bodywork

 As a conductor of forces between the upper and lower body, a facilitator for movement of the legs, and as power points that are connected to a lot of muscle, the hips are the cornerstone of quality movement. This means that they also have a heavy hand in the development of injuries and conditions in the lower back and knees, because dysfunction in the hip joints (among the largest in the body) necessitates other regions such as the lower back to pick up the slack. We know that we should be lifting and rotating with the hips rather than the lower back, but how do we get back to a point where this kind of movement is second nature, as when we were children? 

Luckily, it’s not as difficult as it may seem and the sooner you start the better! What we face is a question of mobility and, more specifically, a lack thereof that is perpetuated by sit heavy lifestyles and repetitive forces that shorten our hip flexors and destabilize the lower back. At Scorca Chiropractic Center, we can help with a coordinated response that involves strengthening and stretching. For example, simple hip strengthening and stretching exercises reverse the tightening that occurs as you sit at work, decreasing your risk of injury from basic motions. 

  • Bridges: arms at sides, feet on floors with knees bent. Press into heels, squeeze your glutes, exhale and lift hips off the floor establishing a straight line between knees and shoulders. Inhale and return to starting position.
  • The classic butterfly: sit on the floor with back straight and soles of feet together in front of you, knees bent to the side. Pull your heels toward you while relaxing knees down to the floor. Hold 10-30 seconds and feel the stretch in the inner thighs and hips. 

Stretching requires only minutes out of every week and it can make a huge impact on range of motion and our experience with pain and stiffness that comes with age. For help on extracting your tight hip flexors from the clutches of a sit-heavy lifestyle give our office in Fremont a call and schedule an appointment today. 

Dr. Francis Scorca, D.C. 

yay

The mobility of your hips can make a big difference in how your lower back feels. In fact, athletes who seek to improve speed and strength may be selling themselves short if they don’t account for the range of motion in critical joints such as the hips, which can be used to produce a lot of power and should be used to initiate quite a bit of movement. The hips should be one of the primary agents involved in lifting; we lower to the object by squatting with the hips then lift by producing a forward thrust of the hips. Instead, most of us just bend over and lift, exposing the lower back to a potential calamity that leaves many people sore and stiff for weeks afterward. Because lifting and rotating are two unavoidable motions we do daily, the range of motion must be accounted for somewhere, and often the lower back, which is already trying to support the weight of the upper body, is called upon to compensate. 

This is a matter of regaining what was lost: as children we have seemingly unlimited range of motion in our joints, but as we grow and enter the work force, more time is spent seated which shortens the hip flexors and weakens the glutes, compromising the integrity of the posterior muscle chain which includes the trapezius and posterior deltoids. What we want to do is start using this muscle chain, and the hip joints to generate power and perform rotation instead of the lower back and knees. 

At Scorca Chiropractic Center, we help by teaching the mechanics of the human body and how to use them so that weight and the forces we interact with throughout the day are born by the right muscles; no one muscle group or structure should be exposed to an inordinate amount of stress when the body is trained this way. Let’s make rotating and lifting with the lower back a thing of the past in your life and start relarning how to use your hips and posterior muscles to reduce pain in the lower back and live a happier, healthier life. 

Dr. Francis Scorca, D.C. 

planking

The classic plank has been the subject of significant buzz both in the gym and in pop culture over the last few years and for good reason: with very little movement, the plank targets every layer of the abdominal fascia, strengthening the core and increasing the flexibility of posterior muscle groups. At the same time, it can be used to reduce pain, particularly in the lower back. The plank and its many variations, are important for establishing the core as a stabilizing force, one which shares the burden of the upper body’s weight with the lower back, and contributes to good posture. Let’s look at the form of this chiropractor-approved movement: 

  • Elbows directly under shoulders
  • Wrists aligned with elbows
  • Push your body upward and hold your chin close to your neck
  • Pull your belly button in, contract your abdominals and squeeze your glutes and thigh muscles. 
  • Hold 20-30 seconds, no longer is necessary if the form is correct. 
  • Rest 1 minute, repeat 3-5 times per session. 

As with all exercise, it is important to note that good form is essential: you won’t be reaping the benefits of the movement unless you are doing it properly, and you could actually be training your muscles in a way that will leave them exposed to injury moving forward. At Scorca Chiropractic Center, we can help you implement a stretching and strengthening plan to great effect. 

Dr. Francis Scorca, D.C. 

 

cherry glazer

Junk food, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing, in the opinion of this chiropractor. Essentially, you are paying for a bad deal that satiates your brain’s reward complex, while selling the long-term health of your body well-short. You are getting the most base inputs necessary to keep awake and alive, but nothing more; none of the nutrients that are necessary to feel good and prosper. In the process, you are leading your body down the road toward chronic inflammation, pain and disease. It’s time to put junk food on the back burner, in favor of foods that are real, and packed with the kind of inputs you need to heal your body, combat pain, improve mental performance and live longer! Here are some super foods that can be used to fight pain:

  • Turmeric: relieves pain and fights stiffness and aches in joints. Helps the body with the health of tissues, fights joint inflammation and contributes to good nerve cell function. It’s a chiropractor’s dream ingredient. 
  • Cherries: ease muscle pain, combat inflammation and inhibit pain enzymes. 
  • Ginger: filled with anti-inflammatory properties that help people suffering from headaches and arthritis-related pain. 
  • Cold-water fish: well known for their high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, fish such as salmon, sardines and herring are excellent for fighting inflammation and keeping the back healthy. 

