After performing a vigorous workout or incurring a sports injury, many of us still rely on ice packs to reduce soreness and swelling of our muscles. But a new animal study finds that icing actually alters the molecular environment inside our injured muscles by slowing down our natural healing process. The study adds to mounting evidence that icing muscles after strenuous exercise is not just ineffective but counterproductive.
Most gyms, locker rooms or athletes’ freezers will have ice pack, they are routinely used on aching limbs after grueling exercise and injuries. The rationale for the use of ice is obvious, is that it numbs the affected area, dulling pain, and keeps swelling and inflammation at bay, which many athletes believe helps their aching muscles heal more rapidly.
But, in recent years, exercise scientists have found evidence that contra indicates the supposed benefits of icing. In a 2011 study, for example, people who iced a torn calf muscle felt just as much leg pain later as those who left their sore leg alone, and they were unable to return to work or other activities any sooner. Similarly, a 2012 scientific review concluded that athletes who iced sore muscles after strenuous exercise — those who immersed themselves in ice baths — regained muscular strength and power more slowly than their unchilled teammates. And a sobering 2015 study of weight training found that men who regularly applied ice packs after workouts developed less muscular strength, size and endurance than those who recovered without ice.
But little has been known about how icing really affects sore, damaged muscles at a microscopic level. What happens deep within those tissues when we ice them, and how do any molecular changes there affect and possibly impede the muscles’ recovery?
A new study, published in March in the Journal of Applied Physiology, researchers at Kobe University in Japan gathered 40 young, healthy, male MICE. Then, using electrical stimulation of the animals’ lower legs to contract their calf muscles repeatedly, they simulated, a muscle-ripping leg day at the gym.
Rodents’ muscles, like ours, are made up of fibers that stretch and contract with any movement. Overload those fibers during unfamiliar or exceptionally strenuous activities and you damage them. After healing, the affected muscles and their fibers should grow stronger.
They gathered muscle samples from some animals immediately after their simulated exertions and then strapped tiny ice packs onto the legs of about half of the mice, while leaving the rest unchilled. The scientists continued to collect muscle samples from members of both groups of mice every few hours and then days after their pseudo-workout, for the next two weeks.
Then they microscopically scrutinized all of the tissues, with a particular focus on what might be going on with inflammatory cells. As most of us know, inflammation is the body’s first response to any infection or injury, with pro-inflammatory immune cells rushing to the afflicted area, where they fight off invading germs or mop up damaged bits of tissue and cellular debris. Anti-inflammatory cells then move in, quieting the inflammatory ruction, and encouraging healthy new tissue to form. But inflammation is often accompanied by pain and swelling, which many people understandably dislike and use ice to dampen.
Looking at the mouse leg muscles, the researchers saw clear evidence of damage to many of the muscles’ fibers. They also noted, in the tissue that had not been iced, a rapid muster of pro-inflammatory cells. Within hours, these cells began busily removing cellular debris, until, by the third day after the contractions, most of the damaged fibers had been cleared away. At that point, anti-inflammatory cells showed up, together with specialized muscle cells that rebuild tissue, and by the end of two weeks, these muscles appeared fully healed.
Not so in the iced muscle, where recovery seemed markedly delayed. It took seven days in these tissues to reach the same levels of pro-inflammatory cells as on day three in the unchilled muscle, with both the clearance of debris and arrival of anti-inflammatory cells similarly slowed. Even after two weeks, these muscles showed lingering molecular signs of tissue damage and incomplete healing.
The upshot of this data is that “in our experimental situation, icing retards healthy inflammatory responses,” says Takamitsu Arakawa, a professor of medicine at Kobe University Graduate School of Health Sciences, who oversaw the new study.
But, as Dr. Arakawa points out, their experimental model simulates serious muscle damage, such as a strain or tear, and not simple soreness or fatigue. The study also, obviously, involved mice, which are not people, even if our muscles share a similar makeup. In future studies, Dr. Arakawa and his colleagues plan to study gentler muscle damage in animals and people.
But for now, his study’s findings suggest, he says, that damaged, aching muscles know how to heal themselves and our best response is to chill out and leave the ice packs in the cooler.
Icing after eccentric contraction-induced muscle damage perturbs the disappearance of necrotic muscle fibers and phenotypic dynamics of macrophages in miceMasato Kawashima
07 MAY 2021https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.01069.2020
IMPROVE YOUR STRENGTH & BALANCE-
Taking a tumble can cause serious injury that affects your everyday life and independence. One of the best ways you can reduce your risk of slipping, tripping and falling is to improve your strength and balance. Almost any kind of physical activity is helpful – but some activities deliver greater benefits than others.
