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Consider the Core Part II

The previous blog discussed what muscles the core is composed of and why it is valuable to have activation of the core. It is important to remember the core muscles listed are highly integrated to a number of other muscles and fascial coverings that expand above and below the center of the body.

Planking Exercises - Nashville TN - East End Chiropractic

How do you know if your core is strong enough?

A GOOD way to know if your core is strong enough (for you) is the absence of weak core symptoms. Some signs of a weak core include low back pain, side cramping when running, trouble breathing, difficulty picking up things, pain in the morning, and discomfort when seated.

A BETTER way to know if your core is strong is by challenging it through specific activations. Practicing specific breathing patterns, maintaining proper postures while seated or standing, utilizing bracing mechanics to lift a toddler or heavy furniture, are all daily tests to evaluate the strength of your core.

The BEST way to have an understanding of your core strength is to have it assessed by a movement professional. Chiropractors are specialists who can evaluate your core activation, stabilization, endurance, and relaxation control. Core strength can be difficult to determine on your own. Having another set of eyes to evaluate core strength can help piece together what areas need more work in order to reach valuable strength.

How can the core be activated efficiently and effectively?

Efficiency of the core is dependent on neurological feedback and mechanical control. Neurological feedback is the process to initiate, execute, react, and stop movement patterns. Mechanical control is the soft tissue response to the neurological input. Coordinating the process takes time if the system has not been executed properly.

Some activities are more effective at gaining core efficiency and strength. In the absence of discomfort or after a proper assessment, there are a number of exercises that can be completed to help increase core activation and in turn improve the strength of the area.

Top 3 Core Activations

  1. BRACING: Brace the midsection of the torso as if expecting a punch toward your gut from any direction.
  2. RELAX: Allow the midsection to relax enough such that you could push lightly on the stomach without discomfort.
  3. LIGHT TAPPING: At areas that will not brace or will not relax, tap lightly with your fingers to provide nervous system activation to stimulate a feedback loop for that physical area.

Top 5 Core Exercises

  1. Thoracic Diaphragm Breathing
  2. Pillar Plank
  3. Side Planks
  4. Dying Bug
  5. Bear Crawls

All of these exercises require core activation without flexing through the core like a sit up would demand. These are the safest and most effective core exercises to start with. Most of these exercises can be found online through professional movement sites. To learn how to complete these exercises, do not hesitate to email or call the office for instruction!

Hopefully this series has shed some light on the concept of “core”. It is a goal of our office to educate patients and the community on ways to care for themselves.

Challenge trends.

Ask questions.

Stay educated.

Consider the core.

All the best!

By Lauren Calabra on April 10th, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Consider the Core Part II

Consider the Core Part I

Core strength has been a big buzz word in the health, wellness, and fitness community lately.

There is a reason ‘core strength’ is discussed so much in medical research, fitness articles, and blogs like this one. It is a very important subsystem of the body!

Core Strength - Nashville TN - East End Chiropractic

However, it is key to learn a few things about the core before jumping into the latest Facebook post on “How to get a 6-Pack in 6 Days”.

The following two part series will break down a few aspects about ‘core strength’ in order to prepare yourself for additional readings, advice, or physical evaluations with a licensed practitioner.

What Makes Up the Core?

The core that the general public tends to refer to is only the rectus abdominis muscle, aka 4, 6, or 8 pack.  This is the muscle that extends along the front of the body from the bottom of the sternum to the top of the pubic symphysis, or pelvis.

In reality, the core should include this muscle and MANY others.

Here is a short list of muscles you can look up to get an idea of the extensive network of the core:

FRONT: Rectus Abdominis
SIDE: External Oblique, Internal Oblique, Transversus Abdominis
BACK: Psoas, Longissimus, Multifidii, Iliocostalis
TOP: Diaphragm
BOTTOM: Pelvic Floor (We will detail this some other time!)

Again, this list is very short in comparison to the reality of how many muscle are activated when recruiting our core. Just keep in mind that the core refers to muscles surrounding the midsection of our body all the way around and extending from the bottom of the sternum and ribs to the pelvis.

Why Is Core Strength Important?

Core strength is valuable for a number of structural and functional purposes. It serves as a structural protector to the internal organ systems. Functionally, the job description of the core continues to grow. Two functions of the core that relate well to daily movement are lumbopelvic stability and diaphragm activation.

