Keep Away Vampires with Garlic

SWC Garlic Image

Garlic is widely used for flavoring and in an array of dishes but it has also been used throughout ancient and modern history as a form of medicine to treat conditions and diseases. Richard S. Rivlin wrote in the Journal of Nutrition that the Greek physician Hippocrates prescribed garlic for a wide range of conditions and illnesses, and promoted its use for treating respiratory problems, parasites, poor digestion and fatigue.

Today, garlic is used for several conditions linked to the blood system and heart, such as: high cholesterol, heart attacks, coronary heart disease, and hypertension. It is recommended that adults consume no more than one clove two or three times a day and that children have one quarter to one half a clove, once or twice a day.

According to a study carried out at the Jiangsu Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention in China, people who ate raw garlic at least twice a week had a 44% lower risk of developing lung cancer. Another study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry concluded that garlic extract supplements reduced high cholesterol levels, and also blood pressure in the patients with hypertension. Although it has vast benefits, the strong scent and taste of garlic is what can cause some people to become discouraged from eating fresh raw garlic. Therefore, garlic creations that involve heating procedures have been developed. Unfortunately, this can decrease its benefits; a study published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology warned that short-term heating reduces the anti-inflammatory effects of fresh raw garlic. If you’re not too fond of ingesting raw garlic, then you can buy garlic supplements or oil which have not been exposed to too much heat and you will still reap its ample benefits.

Garlic may interact with a number of medications; to be safe, if you take any prescription medicines, ask your doctor before taking garlic supplements.

Created by Melissa Martinelli

 

Moving Pregnant

Although pregnancy may not be our specialty, the Skyline Wellness professionals sure do know a lot about how to manage and induce positive outcomes for pregnant women. As an intern, I’ve come to learn that acupuncture can even help induce labor as well as reduce stress in women of all stages of pregnancy. I’ve also noticed a slew of pregnant clients who come into the movement room and receive drastic decreases in pain levels due to therapeutic exercises divvied out by the movement coach Christina Smith. Seeing the successes made through chiropractic, acupuncture, and physical therapy care persuaded me to investigate deeper. It turns out that dietary and lifestyle changes that occur early on in a women’s first trimester can benefit those who are obese and overweight. According to an article published by Science Daily, these women can reduce complications and gain less baby weight if they adhere to a strict regime of exercise and nutrition. Obese women who become pregnant are at a higher risk for delivering via C-section as a result of having a larger-than-normal baby. Of course diet and exercise are extremely important factors in anyone’s daily life; however, I figured it would be a valuable piece of advice for women experiencing pregnancy to realize the importance of these changes to help have a healthier and happier pregnancy. Alongside of the excellent care that is given at Skyline Wellness Center, we can all do our own part as individuals to help foster health and wellness.

Contributed by: Leeann Muncy

Taking Care of YOU This Holiday Season

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It's easy to say "yes" to every holiday party and event, bite off more than you can chew and not have any time to take care of yourself during the holidays.

"I will start on my eating and exercise program after the new year" is what I hear a lot of folks say. Or maybe you want to begin an eating and exercise program but it never seems to be the right time... especially during the holidays!

Time goes quickly. Days turn into months and months turn into years and still the excuse is "I don't have time".

Well, it is true. If you keep telling yourself that you don't have time, than the fact is you won’t have time.

So, why not begin telling yourself that you do have time for YOU this holiday season and for years to come starting now! Start today! Make an appointment with yourself to shop and prepare your foods and block off some time to move each day even if its just going for a walk :).

To help you get started I would like to share with you 6 Foundational Principles of Health that I use for myself and coach others to use. They come from Paul Chek of the CHEK Institute. He recommends the following in this order to help achieve optimal health and wellness:

Thoughts:

Negative thoughts sabotage any attempt you may make at a healthy lifestyle. Take time each day to exercise your brain with positive thoughts and meditation. If you find it hard to meditate there are all kinds of great books that can help. I like Taming Your Gremlin by Rick Carson who provides easy exercises to overcome negative thought processes and turn them into positive ones!

