Rolling Into Summer


Hello Symbio universe!

It’s almost summer and that means beach weather, sunshine, and finally being able to get out and get active! While it’s super important to workout in a safe and efficient manner, with an emphasis on good and proper form, did you know rest and what you do to recover are just as important as the exercises you do? Repetitive, overuse injuries stemming from inadequate rest and poor recovery strategies are not just extremely common, they are also a major precursor to recurring chronic injuries in many individuals.

Now, as bad as this might sound, there are several simple steps that can be taken to avoid this from happening in the first place. In addition to proper nutrition and training key muscle groups, regularly using a foam roller can go a long way in terms of maintaining optimal muscular health.
In short, using a foam roller helps to release tight muscles and helps to restore proper muscle activation as well as pain-free range of motion, thereby improving functional movement patterns and overall performance. Not only does this help us recover quicker, we are less prone to developing abnormal compensations that may lead to injury in the future.

In other words, by consistently using a foam roller, you can get back to kicking butt in the gym sooner!
Here are a few simple foam rolling positions to try out on your own. The key to using a foam roller effectively is to pinpoint a sensitive muscle group and allow the body to sink into the foam roller. If you find yourself tensing up, try easing the pressure a bit and gradually ramp up the force as you can tolerate. Sustained pressure or small, gentle oscillation are both appropriate. Avoid big, jerky movements to allow the body to get accustomed to the foam roller.

Hamstrings (The back part of your thigh)
• Start with both legs resting on the foam roller (FR)
• Cross one leg over the other to bias one side
• Slowly shift your weight towards the uncrossed leg

 

Iliotibial Band (ITB) and Lateral Quadriceps (The side of your thigh)
• Start in a side-lying position on a FR
• Rest your elbow on the ground for support
• Cross the top leg over the other and plant it firmly on the ground

 

Piriformis (Near the Glutes)

• Start by sitting on a FR with both knees bent and feet flat on the floor
• Cross one leg over the other
• Rotate towards the bent leg
• Gently shift weight to the same side

 

Adductors (Groin/Inside of your thigh)

• Start with one leg perpendicular to a FR
• Rest elbows on the ground for support
• Gently rotate the body away from the bent leg

 

Quadriceps (Front part of your thigh)
• Start by laying both legs on a FR
• Cross one leg over the other to bias that side
• Gently shift weight towards that side

 

There you have it folks! Just a few easy positions to try. I hope you enjoy the burn as much as I do!

Have a great week everyone!

 

Michael Oakes, PT, DPT, CMPT

Thirsty For Exercise


The warmer temps have FINALLY appeared!!!  After what has felt like endless grey skies, rain, and chilly/I can’t believe I am wearing a jacket in May and June weather consuming our days, we are at last seeing the sunshine and feeling the warmth!!

And we can FINALLY be outside… getting our runs and our exercising in outdoors!

WOOHOOOOOOOO!!

But with this surge of excitement, when talking about exercising in these warmer summer months, we must discuss a very important factor – hydration.

We have all heard the advice over the years… be sure to drink your eight glasses of water per day.  However, as is the case with much in life, there is never one cookbook/one-size-fits-all recipe for what each individual body needs.  Especially the body of an athlete.

Water is an extremely important nutrient, and makes up approximately 50-60% of an individual’s body weight.  It is not only essential to maintain overall life, fluid intake is an important part of training and athletic performance.  The benefits of adequate fluid and electrolyte intake before, during, and after exercise are enormous and include lower heart rate, improved blood flow and circulation to muscles and organs, improved body temperature control, prevention of low sodium levels (hyponatremia) thus reducing muscle cramping and fatigue, and overall lower levels of perceived exertion.

So how much should you be drinking to take full advantage of these benefits??  Research has shown that most recreational athletes actually require approximately 11-15 cups of water (8oz each) with added electrolytes daily, however factors such as climate, muscle mass of the individual, type of physical activity being performed, and diet make that total required intake vary from person to person.  Further research conducted on athletes participating in various sports including running, cycling, walking, and playing group sports and fitness classes such as basketball and aerobics contested that in hot weather when an athlete loses as little as 2% of his/her fluids through sweat, overall athletic performance may decline by as much as 10%!!

That’s a serious percentage, and a huge disadvantage to performance!

