FIT JOINTS Series #3

by Dr. Theresa Dobson.

PART THREE OF THE “FIT JOINTS” SERIES

Introduction: Let’s begin with your posture.

STAND YOUR GROUND!

I literally and figuratively mean that. Posture is everything. How you stand and each step you take affects every joint in your body from the top of your head to the tip of your toes and all that lies in between. And here is why.

Gravity rules!

The minute we become bi-ped gravity begins its journey of push and pull down every joint in your body. Your platform for balance is your feet. They have the task of balancing your whole body upward against gravity keeping you from toppling ove. This alone seems an amazing feat not to mention the demands that occur when you decide to engage in multiple movements that sports and life require. Your body has built in mechanisms via the nerve system and joint system to accommodate your multi-directional demands quite gracefully – if your posture is intact. When your posture breaks down, uneven loading to your joints and spine begin – and injury and pain follow close behind.

So let’s explore the mechanisms of posture.

Ground Control:

Years of experience and thousands of postural assessments lead me to your feet. They reveal the secrets to how you stack upwards. Posture begins from the ground up, but can confront major challenges in today lifestyle which continually contract you down and forward such as computers, driving, cell phones, reading etc… These all force you into a forward contracted posture giving gravity momentum creating excessive loading and compensation through and including your organ systems all the way down to your toes.

Example; a minimal forward drop of the chin 2 centimetres equates to your normal 10 -12 kilo head weight becoming 17+ kilos (this commonly occurs while sitting at a computer). To ensure you don’t fall over with this additional load, the neck, shoulders, spine, hips, knees and feet all compensate and counterbalance this extra load. The longer the head maintains forward load, the harder the muscles and joints have to strain to maintain.

What a waste of energy!

Most jobs and sports require imbalanced loading to one side of your body making proper posture complicated and stressful to your whole system. Simple postural exercises can prepare your body to deal with these stresses and restack you evenly. Get your postural assessments from a professional and the rewards and benefits will last a lifetime.

Fact:

The foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles. WOW that is impressive! The toughest strongest and largest tendon in the foot is the Achilles, making it the longest and toughest to heal after injury. Those who have experienced this know it’s a big “Boo Hoo”! There are 125,000 sweat glands in each foot – yikes! So let those puppies breath!

Joint of The Month: The Foot / Ankle

The most frequently injured joint from sport is the ankle. The most common ankle injury occurs as the outside edge of the foot rolls over itself, lifting the arch of the foot and in turn tearing and damaging the outer ligaments.

Reoccurrence of foot and ankle injury is very high! Your feet must be rehabilitated properly to prevent this.

Create happy feet and prevent or rehab injury by training and stretching your feet in multiple directions and movement patterns. Yoga is great for this. Pick tramps with undulating terrain which challenge all angles.

The beach is also ideal. Kick off those boring shoes and do ABC’s in the sand (alternating heels and toes). Twirl and twist your feet in the sand – and give them a natural foot massage!

Dropped arches are a red flag to get yourself to a podiatrist where shoe inserts will assist.

On The Need to Know List:

“The World is Flat”. At least that is how your feet would interpret the western world of today – “A Flat Concrete Jungle!”

The amazing blueprint of your feet is designed for the ability to traverse across uneven terrain, stones, boulders and steep hills whilst keeping you stable and mobile. Today’s flat shoes and flat concrete jungle offer no challenge to the unique abilities of the feet and their intricate design.

The once “happy to meet a challenge” feet have now become lazy, collapsed, sore feet. When you take them for a walk, run or sporting event that slightly veers from flat you quickly find yourself with an injury.

So be kind to your feet and be playful with your feet  – because they have the big journey called “Your Life” to carry you through!

Fusion:

Sport offers you the gift of “complete presence” therein lies its sweet addiction and soul satisfaction. Your body gets to engage in the timeless space called “The Now” free of life’s tangles. Don’t let your busy calculating mind impose itself! Direct your mind as the tool in your sport, and let your body becomes the sport.

Next month’s FIT JOINT Series article will focus on the Hip.

