Does a Chiropractor Only Adjust People?

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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.

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.

How Does Your Gut Measure Up?

Healthy Gut, immune system health, momentum sports therapyNo, we’re not talking about the size of your gut.  We’re talking about the health of your entire Gastrointestinal System (GI System).  All the newest, cutting-edge research in health and wellness points to the health of your GI system as an unbelievably important part of your total health. 

Poor gut health drastically reduces the health of your immune system as 70% of immune system function is housed in the GI System. 

Also, many of the bodies most important hormones, such as serotonin, are mostly made within the cells of the GI system, so poor gut health equals poor hormone function.  If the hormones are off and the immune system is not working efficiently how can you truly be healthy?   How can you expect to handle the constant bombardment of stressors in your lives if the gut is struggling to stay healthy?  The answer is, you can’t!! 

The immune system keeps us healthy and it doesn’t matter if the stress is from your work, your family, your injuries, or your training, your body responds exactly the same.  So, the only true way to maximize your ability to handle all of these stressors is to make sure that your GI System is healthy and fully functional. 

The really shocking thing is that symptoms associated with poor gut health are today seen as commonplace and many people just consider them ‘normal’.  Some of these include bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, acid reflux, skin rashes, chronic skin outbreaks, low energy, upset stomach, and food intolerances just to name a few. 

We have spent far too long trying to mask or deal with these symptoms, rather than trying to figure out why they are occurring.  None of these symptoms are normal and should never be occurring, contrary to popular belief.  Most people consider GI symptoms as just a nuisance and something that they can handle, but the truth is these are a signal from your body just like pain is a signal.  These signals mean that the system is not performing correctly and something needs to be tuned up or habits need to be changed.  You can continue to drive with a flat tire, but doesn’t it seem like a better idea to figure out what caused the flat and fix it? 

This should be the same mentality we have with our bodies.  If we start paying to attention to symptoms as warning lights for our bodies, we can be proactive in making sure that our health is optimized.  On the other hand, if we wait until things drastically decline, we may be putting our overall health in danger and creating a much bigger problem than was necessary. 

With all the new research coming to light on the importance of the GI System to our overall health, it is smart to start looking at digestive problems with more of a critical eye. 

For more information on how you can assess and improve your gut health, contact our office today for your FREE consultation at (949)387-0060.

What is Neuromuscular Therapy?

Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) is a specialized form of manual therapy. A therapist trained in NMT is educated in physiology of the nervous system and its effect on the muscular and skeletal system. It is a structurally integrative, comprehensive program of recovery from acute and chronic pain syndromes, which utilize specific manual techniques, stretching and breath work to eliminate the causes of most neuromuscular pain patterns. It can be used for prevention, injury recovery and general well being. 

massageBy definition, NMT is the utilization of static pressure on specific myofascial points to relieve pain. This technique manipulates the soft tissues of the body (muscles, tendons, and connective tissue) to balance the central nervous system. In a healthy individual, nerves transmit impulses (which are responsible for every movement) to the body very slowly. Injury, trauma, postural deficiencies or stress cause nerves to speed up their transmission, inhibiting equilibrium and making the body prone to pain and dysfunction.

This type of therapy often concentrates on painful spots within a tight muscle or its fascia, the strong connective tissue surrounding muscles, called trigger points. These tender sites can cause pain by shortening the muscle or causing referred pain patterns, which is a pain in a location other than the trigger point site. By releasing these adhesions and trigger points the nervous system is able to stabilize low levels of neurological activity to maintain normal function and overall health.

NMT treats the following elements to alleviate pain and dysfunction within the soft tissue:

Ischemia: is a decreased blood supply to the connective tissue. This is very common within tight muscles. This can lead to hypersensitivity at the site of pain. Ischemic compression can cause a rush of blood to the area. Pressure is then reapplied and released until pain is lessened.

Nerve Entrapment: is when soft tissue or bone applies pressure to a nerve. This can often lead to intense shooting pain along that nerve.