  • Lumbopelvic Stability: When the core is strong, the lumbar spine and pelvis become more stable. This aids in protecting the lumbar discs and limiting unnecessary pelvic rotation. When the lumbopelvic complex is absorbing forces well there is less demand on the low back in order to lift boxes for moving, pick- up your grandchildren, practice yoga poses, or even sneeze.
  • Diaphragm Activation: Core strength requires the recruitment of the diaphragm. Diaphragm activation is important to define healthy breathing patterns and “turn on” the nervous system responsible for resting states.

When the diaphragm is correctly activated it controls our breathing rates and oxygen input. Proper diaphragm use contributes to better breathing performance when exercising, doing yard work, or even giving a speech. Improved breathing patterns have contributed to decreased symptoms of asthma and allergies as well!

The diaphragm is directly related to the parasympathetic nervous system. The stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system, aka the ‘rest and digest’ nervous system, is very important in the American culture. Typically people present over-stressed with symptoms of fatigue, muscle cramps, increased heart rates, and high blood pressure. Taking slow deep breaths, using the diaphragm and core correctly, truly does encourage a controlled meditative state for efficient recovery and healing.

If you do decide to jump into some core work, please consider the posture of the lumbar spine and breathing patterns!

Hopefully these few thoughts will start to open doors for deeper conversation regarding the complexity of ‘core strength’.

Still to come: Consider the Core Part II: “How do you know if your core is strong enough?” and “How can the core be activated efficiently?”.

By Lauren Calabra on March 13th, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , | Comments Off on Consider the Core Part I

Essential Oils – What are they?

Many of you have come to our office for the conservative, non-invasive care we offer. Along with spinal adjustments, exercise therapy, therapeutic massage and electrical stimulation, you have trusted Dr. Olsen and Dr. Calabra with the health of your spine and, in extension, your overall health decisions.

Essentials Oils Class - Nashville TN - East End Chiropractic

Knowing this, many of you have asked about essential oils. What are the benefits? Do we recommend them? Can they help in conjunction with the therapy I receive at East End Chiropractic?

Because we want to answer your questions to the best of our ability, we have decided to host a small educational class on essential oils. Andrew Boulineau, with doTerra Essential Oils, will be teaching the basics of essential oils Saturday, February 28 at 9am at East End Chiropractic.

Andrew will be able to answer questions about the relevance, health benefits, and concerns you may have about essential oils. While East End Chiropractic will not be selling any products through our office, it is our goal to educate our patients on a variety of information so that you are able to make more decisive health choices for yourself and your loved ones.

Please feel free to contact our office if you are interested in attending this informational class.

Coffee and snacks will be provided so we would appreciate a final RSVP no later than February 25.

Hope to see you there!

By John Olsen on February 13th, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Comments Off on Essential Oils – What are they?

New Year! New Look!

New Windows - Nashville TN - East End Chiropractic

We have gotten rid of the old and brought in the new!  Out with the cinderblocks and in with the windows! East End Chiropractic is combating the winter blues by giving our staff and patients a glimpse of the outside world.  We are enjoying the morning light and the afternoon warmth of sunshine.  If you haven’t seen our windows, come on by the office and have a look.

We would like to thank all of our patients for helping us welcome in the new year!  Now that you’re getting into a new routine, don’t forget your back!  Give us a call to schedule an appointment for any maintenance care you might have forgotten about during the holiday.  Dr. Olsen and Dr. Calabra are here to take care of you and your health as well as answer any questions you may have.

We hope to see you soon!

By John Olsen on January 22nd, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , | Comments Off on New Year! New Look!

December Holiday Hours

*During the Winter Holiday Season the office will have modified hours so the office staff can have time celebrating with friends and family!*

Happy Holidays 2014 - Nashville TN - East End Chiropractic

Monday 22nd: 8:00-1:00 and 3:00-6:00

Tuesday 23rd:  8:00-1:00

Wednesday 24th: CLOSED

Thursday 25th:  CLOSED

Friday 26th: CLOSED

Monday 29th: 8:00-1:00 and 3:00-6:00

Tuesday 30th: 10:00-1:00

Wednesday 31st: 8:00- 1:00

Thursday 1st: CLOSED

Friday 2nd: 8:00-1:00

We hope you and your families have safe and fun holiday celebrations!

By Lauren Calabra on December 22nd, 2014 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Comments Off on December Holiday Hours

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Nashville, TN 37206
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