Breathing:

Stress, both emotional and physical contributes to an inverted breathing pattern. A correct breathing pattern has your belly expanding vertically and than laterally through the ribcage. When we are stressed and feel as though we are being chased by a lion all day, breathing will come more from the ribcage adding more tension to the upper back, neck and shoulders. Learning how to breath correctly and shifting your thoughts from those of worry and anxiety back to positive thoughts can have a very calming effect on mood.

Water:

Your body is composed of about 70% water which is important for mental clarity, good digestion and energy levels. However, most people don’t get enough water in their diet. Instead they rely on sports drinks and caffeinated beverages to get them through the day. The CHEK Institute recommends 1/2 your body weight in ounces each day (if you weigh 100 pounds you would drink 50 ounces of water each day). Drinking water also helps the body to detoxify. As Paul Chek likes to say about ridding the body of unhealthy lifestyle choices: “The solution to pollution is dilution”

Food:

Removing processed and fast foods from your diet and replacing them with home cooked meals using whole foods is the best gift you can give yourself this holiday season. Again, many of you are saying you don’t have time to cook. Let me remind you that convenience makes us unhealthy and you are what you eat! Anyone who knows me knows I love to cook! I like to plan my meals for the week, shop, have a prep party by myself with friends or family and prepare meals for the entire week. Single and have a hard time rationalizing cooking for yourself? Well, that’s just your stinkin thinkin getting in the way again of your health. There is nothing wrong with cooking a meal for yourself sitting down and enjoying it ... you are worth it!

Exercise:

Your body was designed to move not sit all day. Unfortunately, desk jockey syndrome has taken over. In order to unravel the evils of sitting all day it is important to move but to do so in a way that is not going to increase the risk of injury or pain. A proper exercise prescription is person specific and based on history of injury as well as functional movement both painful and painless. A good exercise program should also be fun and enjoyable or you won’t stick with it and it won’t become a permanent lifestyle change.

Sleep:

Getting to bed on time is not a priority for most people but one of the most important lifestyle changes you can make for yourself. We are animals and should follow natures circadian rhythms of the sun rising and setting. In the late Spring and Summer we can get away with about 7 hours of sleep because the days are longer and we get more vitamin D from the sun. However, in the late Fall and Winter months we actually need to get about 9 hours of sleep each night. Between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. our bodies go through physical repair. This is when we lose weight, gain muscle and heal from an injury. Between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. our bodies go through mental repair. Ever have brain fog at work and realize you woke up sometime after 2 a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep? Research on quality and quantity of sleep in connection with good health is hard to ignore. So get to bed on time!

Resources: Eat, Move and Be Healthy by Paul Chek

A Mother's Take on Taking Children to the Chiropractor

momandson "When am I getting my back cracked?" That’s exactly how my son will refer to having a regular chiropractic adjustment. After being treated for several respiratory disorders, numerous environmental allergies and chronic asthma attacks, he considers himself very lucky to have been able to experience relief to his health issues.

Growing up, he was always a healthy kid.   He was able to enjoy the outdoors to the fullest and doing what he loved doing, playing soccer among other activities. Then, the season started changing.  The nice warm days were gone. It all started with a simple cold that became a pneumonia because the doctors weren’t able to make it go away.  His immune system became extremely weak.  It got to the  point that I would keep him home for days when I knew someone was sick at school so he would not end up with another cold. As a parent, I am sure everyone understands the countless things we can do to protect them…if we could place them in a bubble... we would!

My son was diagnosed with chronic Asthma at the age of 4.  He lived with asthma attacks and serious respiratory issues for four years.  I cannot even name all the medications he was prescribed from inhalers to steroids to help his lungs breathe. All the ER visits and doctors’ appointments with very little results or none at all. I had tried everything, or at least what I considered everything.

I do have to mention that my son’s dad doesn’t believe in chiropractors, but I was tired of seeing my child suffer.   The day I decided to take my son to a chiropractic doctor for an evaluation was the day his life changed.   He was diagnosed with early stage scoliosis which was not helping his lungs because his spine was putting pressure on his rib cage. How I wished I would have known this before! All the endless nights could probably have been avoided. It was not late.  We were still able to help my son regain his health and be able to go back to being his normal self.

