The reason for this disruption is often not a “shoulder issue”, but a problem of the surrounding structures which the shoulder’s function depends on. Therefore, when looking for tips to recover from, or prevent shoulder pain/injury, look beyond the shoulder for complete resolution.
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However, until the body is ready for this more advanced work, adopting these drills will set you up for faster recovery and less risk of pain/injury in those important first few months of your baby’s precious life!
Why It Cracks
A discussion as to why this is a dangerous belief
This is a quote that, as a movement snob (admittedly), is like nails on a chalk board when I hear these words. Allow me to explain why.
The reason for an area of the spine being locked down to the point where you feel the desire to “pop” it, is almost always due to an attempt of the brain to lock down that area to prevent further injury. Without proper stability, the brain engages large muscles around the aggravated joint or tissue to keep further movement from causing more damage to the area. Left unresolved for a long enough period of time, the brain encounters a catch 22. Satisfy the mobility desire by letting down the protective bracing and risk further damage to joints, or keep the area locked down and starve the cartilage in those joints of proper nutrition resulting in degeneration (cartilage “feeds” by being moved through daily full ranges of motion). Given these choices, the brain opts for the stiff, starvation route because at least the damage occurs at a slower pace. By ONLY applying a self manipulation or focused chiropractic adjustment, you could be robbing the body of this desired stability.
The true fix is a combination of increasing the mobility of the stiff area while addressing the lack of stability elsewhere. Sometimes this stability is a strength issue and sometimes it’s a motor control issue. Meaning, sometimes the stability can be regained by performing simple exercises in a progressive manner, i.e. strengthening. A motor control issue is resolved by relearning a movement pattern. A good example of this is teaching someone how to hinge at the hips instead of flexing from the low back and/or knees when picking something up, pushing something, etc.
The only way to figure out what is needed post mobility is being screened by a qualified professional who is trained in peeling the layers of movement away to find that compensation. Once found and properly addressed, the patient/client can be educated on what needs to be done to fix the lack of stability. Adding progressive routines to challenge this new stability and mobility will engrain a new movement pattern which the brain will use to perform a given task whether that be running, lifting, throwing, etc.
“I just need to be cracked” is a request which, as a knowledgeable professional, would be unethical for me to grant. Therefore, at the very least, you should always follow us a mobility session with a stability session. Not doing so will lead to occasion after occasion of temporary relief until eventually enough damage is accumulated, and conservative treatment is no longer the answer.
Lastly a few notes on stability/mobility.
Strength does not equal stability. I’ve known many strong guys (over 500lb squat and deadlift) that had stability issues. Strong muscles just means strong compensations.
For those of you who compete on a regular basis (sport or hobby), stiffness is par for the course. Although stability fixes are often needed, repetitive activities will eventually over stress tissues even with the best body maintenance habits. In this case, assistance from a therapist of some sort will be needed from time to time. However, this will be very infrequent and the damage to the tissues will be much less when a proper approach to manage your issues is taken.
So next time you find yourself cracking your own back, or going to the chiropractor to “just get cracked”, know there is more work to be done if a more complete fix is desired. Restoring proper movement is a multifaceted approach and requires consistent work and proper habits to achieve, and with this approach, the results are much longer lasting and healthier tissues.
So the moral of the story? Don’t Just Mend. Transcend!
Dr. Scott Dunaway is a Doctor of Chiropractic practicing in Clarksville Tn and owner of ChiroStrength. He specializes in treating chronic ailments associated with repetitive overuse habits by combining chiropractic adjustments, Active Release Techniques, and global movement assessment and corrections. To schedule an appointment call the clinic at 931-321-1414 or submit the new patient form on www.ChiroStrength.com
Teaching the Right Way, Not the Easy Way
My journey through the Healthcare field has been one of many lessons. Lessons in communication with patients, lessons in treatment of patients, but most importantly, lessons in understanding where I offer the most value. After 3 years of shaping my professional career, I’ve come to the following conclusions:
Our current healthcare model is failing.
Not enough people are working to guide patients through the transition of being pain free into engaging exercise with low risk of re-injury.
