Dynamic Stretching, the “Pre-workout”

If you look up Wikipedia’s definition of dynamic stretching, this is what comes up, “Dynamic stretching is a form of stretching beneficial in sports utilizing momentum from form, and the momentum from static-active stretching strength, in an effort to propel the muscle into an extended range of motion not exceeding one’s static passive stretching ability”.

Performing dynamic stretches in a “pre-workout” or warmup are a series of active stretches that move the muscles through their range of motion, helps to improve range of motion surrounding the joints, helps to elevate core body temperature, and stimulate the nervous system.

Dynamic stretching primes the muscle to be ready to contract and relax, just as they would need to be ready to function during a sprint, run or jumping motion etc.  Being dynamic stretching is an active movement, it helps to prevent over-stretching, which can also fatigue the muscles.  Fatiguing the muscles prior to a workout can provoke injury or unfavorable symptoms to the area.  That is one of the main reasons coaching have gotten away from prescribing static stretching before a workout.  In fact, many coaches suggest athletes do a dynamic warm up every day to help keep muscles limber and ready to move at all times.

Dynamic stretching also helps to mentally prepare the athlete before the workout or competition.  Static stretching can be more relaxing, and while there is definitely a place for it, static stretching can almost trick one’s body into relaxation mode and make it more difficult to transition to “competitor” or “beast mode”.

Dynamic stretches target major muscle groups when warming up.  For example, when running, dynamic stretches target hamstrings, quads, glutes, hip flexors and calves to help prime these areas for movement.  Usually a couple of minutes of light jogging is recommended first to get the blood flowing before getting into a 5-10 minutes of dynamic stretching.  Walking butt kicks (heel to butt), knee hugs (walking knee the chest), walking toe touches, walking lunges with an overhead reach, glute bridges, heel and toe walks, are just a handful of great dynamic stretches to get one warmed up and the muscle groups prepared for the intensity of the workout that follows.   It really is something so easy to work into a warm up, and would most likely replace a more static routine one is doing, so it would not add much time on to one’s routine either.  Some of you reading this may find that you are already doing some type of dynamic stretching prior to a workout without even knowing it!

Should anyone reading this have any questions in regarding dynamic stretching and incorporating this into their pre-workout routine, please feel free to contact me at: drv@performanacehealthcenter.com

 

 

 

Need Sleep?

How did you sleep last night?  If you answered not well, you are not alone!  30% of all Americans have sleeping problems.  The National Institute of Health recommends 7-9 hours a sleep for adults (18-64 years old).  If you are not getting the minimum hours of sleep you put yourself at risk. Sleep is vital for good health and healing.

New research has shown that the brain cleans itself when you sleep. The brain actually shrinks and there is a significant increase of cerebrospinal fluid pumped into and out of the brain.  This action washes away proteins that are toxic to your brain cells. Without a good night sleep these toxins build up. Beta Amyloid, which forms sticky plaques in the brain and is associated with Alzhiemers, is one of the waste products removed from the brain when you sleep.

Web MD lists 10 serious effects of sleep loss: 1- Increased accidents (100,000 fatigue related car accidents a year); 2-Dumbs you down; 3-Increased risk of serious health problems (including- heart disease & stroke); 4- Kills sex drive; 5-Depression; 6- Ages your skin; 7- Forgetfulness; 8- Weight Gain; 9- Increased risk of death;  and 10- Impairs judgement. http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/10-results-sleep-loss#1

You know who you are.  Do you lie in bed at night wired?  Are you sending out emails a 2 or 4 AM?   Do you feel like your brain is in a fog most of the day?  Chances are you are sleep deprived.  There are dozens of reputable websites which have tips for a good night’s sleep.  These tips include: exercising regularly; avoiding caffeine products after 3pm; No TV or electronic devices  in the bedroom;  keeping your bedroom dark; going to sleep the same time every night; avoiding back-lit reading devices before bed; avoid big meals in the evening; avoid alcohol before bed; get fresh air during the day; and there are more.

