Knee Pain While Running?

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Do you have knee pain when running?

Running continues to be the sport of choice for many because of its beneficial health effects, convenience, and economic nature. In 2016, an estimated 64 million Americans went jogging or running.  However, running correlates with a high rate of injury, even with all the benefits. Researchers have found that the overall yearly incidence rate for running injuries varies between 37 and 56%, and it could be even higher. Unbelievably, there is no difference in injury rate between gender, age, weight, height, or experience. Furthermore, running speed, frequency, surface, and time of day have little or no effect on future injuries after accounting for distance.  Of the modifiable risk factors studied, the strongest predictor of future injury is ‘weekly distance ran’.  The most common site of injury is the knee, with Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) being its second leading cause.

Anatomy Sprint

The iliotibial band is a vertical thickening of fascia running outside the hip to just below the knee. The IT band functions to stabilize the knee laterally and assist the tensor fascia lata and glute max in abduction, extension, and lateral rotation of the thigh. Knee stability is crucial to the longevity of both the athlete and the joint.

Fat or Friction?

As the knee bends during running, the lower part of the ITB rubs across the side of the femur.  The friction from rubbing may cause inflammation and pain, know as Iliotibial Band Syndrome.  An emerging theory proposes that injury may be associated with fat compression beneath the tract. Unfortunately, the initial cause of either scenario is still up for debate.  Whatever the mechanism of injury, Iliotibial Band Syndrome can cause significant morbidity and lead to cessation of exercise altogether.

What to do?

Mediation of symptoms can involve stretching, massage, and use of foam rollers at the site of pain and inflammation. However, addressing the cause will lead to lasting relief and function. In particular, hip abductor weakness seems to contribute to the development of Iliotibial Band Syndrome.  To combat these factors, it is essential to ensure the strength of these muscle groups. While strength training should be an integral part of any runner’s regimen, an additional step is to have these muscles evaluated by a practitioner that uses Advanced Muscle Integration Technique (AMIT). Such a practitioner identifies muscles that are unable to hold strong under stress and re-integrates those weak muscles back into their properly functioning group. If you have unresolved knee pain sidelining you let us at Clear Point Wellness get you back in action.

Dr. Jeff Luke

Your South Austin Chiropractor

Health, Cultivated or Curated?

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How To Be Healthy.

As a chiropractor, I often take on the role of educator to help clients achieve health and wellness goals. This may be recommending types of stretching or exercise; foods to either eat or avoid; and explaining general principles of health. It is easier to shift your perspective on health than it is to hold your hand through every health decision. I want you to see the world and your body in a new light, so you can make informed decisions on your own. This helps you take ownership of your health and drive it, rather than passively wait for someone else to make you well.

A Healthy Viewpoint.

I use a simple analogy that was coined by author Lawrence Leshan of “The Mechanic and The Gardener”. The analogy contrasts the two major philosophies in healthcare–the mechanistic and vitalistic. The mechanistic philosophy of health holds that we are no more than the sum of our parts. That the body is inherently weak and that if something quits working (such as an organ or joint), we can just replace it and keep on living. The vitalistic philosophy suggests that we are more than the sum of our parts. That every aspect of our being works synergistically to produce a thriving and vibrant life.

A mechanic inspects your vehicle, determines what parts are broken and worn down, and then removes and replaces them with new parts. If your brakes are bad, you replace them with new ones. Same for fluids and tires. Traditional medicine takes a similar approach to the human body. Believing that it will eventually break down and fail, MDs look to drugs and surgery to replace failing organs, joints, and biochemical pathways.

A gardener takes a different approach. When a plant or flower is wilting and failing to grow, the gardener makes changes to the environment the plant is in; cultivating its well-being rather than attempting to replace a leaf or a stem. By increasing or decreasing the amount of water and sunlight, and replenishing the soil content, the plant can thrive on its own.

The Big Question.