Strong Legs for StabilityStrengthening your leg muscles can reduce the chance of falling if you do lose your balance. Strong legs will stabilize you and can make the difference between staying on your feet and hitting the ground. While any activity that uses your legs is good, it’s important to find something you enjoy. The best exercise plan in the world won’t help if you don’t want to do it. Here are some ideas:
Walking requires no special equipment other than a pair of supportive shoes. Make an after-dinner walk part of your routine or leave the car in the driveway and take a walk to pick up light groceries. There are many simple ways to get moving more often.
Exercises that target specific leg muscles can be easily done at home – there’s no need to join an expensive gym. If you enjoy being with a group, community centers often have exercise programs for different age groups. Here’s a simple strengthening exercise to try:
This exercise can be done while watching TV or sitting at the kitchen table. While seated, straighten-out one leg and gently lift it off the ground to a height that’s comfortable for you. Hold for 10 seconds if you can. Put that leg down. Extend and lift the other leg. As your strength grows, add ankle weights to give your legs even more of a work out.
Boost Your BalanceYour sense of balance is what keeps you on your feet – without it you would not be able to stand upright. Poor eyesight, some medications and some health conditions can cause dizziness or other balance problems.
Keep these tips in mind:
These are just a few ideas to consider. Remember, anything that gets you on your feet and moving will help maintain strength and balance.
What’s a Good Goal?
Aim for 20 minutes of exercise at least three days a week.
Even better – build some activity into every day.
Your independence is worth it.
Stretching and an active lifestyle are often recommended to help reduce back pain and speed the recovery process following an auto injury. Improving flexibility through stretching and/or yoga is also an excellent way to avoid future injuries. Depending upon one’s individual injury and level of pain, the exercise and rehabilitation program may vary. The key is to start slowly and increase the repetitions as you feel stronger. Consult with Dr. Walker, prior to starting a new exercise program, especially when associated with low back pain. Dr. Yost, can help develop an individualized program and provide instruction on proper stretching technique, which can be modified for your specific needs.
Healthy Living Starts Here -
Stretching Tips To get the maximum benefit from stretching, proper technique is essential. Dr. Yost offers the following tips: • Warm up your muscles before stretching by walking or doing other gentle movements for 10 to 15 minutes. • Slowly increase your stretch as you feel your muscles relax. Don’t bounce. • Stretch slowly and gently, only to the point of mild tension, not to the point of pain. • Don’t hold your breath. Inhale deeply before each stretch and exhale during the stretch. • As your flexibility increases, consider increasing the number of repetitions. • Stop immediately if you feel any severe pain. Passive Stretches Passive stretches help facilitate movement in the affected muscle or joint. Stretches should be held for 15 to 30 seconds, allowing the muscles to gradually relax and lengthen. Stretches should never cause pain nor should you feel tingling in the extremities. Stop immediately if you experience any discomfort.
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Lie on your back with both legs straight. Bend one leg at the knee and extend one leg straight up in the air. Loop a towel over the arch of the lifted foot, and gently pull on the towel as you push against it with your foot; you should feel a stretch in the back of the thigh. Hold for 30 seconds. Relax. Repeat 3 times per leg. This stretch may be performed several times per day.
The piriformis muscle runs through the buttock and can contribute to back and leg pain. To stretch this muscle, lie on the back and cross one leg over the other; gently pull the knee toward the chest until a stretch is felt in the buttock area. Hold for 30 seconds. Relax. Repeat 3 times. This stretch may be performed several times per day.
Lie on your stomach. Use your arms to push your upper body off the floor. Hold for 30 seconds. Let your back relax and sag. Repeat. This stretch may be performed several times per day.
Active stretches facilitate movement and improve strength. Stretches should never cause pain, nor should you feel tingling in the extremities. Stop immediately if you experience any discomfort.
Lie on your stomach. Tighten the muscles in one leg and raise it 1 to 2 inches from the floor. Do the same with the other leg. Repeat 20 times with each leg. This exercise may be performed several times per day.
Lie on your back with your knees flexed and your feet flat on the floor. Keep the knees together. Tighten the muscles of the lower abdomen and buttocks; slowly raise your hips from the floor and lower your back to the resting position. Repeat this exercise 20 times. This exercise may be performed several times per day.
