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How To Overcome Your ‘Set Point’ To Maximize Body Composition Change

How To Overcome Your ‘Set Point’ To Maximize Body Composition Change

Whenever we engage in any type of weight loss/body modification plan, we have to be realistic with our goals.  The trendy ‘lose 30 in 30’ programs rarely yield results that last because the programs are quite abusive to your body and not many people have the will to continue on such a tough voyage.

Before I go any further, I will touch on the difference between weight loss and body modification.  Weight loss is just that: losing weight.  You will lose fat and muscle weight.  This is not a good thing.  We want to be lean and muscular, not lean and soft.  Most all programs on the market can only address total weight loss and this is not what you want.  Body modification is achieved through losing fat weight while maintaining or gaining muscle percentage/weight.  This should be the goal of all diet programs but virtually none on the market can achieve this goal because they do not employ the proper system.  Dieting is not about cutting calories.  It’s about working with your body to get it leaner and stronger and using validated science to achieve this.  Going forward, I will only refer to dieting programs as body modification as this is really the goal of anyone who is trying to get leaner and healthier.

The key to any successful body modification program is sustainability.  In other words, can you continue this program into the future or will you eventually fall off the tracks and go back to your old ways?  In the overwhelming number of cases, people try a program for a while and then back off of it as it is too hard to maintain.  They end up where they were before they started.  This time, though, they tend to be more frustrated and their bodies are more resistant to future change.  We should not have to endure these failures. Continue Reading →

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Why The A1C (Glycated Hemoglobin) Test For Diabetics Does NOT Give Us The Whole Picture

Why The A1C (Glycated Hemoglobin) Test For Diabetics Does NOT Give Us The Whole Picture

Diabetics are familiar with the A1C test.  It is performed to assess roughly a 90 day period of sugar that is attached to your hemoglobin.  It is supposed to tell us if we are taking good care of ourselves.  The test is performed every 3 months because the average life of a red blood cell is 90 days.

Diabetics are told that the A1C is the ‘holy grail’ of knowing if you are in good health or not.  It’s the aim of most every diabetic to get that number lower!  I’ve been diabetic for over 35 years and it’s great to learn new things.  What have I learned?  I now know that the A1C, although a great test to determine the ‘average’ blood sugar reading over 3 months, does really nothing more than that.  It does NOT accurately tell us all we need to know about our diabetic health.

The A1C for a non-diabetic person is about 5.7%.  A ‘well-controlled’ diabetic will have an A1C at 6.5% or lower.  If someone’s A1C is 8.0% or higher, then they are generally in trouble!  Long-term high blood sugar levels lead to high levels of oxidative stress (free radical damage).  This damage is mostly what is responsible for killing diabetics.  Afterall, 65% of diabetics will die from heart disease/stroke and this damage is caused by, you guessed it, poor blood sugar control. Continue Reading →

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Slouching Population Part 1 of 3: Good Posture Goes Beyond Just Looks!

Slouching Population Part 1 of 3: Good Posture Goes Beyond Just Looks!

Over the weekend, I met some new friends, and the topic turned to posture very quickly once they found out that I was a chiropractor, and when I found out that they were IT specialists. They began to make fun of themselves about the ridiculous positions in which they sit while working at the computer. Until that moment, I had just visualized poor posture as sitting with the head forward, rounded shoulders, and hunched upper back. After speaking with this group, a new picture popped into my head regarding bad posture. One demonstrated leaning so far back in his chair with his leg propped up on a waste basket he may has well have been lying down. Another was slanting to the side and turning in a way that only a contortionist could have achieved. How you position yourself with your posture, comfortable or not, you may be taking years off your life….or just making those years a bit more painful. Continue Reading →

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Dry Needling Support Models (4 of 4): Central Model and Studies That Prove the Efficacy of Dry Needling

Dry Needling Support Models (4 of 4): Central Model and Studies That Prove the Efficacy of Dry Needling

We have covered a lot of information about Dry Needling in our last 3 blogs.  We discussed the Radiculopathy Model, the Trigger Point Model, and the Spinal Segemental Sensitization and Pentad Model.  Already, we can clearly see how Dry Needling can help to break down myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) and reduce pain.  The fourth model will discuss another reason as to why Dry Needling can help you.

Central Model

Our final model, the Central Model, covers information about how Dry Needling and other physical interventions (including manipulation, massage, mobilization, etc…)  affect the spinal cord and brain.  This is a rather basic but powerful model.  The premise is that input stimuli will affect tracks in the spinal cord that will carry that information up to the brain.  The deeper the treatment, the more information that will be conveyed.  The hypothalamus will then take the stimuli and  communicate with the pituitary gland and affect other endocrine functions.

In regards to the hypothalamus, it has three primary functions:  1.  It supplies input to the brainstem, thus affecting autonomic regulation, 2.  It controls endocrine function, and 3.  It exerts influence on posture and locomotion.

With the Central Model, MTrPs along the spine will likely cause more autonomic issues (please click to read more about autonomic issues on the Trigger Point Blog).   Dry Needling causes an anti-inflammatory response that emanates from the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.  This is deep stuff!

