Headache from the Neck? Dealing with the “Cervicogenic Headache”

Posted on October 3, 2017. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Cervicogenic headache, Chiropractic, headache, Health, Neck Pain | Tags: , , , , , |

cervicogenic

Almost everyone has had a “headache” but did you know there are at least 150 different types of headaches?  There are vascular, condition specific, tension, cluster, migraine, environmental, disease related and the list goes on.  One of the most prevalent headaches I see at the clinic is that which is called the “Cervicogenic  Headache”.  It’s classified as a secondary headache which means that its caused by another issue other than directly in the head.  Pain is perceived as occurring in a part of the body other than its true source, a type of “referred pain”.  Simply put, perceived in the head from a source in the neck.

By identifying the type of headache, corrective measures can then be taken but it’s not always easy to determine the headaches because many symptoms and patterns are similar.  Cervicogenic headaches often feel as painful as a migraine and typically pain is located on one side of the head.  The pain seems to start at the back and wrap itself up and over the top to the side of the head.   Cervicogenic means that it’s coming from the neck, though neck pain may not be felt.  There are structures right at the base of the skull where it attaches to the spine along which arteries and nerves run.  If they get irritated or compressed, it can be problematic.  If you push at the base of the skull, it’s extremely tender, even light pressure above the nerve can hurt too.

For these types of headaches, a chiropractic adjustment can help dissipate that pain.  What happens here is that proper motion and relationship is being restored within the structures.  Abnormal tensions are reduced, pressure is lessened, muscles start to relax, and blood vessels return to normal flow and things start to heal in fairly short order.

Patients who are prone to neck and shoulder pain may experience these types of headaches more so than others.  It can be aggravated by sitting at computers or excessive cell phone use, especially with forward head posture because there is so much tension on the back of the neck.  If the head is dropped forward, the muscles then try to pull backwards, creating a kind of tug of war.  When the neck is out of alignment for long periods, chronic headaches can develop.  One of my top recommendations that you can practice at home and at any time is having good posture.  When you correct your posture, you take tension off the neck.  This can substantially reduce the occurrence of headaches.

Another recommendation is acupuncture. It can relax the muscles and also provide extra effects on the top of the head right in the muscular tension itself.  There are specific acupuncture points we use that directly target headaches. While chiropractic can work at the source of the headache, acupuncture can work directly on the source itself.  The good news is that there are natural therapies that can be used to help these headaches instead of ongoing dependence of medication.

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Stopping Neck & Shoulder Pain

Posted on April 6, 2017. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Aging, Chiropractic, Exercise, Healing, Health, inflammation, injury, rebuild, Neck Pain, Pain, Posture | Tags: , , , , |

dr greg neck exercises cut out

Dr. Greg shows some simple neck exercises

By Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic

Neck and shoulder pain come in many shapes and forms.  There’s the sharp & stabbing type, sometimes coming from an arthritic joint or perhaps from something as simple as bending it in the wrong direction.  Sometimes it feels like it’s a grinding sort of pain and other times it feels heavy and stiff.  Whether the neck pain is a muscular or pinched nerve type, it usually doesn’t originate just in the neck but the uppermost part of the back, where a lot of muscles are activated and connect.  In order to be thorough and correct the problem, all these areas need to be addressed and assessed.

Oftentimes, headaches are caused by neck & shoulder issues.  If the muscles in the front of the neck are spasming, it can create a headache on the side of the head.  Tight trapezius and shoulder girdle areas can refer pain up the back of the head, and at the base of the skull, the deeper layer or muscles, when contracted or spasming can irritate blood vessels or nerves and produce “migraine” symptoms.

The feeling of an electrical shock or jolt running down the arm may indicate a nerve compression of some sort while a tightness or achy pain could result from a muscle strain from training at the gym.

