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Why is Stability Important?

The Importance of Stability

by Dr. Matt McGowan D.C.

 

Mobility w/o Stability = Injury

This is a very important equation to keep in mind when designing your training regimen or when trying to rehab from a musculoskeletal injury.  I have found this to be extremely true in my years in practice and I would like to take a moment to dive into this equation a bit more so that it is more easily understood and hopefully applied.

Let’s take a second to define some terms:

Flexibility:  Refers to the ability of a joint to PASSIVELY move through range of motion.  Passive means that someone else can take that joint and move it from point A to point B.

Mobility:  Is your ability to ACTIVELY move that same joint through range of motion.  

It is easy to think that the two are one and the same, but they are not.  Flexibility and Mobility do not always match up for two major reasons:

  • The first is strength imbalance.  This is when an individual does not possess the strength to move the limb or structure through full range of motion.  A great example would be someone who cannot squat very deeply and they feel like they just can’t get past a certain point. In some scenarios, they are so unstable through their hip joints and core that the brain senses this and “red lights” the movement using other muscles to tighten and stop the movement.  If this individual can strengthen and stabilize some of those less stable areas, they will often gain much better mobility without having to do a single stretch.
  • The second is stability.  Are the supporting structures around the joint or muscle in question stable enough to allow this joint to move freely?  This second principle is often overlooked in training and rehab for musculoskeletal injuries. I’ve seen this in a lot of different sports and “daily living” injuries, but most frequently I’ve come across this problem in Yoga injuries.  Yoga is wonderful for improving one’s flexibility and mobility, but I often see individuals who have reached a high level in the practice yet lacking stability in some of those positions.  It is extremely frustrating to them when they come into the office and they just don’t understand how their muscles get injured when they are so loose and bendy.  

How can you improve your stability?

One of the best ways is through Isometric holds.  This means that you place the unstable joint in a compromised position under mild to moderate load and you hold it there.  Very similar to how a person would try to train balance by standing on a single leg and holding for time.  Some great ways to challenge core and upper limb stability are with weighted carry exercises (i.e. Farmer’s carry, Waiter’s carry, Overhead Carry).  For the core and lumbar spine, there are various Isometric exercises specifically for the deepest layer of the core called the Transverse Abdominis.  

If you think you may be in a similar position and unsure of where to start or what to do, please reach out to us.  We would be happy to help you get to the root of the issue and set you up with the correct exercises. 

 

Living During Covid

Living in the Time of Covid: Is there an Alternative Way? 

by Dr. Melissa Sonners

July 13, 2020

 

I am a chiropractor, and as such considered an alternative doctor, practicing alternative medicine.  Quite simply, alternative medicine is defined as any of various systems of healing or treating disease (such as chiropractic, homeopathy or faith healing) not included in the traditional medical curricula of the U.S. and Britain.

The chiropractic school curriculum is very similar to that of medical school (see table below), but as an alternative to learning about which medicines are used to treat disease, we study an alternative route.  We focus on prevention and take to heart Benjamin Franklin’s adage that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  

Chiropractic Comparison Data Chart

Just as our car’s “check engine” light is a sign of an issue that needs attention, many of our body’s signals that are treated with modern medicine (fever, diarrhea, cholesterol, blood sugar numbers) are also signs of underlying challenges that must be addressed. As chiropractors, we study physiology and how each system in the body impacts another. We study food and nutrition and how these play integral roles in our health that are still so misunderstood. We study viruses, how the body responds to them and which systems need support when fighting them. We look at the incredible role of fevers and so much more. These are all considered alternative.

We learn about the homeostasis of all things.  That not all bacteria are bad.  That some bacteria play an important part in our immune system and that antibacterial soaps, products, strong disinfectant and antibiotics wipe out all bacteria.  That in certain times it is necessary to “put out the fire,” but once that’s done there is an entire other process that must take place in order to balance the body and restore the immune system.  