Postural & Biomechanical Distortion: is an imbalance of the muscular system resulting from improper movement patterns, stress or trauma. The movements of both the longitudinal and horizontal planes are faulty.

Poor nutrition and hydration: is an deficiency in the health and well-being of the body.  Food is our medicine and if we don’t take care of that area the body begins to be thrown out of balance and therefore pain begins.

Distorted Breath Patterns: One of the first signs of stress and anxiety is a constricted breathing. When the body starts to take shallow short breaths instead of breathing at a natural pace, it is near impossible for one to reach a relaxed state.

At Momentum Sports Therapy our NMT therapists not only eliminate the pain your having but educate you on ways to prevent the recurrence of your specific injury or distortion. We want you to be well! NMT fills a void left by traditional health care by analyzing soft tissue causes of pain.

According to research approximately 80% of pain systems are considered idiopathic, which means there is no known cause.

We believe that treating the body as a functional unit we are able to treat symptoms that have eluded other well qualified health professionals. Our training and experience is a way to unlock the hidden sources of pain.

To experience the skill of one of our Neuromuscular Therapists contact our office today at (949)387-0060.

How We Work with Patients

At Momentum Sports Therapy, our practice is built around functional health.  We don’t simply focus on your spine or muscles, we take many different factors into consideration when working with our patients. 

functional medicine, healthy without drugs, momentum sports therapyThere are five pillars of health that we focus on with our patients when we work with them:

Fitness – you can’t be healthy if you don’t exercise. Fitness is vital to being healthy.

Neuromuscular System – this includes your nervous, muscular, and skeletal systems.  If any of these are injured or not working, it will affect your overall health. 

Nutrition – simply put, your health is derived from what you eat.  If you don’t eat healthy, nutritious food, your overall health will suffer.

Hormones – there are over 600 hormones in your body and they control different functions.  If any of these are dysfunctional, it can throw off your health.   

Detox Pathways – your body naturally rids itself of the toxins it is exposed to every day.  If these pathways don’t function properly, it can be detrimental to your health.

When people come to meet with us, they usually fall into two groups – those who are looking for assistance due to pain and those who want to just improve their overall health. 

People who are looking for physical help are usually in some kind of pain.  We put together a plan to help them not only get out of pain, but also to fix the primary cause of the injury.  We focus these plans around the first and second pillars – fitness and neuromuscular health – but we also incorporate the other pillars into the plan as well.  Sometimes, we find that the other pillars can be contributing to the physical health of the patient as well.  For example, chronic dehydration or poor diet can be contributing to poor muscular health and excessive inflammation in the body. 

The other major group of people are those who want to be healthier overall and are looking to progress to a healthy lifestyle.  Maybe they are suffering from chronic illness, looking to get off or avoid medications, or maybe they simply want to optimize their health.  We look at all five pillars and create a plan to help get them healthier.  This includes fitness tests, lab testing, detailed history, consultations, and functional movement tests, among other factors.  We compile what we find and then put together a plan for getting that person healthier.  However, the most important aspect of this is the desire of the patient to optimize their health.  If they aren’t 100% committed to the process, it won’t work the way it’s supposed to. 

If you feel that you fall into one of these two groups and are looking for help, I encourage you to call us and set up a consultation.  The first meeting is free and we can discuss what options you have. 

In the end, our number one goal is to get all of our patients as healthy as we can.  By looking at these five pillars, it gives us a holistic view of a persons health, which allows us to not just manage pain, but achieve optimal health.

Banned in the European Union, but “Safe” for You?

We are all bombarded with chemicals each and everyday.  From our foods to our cleaning products, it is impossible to avoid all chemicals in our environment.  However, it is wise to be aware of those that create havoc and destruction in our bodies. 

One such chemical is Propyl Paraben.  Used as a preservative in our foods, this chemical has been shown in studies to disrupt the body’s endocrine system, and more specifically, affect the reproductive process in humans.  These numerous, convincing studies caused the European Union to ban the use of this preservative in foods in 2006, almost a decade ago. 