What if you do these things and you still can’t consistently get a good night’s sleep?   There are prescription medications and some over-the –counter products you can try. The problem is that many of them have side effects.  They can also cause you to wake up feeling “out of it” and not well rested.

There is a sleep aide that has been used for 1000s of years and has no down-side. It is not addictive and there are no side-effects.  I have been recommending this herbal supplement for years to my patients who complain of not being able to sleep.  The herb is Valerian root, and I recommend the Metagenics formula MyoCalm PM.  In addition to Valerian root it also contains magnesium and calcium which relax muscles.  There is also Passionflower, hops and lemon balm, which also have calming effects.

Two weeks ago we were having dinner with some friends, only to hear for the 1st time that the father and oldest child were having significant sleep problems.  They had tried everything and were at wits end, especially for the teenager.  I told them about Valerian root and they were more than willing to try it.  The great news is that both are sleeping much better!

So, if you do not sleep well at night and you have exhausted all the most popular tips, why not give Valerian root a try.   We always have MyoCalm PM in the office.   If you are reading this at 3 AM because you can not sleep, you can even order metagenics products on-line.  Go to http://performancehealth.metagenics.com/store  and create an account.  You get 20% off your 1st order and the shipping is always free!

TURMERIC, Not Just a Spice Anymore…

If you have ever taken Advil, Ibuprofen or NSAIDS, this would be worth reading… These medications are really not that good for you and can bring about serious health complications, though these are the most common over the counter drugs used for chronic pain.  Chronic pain can be very debilitating and can have detrimental and adverse effects on one’s quality of life.  That being said, a vast majority of people trying to find a “reasonable and workable” solution for pain, usually end up reaching for a bottle of NSAID’s (non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs).

What most people don’t know are how NSAID’s really work when ingested to help target and decrease pain in the body.  NSAIDS TEMPORARILY block the overflow of production of inflammatory cells/chemicals to the site of pain.  NSAIDS “trick” the body into overriding its inflammatory response to an injury.  When this happens the pain also lessens or subsides.  With inflammation comes pain, if inflammation is removed or “blocked” should I say, the pain is most likely “blocked” from getting to the area as well.  This helps people to feel better, so therefore they continue to take more of it to feel better.  It also gives false interpretation that the person may be “feeling better” due to having less pain, but the NSAIDS have only “masked” the symptoms and the pain usually returns and with the possibility that the person has done more damage to the area injured.  We see this all the time in our office.  And, aside from this, use of NSAIDS can cause stomach pain, stomach ulcers, indigestion, internal bleeding, constipation, headaches, dizziness, ringing in the ears, and allergic reactions such as hives, vomiting, throat swelling etc.  So… why not look for more natural ways to help decrease inflammation, pain and swelling?

There are many natural supplements out there now that help to decrease pain and inflammation, but turmeric by far seems to be one of the most helpful.  Turmeric is a plant, and not only one of the most popular spices around, but one of the most powerful foods on the face of the earth.  The root is what’s most commonly used in medicine.  Medicinal use of turmeric is dated back 4,000 years ago.  Today there are many uses for turmeric such as detoxification, promoting radiant skin, mood balancing, supporting cardiac health, etc.  A few of the most important uses of turmeric are reducing pain, being a very strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.  Turmeric helps to lower the levels of two different enzymes in the body that cause inflammation, not “block” the inflammation to the area of injury.  Antioxidants also help to fight free radicals that can even potentially reduce some of the damage these free radicals cause in the body.  This helps in regards to the level of inflammation in the body as well, or when responding to inflammation from an injury.

