What is Spinal Decompression?

Back pain is pretty common these days especially with all of the desk jobs and long hours sitting. We have begun to be more sedentary than we ever were before.

If you have had chronic back pain you may have considered spinal decompression therapy. There is surgical and non-surgical decompression. Lets look at the advantages and risk of each option.

What is Non-surgical Decompression:
Nonsurgical Spinal Decompression is a form of traction that is low force stretching of the spine which opens up the disc space and gets more blood and spinal fluid to the discs.  This will help get the proper nutrients providing growth and healing.  This is really great for bulging discs or herniations.  Taking the stress out of the disk will allow the bulge or herniation to retract a bit and not put so much pressure one the spinal cord.  It is normally not painful and patients normally feel more relaxed and lighter after the treatment.

This is how it works:
A harness is placed on two places on the body to provide stretching of the spine. You can either be on your stomach or back. The doctor will then customize a treatment plan on a computer for a specific treatment time. Treatment times can be from 30 to 45 minutes. Depending on the severity of symptoms and type of ailment, a patient may need 20-30 treatments over a 5 to 7 week time frame.

When is it not okay to have this procedure?
1. During pregnancy
2. Fractures
3. Tumors
4. Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
5. Fusions of the spine

If you do decide to have Spinal Decompression Surgery (if other measures have not worked out), there are different types that may be considered.

• Diskectomy: A portion of the disk is removed when it is putting pressure on the nerves or spinal cord
• Laminectomy: Removal of the bone to increase the spinal canal. This can be a very large removal or a small removal. Be sure to let your surgeon know you would like it to be as minimal as possible. You don’t want your full spinal cord exposed without protection, that is what the bones are for.
• Foraminotomy/foreinectomy: Removal of bone and tissue around the foramina to expand the space between the bones and the nerve roots.
• Osteophyte removal: These are bone spurs that can be removed to make sure it doesn’t impinge on the nerves or spinal cord.

What can happen after the surgery?
• Infections to the spinal and surgical entry area
• Bleeding (inside or outside)
• Blood clots can occur
• Anesthesia allergic reaction
• Nerve damage
• Tissue damage
• Paralysis
• Death

As you can see, surgery can be very dangerous and should only be considered as a LAST resort. Many people opt for surgery first and in many cases, it does not solve the symptoms at all and can create more problems to the area.

Always try other options like chiropractic and massage, they can help relieve inflammation that may be making the spinal canal smaller and relieve a lot of problems.

What Does “Muscle Memory” Mean?

Every athlete has heard the term “muscle memory”. What is meant by that? Do your muscles remember? Well, not exactly.

Our brains are what tells the muscles what to do and how to behave. When our brain has been shown a repetitive function it will remember and quickly pull up that action in its memory bank.

Throwing a ball, watching a sport live or on television, shooting a basket, bowling, golfing and many other sports or activity all become “muscle memory” after watching or performing these activities repetitively.

The part of the brain that helps this along are the bottom portion of the brain called the Cerebellum and the medial portion of the temporal lobe which is located right above the ears.

As you may have noticed with most activities, at first things come to you slowly. You may feel awkward, uncoordinated or off balance. Performing the activity several more times you may find it much easier. Soon, it is much easier and may not even take much effort at all anymore.

We all have experienced this, we just didn’t label it…well, until now…(smile emoticon).

So basically the nervous system and the muscular system talk to each other. Pretty cool huh?

Remember that your nervous system learns and repairs. Motor skills can be learned and that is why after severe injuries, patients can learn to walk, dance, grip again even when many medical professionals say it can not be done.


Chiropractors Are Really Wellness Doctors!

Chiropractors understand that getting adjusted promotes increased immunity and general health.  Our profession has helped millions of people with not only musculoskeletal issues but other areas of the body, all without using drugs or surgery. Chiropractors are board certified doctors but not MDs and want to keep it that way.   MDs prescribe drugs to treat ailments but chiropractors help people with alternative measures instead of drugs and invasive therapies.  Our treatments allow the body to heal on its own naturally.   Now, that is remarkable.

We know that our brain and spinal cord affects the whole body! Here is how.  Every signal leaving the spine goes throughout the body and dictates your general health and function. This is why misalignments that put pressure and stress on the nerves can cause various symptoms.  Pain is commonly why people see a chiropractor initially but pain is not the only thing that occurs when a misalignment happens. Digestive issues, bowel issues, decreased sensations and other symptoms can happen as well.