When exercise is involved, proper hydration is achieved by consuming fluids and electrolytes at regular intervals.  Remember, distractions may prevent you from recognizing thirst… but if you feel thirsty, you may already be dehydrated.  Several sports studies have shown that it is wise to consume approximately 16oz of water/electrolytes about 2 hours before activity, then another 8-16oz about 15 minutes before exercise… then anywhere between 4-16oz of water/electrolytes every 20 minutes depending on tolerance and climate (heat/humidity)… and finally another 16-24oz per pound of body weight post exercise to re-gain all fluids lost.  Researchers also recommend consuming sodium chloride (salty foods such as pretzels or from sports drinks) following exercise in extreme heat and humidity to speed up the rehydration process.

Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluids than you have consumed.  Symptoms can include dizziness/lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth/lips, increased heart rate, muscle cramping, lack of sweating, and extreme thirst… and if it gets to the point of severity one may experience mental confusion, weakness, and loss of consciousness.

Not fun!!

I know, I know… but all of those fluids!?!?  How is my bladder going to handle all of that?!?  I’m going to be running for the restroom all day!

Possibly a little more than usual… but an inconvenience and annoyance I would rather experience than to have any organs including my kidney suffer, or possibly fail… or experience extreme lethargy and lack of muscle energy… or muscle cramping… or terrible athletic performance… all due to lack of hydration.

You get the picture!

Take home message… your body needs fluids/electrolytes to function optimally.  Be sure to replace all you lost when sweating… your overall performance and well-being depends on it!

Jacqueline Mendelsohn, DPT, CLT

A Vegan’s Life For Me???


Can I please start this by saying that I am not vegan.  On the contrary, I am usually the guy in the office who makes good-natured jokes with our vegan team members about things like their malnourished bodies and difficult childhoods leading them to a life of deprivation and starvation.  It’s all good fun…

For me, my most consistent dietary choices are either Paleo diet or Bulletproof diet, both relying quite heavily on animal proteins and, in the latter case, fats.

And while it might start a heated debate, I still believe those to be extremely healthy choices as ways of eating.  I truly believe that a diet based on grass-fed beef, wild caught seafood, farm fresh free-range eggs, and responsibly grown pork and poultry is the way our ancestors thrived.  We are predisposed to being able to achieve maximum health on a diet of the proteins and fats listed above along with a nice mix of veggies, fruits, and nuts.

The only problem: we can’t sustain that diet.  It’s impossible.

No, not because of willpower, but because it is logistically impossible for all of us to have a healthy diet consisting of grass-fed beef.  There isn’t enough grass in the world to support the livestock it would require for us all to eat that way.  We are literally out of space to grow.  Instead the cows we eat are mostly fed poorly farmed grains and soy, a diet that cows were not built to eat, which is making them massively unhealthy.  When humans eat massively unhealthy animals, humans then become massively unhealthy too.  If you don’t agree, read the news on the declining health of our country.  It isn’t a mystery.

Let me back up.  Let me remind you that I am NOT vegan, nor am I a damn hippie.  That being said, a dear friend of mine loaned me his copy of a horrible and nasty book called THRIVE Foods by Brendan Brazier.  I hate this book and I’m still pretty sore with my friend who put it in my hand.

Why the anger, you ask?  This book got into my head in a big way.  In a few short chapters, I learned a lot about our food supply and how it works.  I learned about the unbelievable environmental damage done by raising livestock for food.  I learned about the tremendous natural resources required to raise a cow for slaughter.  I learned how the over farming of land, in an effort to feed and fatten that livestock, is resulting in a substandard product and therefore a substandard animal for consumption.  I learned how our inadequate food system leaves my body in a state of stress and desperation, which is affecting my sleep quality and alarming need for more coffee that I care to admit to needing.  I learned how this way of life is just unsustainable.

Crap…  I really like a nice juicy ribeye.  I love butter so much I am one step short of rubbing it on my body after a morning shower.  I have always been a heavy carnivore and wore the badge proudly.

 

But this damn book starting making some sense.  I starting asking some questions.  Here they are:

-What would happen if I went vegan for a full month?

-How would eating vegan for a month affect me as an athlete and my performance?

-How would my symptoms of chronic fatigue (poor sleep, always tired, weight gain despite exercise, intense sugar cravings, depression…) change if I did this stupid thing for a month?

-Would this finally be the diet that helped me lose the muffin top and man-boobs?