The type of pain itself can often help identify the problem and therapies to be used for pain relief.  Ice packs are great to help reduce sharp pain while a stiff pain can be helped with ice and then heat.  The most effective therapy I have found is a combination of both chiropractic and acupuncture.  The chiropractic adjustment can help relieve muscle tension and restore some motion on just the first visit.  Subsequent visits keep increasing that range of motion, resulting in pain relief and longer term can restore proper alignment.  Add in the use of electrical stimulation and infrared heat and spasms and tightness can be also be reduced.  Acupuncture can also give a pretty satisfying analgesic effect by helping reduce muscle tension and inflammation.

One thing that can help reduce and prevent neck & shoulder pain is to focus on mobility and correct posture.  Gentle stretching and proper movement can keep the areas flexible and lubricated.  If you sit at the computer all day with your head leaning forward and hardly move, the strained position will eventually destroy the curve of the neck.  Inflammation also occurs, and nothing seems to fit in the right place.  The ligaments are no longer in the correct position and the front muscles start to shrink (because they are always contracted) while the back of the neck muscles are over stretched and weakened.  A great deal of this can be remedied by taking breaks to gently stretch the neck & shoulders, having the computer monitor & chair at the right height, as well as sitting tall and upright with the head in alignment with the shoulders.  The earlier you catch & remedy the problem, the faster you’ll see relief and following these simple suggestions can help deter that pain from the start.

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Physical Training & Avoiding Injuries

Posted on March 21, 2017. Filed under: Acupuncturist, Aging, Chiropractic, Exercise, Healing, injury, rebuild, Pain, Posture, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

monica back exercise

Monica Steiner at work in the gym

By Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

“I keep getting hurt – how can I train to gain without getting injured anymore?” This and similar questions are only slightly less common than “What did I do to myself?”

Let’s face it, little is more frustrating than being knocked off the training track once again. Finding a sticking point or plateau is bad enough, but what I might call “break down points” is probably even worse. The difference is critical – a plateau is that inability to surpass a certain desired goal in size, strength or muscularity. A breaking point is one of those times when “Oops, it happened again,” such as when training weights approach a certain level at which a back, shoulder or perhaps knee always seems to give way.

The essential bottom-line point is that if you are injured over and over again, your training will suffer. If your training suffers, it is not possible to reach your peak cardiovascular fitness. So, what are we to do?  Whatever the most motivating end goals, the underlying requirement is training consistency. A week here or a month there is of no value, other than in giving one a sense that “efforts are being made, I’m trying…” Largely futile and possibly dangerous – it used to be called “the weekend warrior” syndrome, which helps fill the waiting rooms of Monday morning chiropractic clinics as these individuals exert beyond what is their safe capacity.

The next essential step is to do the exercises correctly. One of my physician mentors used to have a saying – “If it’s not right, it’s all wrong!” He didn’t pick up this phrase from school however, but from an elite military unit of which he was once a part. He himself was a super-fit, super motivated highly intelligent man with very big uppers arms and a fighting spirit to match. His relevant point in his saying however, was that in times of high stress, structures and procedures had to be tip-top, or something would break.

In weight training, this refers to cheating on form while the body is under the greatest load, usually when performing the hard reps late in a set, or when using very low reps and very heavy weights. It’s then that the weak links give way, and injury occurs.

Sorry, but no one training method or scheme produces the perfect size, fitness, strength while taking no effort, being fun to do all the time and perfectly safe.  But, the real baseline is consistency and ability to replicate useful workouts time and time again while simultaneously performing them correctly without error.  The principle behind training without getting hurt is to stress the muscles without damaging the supporting structures such as ligaments and joint capsules in order to grow and maximize them without causing them injury.  If you are not sure if you’re doing something correctly, find an expert who can help and get that extra insight.

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How to Naturally Boost Your Testosterone

Posted on December 29, 2016. Filed under: Exercise, Health, Hormone, Testosterone, Weightloss | Tags: , , , , , |

Dr. Greg & Monica bodybuilding

Dr. Greg & wife, Monica

~by Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic

Over the years, testosterone levels have diminished a great deal in men and women both.  Average numbers for young men used to range in the 800’s. In the 1940’s,  an average, 40-45 year old male’s numbers had decreased down to the 700’s and by early 2000’s,  it had dipped into the 500’s. In my clinic today, we are seeing numbers for the majority of males in the 100’s-300’s.  Clearly there is a generalized decrease.  So why is it?