Interference of the nerves and brain can be changed when alignment is assessed and if necessary corrected. Chiropractors are the only health care professionals specifically trained to locate and correct “spinal subluxations” which affect each nerve the joint is attached to. Each time a chiropractor administers an adjustment, the effects are felt in multiple systems instantaneously.

Chiropractic is not a science and can’t be proven can it? Well, yes it can….

Chiropractors have known for decades that chiropractic is not only beneficial for pain relief but also for general health. We are the people that are in most demand for any type of spinal syndrome but people are finally beginning to understand how we can effect health and wellness without drugs or surgery.

The Center for Disease Control now reports that one of the most popular forms of alternative medicine is chiropractic.

Research is catching up to what chiropractors have known for years. Normally, chiropractors do not have the means and funds for expensive studies but with the popularity and health effects it is beginning to open the eyes of researchers.

In a international study involving hundreds of chiropractors and thousands of chiropractic patients, researchers sought to measure the incidence of non-musculoskeletal responses to chiropractic therapy. This study found that patients had systemic improvements even when they did not mention these upon examination. The most common systems that were effected were breathing (27%), digestion (26%) and circulation (21%). Blood pressure was shown to be decreased after treatment to the neck in another study.

So, though chiropractors help with neck and back pain, wellness and prevention is really what chiropractic does. We prevent surgery and can keep you healthy without the reliance of drugs! It just isn’t marketed that way because most articles and research has been focused on pain.

References and sources:

1. Dagenais S, Gay RE, Tricco AC, Freeman MD & Mayer JM. NASS Contemporary Concepts in Spine Care: Spinal Manipulation Therapy for Acute Low Back Pain. Spine Journal 2010 (Oct.); 10(10): 918-940.

2. Bronfort G, Assendelft WJJ, Evans R, Haas M & Bouter L. Efficacy of Spinal Manipulation for Chronic Headache: A Systematic Review. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2001 (Sept.); 24(7): 457-466

3. Thiel HW & Bolton JE. Predic- tors For Immediate and Global Responses to Chiropractic Manipulation of the Cervical Spine. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2008 (Mar.); 31(3): 172-183.

4. Barnes PM, Bloom B, Nahin R. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults and Children: United States, 2007. CDC National Health Statistics Report #12. December 10, 2008.

5. Hannon SM. Objective Physiologic Changes and Associated Health Benefits of Chiro- practic Adjustments in Asymptom- atic Subjects: A Review of the Literature. J Vertebral Subluxation Research 2004 (Apr.): 1-9.

6. Leboeuf-Yde C, Pedersen EN, Bryner P, Cosman D, Hayek R, Meeker WC, Shaik J, Terrazas O, Tucker J & Walsh M. Self-reported Nonmusculoskeletal Responses to Chiropractic Intervention: A Multi- nation Survey. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2005 (Jun.); 28(5): 294-302.

7. Bakris G, Dickholtz M, Meyer PM, Kravitz G, Avery E, Miller M, Brown J, Woodfield C & Bell B. Atlas Vertebra Realignment and Achievement of Arterial Pressure Goal in Hypertensive Patients: A Pilot Study. Journal of Human Hypertension 2007 (May); 21(5): 347-352.

3 Attributes Of A Great Massage Therapist

There are a lot of options out there for massage therapists and knowing what to look for is key.  When calling if you ask specific questions about whatever you want worked on, the massage therapist should be familiar with how to treat your particular issue.  If they give a generic response or you think it is not on target, you may want to call somewhere else.  Once you have made your decision and show up for your appointment, here are some things to look out for:

1. Asking questions:

Getting a massage is therapeutic. People normally have injuries or areas that they would like special attention paid to. If you go to a massage therapist and they don’t ask you if you area coming in for anything in particular, you are probably going to get a pretty bad massage.  It is more than just rubbing and relaxing muscles. There is a method to each stroke and a goal to be reached. You will normally feel pretty good after any type of massage but when you have a highly trained experienced massage therapist working on you, there is a significant difference.

