Does a Chiropractor Only Adjust People?

posted in: blog post, Chiropractic | 0

Most people think of a chiropractor as someone who adjusts you and then sends you on your way. Whether that’s the result of an experience they have had or just a perception, they believe there isn’t much more to it than that. While adjusting is important, we believe it’s only a small piece of the puzzle. There are many other aspects that we address with every client.

Chiropractor

We look at soft tissue health and function, how the nervous system is functioning, and whether your muscles are firing properly and in the right order. We also address functional movement as well as analyze posture with a digital program to see how it may affect activity, movement and basic core support structure. Nutritional and hormone health is also very important, and we have many tools to address these needs as well.

Ultimately, we optimize the entire system, and don’t just focus on one thing.

The reason we are able to do this is because I have expertise in multiple areas and not just in spine health.

I started my career as a strength trainer. This allowed me to focus on training the body to perform better and focus on physical health. I then received my doctorate from chiropractic school, which taught me about joint movement, nervous system functions, nutritional health, disease processes, and overall human health. During and after chiropractic school I spent many years training in Active Release Therapy, which focuses on treating the soft tissue of the body – which is essentially everything that’s not bone.

I’ve also completed studies in functional movement training which focuses on identifying dysfunctional movement patterns and how to address them. This also included looking at muscle firing patterns and how dysfunctional patterns can cause major problems.

More recent post-grad specialized training has been in functional nutrition, functional endocrinology, and sports medicine. This knowledge allows me to analyze a client’s complete health through comprehensive lab testing and create customized programs to make sure the body is working from the inside out.

When you take a look at our practice, it includes all of these elements. Each is important for your overall health. Although adjusting the spine is an important piece, it’s only a small piece. Our goal is to take a holistic view of your health and help you improve it.

If you are interested in learning more, please give us a call at 949-387-0060.

Off Season is Peak Training Season

As the year is winding down, so has the triathlon season.  While this brings a much needed rest period it is also the best time to optimize your health and prep for a new season of training. 

training in off-season, how to get stronger in off-season, sports therapy irvine

Getting your overall health in peak shape can pay huge dividends when training resumes for the next season.  It is not only important to stay strong and maintain base mileage, but it is also crucial to make improvements in the vitality of your immune system, adrenal system, and gastrointestinal system. 

During the season these systems get beaten down by the sheer volume of training and without proper attention these deficits can linger on into the next season and make peak training near impossible. 

If you really want to get better next year you need to pay attention to what you do in the off-season.  This means strength training, but more importantly getting as healthy as possible!

Strength Training

Strength training is always something that is highly neglected, in the endurance athlete world especially, but always pays huge dividends in performance.  Having sufficient strength to hold proper postures is very important for every sport, but in endurance sports it becomes more of an issue since that posture needs to be held for long periods of time. 

If these postures cannot be obtained or held for any duration then energy is significantly wasted and power output will drop significantly.  So, while practicing the particular skill of the sport is very important, your potential to convert those training hours into the most power output using the least energy is always the goal. 

Proper strength training is the only way to maximize that equation.  While many people don’t take this very seriously, at least they realize that it is something that would probably help performance if done correctly. 

Getting Healthy

However, the biggest bang for your buck can many times be just getting as healthy as possible.  You must remember that your ability to train hard rests solely on your ability to recover from the previous workout.  This recovery potential not only determines your ability to train hard, but it also determines much of your injury prevention.  

Most injuries occur because of overuse which means that use of an area overwhelms its ability to heal and recover.  While this seems pretty obvious to most people, what they fail to realize is that your overall health greatly influences your ability to recover. 

This means making sure you are eating right, sleeping well, your hormone levels are in normal ranges, your GI system is not dysfunctional, and your inflammation levels are low.  Difficult and long seasons tend to exhaust our systems and create dysfunctional hormone levels and high levels of inflammation.  Having the proper testing, like blood, saliva, and stool testing, allows you to know what systems need to be addressed and gives a great roadmap for how to address those systems quickly and effectively before the next season begins. 

