Posted tagged ‘exercise’

Chiropractic Care and the Expectant Mother

January 11, 2016

The nine months prior to giving birth may be one of the best times in a woman’s life to discover the health benefits of chiropractic care. Not only is chiropractic care safe and effective in relieving many of the aches and pains that come with pregnancy, it can also make the delivery itself easier.

The changes that take place within an expecting woman’s body are profound and take place in a relatively short period of time. The additional stress placed on the body by the baby, combined with an average weight gain of 25 to 35 pounds, can result in considerable discomfort. In fact, studies have shown that at least half of expectant mothers develop back pain during their pregnancies. The physiological and hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can also result in a variety of other musculoskeletal symptoms, including spinal misalignment, increased back curvature, pelvic changes, and postural abnormalities. This article highlights two of the most common complaints and explains why chiropractic care can be especially useful in addressing them.

pregnant (1)

Low Back Pain (LBP)
Unfortunately, pregnancy and back pain often go hand-in-hand. Even more unfortunately, relatively few women get help for the condition.
• Between 57% and 69% of women complain of low back pain during pregnancy.
• Only about 32% of women report these symptoms to their primary doctor.
• Only about 25% of primary doctors recommend seeking treatment for the pain.

But there is some good news as well—a small number of chiropractic treatments can be quite effective in relieving pregnancy-related LBP. In a small study of 17 women:
• Sixteen of 17 (94%) saw clinically important improvements in low back pain with chiropractic care.
• The average pain rating went down from 5.9 to 1.5 (on a scale of 0 to 10).
• It took an average of 1.8 visits and 4.5 days to get clinically significant pain relief.

Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD)
SPD is more frequently referred to simply as pelvic pain. It’s a problem that is growing more common among pregnant women, either due to increasing maternal age or to the condition simply being diagnosed more frequently. The pain is due to excessive movement of the bones that make up the pubic symphysis, which are the two bones that meet at the front of the pelvic girdle and are connected by a joint made of cartilage and supported by ligaments.
• Over 30% of women are reported as suffering from some form of SPD during pregnancy.
• Approximately 7 percent continuing to experience pain post-partum.
Symptoms of SPD include shooting pain in the pubic symphysis area (which often radiates to the abdomen, lower back and upper leg), pain on movement, a waddling gait and swelling in the pubic area. The pain can range from mild to debilitating, and the condition can interfere with normal daily activities such as bending, lifting the leg and getting up from a chair. A recent study published in The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association has reported that conservative chiropractic care can reduce pain from pregnancy-related SPD, increase mobility and improve function.

As the fetus grows inside the mother’s womb, the uterus expands and occasionally places pressure against the sciatic nerve in the lower spinal column. This pressure can become especially evident during the third trimester as the baby begins to shift toward the proper birthing position. The baby can end up resting directly upon the nerve, triggering common sciatica symptoms, including weakness, tingling, numbness and burning pain in the legs, back and buttocks.
Approximately half of all pregnant women who suffer from sciatica recover within six weeks of childbirth and almost all (90%) recover within 3 months, although there is a small percentage for whom the pain continues for much longer. Fortunately, chiropractic care is safe and effective for treating sciatica—both during and after pregnancy.


What You Should Know
All chiropractic physicians receive training in how to care for their pregnant patients. Some use tables that can be adjusted to accommodate a pregnant woman’s changing body and utilize techniques designed to avoid unnecessary pressure on the abdomen. Some chiropractors seek additional training in prenatal and postnatal care, and become certified with the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) as a DACCP, CACCP, or as Webster Certified to work specifically with pelvic balance during pregnancy. Chiropractors can also provide you with exercises and stretching routines that are safe to use during pregnancy.

There are no known contraindications to chiropractic treatment during pregnancy. In addition, chiropractic care during the actual labor and birth process itself has been found in studies to shorten labor time by 25 to 60 percent, reduce the amount of pain medication required, and help make the whole delivery process more comfortable.
If you’re an expectant mother and are wondering whether chiropractic care might be right for you and your baby, please call or visit our office. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have. Remember—we’re here to help!

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (678) 771-3060 (Jonesboro) for your appointment.

Why Do Experts Recommend Exercising Through a Full Range of Motion?

June 3, 2014

Range of motion is a term most often used in sports training and medical practice (especially rehabilitation) to refer to the movement of a joint from its fully compressed or contracted position to its fully extended position.