I share my story because I know there are parents out there going through this.  I know they are scared to take that extra step or to try something not so conventional.  Let me tell you it is all worth it. It may start off as a cold, a slowing or inability to reach milestones, a lack of concentration in school, ear infections or just knowing that something isn’t “right” with your child. Sometimes there aren’t any symptoms but you just know something is off. Whatever process they are going through, it is a red flag to let us know that they have lost part of their good health.

Seeing my child be able to run without having to stop to catch his breath is priceless.  No more sleepless nights or emergency room visits for us.  He has been seeing his chiropractor on a regular basis getting spinal manipulations.   The difference he has made in my child’s life is simply invaluable. I will never be able to thank him enough for giving my son his life back.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome and Treatment

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Knee pain is one the most common symptoms among athletes specially runners. Although some knee pains might be more serious and would require extensive treatments, but most are just related to an overuse activity that results in overstretched muscle or tendon.

ITBS is one injury that is primary experienced by long-distance runners. It presents itself as sharp or burning pain on the outside of the knee. The pain usually stops when you stop running and resumes when you begin running again.

The iliotibial band is a long, flat band of fibrous tissue that originates on the ilium (upper portion of the lateral pelvis) and extends to the tibia, just below the knee joint. It serves as a tendon for two hip muscles, the tensor fasciae lata at the front of the upper thigh and the gluteus maximus of the buttock. It helps stabilize the knee joint when the foot lands on the ground. During this landing motion, the ITB rubs over the lower portion of the femur. If the rubbing is excessive or too forceful the soft tissues become inflamed. This is known as iliotibial band syndrome.

There can be a number of causes of ITBS: running on a sloped or banked surface, not warming up or cooling down properly, increasing miles too quickly, excessive running downhill, high or low arches of the foot, or overpronation.

This tendon needs no extra strengthening as it is used in every step we take. Stretching the muscular attachments is helpful.

Lie on your back with hands at your sides and your legs out straight. Rotate your right leg outward so that your toes are pointed to the right. Lift your right leg off the floor a few inches, and keeping the knee straight, cross it over the left leg, making sure to keep your toes pointed right. You should feel your groin muscles work to hold your right leg crossed over to the left, and a tightening on the outside of your right thigh. Hold and repeat 8-12 times for each leg. Be careful not to roll over onto your hip as your right leg crosses over the left. Lying on the floor will keep your pelvis stabilized while you use opposing muscles to apply the stretching force.

If you do develop ITBS, get medical advice that goes beyond rest and anti-inflammatory medications. Symptoms will continual to return if the cause is not addressed. If you know that you overpronate, get good motion control running shoes or customized orthotics. Try to run on flat roads and do your hill runs during low mileage weeks when your legs are strong.

Chiropractic treatments have shown great result in management and prevention of ITBS.

Massage Therapy for Kids! There are many reasons to start early...

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Hi! I am Heather...one of your massage therapists at Skyline Wellness Center.  People always say to write about what is most important and relevant in your life. As most of you Skyliners know, my life is about two important roles: I am a Mom and a Massage Therapist, both of which I treasure dearly.  So...I figured what would be better than to write about infant and adolescent massage. 

I believe every child should have massage introduced to them at some point in their life. The best time to start is as a baby of course. Many ancient cultures started this way and it has continued today to be a way to gain a close bond with our children, and to instill a comforting sense of security and trust.

Touch is the FIRST sense to develop in humans. It is essential to our health and well-being. Babies even more so rely on physical touch to thrive. Adults and adolescents as well, can become depressed and ill if they are removed from this most basic of human needs. Children who learn healthy views of touch and are provided with positive experiences by their parents and or caregivers are more likely to grow up to be adults with healthy self-esteem, a sense of appropriate boundaries and long-lasting relationships!!

