Dr. Glenn Hyman’s Blog

Steve Larsen dies of a heart attack

As many of you know, I strongly encourage training for shorter distance endurance events, like 10K’s and sprint or Olympic distance tri’s. Why is this?

Frankly, because I – along with many other experts – feel that too much long distance training puts too much stress on a body. The fact that an accomplished long-distance athlete just dropped dead at age 39 is further example of this.

My thoughts and condolonces go out to his wife and 5 kids.

From velonews.com:

Steve Larsen, probably the only professional who competed and won major races as a mountain biker, road biker and triathlete, died Tuesday evening after collapsing during a running workout, his friend Michael Nyberg told VeloNews.

Larsen was 39 and he and his wife Carrie Larsen have five children.

“He was doing a track workout and he collapsed. They did CPR immediately and an ambulance arrived quickly, but they weren’t able to save him,” Nyberg said.

Another friend of the family confirmed Larsen’s death, saying that an autopsy is pending, but that he apparently suffered a heart attack.

Larsen began racing in the 1980s and was on the Motorola team for three years in the early 1990s, racing the Giro d’Italia and other major European events. He then moved into mountain biking, winning the NORBA National Cross-Country title in 1998 and 2000.

In 2001, he switched to triathlon, qualifying for the Ironman in his first year in the sport, and finishing ninth at the Hawaii event. He also competed in XTerra offroad triathlons. He was reportedly the only American to compete in the world championships for road, mountain bike, track and cyclocross.

Larsen grew up near Davis, California. For several years he operated a bike and triathlon shop there, called Steve Larsen’s Wheelworks. He retired from professional racing in 2003 and opened a real estate agency in Bend, Oregon.

He still competed in triathlons for fun, finishing 70th at the 2008 Ironman World Championships with a time of 9:19:25.

Denver Chiropractic’s Top 3 Hips Stretches

‘Tis the season to get outside and start running, riding, hiking, climbing, etc. Here are 3 critical stretches that, if performed daily (or almost daily), will keep your hips happy all summer long. Tight hips can evolve into hip problems, knee pain, and plantar fasciitis.

For more info, look for the May-June issue of the newsletter coming soon to a mailbox near you.

 

Glute Stretch
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

glute stretch

The glutes are the biggest muscles in your body. They propel you forward in all athletic endeavors. If they start to scar up, they lose power, and other muscles start to take up the slack, particularly the hammies and the hip rotators. Back pain and hamstring problems usually follow.

To stretch: Just lay on your back and flex your hip to around 90 degrees. Use your left hand to pull your right leg across your body. Reach that right arm away to maximize the pull on the fascia. Hold for about 20 seconds and switch sides.

 

Hip Rotators
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hip ro 1

The hip rotators include muscles like the piriformis. Problems in these muscles lead to sciatica and lateral knee pain.

To stretch: Lay on your side, preferably on a bench or the edge of a bed. Flex your hip to 90 degrees, grab your left knee with your left hand, and rotate your shin with your right hand. Make sure that your knee doesn’t move up towards the sky/ ceiling. Hold for 20 seconds, then flip over and do the other side.

hip ro 2

 

Hip flexors ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The hip flexors oppose the glutes. They bring your leg forward in running, are obviously important in climbing, contribute to 360 degree pedaling, and more.

As they are overused, they totally screw up mechanics, leading to hip pain, knee pain, and back pain.

To stretch: get down on one knee, keep your torso upright, and move forward. See how  I maintain that arch in my back instead of rounding forward? That’s how you get the hip flexors to stretch.

Hip flex 1Hip flex 2

 

 
Remember- a tight muscle will become a scarred muscle. And noting breaks up scar tissue like Active Release Technique. So, you if need help, come on in. I can help you.

This Denver Chiropractor’s son is allergic to peanuts

We found this amazing peanut butter stand-in for Andrew, our oldest son, who is allergic to peanuts (so sayeth the lab test, he’s never had them). Anyway, this stuff is awesome:

http://www.sunbutter.com/

Did a rib pop out?

Another Denver Chiropractic Center blog:

Today I had another new patient who came to me thinking she had
popped a rib out of place. She had severe mid back pain that traveled
under her shoulder blade. It started on Saturday while she was
shoveling snow.  She called first thing in the morning today (Monday)
and of course we got her in as soon as we could.

Here’s an article on the site:

http://www.denverback.com/q_midscapulae.html

Ribs rarely actually move out of place unless there is a severe
trauma, like a car accident. For some reason, people with mid
back pain almost always thing that a rib is out place.

Think about it for a second. Those ribs are there to protect
your heart and lungs. They’re strongly attached to both your
spine and sternum, and are very difficult to move ‘out of place.’