As an example, flex your arm right now, bending your wrist first toward your shoulder, and then extending it fully. The arc defined by your arm during this process is a full 180 degrees. This would be the full range of motion for your arm and elbow joint. You would see a similar 180-degree arc defining the full range of motion for your knee. On the other hand, your shoulder has a wider full range of motion, not only being able to raise your arm from your side to over your head, but also to rotate it within the joint, allowing the arm to follow the same 180-degree arc in front of you, and a partial arc behind you.

If you’re already familiar with the phrase “exercising through a full range of motion”, it’s likely that you’ve been exposed to this concept at the gym or in some type of physical therapy setting. And you may know that many athletic trainers and rehabilitation experts recommend that, when you are working the muscles of a particular joint (for example, doing “curls” with your arms to lift a weight from the fully extended position to the fully compressed position), you do so across the full range of motion, not just part of it.

There are cases to be made for exercises using smaller ranges of motion. Some athletes feel that they can build strength, for example, by doing “partial squats” or “partial leg raises,” moving the limbs to the halfway point (or less) of the full range and then either pausing there for a few seconds, or doing more repetitions of the shortened arc. There may, in fact, be isometric or isotonic benefits to such exercises, but on the whole, most researchers still recommend working through the full range of motion.

One of the reasons for this—especially after injuries or during rehabilitation—is that one of the things that joint injuries tend to do is reduce your range of motion. Depending on the nature of the injury, the muscles and tendons surrounding the joint can swell, stiffen or develop scar tissue so that you really can’t extend or contract your arm or leg muscles fully. In such cases, performing rehabilitative and strength-building exercises across the full range of motion are beneficial, in that they re-train the joint so it can use its full range of motion again.

There is some research that indicates that the “full range of motion” approach works better to develop strength and muscle tone. In one 12-week study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning, participants in a gym regularly exercising their legs were monitored over the course of the study to compare two exercise methods. One group performed their leg exercises while working through the entire 0-to-90-degree arc allowed by the training machines, and the other group used the same machines, but only moved their legs through a 0-to-50-degree arc. At the end of the study, the group that used the full range of motion had significantly greater strength and muscle size. Fat stores within the affected muscle areas were also lower in the full range of motion group.


A common argument of shorter-range exercising is that it allows people to use heavier weights, and thus possibly build more strength. But in this study, that was found not to be true—the short range of motion group used up to 25% heavier weights than the full range of motion group, but still scored lower in the strength- and muscle-gain results. The researchers also measured the internal load on the muscle groups as the participants were exercising, and found it higher in the full range of motion group, even though they were lifting higher weights. Yes, you heard that right—the full range of motion athletes were lifting less weight, but their muscles reacted as if the internal load on them was greater (and thus of more benefit).

So although in some cases exercises done with a shorter range of motion may be of value, the general consensus is that if you’re looking for maximum benefit from your exercise or physical therapy program, you should generally choose movements that work your joints through their full range of motion. Consult with your chiropractor or physical trainer to determine the types of exercises most suitable for you and your goals.

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (404) 781-2800 (Southwest Atlanta) for your appointment.

Best Exercises For Preventing Shin Splints

March 26, 2014

Although you may have heard the term before, you may not know exactly what a “shin splint” is. It’s a common term for painful inflammation at the front of the tibia caused by strenuous activity. Medical professionals refer to it as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS). The following exercises will not only help to prevent shin splints or MTSS, but the first two exercises can also help relieve some of the agony for those who are already suffering from the syndrome. If you already have shin splints, use care and restraint in performing these exercises.


Spread Toe Elevation – Stand with your heels together, toes pointed outward and rise slowly on your toes. Hold for a few moments and then lower your heels slowly to the floor. Perform ten times.

Tuck Toe Elevation – Start with your big toes together, heels spread apart, and rise slowly on your toes. Hold for a few moments and then lower your heels slowly to the floor. Perform ten times.

Edge of Oblivion – Don’t let the name scare you. By using this exercise, you can prevent future shin splints, sending them into oblivion! However, this might not be the best way to heal shin splints if you already have them. If that’s the situation you’re in, we’d suggest that you use the other two exercises instead.
1. Find a sturdy step stool, stair or curb.
2. Face downstairs or away from the stool or curb. Move your feet forward until only your heel is on the edge and most of your foot is dangling over empty air. For balance, hold onto the stair railing or maneuver your stool next to a wall.
3. Start with legs straight and point your toes downward as far as they will go (without going so far as to slide off the step).
4. Lift your toes as far as they will go.
5. Repeat as rapidly as you can.
6. Using a timer or watch, perform this exercise for a full 30 seconds. Make certain that you extend and flex fully each time.
7. When done, bend your knees at a 45-degree angle and repeat 30 seconds of extensions and flexions. When done, you have completed one full set.
8. Rest one to two minutes between sets and repeat until you’ve done three of these two-part sets.
If after the first set, you feel a burning sensation in your lower legs, then you’re likely doing it the right way. If at any point you feel damage is being done, discontinue the exercise.