Our alternative training guided everything we did when Jason and I decided to start a family. We spent years researching and learning about pregnancy and birth before embarking on this journey.  Although we spent very little time researching the best stroller, we spent much time understanding the physiology of pregnancy and birth.  How to prepare my body and his to be as healthy as possible before my body grew a human.  How to optimize my microbiome and environment (chemical, physical and emotional).  We learned about contractions and the purpose they serve, that epidurals not only knock out the sensory nerve pathway to block the pain, but also block the motor pathway meaning my body wouldn’t be able to help our babies down the birthing canal.  An epidural would also require me to be on my back (no motor or muscle control), literally minimizing my pelvic opening and the space for our baby to come out.   

We clearly understood that traditional medicines and interventions had roles to play—important ones—but we knew pregnancy and birth were normal physiological events.  If supported correctly, if all health screenings on the baby and I showed all was good, we knew my body would know what to do.  Our bodies were literally designed for this.  Knowing all of this we chose to have our babies naturally, two of them at home.  An alternative choice.  And we have raised them in the alternative health world.  Our children were breastfed for two years each.  Thankfully, I was able.  Their first foods were selected very intentionally as are their foods today. We leave room for splurges but the core of their diet is based in whole foods that are nature made and don’t come in a wrapper. 

Our children, with a combined age of 20 years, have been on antibiotics a total of three times. Their bodies have rarely needed them and if I felt they did, I got them.  Again, traditional medicine has a time and a place. They have no allergies (food or environmental) or asthma, have never had strep throat and rarely had ear infections once we realized their triggers.  

I say this not to gloat or to brag, but to highlight and share that there must be something to this alternative way.  Many of my colleagues, alternative practitioners who are also raising their children this way, tell similar stories. 

I, however, was not raised this way and it took me a long time to not only hear and be open to this alternative way, but years to trust it enough and little by little have faith in it.  Again, it’s alternative, so it is still not the common narrative—you won’t find it unless you go searching for it. 

I feel a pull to share this information now, during this time.  We are currently hiding from a virus awaiting a cure while our economy rapidly declines. We are starved of human connection which has a major impact on our immune system (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6125010/), and mental health and drug overdoses are surging.  

 

Is there an alternative way?  

In dealing with the virus is the only option to distance ourselves, wear masks, over sanitize and wait for it to clear or for an experimental treatment to be released?  Or can we also proactively take steps to help increase our immune system? 

A study from June 2020 describes the important relationship of Covid-19 and Vitamin D levels.  You can read it here, but this is a key point:

“An inadequate supply of vitamin D has a variety of skeletal and non-skeletal effects. There is ample evidence that various non-communicable diseases (hypertension, diabetes, CVD, metabolic syndrome) are associated with low vitamin D plasma levels. These comorbidities, together with the often-concomitant vitamin D deficiency, increase the risk of severe COVID-19 events. Much more attention should be paid to the importance of vitamin D status for the development and course of the disease. Particularly in the methods used to control the pandemic (lockdown), the skin’s natural vitamin D synthesis is reduced when people have few opportunities to be exposed to the sun.” 

What is the best way to increase your Vitamin D levels? Sun exposure. We are an “outside” family—we love the outdoors and we also know to be aware of its effects on our skin.  So, we tend to get our exposure before or after the hours of 11am-3pm and let our skin be the indicator of when it’s time to be done.  Skin turning slightly pink is an indication to get out of the sun or cover up, not to put on more sunscreen.  Many sunscreens give us a false sense of security, expose us to some UV rays and also contain carcinogenic chemicals.  More on this another time.  

We also take supplemental vitamin D to ensure our levels are adequate.  You can find my favorite one for our entire family here

What else are we doing in our home to increase our immune systems? 

  • Getting plenty of rest
  • Limiting sugars as sugar and processed foods lower the immune system
  • FASTING! Fasting is one of THE MOST effective ways to enhance the immune system and it is FREE!   Click here to read more about this.  (We teach people how to successfully fast in our online coaching groups. If you’re interested, click here for more information). 
  • Exercising and moving our bodies.  The way this looks has certainly changed since we are with the kids a lot more.  No more glorious solo runs around the neighborhood, but I am still committed to moving my body every day. 
  • Most importantly, balancing our stress levels. We all know stress has a disastrous effect on our health and yet we deal with it every day.  Pausing to take a breath and RESPOND rather than REACT to any events in our lives has a major physiological effect on balancing our stress.  Surrounding ourselves with positive information and things that make us happy and limiting information that does the opposite is also key.  Starting the day with a half hour of meditation or gratitude rather than jumping right into emails, social media or the news are also effective ways to limit stress.  

