Do you ever find yourself asking your significant other, "Please, just press here, right between my shoulderblades!" Are there tight, sore muscles that you notice yourself pushing on frequently to try to get some relief? You may have trigger points in your muscles. Trigger points are taut, irritable bands (about the size of a pea) in your tissues. There are several types of trigger points, but I'll save that discussion for a future blog post. what I want to offer you today are two tools you can use to reduce the irritating sensations of trigger points.
Up first is the "S-hook massager." You can buy the type with knobs or the smooth type, but they act on the same principle. you drape one end of the curved hook over your chest, and position the other end over the sore areas in your back. The tool acts like a fulcrum, allowing you to push on the end that's in front of you, generating pressure over the other end. It's easy to moderate the amount of pressure by modifying how hard you push, and it's easy to re-position the tool to get multiple trigger points in a short amount of time. Most people will naturally start with the area between the shoulder blades (rhomboids and traps), but don't forget to search for trigger points in the muscles that lay over the scapula themselves (infraspinatus and teres minor). You can switch your grip so the hook is held out to the side to put pressure on any trigger points you find in the pec minor and pec major muscles. Hold each point for 10 seconds or until the pain starts to dissipate. Another cool thing about these tools is that they break into two pieces so that you can take it with you when you travel.
Up next is one sock and one tennis ball. Slide a (clean) tennis ball into a (clean) sock. Stand with your back to a wall. Hold the open end of the sock and fling the ball end behind you. Now bend your knees slightly so you will be able to generate some force with your body weight. Position the ball on the most sore spot in your back, lean into it, hold pressure for 10 seconds, then roll onto the next spot. You can also face the wall and place the ball on your pecs, and then carefully lean into it. The sock will keep the ball from dropping as you shift positions, and also serves as a visual cover to hide the tennis ball from your dog. If they don't see the ball go in there, they won't try to chew it up. Unless they love socks. Then you're out of luck and maybe you should try the S-hook.
Give them both a try and see what works best for you!
Did you ever notice that it’s a challenge to carry protein-rich snacks with you if you don’t have a cooler or a fridge to store them in? Veggies are easy to cut up and stack in a Tupperware. Nuts and fruits are naturally portable as well. But unless you want to start loading up your pockets with pieces of pre-cooked meat, you may be looking for alternate easy protein-rich snacks.
This weekend, pop open two cans of organic garbanzo beans, drain and rinse them in a colander, and then pat dry with a clean kitchen towel. Toss them in a bowl with some olive oil, sea salt, and your favorite spices (or try cumin, garlic, and paprika). Pour them onto a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil, and give them a shake so they spread out. Pop them into the oven for about 40 minutes at 425 degrees. Check them after 30 minutes to make sure they’re not burning. They should come out crispy. If they aren’t yet crisp, turn up the heat and give them another few minutes. Let them cool, and then store them either wrapped in their foil, or in a dry Tupperware. They stay crispy for a few days and are the perfect portable, pop-able protein snack!
Option 1: cook your own beans from scratch, and then pat them dry before tossing them with the olive oil.
Option 2: Only use one can of beans. * This isn’t a very good option because you will want to eat the whole batch as soon as it’s out of the oven. And if you do, well, you won’t have any crispy beans leftover for later in the week.
Once again, Dr. Gabe Mirkin
provides us with interesting research findings on fitness and exercise. Reprinted with permission. You can find other articles by Dr. Mirkin at www.drmirkin.com.
Should you train or rest before a major race?
The best way to train a couple of days before an important race or a marathon is to stop training altogether. How long you can exercise a muscle depends on how much sugar you can store in that muscle before you start to exercise. Dr. Dave Costill of Ball State University asked one group of highly- trained runners to jog at a slow pace on the two days prior to measuring their muscle sugars and another group to not jog at all. The runners who didn't jog stored the most sugar.
Studies on bicycle racers show that their muscles will load maximally with sugar when they take a very hard workout four days prior to racing and then ride easily for the next three days. However, running three or four days before a marathon will decrease the amount of sugar that muscles can store, presumably because hard running damages muscles and interferes with their ability to store sugar.
There is no evidence that a hard workout in the week before a race will help a runner during that race. Hard training tears down muscles and it take several days for the muscles to heal sufficiently to improve performance. Run at a slow pace on the fifth, fourth and third day before your event, and do not run at all on the last two days.
Some of you have benefited from various nutritional products donated to our office for patients to sample. Here's another product for athletes to battle dehydration.
From Stacie Hovland:
Drip Drop is a fast-acting fluid replacement for mild to moderate dehydration that tastes great. Drip Drop is a new type of ORS. It has two to three times the electrolytes of leading sports drinks, yet it meets or exceeds the taste levels of the most popular sports drinks on the market.
Drip Drop ORS quickly restores proper electrolyte and fluid balance lost through training, and competitions. It also provides relief due to vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, or excessive heat during illnesses. For mild to moderate dehydration, it can save trips to the emergency room, or save patients the discomfort of intravenous drip therapy.
Whether you are a parent to a sick dehydrated child, caretaker to an elder needing hydration, or active in a physically demanding lifestyle, Drip Drop offers a solution to a common problem of dehydration. Water is such a large component of our body, undeniably necessary, and so often we turn to beverages that are either lacking viability with the correct electrolyte levels or taste. Drip Drop provides an optimal electrolyte level to facilitate the absorption of fluids with a fresh lemon taste.
The founder and creator of Drip Drop, Dr. Eduardo Dolhun, is a practicing physician, Mayo Clinic graduate and lecturer at Stanford University. It's wonderful to have our Bay Area the epicenter of such an important advancement. Drip Drop doesn't stop here however. The ready to mix, just add water powder has already traveled to Haiti and Pakistan helping save lives globally.
First adopted by the World Health Organization more than 30 years ago, oral rehydration therapy constitutes one of the most important medical advances of the last century. It relies on a simple mixture of electrolytes, sugar and water taken orally. This oral rehydration solution (ORS) activates the sodium-glucose co-transport system to pull water and electrolytes into the body.
The education and implementation of proper rehydration is important in the San Francisco Bay Area among healthcare professionals, to professional and high endurance athletes, and families. It is currently available through certain Walgreens pharmacies and at www.dripdrophydration.com. The reaction to taste alone has been one of relief and joy as seen on amazon customer reviews. Drip Drop payed notice and will be coming out with three new delicious flavors, orange, honey tea, and berry, in the beginning of 2012.
Drip Drop has been put into regular use by athletes, and families of all kinds, and is currently part of hydration protocols for collegiate and professional sports teams. For recommendations of where our product would benefit people in the bay area please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For mild to moderate dehydration due to Competitions, Training, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Colds and Flu, Sweating, Excessive heat, appropriate for Children, Adults, and the Elderly. This ORS has No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. A solution to dehydration that works and tastes great.