Kneel on the mat with weight on your hands and knees. Palms should be directly under your shoulders and knees hip-width apart. Slowly raise your right arm, and extend it forward parallel to the floor. Balance by contracting your abdominal muscles. Keep your right palm parallel to the floor, then lift your left leg, and straighten it behind you. Hold the opposing limbs off the ground for 30 to 60 seconds without arching your back. Switch sides. Repeat 3 to 6 times.
Use the Mouse or Input Device Safely to Avoid Neck Pain
The further you reach to hold and use the mouse, the more strain you place on your neck. There are alternative techniques and equipment that may help.
• Change your position to keep your elbows relaxed at your sides with the mouse directly in front of you, not to the side.
• For precision tasks, move the mouse from the wrist, not the fingers. For tasks not requiring as much precision, try to move the whole arm to avoid overuse.
• Make sure the mouse fits your hand. If it is too small, squeezing the mouse may cause hand cramping. This also places strain on your wrist and may cause pressure on the median nerve in the carpal tunnel.
• Remove watches or bracelets that interfere with movement.
• If you keep resting on your wrist, consider putting a thin gel pad under it for support.
• Adjust your cursor speed. If it is too fast, you will grip the mouse tighter to gain control. If it is too slow, you will repeatedly grasp and pick up the mouse to reposition it. Place the top line of the glass of the monitor at eye level. If you use bifocals, lower the screen slightly until your head is level and you are not looking upward.
• To reduce eye strain, adjust the brightness and contrast controls, as well as the ambient room light, to make them equal.
• Avoid glare. Place the monitor perpendicular to windows or draw the blinds. A glare filter can also help.
Sit Properly to avoid back pain
• Take the time to adjust the chair to fit you.
• If you have neck or shoulder discomfort, raise the armrest of your chair to support your forearm without pushing the shoulder toward the ear.
• The ideal chair for these types of jobs places you in an upright posture and encourages full arm movement. A pear-shaped back design provides spinal support while freeing your shoulder blade and arm to move properly.
Take Advantage of New Technology
• A keyboard that has a detached number pad or one positioned on the left can help keep your elbows relaxed. If you need to do significant typing, simply slide the chair to center it in front of the keyboard.
• If your computer work requires you to draw, graphics tablets can help. These call for a more natural and relaxed position of the hand, wrist, and forearm. They also encourage healthier whole-arm movement and reduce contact pressure on the sensitive carpal tunnel. Once you are used to graphics tablets, they offer increased control and precision. Choose the smallest tablet that lets you comfortably do your job.
• A second trackball or mouse on the left of the keyboard allows you to give your right arm a break (and vice versa). Use the secondary device for email, navigating documents and the Internet, and other non-precision tasks.
Adjust Your Monitor
• Center the screen in front of you.
• If you use two monitors and use each screen equally, place them so you are seated where they meet in the middle, so you look to the left and to the right equally.
• If you use one monitor more than the other, place the primary monitor centered in front of you and the secondary monitor directly next to it, slightly angled toward you.
• The screen should be about an arm’s length away.
Rest Breaks and Task Rotation to prevent joint pain
• To work properly, muscles need a break to rid themselves of lactic acid and waste products while delivering oxygen to the tissues to prevent overuse and damage.
• Take 15-second micro-breaks each hour. During the breaks, shake out your arms and stretch your wrists. Computer users should also frequently look away from their screen and focus on something about 20 feet away. This allows a break for the eye muscles.
• If you’re concerned about taking too many breaks, spread out tasks such as walking to the fax and copier, returning phone calls and meeting with co-workers throughout the day. If you continue to experience pain or discomfort while using a mouse, talk to your Olympia Chiropractor at Full Spectrum Chiropractic and consider having an on-site ergonomic evaluation with Dr. Yost.
Call : 360-269-3448
Have you ever tried to lift your child’s backpack?
With textbooks, notebooks, three-ring binders, and now tablets your child is loaded too heavily. Over time carrying this extra weight, can cause back injuries and pain that might last into adulthood. Prevention is key and you as a parent can help.
This school year, choose an ergonomic backpack for your child—and make sure it fits just right so it won’t cause your child discomfort.
Buy a backpack that fits properly!
When you take children back-to-school shopping, they won’t base their decisions on ergonomics. Forget the superhero on the back of the bag and choose one that is the right size, first off. Too often children are walking around with backpacks 2 or 3 sizes too big for their backs. With too big of a bag children will find more stuff to place in them.
Dr. Walker encourages parents to start with the size of their back: From the shoulder blades to the waist that makes a rectangle, and that's where you want the backpack to sit.”
Avoid the temptation to buy a larger carrier that your little one can grow into over five or six years. You need a pack that fits your child right now.