-If after a month, would I chase live animals down the street with teeth gnashing and mania in my eyes?

-And lastly, if after a month of going vegan, what would be the change I would have made for the environment?

Get this: Brazier give some scientific evidence to show that the most impactful and meaningful thing we can do for our planet as a people and as a country is not to switch to hybrid cars and efficient light bulbs.  It’s not even to stop driving completely.  You guessed it…  Switching to a plant based diet would have a stronger positive impact on carbon emissions and global warming than all the recycling and good choices you have ever made.

Another side note: I am a scientist and have a degree that says I’m really good at asking questions.  Imagine how annoyed I was when this irritating book cited incredibly strong evidence citing the statements above.  I am great at arguing opinion and philosophy, but when there is strong evidence brought forth from the scientific community, I bow my head and listen.

I have done such with the information I have learned.

And while I don’t know that I like it, I can’t unlearn what I learned from this book.  It is because of that I have decided to go vegan for the month of June 2017.  Being a scientist, healthcare practitioner, and researcher myself, I have to find answers to my questions.

What will happen at the end of the month?  I haven’t the foggiest.  I might love it, I might hate it, I might decide to continue regardless, or I might just throw caution to the wind and sprint to the nearest NYC steakhouse.  I really don’t know.

What I know is that I have to try.  I have to see how I do.  I have to answer these questions.

I promise to write another entry by month’s end to let you know the results.  But right now I wonder, would anyone do this with me?  Are you stupid enough?

I’ve ordered another one of his books that gives a 12 week food plan, Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life, which is something I know I’ll need to keep me out of the rut of eating weird fake meat things in the frozen aisle and a side of cardboard with a glaze of spicy mustard.

This is going to suck…  Who’s with me?

Residency – Where My Journey Has Begun


Hey everyone out there in internet land. My name is Stavros Vouyiouklis, and I am one of the Resident Physiotherapist at Symbio Physiotherapy. I have been a practicing clinician for a total of 6 … months. Yup that’s it. I have worked within PT practices for over 10 years prior to getting into PT school as an aide. I learned to have an appreciation for what it takes to make a clinic run optimally, and work with individuals on an individual basis.

The road to get to where I am after PT school has been long, daunting, and far more rewarding than I could have ever possibly imagined. Years of studying, examinations, practicals and finally passing my boards was all I needed to prepare myself for the real world. Or was it?

I began my position at Symbio in January of 2017. The program at Touro College prepared me better than I could have possibly imagined alongside all of the continuing education that I have done both during and after PT school.

So what happens at the residency program at Symbio?

Learning.

Wait What!?

That’s right. Learning.

School prepares you and gives you the cold hard facts, yes. However, because Physios deal with individuals and their individual health needs, things aren’t always textbook. THIS is what makes the residency experience worthwhile. Having a mentor who you have time with and excellent communication with to discuss those patients who may have you stumped, or are just not getting better as quickly as you would have hoped. Furthermore, having a skilled and experienced set of eyes sitting in on your evaluations and treatments while getting critical feedback following these sessions is invaluable. Watching the very same skilled clinician tap dance his way through an evaluation and treatment is like watching a symphony orchestra play a masterpiece. It’s all of the components coming together to provide one uniform art piece that you truly have to get a firsthand experience to appreciate.

Now, I chose to apply to this residency program and was fortunate enough to be one of the physios selected. I think that I have learned more in these last 6 months than if I was just set free to figure things out on my own. I feel that anyone who truly wants to excel at any field they are in should seek out a mentor and residency program to get the most out of their first year fresh out of school. It’s not easy. It is a lot of work. Lots of one-on-one meetings, skill development labs, continuing education courses, personal growth, and monthly readings. But hey, you don’t work this hard to just cruise through life right? You keep on pushing. I keep on pushing. That’s how I got here in the first place.

To Move or Not To Move


“Movement is Medicine”. This is an expression we often hear but don’t always adhere to. It is almost instinctual for us whenever we suffer an injury to go into protect mode and stop moving. Ever have an episode of low back pain and decide a day or two of bed rest would fix all? Or avoid moving your arm after injuring your shoulder? What is the best approach after an injury? Should you continue to move and groove or allow yourself a couple days of R+R? Unfortunately the answer isn’t quite so cut and dry and the best answer is always to see a medical professional. But in the meantime, there are some guidelines that can be helpful for those who are injured.

