Monday, July 27, 2015

The Importance of Getting Screened!

As promised here is a snippet from my chapter in StrongFigure's, Total Health and Fitness Makeover, ebook. It is a great resource for wanting to start your fitness journey, get in better shape and improve your quality of life. Whether you're a beginner or a more advanced fitness enthusiast looking for guidance in the pursuance of your goals, this ebook is for you. Here is small section of the chapter:

"The purpose of a screen is identify a problem and to determine if it is suitable for one to participate in an activity.  For example, when you go to your medical doctor one of the first things they do is take your blood pressure.  They are “screening” for a problem.  If a problem exists then an intervention takes place or advanced testing is done to determine the cause for the problem.  One of the main reasons why people fail at becoming healthier and/or fitter is because they get injured.  A screen can set a “baseline of movement”.  The good news is most individuals can recover and get back on track.  Clinically speaking, as a Chiropractor and Rehabilitation Specialist, I have seen this quite often in my practice.  Individuals have been able to recover through means of treatment, corrective exercises and dynamic warm-up/movement prep strategies.  In order to figure which was best for each of these, it all started with a screen, followed by advanced testing.  With this being said, when choosing your new health and fitness journey, whether on your own, at a gym or with a personal trainer, get screened!"

Here is an example of how a screen can reveal a problem. If we look at the Functional Movement Screen for Shoulder Mobility, which tests for someone's range of motion, scapular mechanics, upper-back function, pain and more, we could see some deficiencies. We would like to see the fists closer together than pictured. One cause for this could be a lack of thoracic extension or rotation. We would want to investigate further to see if it is a mobility or stability problem. Also, we would want to make sure we don't just look at the shoulder or upper-back to make sure we don't forget the other influences on the kinetic chain.

So, do you want to get screened and reach your full potential? You're in luck, because this great service is provided by yours truly. Want more information then check out this easy-to-read infographic!
If you need more info or want to find a local provider then check out the FMS website.

Yours in Health,

Dr. G

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Why you should be using a Foam Roller

The foam roller is one of the most widely used tools for the means of self-care/maintenance. Heck, it may have even been recommended by your healthcare professional, coach or trainer to use one to help reduce pain or improve your flexibility.  There are many benefits and uses for improving your health by using a foam roller.  So to simplify things, let's take a page out of David Letterman's playbook and do a Top Ten List.  Here they are in no particular order.

Top Ten Reasons You Should Be Using a Foam Roller:

1.) Can reduce pain
2.) Can help with recovery
3.) Can be used to improve posture
4.) Can improve mobility and flexibility
5.) Breaks up Scar Tissue
6.) Can increase your performance
7.) Can help prevent injury
8.) Can reduce stress
9.) Portable
10.) Can also serve as a piece of exercise equipment

Not sure how to foam roll and need some guidance, check out this video by Eric Cressey, of Cressey Performance. **Use caution while trying these techniques out, especially when using a lacrosse ball as seen in the video**

If you want even more guidance on foam rolling, check out StrongFigure's new e-book, Total Health and Fitness Makeover. I recommend it as a great resource for much more than foam rolling. It is packed with information on nutrition, recovery and self-care/maintenance strategies. I had the opportunity to write a section in the book titled, Getting Screened, Dynamic Warm-up/Movement Prep & Corrective Exercises OH MY!
Stay tuned for a snippet from my portion later this week. The book goes on sale today and will only be sold from July 20-27 at a low price of $30.  That's 25% off!  Purchase it and you won't be disappointed.

If you need some guidance on how to properly foam roll or need any other tips/advice, please contact me. Definitely, if you have pain, schedule with me for an evaluation.

Remember, "Get Pain Free with Dr. G!"

P.S. Stay tuned for my next post with the snippet from Total Health and Fitness Makeover

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Static stretching vs Dynamic warmup

Stretching before activity has been thought to be a normal practice for decades for many reasons such as warming up the body, increasing flexibility, reducing soreness(DOMS) and preventing injury.  But should you do static stretching or a dynamic warmup before activity?

A meta-analysis in 2002 found that stretching before or after activity did not yield any practical applications for reducing muscle soreness or reducing injury(1).  Advancements a decade later in 2012 showed that pre-activity stretching can be beneficial to prevent some injuries and reduce soreness(2).  A newer trend seen across the board for all levels of competition(recreational, youth, high school, collegiate, professional) is dynamic stretching and dynamic warmups.  This may be more appropriate for prepping the body for the activity to come, as well as preserving and even increasing muscle power(3),  

I'm going to make the argument that it is better to do a dynamic warmup prior to activity.  The warmup should be catered to the movements that are about to performed and should also address key muscles hat are involved.  When warming up in this manner one may find it as a more advantageous strategy for increasing your performance.

For example, let's take a runner.  A dynamic hip warmup would be a great strategy to engage the lower body and even the core.  A lunge matrix could be the ideal warmup to do just this. It will encourage loading through the hips, being stable on one leg, engage the glutes and prep the body in all planes of motion.