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (404) 781-2800 (Southwest Atlanta) for your appointment.

Top 5 Exercises for Increasing Range of Motion in Your Neck

January 2, 2014

Pain and stiffness can significantly reduce your neck’s range of motion. Although a decreased range of motion in your neck may not seem like a major problem, it can actually contribute to a number of unpleasant conditions, including headache, fatigue, irritability and sleep loss. Like any other part of the body, our neck can become stronger and more flexible through exercise. Following are some useful exercises that can help to increase the range of motion in your neck.

All these exercises should be done while sitting comfortably in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your neck in a neutral position. Your neck should be positioned right above your spine (in other words, be sure your head is not jutting forward or back), and you should be looking straight ahead. If you feel pain (rather than just discomfort) while doing any of these exercises, stop immediately and do not resume them until you have consulted with your chiropractor.


1) Neck rotations – Keeping your head level, gradually turn your head to the right as far as you comfortably can, looking over your right shoulder, and hold for 10 seconds. Then slowly turn your head to the left, looking over your left shoulder, and hold for another 10 seconds. Repeat 5 times.

2) Neck tilts – Tilt your head to the right, bringing your right ear as close to your shoulder as possible, and hold for 10 seconds. Do the same on the other side, tilting your head to the left, again holding for 10 seconds. Repeat 5 times.

3) Neck flexion and extension – This is simply bending your head forward and back. Beginning in a neutral position, gradually bend your head forward, letting it hang with your chin close to your chest, and hold for 10 seconds. Then slowly bring your head up and back so that you are looking at the ceiling. Repeat 5 times.

4) Half circles – Start by tilting your head toward your right shoulder as far as possible, then slowly swing it to the left in a fluid half-circle, moving your head forward and down until your chin is close to your chest, continuing until your head is tilted to the left with your left ear above your left shoulder. Then repeat the movement in the other direction.

5) Levator scapulae stretch – Tilting your head to the right over your shoulder, turn and drop your head slightly so that your nose is pointed toward your elbow, and hold for 10 seconds. You should feel the stretch in the muscle connecting the back of the left lower neck to your shoulder blade. Repeat on the other side.

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (404) 781-2800 (Southwest Atlanta) for your appointment.

Best Exercises for Hip Health and Mobility

December 17, 2013

When it comes to ease-of-movement, problems with our hips usually take a back seat to other joint problems that become more obvious as our musculoskeletal system ages. In particular, our back and knees are prone to problems that can restrict our activities and cause chronic pain. However, the health of our hips is actually crucially important in ensuring that we maintain mobility into old age because they are the center around which the forces of movement revolve.

Pain in both our back and our knees is often due to decreased hip mobility. A chronic lack of exercise combined with long hours of sitting, which is common to people with a desk job, causes the muscles around the hips (particularly the hip flexors) to become shorter and weaker. When this happens, range of motion is decreased and the back and knees take on much of the work that healthy mobile hips normally would. This causes the back and knees to work harder and can result in overuse injuries. If you’ve ever strained your back when picking up a heavy object, it may have been due to a lack of strength and mobility in your hips. In order to help prevent future injury to your back and knees, following are some of the best exercises for hip health and mobility.

Hip swings – Steady yourself with one hand on the back of a chair or similar object. Swing one leg forward and back, keeping it straight, and being sure to move from the hip and not the thigh. Do fifteen of these on each leg. Then change direction and practice swinging your leg across the front of your body and out to the side. Do fifteen sets of these as well. Try to move your torso as little as possible when doing this exercise for the greatest benefit.

Forward lunge – Standing with your feet hip-width apart, lunge forward with your right leg, bringing your left knee to the floor. Shift your weight forward until your right knee is perpendicular over your foot and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat lunge on opposite side.

buttocks workout-leg raises

Dog at the hydrant – While on hands and knees, lift one leg out to the side and draw small clockwise circles in the air with your knee, gradually making them larger. Then do the same using counter-clockwise circles. Repeat with the other leg.

Lying butterfly and variation – While lying on your back, bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together, with your knees pointing out to the sides. Hold for 30 seconds. Then bring your knees up so you are lying with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Bring the outside of your left ankle to rest on your right knee. Reach with your left hand through the little triangle made by your left leg to interlace your fingers behind your right thigh and gently pull your right leg toward your body (with your ankle still resting on the front of your knee). Repeat with the other leg.

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (404) 781-2800 (Southwest Atlanta) for your appointment.