An acute injury is a sudden injury that occurs during activity or as a result of a traumatic incident. Immediately following the injury, inflammation occurs and causes pain, swelling and redness. This is the body’s natural response to help protect and heal the body. A helpful acronym we use to treat these injuries is PRICE (Protect, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation). At this stage of an injury it makes sense to avoid moving the injured area. An injury is no longer acute once this inflammatory response has subsided and the body starts laying down new tissue to replace the damaged ones. At this point, the redness, swelling and heat have greatly subsided and we can now categorize the injury as “sub acute”. Once an injury reaches this stage, movement becomes key for healing. In fact, prolonged disuse or bed rest can lead to things like excessive scar tissue formation and contractures. Activities like regular stretching, gentle range of motion exercises and avoiding prolonged positions help to safely restore pain free movement.

Sometimes knowing what stage of healing an injury is in can clue in how therapeutic movement will be. Even in the acute stage of injury, prolonged bed rest can be detrimental by slowing healing. Instead small gentle movements have been found to be effective in “pumping out” inflammation. Thus, we see that even in the most severe of injuries that some sort of movement can be effective in promoting healing. Movement is indeed medicine!

Karan Datta, PT, DPT

Symbio’s Newest!!


Hey Symbio world!

I’m Evan from upstate New York, and I’m Symbio’s newest operations admin. I moved to New York City shortly after graduating from UAlbany, where I studied psychology and sociology. Social science, tech, and traveling are a few things I love. I’m always looking for new and exciting destinations, your travel stories, and what’s next in the world of tech. It’s still early in my career, but my two favorite jobs have been working as a barista in college, and being a part of the retail training team at Apple. A reoccurring theme in my life would be people referring to me as calm, relaxed, or chill. I’m okay with that! This information is for you, so you know what you’re getting yourself into. You should also know I may have an addiction to binge-watching tv series. I know this, so you don’t have to plan an intervention… which is also the name of a great tv series!

 

(An individual with terrible posture, I thought looked VERY science-y. Please do not sit like this at work!)

 

As for what’s next. I don’t know! I’m going to reiterate what Michael Oakes said in his bio, I live like today matters. I do my best thinking in the present, and my thinking-ahead somewhat abstractly. I know that whatever I do must be aligned with my values, and include some travel! In the near future I plan on meeting and getting to know you all better! I’m very excited to learn everyone’s story and see your progress. This post, I should mention, is in no particular order. So, I’ll say some things I forgot to say earlier. I like listening to various podcasts, going to storytelling events, and discovering all the swanky independent coffee shops I haven’t tried yet. Lastly, if anyone can teach me how to properly use a semicolon… please let me know. I feel like I had so many chances just now!

Okay, now please tell me about YOU because this is getting exhausting! =]

The Cause of the Cause


Hey all,

I just returned from a course with 3 of my colleagues that was held in Vancouver, Canada. Let me start off by saying Vancouver a gorgeous place to visit! Also, working for Symbio has given me a blessed opportunity to continue to pursue my thirst for knowledge and continue to learn as a therapist.

How many of you have reoccurring injuries or pain that you have sought treatment for only to have no improvement, slight improvement, or were successfully treated but the same pain continues to return into your life? Would you think I’m crazy if I said something in your foot is driving your neck pain? How many of you have seen a therapist for shoulder pain, for example, and they looked at your shoulder, touched your shoulder, tested your shoulder but completely neglected to look above and below that area? Not that what they are doing is wrong, because they are still treating the problem at hand, they might just not be addressing all of the problem. I’m just saying that there is a possibility that there could be a more effective way to assess and rule out the contributing factors to prevent the same dysfunction from coming back.

This course was the second week of a three week series for a course called Connect Therapy taught by Linda Joy Lee. This course teaches an amazing framework for approaching the entire body as a whole. It teaches us to look well beyond the area of pain and complaint. It teaches us to look for the true underlying cause, or “driver”, of the injury or dysfunction. I won’t get into too much details about the course itself, but I think the concept of looking at the entire body and the patients’ perceptions and beliefs about their injuries cannot be emphasized enough.

