Build Strong Abs and Reduce Back Pain at the Same Time

Posted on June 12, 2018. Filed under: Exercise, Health, Pain | Tags: , , , , , , |

medicine ball absIn today’s busy lifestyle, people strive to be as efficient, effective and productive as possible. So on the premise of  “killing two birds with one stone”, there are ways to build a strong lean set of abs and reduce back pain in one fell swoop.

Diet plays a strong role in not only creating a lean abdomen but also reducing inflammation that can be related to joint and back pain. By keeping inflammatory foods at a minimum, you’ll likely see great results.  Sugar is one of the biggest culprits, it turns into fat in your body and suppresses the immune system. Ridding starches like breads and pasta can help not only your mid-section cosmetically, but keep an over abundance of carbohydrates from turning into sugar.  The foods we eat can also cause bloating, especially around the midsection. For some, salt and dairy products cause water-retention. Great foods to take away the bloat but are also anti-inflammatory include foods that contain a lot of soluble fiber and help with constipation as well.  These include cucumbers, bananas, avocados, papaya, asparagus and kiwis.

The next way to build better abs and reduce back pain is to focus on certain exercises which build muscle and a stronger core.  Strong abdominal muscles not only look great but can actually prevent back pain by making you less prone to back injury and helping with better spinal alignment.  Back pain can be caused by weak abdominals and unbalanced muscles. The abs are the front anchor to our spine, and if weak, the other muscles that also support your spine, work harder to compensate.  In building strong abs, you’ll want to make sure that all the abdominal muscles including internal and external obliques and transverse abdominal are equally exercised.

One of my favorite overall abdominal exercises are the hanging leg or knee raise done in an upright position.  This dynamic exercise concentrates movement on the lower core which provides more benefit than holding a plank which is a static exercise. Performing exercises that allow you to curl your abs where you actively contract the muscle are great to do.  There are a multitude of exercises you can choose from but anything that causes pain or discomfort should be avoided. Another favorite exercise that not only strengthens the abs, low back, glutes, thighs, and overall core are squats. They work so many muscles at the same time providing more bang for the buck.  The best ab exercises will help support and give strength to the lower spine and abdomen and also work the deep and intermediate abs at the same time.

And let us not forget that one of the most simple and easy ways to make abs look great and help with back pain is good posture!  If we imagine a plumb line going straight up and down, we define good posture as having the ear, shoulder, hip, and ankles all in alignment with that imaginary line.  When we stand correctly, we see a multitude of benefits – we feel stronger, more confident, better balanced and we look taller, thinner and feel better!


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Slowing the Aging Process

Posted on November 20, 2015. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Aging, Chiropractic, Exercise, Health, Hormone, Joints, Pain, Posture, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

~ by Dr. Greg Steinerbigstock-Mature-couple-having-fun-in-co-13905050

Growing old is inevitable, but getting old shouldn’t be used as an excuse.  For those who say, “I can’t do this because I’m getting older”, that’s an insufficient answer.  You don’t have to fear aging and let it prohibit you from the things you want to do.  There are a number of things that can be done to slow the process or at the least, allow you to age well.

Many processes going on in the body effect how we age.  Circulation is one of them.  It’s similar to having narrow roads, with fewer trucks on the road making deliveries.  Circulation is our transport system for our bodie’s resources, namely oxygen and nutrition.  As we age, we have a less efficient delivery system.  Also influenced by age is mobility and elasticity.  The gradual need for reading glasses demonstrates a decrease in elasticity in eyes.  It’s kind of ironic how we age that certain things get saggy while other things stiffen up.  Hormones can also get out of whack.  Testosterone & estrogen usually become unbalanced and growth hormone, responsible for repair also decreases.  Imbalanced thyroid levels and insulin can lead us to  suffer from fatigue and other issues.  And let’s not forget about inflammation.  There is inflammation that comes from a recent injury (like breaking a toe), but there’s also inflammation from an injury from 10 years ago.  Some of this stems from scar tissue forming, which over the years becomes less elastic and reduced circulation in that area.  Natural anti-inflammatories in the body work at a slower rate so we feel pain in that particular spot.

