The Hip Lift: The Most Underutilized Exercise To Prevent Low Back Pain

The hip lift may be the most underutilized exercise that could effectively prevent your low back back pain from ever coming back!

While the exercise only aims to isolate and strengthen the hamstrings, strong and healthy hamstrings are vital to a healthy low back. How do stronger hamstrings help with low back pain?

The hamstrings are a group of muscles made up of three distinctly different muscles that have the same attachment to the pelvis.  By strengthening this group of muscles, the hamstrings add needed support to the pelvis when standing, walking, and moving.  This in return, reduces the daily strain in the low back and can prevent your low back pain from returning!

While the hip lift may seem easy, do not let it fool you!  When performed properly it is very difficult for even the strongest person!

To perform the movement, you will need a support bench or chair.  Start by laying near the bench, placing your heels just on the support.  Proper bench or chair height will put your shins roughly parallel to the floor.  Next make sure your feet and knees are hip width apart, and your knees are directly over your hips.

The movement will take 5 seconds to perform.  Start the movement by driving the heels through the bench to engage the hamstrings.  Keep your core relaxed through the movement to make sure the work is done completely by the hamstrings.  Slowly raise the hips up for 2 seconds until your back is just over fist high off the ground.

Hold for a second at the top of the movement and slowly return to the floor for another count of 2.  Briefly pause for a second on the ground while maintaining the tension in your hamstrings, before starting another rep.

The hip lift is performed everyday for 2 sets and 15 reps per set.  When starting, most cannot perform that many reps and fall in the 6 to 10 rep category if they are performing the movement correctly.  For a demonstration on the movement please watch the video below.

As mentioned in the video, the hip lift is designed to prevent low back pain, not fix low back!  If you currently suffer from low back pain, it is advised to find the root of the problem before beginning this exercise.  Implementing any exercise without proper instruction, and specific purpose can be dangerous!

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If you, or someone you know is currently suffering with low back pain, let the experts at Thrive Spine and Sport help!  We invite you to call our office today at 319-423-0925 or request an appointment on our website by clicking here! If you have any questions over this exercise, or your low back pain please email us at info@thrivespineandsport.com.

At Thrive Spine and Sport, our goal is to educate and help as many people inthe community as possible!  We do hope that you found this article beneficial, please share this with friends or family in need!  

Thanks for reading!

Cedar Rapids Neck and Upper Back Pain Treatment

Neck pain is a common ailment that will affect 50-70% of the population at some point in their lifetime. Neck pain is commonly caused by repetitive strain and overuse – think sitting at a desk, looking at our phones, etc. Finding the correct cause of your neck and upper back pain are often times misdiagnosed and mistreated and here’s why.

At the base of your skull lie 6 tiny muscles.  These muscles are known as the suboccipitals.  These muscles are frequently beat up from our modern day lifestyle.  As a result, these small muscles will develop adhesion and become restricted.  More on that in a bit.  When these muscles have adhesion, they shorten and will extend the head, like in the picture below.

neck-ext
Of course, no one walks around like this because your body is really good at compensating! Because of the neck wanting to be in extension, the body will compensate by carrying the head more forward, like the picture below.  This places a TON of extra stress and strain in the upper back and neck.  Every inch forward, DOUBLES the weight of the head!
forward-head-posture

This is why your upper back hurts and is always “tight.”

Most providers unfortunately don’t understand this. Treatments like adjustments, taping, stretching, and exercise may help in the short term, but do nothing to resolve the original issue!

Adhesion, as previously mentioned, acts like glue on the muscles.  It is the most common cause of restricted motion and pain in the body.  Unfortunately, it is one of the most misdiagnosed conditions! Neck and upper back pain are frequently caused by adhesion found in the muscles at the base of your skull. Proper treatment reduces the adhesion within those muscles, and in turn allows the neck to function properly; taking stress away from the lower neck and upper back and restoring healthier posture. 

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The doctors at Thrive Spine and Sport are experts at finding and fixing adhesion!  Currently, they are 2 of only 4 providers in the state of Iowa certified through Integrative Diagnosis – the most advanced conservative health care system – for the diagnosis and treatment of adhesion.  If you or someone you know is suffering with constant neck and upper back pain, call our office today at 319-423-0925 or schedule an appointment by clicking here.

Stretching Is NOT For Everyone!

Stretching is not for everyone! Yet, for most in pain seeking the help of an expert, it’s one of the first things that is recommended to do.

Why?

That’s the question you should be asking! Go to a PT or a chiropractor and you’re likely to get a handful of stretches recommended to you to increase flexibility. But why are you so tight?