Many turmeric supplements, like other vitamins and supplements are not absorbed well into the body, so it is important to make sure you are buying turmeric from a reputable company.  Please be sure to speak to your doctor and nutritionist in regards to any questions concerning the quality of the supplement you may be taking.  At Performance Health Center we carry a very popular and reputable brand of vitamins and supplements developed by a company called Metagenics.  Metagenics makes a supplement called, Inflavonoid Intensive Care, which has turmeric in it as well.  We prescribe this supplement primarily to decrease inflammation and pain if a patient is dealing with an injury.  It almost acts like a “natural Ibuprofen” in a way.  A patient can take 2-4 capsules 2-4 times a day, just as someone taking some other type of NSAID would.  This supplement helps when people are dealing with chronic back pain, ankle sprains, and even whiplash from an accident.  This is something you may want to speak to one of us about in the office during your next visit 🙂

To make it even easier, you can now order on-line at http://performancehealth.metagenics.com/store  and create an account.  You get 20% off your 1st order and the shipping is always free!

HOTSHOT- Great for Cramps & Much More!!!

HOTSHOT is now working to help people with Multiple Sclerosis and ALS and nocturnal leg cramping as well as for active people who suffer from exercise or exertional muscle cramps.

This is a follow up to my August Blog on muscle cramping:

http://www.performancehealthcenter.com/prevent-treat-muscle-cramps/

On the advice of Dr. Weiss I sent this blog directly to the people at HOTSHOT, and the next day I got a call from them.  They were very interested in speaking with me about my experience with their product, especially since I am an endurance athlete, and a Doctor of Chiropractic that deals directly with the nervous system- much like their product does as well.  They were also interested that I have a master’s degree in Exercise Physiology and that I did my Master’s thesis on Carbohydrate Electrolyte Replacement Drinks and how they  affect athletic performance.

I did an interview with HOTSHOT and they just placed that interview live on their Website.  You can read that interview here:  http://www.teamhotshot.com/blog/hotshot-works-quickly-effectively/

I was then asked to come and speak at the company’s headquarters in Boston at the Prudential Center. The first person I met when I arrived was Dr. Bruce Bean one of the co-creators of HOTSHOT.  It was a privilege to get the opportunity to meet with him and all of his co-workers.  I also got to hear firsthand several other people’s experiences with their product HOTSHOT.  One woman who has Multiple Sclerosis stood up and talked about how HOT SHOT has changed her life.  You can read her inspiring story here: http://www.teamhotshot.com/blog/tracy-evangelos-marathon-journey-no-plans-stopping/

The company continues to have success with athletes all over the world and they were just recently present at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii, and here is another link to an article about some of these Iron Man athletes using HOTSHOT.  http://www.teamhotshot.com/blog/tracy-evangelos-marathon-journey-no-plans-stopping/

The company continues to do research on how their product helps people with Multiple Sclerosis; ALS and even for those people who suffer from nocturnal leg cramps.

If you have any questions about this blog or how this product may help you or someone you know who suffers from muscle cramping please feel free to contact me at: drtomball@performancehealthcenter.com

 

 

 

 

 

3 Foods to Add to Your Diet This Fall…(with Recipes)

Pumpkin

Pumpkin not only tastes and smells nice, it also packs a powerful nutrition punch. One cup of cooked pumpkin contains more than 200 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which aids vision, particularly in dim light, according to the National Institutes of Health.  Pumpkins are rich in carotenoids, the compounds that give the gourd their bright orange color, which the body converts into vitamin A for eyesight protection. Pumpkin is also a good source of fiber and low on calories. Per one cup there are three grams of fiber, and only 49 calories. Another healthy part of the pumpkin is the seed! Pumpkin seeds are rich in the amino acid tryptophan.  If you look back to my past two articles you’ll be able to read about how important tryptophan is for mental health. It is necessary in the production of serotonin – your happy hormone. A handful of roasted pumpkin seeds may help boost a low mood.  Another hidden benefit of pumpkin is its potassium level. A cup of pumpkin has more potassium than a banana! Try pumpkin if you get cramps. Pumpkin is also a good source of Vitamin C- with all the colds floating around, you can’t get enough!