Now here are some cool facts about the benefits of Infant and Adolescent Massage!!!

* Massage can help children with behavioral issues. It helps them to calm and relax their bodies, and in turn makes them a bit happier ( and sometimes even fall asleep).

* It improves circulation, stimulates growth, offers passive exercise for muscles, eases aches and pains and increases flexibility and function of muscles and joints.

* It can increase speech and language skills and help to build trust, friendship and respect.

* Massage can be Beneficial for: Cerebral Palsy, Downs Syndrome, Autism, Anxiety, Body Image, ADD/ADHD, Asthma, Speech and Language Delays, and so much more...

As a mom, I started doing massage from the minute my son was brought into this world. He loved it as a baby and it has since then become part of his nightly routine. It created a special bond between me and my baby. Now that he is 5, the massage has changed just as he has...but I know that it is benefiting his mind, body and overall wellness.

If you have any questions regarding this type of massage and want to know more!! Please call us at 703.879.5144 or write to us at wellness.analyst@skylinewellnesscenter.com! We would love to hear from you!

Healthy Salad Day! Green Bean-Beet Salad

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Most of you already know Lydia as one of our fantastic Wellness Analysts...here is what you do not know about her...

Lydia's post undergraduate work includes a student leadership role at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition as well as, culinary training in Natural Foods at Natural Kitchen Cooking School.  She has two Raw Foods certifications through both Alissa Cohen and Dr. Aris Latham.  Lydia specializes in and has a passion for vegan/vegetarian cuisine.  

She enjoyed creating this dish with her classmates while at Natural Kitchen Cooking School, and she is certain that you will enjoy it as well!

Green Bean-Beet Salad

SALAD:
3 medium size red beets, washed and sliced into thin wedges
Spring or filtered water
Sea salt
2 cups green beans, ends trimmed & cut into 2-inch lengths
3 cups sliced Belgian endive
1/2 cup toasted pecans

DRESSING:
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon horseradish
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
Black pepper, to taste

Place beets in a saucepan with enough water cover the bottom of the pan. Add a pinch of salt and bring to boil. Steam for 15 minutes, then add green beans on top. Cover and cook until beets and green beans are tender. Add extra water during cooking if needed. Drain vegetables and transfer to a bowl to cool.

To make the dressing, combine the lemon juice, mustard and horseradish in a small bowl. Whisk in the oil. Add sea salt and pepper.

Combine cooled beets and green beans with endive, pecans and dressing. Toss lightly to coat. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Serves 4-6

What to do when you pull a muscle?

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Muscle pulls can happen to any muscle in the body at just about any time. The most common ones for runners are in the upper and lower leg muscles--calves, quads, adductors, hamstrings, thighs, etc. You get the idea. No matter how hard you try to warm up, cool down, or stretch conscientiously, there’s still overuse and even fatigue that can cause a muscle pull. Accidents can also happen.

A muscle pull means that a sudden force has been applied to the muscle and its fibers were stretched beyond their capacity. A muscle pull is not as severe as a muscle tear--only a few fibers are involved, not all of them.

Muscle pulls are all treated in the same way: ice the injury and rest the muscle until swelling and pain subside. An anti-inflammatory can be helpful to reduce pain and inflammation. Apply the ice for twenty minutes on and twenty minutes off as frequently as you can in the days immediately following the injury. The pain should disappear in a few days. If not, it’s time to see a medical professional.

Try gentle stretching as soon as the muscle will tolerate it. It the muscles are not gradually re-lengthened, you may pull the muscle again because it will heal in a shortened state. Be careful not to overstretch as it might cause the muscle to spasm. When the muscle can be stretched pain free as far as the healthy one on the other side of the body, you can return to normal activity.

Depending on the muscle and the severity of the pull, it can take anywhere from a week to a month for the injury to heal sufficiently to return to your training program.

Long Distance Running Pain Management

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ITBS (Iliotibial Band Syndrome) is one injury that is primary experienced by long-distance runners. It presents itself as sharp or burning pain on the outside of the knee. The pain usually stops when you stop running and resumes when you begin running again.