Propyl Paraben banned by EU, Nutrition Orange County

However, the FDA continues to list this chemical as “Generally Recognized as Safe.”  So, why this massive disconnect?  If research was conclusive enough to cause the European Union to take drastic steps, then why aren’t we even being warned?  

Further research into Propyl Paraben was shown is has definite effects on hormone signaling and gene expression.  According to the article titled Propyl Paraben: Are You Eating an Endocrine Disruptor?, written by the EWG (Environmental Working Group), “Proper endocrine signaling is particularly important during critical windows of development—while in the womb and during childhood and adolescence. Chemicals that disrupt hormone signaling can lead to adverse effects on development, reproduction, and the neurological and immune systems.” 

In fact, research and opposition became so evident with this chemical, that in 2012 Johnson and Johnson “voluntarily” decided to remove this chemical from all of its baby products.  It seems that if a company as large as Johnson and Johnson can spend millions to remove this from its product then it must not be good for human consumption or use. 

Yet, many products continue to use it and the general public is mostly unaware of what it is and what are the potential ramifications of its use.  Furthermore, in “2010 research led by Antonia Calafat, Ph.D., a respected chemist at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported that 92.7 percent of Americans tested had propyl paraben in their urine (Calafat 2010).” 

We obviously cannot understand all of the potential side effects of chemicals and additives that we use in food.  However, we should feel secure that when studies show harmful effects to humans, and many countries and large corporations have taken action steps against a proven-harmful substance, that our FDA will follow suite.  Sadly, this is not the case. 

Instead, we need to all be our own advocates for health.  While we cannot know everything in the world of nutrition and health, which is constantly changing, we can take steps to learn each day.  To learn more about Propyl Paraben, its harmful effects, and the foods which still contain the chemical read more on the Environmental Working Groups website.  Better yet, subscribe to their newsletter to learn about their mission to keep our foods healthy and safe.

GMO Apples Approved by USDA and FDA

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Recently, the USDA approved a GMO apple to be safe for the ecosystem in which it is grown.  This apple is genetically modified simply so that it doesn’t turn brown after you cut it.

usda approves gmo apples, consequences of gmo apples, nutritionist orange county

Even more recently than that, the FDA has approved it to be sold in stores, restaurants, and institutions without the need for it to be labeled.  Because the FDA review was a voluntary review, they only made a suggestion that it should be labeled, but there are currently no guidelines for doing so.

Even more surprising than all of that is there have been no tests or studies on what this genetically modified piece of fruit will do to humans.  All of this has happened despite the many petitions and protests by people and organizations that are trying to protect the general public from being unknowingly subject to GMO foods. 

Ultimately, this is just a small battle in a larger war.  Food isn’t being labeled in such a way that consumers know what they are eating.  Most labels confuse people or trick them into thinking something is healthier than it actually is.  In this case, there will be no labels on a piece of food that is genetically modified, giving the consumer no real choice in the matter.

The problem with all of this is that if we, as consumers, don’t know if we are eating a genetically modified piece of food, how can we protect ourselves against the potential danger it imposes?  A genetically modified piece of food has the potential to negatively impact our health over time.  If we are introducing food that our body doesn’t recognize, it can cause our immune system to kick in and start attacking it.  If our body is exposed to this over time, it can have a dramatic affect on our health. 

Beyond all of this, why are we even trying to modify the apple like this?  Is it really that big of a deal if an apple turns brown?  Can’t we just eat it in one sitting?  Did we really need to alter it so that it looks just as pretty 30 minutes after we cut it?  The idea of introducing GMO food simply for cosmetic reasons seems very unnecessary and silly, especially considering the health risks that are possible. 

If you want to avoid unhealthy foods, the best thing you can do is eat as much whole food as possible and avoid anything packaged.  Preparing your meals only using fresh ingredients will help improve your nutrition tremendously.  And when you buy your food, purchase as much organic and/or locally grown food as possible.  There are literally farmers markets every day of the week in Orange County, so getting fresh local food is very accessible. This also helps you eat foods that are in season, which means more nutrients and less preservatives than purchasing food that is out of season and had to be shipped from another country. 