 Favorite Pumpkin Recipe this Fall

Pumpkin Chili 

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper (any color), diced
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree (NOT pie filling)

Instructions

In a large dutch oven heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Brown the onion and garlic for a few minutes until they start to develop color. Add in the bell pepper and jalapeño and cook until soft.

Crumble in the ground beef and brown. Once browned add in the tomatoes, broth, and spices. Simmer 5 minutes then add in the pumpkin. Continue to cook for 10 minutes to allow flavors to meld together.

Divide between 6 bowls and garnish with cilantro.

wicked spatula http://wickedspatula.com/

Cranberries:

People typically think of blueberries or spinach when they think of a “superfood”, but cranberries actually contain more antioxidants! They are one of the top antioxidant-rich foods.  Cranberries are also known for helping to prevent UTIs. The high level of proanthocyanidins (PACs) in cranberries helps reduce the adhesion of certain bacteria to the urinary tract walls, in turn fighting off infections. Azo tabs for UTIs can be found at CVS, and work wonders if you can’t eat the full cranberry. Cranberry juice is not as effective and the sugar may aggravate a smoldering UTI. Cranberries may also be effective in reducing cardiovascular disease. The polyphenols prevent platelet build-up and reduce blood pressure. Research has also shown that cranberries are beneficial in slowing tumor progression and have shown positive effects against prostate, liver, breast, ovarian, and colon cancers.

 Favorite Cranberry Recipes this Fall

Smoothies– Toss a handful of cranberries (fresh, or frozen whole, with no sugar added) into your favorite smoothie for a boost of antioxidants.  My favorite blend: Unsweetened almond milk, and a blend of fresh or frozen blueberries, raspberries, and cranberries. (Pumpkin also tastes great in a smoothie!)

Roasted cranberries– They’re a delicious addition to salads or whole grains like quinoa or brown rice: Simply toss two cups cranberries with two teaspoons of olive oil, a tablespoon of chopped fresh mint, and one tablespoon of raw sugar or natural sugar replacer. Roast at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes until they’re soft and slightly caramelized. NOLA.com/eat-drink.  

Sweet Potatoes:

Many people believe that sweet potatoes are one of the world’s most perfect foods! They are so easy to roast up or microwave, they taste great, and give long term energy. They are lower than white potatoes on the glycemic index scale meaning they don’t increase your blood sugar as quickly. It’s better for avoiding sugar crashes and better for diabetes control, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Sweet potatoes are also high in potassium. One cup of sweet potatoes supplies 950 milligrams! So, along with your pumpkin, add some sweet potato!  A serving of sweet potatoes is also very high in vitamin A. It supplies 1,922 micrograms, that keeps your eyes, skin, teeth and bones healthy. This is more than the 700 to 900 micrograms you need on a daily basis. They also contain a good amount of manganese which may benefit those with PMS. One study found that boosting manganese intake from 1 mg to 5.6 mg of dietary manganese per day helped women with PMS to have fewer mood swings and cramps.

Favorite Sweet Potato Recipe this Fall

Sweet Potato Soup:

Ingredients

8 oz (1/2 lb or about 6 strips) bacon, diced
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large celery stock, diced
2 lbs (3 medium) sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1 cup coconut milk (I used “original”)
2 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp ground black pepper, or to taste
2 Tbsp parsley to garnish, optional

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, or French Oven, over medium heat, cook bacon in it’s own fat until crisp (8­-10 min). Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Leave 3 Tbsp oil in the pot; discard excess or leave it in there for a more flavorful soup.
  2. Add chopped onion, and celery and cook 4 min or until soft, stirring occasionally, then add 2 pressed garlic cloves and saute another minute.
  3. Stir in diced sweet potatoes, ½ tsp dried thyme leaves and 2 tsp salt. Now pour in 4 cups chicken broth, partially cover and simmer 20 min or until sweet potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.
  4. Puree soup until smooth. I accomplished this in two batches in my Blender. Return soup to pot and stir in 1 cup coconut milk, or add it to reach desired consistency then season with more salt and pepper to taste if desired. Serve in warm bowls. Sprinkle the tops with bacon and garnish with chopped parsley, if using.