If done properly, this rejuvenation of your internal systems will allow you to feel better, recover quicker, train harder, and ultimately get faster and stronger.  This can be the missing link for many people and can be the difference between a season of success and a season of battling injuries.

If you are interested in improving performance through health, now is the time!  Contact our office today at 949-387-0060 to find out about our programs designed to optimize your health.

How We Help You Optimize Your Health

Last week, we talked about the different types of people who we normally work with – those who are looking to be healthier in general, and those who have a particular problem they are trying to fix.

This week, I am diving in a little deeper on what our process is like to work with us when patients are looking to optimize their overall health.

Wellness

The first thing we encourage everyone to do is to attend one of our workshops. The way we approach health is often new or different than what most people have heard in the past. Sitting in on one of our talks will help you get pre-educated on our approach and philosophy. It will also help you get a better understanding of how our process works.

From there, if our patients are interested in the program, we like to set up a consultation. During this consultation, we work together to get a comprehensive picture of your health. This includes your medical history, goals, past failures at getting healthy, what has worked in the past, and what you are looking for.

We also complete metabolic assessment forms. These give us an idea of which systems in your body are performing well and which ones aren’t. Ultimately, it helps us customize a protocol specifically for each condition.

Lastly, we look at any lab work they might have had recently. This will allow us to look at a variety of things, including various hormone levels in your body.

After we have reviewed all of these metrics, we utilize all of that information to determine what would be an appropriate program to help them reach their goals.

When we are deciding which program is best, it’s not a one size fits all. Every person is unique and because of that, we customize our programs to each individual. We spend a lot of time up front figuring out what it is that you need so that we start each person off in the right direction. A well-rounded approach is an integral part of how we work with our patients.

These plans aren’t just about fitness and nutrition (although those are a big part of it). We also work on many other factors that might be affecting your health. One example is stress. You can be super fit and eat really well, but if you are experiencing high levels of stress, it’s going to have an impact on your health. By addressing the underlying factor, we can help you create a more balanced life that translates into better health.

Once we have decided on the program, we walk you through the entire process. Ultimately, we are here to help you reach your goals. If something in the plan isn’t working, we adjust accordingly and keep moving forward. We are here to hold your hand, cheer you on, and help you get back on track if you are struggling. However, the end game is to not only get you back to health, but to empower you with the knowledge to take care of your own health for the rest of your life!

If you are interested in learning more, please call us at 949-387-0060.

GMO Labeling Would ‘Deliver Many Benefits’

The term “GMO” has become a hot topic in recent times. 

There is a huge push to get all GMO products labeled so that consumers have the choice to purchase them or not.  However, the food industry is pushing back hard to prevent the mandatory labeling of these items. 

GMO Labeling benefits, problems with GMO foods, nutritionist IrvineAs always occurs, money and powerful lobby interests seem to push the direction of lawmaking in favor of corporations instead of the people.  The argument against GMO labeling, however, is also very popular and states that GMO products are completely safe and the public has nothing to worry about.  In my opinion, most people on both sides of the argument, just don’t have all the information to decide on the matter. 

In a very recent publication, Philip J. Landrigan, M.D., and Charles Benbrook, Ph.D., published a commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine.  For those who are unaware, this journal is probably the most respected journal in the medical world.  So, research articles and commentaries do not appear in this journal unless there is some serious science to support them.

In this commentary, Dr. Landrigan and Dr. Benbrook quickly and simply explain the reasons why GMO foods should be labeled and the FDA should reconsider how we grow these crops.  They state that the studies used by the Environmental Protection Agency to deem safe the herbicides used on GMO crops were ‘flawed’ and completely contravened ‘federal pesticide law’.

It goes on to show that the chemical compounds found in these herbicides has been proven already to be a ‘probably human carcinogen’ and that detailed study and assessment of these compounds linked them to increases in malignant tumors. 

Not only are the authors greatly concerned with the human health effects of the GMO foods themselves, but they clearly show how the herbicides used specifically on these GMO crops pose a grave threat to human health.