2. Pressure is everything:
A great massage therapist understands how the body responds to pressure and will notice if your body is tensing up in a particular area or if she/he may need to get deeper to work out knots. There are different methods used to go deep without eliciting tons of pain and that is something not everyone knows. You don’t have to take in large doses of pain to get a reward. A good therapist will also notice a change in your body when you visit next and may ask you if you have been working out or having difficulty sleeping. They will also be able to let you know how much work you may need to get to your health goals.

3. Post-Massage tips:
A great massage therapist will let you know about possible stretches, Myofascial Release, icing or heat after massages. They may recommend nutritional tips as well. Teaching you what to do to help your body really get the most benefit from the massage and keep your joints moving properly is key to helping you move toward your health goals. Great therapists understand the body and what it needs. There is a big difference between going to a spa for a massage and going to a health facility. Spas tend to focus on pampering and relaxing the customer while a health facility is focused on healing and rehabilitation. Our massage therapists are highly trained and understand body physiology and kinesiology. This means they know how the body moves and functions allowing us to help you with any ailment you walk in our door with.

9 Foods That Can Help You Replenish After A Workout

After a workout, these foods will help you recover quicker and regain your energy.

1. Greek Yogurt: Greek yogurt opposed to just regular yogurt packs two times as much protein and has less sugar it also has 1/2 the amount of salt that normal yogurts have.  Yogurt is a great source for calcium which helps keep the structure of your bones strong.

2. Eggs: One egg contains around 7 grams of protein.  This is used highly by body builders.  Eggs also have vitamin E and A making it a staple food for bodybuilders. Eggs also contain several nutrients such as vitamins E which is a great antioxidant and helps your nervous system and vitamin A which helps with vision, immune function and skin health.

3. Bananas:  Bananas are rich in potassium and magnesium, which helps reduce cramping after your workout. Bananas also are wonderful for your digestive system and are a great fiber source. Banana is a sugar but it is realatively low on the glycemic index.

4. Fruit salad: Combinations of fruits provide the vitamins and fibers necessary for the growth and repair of muscles after a workout.

5. Avacodo smoothie (add whey): Avocado is a good source of good fat.  One cup of avocados contains about 22 grams of fat, which makes up 82% of the calories contained in the fruit. Fats can be bad for you but WHFoods.com notes that the intake of fat with carotenoids helps in the overall absorption of the plant pigment.  This is actually healthy!  It also has high dietary fiber content, and when paired with whey in a smoothie, helps you gain energy after a hard workout.

6. Blueberries: This amazing fruit provides you with loads of antioxidants needed to combat the free radicals that can cause so much harm including cancer.

7. Kiwi:  Kiwi has an enzyme called “actinidin” to help in fast digestion.  Potassium is in kiwi along with vitamin C which helps boost your immunity.  It is also rich in vitamin E, but has a low glycemic index.

8. Hummus:  Hummus is a great source of protein and you can eat it with carrots or celery giving you back your energy and getting the fiber you need for digestion.

9. Coconut water: This can increase your electrolyte intake along with necessary minerals you may have sweat out.  It also contains bioactive enzymes which help with digestion and B-complex vitamins that help replenish the body.

Gym vs. Home Workouts – What Is Right For You?

Staying healthy takes a lot of work. I like to give rehabilitative exercises to my patients and make it easy to do them at home. I happen to go to the gym for my workouts and enjoy it but many people do not. Here are some pros and cons about working out at home versus a gym.

Every time you make the trip to the gym you have to make time to change, bring clothes to work if you are going directly after and leave time to take a shower afterward. Depending on how far the gym is, it can be a bit of a drive as well. It can take 2 hours to get a workout in and leave and get home. This can be hard to do if you work long hours and have a family you have to get back to. If you workout at home, you can save time. However, in my professional opinion working out at home is harder for most people because they get distracted and end up not working out. Coming home after work to do exercises can be hard if you have kids too. When you are home they want your attention.

Gyms get crowded especially around new years resolution time (January and February). You may have to wait for equipment or may not be able to find room in the class you like. Normally after February most people have stopped going consistently and things go back to normal but if you are on a plan, it could get discouraging. Try to go on non-peak times. Mornings are pretty slow. Lunch and right after normal working hours are crowded. If you like people this may actually motivate you to go to the gym more because there is socializing at times and the energy level at the gym intensifies which makes setting goals or having a partner to work out with more possible. It is always more fun when you work out with someone who can motivate you!