Years ago, in past generations, work would be done by 5:30pm, the male would come home and eat, and usually would rest and just relax after a hard day of work. This included sleeping in on the weekends and taking it easy.  Food was less processed.  Fast forward to today and it’s usually go-go-go 24/7 for both men and women.  There are no breaks, there’s high stress levels and poor quality nutrition. Many people suffer from the following…

Symptoms of low testosterone include:
Fatigue
Depression
Irritability & mood swings
Inability to build and maintain muscle mass
Weight gain
Hair loss
Breast enlargement (in men)
Hot flashes and night sweats
Low sex drive
What does Testosterone do for us?

Having optimal levels of testosterone can help you:
Lose weight
Build muscle mass
Boost your sex drive
Increase bone density
Improve memory and cognitive function
Decrease hot flashes & night sweats

Fortunately, there are ways to naturally increase those testosterone levels…

1. Take Control of Your Stress. Several hormones work against testosterone, one being cortisol. If you’re under constant stress, your body will churn out a steady stream of the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone actually blocks the effects of testosterone so your body will be less able to create testosterone. So, controlling your stress is important for keeping up your testosterone.

2. Get Enough Rest.  If a person has unrelenting stress and cannot sleep, then it’s hard for the body to shut down externally to turn on internally to produce testosterone.  A lack of sleep affects a variety of hormones and chemicals in your body and rest is needed to restore them.  Make sleep a priority, aim for 7 to 8 hours a night.

3. Get to a Healthy Weight.   Overweight or obese men often have low testosterone levels.  Losing the extra weight can help bring testosterone back up.  For underweight men, getting weight up to a healthy level can also have a positive effect on the hormone. Studies are now showing that the more fat you carry, the lower your testosterone levels will be.

4. Reduce Sugar. Testosterone levels decrease after you eat sugar, which is likely because the sugar leads to a high insulin level, another factor leading to low testosterone.  Eat foods that increase testosterone production. These include:
Tomatoes
Red peppers
Cruciferous vegetables
Alfalfa sprouts
Apples and pineapples.
Olives & olive oil
Coconut oil
Grass fed butter
Raw nuts such as walnuts, almonds, pecans
Eggs
Avocados
Grass fed meats

5. Increase Omega Oils.  Most people lack a sufficient quantity of Omega oils which are the backbones of hormones.  Whether it is from a supplement or increased intake of food sources like fish, walnuts, chia, flax or hemp seeds, a person needs good fats to make a good hormone.

6. Reduce Carbohydrate Intake.  Immediately following any high-carbohydrate meal there is a temporary drop in testosterone levels. If you are eating 3-4+ carb dominant meals per day, this will lead to lower testosterone levels overall. Try to limit your consumption of starchy or simple carbohydrates to the 2-3 hour window after your training session for the day. This will ensure that your body is adept at handling the insulin spike a little better, and will also limit your consumption of carbs.  Try starting your day with a high protein/medium fat/low carbohydrate meal like eggs or turkey bacon, along with some green vegetables and avocado/nuts. Most people who switch from a high carb breakfast, to a high protein/moderate fat breakfast report increases in energy, satiety (feeling full), and almost always end up leaner from that one change.