Every day have your child unpack their knapsack and repack them the night before school, remove unneeded items.
Remember you want it to be snug, but not uncomfortable. Make sure your child doesn’t fling their bag over one shoulder or let it hang down below the back. Instead, it should sit comfortably in the middle of their back, without extending over the shoulders or past the top of the hip bones. This will prevent neck pain.
Your child should take regular breaks if they're wearing their backpack for long periods of time, which they will.
Good posture is a must: Stand up straight! Posture with a hunched back, a stance that lets the body fold in instead of keeping it straight is a large contributing factor to back pain. When putting on their backpacks, encourage your child to avoid lifting the backpack from the ground, but rather pack it on a tabletop and slip it on from there.
See your local chiropractor, for a spinal check up to support your child’s healthy back moving correctly.
Types of Neck Pain
Neck pain is not uncommon. For some people, it is a slight discomfort they wake up with each morning that subsides within a few minutes. For others, neck pain can become very painful and chronic. If you are experiencing any level of pain, the help of your olympia chiropractor is essential. Dr. Yost, your chiropractor in olympia offers treatment for a variety of types of neck pain.
Common causes of neck pain include:
Sudden force-related injury to the cervical spinal column
Stiff neck due to sleeping in a bad position or holding the head in a strained position
Strain from use such as carrying heavy items
Poor posture and text neck
Olympia WA Auto Accident Injury
Full Spectrum Chiropractic in Olympia WA provides treatment and relief using not only adjustments but Heat, Ice, Massage, Acupuncture and specific exercises. Our goal is to increase function and reduce your pain.
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Text neck, a term used to describe pain and damage in the neck that is caused by looking down at your cell phone, tablet and/or other wireless devices frequently and for long periods of time. Unfortunately, it is becoming a popular common condition. Text neck is becoming an especially concerning problem in children and teens and it may cause permanent damage to their cervical spines, which can lead to lifelong upper back pain and
Symptoms of Text Neck
Text neck most generally causes neck soreness and pain. However, it can also lead to:
· Headaches Upper back pain, that ranges from a chronic nagging pain to severe and sharp muscle spasms
· Shoulder tightness and pain, possibly causing painful shoulder muscle spasms
· In some situations, a cervical pinched nerve in your neck may occur, which can result in additional neurological symptoms and pain that radiates down your arm and into your fingers.
Keep Your Neck HealthySimple shoulder and neck stretches are essential for good blood flow and relieving tension.
To do a simple neck stretch, tuck your chin toward your neck, and then slowly raise your chin toward the ceiling. Other stretches, such as rotating your head by looking out over one shoulder, then slowly turning your head to look over the other shoulder will also help to keep muscles loose in your neck and shoulders.
Making small adjustments such as raising the phone to eye level, taking frequent breaks, standing up straight and frequent arching and stretching can help to prevent neck pain while texting or bending to look at devices. If you are experiencing chronic pain in your neck, back or shoulders it is best to schedule an appointment with your Dr. Walker as soon as possible.
Do you think you may be suffering from text neck?
If so, contact Full Spectrum Chiropractic today; to learn more information about the treatment options we have available to relieve your pain.
Use the right equipment. A smaller blade may mean you need a few more shovelfuls to clear the driveway but it will also prevent you from lifting more than is safe. A plastic blade will also be lighter than a metal one, reducing the total weight you need to lift. Ergonomic handles will help as well. Warm up your body and your brain. As with any physical activity, you’re less likely to pull a muscle or overly stress your heart if you warm up and stretch first. Dress appropriately. Good gloves, warm boots with good traction, avoid shortcuts to avoid injuries. If you’re too hot fatigue will set and frustration that could lead to a fall or a strained back Also, before you jump right in with shoveling, test your footing first. Sometimes that first lift is deceiving and there may be ice under the snow. Think about what an injury would mean to your day, your week or possibly the rest of your life. Pace yourself during shoveling activities. Take frequent breaks and drink plenty of water.
Snow shoveling is strenuous work. Throw snow forward. Tossing snow over your shoulder or twisting your torso to toss snow to the side can compromise your posture. Push when possible. But watch out for bumps and cracks that can catch the edge of the shovel and send you off-balance or painfully introduce your torso to a shovel handle. Stay alert and out of the way.
When working near a road face the road so you can hear and see what might be coming your way. When all done visit Full Spectrum Chiropractic and receive a heated hydro massage and have some hot clay packs placed on your sore muscle to relieve your muscle tension you may have created while clearing your walkway.