Thursday, August 29, 2013

Is Your Low Back Pain A Real Pain in the Butt?

Many people don't now that having weak glute muscles and hip abducters can lead to lower body injuries and changes in gait. So next time you're in the gym don't just work on your squat to look better at the beach, but also for a better overall quality of life. Lifestyle factor that lead to weak glute muscles, and glute medius more specifically are, sleeping on your side and flexing and adducting your top leg over your bottom leg. Standing predominantly with all of your body weight on one leg can cause the pelvis to move sideways and the hip joint to adduct; contributing to weak hip adductors. Ilitiobial band (ITB) syndrome, which is quite common can result from weak gluteus medius. Being unable to control thigh abduction and external rotation can place greater tension on the tensor fascia and ITB. Gluteus medius dysfunction can also contribute to patellofemoral pain syndrome, which results in decreased hip control and increased femoral adduction and internal rotation.
The following exercises can help with the aforementioned conditions. Before starting any exercise routine make sure to consult your doctor.

Side Lying Clams

Starting Position

 Ending Position. Hold for 3 seconds and slowly return to starting position.

 Starting Position

Ending Position. Make sure to keep back straight and go as far down as possible.

 Starting Position

   Ending position. Take a step to the side as far as possible and return to starting position. Repeat on opposite side.

Single Leg Sit Up/Down

 Starting Position. Begin seated.


Ending Position. Stand up on one leg slowly, and then slowly return to a seated position. Repeat on other leg.

Single Leg Step Up/Down

 Starting Position.

Ending Position. Slowly climb up on one leg and slowly return down to starting position.

Reference: Glute Medius & Hip Abduction Functional Training,

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Is Your Cell Phone A Pain in The Neck?

A picture is worth a thousand words.   We hunch over our smart phones more than they deserve.  I took this picture in Bart, because as a chiropractor I am appalled at what I see every day.   These gentleman's heads  are literally falling out and ahead of their bodies as a result of their phones.  Research shows  that the average head weights 10lb.  For every inch  the head is held forward the strain in the neck increases 10 fold.   Therefore the  two gentlemen are caring at least 40lb, if we estimate that their heads are 4 inches forward, which is a gross understatement.   
Forward head posture is the leading cause of neck and upper back sprain and strain, stiffness, headaches, joint deformity, straightening of the cervical curve, muscle spasm, pinched nerves, carpal tunnel, radiating pain, tingling and numbness into the fingers, early degeneration of the joints of the neck and back and disc problems,  just to name a few.  These symptoms are seen in young adults as early as 14 years old.  There isn't a simple cure, but there is a way to reverse the anterior head posture over time with changing habits, increased awareness, chiropractic adjustments and exercise. 
This is what you can do: 1)  Limit your cell phone use to specific time during the day.  Talk to your friends do not text them. 2) Call your chiropractor and get evaluated for the effects of the forward head posture on your spine,  joints and muscles.  X-rays may be necessary in some cases, depending on the joint dysfunction the chiropractor finds through the orthopedic and neurological examination.  Get adjusted first before you start stretching and exercising.  The function of the joints needs to be restored first, or you will be causing more undue stress and strain.  Stretching of already over stretched muscles is not the way to go.  Stretch the chest and anterior shoulders, not the neck.   Strengthen the upper back and posterior neck and shoulder muscles.  3) Your chiropractor can prescribe a special traction equipment to help restore the curvature at your home safely.   Along with the right exercises and increased awareness you will regain the normal function and posture in your body.

The chiropractors at Chiro-Health are trained posture experts, practicing for over 11 years.  For more information please go to  Phone and office consultations are free and encouraged.  It is your future, be there healthy, we can only help along the way.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Is Sitting the New Smoking?

As chiropractors in the Downtown/Financial District of San Francisco, we see the effects of sitting every day. Conditions include chronic headaches, low back pain, muscle spasms, stiff neck, hip pain, knee pain, degenerative disc disease in people as early as their 20's among other things. Many patients ask us why they have these pains and degenerative changes, since they are so young and otherwise healthy. Although they may not have the symptoms, most have on thing in common: 90% are sitting 6-12 hours a day.

Recently, Anup Kanodia, a physician and researcher at Ohio State University, Wexner Medical Center said, "Sitting is the new smoking".  According to an Australian study published in October 2012 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, every hour of sitting, cuts about 22 minutes of the person's life, while it is estimated that smokers shorten their lives by about 11 minutes per cigarette.

No one wants to grow old with low back pain.  As chiropractors our goal is help you get out of pain, but more importantly to stay without pain, with better function, so that you can age as healthy as you possibly can be.  I have a 32 year old patient, who I love quoting: " I am here because I want to be the healthiest senior citizen I can possibly be."

Here is a look at how sitting affects us, as we sit for extended periods of time the posterior muscles in the low back, middle back, neck and pelvis become elongated, weak, inhibited, and underused. The hip and neck flexors on the other hand become short and taut. We mostly feel the muscle's response to sitting in the form of muscle spasms or tension, but the problem is far beyond the muscle. Prolonged slumped postures cause micro sprains and strains to the joints of the back and neck over prolonged periods of time. This leads to lose of neutral curvatures in the lumbar spine and the cervical spine, deformation of  ligaments that are elongated in the back and shortened in the front, disc compression, disc thinning, disc bulges, pain radiating to the arms or legs, or disc tears. The body overreacts to this damage and starts producing increased muscle tone, which feels like spasm, tension, knots in the muscles.  Naturally because it feels like spasm we start stretching the muscles instead of what we need to do, strengthen them.

So next time, you experience a spasm in the lower back, stiffness in the neck, sensitivity to certain movements or unexpected movements especially in the morning,  pain after sitting and standing,  or pain from sitting, standing, lifting or carrying, take into consideration that it may not just be a muscle spasm, and most likely a weakened disc that is likely to suffer further if not treated as such.  

Our chiropractors specialize in posture evaluation, muscle testing to identify front to back and left to right muscle imbalances.We are experts in differential diagnosis meaning we do all the orthopedic tests to help us differentiate a simple muscle spasm from, joint sprain/ strain and dysfunction , from disc protrusion or bulge.  We combine chiropractic, massage, physical therapy on the same visit to address all the structures involved: muscles, joints, nerves and discs.  For more information about this article and to contact Dr. Mazgaloff go to