With all of this going on, it’s more important than ever to be educated about what you eat.  There is a lot of research you can do online to learn about eating healthy.  Additionally, talking to someone who specializes in health and nutrition to educate you can be extremely valuable.  After all, what you learn you will use three times a day for the rest of your life. 

If you are interested in learning more about how to improve your health and learn more about nutrition, please give us a call at 949-387-0060.  We offer a free consultation to new patients to assess their needs. 

The Benefits of High Intensity Exercise

Most people understand that exercise is good.  Even beyond the physical benefits, there are a lot of other benefits that come from exercise.

One of the biggest benefits of exercise is that, if done right, it is an effective catalyst of hormone production – growth hormones, testosterone, nitric oxide and many others.  These hormones are crucial for allowing our body to heal and thrive.  And the good news is that you don’t have to workout very long to get these benefits.  You just have to workout the right way – by doing high intensity exercise.    

benefits of high intensity workouts, high intensity interval training, orange county chiropractor

High intensity workouts are becoming very popular right now.  It’s the basis for a lot of new, popular gyms.  Their philosophy is wrapped around the fact that your body benefits the most from high-intensity exercise and it doesn’t have to take and hour 6 days a week. 

Lets give an example of a high intensity exercise you can do to help the production of these beneficial hormones. 

A lot of people go to the gym and will get on the treadmill and run at a medium pace for 30-40 minutes.  While this is certainly good for you, it doesn’t do as good of a job of producing these hormones as if you do a high intensity exercise.  Even just 3-5 minutes on the treadmill at a high intensity can give you more benefits than 30-40 minutes at a medium pace. 

Defining high intensity looks a little different for everyone, but a high intensity workout should get your heart rate to 85% or higher of your max heart rate.  This means that you are working out just about as hard as you can for 3-5 minutes.  A rule of thumb for figuring out your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age.  If you are 35, your maximum heart rate would be 185.  An even easier way to monitor this is to do the ‘talk test’.  If you are working at high intensity you cannot speak at the same time.  If you can talk to someone while exercising you just aren’t going hard enough.

When you are just getting started with this, you might not be able to workout at a high intensity for 3-5 minutes.  If that is the case, do interval training and go 30 seconds as hard as you can followed up by 30 seconds of rest.  Do this for 3-5 minutes and just increase as you get better.  Best ways to do this is to increase the times you are going hard and decrease the times that you are resting.   

It’s important to note that this type of exercise shouldn’t necessarily replace your normal workouts.  If all you did was workout once per day 3-5 minutes at a high intensity, you wouldn’t be very strong or very fit.  However, you would be getting the hormonal benefits of working out.  This is not a replacement for your normal workouts, but a way to get your body to work better with as little time as possible.

The goal should be to build in high-intensity workouts into your normal routine.  By doing this, you can get better results and ensure you are getting the benefits of these hormones from your workouts. 

If you can train smarter, not harder, you can get the same benefits or more benefits from your workouts and even workout for a shorter amount of time. 

If you are interested in learning more about getting the most out of our workout and how we can help, please contact us at 949-916-9742.  We offer a free consultation to help you understand how we can help.

How Does Your Spine Get Out of Place?

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There are several ways your spine can get out of place.  But before I get into how it gets out of place, it’s important to know what that actually means.  Typically, when most people say things like, ‘I threw my back out,’ it doesn’t literally mean their spine is twisted or the bones aren’t where they are supposed to be.  Most of the time, it’s because one of the joints in your spine has lost a specific motion.  While this can cause the bones to not be exactly where they should be because they lost a specific motion, it is better to correlate ‘back out’ with joints not moving.   

source of lower back pain, lower back pain chiropractor orange county, chiropractor lake forest

When you see a chiropractor, our goal is to restore motion to that joint.  For example, if a joint in your spine won’t rotate to the right, my job is to restore that specific motion so you can move better.  Knowing this will help you better understand how your spine gets out of place. 