The iliotibial band is a long, flat band of fibrous tissue that originates on the ilium (upper portion of the lateral pelvis) and extends to the tibia, just below the knee joint. It serves as a tendon for two hip muscles, the tensor fasciae lata at the front of the upper thigh and the gluteus maximus of the buttock. It helps stabilize the knee joint when the foot lands on the ground. During this landing motion, the ITB rubs over the lower portion of the femur. If the rubbing is excessive or too forceful the soft tissues become inflamed. This is known as iliotibial band syndrome.

There can be a number of causes of ITBS: running on a sloped or banked surface, not warming up or cooling down properly, increasing miles too quickly, excessive running downhill, high or low arches of the foot, or overpronation.

This tendon needs no extra strengthening as it is used in every step we take. Stretching the muscular attachments is helpful.

Lie on your back with hands at your sides and your legs out straight. Rotate your right leg outward so that your toes are pointed to the right. Lift your right leg off the floor a few inches, and keeping the knee straight, cross it over the left leg, making sure to keep your toes pointed right. You should feel your groin muscles work to hold your right leg crossed over to the left, and a tightening on the outside of your right thigh. Hold and repeat 8-12 times for each leg. Be careful not to roll over onto your hip as your right leg crosses over the left. Lying on the floor will keep your pelvis stabilized while you use opposing muscles to apply the stretching force.

If you do develop ITBS, get medical advice that goes beyond rest and anti-inflammatory medications. Symptoms will continual to return if the cause is not addressed. If you know that you overpronate, get good motion control running shoes. Try to run on flat roads and do your hill runs during low mileage weeks when your legs are strong.

 

Pronator Syndrome: A Cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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According to Leahy1 the most common condition caused by entrapment at the pronator teres is the carpal tunnel syndrome and “the most common site of peripheral nerve entrapment is the pronator teres.”

The median nerve can be constricted by a fibrous band within the pronator teres, by hypertrophy of the pronator teres, or can be compressed as it passes deep to both heads of this muscle.2 Leahy1 finds that the pronator teres is much more frequently involved than the actual carpal tunnel as a causative factor; that it is always necessary to evaluate and treat multiple areas of adhesion of the particular nerve which often exist before the actual symptoms appear. Other common areas affecting the median nerve may be at the subscapularis, ligament of Struthers (originating from a spur located on the anteromedial surface of the humerus about 5cm above the medial epicondyle and attaching to the medial epicondyle), or distally past the pronator teres down the forearm.

In a Mayo Clinic series,3 seven of 35 patients were operated on for carpal tunnel who later were found to have a pronator teres syndrome. In this series 50 percent of the patients with definite pronator teres syndrome had a positive Phalen’s test. It was thought that compression of the median nerve at the pronator teres caused the nerve to be more susceptible to compression at the level of the carpal tunnel. A positive Tinel’s sign associated with firmness and tenderness over the pronator teres, compared to the opposite side and associated with carpal tunnel symptoms, points to involvement at the pronator teres level.

Of course an actual pronator syndrome can exist without creating any carpal tunnel symptoms. The median nerve after crossing the elbow must pass beneath the lacertus fibrosus which is a thick fascial band extending from the biceps tendon to the forearm fascia. A thickened lacertus fibrosus could compress the median nerve by indenting the flexor muscle mass2 and visibly depress the contour of the forearm. Besides the pronator teres as described above, the median nerve may be compressed by a tight fibrous arch of the flexor digitorum superficialis.2

The most frequent symptom of pronator symptom may be a mild to moderate aching pain in the proximal forearm described as “tiredness” or “aching,”2 especially with repetitive movements. Pain may radiate to the elbow and shoulder. Dawson et al.,2 states that carpal tunnel syndrome can be differentiated by its frequency of night symptoms and exacerbation by wrist movements which pronator syndrome would not express. Apparently he does not recognize the frequency of the pronator teres as a cause of the carpal tunnel syndrome. In my practice I have found the pronator syndrome to be causative of carpal tunnel syndrome in at least 50 percent of the cases which were effectively treated by Leahy’s method of “active release” as described in articles by Leahy and Mock.4,5 In severe cases of pronator syndrome there may be weakness in the intrinsic muscles of the hand and muscles of the forearm, but usually the weakness is not severe compared to compression at the level of the anterior interosseous nerve.