How to Eat Healthy When You’re Busy

Summer tends to bring an endless supply of beach trips, cookouts, and weekends away. Often the family schedule has shifted. Many of my clients are asking me, “How do I eat healthy when I’m so busy?”  Here are some tips to help you through the rest of the summer:

  1. Prepare lunch ahead of time-It is very difficult to find a quality meal when on the go, and being prepared can prevent a pit stop at the cafeteria or your favorite fast food restaurant. Most people find if they prepare on Sundays and Wednesdays it works out best. Backup plan– If you do forget your lunch swing by a grocery store and pick up some items to make your lunch at work.
  2. Have a good breakfast – Many people think that they don’t have time for breakfast. Just wake up 15 minutes earlier to eat this important meal. This prevents overeating at lunchtime. Backup plan– Smoothie! You can make a smoothie and be out the door in less than 5 minutes. You could even make it the evening before and keep it in the fridge.
  3. Pack snacks– Keep snacks in your car, in your purse, at work. Kind Bars, Square Bars, apples, and carrots tend to hold up best. Backup plan– Starbucks and CVS both carry Kind Bars and fruit.
  4. Meal “guiding”- Meal Planning tends to have a low success rate when you’re busy, so try creating a dinner guide. A guide is less specific so you can swap out items you don’t have without feeling pressure to stick to a strict plan. This will also help you have an idea of what you’re going to have for dinner while grocery shopping, and reduce the waste of leftovers. A meal guide might look something like: Monday- Chicken, veg, quinoa. Tuesday- leftover chicken stir fry with veg. Wednesday- sweet potato noodles and veg.
  5. Fill up on Vegetables– When on you way to a cookout, or to dine out, remember to focus on filling up on vegetables. Plan to have at least half your plate full of color. Backup plan-If you’re not feeling veggies, pick an appetizer for dinner, like mini tacos. You can fill up and satisfy your craving without going overboard.
  6. Alternate Meals/Leftovers– When you cook, make enough for 2-3 meals. Generally whatever you had for dinner, have it for lunch the next day. If you don’t enjoy having the same meal two times in a row, stick it in the freezer and you’ll have a frozen dinner to eat over the next few weeks.

Planning is key, but things don’t always go as planned. If something gets in the way of your goal, don’t beat yourself up about it, but also don’t wait until Monday to get back on track. Have that meal or snack, and then start fresh again. Don’t skip any meals because you felt you ate “bad” food, just let it go and move on. Adding mindfulness into your eating may help you do that more easily. Read about that in my April blog. If you are in need of more specific guidance please schedule a free consultation with Shauna McHugh, MS, CNS by calling 508-655-9008 or emailing Shauna@PerformanceHealthCenter.com .

Bittersweet…

Seeing how I took last month to write about a man, Rich Busa, that I hold very dear to my heart, I am on a roll and want to take the time this month to talk about a family that I hold very dear to my heart.  For the sake of HIPAA, I will just use their first names during this article (Rich gave us permission years ago to use his full name in regards to helping our practice build its brand).

Just recently, two of my patients, Karen and Marco (and their husband/dad respectively), picked up and moved to Georgia.  I was so sad to hear the news when Karen gave me the heads up months prior, but none the less, the time crept up so quickly.

Karen first started coming to see me years back, not sure of the exact date, but we seemed to hit it off.  We both have similar views on lot of things as we came to know each other over the years, and it was only a matter of time before she started bringing her son, Marco, in for chiropractic care and Active Release Techniques (ART) as well.