Is it because you sit at a desk all day? Maybe it’s because you have been exercising a lot lately? These still don’t answer the question. Your body is telling you something is wrong!

You feel stiff and tight. There is a very good reason why (and its not because you haven’t been stretching)! You need to find out why and also what needs to be done! Here are the 2 most common reasons you feel the need to stretch and why you shouldn’t:

Adhesion: Adhesion is the most common, most misdiagnosed, and mistreated condition in the human body. Adhesion is like glue on the muscles. It makes them stick together. Adhesion forms most frequently from overuse, like sitting at a desk all day or doing repetitive activities (sound familiar?). When present, it causes decreased range of motion, weakness, and pain. In order to fix it, it must be broken down manually with very precise and specific treatment.

Nerve Entrapment: Nerve entrapment goes hand-in-hand with the adhesion. Nerve entrapment happens when adhesion wraps itself around a nerve. This can create symptoms of radiating, tingling, burning, aching type symptoms. Similarly, the adhesion has to be removed from the nerve(s) in order for symptoms to go away.

Stretching will not help these conditions! Trying to stretch these conditions may make you feel better temporarily, but will make you feel the need to do it more, and you will never see the long term benefit.

If you are healthy, a daily/weekly routine of stretching or yoga can absolutely be a benefit to staying healthier longer! But if you have symptoms of pain or stiffness, it serves very little purpose. You have a problem, and it’s a BIG deal! You deserve it to yourself to find out why you feel the way you do! If your provider can’t explain why, get yourself a new provider!

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At Thrive Spine and Sport, we are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of adhesion!  If you, or someone you know, find yourself in a continuous need to stretch, or struggling to get out of pain, you deserve a better answer!  Call our office today at 319-423-0925 or request an appointment below!

Appointment Request

Shoulder Pain Treatment in Cedar Rapids

Behind low back and neck pain, shoulder pain is the most common cause of pain in the human body. No shocker when you think about all the activity we put it through on a regular basis. Unfortunately, the number one cause of shoulder pain is often misdiagnosed and, because of that fact, often mistreated!

Adhesion is the number one cause of shoulder pain! Adhesion in the shoulder can refer pain to the front of the shoulder, and is often diagnosed as bicep tendinitis, bursitis, or just “inflammation.” Adhesion if left untreated leads to degenerative changes in the joint leading to rotator cuff tears, labrum tears, and arthritis. Adhesion is a REALLY, BIG DEAL when it comes to shoulder pain!

Adhesion

How do you know if you have adhesion? Fortunately, there is a simple test you can do at home! Stand upright with your arms to your side. Raise your arms laterally until your palms touch above your head and your upper arms are touching your ear. Can’t touch your arm to your ear with both palms touching? You can’t have a healthy shoulder if you can’t do this simple, functional movement!

85% Function on Left 75% Function on Right
85% Function on Left
75% Function on Right

Shoulder problems, as mentioned, are often misdiagnosed and mistreated. Far too many people are struggling to find answers to their pain. The solution starts with the proper diagnosis in order to provide the correct treatment. This is done only through an extensive history and exam.

If you or someone you know are struggling to find answers to shoulder pain let the experts at Thrive Spine and Sport help! Drs. Cody Scharf and Logan Scharf are the most experienced providers in the State of Iowa who are Integrative Diagnosis certified to diagnose and treat adhesion! Call 319-423-0925 or click here to set up an appointment => Appointment Request

Thanks for reading!

Knee Pain In Cedar Rapids

Are your knees bugging you?

If so, here is what you should know:
• Knee pain is estimated to affect upwards of 25% of the population
• Knee pain is most often caused by overuse
• Knee replacement surgeries are on the rise!
• You do not HAVE to live with knee pain!

Most think that as we age aches and pains are normal. Knee pain can be added to this list! As mentioned, knee pain is most often caused by overuse. There are 2 consequences of overuse in the body; adhesion and degeneration.

1. Adhesion. Adhesion is the primary result of overuse. It acts like glue on soft tissues to make joints weaker and less flexible. Adhesion is the most common, most misdiagnosed, and most mistreated condition in human body. Fixing adhesion restores range of motion, increases strength, and eliminates pain.

Adhesion
2. Degeneration. Degeneration (think arthritis) gets most of the attention. Unfortunately, adhesion precedes degeneration and ultimately leads to faster and further progress of the degeneration in the joint. If your doctor has told you have arthritis there is nearly a 100% chance you also have adhesion! Fixing adhesion will not only improve joint function but slows the progression of your degeneration!

