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!

——————————————-

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

Low Back Health Exam

Over 80% of the population will be affected by low back pain at some point in their life.  25% have suffered low back pain in the last 3 months alone!  Low back pain is one of the leading causes of disability and lost production in this country.  Solutions to the problem aren’t often easy and far too many people are left looking for answers for why their back always hurts.  Low back pain is a REALLY BIG DEAL!  Keeping your low back HEALTHY should be a PRIORITY!

If you struggle with low back pain, wouldn’t it be nice to know WHY your back always hurts?  Or maybe, if you’re one of the lucky ones not currently in pain, wouldn’t it be nice to know your low back pain risk and what you need to do to prevent it?

Now you can by taking the test and trying these 5 tests at home!  Why these 5 tests?  These 5 tests are the most basic, functional movements of the low back.  Every healthy person should be able to perform these tests!

So here’s how it goes.  Perform each test below – some may need the help of a partner.  Rate yourself by the grading chart for each test.  Add the scores together at the end to get your score.  Follow the directions to fix your low back!

Let’s get started!

TEST #1:  Straight Leg Raiser

You will need a partner for this.  Download a “bubble level” app on your phone.  Make sure the app measures angle as well.  There are a ton of free ones out there that work well for this.  I recommend “Clinometer” for Android and “iHandy Level Free” for iPhones.

Lie on your back with feet extended out in front.  Place the phone with the bubble app open in the middle of the shin.  One leg at a time, have your partner lift the leg with the knee straight.  Move the leg until it can no longer stretch or the hip or opposing leg starts to lift off the ground.  Record the degree.

20160706_182837

85-90 Degrees = 2 Points          75-84 Degrees = 1 Point          Less Than 74 degrees = 0 Points

 

TEST #2:  Knee-To-Chest

While still laying on your back, one leg at a time, pull your knee to your chest.  The front of the leg should touch the bottom of your rib cage without any pinch in the anterior hip.  If you cannot get the front of your leg to touch your chest, measure how far away by placing fingers between your chest and leg.  Record the distance.

20160706_183142_001

3 Finger Restricted Knee-To-Chest
3 Finger Restricted Knee-To-Chest

Leg Flat On Chest W/ No Anterior Hip Pinch = 0 Points        Leg 1-3 Fingers From Chest = 1 Point          Leg  More Than 4 Fingers From Chest = 0 Points

TEST #3: “Cat Stretch”

You will need a partner and a pencil.

With hands and knees on the floor arch your low back as much as possible by trying to bring your hips to your chest.  Have your partner place a pencil on your lower back.  What does it look like?

Healthy "Cat Stretch" Test
Healthy “Cat Stretch” Test

                                            Pencil Ends Off Back = 2 Points                                              

Flat Pencil Test
Flat Pencil Test

Pencil Flat = 1 Point

Severely Restricted "Cat Stretch" Test
Severely Restricted “Cat Stretch” Test

Pencil Ends Touching, Middle Not = 0 Points

 

TEST #4: Lunge

Standing up, take a large step forward and drop the back knee to the ground.  Keep your body upright.  Place a ruler under your back leg.  Measure how far the front of the hip extends out from the ruler.

Lunge Test
Lunge Test
Overhead View of Healthy Lunge Test Of The Ruler
Overhead View of Healthy Lunge Test Of The Ruler

More Than 12” = 2 Points          9-11.5” = 1 Point          Less Than 9” = 0 Points   

 

TEST #5: Toe Touch

Standing upright bend forward and try to touch the floor in front of your toes.  Use a ruler to measure how far away the tip of your finger is away from the floor.

Healthy Toe Touch Test
Healthy Toe Touch Test

Finger Touching Floor or Palming Floor = 2 Points

Fingers Less Than 2” From Floor = 1 Point

Limited Toe Touch Test
Limited Toe Touch Test

Fingers More Than 2” From The Floor = 0 Points

 

Now that you have gone through all of the tests, add the score of each test together.  What did you get?

9-10 Points = 90-100% Low Back Function = Congratulations!  You have a VERY healthy back!

7-8 Points = 70-80% Low Back Function = Chances are you may not have low back pain now, but you should try to improve the tests that are lagging with some simple daily mobility, stretching, and exercise.  In pain currently?  See below.