I had first-hand experience with the changes such an approach can bring about. One of our physios has been experiencing low back and knee pain with running. We used step forward as a task to assess for any non-optimal movement in the body. We noticed as he stepped forward with his right leg, he had almost no counter-rotation of his upper body. We found that correcting something in his thorax and having him repeat the task allowed him to regain the movement of counter-rotation and made the task easier. Now if this patient came into the clinic and we only treated his back or knee, his pain would get better, but only temporarily. He would then go back out for a run and continue to load his body non-optimally which would continue to stress his knee and back bringing him back to us with the same pain. We would then work on his knee and back again, and so this becomes a repetitive cycle. Without addressing the dysfunction that the patient presents with in his thorax, we would never be able to get him fully better.

We at Symbio pride ourselves on being able to look outside of the box and try to get to the root of the problem. This course further expanded my thinking field in terms of how far away the true driver can be to someone’s area of pain and how much more interconnected the body is than I once thought. I look forward to taking part three of the series and a little more Vancouver sun in September.

Veronica Cherne, PT, DPT, CMPT

Improper to Proper Posture


Wherever you are,

Whatever you’re doing right this second,

I want you to freeze.

Stop moving.  No cheating!

 

Take notice of the position of your head, your neck, your shoulders, and your mid-back.

Now, focus on your low back, your butt bones, and your feet.

 

Okay.  For the remainder of this blog, I want you to keep this position.

No.

Matter.

What.

Don’t move or fidget around.  I want you to notice how hard it actually is to keep this posture and how inefficient it is.

 

So, you’re probably thinking, “What’s the big deal.  Fine.  I have bad posture, but so does everyone else at the office.  I know it’s not good for me but really, what’s the big deal?  How bad can poor posture actually be?”

I hear you.

The last thing I want to do is cause mass hysteria by exaggerating the effects poor posture can have on you.  Besides, many of the adverse effects of poor posture are well-documented and, at some point or another, you’ve probably heard of a few of them.  The main purpose of this post is NOT to convince you that poor posture is bad for your health.  It’s to inform and better educate you on what happens within the body when we maintain poor posture for a prolonged period of time (over the course of several months and years!).  That way, you can decide for yourself whether or not poor posture is something that’s worth correcting.  I’ll wrap up the post with a thing or two you can do to help counteract some of the effects of poor posture.  By the way, as a disclaimer, none of what I propose in this post should be taken as medical advice and should NOT replace a thorough examination by a licensed professional.  The content of this post should be taken as general recommendations for the purpose of educating the general public 🙂

 

The body is a finely-tuned machine that, when functioning optimally, is highly efficient at conserving energy while maximizing production.  And this makes sense evolutionary.  The ones who survived were the ones who produced the most output while conserving as much energy as possible.

Posture is no exception.

Optimal posture is one in which the body is required to exert as little effort or energy to maintain.  It is, by very definition, THE most efficient way for the body to maintain an upright position.  In optimal posture, the ear, shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle should all line up pretty nicely.

Now, at this point, you might be getting the sudden urge to straighten out your posture but we promised at the beginning that you wouldn’t do that.  We’re about half way through this, so hang in there.  You’re doing great (and by great, I mean you’re doing terrible.  Ugh!  Look at that posture!)

 

One of the reasons why optimal posture is so efficient is that it evenly balances out the pull of gravity.  In this position, the responsibility of keeping the body upright is evenly and appropriately distributed between contractile (muscles and fascia) and non-contractile (bones, ligaments, tendons, joints) structures of the body.  This balance helps keep body tissue healthy and not overworked.  It helps ensure that these structures are being used in a manner they were created for.  When you use structures for their intended purpose, good things tend to happen!

Let’s be honest though.  This isn’t ANY of us.

Okay… Maybe one or two of you but for 99.99999999% of us, we don’t look like this.  We don’t live in perfect, optimal posture.  And guess what?  THAT’S A GREAT THING!  While optimal posture is great and is important to have, it is NOT the end all be all.  In fact, it is far more important for the body to be able to function in a variety of different positions and postures in a pain-free manner than to be able to stay in the same position all day every day, optimal or not.  It isn’t necessarily “bad posture” that gets us into trouble; it’s the loss of movement variability that leads to injury.  When our bodies lose the ability to adapt and adopt different postures, we tend to use patterns of movement that are less than ideal for a given task.  So, technically speaking, there is nothing inherently wrong about “bad posture”.  It’s when we get stuck there and live life in that position that we run into problems.