If you can’t tell from the above, adhesion and fixing adhesion is a very, big deal! Fortunately, if you have knee pain there is a simple test you can do at home to check for it!

To start the test, stand upright. Grab your ankle and attempt to pull the heel into butt. Make sure that the thigh being tested is inline with opposite leg and has not moved in front of it. If you cannot pull the heel to your butt, or if pain is present you have failed the test. Adhesion is the most likely result. I am guessing if you have knee pain most of you out there that tried the test did not do so well! This puts you at a much higher risk for future degeneration, cartilage damage, and other major knee injuries.

The heel approximates just short of the butt. This is a failed test and you should seek help!
The heel approximates just short of the butt. This is a failed test.

The good news? We can help!

The doctors at Thrive Spine and Sport are experts at finding and fixing adhesion. We are the most experienced office in the state of Iowa to deal with this issue! By performing specific bio mechanical tests to check function and correlate your prior history and other relevant findings during the exam we can determine your level of success from our treatment.

If you or someone you know is currently suffering with knee pain, we encourage you to call our office today at 319-423-0925 or go to www.thrivespineandsport.com/appointment-request to schedule an appointment today!

Thanks for reading!

Neck Pain Treatment in Cedar Rapids

For some of us who sit at the computer all day, neck pain and other problems can be pretty common. Naturally, our body will tend to slouch toward our computer screen, paperwork, or phone, as the day goes on. Posture suffers with repetitive stain and the neck muscles are forced to work harder than they were designed to.

Cumulative trauma disorders (CMD), and repetitive strain are the leading cause of pain and work related injuries. Neck pain, carpal tunnel, tennis elbow, even shoulder impingement are just some of disorders most likely to develop in office settings. These are all caused from overuse!

While the previously mentioned conditions are common in the work place, very people actually find permanent relief from their problem. Stretching, exercise, even adjustments have given some relief in the past. Most find these treatments to provide only temporary relief. Others opt for constant medication. As common as these problems are, why are they so difficult to fix?

Adhesion is something you probably haven’t heard of before. Adhesion is the result of overuse and develops in the muscles, ligaments, and around nerves of the body. It is the most common, most misdiagnosed, and mistreated condition in the human body! The good news? It can be easily reversible if your provider knows how to fix it!

Fixing adhesion helps to restore proper movement and functionality to your body. Not only does flexibility and strength increase as a result of fixing adhesion but it can also help to reduce the amount of arthritic and degenerative changes as we age. Symptoms of adhesion can range from dull achy pain to tingling, burning, numbness into the extremities.

If you or someone you know are currently suffering with neck or shoulder pain in Cedar Rapids or Iowa City, and are struggling to find relief, let the experts at Thrive Spine and Sport help! Our treatment fixes adhesion! Currently, we are 1 of only 3 offices in the state of Iowa certified to do so. Get to the bottom of your pain today by calling our office at 319-423-0925 or schedule an appointment online here.

Concussions

Over the last few years, around this time of year, concussions have become a major topic of interest.  More and more research is coming to light about just how dangerous concussions really are.  While much of the focus has been done to better diagnose and prevent concussions (which needs to happen), very little has been done in the advancement of treatment.

Rest remains the most appropriate way to allow your brain to recover from a concussion, but what happens when symptoms remain even after weeks and months of rest?

Concussions are a brain injury.  Currently, there are 8 factors used to diagnose concussions.  In order to be diagnosed with a concussion, you only need to experience 3 out of the 8 factors.  Headaches, dizziness, changes in mood, sleep, concentration, personality, irritability, not managing stress, are all on the list.  Surprisingly, neck pain didn’t make the list!

As mentioned previously, concussions are a brain injury, but you can’t get a brain injury without neck (cervical) trauma.  Alarmingly, the spine is rarely evaluated!  What should, and needs to happen, is to find out how much influence the cervical trauma is playing in post-concussive symptoms.  While neck symptoms don’t need to be present, presence of neck pain and symptoms will delay recovery from concussion injuries.

The suboccipital muscles are a group of 6 muscles that attach to the top of the skull and neck.  Some of these muscles attach directly to the spinal cord. These are the most commonly injured structures with any neck and head trauma. Injury to these muscles can directly cause and increase concussion symptoms.  As a result of trauma to the head and neck, adhesion is most likely to appear in these muscles.

As a consequence, adhesion decreases flexibility and pain.  Adhesion in the suboccipital muscles can cause a variety of symptoms including, headaches and neck pain. It can be easily fixed by an expert trained to diagnose and treat this injury.  The only way to know if you have adhesion present is to be evaluated by one of these experts.