Less Than 6 Points = Less Than 60% Low Back Function = Your back is in trouble!  Most of these tests are limited or restricted.  You have less than 60% function of your low back!  That’s a failing grade in school!  Just like in school when you failed a test and you looked for some help to get better grades, you should seek the help of a local musculoskeletal expert for solutions to fix these movements and solve your low back pain!

————————————————————————————————————————————————

It is important to note these 5 tests above are assessments used in the Integrative Diagnosis system.  The most common cause of limited range of motion and pain for these tests are due to muscle adhesion.  Integrative Diagnosis is the most advanced diagnosis and treatment system for solving musculoskeletal problems.

At Thrive Spine and Sport, we are currently the only full body Integrative Diagnosis providers in the State of Iowa. Our treatment fixes adhesion!  If you have been looking for answers to your low back pain, click the appointment request here, or call us at 319-423-0925.

5 Steps To Fix Tendinitis

Tendinitis may be common, but the solution to finding relief for some reason is NEVER easy!  Fortunately, fixing it can be as easy as a 5 step process!

STEP ONE:  GET THE PROPER DIAGNOSIS

Tendinitis is one of the most overdiagnosed conditions in the body!  It is also one of the most mistreated.  What research has shown over the last few decades is that tendinitis is not the tendinitis that we know.  Tendinitis is most often a DEGENERATIVE condition and rarely an INFLAMMATORY one.

This is a game changer when it comes to treatment.  The classic treatment of tendinitis with rest, ice, compression, elevation, or R.I.C.E, as the common acronym refers, could actually make you worse!  Tendinosis, a degenerative condition, is more prevalent between the 2 diagnosis’ yet less diagnosed, and treatment of the condition requires almost the exact opposite of “R.I.C.E.”  Its treatment is also a 4 step process, but doesn’t come with the fancy acronym.

It is absolutely vital that you get the correct diagnosis for the correct treatment!

For more information between the differences between tendinitis and tendinosis watch this highly informative video here.

Since we already discussed the classic treatment for tendinitis, we will finish the final four steps for fixing tendinosis, the more prevalent yet less treated condition.
STEP TWO:  REDUCE YOUR LOAD

Tendinosis, as mentioned, is degenerative.  This means the tendon is actually breaking down from overuse.  In order for proper recovery to happen a general guideline is to reduce your load by a minimum of 50%.  Each case is unique, though, so it’s important to discuss your load and current activity with your provider.

STEP THREE:  MANUAL THERAPY

As tendon breaks down, weakened, dysfunctional tendon is the result.  Adhesion is the most common, most misdiagnosed and mistreated condition in the body.  When present it also speeds of the rate of degeneration in the body by placing increased stress on muscles, ligaments, nerves, and joints.  The bad tissue has to be removed for complete resolution.  Specifically applied manual therapy is the best treatment option to break down adhesion and the degenerated tendon.

Below is a short video over adhesion.

STEP FOUR: ECCENTRIC EXERCISE

Eccentric exercise is a very specific exercise used to load a tendon.  This helps to regrow stronger, healthier tendon!  Each eccentric exercise is different for each body part.

It is important to note that this type of exercise should only be instated AFTER manual therapy has been effective at breaking down a majority of bad tissue, and it has been determined you are ready for more load to be placed on the injured area.

STEP FIVE:  BRACING

Really, this is a step that can be implemented at any time.  Sometimes bracing should be used at the onset of care.  Other times bracing is used after treatment is going slower than thought.  Depending on the amount of degeneration, tendinosis is a condition that can take more than a few weeks to cure.  Bracing helps to offer support through treatment to aid in recovery and further reduce the load being placed on the injured area.  Usually, you can get away with using a fairly inexpensive brace from a local sporting goods or department store.

Tendinitis is a real pain – often misdiagnosed and mistreated.  If you, or someone you know has been struggling to find relief from tendinitis, you may have been misdiagnosed. You should seek a second opinion.  You deserve better answers and solutions to your problem!


We do hope that you have found this post helpful!  If you or someone you know is struggling with pain and have been diagnosed with tendinitis, we encourage you to share this article with them or get a second opinion.  If you live in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area, we would be happy to help! 

At Thrive Spine and Sport, we specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of adhesion and overuse conditions like tendinitis and tendinosis.  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!

It’s NOT Tendinitis!

Tendinitis is the most misdiagnosed condition of the human body!  What’s worse?  What you’re trying to do to fix your tendinitis is actually making you worse!