7. Change up your Exercise.  Testosterone adapts to your body’s needs. If you spend most of your time lying on the couch, your brain gets the message that you don’t need as much to bolster your muscles and bones.  When you’re physically active, your brain sends out the signal for more of the hormone but know that longer workouts are not necessarily better. Exercise type and duration can influence your testosterone levels.  If you regularly engage in long, drawn-out workouts with lengthy rest periods or excessive endurance exercise, then your testosterone levels may actually see a reduction.  Workouts lasting longer than about an hour may begin to spike cortisol levels and subsequently decrease testosterone. Additionally, research has shown that a quicker rest period between sets (1 minute vs 3 minutes) triggered higher acute hormonal responses following a bout of resistance training. So, keep your rest periods short and engage in vigorous exercise like weight training incorporating big compound lifts like squats, dead lifts, bench presses and lunges or running hills in order for you to maximize your testosterone response.  Workouts should be between 15-45 minutes up to an hour but no longer, even with rest breaks included. While cardio is important and  it’s good for the circulation, it’s not the most effective way to produce testosterone.  You want to focus more toward the amount of exertion, not just how long you can keep endurance up.

Adding in supplements like zinc, vitamin d, and b-complex have also shown to help testosterone.  Even body building experts (like my wife) believe that eating at certain times during the day and frequent meals with controlled portions also help.  I recommend get your blood levels tested first to find out where you fall on the scale and devising a plan from there.

 

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The Concussion & Whiplash Connection

Posted on October 4, 2016. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Children, Chiropractic, Health, injury, rebuild, Pain | Tags: , , , , , , , |

football-playerBy Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

 

Head injuries can happen in a variety of ways and are more prevalent in activities that involve a lot of physical movement.  Playing an aggressive sport like football, soccer, wrestling, or any such type; one is bound to get knocked or bounced around a bit.  Following a hard hit to the head is a possible concussion.  A person can bounce back normally from a low-grade concussion but there are warning signs to look for and keep in mind:

Nausea and vomiting
Headache
Blurred vision
Dizziness
Lethargic and slow to move
Unable to concentrate or remember
Balancing or coordination problems
Slurred speech
Ringing in the ears

With these symptoms there is some varying degree of concussion experienced and should be looked over by a physician to be on the safe side. Simply put, the impact on the head causes the brain to bang against the inside of the skull and create swelling or trauma.  The extra pressure can lead to cognitive impairment and some of the symptoms seen.  Something else that is often overlooked is the neck trauma.  If a person gets concussed, they often get whiplashed.  Sometimes with a hit, the head snaps which jerks the neck back and forth.  Maybe there’s a fall, so there could be a twist in there too.  So, the secondary damage is what happens within the neck area.

Recently I had a patient who took quite a hard fall and had symptoms of a grade 1 concussion but also had a quite painful neck afterwards.  Often the neck or back issue isn’t felt until after the concussion settles down.  Even if the concussion problem heals, there can still be a problem in the neck which could last for several days or even months.   With whiplash, such as in an auto accident, if the person is young and healthy, there could be damage up to a point but if you deal with a slightly older individual, who has an arthritic neck and their joints don’t fit or align properly, their tissues and muscles are less elastic and they are likely to be damaged far more seriously.

Chiropractic care and acupuncture can be very helpful.  It is important to gently work and mobilize the neck and examine for proper function and proper movement very carefully.  The upper back should also be checked because a certain amount of neck pain often originates from the upper back.  All the muscles and tissues are connected to one another so we work with the upper back to make sure the spine, joints, and muscles are working properly because they are the base that the neck sits upon.  The acupuncture can help with relaxation of the injured muscles helping reduce inflammation and being able to help with decreasing pain as well.

Accidents happen, it’s a part of life, but getting the proper treatment and care is an important step which shouldn’t be missed.

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Thinking About Acupuncture, Don’t Fear the Needle

Posted on July 29, 2016. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Acupuncturist, Children, Health, inflammation, Pain, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

~by Dr. Gregory Steiner

Child receiving AcupunctureMany of us have heard about the benefits of natural healing, the thought of not being dependent on medications, the ability for the body to function optimally based upon proper diet and exercise, and holistic therapies that can heal us of afflictions. Eastern medicine has educated us on the benefits of massage, herbal and aromatherapy, and even acupuncture.  Unfortunately, many of us are reluctant to seek acupuncture treatment because we have a fear, a fear of the unknown and a fear of needles.  But what does the “typical” thought of needle conjure in the mind? Maybe we were traumatized when we received immunization shots as a child, anesthesia shots for fillings, or some other type of injection leaving our brains to associate needles with pain and uncomfortable situations.  Luckily, acupuncture performed correctly by a trained professional causes virtually no pain!