Best Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis

December 2, 2013

Plantar fasciitis can cause more inconvenience than almost any other type of ligament inflammation, since the injured ligament is put to use every time you take a step. This means that resting it is difficult and recovery is prone to setbacks. The plantar fascia is the ligament that connects your heel to the ball of your foot. When extra stress is placed on it, or if it is stretched in an irregular manner, it can become inflamed and cause pain in your heel. Luckily, it does not have to become a chronic condition and can be managed with some extra care and specific exercises.

First of all, you should be aware of the types of exercise that make the condition worse. Anything that involves using your foot in a repetitive motion that involves force against a hard surface should be avoided, such as running and jogging.

People who are at greater risk of developing plantar fasciitis are those who have either flat feet (“fallen arches”) or high arches, and whose foot tends to roll inward (overpronation). These all contribute to a weakness in the foot, so strengthening the foot muscles is particularly important for these people. Other factors that contribute to plantar fasciitis are short and tight calf muscles, standing for long periods of time, particularly in improper footwear, and being overweight, which puts undue strain on the bottom of the sole.

plantar fasciitis

Stretching the Achilles tendon (which attaches your calf muscle to your heel) is important, as tightness here can keep you from flexing your foot freely, putting more strain on the plantar fascia. And the plantar fascia itself should be stretched gently on a regular basis as well to keep inflammation from becoming a problem. These both tend to tighten overnight, which is why those with plantar fasciitis tend to find their condition worse first thing in the morning when taking their first few steps from bed.

Following are some simple exercises you can do to help treat plantar fasciitis:
• Sitting on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you, loop a towel or belt around the ball of your foot and pull back slowly until you feel a good pull in your calf muscle. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times. Repeat with the other leg.

• Stand facing a wall at about arm’s length and lunge forward with one leg while keeping the other behind you with the heel flat on the floor. You should feel the stretch in the calf muscle. Hold for 30 seconds and then switch to the other leg. Repeat the sequence a few times a day.

• To stretch the plantar fascia, use a wall or stair to press the bottom your toes against so that they extend upward, while the ball of your foot remains touching the floor. Hold for 45-60 seconds on each foot and repeat twice. Sports doctors recommend this be done twice a day.
Massaging the plantar fascia by rolling your foot slowly back and forth over a rolling pin or drink can for a few minutes each day can also help to relieve plantar fasciitis.

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (404) 781-2800 (Southwest Atlanta) for your appointment.

More Good News About Walking: It’s Good for Lower Back Pain Too!

November 18, 2013

Lower back pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal complaints. It’s also one of the most common reasons that people visit their doctor or chiropractor. An estimated 60-80 percent of the population will experience low back pain at some point in their lives. But luckily, exercise can help prevent or alleviate the condition, and a recent study has shown that it does not need to involve anything more complicated than walking briskly.

Dr. Michal Katz-Leurer and her colleague Ilana Shnayderman from Tel Aviv University conducted a study on 52 sedentary people aged 18-65 with chronic lower back pain. The volunteers were divided into two groups: the “walking” group and the “exercise” group. The walking group was instructed to walk for 20 minutes on a treadmill twice a week, switching to 40 minutes per session as their strength increased. The exercise group was assigned specific back strengthening exercises to be performed twice a week. Both groups carried out these activities for six weeks.

The researchers’ results, which were published in the journal Clinical Rehabilitation, found that significant improvements had been made in both groups, regardless of the type of exercise they had practiced. This is good news for people who do not have the equipment or budget to afford professional strength training classes. All it requires is getting out for a brisk walk. Dr. Katz-Leurer said that their study confirmed that walking is “as effective as treatment that could have been received in the clinic.”

leisurely stroll

The research shows that active walking (as opposed to simply strolling) engages the same muscles that are used with targeted exercise. The reason why you may find that your back hurts after a day at a museum or when browsing the shops is that walking slowly causes the spine and supporting muscles to be under constant pressure. The compressive pressure on the lower back when strolling is about two and a half times your body weight and the spine does not move much. However, even though the lower back experiences the same amount of compressive pressure when walking fast, there is a cyclical effect on the muscles supporting the back that relieves the static pressure, particularly if you swing your arms as you walk.

Dr. Katz-Leurer noted that a walking program encourages people to live a healthier lifestyle overall and that it can help to alleviate the aches and pains we experience as we age. She added that walking is a low-impact activity that lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, improves brain function and boosts the immune system. So take some time each week to get out for a brisk walk and it may improve your general health and significantly improve any chronic pain in your lower back.

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (404) 781-2800 (Southwest Atlanta) for your appointment.

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