If we assume that the hypothalamus is directly or indirectly adversely affected by MTrPs, then we can conclude that such MTrPs create autonomic and endocrine problems in addition to postural and movement issues (this means it affects the way you work inside and outside).  Certainly, we would want to rid our bodies of such noxious stimuli, and since Dry Needling can eliminate such MTrPs, then this makes it a great option for restoring proper function of not only the musculoskeletal system, but also the autonomic and endocrine functions that are affected by an improperly functioning musculoskeletal system.

Any way you slice it, Dry Needling can help you to function better.  From simple pain and dysfunction to autonomic concomitants, Dry Needling offers a viable option for the treatment of trigger points and pain due to musculoskeletal causes.

Let’s take a look at some studies supporting the application of Dry Needling…there are a few here but many more in print:

We will start with the grand-daddy of them all…the landmark study performed by Karl Lewit, MD published in 1979.  This study broke down the effects of trigger point injections to determine if the analgesic/steroid that was the agent that helped the patient, or was it the needle alone that contained all the magic!  Please read study, and if you would like the full study (versus just the abstract), please let us know.

The Needle Effect In The Relief of Myofascial Pain

And the other studies…

Dry Needling Having Anti-Nociceptive (anti-pain) Effects

Probable Mechanisms of Needling Therapies for Myofascial Pain Control

The Influence of Dry Needling of The Trapezius Muscle on Muscle Blood Flow and Oxygenation

Dry Needling at Myofascial Trigger Spots of Rabbit Skeletal Muscles Modulates the Biochemicals Associated with Pain, Inflammation, and Hypoxia

The Effect of Dry Needling in the Treatment of Myofascial Pain Syndrome: A Randomized, Double-Blinded Placebo-controlled Trial

Dry Needling and Exercise for Chronic Whiplash – A Randomized Controlled Trial

Management of Shoulder Injuries Using Dry Needling in Elite Volleyball Players

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Dry Needling Support Models (3 of 4): Spinal Segmental Sensitization (SSS) and Pentad Model

Dry Needling Support Models (3 of 4): Spinal Segmental Sensitization (SSS) and Pentad Model

In our last two blogs, we went over models that help explain how Dry Needling works.  These two were the Radiculopathy and the Trigger Point Models.  The topic of this blog will involve the third model, or the Spinal Segmental Sensitization and Pentad Model.  As we have with the last two discussions, we will try to explain any difficult terminology or ideas.

Spinal Segmental Sensitization and Pentad Model

The Spinal Segmental Sensitization (SSS) and Pentad Model was proposed by the late Andrew Fischer, M.D. (Physiatrist…pain management and rehabilitation medical doctor).  This is a good time to discuss this model as it really incorporates both of the first two models.  Dr. Fischer proposed that the SSS is a ‘hyperactive’ state of the dorsal horn of the spinal cord that is caused by damaged tissue sending nociceptive (pain) input into the spinal cord.  This information then causes the over-sensitivity of the associated spinal level dermatome (skin), pain sensitivity of the associated spinal level sclerotome (bone, ligaments, joints), and Myofascial Trigger Points (MTrPs) in the associated spinal level muscles.  All this occurs because the nerve coming from the spine is over sensitized, and by being in this pathological state, it stimulates these changes listed above.  In effect, we have a pretty vicious cycle of pain and dysfunction. Continue Reading →

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Dry Needling Support Models (2 of 4): The Trigger Point Model

Dry Needling Support Models (2 of 4): The Trigger Point Model

In the last blog, we discussed the first model (The Radiculopathy Model) that helps explain why Dry Needling works.  Now we will continue with the second of four models.   This one is probably the most well-known one and there is a plethora of medical literature supporting it.  Again, we will try to explain any concepts that are a little difficult to understand.  These models really shed light into how our bodies work and they are great to learn about.

The Trigger Point Model

Myofascial Trigger Points (MTrPs, or TrPs for Trigger Points) are defined as ‘hyper-irritable spots in skeletal muscle that are associated with a hypersensitive palpable nodule in a taut band’ (Travell and Simons).  The resultant pain/discomfort that one gets due to such points is referred to as myofascial pain syndrome (MPS).  Simply put, MPS is defined as ‘sensory, motor, and autonomic symptoms caused by myofascial trigger points’ (Travell and Simons).  Sensory symptoms refer to what you feel, motor symptoms refer to how the muscles work, and autonomic symptoms refer to the things that you do not realize.  This seems a little odd, but consider what happens when you bang your arm really hard.  You will feel the pain (sensory), the muscle might be painful and not contract properly (motor), and your heart rate goes up as does your respiration due to the ‘adrenaline rush’ (autonomic) of the injury. Continue Reading →

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Dry Needling Support Models (1 of 4): The Radiculopathy Model

Dry Needling Support Models (1 of 4): The Radiculopathy Model

We get a lot of questions about Dry Needling and the next few blogs will address several theories that support the treatment.  There is currently a good amount of medical literature supporting Dry Needling and this is great, but the theories behind Dry Needling are fascinating and interesting to discuss.

The 4 models are as following:

1.  The Radiculopathy Model
2.  The Trigger Point Model
3.  The Spinal Segmental Sensitization and Pentad Model
4.  The Central Model

Each of the next 4 blogs (including this one) will discuss one of these theories as it relates to Dry Needling.  We hope this gives you a better understanding as to why Dry Needling works so well.  We are aware that the models tend to use medical terminology and can be a little hard to follow, so we will try to explain things as we go to make the explanations easier to understand. Continue Reading →