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Getting Tuned Up Jack and Chris

August 2011 



So it happened to my wife.  Not quite as good a lesson as when it happens to me, but in some respects, better; My wife has debilitating back spasms for the first time in her life.  It happened like it happens to most of us, essentially nothing.  A little grab in the back while using the computer, followed by the inability to move without excruciating spasms.  Being a chiropractor, with a wife debilitated by back pain, well, the irony is not lost on me.


As miserable as it is for her, it provides a great learning moment for me.  The lesson; what to do with all the time you're not getting treatment?  Probably the most important lesson is not to fear the pain.  To understand that spasms are you're bodies attempt to stabilize an area that is unstable.  Your body is recruiting muscles to do a job designed for ligaments.  It's tough to move when tissues designed for mobilization are working as stabilizers.  Lesson number 1; learn how to move in a pain free manner.  Frequently, that requires "holding your core" which is essentially doing a kegel with any type of motion.  Lesson number 2; understanding that no matter what you do, changing positions is going to create some short term discomfort.


The next step is finding the position, stretch, or muscle contraction that makes the pain go away.  In my own personal experience, glute squeezes almost always does the trick.  When you are in that really uncomfortable space of just getting out of the car and you can't stand up straight, try squeezing each glute a couple of times and hold it for 5 seconds or so, the back should release and movement is again possible.  Adductor, or thigh squeezes with a pillow, has been effective for Michele.  Stretching the piriformis, or using a muscle energy technique involving the hip flexors and abductors is also a good method to unlock the back.  If all else fails, lying flat on your back with your feet on a chair, so that you form 90 degree angles, puts all the muscles of the pelvis in slack and will give some relief.


Other helpful tips are to keep all weight very close to the body.  Drink plenty of water to hydrate tissue.  Keep moving!  Frequently, a back brace that offers good lumbar support can be employed for a few days.  Keane Medical has some great products.  Most instances of back spasms are going to last for 2 weeks or less, so although a huge inconvenience, chances are good that it will pass fairly quickly.  Coming in for electrical stim, myofascial release, muscle energy techniques, and manipulations all help in the healing process.


  When the pain is gone, the time has come to find the imbalance.  Nine times out of 10 there is going to be a muscular imbalance somewhere in the pelvis.  Making sure the multifidi and the transverse abdominus are strong and able to fire independent of the more superficial musculature is critical. I like using the overhead squat test, and testing for muscle strength to determine where the imbalances are than designing a program to establish good back and body fitness.   We all have a habit of working on our strengths as opposed to shoring up our weaknesses.  If you could use some assistance with back strain or ideas on how to strengthen those areas we tend to forget, give me a call or shoot me an email for an appointment. Remember, you've taken a step in the right direction when you're pro-active rather than re-active. My wife admits she is now just understanding this! Lesson learned.


Until next time, be well.


Success Story


I came to Dr. Hastings for help restoring a shoulder after a ski injury; relief from leg cramps and advice on a healthy weight loss strategy.  I was hoping to lose one pound a month and Chris thought I could lose more pounds safely and easily.  Chris gave me exercises for shoulder rehab and some homeopathic solutions for muscle cramps.  He also suggested a thirty day weight loss program that had worked well for him.


At each visit with Dr. Hastings I was able to demonstrate increased shoulder mobility and strength.  Painful cramps in my feet and legs have been reduced to once a week at most instead of once or twice each day.


On 6/6/11 Dr. Hastings took my measurements:  Weight:  195 lbs  Body Mass Index:  28.3  Body Fat %:  25.4  H2O:  54.4  Muscle:  79.8.


After following the thirty day program Chris took my measurements on 7/13/11:  Weight:  179.8 a decrease of 15.8 lbs.  Body Mass Index: 26 a decrease of 2.3.  Body fat %:  22.8 a decrease of 2.6%.  H2O:  56.3 and increase of 1.9%.  Muscle:  78 lbs. a decrease of 1.8 lbs.


The program encourages healthy foods, portion control, and nutritious natural supplements.  It was reassuring for me to follow a program that Dr. Hastings had personally experienced and I can report reaching a weight that I have not know in forty years!  This weight level feels vital and energetic.  I have more strength and endurance to pursue daily chores and pleasures like water sports and snow sports.


I thank you,  Chris, for leading by example and with your conscientious follow up through the thirty day program that more than doubled my earlier goal for weight loss.

~Peter B.  




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289 Main Street, Burton House

Norwich, VT 05055



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