Monday, August 29, 2016
Most of our patients face the same struggles; they are in front of a screen (or screens) all day long and do little to no exercise. If they’re lucky, they’ll get a chance to walk around the block a few times each week when Houston is no longer blazing hot when they get home from work.
They don’t exercise because they lack time, energy, or they just hurt. They want to feel better and they want to exercise, but, you know, stuff gets in the way. It’s no secret that they need to stretch, but they just don’t do it.
Where should you start?
Prior to joining Crossfit, I took a look at the exercise I was doing (running) and whether or not that was going to meet my physical health goals. It wasn’t. I determined that I needed to run, lift weights, and do yoga. This would give me the best of all worlds, improving cardiovascular health, increasing strength, and improving range of motion.
I instead joined Crossfit and found we did all of that, which was a huge relief on my schedule. However, while Crossfit does cover all three of these areas, there were still a couple of issues.
1. It wasn’t enough.
Huh? That stuff’s intense, how could it not be enough? Just like any exercise program, the exercises aren’t just trying to improve your strength and fitness, they have to counteract and work against all you’ve done (or not done) with your exercise programs in the past and deal with what you do all day.
I still spend too much time in front of a computer, and my range of motion has suffered because of it. While it has improved a ton, I still have work to do and that meant I was going to have to do some work on my own outside of class.
2. Too many of my patients won’t do it.
They don’t have time for walking around the block, and the intensity of this type of exercise can be intimidating (even though I don’t think it needs to be). I keep recommending that patients give Crossfit a try or that they find other well-rounded activities to do. You guys need to move more! It will help!
Then my coach recommended ROMWOD. I checked it out, but didn’t think it was for me upon first glance. Not that I didn’t think it would be helpful, I just didn’t want “one more thing” to add to my stuff. “I can figure this out on my own,” I thought. But I didn’t do it. From my experience, I’m terrible when working out on my own. A group class or guided program significantly increases my chance of success.
I saw that they had a 7-Day Free Trial and (eventually) decided to sign up. I even waited until things were slow around the house (i.e. My sons went away to camp for a week) to start my program.
I was determined to get all 7 days out of my free trial to determine if it would work for me. Was this something I could recommend to my patients?
The first day, I did the 20-minute program and was mildly shocked at how my hip range of motion was still very limited. It took me six months in Crossfit to be able to do a squat, and I thought I was improving… but I clearly still have more work to do.
The next day, I noticed that my legs felt more “awake.” That’s the best way I can describe it. Usually, I wake up and my legs are a bit stiff. Okay, a lot stiff. Then, once I get moving they’re fine. After my first ROMWOD, I noticed that I woke up with the “awake” feeling in my legs. This feeling normally requires 15 minutes or so of serious “warming up” before I can achieve it.
It’s now been 3 weeks and I’ve missed only a couple of days.
The improvement to my hips in particular has been the most noticeable. You may not realize how much you need better hip range of motion until you get it back. Simple activities are easier and it’s taken a big load off of lower back. ROMWOD has also revealed other areas in my hips and shoulders that needed help. I can tell that my overall range of motion is improving.
Best of all, I just feel better. Most patients yawn at the thought of “better range of motion” but will get excited at the idea of feeling better. More energy, less pain, and just the “I feel like getting out of bed today” feeling is highly sought after.
So why am I telling you this?
You should definitely check out ROMWOD (https://romwod.com/) for yourself and see if it’s something you can fit into your schedule. The workouts are typically around 20 minutes, but they feel shorter than that. There are nights that I just have to suck it up and get it done, but I’ve not regretted doing so.
While all areas of exercise are important (cardio, weights, range of motion), I believe that for my patients, range of motion should be the priority. I think it will drive all the other areas and will give you the fastest response that you’re on the right track.
When you feel better, I won’t need to remind you to go exercise. You’ll just want to go do it. Once you start doing exercise more consistently, you’ll see more benefits and want to do more. You might even like it!
But we both know you’re not going to exercise if you don’t feel good doing it.
So if you have to pick, start working on your range of motion. That’s what’s going to keep you mobile as you get older. That’s what’s going to allow you to pick something up from the ground or reach for something overhead.