I’m afraid of needles, does acupuncture hurt?
Rest assured that acupuncture needles are in no way similar to hypodermic needles.  First of all, a medical hypodermic needle has a hollow point and sharp edge and must “break” the skin to either insert or withdraw fluid. Acupuncture needles are solid, round-point thin and wire-like and are sterilized and disposable.  With their small size, they are more comparable to a strand of hair.  They are hardly like needles at all.  The depth the needle goes is so shallow that it doesn’t even draw blood.  A helpful comparison is that  between 20 and 40 acupuncture needles can actually fit inside the hollow shaft point of a hypodermic needle (depending on size).  These needles are so small and thin that some of them can actually be passed through a balloon without popping it!

What does it feel like?
Many patients describe the feeling of the needle as either a tingling or pulsating sensation, or a dull ache which soon passes, or not feeling anything at all being inserted.  It only takes a second for the doctors to insert the needle and when working with an experienced practitioner, should relatively be painless.  If by chance, there is discomfort, the needle can be quickly removed and repositioned.  Pain isn’t something that should be felt or elicited; in fact, the acupuncture is used to do the opposite and help alleviate pain.

What is it used for?
Acupuncture can help with a variety of issues, including reduction or elimination of pain, whether it be for the back, neck, shoulders or joints to name a few.  It can help with headaches, stress & anxiety, and even help balance the body which in turn can positively affect the thyroid, menstruation issues, and hormones. It has also been used to increase energy levels and has been effective in weight loss and allergy symptom relief.  The list can go on and on for the benefits that acupuncture can provide.

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Repairing Your Body After Injury

Posted on July 14, 2016. Filed under: Aging, Exercise, Healing, Health, injury, rebuild, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Heat map Acupuncture doll

By Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

In its simplest terms, aging could be described as the body’s failure to repair. We grow, we mature, we reach various physical and mental peaks, and then…..we age.  When we are young our hormones, e.g. testosterone and growth hormone – are at high levels and command our bodies to grow and repair; our circulatory system is efficient as it transports those hormones and necessary nutrients towards muscles and organs; we have more enzymes that we know what to do with that make the chemical process necessary for growth and repair work at super speed. Though other factors are involved, hormones, transportation, enzymes and nutrients form the basis for growth, and its first cousin – repair.

Have you noted when an athlete of say, 20 years of age sustains an injury he or she seems able to be back on the field in just a few weeks? If an athlete of age 30 sustains an identical injury, it’s often much longer before return to play. At age 40, who knows?  The younger athlete’s speed of recovery demonstrates all those factors in play, working fast and in a coordinated way.

Of course with every injury comes scar tissue. If you tear a hamstring, it will eventually heal, but somewhere within the muscle will likely be a cluster of tough, stringy tissue that while strong, is nowhere near as elastic as the original muscle, nor does it have the same circulation properties which means the scar won’t receive or use nutrients as effectively as original tissue. One thing that I’d say every aging fitness person or athlete knows very, very well is what a painful body feels like. All the accumulated injuries of younger years are still present in scar tissue, and as the body loses efficiency and elasticity, the aging athlete feels them all the more. That’s why putting a strong emphasis on ‘repair’ is crucial to prolonging your active life and living a vigorous lifestyle.

While a team doctor for Master’s weightlifters in Scotland, I would often converse with coaches and lifters who had travelled to Eastern Europe and Russia to train, learn and exchange ideas. Though many bits and pieces of knowledge were exchanged during these travels, two factors truly stuck out. First, the emphasis on conditioning no matter what the sport practiced; and second, how much effort they would put into restoration.  One way of summing up the ‘conditioning’ emphasis was to say ‘an athlete is as good as his legs,’ meaning that legs take real effort to condition, and if the legs are strong and have stamina the whole person probably does too.