When Karen was in one visit, prior to Marco being a patient at my office, we started talking about him and how active he is.  Karen started telling me about Marco being a tennis player, and how competitive he was.  Little did I know back then that he wasn’t just a competitive tennis player, he really has the potential to go big and go far!

Marco was a little shy the first visit or two in my office, but after we got talking about sports, school, our competitive natures, and fun stuff too, he warmed right up.  I am sure when his Mom was bringing him to his first appointment to see me, he probably thought he was going to some stuffy doctor’s office, and being young boy, wouldn’t that be the last place you would want to go?

I must say, Marco was the “posture child” for chiropractic and ART, or at least in my office he was.  He made me look REALLY good.  I honestly don’t think or remember there being one issue of his that I couldn’t help treat or fix.  I am reading that last sentence I just wrote, and hoping it doesn’t sound too arrogant, but his mom and I would joke about how well he responded to my treatments.

I remember Karen saying awhile back, that if Marco had an issue with something, as long as it wasn’t blood or guts, she would check with me first before going to his PCP, an orthopedist or other medical professional.  I felt so flattered that she thought/thinks that highly of me, and trusted me with her son that much, her aliments too, and especially her being an impressive and knowledgeable medical professional herself.  We still half joke half seriously talk about when Marco goes pro and is making the big bucks, I will go on tour with him as his personal chiropractor and ART practitioner.  I am going to hold Marco to that, lol!

I also think it is great that Marco has parents that understand the importance of health and well being, and taking care of one’s body, especially after what Marco demands of his.  This will only help Marco as he continues to grow and increase the demands he asks of his body as and athlete, and his tennis career continues to blossom.  If he continues to take care of the little aches and pains as they arise, the chances of bigger or more serious injuries as he gets older will be much less likely to occur.  I always say, “Focus on what you can control,” and this is one sure thing Marco has control over, taking care of his body.

But, on a more personal note, I am so happy that I have had the opportunity to get to know their family.  My step-son and I were even lucky enough to attend one of his last matches here in Natick, MA, before they moved south.  Marco was having a little trouble settling into the match from what Karen was saying, but he was focused and stayed strong, and won!  Never mind the fact of winning that set/match we got to see, I was more impressed with how Marco kept his composure and his mental game.  I watched his opponent mentally deteriorate on the court in front of him, and Marco knew it.  From what I could tell, Marco’s opponent went in fairly confident that he could beat Marco at the end of the day, and that wasn’t the case at all!  It was amazing to see something like that occur on the court right in front of me, live!  I felt like a proud older sister.

I really feel that Marco has a special gift, whether it is to play very competitively at the college level and hopefully receive lot of grants and scholarships to pay for his education, or to go as far as being on a pro tour, who knows!  The world is his oyster, and I think that Marco has the mental focus and toughness, skill, determination, athleticism and intelligence to be what ever he wants to be and his heart desires.  I told him whatever he does, just make sure he loves it, and to have fun doing it!

Karen, Dad, and Marco… It was bittersweet to see you go.  Sad that I will not be seeing you as often (I promise to visit), but so excited to see where this next chapter in life will take you all.  Thinking of you all often and wishing you all the best!

 

Prevent & Treat Muscle Cramps!

Last August I wrote a Blog on how to prevent muscle cramps. http://www.performancehealthcenter.com/got-muscle-cramps/

This August I would like to follow up on that blog with one about the latest research on fighting muscle cramps.  I recently competed in the Patriot Half IronMan in East Freetown Massachusetts and I was given a sample of HOT SHOT, a new formula to help prevent muscle cramps.

We have all experienced (at least one time in our lives) a painful and sometimes even a “stop you in your tracks” muscle cramp.  Well, just last week while running in the heat I got one of those serious cramps in my left hamstring. When I got home I decided to try my sample of “HOT SHOT”.  To my surprise my hamstring cramp was gone in less than a minute!  I would normally spend at least 5-10 minutes foam rolling and stretching to relieve a cramp like that, but this relief was almost instantaneous.  Now I know why they call it “Hot Shot”, as it is HOT all right.  This 1.7 ounce mini drink is made up of a proprietary blend of organic spice extracts- it tasted like eating a large mouthful of those little cinnamon heart candies you see on Valentine’s Day, sweet but cinnamony HOT!

