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resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Exploring and Learning from the Gift of Life
I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to teach cadaver dissection classes and workshops with Stephen Cina at the New England School of Acupuncture over the past seven years, first through the Sports Medicine Acupuncture Program and later as a NESA elective course.
Abdominal Acupuncture for Eye Healing: The Sacred Turtle and Ba Gua Map
Our ideas about western medicine have shifted in recent decades, while the public is asking more from health care providers.
Are You Making the Wrong Impression?
Taking a page from Stacy and Clinton of The Learning Channel's hit television program, "What Not to Wear," we recently published an article in the summer issue of Chiropractic History: The Archives and Journal of the Association for the History of Chiropractic, that explores the evolution of physician attire from prehistoric times to the present.
Colon Health and TCM
I still remember many years ago, the loud "Yuck" from my wife at the time when we were together watching the Chinese movie "Last Emperor."
Research: Know What You're Talking About
Have you ever seen a patient in your office with multiple serious health problems you weren't sure exactly how to address?
Melatonin: A Promising Natural Agent in the Prevention of ALS
A number of years ago, experimental studies suggested melatonin could block key steps in the development of Alzheimer's disease, primarily by acting as a brain antioxidant and inhibiting the build-up of beta-amyloid plaque in the brain.
The Art of Creating a Healing Space
I always advise my graduates to examine their group practice or treatment rooms with fresh eyes after they leave my CE workshops. I tell them, "Ask yourselves - is your space qi filled, welcoming and healing? Or is it cold and clinical?"
An Unexpected Superfood: All About Eggs
About 40 years ago, excessive dietary cholesterol was labeled a public health concern. Specifically, it was thought that there was a causal link between consumption of cholesterol-laden foods and increased risk of heart disease.
Looking Back: Abstracts From Chiropractic History (Summer 2015 Issue)
The following abstracts are reprinted with permission from Chiropractic History, the official journal of the Association for the History of Chiropractic. Chiropractic History is the leading scholarly journal of the chiropractic profession dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of the profession's credible history.
Reverse Digit Span: A Useful Assessment Tool for Patients With and Without Concussion
Reverse digit span is an easily administered test of attention span. It is a component of the SCAT3 test, which is frequently used to assess concussion. It has been part of the armamentarium of cognitive assessment for many years.
Can Acupuncture Treat Knee Pain?
Recently, an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that, "neither laser nor needle acupuncture conferred benefit over sham for pain or function" among older chronic knee pain patients.
Online Marketing Basics: Google Ranking, Part 1
We all know there is so much opportunity with online marketing. And, let's face it, if you don't have a presence online with a website and social media, you are probably not where you want to be.
Medicine as Metaphor
The practice of medicine is both an art and a science. We study and learn the system so that when the time comes to apply it, there is a greater possibility of successfully helping others.
The Roots of TCM in Depression Treatment
In traditional Chinese medicine, there is historical precedent for the treatment of so-called "Shen" (Heart-Mind) disorder, or disorder/dysregulation of the spirit, which is also considered as distinct but not separate from the cognitive function of the brain.
Merger Creates New Model of Care
Two San Francisco powerhouses of holistic healing, the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) and California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), are merging. Together they are building a visionary approach to applied integral health.
The Winter of Life: A Personal and Chiropractic Practice Perspective
Last November, my wife and I invited an elderly relative, Uncle Josh, to spend the winter with us. He was 82 years old at the time and turned 83 during his stay. As soon as he accepted our invitation, we began preparing.
Adding Microneedling to Your Clinic for Results and Profit
Microneedling has taken the beauty world by storm over the last 10 years. Under the names dermaroller, microneedling or skin needling you will see these treatments listed in the services of nearly every fashionable beauty salon and day spa in the country.
The Integrative Medicine Puzzle: Putting the Pieces Together
The conversation is changing in the broader healthcare community with patients actually moving the discussion toward more integrative topics. Patients today want to know their options.
Exercise Recommendations for Healthy Aging
Aging is inevitable, but how you age is not. Common physical signs of aging include decreased muscle mass, decreased muscular power, increased body fat, and decreased aerobic (lung) capacity.
The Source-Luo Point Combination, Part 3
Dr. Nguyen Nghi (NVN) was born in Vietnam and is one of the most important scholars, writers, teachers and practitioners of modern time. Many of his theories and applications are the source of modern teachers from Europe and the United States.
Chiropractic Care and Risk of Stroke: The Shoe Moves to the Other Foot
For decades, numerous papers have linked upper cervical chiropractic care to the incidence of vertebral artery dissections and stroke.
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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