In our family we do our best to focus on what we CAN control in any situation, rather than stress about what we can’t.  There are many things during this time that are completely out of our control and nobody really knows when this will end.  By focusing on what we can control and how we can impact our health and immune system, we not only give ourselves a better chance of faring well if we get sick, we end up as healthier more balanced versions of ourselves in the process. 

I would love to hear from you.  Drop me a quick email at drmelissa@coretherapies.net.  What are you currently doing to positively impact you or your family’s health? 

 

The Importance of our “Why” Blog Photo of our baby

The Importance of our “Why”

by Dr. Melissa Sonners
July 10, 2020

Jason and I love the Summer, the time of our children’s births, and I am once again reminded of how those births were a reflection of our relationship and how we work together to get through challenges and obstacles in life and business. In this crazy time, I wanted to share with all of you my personal guideposts when it comes to setting and attaining goals and intentions. They’ve served us well and perhaps you can apply them in your own lives.

The Importance of our “Why” Blog Photo of our baby

This picture was taken during Wyatt’s birth when we were fortunate to have the beautiful home-birth that we had worked toward for so long. We researched, we studied, we understood the physiology of birth and contractions, the purpose of the surges and sensations and the role they would play in getting our baby out in the way nature intended.

Although we spent very little time researching the best stroller, we spent much time understanding the physiology of pregnancy and birth. How to prepare my body and his to be as healthy as possible before my body grew a human. How to optimize my microbiome and environment (chemical, physical and emotional). We learned about contractions and the purpose they serve, that epidurals not only knock out the sensory nerve pathway to block the pain, but also block the motor pathway meaning my body wouldn’t be able to help our babies down the birthing canal. An epidural would also require me to be on my back (no motor or muscle control), literally minimizing my pelvic opening and the space for our baby to come out.

We clearly understood that traditional medicines and interventions had roles to play—important ones—but we knew pregnancy and birth were normal physiological events. If supported correctly, and all scans and monitoring of myself and the baby were healthy, we would be medically cleared to have our baby at home and my body would know what to do.

It was hard, it was intense, there were moments when I questioned everything and felt like giving up.

But Jason and I knew what was important to us: the most natural birth possible for our baby. And as always when we have undertaken a new “venture,” we were very clear on our WHY — in this case, why we wanted the most natural birth possible. Because our WHY was clear to us, the many obstacles during my labor and delivery (or anything else we set our intentions on) were things I understood to be part of the process. I recognized and accepted the purpose contractions served in the birthing process, rather than questioning if their intensity was “normal” (it is).

Once Jason and I set our minds to something, we may not always know HOW we are going to make it happen, but we know that we will. We follow a few simple steps to help us stay on track when setting our goal, intentions, or dreams with a deadline.

These are:
1. Be clear on WHY you want this. Our WHY becomes super important as we encounter obstacles, life challenges or “opportunities” along the way.

2. Create a network of support—your partner, a friend, family member, hired coach, etc. Know your audience and who you need to surround yourself with in order to achieve your goal.

3. If it’s not your focus, don’t focus on it. We live in an age of constant pop ups, interruptions and distractions. Being clear on what our end goal is
helps us focus on the things that bring us closer to that goal, and helps us spend less time worrying about or reacting to things that don’t.

Most importantly:

4. Stay aligned and congruent. Jason and I have one MAJOR rule when making business and personal decisions for ourselves, our companies and our family. Is this congruent with our values and morals? If so, it’s an easy YES. If not, it’s an easy NO. This not only helps prevent decision fatigue from having to spend a lot of time on every single decision that comes our way, it also helps us feel good about what we are doing, confident that we are doing it for the greater good, and I truly believe when all those things are in place, things come easily not only TO us, but THROUGH us.

I would love to hear from you. How are you continuing to move forward in regards to your goals, dreams and plans during this time? Although it may be taking a (very) different path than you had intended, perhaps you can still continue your forward momentum.