Repair then, is replacing what has been lost, mending what has been torn, restoring arrangements in what has been disrupted and so on. To live is to be injured, but through nutrition, good body mechanics, enzymatic replacement, and the right type of conditioning your body has the ability to restore itself.

 

 

 

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What is Sciatica and What Can I Do About It?

Posted on June 3, 2016. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Chiropractic, Healing, Pain | Tags: , , , , , , |

drgregportrait1test2~by Dr. Greg Steiner

Sciatica is something that strikes terror into the hearts of people who have had it before. It’s referred to as a pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back, through the hips or buttocks down the hamstring and into the leg.  Some people have described the pain like a blood pressure cuff contracting around the ankle.  They may feel  a fire or electricity in the leg or even weird sensations of ants crawling on them, but whatever it is, it’s not right and it usually gets worse with sitting.  They’ll start sitting sideways or in different positions and do anything to get comfortable.  Rarely do pain meds even help in this situation.  Some folks think that it has to do with circulation, but that’s not the case.  The simple formula is that numbness + tingling = nerves.  If you cross your legs too long and your foot goes to sleep, you’ve basically cut off some nerve for a time and when it starts to fire again, it hurts for a bit and then it’s ok.

There are a couple of different causes for Sciatica.  Sometimes it will be a twisted muscle or vertebrae in the back, with muscles pulling this way and that which tugs on the nerve and makes pain go down the leg.  Another way is when someone bends and picks something up, the disc between the vertebrae can be squeezed and when it bulges out, it pokes a nerve.  If it pokes a nerve, it doesn’t hurt where the nerve gets poked, it hurts down the leg.

If left untreated, sciatica can lead to surgery but we prefer a much more conservative approach.  We’ll go through a checklist to determine exactly where the problem is and we work with it to see if it starts to feel better by using chiropractic, acupuncture and body mechanics modification.   Other things that can help relieve sciatica that you can do at home include:

  • Specific exercises for pain relief
  • Icing –best used when sore or swollen
  • Heat – best used when the area feels stiff
  • Natural anti-inflammatories/ herbal therapies
  • Trigger points for self-massage

One of the best things you can do for Sciatica is prevent it in the first place.   The biggest cause of sciatica is actually lifting or handling objects incorrectly.  So, be sure to “Think before you lift”.   Ask yourself, “Am I standing in the correct position?”, “Are there any handling aids that can help?”   The second biggest cause is sitting down for too long which can decay the spine & disc.  When you sit too long, your spine is not moving and flexing thereby prohibiting an adequate supply of nutrients to the area.  If you still feel the pain, just be sure to get checked out with a thorough exam to determine exactly what the problem is and how it should be handled specifically to your needs.

 

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Getting Tired Too Fast? The Key is Building Endurance

Posted on May 5, 2016. Filed under: Aging, Exercise, Health, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

drgregportrait1test2.pngBy Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

Endurance, also known as stamina, comes in several flavors. We have general stamina – the ability to perform ever so well the necessities and luxuries of our daily lives, without undo fatigue or effort. (Life should NOT feel like an uphill-both-ways struggle! No, not even when we are ‘older’!) More specifically, we have cardiovascular stamina in which our heart, lungs and blood vessels work in coordinated harmony to let us safely exert ourselves in accordance with the needs of the situation we find ourselves in. We also have local muscular endurance, in which specific muscles happily find themselves able to repeat a needed motion again and again and again. We also have an ‘isometric’ stamina which enables us to remain in a position for as long as is needed.