 

That all being said, let’s walk through what happens in the body when we sit at a desk all day.

 

Forward head posture (FHP).  Yes, the bane of every office worker’s existence.  Remember, with optimal posture, the pull of gravity is evenly balanced between contractile and non-contractile structures so that all involved tissues are evenly and appropriately stressed.  FHP is a major deviation from this and leads to an imbalance that causes certain muscle groups to become shortened and over-active, while leaving others lengthened and weak.  The body adapts to this new position and does what it needs to in order to compensate.  As the body does this, it strengthens the muscles that are now over-active which furthers the imbalance between muscle groups.  This leads to a snowball effect that is made worse by the fact that majority of us need to be at a desk for 8 hours or more a day.  Before we know it, the body has adopted a new “normal” and now functions in this position for everything it does.

And we’re just talking about muscles.

The longer we stay in FHP, other parts of our body adapt too.  Specifically, the cervical (neck region) and thoracic (rib cage) spine develop exaggerated curvatures in order to keep up with this new posture.  Without getting too technical, the cervical spine typically develops much more extension than it should and the thoracic spine develops much more flexion than it should.  Over time, these “plastic”, or temporary, changes become rigid and inflexible.  With time, just as we saw with the muscles, the body adopts a new “normal” and now functions with both the cervical and thoracic spine in their non-optimal positions.

And, you guessed it, this is not a good thing.

Remember, my goal is NOT to exaggerate the adverse effects of bad posture but, just so we’re on the same page, here are some of the things that could result from prolonged FHP.  And no, these are not rarities.  In fact, if you constantly sit with FHP, you WILL develop one or more of the following:

  1. Cervicogenic headaches
  2. Shoulder impingement
  3. Low back pain
  4. Cervical radiculopathies
  5. TMJ dysfunction
  6. Early-onset osteoarthritis (cervical or thoracic spine)

 

The longer this position is maintained for, the more normalized it will become and the harder it will be to correct.  And lest we forget that the entire body is connected to each other, FHP also has adverse effects on other regions of the body, possibly as far down as the foot!

 

As bad as all of this sounds, fortunately, there are a lot of things to help remedy this situation.  So fear not all my FHP’er’s!  If you’re willing to put in the work, we can get out of this!  Here are a few things you can try at home or at work to get the ball rolling on improving your posture.

 

  1. Pectoralis Stretch
  • Start with one arm in the position shown
  • Slowly and gently lean your trunk forward, keeping your arm as stable as possible. Do this until you feel a gentle and comfortable stretch in your chest.
  • For an added stretch, start rotating your trunk to the other side
  • Hold for at least 30 seconds and slowly return to starting position.

 

  1. Levator Scapulae Stretch
  • Start with your arms in the position shown
  • Slowly and gently flex your head down towards your shoulder while keep your other arm fixed behind you. Do this until you feel a gentle and comfortable stretch in your neck.
  • Hold for at least 30 seconds and slowly return to starting position.

  1. Supine Chin Tucks
  • Start by lying down on a firm and comfortable surface with the back of your head fully supported (If you’re at work and you want to do this exercise, this can also be down in a seated position).
  • Imagine a string attached to the top of your head, pulling you up towards the nearest wall. Think of growing you neck taller.  Maintaining this cue, gently nod your chin down towards the floor.  Be mindful that this is a SMALL MUSCLE CONTRACTION.  If you’re head is lifting from the surface you’re lying on, you’re doing too much
  • Try doing this 10 times for 10 second holds.

  1. Wall Angels
  • Stand up against the wall so that your head, mid-back, pelvis, and feet are all touching it. If this is too hard, step a few inches away from the wall and try to get as much of your body against the wall as possible.
  • Start with your arms against the wall so that your elbows, forearm, and hand are in contact with it.
  • Slowly raise both arms up and out while maintaining contact with the wall at all times.
  • Go as far as you can before breaking form and then return to starting position.
  • Attempt 3 sets of 10 repetitions

  1. Proper Posture
  • Place both feet firmly on the floor. Make sure your legs are bent to approximately 90 degrees
  • Even out the weight through your pelvis so that you feel your weight evenly distributed between your left and right butt bones
  • Think of elongating your entire trunk, all the way up to your neck, and bring your shoulder up, back, and down
  • Hold this position for a full 2 minutes (or longer if you can) EVERY HOUR ON THE HOUR.
  • While you will most likely revert back to whatever posture you were in, this at least helps to “reset” the body and helps prevent any lasting changes that could occur as a result of FHP

 

And there you have it folks!  I hope this blog post was helpful.  I am hopeful for the

results to come and, as always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at Michael@symbiopt.com or just come in and visit us at our clinic!