Concussions are always individual and each person recovers at a different pace.  If you have recently had, or been struggling with post-concussive symptoms it is vital to know how much of your injury is due to the brain, and how much is due to the cervical trauma!

While most of the recovery and treatment of concussions need to be focused around rest and managing activities, those that still suffer with symptoms weeks and months after need other solutions!  Otherwise, these symptoms can persist years down the road.  Concussions are always multifactorial, changes in diet and psychiatry may also help, but negating to treat the musculoskeletal component of the injury can be a huge mistake!

You owe it to yourself to explore all avenues of treatment to fully recover from injury and prevent long term damage!

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Integrative Diagnosis providers are musculoskeletal experts trained in the evaluation and treatment of neck pain and injury.  If you are fortunate enough to have an Integrative Diagnosis provider in your area, they can help with the recovery and treatment of concussions.  Use this link to find a provider near you => PROVIDERS

If you live in or around the Cedar Rapids area, let the experts at Thrive Spine and Sport help!  If you or someone you know are struggling to recover from a concussion we encourage you to call our office today at 319-423-0925 or schedule an appointment at www.thrivespineandsport.com/appointment-request/.

Thanks for reading!

4 Easy Steps To Fix Tennis Elbow!

Lateral elbow pain is more popularly termed “tennis elbow.” Tennis Elbow affects 2% of the general population, and while that sounds like a relatively low number, it will affect upwards of 50% of tennis players at some point during their playing career! Hence the name.

The commonality among tennis players is no mistake. The sport places a tremendous load on the lateral elbow. While it’s incredibly common, resolution of the problem is often frustrating for both patient and provider. The problem with fixing tennis elbow is that the condition is commonly misdiagnosed. Incorrect diagnosis leads to incorrect treatment, and as you may already know, prolonged and worsening symptoms.

Fortunately, fixing this issue can be found with 4 easy steps!

STEP 1: GET THE RIGHT DIAGNOSIS! Tennis elbow is generally categorized as a tendinitis. Classic tendinitis is an inflammatory condition. The problem is that most lateral elbow pain is NOT inflammatory! It’s degenerative! It is actually a term called tendinosis. Treating lateral elbow pain as tendinitis will make tendinosis worse!

Classic treatment of tendinitis, using rest, ice, and NSAIDS or cortisone actually leads to more degeneration and is putting you at risk for more significant injury, like ruptured tendons! It bears repeating, but cortisone and NSAIDS are a REALLY bad idea in this situation!  In fact one more recent study showed that those using cortisone for treatment of musculoskeletal conditions were WORSE than those who did absolutely nothing at all after 1 year.  Don’t believe me?  Take a look at the study here.

STEP 2: REST! I know I just told you rest is a bad idea. Prolonged rest is bad. Short term rest isn’t. It is often necessary during step 3.  Also avoid any painful movements during this time and use a brace as needed.  All this helps to unload the injured area.

STEP 3: TREAT ADHESION. Lateral elbow pain is often caused by overuse/repetitive trauma. The most common result of overuse in the body is adhesion. Adhesion acts like glue on muscles and tendons and doesn’t allow things to move like they should. It’s the most common cause of pain and limited range of motion in the body, yet it is also the most misdiagnosed and mistreated condition! Very few providers know what adhesion is. Even less know how to actually treat it. Making sure to find a provider that knows how to diagnose and treat this condition is vital to your recovery!  If you are lucky enough to have an Integrative Diagnosis provider in your area, they are the absolute best at treating this condition.  You can check your area by clicking the link here.

STEP 4: ECCENTRIC EXERCISE. Once adhesion is removed and the tissue is healthy enough for more activity. Eccentric exercise, a very specific type of exercise needs to be started. This type of exercise specifically targets the tendon for repair.

 

If you have been struggling to find relief from lateral elbow and been diagnosed with tendinitis, most likely the diagnosis was wrong! You need a second opinion! You need the help of a soft tissue expert!  Find help, follow these steps, get relief now!

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The providers at Thrive Spine and Sport in Cedar Rapids are certified through Integrative Diagnosis. Integrative Diagnosis is the most advanced diagnosis and treatment system for the diagnosis and treatment of soft tissue injury. If you have tried other providers without finding relief, we invite you to call our office today at 319-423-0925 or request an appointment by clicking here => www.thrivespineandsport.com/appointment-request.

Know someone struggling with this issue? Make sure to share it with your friends! Thanks for reading!

Is Kinisiotape or Cupping Right For You?

Have you been watching the Olympics lately? If so, you probably noticed small red circles encompassing some of the athletes bodies. Later this week you are sure to see some brightly colored tape adorning the bodies of even more athletes.