Machine Costs:
Eliptical machines, treadmills, weights not only take up space at the house but can be costly to buy and maintain. You want to have high quality equipment for a safe workout and to make sure you are getting what you need to reach your health goals. The gym has it all covered and no maintenance is required on your part. Now, if you workout at home, you can buy therabands and place a mat to do certain exercises. Cardio you will probably have to do outside like a brisk walk, jog, run, bike ride.

Comfortability: Being comfortable when working out is very important. If you are the type of person that is self conscious of how you work out it can be very intimidating. Working out at home solves that problem. However, getting a trainer or committing to classes will make you follow through with a plan and become more comfortable with the sessions.

Which one costs more money?
Gym memberships normally just cover usage of the gym itself. Personal training, special classes and other services cost extra. Understanding this will make your life easier. Working out at home can cost money as well if you buy dvds or subscribe to workout programs. Either way you are spending money, you can go to a high end gym and pay hundreds per month or very little per month. You could also spend a lot of money dvds or online subscriptions. In my opinion, just choose what you feel more passionate about so you get motivated to use what you have purchased. So, whether you want to workout at a gym or at home is up to you. Just make sure your decision is getting you toward your goal. If not, you may either need to change the way you are going about working out or you may have to switch things around.

The Benefits Of Massage And Chiropractic Used Together

Massage therapy has begun to be widely used as a complimentary therapy in the health industry. This is because studies are now showing how important joint mobilization is for injury recovery. 

Any massage therapist will tell you that when they are performing a massage, they want to relax the muscles and get the joints to move more freely and loosen. Inflexible muscles limit function and lead to discomfort. With this in mind, there must be emphasis on how tight musculature leads to tight joint capsules. The capsule serves as a articular surface to stabilize the joint by limiting movement and providing stability. If getting a massage loosens and starts to get the joint mobilized, tight joint capsules will begin to decrease mobilization of the joint again putting you back where you started.

This is why you get a massage and feel “great” for a while but then in a few hours, days or weeks, discomfort comes back again. I always recommend getting both massage therapy and chiropractic together because it is highly beneficial. Chiropractic gets the joints moving and lessens the stress on the capsule. Getting the joints moving properly allows massage work to become even more beneficial. It is a wonderful combination!

Here are some of the benefits of massage therapy:
1. Improves your circulation: Blood is basically nutrition for your muscles and body. Blood carries nutrients for the body and most importantly oxygen which helps rejuvenate the body and helps rebuild muscle tissue
2. Improved range of motion
3. Helps recovery time after an injury and between workouts. Increased blood circulation helps get rid of lactic acid buildup leading to better muscle function.
4. Influences the excretion of nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur that are all necessary for tissue repair. We here at Precise Moves Chiropractic are a health facility and understand the body fully. We have a relaxing atmosphere and it does look “spa-like” but our massage therapists are highly trained and are guided by our doctor. We give the treatments you need to get the results desired.

Tips To Help You And Your Personal Trainer Get Results!

Personal Trainers help you with your weight loss and workout goals but do you know some of the things that can hold you back as far as connecting with your trainer?

Here are some tips on how what NOT TO DO to get the most out of yourself with your trainer.

What you DON”T want to do:
1. Withhold Health Information: Do you have any injuries? Anything bothering you? Does it hurt you to be in a certain position? These are all important for your trainer to know even if your doctor has cleared you for exercise. This can help your trainer modify any exercise program they have in mind for you. Are you on medications? Medications can affect your heart rate so it is good to know what you are taking.

2. Don’t Complain: Complaining doesn’t make it any easier and it can keep the energy down which is not what you want. Your workout is not going to be easy…that is why you are paying someone to motivate you. They are there for you and want the experience to be invigorating and fun, not a downer. You won’t feel good about your workout and neither will they.

3. Making Excuses: Many people are busy and have trouble fitting in exercise. But once you commit to working out with a trainer, refrain from making excuses for missing a workout or overeating. They know it is hard to eat well and make time for exercise but they do and so do their other clients. Excuses have gotten you where you are and you took the steps to be healthy, now it is time to do it and make it work.

Don’t Lie: Personal trainers modify their plans based on your progress. If you are not eating the foods you say you are or doing the things you say, it can confuse them and make it hard for you to get results.