Dr. Theresa Dobson

Doctor of Chiropractric, Neck Specialist, Neuromuscular Therapist, Biokinetics Practitioner, CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level II, Sports-Specific Practitioner and Seminar Presenter, Dr. Theresa Dobson has a long-standing rep utation as a highly experienced and knowledgeable practitioner. With two clinics located in Auckland and on the North Shore, Theresa works with a wide spectrum of patients such as professional rugby players, boxers, surfers, yachtsmen, cyclists, motor racers, soccer players, as well as recreational sportsmen and women of all age groups. Theresa is currently setting up a new business, guiding people through the “Dos and Don’ts” of surgery, offering programs and seminars to advise patients how to manage their pain effectively.
www.activecare.co.nz         www.stitchedup.co.nz
Theresa Dobson welcomes your emails at info@activecare.co.nz

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FIT JOINTS Series #2:

by Dr. Theresa Dobson.

PART TWO OF THE “FIT JOINTS” SERIES

Introduction: Take Me to the River.

You wouldn’t typically think of your body as a river, though you probably should!

Your human vessel is composed of 70-80% water.

Every cellular function awaits the arrival of this liquid gold to perform the alchemy of generating life, energy and repairs that you body requires to stay alive.

Millions of chemical reactions occur every minute that require water. The joints of your body depend on water so blood can deliver much needed nutrients and escort ugly toxins and waste away.

Decreased water supply to your body is particularly vicious to your joints due to the fact that if toxins are milling around your organ system and there is not enough water to transport them to your bladder via the kidney, your body will use your joints as a garbage can for these toxins, thus detouring them away from your vital organs. This trade-off seems such a logical and smart compromise, but comes at a high cost.

Toxins stored in joints cause early degeneration with pain and breakdown close behind. Your luscious clear river has now become a swamp… Yikes!!

Hydration is one of the easiest economical ways to acquire healthy joints and a happy body overall. Grab that liquid gold and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Each of you require different amounts of water based on how many cells you have, so here is an easy formula to know the right daily amount for you:

Take your body weight in kilos and multiply by .033, this is your personal perfect water intake amount.

Joint of the Month: Your Precious Knees

The largest joint in your body is the knee.

Classified as a hinge joint, your knee is the meeting point for your shin (tibia and fibula) and your upper leg (femur) which are all joined together via a barrage of ligaments to secure this precious joint.

Without this joint we could be walking on stilt legs (very unattractive), and most sports as we know them would be impossible!

The function and health of this joint is dependent on the balance of the pulleys and levers (muscles/tendons) that attach to it.

For instance, weak hamstrings and strong quads create excessive load to the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament): the most commonly injured ligament in the knee.

Balanced muscles, healthy ligaments and good posture are critical to this joint. So get yourself assessed via a length / tension assessment by a qualified professional, physiotherapist or CHEK practitioner.

Fact:

The knee is also the most complicated joint in your body! As it is a pivotal hinge joint that allows flexion (bending), extension (straightening) and small amounts of rotation, it is a ligament-filled joint. Those of you who have endured knee injuries and surgeries know these three lettered ligaments well: ACL, PCL, MCL and LCL. Injury to this joint is the reason most people visit orthopaedic physicians. It is also the joint most vulnerable to acute injury and osteoarthritis with the ACL is the most commonly injured ligament.

On Bended Knee

Most of our available leg movements and virtually all sports activities are dependent on your knees. They also support the whole upper body – so many thanks required!

Because your knees are in such high demand, they are also subject to a variety of injuries. In fact, knees keep most orthopaedic surgeons as busy as bees. Unfortunately many knee pre- or post-injuries are not rehabilitated properly and leave many people with the inability to fully extend (straighten) or flex (bend) your knees. This can not only be very frustrating but also compromises the rest of the body which has to compensate for your weakened knee.

Bless rather than curse your knees and prepare them for the demands you ask of them!

Because your knees are composed of ligaments not muscles, you must train and prepare them quite differently. The flat surfaces of our contemporary lifestyles provide no challenge to these ligaments and they become weak and prone to injury.

The knee should be trained in multiple movement patterns with slow held motions to excite and engage the ligaments, otherwise they can become unstable.

This joint is seriously challenged if your sport involves quick stopping or starting, changing directions or repetitive impact such as running, rugby, soccer netball, basketball, skiing, tennis or squash to name a few.

