Does Walking Cause You Pain?

One of the first things I try to observe with a patient is how they walk. This seemingly simple movement tells me a lot about a person’s movement patterns and I can often correlate their symptoms to the patterns I observe. While we generally walk in a straight line, walking involves a series of coordinated rotations in the shoulders, spine, hips and ankles. Unfortunately, injuries, habits, shoes, etc. can alter those rotations creating patterns that feed into our sore back, hips, shoulder, neck, feet, etc. Walking should be an unconscious and painless effort. However, being intentional with three aspects of walking, head position, arm-swing and foot placement can loosen up those sore joints and increase your tolerance to walking and standing.

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Shoulder Pain & The Winging Scapula

A common postural deficit and root cause of much shoulder dysfunction is the winging scapula. The scapula, “wings,” when its medial border lifts off of the ribcage and sticks out. In this position, the scapula is no longer sitting properly on the ribcage, is out of position, and has now upset the length-tension relationship of all of the 17 muscles that attach to it. At best, this posture weakens the shoulder. At worst, this posture predisposes the shoulder for rotator cuff tears and dislocations.

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Three Ways to Maximize Your Cardiovascular Base Training

Sorry to all you powder hounds, but I am dreaming of warmer weather and snow-free trails. This is the time of year I start to plan my spring and summer adventures and think about the physical capacity I will need in a few months. Specifically, late winter is when I get organized about my cardiovascular fitness and ramp up my endurance training. I know I am not alone in this effort, as this is the time of year clients start to seek me out to get ready for their summer sports. To maximize your endurance, “ramp-up,” you should focus on training in heart rate zone 2, get a movement assessment to address those nagging injuries, and optimize your breathing while exercising.

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Monthly Movements - Upper Back & Neck

We all have problem areas, regions of our body that are starting to push back against the miles of physical activity or conversely years of inactivity. Whatever the case, these areas, that were once pain-free, are now angry. The upper back and neck is one of those spots for many people. This problem area covers from the base of the skull, fans out to the shoulders and extends down to the upper-back and shoulder blades. 

For neck pain, I don’t usually strengthen the neck directly and when I do stretch my neck musculature, I am very gentle with it.

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The Aging Athlete - Recovery Habits

The 40+ year old athlete needs all of the advantages they can squeeze out of their body, and that’s why we workout. However, this age group starts to run into a wall of fatigue and/or injury with workouts that they didn’t have a problem with just 5 years prior. While you cannot outrun time, you can slow it down with the proper exercise recovery strategies. Recovery modalities are activities or gadgets that hasten the body’s natural recovery processes. Below are 5 strategies I employ to shorten the my recovery time after a hard workout.

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Monthly Movements - Knee Pain

Knee pain can often manifest in people by their early teenage years, extending into adulthood. While many of my patients are convinced their pain is due to a more sinister structural injury, patella femoral pain syndrome is more often than not the culprit. Patella femoral pain syndrome is caused by the patella (knee cap), moving out of alignment and bumping into the end of the femur as we extend and flex our knee. This physical contact with the femur irritates and inflames the cartilage underneath the patella.

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