5. Talking Too Much (Or Not Enough): Communication is always key with anything but too little or too much can alter your workout. They need to know what is going on with you but talking about your social life the whole time or gossiping is not always beneficial for a workout. Everyone likes to talk about themselves but make sure you have time to talk about your health so they know you are still set with your goals. Some trainers can get frustrated that you need to keep being redirected back to working out.

6. Not Following Your Plan: Plans are specifically made for you.Changing the plan can put a damper on your results. Trainers are not expecting you to do more or less than what they have put out for you. Do what they have told you and if you are frustrated with the results, let them know.

7. Wearing Overly Baggy Clothes: Form is very important with working out so wearing clothes that restrict the eye from making posture advice, it can lead to an injury which is not what you want when you are trying to follow an exercise plan.

Get the most out of your exercise plan and help your trainer help you!

10 Reasons Why You Want To Do Cardio Exercise

What is Aerobic Exercise v. Cardio Exercise?

Aerobic exercise is the same as what we all know as cardio exercise. Cardio exercise is any exercise when blood starts pumping rapidly and sends oxygenated blood that has come from the heart to the muscles. Breathing starts to accelerate and the heart starts beating more rapidly.

Good examples of aerobic exercises are running, swimming, walking, dancing, boxing. If a person performs these at too high of a level, it will then become anaerobe exercise.

Anaerobic exercise is a quick exercise that puts out a lot of energy but then you are quickly winded and have to stop. Sprinting or heavy weight lifting are good examples of anaerobic exercise.

All exercise is great for your health. It can improve your emotional health as well as your physical health. Diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, heart issues and even osteoporosis can be reduced and even prevented by exercise.

So what is the big deal? Why is getting aerobic exercise so important and what affects does it have on the body?
Keeps you slim. Oxygen is necessary for your body to lose weight. Increasing oxygen in the bodies muscles will help keep weight off and fight off any extra calories you took in for that day.

  • Increases your stamina and reduces fatigue
  • Raises your immune system leading to better health and fights off the flu and other contagious diseases.
  • Decreases your risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and certain types of cancers.
  • Keeps your blood sugar levels controlled.  Leading to less cravings for sugar
  • Makes your heart stronger and pumps blood more efficiently. This improves how blood flows through your whole body keeping you healthy.
  • Keeps your cholesterol low
  • Improves you mood. Anxiety, depression have all been proven to reduce with regular exercise.
  • Helps keep you mobile as you age. Aerobic exercise allow your muscles to stay strong and the more you move, the easier it is to move when you get older.
  • Live longer! Studies have shown that people who exercise regularly live longer than those who don’t.

These all sound like great reasons to me! Try and get at least 3 days a week in for exercise, your body will love it.   Here are some places in Redwood City that offer aerobic classes:

  •  24 hour Fitness: 1050 Broadway
  • Powerhouse Gym: 2075 Broadway
  • Heartcore: 930 Main Street

Good luck!

Did You Know Lemons And Apple Cider Vinegar Make A Great Detox And Even Help Boost Your Immune System

Lemons and Apple Cider Vinegar along with a few other ingredients can detox chemicals and pesticides out of your system and relax the body.  It is great for Acid Reflux, heartburn and general digestion. There are plenty of uses for ACV and here is one of them:

Detox drink for the digestive system:
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV): It provides enzymes and gives you good bacteria. It lowers your blood pressure and helps you digest grains more efficiently.

2. Lemons:Lemons help keep your sugar and PH levels balanced. It also keeps your alkaline levels even. It is also wonderful to take during cold and flu season since it contains vitamin C.

3. Cinnamon: Cinnamon is a great anti-oxidant and also keeps your blood sugar levels on track.

4. Cayenne Pepper: Drops blood pressure and increases your metabolism which can help with maintaining a healthy weight.

5.Stevia: Instead of sugar this replacement is from the stevia plant and will be a bit sweeter than sugar but better for you.

Try this 3x a day 20 minutes before eating for two weeks straight to cleanse and detox and then after two weeks, have this concoction one time each day before a meal.

Drink ingredients:

  • 1 glass of warm or hot water (12-16 oz.)
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 dash of Cayeene Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon raw, local honey (optional)


  • Warm the water.
  • mix all ingredients together.
  • Best served warm but drink at desired temperature.