But know this, all of those things, at least by some degree are correctable.  Stretching for elasticity and mobility is helpful, but won’t necessarily solve everything.  Due to the computer generation, people these days can barely turn their neck left or right.  It’s double the problem from what I was seeing 20 years ago.  If the neck isn’t kept flexible, it can promote shoulder pain and headaches as well.

Chiropractic can be very helpful in restoring and maintaining mobility and flexibility.  Some people stretch and stretch yet still can’t touch their toes.  Usually this indicates a ligament issue.  Their bones and spine aren’t flexing.  One of the secrets to having a bouncy, happy walk isn’t about being flexible, it’s about having your bones & ligaments moving properly.  If everything is aligned and moving correctly, and the structure is perfectly aligned, the individual has a light, bouncy walk with or without flexibility.

Diet and exercise can help circulation.  Acupuncture and herbs are also useful in promoting circulation as well as helping reduce inflammation.  If you improve the circulation, you’ve got a better supply system which can transport out the waste products.  The healthy diet can then provide the right nutrition to be transported in.  Blood tests can determine how well hormones are balanced.

Everything is tied into one another.  Just like a plate of spaghetti, if one noodle falls off, it usually takes several with it.  Just be sure to treat all the issues together as a whole rather than trying to look at each “noodle” independently.

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Why You Should Cleanse & Detox

Posted on June 6, 2014. Filed under: Allergies, cleanse, Depression, detox, Healing, Health, Pain, Uncategorized, Weightloss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

bigstock-Sad-woman-get-abdomen-pain-aft-35464244By Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

Cleansing & detoxing seem to be all the rage these days.  There are 2, 5, 7, 10, or even 21 day cleansing programs available that promise to clean out all those harmful toxins that are currently ravaging your body and wreaking havoc on your immune system.  But if you think about it, our body is seemingly bombarded on a daily basis from toxins we get from water, household cleaners, air pollution, chemicals, food additives and the list goes on and on.  Some of these things become neurotoxins in our systems and impair proper nerve function, cause tremors, lack of sleep, inability to focus, unexplained weight gain, etc… Or they can become hormone disruptors, interfering with testosterone or estrogen.  What these neurotoxins & hormone disruptors do is block or disrupt normal metabolism.  They build up within your system and the effect can be cumulative.

What happens if you’re toxic?

The two organs most affected are usually the kidneys and the liver.  The liver is the metabolic powerplant, but a lot of these toxins get stored in the fat as well.  When you go on a diet to lose weight and detox yourself, some of these toxins can still be released into your system and be metabolized or even remetabolized in the body.  If they get into the liver, metabolic pathways may not function optimally.

These symptoms can be very broad and vague with headaches, muscle pain, body odors, or fatigue. Sometimes it’s hard to nail down exactly the issue, but you know you just don’t feel right.  In my own practice, I’ve seen many people vigorously & diligently clean up their diet, use a detox regimen along with drinking lots of water, allowed a little bit of time (patience being a key ingredient in this process), go through almost miraculous changes.  They feel a whole lot better and many have been able to minimize the medications they’re on and in some cases even come off of them.


How do I benefit from doing this?


Detoxification  is a lot about supporting organ function while minimizing exposure.  When you support the kidneys and liver and give them a rest from exposure to toxins or even regular food,  the theory is that your body will work to get rid of the garbage in your system and allow itself to recover and heal.  The real benefit is that while going through your “cleansing & detox” process, the herbs, clean “green” type drinks, and ample supply of water you drink help create the bridge over to living a better lifestyle afterwards.  Cravings for caffeine, sugar, and salty foods become greatly reduced, energy increases, and even your attitude towards exercise and staying healthy becomes predominately positive!

Be sure to do your “due diligence” in research when you start a cleanse/detox.  There is no magic drink or pill.  You’ve got to combine the program with the right type of nutrition for optimal success.


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Fight off Colds & Flu this Winter by Building your Immune System Now

Posted on November 7, 2013. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Exercise, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

fight off the immune invasion~By Dr. Gregory Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

Chinese medicine believes that in our natural state, people are healthy and made to be self-repairing.  This theory states, “You should already be healthy unless you’ve done something to diminish that health”.  You can actually create health not by boosting your immune system, but by eliminating irritation to it.  But because today’s culture focuses on buzzwords such as “building immunity”, let’s talk about just how we can do that.  For example, white sugar is a backdrop to poor health.  It can suppress immune response.  Studies have shown that 1 teaspoon of sugar can lower immunity in the body within 30 minutes.  This opens a gateway for bugs like the flu or common cold to enter.  Peanuts, dairy or gluten (wheat products) are other foods which can promote inflammation and trigger “allergic responses” in the body.  Elimination of these foods for certain individuals can provide a marked improvement in their ability to fight off colds and infections.