An ancient Chinese practice called “cupping” is responsible for the red marks. Kinisio Tape is the brightly colored tape. So what’s the deal with it? Is this something you should be looking into? Let’s dive in and take a look!

First off, cupping is a therapy in which heated glass cups are applied to the skin along meridians. The technique originated as Chinese medicine to stimulate energy flow in the body. It is now practiced to increase blood flow, reduce inflammation, and temporarily increase range of motion. Kinisio Tape aims to do the latter through application of tape.

Both therapies application have strong reflexive properties, in which, they temporarily provide relief from aches and pains by overriding the bodies pain signal. While this sounds great, it’s really not. It is also something that can be dangerous to the patient if applied without proper education.

You see, pain is the bodies way of telling you something is wrong. Think of a fire alarm. If it detects smoke, it signals the alarm to go off. You know something is wrong because a loud noise is being made. If a fire alarm went off in your house, you wouldn’t turn it off and stay seated on your couch would you? That’s essentially what you’re are doing with Kinisio tape and cupping. While it’s convenient to stay seated on your couch and ignore it, it’s only a matter of time before you get burned by the fire!

Take for example the case of Manteo Mitchell. Manteo Mitchell was part of the 4 x 400 meter relay team for the USA in the 2012 summer Olympics. During the race he fractured his fibula! In the area where his leg broke, he was wearing Kinisio tape! How is this possible you ask?

When using things like cupping and brightly colored tape, as mentioned, it overrides the body to feel good. This allows you to do things you don’t want to do. In return, it also continues to break down all the tissues that were telling you to stop doing that. Just like the straw that broke the camels back, it’s only a matter of time before you break. This just happened to be Manteo’s time.

What’s this mean to you? If you find yourself in the Olympics, temporary relief for potential glory most likely outweighs the risk for serious injury. Chances are this isn’t you though. Taping and cupping is not a long term fix for pain, ever. You deserve a real solution for your pain!

At Thrive Spine and Sport we put out the fire! We get to the bottom of your problem and offer solutions to fix it! If you have been struggling with finding an answer to your pain or using things like tape or cupping to mask your pain, call us today at 319-423-0925 or schedule an appointment by clicking here => www.thrivespineandsport.com/appointment-request.

Thanks for reading!

Is It Really Plantar Fasciitis?

Whether you can’t run or get out of bed in the morning, that foot pain is annoying!  You rest, you ice, you stretch, you roll a ball on the bottom of the foot, and the pain isn’t getting better.  What’s worse?  You have no idea why your foot hurts in the first place!

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most misdiagnosed and mistreated conditions in the body, mainly because plantar fasciitis is diagnosed by the location of pain.  The truth, is that the plantar fascia which we believe to always be the cause of pain in the bottom of the foot is rarely injured!

People suffering from pain on the bottom of the foot, most often have limited ankle mobility.  Limited ankle mobility makes the bottom of the foot have to work harder during daily activities and exercise.  Over time pain will develop in the bottom of the foot from overuse.

Adhesion in the posterior calf muscles is the most common cause of limited ankle mobility.  Adhesion is the most common cause of limited mobility and pain in the body. It’s also the most misdiagnosed!  Adhesion develops from overuse; repetitive motion and/or prolonged position.

The posterior calf muscles run from the back of the lower leg into the bottom of the foot.  These muscles can cause pain in the bottom of the foot if they have adhesion!  Adhesion must be removed in order to be relieved from your pain!

So how do you know if you have adhesion?  Luckily there is a very easy test you can do at home!

Start by placing a ruler sticking out from a wall.  Stand facing the wall, split stance, with the painful foot against the wall.  Bring your knee into the wall until it touches.  The heel must stay in contact with the floor when the knee is touching the wall!  Continue sliding the foot back until the heel just stays in contact with the floor while the knee touches the wall.  Measure the distance the toes are from the wall.  Normal range of motion is 5-6 inches.  Anything short of 5 inches is a limited and restricted test.

Adhesion is the most common reason why this test is limited!

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So what’s next?  If you found this test to be limited, you need to find out why so that you can get out of pain as fas as possible!

Let the experts at Thrive Spine and Sport help you!  At Thrive Spine and Sport, we specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of adhesion and overuse conditions like plantar fasciitis.  Currently, we are the only full body certified Integrative Diagnosis providers in the State of Iowa.  Integrative Diagnosis is the most advanced diagnosis and treatment system for musculoskeletal pain.  To fast track your recovery, call 319-423-0925 or fill out an appointment request here.

Thanks for reading!