The final recommendation by Philip J. Landrigan, M.D., and Charles Benbrook, Ph.D, is that laws on GMO labeling need to be completely revisited with all the evidence and that GMO labeling ‘will deliver many benefits’.

Please take the time to read this very quick commentary and learn about some of the real concerns involving GMO foods.  These laws are all being discussed right now and it is important that we voice our opinions. 

Read this quick informative commentary at the following link:

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1505660

When Does Training Hurt You?

One of the most overlooked pieces of any training schedule are the days and times where you are supposed to do NOTHING. 

While most competitive athletes consider these days as a waste they are probably the most important days.  In fact, many times I see that athletes are not building enough of these into their training schedule. 

Your body only gets stronger when you are resting.  Training is used to tear the body apart so that it can grow back stronger.  This increase in strength (or speed or endurance) can only fully be realized if the body is given enough time to recover.  If not, the next day of exercise stress will occur to a body that is beginning the day at a sub-optimal level. 

Now, the body can handle this routine for quite a while, but at some point it will become overwhelmed and not only will injury occur, but continued training will provide no benefits.  As you can see in the graph below, increasing exercise intensity improves your health to a certain point.  However, there is a time where continued exercise drives a person into metabolic overtraining syndrome.  This is not a good place to be as an athlete.

When Does Training Hurt You, overtraining, how to avoid overtraining

When athletes reach this stage not only are their training hours being wasted since increased performance is no longer a result of training, but their injury-risk goes through the roof!  And not only are injuries a concern, but overall health also diminishes.  This leaves an athlete open for things such as fatigue, sickness, decreased mental function, elevated heart rate, irritability, lack of motivation, and many other symptoms.

This is really why rest days are so crucial.  Rest days allow the body to fully recover from the multiple bouts of training stress to the body.  This allows athletes to start the next day at 100% which allows for much better training sessions and less chance of injury.  It is the same reason why endurance athletes have a taper period at the end of the training schedule just before the race. This is to allow the body to fully recover so that you are feeling 100% for race day.  Nobody thinks twice about allowing this increased rest into their schedule, but they many times have a difficult time taking time off throughout the earlier portion of training plan.    

I’m sure many of you have had times where you were unexpectedly forced to miss some training sessions due to work or home life.  I’m also confident that you have also at some time noticed that some of your best training sessions were just after taking this extended time off.  This is probably because you were headed into metabolic overtraining syndrome and the extra time off allowed you to fully recover.  That was not a fluke! 

Understanding this concept of metabolic overtraining syndrome can help you appreciate and enjoy the days off from training.  Don’t consider yourself lazy or unproductive when you are not training.  You are actually both improving your health and your performance on those days!

Want to learn more about how to properly train?  Give us a call at 949-387-0060.

“Healthy” Foods are NOT Always Healthy

posted in: blog post, Nutrition | 0

People are often misled into thinking that just because a food is healthy that they can have it anytime they want and in large quantities. 

learn to love healthy food, healthy food study, nutrition lake forestThis is just not the case and many times this thinking can get people into trouble.  Many foods have tremendous health benefits, but can also be troublesome.  One really great example are fruit juices.  I’m not talking about the ones that are just part fruit juice and mostly added sugar, as those things are no different than drinking a Coke.  I mean even the ones that are 100% fruit juice. 

Let’s use orange juice as an example since this is a very popular breakfast drink.  It takes on average about 2 oranges to make 8 ounces of juice.  While oranges are very good for you, when you just drink the juice without consuming the actual fruit, you are not getting any of the fiber.   Fiber is not only great for your digestion and overall health, but it is crucial to help slow the absorption of sugar into your blood.  This is very important because having recurrent, rapid spikes in blood sugar is not good for overall energy levels and health.  So not only are you having 2 oranges with every glass, but the fiberless sugar hits your blood stream almost immediately which causes your body to counteract that with immediate high doses of insulin.  This morning routine can start your body on a blood sugar roller coaster that can sometimes be difficult to get off of for the rest of the day.