There are a few common ways your spine can get ‘out of place’. 

The first, and most obvious, is trauma.  If you are playing sports and you fall really hard on your back, it can cause your joints to get locked in certain positions.  Other common causes of trauma to the back are car accidents.  Depending on the severity of the accident, the shock of the crash can cause severe trauma to your spine in a number of different ways. 

Another common reason for your spine getting out of place is poor posture.  If you constantly have poor posture, you are slowly losing the ability to have mobility in your spine.  For example, if you sit at a computer or drive a car all day, you are probably hunching forward a lot.  Over a period of time, your body adapts to this hunched position and begins to lose the ability to move backwards or be upright. 

Over time, the joints, tendons, muscles, and ligaments gets accustomed to this position and become the new ‘normal’ posture. This is why a lot of people who sit at their computer all day often end up with shoulders that are constantly rolled forward and a head that is out in front of their body.  This new ‘normal’ greatly stresses the spine and significantly reduces motion and leads to a spine that degenerates much faster than it should.

Your spine can get out of place if you have certain muscles that are tight and others are weak.  I see a lot of people who need the same joint in their spine adjusted over and over again.  When this is the case, the muscles need to be addressed to make sure it doesn’t keep happening.  Going back to the sitting and hunching forward example, I typically see people with tight chest muscles and weak back muscles.  As a result, they commonly have pain and tightness in the upper back and/or neck.  Over time, as the joints are being pulled forward, they lose the ability to be straight or go back a healthy postural position.  This can cause a lot of pain and decreases the body’s ability to move, necessitating the rest of the body to compensate. 

Having a spine that is functioning properly and has proper range of motion is critical to your health.  All of your nerves stem from the spinal cord which is protected by the spine.  If your spine is degenerating or is dysfunctional, it will have a dramatic effect on how your body operates. 

Whenever I work on a patient, I assess each joint to see how it is moving.  If it isn’t moving properly, I work on the muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons to restore motion. 

If you would like to know more about how we can help get your spine back in place, please contact us at 949-916-9742. 

What We can Learn from Aaron Rodgers’ Lifestyle Changes

aaron rodgers training routine, aaron rodgers healthy lifestyle, how to train like an athleteAaron Rodgers, quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, was recently interviewed by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal. It was a fascinating interview where he spoke about the changes he recently made in his diet and his lifestyle.

A couple years ago, Rodgers stated that when his contract was up in 2019, he might retire at the age of 36. After making changes to his diet and lifestyle over the last couple years, he feels he can play well into his 40s.

What did he change?

  • He increased his average night’s sleep from 6.5 hours to 7.5-8 hours.
  • He started practicing hot yoga.
  • He cut out most coffee and caffeine.
  • He changed his diet to be healthier, following the 80-20 rule, meaning he eats healthy 80% of the time.
  • Additionally, he drinks much more water than he used to.
  • Lastly, he started incorporating Earthing into his routine, which is defined as “connecting to the Earth’s natural, negative surface charge by being barefoot outside or in bare skin contact with conducive systems indoors while you sleep, relax or work.”

What stood out most was the fact that this person, who has devoted his life to being an elite athlete and spends his days working out and training to be stronger, faster and better, realized it wasn’t enough for achieving optimal performance. It wasn’t until he decided to change his lifestyle and become healthy that he became a better athlete and feels so good that he feels he can keep playing years beyond when he thought he could.

All too often, we tend to focus on practice, strength and conditioning. Those things are important, but if you don’t look at your overall health, you are significantly limiting your potential. Even elite athletes can’t ignore the benefits of improving your overall health.

If you can optimize the internal aspects of your health, it will make you better at your sport and make training hours much more efficient and productive.

Here at Momentum Sports Therapy, we believe that proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle are at the core of performing your best, whether you are a professional athlete or not.

If you would like to know more about how we can help, please give us a call at 949-916-9742 to set up a free consultation.

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