Here is an example of a lunge matrix:

Another example is preparing for weight lifting such as squatting, deadlifting and power cleans. These lifts all rely on the neuromuscular control of the hips and being able to get in the right position at the right time.  Also, they require a great deal of power.  In which case, static stretching before performing them could hinder your performance.  Look in any anatomy/physiology textbook and you'll read about sarcomeres.  Sarcomeres are the contractile units of a muscle and when they are stretched(by static stretching), the contractile force is not as strong.  Think about this when your training, especially for power/strength purposes!

Here is a video of a great dynamic warm-up, called the hip flow, which would be great to do prior to these lifts:

*Thanks to Dean Somerset for the video!

So please reserve your static stretching for after activity to aide in your recovery in efforts to restore the typical length of your muscles(especially those sarcomeres) and to bring your heartrate down to your normal resting level.

Other ways to aide in your recovery after activity are foam rolling, icing, drinking plenty of water and refueling your body with proper nutrition.  Of course, seeing a Chiropractor can certainly help you recover and increase your performance!

If you are unsure on how to properly perform a dynamic warm-up for your activity or need stretching tips/advice, please contact me.  Definitely, if you have pain, schedule with me for an evaluation.

Remember, "Get Pain Free with Dr. G!"

P.S. Stay tuned for my next post on Foam Rolling to see how it can help increase your performance and aide in your recovery!

1.) Herbert, Rob D., and Michael Gabriel. "Effects of stretching before and after exercising on muscle soreness and risk of injury: systematic review." Bmj325.7362 (2002): 468.

2.) Jamtvedt, Gro, et al. "A pragmatic randomised trial of stretching before and after physical activity to prevent injury and soreness." British journal of sports medicine 44.14 (2010): 1002-1009. 

3.) Haddad, Monoem, et al. "Static stretching can impair explosive performance for at least 24 hours." The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 28.1 (2014): 140-146.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Can we be too flexible?

We've heard it our whole lives. We've been told by our parents, friends, coaches even our doctors that we needed to be more flexible. So we were told to stretch and stretch some more. But, I want to raise the questions of "Can we be too flexible?" and "Do we need to stretch all?"

Odds are if you can touch your palms on the floor without bending your knees, straighten your arms so your elbow goes toward the ceiling or straighten your legs so to the point that your knees go backwards you don't need to be stretching.  You need to focus on stabilizing your joints to protect their integrity.

I want to introduce you to what is called the Beighton Score of Hypermobility.  It takes only two minutes, but it will reveal whether or not you need to focus your time stretching or increasing stability.

Here is how the Beighton scoring for hypermobility works.  Perform each of the following tests and if you can do it, your score is a one(1).  If you can't, your score is a zero(0),

  • knee hyperextension standing or lying down on both sides
  • elbow hyperextension on both sides 
  • thumb to front of your forearm on both sides
  • middle finger extension
  • touching your palms to floor keeping your knees locked out
Here is a quick video demonstrating the test:

*Having trouble viewing this? Click this link to see the video:

In his video series, Ruthless Mobility(1), Dean Somerset summarizes certain populations and their average scoring breakdown.  He states that, "If you get a 4 or 5 you don't need to stretch and you need more stabilization".  He goes on to state that "Swimmers score around a 3-4...Hockey players are usually a zero due to the nature of their sport...Basketball players usually a 1 because they score well on the elbow hyperextension...and Gymnasts/Dancers typically score a 5".  To clarify, in his his scoring he does a 0-5 scale.  I have seen other references that score each side of each test individually, making the score scale, 0-9.  Such as the research conducted by Bouwien, et al that demonstrated that those "who tested high on the Beighton score also showed increased range of motion in other joints"(2).

I like the idea of using the 0-9 scale, so that you can see differences side to side.  This can give you a plan to attack any asymmetries you may have.  Keep in mind that these asymmetries won't change overnight and can take weeks to months depending on your body.

Arguably, with our society these days being more sedentary and working behind a desk, stretching can be very beneficial to restore poor postural habits, provide some pain relief, increase range of motion and reduce stress, especially when focusing on your breathing.  I encourage you to perform this two minute test to see if you should focus on stretching or stability.  Your score will play a role in what you need to do before activity, exercise or competition.

If you are unsure on how to perform/score the test, need stretching tips/advice, not sure what exercises to do in order to stabilize please contact me.  Definitely, if you have pain, schedule with me for an evaluation.

Remember, "Get Pain Free with Dr. G!"

P.S. Stay tuned for my next post on Static Stretching vs Dynamic Warmup


1.) Ruthless Mobility, Dean Somerset

2.) Bouwien, et al. Beighton Score: A Valid Measure for Generalized Hypermobility in Children. The Journal of Pediatrics. January 2011. Volume 158, Issue 1, Pages 119–123.e4