Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Homunculus of the Spine

A homunculus is the visible representation of what the brain pays most attention to in regards to different aspects of the human organism.  For example, there will be plenty of attention to the feet, hands and genitalia.  To the brain, the spine is one entity and a small one.  As someone that went to school to study the spine for a living, this was a surprise to me.

I first heard this in one of the Functional Range Release seminars.  (I highly recommend)  In fact Dr. Andreo Spina just wrote an excellent article actually covering this topic and his thoughts on the deep structure of the body.  Function of Anatomy:  The Spine.

The reason I'm writing these thoughts down now is that reading that article reminded me of some of the things I'm doing with patients or I should say at least checking lately.  If the brain truly thinks of the spine as "one thing" then if there is lack of support on the left lower back, perhaps the left neck muscles will also get involved to try to help.  Because, to the brain, anything left of the spine may help.

Going through some of Charlie Weingroffs information from "Lateralizations and Regressions" DVD (I highly recommend)  he talks about the quadratus lumborum and the scalenes being the same.  The SCM and Obliques are the same.  I've heard that the deep neck flexors, longus coli/capitus are the psoas of the neck.  When we start to view the spine as one thing, these muscular patterns start to make sense.

So next time you are treating someones Scalenes or SCM, think perhaps there are other muscles that the brain is having work to stabilize the spine.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Little More Random Learning

Mike T Nelson is a smart dude.  PhD smart.  He gives a quick overview on the divisions of the nervous system.  I always like learning breakdowns this way.

Understanding the calcanei-cuboid locking mechanism is key for understanding propulsion mechanics and also the importance of the peroneus longus muscle.  I've found this to always be dysfunctional in any type of achillies tendon pain.  The Calcaneo Cuboid Lock.

Like I said I love inforgraphics.  Nothing better then coffee.  Hence a Coffee Infographic.  31 Coffees around the World.   Looking forward to trying the Weiner Melange out of Austria.  Espresso, egg yolk, brown sugar and whipping cream.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Few Good Reads

Does an hour of sitting erase 8% of your 60 min run?  This article addresses this question.  I'm not sure the algorithm they used to get to these results, but makes you think.
Running and Sitting.

The brain is a powerful thing.  A lot of research is being done that shows that your body starts to fatigue when the brain feels like your reaching a limit and it doesn't want to risk health.  The problem is that it does this way to early.  If you can convince your brain you are fine, you can keep going at a higher level.  Convince the brain.

Can particular foods or diet help with food?  I personally have a very small bowl of ice cream an hour before I go to bed.  Food and Sleep.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Some Good Stuff...

American Medical Association is now recommending Chiropractic as the first stop when dealing with lower back pain.

A cool study basically shows that lifting weight (getting stronger) is much better then stretching at preventing injuries.  Exercise Interventions to Prevent Sport Injuries.

I went out to help at this training facility in Scottsdale, AZ a few springs ago and got my first glimpse at "Danny Ball."  Two people teams play volleyball with a 10lb medicine ball.  A few of my friends play now here at Manhattan Park in Grand Rapids, MI.  Fun and great workout.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Crossfit 2014

In case you didn't realize Crossfit games 2014 are going on right now.  I was pretty impressed last night with the speed clean ladder. There were a couple guys that did 365lb without blinking.  Very impressive.  Especially when you take into account that they were doing several other sets previous to that attempt.  I believe it was 4-5 reps in like under 30 seconds.

A patient of mine won the overall Masters division this year.  Outstanding individual.  High quality person.  He is in crazy shape.  He has been doing Crossfit for awhile.

If you have great technique you can do awesome things.  Volume will build or break you.  If you cheat the body and add volume eventually it will break you.  If you keep movement great and technique solid, volume will build you.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Muscle Cramps...We Still Don't Know

As a cramper myself, when I do anything that last longer then 1.5 hours, it's always in the back of my mind.  I've cramped since I was a young kid.  Calfs mostly.  Biking has brought on quad cramps and calf cramps.

I always tell people that science doesn't know why we cramp.  It's pretty amazing.  Seems like a simple problem.  I'm always amazed when there is something in the body that we don't understand.  It seems the more we study the body, the more we realize we don't know.  Even a simple question like how does a muscle contract is under debate!

When it comes to cramps, we have theories and ideas.  Some studies show a no, while others show a maybe.  Here are a few.

1. Central Nervous System.  Spinal Motor Neuron Hyper excitability.  This is the Neuromuscular Imbalance theory.

2.  Peripheral Nerve.  Spasmodic discharge.  Dehydration/Electrolyte theory.

Repetitive Muscle Exercise.  Leads to muscle fatigue.  Increase in excitatory afferent.  Decrease in inhibitory afferent.  Hyper excitation and discharge of alpha motor neurons.

Both Theories stimulation of spinal nerve afferent produce muscle cramps by spontaneous peripheral nerve activity.  They have used a peripheral nerve block and essentially blocked cramps.  So essentially the spinal loop must be intact for the cramps to occur.

It's been shown that dehydration/electrolyte doesn't avoid the cramps, but it does delay them.

A new player in the cramp genesis is called the Central Fatigue Mechanism.  Studies are suggesting that brain stem or higher centers influences muscle activities.  The evidence to support this theory is all indirect.

1.  Ingest a CHO/electrolyte drink to help delay the.
2.  Work on the tissue quality of the muscle that cramps.  If you cramp in calf's, routinely get tissue work done on this muscle.  Pain can induce cramps.
3.  Learn pacing.  If you are in a race.  Athletes that did the first 1/2 significantly faster were more prone to cramping at the end of the race.
4.  Get better technique.  Avoids unnecessary muscular strain.
5.  Try to keep the core temperature from rising.  This goes into the central governing theory.  You don't want your brain to shut you down.
6.  Keep muscular glycogen high.  This allows the brain to think you are doing fine.

Here is the video from these notes.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Flow Chart on Hormones

This is a flow chart that I copied from a lecture of MWOD.  Dr.  Lee works from Genesolve.  The ones I circled are the tests that are recomended.