You have to keep yourself mobile and, unfortunately, your daily activities are most likely not going to help you with that unless you make it work that way. You cannot get more fit and healthy by sitting in a long drive to work, sitting in front of a computer all day and then occasionally hopping on the treadmill.
Houston’s very hot right now and other than hunting down Pokemon, most patients aren’t heading outside with any regularity. Doing cardio is good for you, sure, but it takes awhile to notice a change. Lifting weights to keep you strong is essential, but again, results take awhile to notice.
I would be very surprised if you told me you didn’t feel better at the end of your 7-day trial of ROMWOD if you actually do it every day. Do you need to ROMWOD? I’m betting you do. Take a look and let me know how it works for you.
Dr. Philip Cordova is a chiropractor in Houston, TX and a 1997 graduate of Parker College of Chiropractic. For more information visit http://www.corechiropractic.net. His bio page is located here.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Your back pain is not necessarily caused by a lack of exercise, but it's probably a good place to start looking. When I ask patients if they exercise, most are still saying "no." Those that do exercise tend to stick with the same machine or routine for their entire program. (And almost none of their "routine" exercises focus on improving their back muscles.)
So on one hand, we have those that don't exercise and have lower back pain. It's easy to take a guess and see that their spine is having problems due to a lack of muscular support. While their spine may need more work at this point (check with your healthcare professional), eventually they'll exercise lower back pain away by creating a muscular back support around their spine with regular exercise.
Those that do exercise, but are not performing a variety of movements are causing a different problem; muscular imbalance. They are likely only developing certain muscle groups while largely ignoring others. Worse, they may be performing activities that are alarmingly similar to what they already do all day.
They are strengthening muscles that are already overworked (muscles in the front of the body) and not strengthening muscles that are typically ignored (back muscles). This is a standard recipe for developing lower back pain problems and should be avoided.
Overall, maintaining a variety of activities that includes exercises to enhance cardiovascular health, strengthening and stretching will help exercise lower back pain away for good. The same formula works for almost everyone. First, due some exercise regularly. Next, make sure you take some time to strengthen your back muscles (especially if you already know you need it!).
Friday, April 9, 2010
Add in how much neck strain is incurred when you sit for long periods in front of the computer and you steadily increase the amount of work and strain you are expecting of your neck.
The neck also allows your head in nearly all directions which adds even more stress to your neck. With all of this responsibility, the neck is subject a great deal of stress, which often results in chronic pain and stiffness.
Once neck pain has been persistent for any period of time, you may begin to develop neurological symptoms. These may include numbness, tingling, or a "pins and needles" feeling. Usually these complaints are in the neck at all, but can be felt in the fingertips or up and down the arm.
If you begin to experience any of the neurological symptoms, this is usually an indicator that the neck problem is becoming worse. The early phase of pain is just stiffness, then it moves to real pain that can be sharp in nature. The pain will continue to get worse until the radiating symptoms begin.
Many people have neck pain and it is often extremely bothersome. Medical doctors cannot do a whole lot to permanently relieve neck pain. They can prescribe medications to mask your neck pain and they can do x-rays and other tests to see where the pain is coming from.
When they do find something wrong with the neck they will probably want to schedule surgery, which can prove to be a painful procedure with a long recovery. Surgery, while sometimes necessary, really should be considered a treatment of last resort. You can always do the surgery, but if you do the surgery first, you eliminate many other effective and conservative options.
If you have neck pain it may be wise to consult with a chiropractor before going to the extent of something much more serious such as surgery. Some of the first things that a chiropractor will do on your first visit will be to ask you questions about your neck pain.
Some questions they may ask are:
- When did your neck pain start
- What have you done to try to ease your neck pain
- Are there any other parts of your body that your neck pain stems to or from?
These are a few questions that your Chiropractor will most likely ask. After the initial consultation they will then perform a physical examination. The examination will consist of chiropractic tests, orthopedic tests, and a neurological examination.
This entire process will allow the chiropractor to get to the root of your problem and allow him or her to come up with a solution to your pain.
A common practice of chiropractors is to perform a neck adjustment. A neck adjustment is a form of spinal manipulation, and is very specific in nature. This is a very precise technique and is usually very effective in alleviating neck pain.