Run for the Zoo.

This past weekend in Albuquerque we had the annual Run for the Zoo event that is a 5K run.  My son who is ten participated along with his Aunt who came down from Denver to initiate him into the world of running.

I myself am not a runner and prefer run on a treadmill as the pavement on a street is a little to hard on my back and knees because I’m a little top heavy and bulky, ironically when I dance flamenco (which demands lot’s of pounding on the floor) I don’t have the same knee or back pain. Every body type has its strengths in movement, so it’s important to find one that fits your body type.

I recommend swimming, and non impact aerobics for people with degenerative joint disease or injury.  We are fortunate to have GyrotonicAlbq. here at A Spinal Health and Movement Center as it is a non impact modality and excellent for injury rehab.  But the point is that whether it is dance, running, or bicycling, what works best will be different for everyone.

Knee Pain.

My sister in law Francie and I were discussing knee pain in runners as she is a ironman athlete and has done more runs than anyone I know.  So she said she was having knee pain and the exercise that helped the most were leg extensions with low weight and high repetition.  Makes sense to me, after if you are running you will not build up the vastus medialis musculature of the thigh as strong as the lateral musculature of the thigh and the patella will begin to track abnormally laterally to the outside causing abnormal tracking and irritation, and inflammation on the underside of the patella.

Of course getting regular adjustments to the hip and pelvis will help proper alignment so that you don’t have functional difficulties later.  I like to adjust the foot as it is very overlooked by chiropractors.  There are 26 bones in the foot and they to will have misalignments especially if there is plantar weakness, excessive load and strain, or weight increases.  It’s important not to overlook your feet and knees as well when you get adjustments from your chiropractor.

Pain treatment vs. Wellness Treatment.

Most people come in usually driven by pain from degenerative joint disease, meniscal tear or ligament strains in the lower extremities which are very difficult to treat with chiropractic alone and usually require co-treatment with orthopedic and physical therapy and can be very expensive.

I try look for the joints that are starting to fail but have not alerted one to pain, as the pain threshold for joint dysfunction has not be reached.  Regardless, I prefer to check people for joint instability and balance dysfunction as part of a routine adjustment whenever I can, and hopefully before things start to fail and predispose one to injury.  This is prevention and wellness care, and in the long run, more cost effective.

This is my small yet practical and very valuable recommendation for runners or athletes with knee pain: get your hips, knees and especially foot adjusted on a regular basis along with your spine.  Find a chiropractor that will adjust extremities.  Your joints will thank you.

Dr. Ramirez

Lose Weight, Feel Better.

Many people are motivated to lose weight in order to look better so as a chiropractor at A Spinal Health and Movement Center, I am often asked “What exercise is the best for losing weight?”  The question seems backward to me, I don’t like the idea of recommending strenuous exercise to lose weight.

For successful weight loss, I suggest healthy nutrition and smart food combinations (avoid simple refined carbohydrates, sugary drinks, and fast food) and include fruits and vegetables as much as possible.  This is usually a good start, and many people will lose weight this way, and keep it off long term. So rather than focusing on hours of strenuous exercise that will leave you frustrated, fatigued, and possibly predispose you to injury if done too quickly without allowing the body to adjust to the new demands and forces on the joints…focus on exercise as a part of your lifestyle and weight management, not weight loss.

Of course, it doesn’t mean you should not exercise, in fact, exercise is so much more important than just having the “right” body image.  Exercise, when done consistently, no matter whether it’s biking, swimming, hiking, running, dancing, or yoga is so much more beneficial to the mind and body, than seeking the image people want. Alternatively, some people diet without exercise, which I think is a mistake- because you will likely gain the weight back if it is done for the wrong reasons and without thought to the benefits of proper and routine exercise.

I was reminded of this today as I read an article in todays in Shape Magazine stating the many benefits of exercise such as reduction in anxiety, boost in immunity, reducing disease (heart disease, diabetes), helping sleep and improving overall mental health.

I totally agree that these reasons alone are sufficient motivation to get moving.

Use it Or Lose It!

In my opinion and experience, when people are trying to exercise to lose weight or to get the “right” body image, their brain is really subconsciously trying to get them back to a time and place when they were more fit, had more time, and possibly better mental health.  To be sure; stress, pain, and disease take a toll on a person, and the mind seeks a place and homeostatic set point (sort of speak) of another time when the body was better able to move and function.

In fact, when one is in chronic pain, the brains neurons will decrease dendritic connections and will actually result in a reduction in the body image of the limb or body part that is in pain, missing, or immobile.  This is a kind of phantom pain syndrome on a functional level and our somatic blind spots will only increase if our bodies are not moving, and we are not aware of the area that is not being used.  And as far as the brain is concerned, a part that it is not aware of is the same as a part that doesn’t exist.

Use it or lose it applies to neurons as well as muscles.

Warning Signals!

Our minds tell us stories in order to  think we want to look better when we are actually seeking more movement, and attention to our bodies, and possibly time to enjoy the things we used to.  Advertisers and Marketing Corporations are aware of this and will feed into and exploit this real biologic warning signal that comes from a bottom up unconscious awareness of body neglect.

Our brain’s neurons will fire signals much like a car will signal when tire is low or engine maintenance signals.  Only we have difficulty seeing them as signals.  We misread what the brain is alerting us to do.  Our ego’s filter neuronal information and we misread what the brain is saying.

We need to reassess our thinking from time to time and have the courage to make the changes needed to improve movement, attend to our bodies, and make real lasting changes in our lives daily in order to stay healthy, and truly alive.

This is the vibrancy that we remember from our youth that our brains subconsciously whisper to our conscious mind but our ego mis-interprets.


Dr. Ramirez

A Spinal Health and Movement Center