Tendinitis (Yes, I am spelling it right. I’m not sure why the spelling of tendon gets changed when used in this context) is characterized as an INFLAMMATORY condition of a tendon.  Rest, ice, and NSAIDS (anti-inflammatory medicine) are prescribed for treatment.  Cortisone injections are also frequently used.  Typically, tendinitis gets WORSE with activity.  Most people suffering with true tendinitis recover within a few weeks.

Tendinosis is probably a term you haven’t heard before.  Tendinosis is a DEGENERATIVE condition of the tendon which produces similar symptoms to tendinitis.  Treatment of tendinosis includes manual therapy for degenerative tissue removal and eccentric exercise to strengthen and repair the damaged tendon.  Symptoms will usually go AWAY with activity. While you may not have heard of tendinosis, tendinosis is FAR more common than its counterpart tendinitis!

I wish I could say that this is a new discovery, but we have known about tendinosis since the 1940’s!  Most of the research shows that almost ALL tendinitis cases are actually degenerative – meaning its tendinosis!

Unfortunately, this also means that the drugs, ice, rest, and cortisone injections you have been using to get better is actually making you worse!  You see rest, ice, and NSAIDS all aim to prevent inflammation and restricts blood flow to the painful area to heal you.  This accelerates the degenerative process.

Since we know that “tendinitis” is degenerative, this leads to the worsening of the condition!  This is why you have been struggling with your pain for longer than just a few weeks!

If you have been struggling to fix your “tendinitis” you need to get a better diagnosis.  You deserve better answers. You deserve a better solution!

—————————————————————————————————-

If you live in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area, the experts at Thrive Spine and Sport are among the nation’s best in treating chronic muscle, nerve, and joint pain.  If you are struggling with tendinitis and looking for an expert opinion on what can be done to get you better, call us today at 319-423-0925!

 
Thanks for reading!

Chiropractic, PT, or an Educational Booklet: Which Is Better Treatment For Low Back Pain in Cedar Rapids?

Would you believe me if I told you that an educational pamphlet is just as effective as chiropractic care or physical therapy in relieving low back pain?

In 1998, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine looked to compare the effectiveness of chiropractic, physical therapy, or an educational pamphlet for low back pain.  The conclusion of the study fueled a lively debate.  What the study found was that there was little difference in outcomes between low back pain patients treated with standard chiropractic manipulation, McKenzie exercises, or the educational booklet!  Not surprising, chiropractors and physical therapists alike were outraged from the findings.

While many previous studies done prior have shown chiropractic and physical therapy to be effective for helping with low back pain, why did this study show an educational pamphlet was just as effective?

To start, let’s look at the study design.  The patients were diagnosed with a regional diagnosis, low back pain, after pathology had been ruled out (herniation, cancer, etc.).  This would be no different than saying someone has shoulder pain.  Patients were randomly assigned to either chiropractic, physical therapy, or the educational readings.  This is where things got interesting.

Patients sent to a chiropractor were diagnosed with a sprain/strain 50% of the time, and another 30% of the chiropractic group was diagnosed with facet syndrome, or misalignments of the spine.  The same group of low back pain patients sent to the physical therapist were diagnosed with disc derangement 92% of the time.  This should raise some alarm!  The same group of randomly assigned patients sent to two different providers had significantly different diagnoses!

While it is entirely possible that the provider’s diagnoses were correct, it is highly unlikely that the difference was that dramatic.  It has often been demonstrated that nearly 70 percent of low back pain arises from 3 different sources; disc (39%), facet (15%), and Sacroiliac (SI) joint (13%).  This is where the study inherently failed.

While the study was not specific enough to sub classify low back pain patients into their respective groups, the providers themselves seemed to have classified patients based on what they can fix, not what the patient necessarily had.  McKenzie exercises have been shown to be effective in treatment of pain arising from the disc.  Likewise, chiropractic manipulation would be most effective in treating those struggling with facet and SI joint complications.

While this was not the intent of the study, this ultimately showed where modern day health care has gone wrong!  Too often, providers of any profession try to categorize patient’s problems into what they can fix, and not what the patient actually has.  It comes without saying that patient outcomes would be much higher if patients were given the treatment they need, and not the treatment the provider is certified to practice.   When providers try to fix patients by classifying them into what they can fix and not what the patient actually has, an educational pamphlet has just as much value as chiropractic and physical therapy.

Reference:

Excerpt modified from [Original DC article] by William Brady, DC. Used with permission. www.integrativediagnosis.com