Diet involves some of the most crucial choices you can make on a daily basis to influence greater health. It’s time to start seeking foods that heal you rather than set you back. For help on addressing the root causes of your physical limitations, give our office in Fremont a call to schedule an appointment today. 

Dr. Francis Scorca, D.C. 

relax

When we say the word, “relaxation,” what do we mean? You may think no stress, or picture yourself smiling and content, but what is actually happening in the body, and how do we make it happen? Besides being fun, relaxing is also crucial for keeping stress levels balanced, getting proper, restful sleep, improving mood and preventing disease. Chronically high levels of stress hormones can leave you spun out and at risk for certain health conditions and a weakened immune system. 

When we are relaxed: 

  • Muscle tension is reduced
  • Blood circulation to the body and, more importantly, the brain, improves, bringing nutrients and oxygen necessary for cells to refresh, respire and function properly. 
  • Heart rate slows
  • Breathing becomes slower, fuller and more regular. 

The question of how do we make it happen is complicated and detailed to the individual. Everyone has their own mix of inputs that makes them happy; the important part is to not ignore or neglect these factors. Letting the stresses of daily life dominate our lives often leads us to forget how to feel good and, while working hard is important, so is balancing the hard work with quality relaxation. “Good Relaxation,” is the kind that decreases the effects of stress to the brain and body and it can take practice. At Scorca Chiropractic Center, we can help you find the things in your life that truly help you relax and this may mean beginning by treating your body. Fixing pain is the quickest way to decrease stress and we can help you do just that! 

Dr. Francis Scorca, D.C. 

anti-inflammatory

Inflammation, though a part of the body’s natural, biological response to harmful stimuli, has also emerged as one of the leading causes of disease in humans including heart conditions and cancer. At Scorca Chiropractic Center, we are in the business of helping people manage their inflammation, whether it has already created a problem or if you are concerned about prevention.

The truth is, inflammation is building within all of us at different rates and its prevalence only increases with age. The response to managing inflammation is almost as varied as its causes but there are some basics that most medical professionals agree on; it takes a coordinated effort between diet, exercise and sleep, the three factors that are truly within your control. Diet is key and we would like to discuss some factors which can make a difference. 

  • Maintaining a healthy weight: whether it be through exercise or diet, every additional pound is increasing the burden on the body and this translates to inflammation which in turn tampers with the effectiveness of leptin, a key weight control hormone. This is a cycle that can only be reversed with a concerted effort at maintaining weight. 
  • Eating the right fats: healthy fats, such as those found in fish oil, avocado, seeds, nuts and olive oil, are powerful anti-inflammatories and they also help to balance the important processes in our body; it’s a win-win. 
  • Adding in more variety and color: the spice of life is also the key to fighting inflammation. We need to get processed foods out of the diet and add in more natural color, so that you can receive the phytochemicals and micronutrients your body needs to fight inflammation and disease.

Dr. Francis Scorca, D.C.

relax

Dieting is a powerful way to influence relaxation in your life. No matter where you find yourself on the stress spectrum, from those who thrive under pressure to those who shy away and feel the weight of the world, it is always worth being proactive about the management of external and internal stressors that you come into contact with throughout the day. One way of being proactive is by controlling what you put in your body, and it isn’t anywhere near as radical as a diet overhaul. Here are some simple and effective foods and ways that diet can be used to add more relaxation into your life, even if you are in the offic or on-the-go:

  • Green tea: not only does it contain anti-oxidants, but also L-Theanine, a chemical which promotes relaxation. 
  • Chewing gum: clinical studies have proven the power of mastication for lowering cortisol levels and thereby reducing stress
  • Celery: a water-packed vegetable which helps lower high blood pressure, an important factor in relaxation.
  • Honey: Rich in tryptophan and potassium, it is a tonic for the body and brain. If you need a quick boost, you can swallow a spoonful of raw honey. 
  • Bananas: potassium and magnesium, which are found in high amounts in bananas, are good for helping muscles . 
  • Dark Chocolate: contains hormones that directly balance out stress levels in the brain. 
  • Nuts and seeds: rich in the vitamins, minerals and micronurients your body needs to relax. 

The stress cycle can feel a bit like you are trapped in a washing machine. At Scorca Chiropractic, we want to help extract you from this washing machine and find ways to manage your stress before it takes a more serious toll. Chiropractic modalities are excellent for helping you find pain relief, influencing true relaxation and establishing it as the new norm in your life.

Dr. Francis Scorca, D.C.