To determine the level of compression of the median nerve about the elbow, Spinner6 has developed several tests which, although often negative, are significant if found positive.

Pain at the level of the lacertus fibrosus is surmised by resisting pronation of a patient’s arm which is fully supinated and flexed at the elbow. This test contracts the biceps and tightens the lacertus fibrosus.

Compression at the level of the pronator teres is determined by instructing the patient with the elbow extended to place the forearm in full pronation with the wrist in flexion. The patient resists against the examiner attempting to supinate and extend the wrist. Pain in the proximal forearm indicates possible pronator teres involvement.

Evaluation of compression of the flexor digitorum superficialis is determined by having the patient flex the proximal interphalangeal joint of the middle finger against resistance. If this test creates forearm pain there may be compression of the median nerve at the level of the superficialis arch.

The Neck-Wrist Connection

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In many cases of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, a second source of compression occurs in the neck where the median nerve begins! Cervical vertebrae (neck bones) can misalign as a result of poor posture, bad habits like cradling a phone with your neck or sleeping on your stomach; and from previous neck trauma, like for instance, a car accident.

Doctors refer to this condition as a “double lesion neuropathy,” or “double crush syndrome.”

Even if treatment to the wrist successfully removes nerve compression in that location, symptoms will continue to persist if nerve compression in the neck remains!

Many doctors fail to examine the neck when diagnosing and treating CTS, and unfortunately, many CTS sufferers don’t get the treatment that they really need! 

Standard medical treatment for CTS typically consists of prescription pain blockers, anti-inflammatory medication, hand stretches and exercises, wrist splinting, ultrasound treatment, and massage. If these methods fail, cortisone injections to the wrist are usually done to reduce inflammation (does all of this sound familiar?). By this time, the treating doctor may order two diagnostic tests: a needle EMG and a nerve conduction velocity (NCV) test. These are uncomfortable procedures that measure muscle and nerve function. If it is determined that the nerve is not functioning properly, wrist surgery becomes the final option: an incision is made on the wrist, and the transverse carpal ligament‹a band-like ligament directly over the carpal tunnel‹is cut in half in an attempt to relieve internal pressure. This is a risky procedure that oftentimes results in accidental cutting of adjacent nerves in the hand. Surgery has also been known to result in scar tissue formation, which can actually make the condition worse. 

What is Carpal Tunnel?

Do you often feel a numbness or tingling in your hands, especially at night, or when doing repetitive grasping with your hands? Perhaps you experience clumsiness in handling objects and sometimes you feel a pain that goes up the arm to as high as your shoulder. These may be the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

The median nerve travels from the forearm into your hand through a “tunnel” in your wrist. The bottom and sides of this tunnel are formed by the wrist bones and the top of the tunnel is covered by a strong band of connective tissue called the carpal ligament. This tunnel also contains nine tendons that connect muscles and bones to bend your fingers and thumb. These tendons may enlarge and swell under some circumstances. When the swelling is sufficient, it may cause the median nerve to be pressed against the strong ligament. This sometimes results in numbness, tingling in the hand, clumsiness or pain, as described above.

An Alternative Permanent Solution

FIRST, DRUGS DO NOT HEAL. The body heals itself. In most cases, drugs only mask the problem. In addition, some drugs have dangerous side effects. Drugs will never treat carpal tunnel syndrome successfully because the problem is not a deficiency of drugs in the body. Second, surgery is not a successful option either. When doctors do surgery, they are merely treating the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. In most cases, carpal tunnel syndrome returns within two to three years after surgical intervention. This is due to the fact that scar tissue takes the place of the cut in the carpal ligament, again putting pressure on the median nerve.