I was so intrigued I started looking into how this new formula was developed and how it works. Very interesting…. this new anti-cramp product was developed by local Harvard neurobiologist Bruce Bean and Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist Rod MacKinnon. Bean and MacKinnon were ocean kayaking off Cape Cod on a windy day in 2006 when they both suffered muscle cramps in their arms – a potentially dangerous situation that led them to look into the research on cramping.

Their research eventually concluded that cramps result from a disturbance in the nerves that control the muscles.  They found the source of the problem was a neural switch that gets stuck in the “on” position leading to “altered neuromuscular control”, causing a prolonged and painful contraction.  They noted substances, like mustard oil and capsaicin from hot peppers, stimulate and activate a set of receptors in the mouth, throat, and stomach called “transient receptor potential channels,” which jolt the nervous system out of its cramp state.

For more information on this new research and new product you can check out this link: http://www.teamhotshot.com/

In the mean time, I would recommend that you continue to follow all the advice from my previous blog, such as maintaining proper hydration and electrolyte balance.  Remember to gradually increase the duration and intensity of your exercise.  Stretch and foam roll daily.  Maintain your regular Chiropractic treatments, because as this research concluded it is the Nerve that matters, and Chiropractic is all about maintaining proper functioning of your entire nervous system!

If you have any questions about this blog or any questions in general about your health, please feel free to contact me at drtomball@performancehealthcenter.com

A Split Second & the Road to Recovery, Part 5, (Life is Motion)

It is almost 4 months post-knee surgery and my rehab could not be going better.  The saying I use many times every day to my patients could not ring truer.  “Life is motion”.  This phrase has a whole new meaning to me now.  Yes, life is motion, but the quality of motion is the important thing.

After my injury, even before surgery, I began working with Anita Luck, a Movement Specialist, Fellow of Applied Functional Science, and trained by the Gray Institute.  Just as dogs wag their tails when they bark, all our body motions are integrated.  With Anita’s guidance I am learning how to make all body motions more fluid, and work together in all planes of motion.  A big goal is to get me back on the tennis court without limitations, preferably without need of a brace and hopefully stronger than before my injury.  To do this I need to get my knee strong enough and muscle reaction time quick enough so no matter what position my foot is in when it hits the ground, the muscles around my knee can do their job.  When you go to the gym and use exercise machines, for the most part you are working the muscle and the joints in one plain of motion.  As part of my functional exercises I am exercising my muscles and moving my joints through all 6 cardinal planes motions. (Forward and back, side to side, and rotation).  Balance through these motions are also being challenged as I do many of my exercises on 1 leg.

I am also learning how to integrate my whole body into these motions so I am more fluid and can generate more power whether swinging a tennis racquet, golf club, and even peforming chiropractic adjustments. As a result I am getting stronger and my body is learning how to adapt more quickly .  I have been doing a lot of swimming, especially during last month’s heat wave.  I was amazed at how my body rotated as I did the crawl stroke.  I have never rotated so much or with as much ease, while swimming. All of these lessons I am passing on to my patients as they transition from the pain-relief to the rehabilitation part of their chiropractic care.  My goal is get my patients as active as they can be so they can enjoy “pain-free active living” for a lifetime.  It’s never too late to learn how to optimize function.

Working with Anita is giving me a new insight on how to get and keep my patients moving.  Thank you Anita!

For more information, please feel free to call, or email Anita at:

AnitaLuckMovement@gmail.com   or    (781) 888-1712

The Man, the Myth, the Legend

Now that my saga in regards to writing about all the various types of headaches that are out there has finally come to a rest, I wanted to take this month, being the month of Independence, to write about someone who holds a very special place in my heart, someone who very much reminds me of my grandfather.  As a patient, an amazing athlete, and a dear friend to me, it is no wonder I would like to take the time to write about him in this month’s newsletter, and brag that I have the honor of knowing him.