Individuals with flexible joints and hyperextension tendencies are especially vulnerable to knee problems so seek professional advise before engaging in a sporting activity.

Key Points to Remember:

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
  • Train and rehabilitate to address the ligaments not just the muscles.
  • Seek professional advise and have a length tension assessment.
  • Get your spine checked to ensure postural imbalances are addressed.
  • Visit my webpage for more information or inquiries: http://www.activecare.co.nz

Fusion:

Create your perfect sporting moment…where your body, mind and soul smile. Breath into that moment and feel the magic. Then do it again… and again!

Next month’s FIT JOINT Series article will focus on the Foot-Ankle.

Dr. Theresa Dobson

Doctor of Chiropractric, Neck Specialist, Neuromuscular Therapist, Biokinetics Practitioner, CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level II, Sports-Specific Practitioner and Seminar Presenter, Dr. Theresa Dobson has a long-standing rep utation as a highly experienced and knowledgeable practitioner. With two clinics located in Auckland and on the North Shore, Theresa works with a wide spectrum of patients such as professional rugby players, boxers, surfers, yachtsmen, cyclists, motor racers, soccer players, as well as recreational sportsmen and women of all age groups. Theresa is currently setting up a new business, guiding people through the “Dos and Don’ts” of surgery, offering programs and seminars to advise patients how to manage their pain effectively.
www.activecare.co.nz         www.stitchedup.co.nz
Theresa Dobson welcomes your emails at info@activecare.co.nz

FIT JOINTS Series #1: Atlas “The Master Control Centre”

Introducing a new contributor to the HQH Fitness blog – Dr. Theresa Dobson.

PART ONE OF THE “FIT JOINTS” SERIES

Introduction

Let’s have a look under your skin. OOOUCH!!!

No doubt you have spoken that profound word (amongst others) when you have engaged in the journey of a joint injury. Most of us have and this is not surprising considering life in the 2011’s requires most of us to be endurance athletes in and out of our work environment:

We wake to an alarm, toes to carpet and we’re off rushing in to the new day.

Combine that with the fact that most sports, jobs and hobbies (both recreational and professional) require that we use our bodies in very imbalanced and repetitive movement patterns…and our bodies will be sure to remind us of it at the end of each day!

Years of experience as a Chiropractor, Sports Practitioner, and having the delightful challenge of working with professional athletes, coaches and trainers in the full spectrum of sports has taught me that most joint injuries occur within a very small range within the joint – generally when a joint is taken past its normal end range of motion to the minute amount of 0-4 degrees.

Indeed this sounds quite ridiculous!

However, when you understand the intimate relationship of the body’s “playful threesome”:

Tendons + Ligaments + Muscle

which make up the basic foundation for joint movement, you too will become intrigued at the intimacy of this relationship.

So…lets take a peak beneath our skin!

FACT: There are 206 bones in the human body (note that this number will vary slightly for those special genetic off throws). In order for these eager bones to move and perform for us, they require the assistance of the “playful threesome”.  This threesome literally become the pulley and lever system for the bones. Quite honestly it is like a game of puppetry. Without this pulley and lever system we wouldn’t be much more mobile or interesting than a sea slug!

Here is a user friendly version of the threesome:

  • Ligaments are strong fibres (like thick fishing lines) binding bone to bone, allowing and limiting motion and providing attachment sites for muscle tendons.
  • Tendons are fibrous tissue (again like fishing lines) connecting muscles to bones.
  • Muscles are tissue made up of contractile fibres ( like elastic bands) that effect and create movement of bones.

So in short, as the muscle contracts, it shortens. With support of the tendon attachment to the bone it levers the bones in different directions depending on the joint type and shape. Ligaments secure, protect and hold bones together. This “threesome” allow our body’s the joy of movement!

So to keep a joint fit and healthy, we must keep it within the range of motion dictated by the joint shape and function as well as the ligament’s protective grip.

Joint Injuries in Relation to Sports:

Most sports force imbalanced muscle demands, demands which twist us one direction, loading one side of our joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles. This creates uneven contracted strong muscles on one side and weak, loose muscles on the other, in turn putting tremendous stress across the joint which ripens it for injury.