Why is there such a big mystery around carpal tunnel syndrome? Could the problem be as simple as the muscles in the forearm tightening up, thereby cutting off circulation to the median nerve and tendons, causing the tendons to swell?

I am here to say that this is exactly the cause of carpal tunnel syndrome. Therefore, the drugs that doctors give patients will only alleviate the pain temporarily. Surgery will make the muscles tighten up even more.

Is Cracking Your Joints Bad for You?

Have you ever heard the old wives tale that cracking you knuckles will give you arthritis? At this point it almost seems like common knowledge. So is this true and if so does cracking your back or neck also cause arthritis in your spine?

Numerous studies have shown that cracking knuckles do not lead to arthritis, but there is a relationship between knuckle-cracking and hand swelling, loss of lower grip strength, ligament damage, soft tissue injuries and dislocation. This is really only the result of rapid, repeated stretching of ligaments, like what happens to major league pitchers. Risk is minimal for the rest of us.

Most people crack their back or neck due to the pressure that builds up within the spine. Usually this feels like a deep tightness that is alleviated by a quick movement of the spine which releases the buildup pressure and as the result creates the popping or cracking sound.  

This phenomenon happens when you stretch the bones apart creating space between the articular cartilage and the joint capsule. That vacuum allows more dissolved gas to enter the capsule as a bubble. When the gas bubble bursts, you hear the characteristic popping sound that we all know and some of us love. The reason you can't re-crack the involved joint immediately is that the joint needs more gas first.

So cracking your back or knuckle is not bad for you by itself, but the underlying condition that creates the need for the cracking is bad for you. If you find that you crack your back or any other joint in the body on a regular basis you should get checked out by a back specialists who can screen for spinal problems. Visit a chiropractor, physical therapist or orthopedist before your problem gets worse.

 

Choosing the Right Running Shoes

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Getting the right running shoes for you may be the most important preparation you do for endurance running. Your feet hit the ground around 800 times in every mile you run.  No matter how much speed work or hill work you do, or how many miles you run each week, or how well you have prepared physically for a marathon--the one thing that can end your day early is a pair of ill-fitting running shoes.

There are several things to consider when you buy running shoes. First of all, skip the department store and their cheaper prices--go to a sports store that specializes in running shoes.  The sales people will know the pros and cons of each of the brands and models of shoes they carry, and they can give you precisely the correct fit.  When you go to the store, take along the socks you normally wear running.  Plan ahead so that the running shoes you are going to use on the day of the marathon have at least 70 miles on them, including a long run.

Know your feet. The kind of running shoe you need is based on the type of foot you have.  If you are unsure, do the wet foot routine.  Wet your bare feet and walk across a surface that will reveal your footprints.  A foot with a significantly high arch will leave the impression of the heel, the ball of the foot, and the toes.  If the impression includes the entire surface of the ball of your foot and looks nearly rectangular, you have a low arch or flat foot. If you leave an outline of the middle part of the foot, it means you strike with the mid-foot and will need extra cushioning there. A foot with a high arch needs arch support and a lot of shock absorption from a shoe. A person with a flat foot overpronates and needs a stiff shoe that offers support throughout.

As always you should consult your doctor if you experience pain or discomfort in the lower extremity and hips region during your training. Having any sort of misalignment in your lower back or hips can increase the pressure on your lower extremity and ultimately can change your running gait.

Running shoes come in these four categories, and within each category are several brands and several models from each company.

Motion control shoes For people with low arches--flat feet that have moderate to severe overpronation. They need a lot of rear foot control and extra arch support. Runners who are heavy also need a good motion control shoe.

Stability For people who have low to normal arches with little to moderate overpronation. Basically, these people need cushioning in the mid-sole area of the shoe and support.

Neutral-Cushioned The so-called shoe for the normal foot if there is such a thing. For people who need a lot of midsole cushioning and not much arch support. These are for people with minimal pronation.

Performance training These are for the racers--a good shoe to stay away from unless you plan on winning the marathon.  They are ultra-light--have some stability-- and are designed for people who have “no biomechanical issues,” in other words--the perfect foot. That eliminates most of the people in the universe.