Many of you know Rich Busa through the Greater Framingham Running Club in Framingham, MA.  Some may also know of Rich from the famous race named after him, Busa Bushwhack Trail Race, held every year in Callahan State Park, in Framingham, MA.

Rich Busa was born October 30, 1929, also the day after the stock market crashed.  If you do the math that means Rich is a young 86 years old and going strong.  Not only is he a decorated athlete, which we will talk more about in just a bit, but a war veteran as well.  He served during the Korean War, 1951-1953.  He did his basic training at Ft. Bragg, NC, followed by Jump School at Ft. Benning, GA.  He volunteered to go Korea, arriving there the fall of 1952, being assigned to the Fox CO, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division.  There he was awarded the Silver Star during the battle of Boomerang above the 38th parallel on June 14-15 of 1953.  Rich was also there doing the signing of the truce that took place August of 1953.  He returned home within a few months time, and was discharged November 30th, 1953.  Now, this is just a brief description of this part of Rich’s life, and as I sit here writing this, I still don’t feel it does him justice with all that he endured to this point and time in his life.

So…with that being said, we are going to fast forward to the 2000’s now, otherwise this entire newsletter, and the next 3 months of newsletters may not be enough to cover all this guy’s accomplishments.  The picture at the bottom is what actually sparked me to write this article.  His race report will be attached as well from February of 2016.

One morning a few months ago, Rich was waiting for me in treatment room 2, and as I walked in, he sat there with TWELVE gold medals around his neck (we later learned that were most likely not “real gold”).  The gold medals have been accrued over the years, 2005-2016, at the U.S. Snowshoe 10K National Championships.  In 2016 the race took place in Ogden, Utah.  If you read in his last race report covering this particular race, and the challenges he has worked through since 2013. He talks about this awesome race, Stonecat Trail Marathon, which he completed November of 2013.  He went on the state that it wasn’t his best race by far, but at least he didn’t finish last.  Lets just back up for a second now, he would have 83 at that time I believe, and the man finished a trail marathon!  I haven’t even done a trail marathon yet!  Since then Rich has battled a misdiagnosed inguinal hernia,  surgical repair of the hernia, a random parasite affecting his gut, and chest pain (which turned out to be nothing, thank god).  These are just a few of the issues that he has over come and not let slow him down too much anyway.

Rich never seizes to amaze me when he comes into my office every month for his “tune up”.  This time was a little different, I just stood there for a second and realized how lucky I am to know this man, and that he actually picked me and trusts me enough to help take care of his body through out each year, well, at least the musculoskeletal issues.

Rich and I discuss many other things in regards to training plans, dietary issues and nutrition, natural health care remedies he is constantly reading about and self educating, solutions for certain issues, and regular health care issues that he deals with as well.  What amazes me is his ability to “keep moving forward”, hell, about to just “keep moving”.  I live by this mantra in all aspects of my life, and here he is doing it at 86 years old!  I am so inspired by him, and he is my motivation to lead a life style like his as I continue to get older.  Rich comes to see me monthly to help mitigate those aches and pains that do pop up.  He has done massage, he has done physical therapy (PT), and does his PT exercises daily for his neck and low back.  We have been discussing the possibility of acupuncture as well at this time for a nagging health issue he is dealing with as of late.

Rich is willing to try anything to help preserve his ability to stay strong and compete as an athlete.  This is just one of the many reasons I get adjusted at least once a month, massage twice a month, and acupuncture once a month.  I see him at 86 going strong, and I know I started this process of taking care of my body years before he did.  With that being said, I should be going this strong at 106, or at least that is the goal!

Click Here to Read Rich’s Race Report Titled: The Impossible Dream