There are several layers of muscle between the shoulder blades,
also known as the scapulae. These muscles include the traps,
rhomboids, and spinal muscles.

Sharp mid back pain is almost always muscular, and usually is
dramatically better with just one Active Release treatment, and it’s
almost always gone after two or three sessions.

Chronic mid back pain can frequently be traced back to those
same muscles. I regularly see patients who’ve had pain between
the shoulder blades for years. These cases require a few more
treatments, but they also resolve nicely with Active Release. And
yes, these people also think that they have a rib that’s out.

Sometimes I fail

Yesterday I had to tell a new patient that I couldn’t
help him. It’s a tough thing to do, but it happens,
even at Denver Chiropractic Center; even with
Active Release.
.
This particular patient was referred to me by
another chiropractor. He had low back pain
that radiated down the back of his thigh since
last November. He rated it as a 9 on a scale of
10 (10 is the worst). It started when
he was hiking in the Andes with a very heavy pack.
.
This is a classic herniated disc.
When I treat disc cases with Active
Release, the goal is to relieve the tension on the
muscles that cross the involved joint.
I was his last hope. I worked on him for about 30 minutes.
.
If Active Release is going to help, usually the
patient will feel a little better right away. This
man felt exactly that same. Considering that
he’d tried just about everything under the sun,
and considering that his pain had been the same
for 5 months, I told him he should speak to
a surgeon.
.
I hate to do that, but sometimes giving a
person an honest opinion, even if it’s one they
don’t want to hear, is the best I can do.
I never try to work with someone if I don’t
think that I can help. Luckily, it doesn’t happen
often.
.
This man was grateful that I was honest with him.
He left my office understanding why it was time to
speak with a surgeon. In the long run, he’ll
recover and move on with his life.
.
Just thought I’d share that one with you.
.
Glenn Hyman
Denver Chiropractic Center

16 Years of hip pain? Really?

OK, so all of the staffing chaos is behind me. The new
office manager, Amy, is on board and doing a great job.
Massage therapist Erin has been seeing clients and
getting rave reviews. So, on to this week’s question.
Once again, the person is real, and the question is
too:

“I was in a car accident 16 years ago, and I’ve
had hip pain ever since. I’ve had X-rays, and the
bone is fine. I have trouble lifting my leg to
climb in and out of the bathtub. Is this something
that you can help me with?”

The answer:

“Yes, I can probably help you. When muscle gets
injured, whether it’s a car crash, sports injury,
or repetitive motion, the healing process creates
scar tissue. This scar tissue changes the way that
muscle works – it doesn’t contract and relax as
efficiently as it used to. This leads to pain,
tightness, weakness, and other problems.

This condition can linger on for years, even decades.
Since nothing breaks up scar tissue as effectively as
Active Release, patients with long term problems
start to finally get relief. I have actually treated
injuries that were 20 years old and made dramatic
improvements.”

In this case, I treated the lumbar muscles, hip flexors,
glutes, and the piriformis. They were heavily scarred,
and the patient started noticing improvement after
the first visit. I’m still treating her (3 times as
of this wiriting) so I can’t yet claim success, but
I’m confident this patient will feel about 90% better
when we’re done.

2 Surgeries ruined at once

I recently had a patient, Jenny (real person, fake
name) come to me as a last resort.
This happens a lot.

This particular lady was scheduled for two carpal
tunnel surgeries – one on each hand.

She’d had symptoms for a few years (tingling in
the thumb and first two fingers) but lately, her
symptoms had become worse. So she saw her doctor,
who sent her to a surgeon, who naturally told her
that she needed surgery. The surgeon was booked
for the next 4 weeks, so she had some time to
start having second thoughts.

Second thoughts usually lead to the internet. A
simple google search of “Carpal Tunnel Denver”
led Jenny to me.

With my on-site work at 2 manufacturing facilities
over the last five years, I’ve treated hundreds
of carpal tunnel cases, and have sent exactly four
to surgery.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is an entrapment of the nerve
to the thumb and first two fingers – the Median Nerve-
in the hand. Since that nerve runs through the muscles
of the forearm, there are many places that the nerve
can get trapped. If surgery is done at the hand, but
the nerve is trapped in the muscles, there’s no change.

So Jenny came to see me, hoping her median nerves
were trapped in her forearms. And they were. After
just 4 Active Release treatments, she was feeling
much better. After about 8 she was symptom free.

Both surgeries were cancelled.

Many cases of Carpal Tunnel can be treated without
surgery. If you or someone you know is suffering
with this problem, give us a call.