Here are some more tips to help build your immune system to better fight off illness in the colder months:

  • Sleep Well:  Restful sleep enhances the immune system function by leading to better hormone level balance.  During good sleep, the body can rest & repair itself.  Sleep deprivation actually suppresses the immune function and activates stress.
  • Eat more “Rabbit Food”: Increase your intake of fruits & veggies.  Stay away from the unhealthy foods that contain a lot of grease, fat, preservatives, and sugar.  These foods can have a very negative effect on your overall health.
  • Drink Water:  Water helps flush toxins and hydrates your body.  Drink 10-12 glasses daily as an average.  If water gets “too boring”, add in some green tea or fresh juice.  Be wary of the sugar content and try to stay away from all sodas.
  • Stop the Stress:  A little bit of stress can boost the immune system; it’s like exercise for it.  Long term and unrelenting stress (i.e. work & relationship issues) can wreak havoc on it.  When stress hits, counterbalance it by relieving the tension through meditation, listening to relaxing music, or taking a walk.
  • Move your Body:  Exercising on a regular basis will boost circulation and keep you in better shape mentally as well as physically.  Whether its jogging, walking or sports, try to get at least 30 minutes of fitness in daily.
  • Consider Acupuncture:  Many studies have shown that acupuncture can boost the immune system.  Not only can acupuncture be beneficial in helping you overcome your cold or flu quicker, but it can also be used for prevention.  It’s a great way to fill in any missing gaps in your immune system.  Acupuncture can balance your energies to get them working in harmony and optimize your system, providing protection from illness.
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What Makes a Child Hyper?

Posted on October 27, 2011. Filed under: Allergies, Healing, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

What Makes a Child Hyper?

If you were to speak frankly with your neighbors you would find that it seems every other kid is on some type of medication for an attention disorder. Sometimes it almost seems as though the odd child is the one not on medication! Let’s look at fact, fantasy and alternatives.

Teachers, parents and doctors argue over just what constitutes an attention disorder. The very first issue concerns a conflict over what is natural behavior for a child versus what is expected of a child in various circumstances. The obvious first answer is children move, and are made to move a lot! Children have an urge to communicate, but with a limited vocabulary they will often “show” what’s on their minds. In addition, movement is what strengthens their bodies, creates manual dexterity, and actually “programs” their developing nervous systems. By the way, it also keeps them lean.

The big “However….” is that movement and the desire to move at an inappropriate time can be a real pain in the backside, in school, church and restaurants. While it’s a matter of parental principle on how much squirming to permit, it’s important to realize that squirming is the way of children, and trying to stop it is like fighting the tide itself. It can be done, but usually at an energetic cost to the parent!

They also talk a lot, and usually out of turn as they learn the rules of social convention. The energy most kids possess is astounding – including the energy of healing – but until they learn directed behavior and frustration tolerance most of that energy shoots out in every direction. Don’t we parents know this all too well!

One Time in India…

The point I’m trying to make is that there are fundamental contradictions between the conflicting demands of nature and social expectation. Once while travelling in a village in southern India I strongly recall watching a group of children playing and exploring. They would run to one end of the village and look at animals and plants, then run to the other edge and play a game, then sit for a time and talk, then run and explore something else. It wasn’t as chaotic as it looked, as the mothers throughout the village each loosely looked after the group of children as they went about their daily tasks.

Though informal, there was more than just pointless play going on. The children were learning to move, to interact as a group, and about their surroundings. There were very few cars, by the way…..

I note that much of parental stress is based on urban life and “don’t.” Don’t shout, or you’ll annoy the neighbors. Don’t cross the street or you’ll get squished. Don’t walk home alone. Don’t go outside in the rain. Etc.! While such prohibitions are what make our kids mature in our culture, it’s a great struggle that goes against their natural grain, I think.