Another example would be protein shakes.  While protein is definitely important, most protein shakes on the market are loaded with added sugars.  This completely undermines a persons attempt to be healthy by having a protein shake, as many times they are unknowingly drinking a protein milk shake.  While they may ‘taste better’ than other clean proteins, that is simply because they are made with sugar to make you love it, not to be a healthy alternative to a meal.  Understanding the ingredients of these protein mixes is very important so that you are again not drinking a glass full of sugar.   

For those who are blending up their protein shakes it is always important to also monitor what you put in the blender.  Take for example someone who makes a protein shake using a clean, sugarless protein, sweetened almond milk, frozen blueberries, a banana, and some fresh strawberries.  While these ingredients seem fairly benign and individually ‘healthy’, the combination of these in a shake is just like having a bowl of sugary cereal.   First of all, the sweetened almond milk already has sugar in it to make it sweet.  The protein powder was a good choice, but adding three different types of fruit to the mix just negated the choice of picking a sugarless protein powder.  Most people would not have an entire plate of fruit for a meal, so why do we think it is OK to consume that in a shake, which we drink fairly rapidly? 

While many people hear that we should just not eat much fruit, this is really not the point.  Fruit is a very healthy food and provides many benefits to our health.  Avoiding it altogether would be silly.  However, we must understand that foods such as these cannot be consumed in large quantities if we are truly trying to achieve a healthy nutritional balance.  So, just because a certain food is considered ‘healthy’ don’t think that this gives you full reign to eat at will.

If you have more questions about nutrition and eating healthy, call us at 949-387-0060.

Fitness Does NOT Equal Healthy

A common correlation that people make is that apparent fitness is equal to health.  This cannot be further from the truth and can be a dangerous thing to believe.  Over the years I have had numerous clients who train countless hours each week, but when we uncover the deeper things regarding their health it is evident that there is a storm brewing inside.  These people appear from the outside to be completely fit and their ability to run for miles or ride their bike all day makes most people, including themselves, think that their health is completely under control.  However, this is not always the case.  While fitness is crucial to health it is really only one piece of the puzzle of TRUE health.  If these other pieces of the puzzle are not addressed then extreme training can actually be making health worse!   

running, fitness, health, chiropractor irvineSome other puzzle pieces that really need to be assessed are nutrition, hormone balance, stress levels and management, and GI health.  It doesn’t matter if someone is competing at a high level if their GI health and hormones levels are dysfunctional.  They are just headed for a major breakdown of the system and are probably compensating for current symptoms with medications or just plain ignoring them.  They are also cheating themselves as improved overall health really means an ability to train harder, which leads to overall improved performance.  Logging training hours is only one way to get better.  Improving the health of the body is another way and it is the one that is most commonly overlooked. 

Let’s look at an example to try and put this into perspective.  Say Steve is training hard and has a triathlon competition schedule that is packed for the year.  Most injuries and set-backs occur as training volume increases and the year progresses.  This occurs because the body hits a point where the stress that it is enduring overcomes the body’s ability to heal and recover.  This excess of stress comes in many forms and the body gets hit with them all simultaneously:  training stress, chemical stress, traumatic stress, and/or emotional stress. 

For ease of example, let’s say that Steve’s body can handle 100 units of stress before it breaks down.  In the beginning of training, when volume is low, Steve takes on 20 units of training stress, 20 units of chemical stress (from foods, drinks, medications, lotions, detergents, pollution, etc.), and 20 units of emotional stress (work and family).  This is far below his 100 limit so his body is able to efficiently handle the effects of the stress andrecover from day to day. 

However, let’s say that as training increases he also has an increase demand at work and home.  Now he is enduring 40 units of training stress, 35 units of chemical stress (because now he doesn’t “have time” to eat healthy), and 40 units of emotional stress.  He is now at 115 units and above his body’s ability to effectively handle stress loads and recover efficiently.  What’s even worse, what if Steve started this whole process of training and wasn’t completely healthy in the first place??  What if this lack of health allowed him to only be able to handle 80 units of stress?  He wouldn’t even make it to the peak volume of training before his body started failing!  This is a very common situation and is a time bomb waiting to explode.  Typically, this occurs at the peak of training when the training stress units are at the highest, but is highly dependent on the health of the athlete when training began. 