A patient’s question about sciatica

Dear Glenn,

Here’s another question from a patient:

Hello Dr. Hyman,

I’ve been experiencing an annoying pain that originates
in my glute and goes down the back of my leg. You treated
a friend of mine for sciatica (I’m assuming that’s what
this is). Can you help me and how?

The answer:

“Sciatica” refers to pain in the sciatic nerve’s
distribution, down the back of the leg. It’s caused
most commonly by one of two problems:

Pressure on the nerve from a bulging disc.
Pressure on the nerve from the muscles in the area.

The muscular cause is way more common.

The first step is to perform a thorough examination
and make sure your problem is not caused by a
herniated disc. If it is, that can be treated,
but treatment is different.

If I determine that the pain comes from the muscles,
I will identify the muscles involved and release them.
I do this by applying gentle tension to the muscle and
combining that with specific movements. This is
known as Active Release Technique®, which I am
certified to provide (I’m also an ART instructor).

If the joints in your low back and pelvis
are stiff and contributing to the problem,
they may be adjusted. Adjustments are a
gentle way to loosen joints. Very little
force is used with adjustments and they
usually feel great.

The first step is to make an appointment and let
me determine what’s causing your sciatica, then
we can determine the correct treatment plan.

On average, 4-8 visits are required.
……….

If anyone that you know is suffering from
sciatica, tell him or her to call us at
303.300.0424. We can help.

Glenn Hyman
http://www.denverback.com

Top 4 reasons to include Massage Therapy in your treatment

massagetherapydcc

Denver Chiropractic Center is now scheduling appointments for Massage Therapy!!!!

According to Newsweek there are many beneficial reasons to choose massage therapy, here are the top 4:

1. Pick Your Spot: You don’t have to massage the part of the body that hurts most. If you’re shy about letting a massage therapist touch your aching lower back, for instance, she could help by massaging your shoulders instead. This is because massage creates chemical changes that reduce pain and stress throughout the body. One way it does this is by reducing a brain chemical called substance P that is related to pain. In a TRI study, for example, individuals with a form of muscle pain called fibromyalgia showed less substance P in their saliva (and they reported reduced pain) after a month of twice-weekly massages.

2. De-Stress, Stay Healthy. Massage may boost immunity. Several studies have measured the stress hormone called cortisol in subjects’ saliva before and after massage sessions, and found dramatic decreases. Cortisol, which is produced when you are stressed, kills cells important for immunity, so when massage reduces your stress levels and hence the cortisol in your body, it may help you avoid getting a cold or another illness while under stress.

3. Blood Pressure Benefits: Massage reduces hypertension, suggests a good deal of research. This may be because it stimulates pressure receptors that prompt action from the vagus nerve, one of the nerves that emerges from the brain. The vagus nerve regulates blood pressure, as well as other functions. In a 2005 study at the University of South Florida, hypertension patients who received 10 massages of 10 minutes each over three weeks showed significant improvements in blood pressure compared to a control group who simply rested in the same environment without any massage.

4. Technique Tactics: There’s little evidence to support one kind of massage over another, so don’t worry about whether your therapist is schooled in Shiatsu, Swedish or some other technique. The key is pressure firm enough to make a temporary indentation in the skin.

Schedule your appointment today! 303.300.0424

A back pain question from a triathlete

Question from a real patient:

Dr. Hyman,

My name is (deleted) and I’m a member of the (deleted) Triathlon Club. I noticed you are a sponsor and are very familiar with the athletic world who has worked with all types of athletes. I’m in my fourth year of racing Tri, which is remarkable due to a back injury in 2001 that resulted in a bulging disc. In 2006 I had a skiing accident that resulted in an avulsion facture of the L5 vertebrae. I was all healed up and good until a week ago when for some reason, a drive to Breckenridge aggravated my back. This resulted in crawling around for a couple of days. My back is very stiff and the pain is now tolerable. I want to consult your services in hopes of a speedy recovery to get back to training. Can you help me and how?

Answer:

A patient with this type of injury history is susceptible to aggravations of back pain. These may be severe and these may be minor. Since this patient had no pain radiating into his legs, and no other neurological symptoms, I was comfortable working with him. In this case, a simple move in the wrong direction led to a fairly significant muscle spasm. It’s likely that this person’s existing herniated disc received excessive pressure as a result of his posture in the car. This led to a painful guarding response that stopped him from skiing and doing further damage to his low back. After 2 – 3 weeks of treatment and some reasonable range of motion exercises, this patient should be able to return to full activity. His triathlon training should be normal, but core strength is definitely going to be a priority.

Note: This article is for informational purposes only. Don’t use it to diagnose yourself. See a qualified licensed health care practitioner.