Often the result is a kinetic but bored child glued to the television, computer or video game. Of course there are downsides to this as well, as we all know! There is evidence that too much fast-change television actually “hardwires” the growing brain to accept this hyper stimulation as the normal state of affairs. It’s therefore not much of a jump to understand that the sedate and focused life of school becomes difficult for a brain so-wired to endure.

Attention disorders are a big topic, and we’ll look more at them in future articles. To set the stage though, let’s say for now that the mind and body are joined at the hip – what affects the one invariably affects the other, for better or worse.

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Healing Quickly From Surgery

Posted on October 6, 2011. Filed under: Exercise, Pain | Tags: , , , , , , , |

 By Dr. Gregory Steiner~

First, many heart-felt thanks to all my patients, friends and neighbors who wished me well, helped me out and (of course!) made fun of me while I was crutch-bound following the cartilage transplant on my knee. Sorry – I’m walking again…..all by myself! Now see if you can catch me….

The surgery was extensive, involving a large, “full zipper” scar nearly a foot long; bone was cut and screwed back into place; several other procedures were packaged in as well to this 5-hour long “How I Spent My Christmas Vacation” episode. Rehab has started now that the bone has healed enough, though there is still a gap to fill in.

On to the point of the article – getting back to normality as quickly and surely as possible.

In my clinic, my job as an acupuncturist and chiropractor usually is to try and save patients from surgeries, though at times if I come across a condition that is severe, surprising or non-responsive, it’s equally my job to get those patients to a good surgeon; good medicine is all about teamwork.

Other times a patient will come in after having had a surgery to see how to speed recovery, or to recover to a higher level if he or she feels that improvement has stalled out. There is good news though no-one really looks forward to having surgery.

The three biggest fears usually revolve around pain, medication effects, and the temporary disability following many surgeries. The good news is that there are natural ways to reduce pain, (which lessens the need for as many medications) and to speed the repair process which in turn reduces temporary disability.

I’ll just tell the story as though I were the “case history;” I’ve often used myself as a guinea pig over my career to gain an empathetic understanding of my patients, and also to expand knowledge, and this time was no exception.

Starting a month and a half before surgery, I began a very specific exercise program to work the muscles around the knee, including methods to improve balance. The logic was simple: the stronger the muscles before the surgery, the less they will weaken during the non-weight bearing weeks of recovery. Same with balance – I had it on good authority (patient experience) that if someone doesn’t walk for an extended time, it’s almost as though the body “forgets” how, and each step is very unsteady wobbly – even if the muscles are getting stronger.

Next, I did extra acupuncture on points which assist musculoskeletal repair.  Third, I began to take a regimen of enzymes to reduce inflammation; Chinese herbs which speed trauma repair; and I also upgraded my basic diet to assist in healing as well.  Finally, I did engage in mental/psychological visualizations to make sure I entered the surgery with a good and positive healing attitude.

Surgery day

I came out of the long surgery and used the available morphine for a few hours only, then downgraded the pain meds to hydocodone which made the pain tolerable, and only at a nuisance level. At the end of the third day my leg just stopped hurting altogether except when moving……or one of the kids would bump it!

Usually people remain off work for 2-6 weeks with this surgery, but I was able to go back to the clinic the following week and work out of a wheelchair….which many patients found amusing in a black-humor sort of way! I went back to the gym after 6 days, but of course only to do moderate exercise at upper body machines.

Crutches followed for several weeks, and while the pain was not bad, the cartilage and bone needed time to knit.  Being off crutches has felt like freedom, and the strength continues to build very rapidly. Proper physical therapy (which is absolutely indispensable after surgery) has begun as well – again we had to wait until basic tissue healing had taken place.

Over the weeks since surgery the nutritional regimen has continued, though with modifications. Certain of the Chinese herbs needed changed to reflect the healing process, as did the enzymes. Upper body exercise continues at a much more vigorous level (the anesthesia did take some days to totally wear off); walking improves daily; and it’s time to start thinking about the other leg… not quite yet!

The summary is this: if it’s your time for surgery, if you “pre-hab,” rehab and effectively control your nutrition your pain will almost certainly be less and your recovery faster – or very much faster. Speed isn’t the only thing though – it’s setting the stage for the highest level of recovery that’s the most important factor when you undergo a surgical procedure that will change your body forever.

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