Now, what if Steve paid strict attention to the foods he ate and the chemicals that he allowed himself to encounter.  He could then drop his chemical stress level down to 20 units and at the same time provide his body with nutrients that allowed his system to better handle immune system stress and inflammation. This would bring his total stress units down to 95 units, even with the increased training load.  This now allows his body to handle the peak of training, without the danger of exploding. 

This is a very simplistic way of looking at stress to the system, but the point is to show you that health is not determined solely by fitness AND that overall health can be a huge factor in performance ability. 

So, just because you are able to ride faster, run farther, lift more weight, or score more points, doesn’t mean that you are healthy!  It just means that your physical fitness is higher.

For more information on your overall health or how it can be improved, contact our office today at (949)387-0060.

Anti-Inflammatory Benefits of Turmeric

posted in: blog post, Nutrition | 0

Turmeric has recently become a very popular food and supplement due to its beneficial effects in human health.  However, this knowledge is by no means something that we just recently discovered.  The healing power of turmeric has been known for many centuries.  Most people are familiar with turmeric as it is used widely in curry dishes.  It is highly beneficial in the body as a potent anti-inflammatory agent.  The main ingredient that provides this benefit is the curcumin within the turmeric.  In fact, many of my patients find that this supplement is much more effective than even many of the over-the-counter and prescription drugs that they were using.

anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric, Turmeric health benefits, get healthy irvine

Supplementation of turmeric has also been utilized for a long time, but recently it has become one of the newest ‘super foods’.  While this newly found fame is greatly deserved it does bring with it many commercial negativities.  Once a supplement, or food, begins to receive attention in the media companies jump all over it and everyone begins to produce their own version of that particular product.  However, this brings with it many poor quality supplements.  Since the supplement industry is not highly regulated it allows many companies to write things on their bottles that are never verified by anyone and many times are poorly absorbed versions of a compound.  For instance, the curcuminoid value within the turmeric is one of the most important things to know about your turmeric supplement.  The supplement needs to contain a high level of curcuminoids in order to be effective in the body, as this is the ingredient that provides the anti-inflammatory benefit.

Another highly important quality about the supplement is the delivery form.  This is something that consumers rarely think about or have any knowledge about for that matter.  However, the importance of this cannot be overlooked.  Most supplements are taken as pills.  While this is the best delivery format in some cases, it is not always the best way.  The stomach is designed to aggressively break down food before it enters the digestive system.  This is a brilliant system, but it can interfere with our ability to effectively absorb and receive the nutrients in the supplements.  Most turmeric supplements are delivered this way and unfortunately the acids and enzymes in the stomach tend to degrade much of the supplement before it can even enter your intestines.  So, you have to take an incredible high dosage and are probably only benefitting from a very small part of this.  Unless the capsules, or other delivery system, are designed to safe guard the nutrient before it reaches you intestines, you may just be wasting your money.  Not only that, but because turmeric is fat-soluble, the way in which the supplement is prepared also greatly affects your body’s ability to absorb it. 

This is why our turmeric supplement is so difficult to keep on the shelves in my office.  Turmero Active is made by Apex Energetics and is by far my favorite supplement in their entire line.  It is 95% curcuminoids and is in liquid fat-soluble format for the absolute best delivery to your body so that you can absorb and efficiently utilize the ingredients.  It is also comes with an easy to use syringe so that you can decrease or increase dosage easily.  If you have never tried turmeric or are unhappy with the results from your turmeric supplement you should definitely give this one a try.  Especially during the month of September as we are offering 10% off our Tumero Active for the entire month! 

Call our office today at 949-387-0600 to order yours and mention this article to receive your discount!

Returning to Running Post-Injury: Part III

In the first two installments of this article we discussed the first two variables that are important when returning to running post-injury. Duration and speed are the first two and they must be conquered sufficiently without re-injury in order to introduce the third variable.