My calling is to teach. Not just to make people feel better.
To make my first point, type this phrase into google search:
“World Health Organization – America’s Health statistics compared to other countries”.
Spoiler alert, we spend the most on health care and have the overall worst rank (11/11) when compared to other developed countries. Why is this? In treating life threatening or traumatic injuries, westernized medicine and the advances in technology has made America the place to be for this type of care. However, as smart and advanced as we’ve become, we have been unable to fully comprehend the complexity of the ecosystem that is our body. Therefore, lifestyle diseases or disorders such as diabetes, high blood pressure, degenerative joint disease, and other spinal/joint pains, have been grossly mistreated due to our false sense of understanding. Our current approach is symptom relief, which at best, simply muffles your body’s natural warning system that something needs to change. By suppressing the symptoms we lure ourselves into thinking all is well and we go on about our business as usual until the next thing breaks down. We take zero responsibility for the outcome of our lives and place the blame on “bad genes”. Clearly genetics plays a role in our health, but you don’t have bad knees because they “run in the family.” And the almost criminal component to all of this, is insurance pays for people to be sedated by the host of symptom suppressing drugs, but not for life changing habits like fitness or nutrition engagement. This by far was my most frustrating lesson.
If you have received Chiropractic care, massage therapy, or physical therapy, only to have the exact same pain a year, months, or even weeks later, it was because there was no transition from being symptom free into a sustainable movement/exercise routine post treatment. Ever wonder why you always need massages in the same spot, or the same spot in your back keeps “slipping out”? It is because of this lack of transition! It is my opinion that the fitness industry, accompanied by chiropractic and physical therapy, makes much better sense at resolving musculoskeletal issues than any other combination. Why? Because the true answer to alleviating symptoms in the human body, is developing a solid foundation with which that body can move often (sometimes meaning exercise) without breaking down so easily. Sadly this required time and lots of effort from both the professional and the patient and is not seen as practical enough to be covered by insurance. It is a lack of healthy movement that is keeping us sick and in pain. After all, the #1 reason for the development our brain’s outer cortex (you know, the part that distinguishes us from all other species), is for learning and application of movement.
And lastly, my passion for teaching. I believe my patients thoroughly appreciate the amount of time I spend, not only with hands on treatment, but educating them about their issues and what THEY can do outside the clinic to accelerate their healing. Though my experience, and also learning from my mentors in this profession, I believe the best thing I can be for my patients is be their teacher, not their “Doctor” (for the record “doctor” is derived from the Latin verb ‘docer’ which means “to teach”.) The human body is an amazing vessel which can adapt and withstand huge amounts of insult, and also has an amazing resiliency to bounce back if put in the right conditions. The most valuable thing I can do is teach a patient what these good conditions are, and how to avoid the bad conditions which result in pain and rapid degeneration. With this knowledge, my treatment will be much more effective and longer lasting.
With this in mind, I have developed the Chiropractic and Fitness integrated facility; ChiroStrength. I will use my background in Chiropractic, Active Release Technique, and biomechanics to address and eliminate as much dysfunction/pain in the joints and tissues as possible. When we have accomplished this, the patient will be guided through programs designed to make them injury resistant by improving the quality of their movement. My semi-private and group training programs are based on a brilliant quote from movement expert Ido Portal, “If you can not move your body and control it, then what business do you have moving other objects outside of your body.” These programs are not designed for the purpose of losing weight, gaining muscle, or improving cardiovascular endurance, because all of these can only be accomplished with low risk after improving your movement literacy. To accomplish this, we use a combination of body weight and kettlebell training. After going through my programs you can either return to your gym of choice with the confidence of being able to sustain your level of fitness with less risk of injury, or continue to be part of the ChiroStrength family and further your injury resistance and fitness goals. The aesthetic results of fitness will come naturally if you have the ability to move well. Because once you move well, you can move often, and when you move often you become stronger, regardless of where you’re starting from.
For more information please find ChiroStrength on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Twitter. I hope in the future I can help you in your journey to a pain free, active life!