When you read about aging as related to endurance, you read conflicting statements, e.g. “I get tired faster now that I’m older;” vs. “Endurance is the old man’s game.” What are we to make of this apparent contradiction?  Several things act to explain this. First, we have to look quite honestly about how the person of high stamina has lived his or her life compared to the person of low stamina. Is their weight still good? Has their diet been healthy? Has their stress level increased or decreased? Have they exercised diligently and appropriately? Genetics always, always play a role, but no matter what genetic cards we have been dealt, the answer to good aging is always the same: play the hand as best you can, wisely and diligently maximize your genetic strengths and arrange your lifestyle to counteract your weaknesses.

In an athletic sense it often comes to pacing. For example, young people run faster than older people and their ability to recover after exertion is often quicker as well. So, if an older person tries to do repeat sprints with little recovery, he or she might be very disappointed if they try to compete with a younger person. However, some older athletes become very good at getting into a pace and keeping that pace up for a very long time. The legendary Tarahumara people of the Copper Canyon area of Mexico are renowned for the endurance running of their older members, with distances reported to be 100 miles or more, and sometimes kicking a round wooden ball. Of course, they have a lifetime of training and cultural expectations that such apparent feats of stamina are definitely in the realm of possibility.

Many factors can contribute to increasing your stamina.  Basic cardio, high repetition weight training, hydration, and even deep breathing which boosts oxygen intake can all help.  But there is no substitute for having a good proper diet.  It’s better for everything including stamina.  Include protein, healthy fats, low glycemic index foods including vegetables (think veggies that don’t convert to sugar readily) and reduce carbohydrates unless you are doing strenuous activity for at least 30 minutes.  If you feed the “machine” right, it will help you reap the benefits of better strength, vitality and health overall.

 

 

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Why Strength is Important, Especially as We Age

Posted on May 5, 2016. Filed under: Aging, Chiropractic, Exercise, Health | Tags: , , , , , |

g&m1

Dr. Greg & Monica Steiner

By Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

What is the purpose of strength, anyway? Well, at the most fundamental level it’s to enable us to move our bodies though, over, under and around any pathway we find ourselves travelling on, or to surmount any obstacle that impedes our travel. Second, strength enables us to physically manipulate and transport our tools, equipment, and all resources we need for both ourselves and our ‘important people’ to live and thrive. And if these demands of life are satisfied, we are free to develop the strength necessary for sports, athletics and recreation, all of which enhance our lives. Remember, our bodies are essentially anti-gravity machines designed for motion! The greater the strength in our body, the better we defy gravity and the less it impedes us.  Climbing the stairs or carrying bags of groceries become easier just by virtue of being stronger.

Many of us have heard that we lose muscle-tone as we age.  There may be a slight decline, but not so much because of the aging, but because we quit the movement.  Strength decline is mostly from misuse.  Lifestyle changes, stress and poor diet combined with a more sedentary lifestyle can drop testosterone levels and decrease our muscle mass.  Pain also limits us but if we can train intelligently (what is best for your body at the time) we can minimize this decline and even reverse it.

This brings up the question as to whether you actually need to lift heavy weights. Well, the answer depends on several things: your actual needs; your desire and motivation; and your actual physical ability to handle heavy loads.  If your ‘need’ is just to be fit for daily life in the city, you probably don’t need to lift heavy weights. If you have a physical job or hobby or are engaged in sports you may need a heavier program. If lifting heavy actually is a motivation and challenge to you, there is value in pursuing it because to engage in a positive challenge gives life that much more meaning. However, the final arbiter is whether your joints and muscle attachments actually thrive under the load; if you are constantly injured you would do well to rethink your goals and program, or risk accumulated injuries to point you can barely lift at all.  Consider exercises that use your bodyweight for resistance.  This is easier on the joints and tendons.  This includes exercises such as Yoga, Pilates, exercise bands or even dance.

Lastly, for the ladies, be rest assured that lifting weights is not going to give you a massive bulky she-hulk stature!  Most women don’t possess enough natural testosterone to build that much size nor do they eat the large amount of protein necessary to gain such mass.  As a matter of fact, most of the toned and lean women we see actually lift weights in order to produce their shapely curves.

 

 

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