The question I ask is whether you believe the human body is more like a car or more like a plant? As trivial as this may seem, it is fundamental to how you make health related decisions. A mechanistic view of the body keeps you looking to drugs and surgery as the answer to pain and dysfunction. The mechanistic model also reinforces the mentality of dependence and looking externally for health, rather than looking within.

However, a vitalistic viewpoint will encourage you to find the root cause of your health issue. You will take the time to cultivate an environment (internal and external) for your health and wellness. This understanding empowers you to look within for healing and take ownership of your health.

Taking Ownership.

If you feel that empowering yourself with your own state of health blames you for your present condition, don’t. You are missing the point. Your body will naturally respond to the stresses you encounter in your life. You will adapt to these stressors for your ultimate advantage of survival and balance within your environment. These adaptations are wonderful, though over time take their toll. Previously overwhelming experiences create holding patterns in the body, and a need for compensation in the musculoskeletal system, which leads to pain and dysfunction. Working with a doctor or therapist to re-engage proper function, and shifting health habits to support a more regenerative state of being will allow you to let your healing potential shine.

Looking within as you answer these important questions every day – does this food/drink/person/state of mind/emotion/environment serve you, or does it bring you more stress that your body needs to adapt to? It empowers you to make choices that support your ability to heal and thrive.

What is your view on this analogy as it relates to your personal health challenges? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Dr. Jeff Luke

Your South Austin Chiropractor

Diet soda or regular? Habits for health

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Is diet soda better than regular soda?

Soda is good, is it good for you?We have a serious addiction to soda in the United States, and everything we see encourages it. It is all over the media, in our stores, and in our restaurants.

So many of my health conscious clients seek to reduce or get rid of soda in their lives.  Often times they turn to diet soda, or diet drinks thinking this is just as good as water because there is no sugar. Unfortunately, the jury is out for diet drinks, and the survey says your chance of stroke and dementia is 2x higher if you drink between 1-6 diet drinks a week (according to the journal Stroke). There was no correlation for increased stroke or dementia for people who drank regular soda.

Regular soda, however, is the main source of excess sugar in the American diet. It leads to a greater risk in cardiovascular disease.  The more sugar, the more risk. Check out the facts in a study by the American Heart Association Council on Epidemiology and Prevention in 2013, and as published in JAMA in April 2014.

So diet or regular?  Maybe neither.

Not that I want to take away your daily treats, or coping mechanisms.  Though maybe we can find some replacements that will actually make us feel better. Replacements that nurture us.

I see the soda/diet soda drive coming from a couple places: 1) habit and brand alliance, 2) a small time out from the normal routine, 3) a pick me up when we are feeling a little low.

Sparkling water better than diet soda1) is easy: try a naturally flavored sparkling water – find a new brand and a new friend. Maybe an herbal unsweetened tea, or hot water with lemon and a touch of honey.

2) is also easy: find a different break. Try a breathing exercise, a micro workout/stretch, walking outside, walking up and down the stairs, opening a window, taking a power nap or power meditation, hey – eat an apple.

3) is harder and takes a little more consciousness.  If we are feeling low, it could mean that we have been ignoring our body while we are paying attention to the task at hand. Are you giving yourself the basics for life: good sleep, lots of water, food every 3 hours. A little protein, fat, or fiber to maintain blood sugar goes a long way. Maybe you are just working too hard.  Are you able to breathe, rest, move around to renew yourself? Do you let yourself make choices that serve you, or do your choices serve others at your expense?

Though I can make a case for why not to eat almost anything, sugar and diet drinks are a clear risk for the biggest lifestyle diseases we have in America. What can you change in your daily habits to support a different option? It’s what you do 5 times a week that makes a difference.  Regardless of what else you do, getting rid of a daily soda/diet drink habit will go a long way for your sustainable health.

Dr. Lisa Hastings
Systems Chiropractic
MultiSensory Functional Integration
Your Austin chiropractor for quality of life