Then an athlete takes this stressed joint out to play and the slightest 0-4 degrees of unfamiliar movement or impact punishes the joint or muscle. In turn this angry joint punishes you!

A postural / length tension assessment can reveal and correct imbalances, but should be done by a qualified practitioner.

Not so FAQ’s…but on the “need to know” list:

Muscles heal quicker than tendons/ ligaments as they hog large amounts of blood (which contains the jewels of healing), whereas ligaments/tendons get very little blood and heal slowly (Zen patience required!).

JOINT OF THE MONTH:

This month I will address the most important joint – the top of the spine is top on my list.

“The Master Control Centre” – C1 (Atlas Vertebra).

Located just behind your earlobe, your atlas is a 2-ounce bone at the top of your neck that is responsible for supporting the weight of your head – which can weigh between 9 and 17 pounds! Not only is the atlas the first bone in your neck, but it is the foundation of your head and centre of balance of your body.

The atlas surrounds and protects the upper spinal cord and brain stem region, and houses over three trillion of your nerve fibres that live feed ingoing/outgoing data from your brain to your whole body.

It is critical for an athlete to have this checked, as a misaligned atlas can affect reaction time, balance, speed, recovery, sleep, immune system, and peripheral vision – just to name a few.

Did you know:

Your atlas can be misaligned via impact, muscle imbalance, repetitive movements and stress. And in most cases you won’t even realise!

What exactly is a “misaligned atlas”?

A misaligned atlas is essentially “vertebral subluxation”, where the head is not quite centred. And when your head is not sitting level over your atlas vertebra, your whole body can twist off centre. Essentially this creates a “domino effect” due to the pressure at the brain stem affecting your whole nerve system that feeds information to every part of your body On an x-ray, it simply looks like the head is at an angle to the base of the neck. In some cases it can be incredibly subtle, in others more extreme.

Side effects:

A misaligned atlas can result in tight neck muscles, neck pain, organ and joint dysfunction and the common headache. In some cases it can refer down the spine and result in lower back pain or other injuries or symptoms.

How can you tell if an Atlas is misaligned?

As a chiropractor, I studied the Atlas-Axis complex for four years – there’s much more to it than you may realise! Through specific tests, touch and observation I can tell immediately. However most people don’t have the luxury to spend four years on this one area!

Practitioners may use X-Rays as well as tests to observe the feet – looking at leg-length discrepancies. Others may be able to observe that simply by doing a postural assessment. A C.H.E.K Practitioner learns two key tests that can indicate if an Atlas is misaligned – one is a marching test, and the second is using two weight scales and identifying a weight shift. If you are interested in learning more, I recommend you seek out a C.H.E.K Practitioner or look into the CHEK program for further study.

How to fix it:

Atlas correction is a passive avenue to gain huge sporting advantages. However it is a very specialized field, so you will always need to go to – or refer your client to – a specialist in this area. Important note: Always be very aware of the specialist you use or refer to, because a simple “neck crack” does not always suffice! Often neck adjustments performed in this manner do not target the specific area of the joint that needs adjusting. There is a reason I spent four years studying this one area, and that is because it is incredibly complex. Rather than a generic approach, my method is to make small and specific adjustments in the area required, to ensure that my patient’s specific needs are addressed. I recommend you seek out someone who does the same if you suspect an atlas problem in the spine.

Next month’s FIT JOINT Series article will focus on the Knee.

Dr. Theresa Dobson

Doctor of Chiropractric, Neck Specialist, Neuromuscular Therapist, Biokinetics Practitioner, CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level II, Sports-Specific Practitioner and Seminar Presenter, Dr. Theresa Dobson has a long-standing rep utation as a highly experienced and knowledgeable practitioner. With two clinics located in Auckland and on the North Shore, Theresa works with a wide spectrum of patients such as professional rugby players, boxers, surfers, yachtsmen, cyclists, motor racers, soccer players, as well as recreational sportsmen and women of all age groups. Theresa is currently setting up a new business, guiding people through the “Dos and Don’ts” of surgery, offering programs and seminars to advise patients how to manage their pain effectively.
www.activecare.co.nz         www.stitchedup.co.nz
Theresa Dobson welcomes your emails at info@activecare.co.nz