 

Cheers to learning and better posture!  Happy Monday everyone!

Injury Prevention for Runners


Runners are no strangers to injury – we feel pain, we keep running until our body revolts, we get treated, we try to salvage what’s left of the season.  Sound familiar?

Interested in learning how to prevent injury??  Just click the link below to join our Injury Prevention for Runners lecture!!!

Injury prevention course flyer (May)

Straight to the Core


Hello people!

Winter is finally over and I hope you all are enjoying this beautiful weather! It feels like 2017 started a few days ago and look where we are… summer is just around the corner. In other words, it’s time to drag your heavy butt back to the gym. So… what comes to mind when you think about working-out? What’s your goal? I think it’s safe to say that we all want a shredded mid-section, the six pack. People put so much effort in trying to develop their abs doing tons of sit-ups, but neglect working on their core muscles.

“Wait a minute…. Don’t people with sick abs have amazing core strength? What’s the difference between abs and core!?”

So today, I want to talk about these differences and the importance of the core muscles.

First, when we talk about “shredded abs”, it refers to the part of the abdominal muscles known as the rectus abdominis. The role of this muscle is to flex the trunk (eg. doing a sit-up), but because it is a superficial muscle group it does not act as a stabilizing muscle. Therefore, the muscles that give a defined superficial six pack are not an indication of good core strength.

So then, what is our core made up of? Core muscles refer to those located deep inside the body. Their job is to stabilize and hold the body upright. Superficial muscles, such as the rectus abdominis, help with movement. However, when the inner core muscles are engaged, though not outwardly visible, but you’ll feel the support and stability from the inside. Therefore, people who have strong cores do not necessarily have the coveted “six pack”.

Ok, so what are core muscles?

Core muscles are comprised of following four muscles groups:

1) Diaphragm It is a bell-shaped muscle that helps you breathe. When you inhale properly, your diaphragm will flatten out and allow air to flow into the biggest part of your lungs. When your diaphragm contracts, it literally pushes your guts out. Breathing properly creates intra-abdominal pressure

2) Transverse abdominis It is the deepest layer of the abdominal muscles and forms the front side of the inner core like a corset that stabilizes the pelvis. A proper TA contraction will act as a vacuum, pulling your abdomen in and creating intra-abdominal pressure and stability.

3) Multifidi These are smallest and deepest layer of the back muscles that link each vertebra of the spine with the next. They form the backside of the inner core and provide support to the spine. This is important because when they contract they help provide segmental stability to that region.

4) Pelvic floor muscles These are muscles that line and support the bottom of the pelvis Proper contraction of these muscles increases stabilization of spine and you will be able to move better. Think of the core as the foundation – If a house is built on a solid foundation, it will be strong, where as a weak foundation of a house can be problematic.

 

Lastly, I want to share some useful exercises to strengthen the core.

  1. Plank

While lying face down, lift your body up on your elbows and toes. Try to maintain a straight spine. Do not allow your hips or pelvis on either side to drop. Try to hold this position for as long as you can. The longer you can hold the plank, the more resilient your lower back will be to injury, and the better your abs will look once you burn the fat off them.

 

  1. Dead Bugs

The dead bug is great exercise to improve your core control. It ensures proper activation of core muscles. This stabilizes each spinal segment so that when HUGE movements occur, shearing forces in the low back are limited.

Here is a basic dead bug exercise:

While lying on your back with your knees and hips bent to 90 degrees, use your stomach muscles and maintain pelvic neutral position. Do not allow your spine to move. Hold your pelvis in a neutral position and then slowly straighten out a leg without touching the floor. At the same time raise the opposite arm overhead. Do not allow your spine to arch during this movement. Return to starting position and then repeat on the opposite side.

 

I hope this was informative! Enjoy this beautiful weather while doing this core workout! Don’t just read the blog and do nothing about it. Now, you…and I’m talking about YOU! Start your core training right now!

Joshua Park, PT, DPT, CSCS

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