those shown in Fig. 6b help tonify weakened (neurologically inhibited) gluteal and hamstring muscles. Once the therapist manages to increase hip angle and establish proper functional balance and range of motion, the cyclist is free to decide which type of riding posture (he believes) suits him best.
Some cyclists prefer a high seat so they can posteriorly rotate the pelvis to increase hip angle. Other riders find greater mechanical advantage by putting a little curve in the low back, engaging the core, and then slightly backing off the curve to allow a neutral lumbar spine. Either way, both groups should avoid:
The Yin-Yang of Muscles and Joints
To perform well in such a challenging event, cyclists like Bob would greatly benefit from a well-constructed manual and movement therapy program that focuses on restoration and maintenance of proper intrinsic/extrinsic muscle balance and diaphragmatic breathing patterns. Fluid and dynamic body movement during cycling events is dependent on the ability of muscles and fascia to stay strong, yet flexible. A healthy lumbar spine is the driving engine in most athletic endeavors and length/strength balance between muscles, ligaments, joint capsules, and thoracolumbar fascia is essential for providing that stable platform. Any weakness or motor control issues are magnified by traumatic shocks from funky road conditions or recurring bike injuries. Eventually, excessive neurological input cannot be handled at the spinal cord level and the information is "fast-tracked" to the brain for interpretation via pain-signaling nociceptors. If the brain decides to "splint" the vulnerable area to prevent further insult, pain-spasm-pain cycles may ensue.
Ingrained muscle and motor imbalance patterns such as those discussed by Vladimir Janda, Gray Cook, Craig Liebenson and others, often require a concerted team effort to reestablish normal movement behavior. In most cases, the ideal treatment protocol is to first restore lost mobility to impaired structures and then address stability issues via functional movement training.
Like many of America's other popular, but abnormal, athletic endeavors such as golf, tennis, bowling, etc., cyclists bring with them a complex biomechanical downside that's often hard to completely fix. The "arched back" model is generally the most problematic. In an attempt to level the eyes, the rider must hyperextend occiput on atlas. The cervicothoracic junction is also forced to hyperextend (neck-on-shoulders) causing chronically locked intervertebral joints and rib jamming. This area is particularly affected by road vibrations due to the stationary position of arms, shoulders and hands. Additionally, ligamentous laxity may develop from excessive thoracolumbar and lumbosacral bowing which, in time, sets the stage for low back pain and disability.
The good news is that the human body is both adaptable and dynamic; the bad news is that our biker clients often bring along a lot of baggage including flexion-addicted sitting postures, old injuries, compensations, poor training habits, etc. Once the skilled manual and movement therapist makes necessary corrections, the bike can then be retrofitted to conform to the rider's optimally functioning body. A properly fitted bike combined with a revitalized and functionally balanced neuromuscular system allows muscles and joints to work at optimal levels of motor unit recruitment and synchronization. As endurance and performance improve, so does the natural love of cycling.
Click here for previous articles by Erik Dalton, PhD.
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