38799864_sThis third variable is terrain. For the most part this means hills. It can also mean running on another surface that you are not used to, but for the vast majority of runners it deals with re-introducing hills into the runs. Hills can mean either rolling hills or doing hill repeats. Hills test strength in a entirely new way so it is never wise to re-introduce your running beginning with any hills. Many of my runners live in an area where it is difficult to avoid hills. Even for these runners, I suggest that they drive to an area where they can find flat terrain. While this seems like a lot of work for those who usually just run from their house, it is the best way to ensure that the runner doesn’t get hurt. Like with the other two variables, this one should be done gradually. Don’t have your first hill run be an eight mile rolling hill trail run. Start with low volume or very slight inclines and progress from there. Doing 3 or 4 miles of rolling, mild hills would be a good place to start. Again, since this is a new variable you also don’t want to run your initial hill miles at a faster pace. These runs should be done at a comfortable pace. Once you are comfortable with these shorter hill runs you can gradually increase the distance. After multiple hill runs have been completed without pain, then you can start to introduce some steeper hills and some hills with increasing slope. Again, since hills really test a runner’s strength and it puts more strain on the muscles and joints, you most definitely need to be cautious.
Hills are a phenomenal, and I think integral, part of run training, but really need to be introduced correctly to not push the body before it is completely healed.
Getting back to running quickly is critical to many of my clients and these are the basic rules that I always follow. There are little variations with each runner, but if these rules are followed it allows the athlete the best chance of returning to full capacity without re- injuring their body.
For more information or to set up an appointment to help with your injury or return to running, call our office at (949)387-0060.

Returning to Running Post-Injury: Part II

In my last blog post I discussed the first variable that a runner needs to address when returning to training post-injury.   If you did not read that article please do, as it is crucial to conquer that phase prior to moving to the second variable which we are going to discuss here.

running injury, returning to running post injury, running injury recovery tips

The second variable in a return to running is speed or increased pace.  Once the runner is comfortable with a series of easy runs that have progressed in distance, as discussed in the first part of this three part article, speed can then be introduced.  There are many ways to do this, but regardless of which way speed is introduced it must be done slowly and must begin at a shorter duration.  The ability to run an easy 7-8 miles with no pain does not mean that you can now go do an 8 mile tempo run.  Since this is a new variable it is best to do gradual builds of speed and only for short durations.  This again will be built up over successive runs and can vary with each runner. 

The other thing to consider is that putting speed back into your workouts does not mean that you will be automatically back to the pace you were prior to injury.  My favorite way to reintroduce speed is to have the runner do pyramids.  So, for instance let’s say they are going to try increasing speed on a 6 mile run.  The first and last miles will be warm-up and cool-down paces, or simply the same pace that you did during the first phase.  The middle three are where you will build speed, but the jumps will be very slight at first.  So, for example, if your first phase pace (and 1st mile in this case) was an 8:30 mile, then your 2nd mile would be and 8:15, your 3rd mile would be an 8:00 mile, your 4th mile would be an 8:15, and then your last mile would be back to 8:30.   Pyramids allow your body to sufficiently prepare for increased speed which many times means an increased stride length.   It also allows for you to cool down sufficiently so that you don’t just shut it down after your fastest pace. 

Once you can pull off a few runs like this without increased pain, then I typically will start to increase the duration of the speed pyramids as well as the pace jump between each level.  This can be a little tricky to generalize as each runner is different and I really need to take into consideration the type of injury and the overall strength of the runner.  If I have a runner who does little to no strength training, then this build will take longer to complete.  Those who consistently strength train have stronger supportive muscles for running and thus can handle a higher volume before they fatigue, muscles breakdown, and form collapses.  So, take away here is you must be strength training!  Getting stronger for running does not just mean running more.  Every other sport focuses on strength training as part of the routine.  For some reason, running and other endurance sports have been lagging in this arena, but I can tell you it is crucial to become a stronger and healthier runner.

Once you feel like you are back to your pre-injury pace and have done multiple runs at this pace, then you can venture into reintroducing the third variable, which I will discuss in the next blog of this three part series.

For more information on how to overcome your injuries and re-introduce running back into your training call our office today at (949)387-0060.

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