3 reasons you may have jaw pain

Are you experiencing jaw pain, and you continue to seek solutions, but you just can’t seem to get to the bottom of it? Here are three reasons why you may have jaw pain.

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What You Need To Know About Paw Pain

The most common thing you may be aware of is that you’ve been clenching or grinding, whether at night or during the day. Perhaps your dentist has told you that you’ve been grinding?

Here are three primary causes that will help you to uncover the underlying causes of your pain.

Causes of Jaw Pain

1. Stress

Stress can contribute to clenching and/or grinding. This can also be associated with poor vagal tone or poor parasympathetic activity.

Often, these are associated, and there’s a correlation with the trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve can specifically act as a sympathetic and parasympathetic nerve.

The trigeminal nerve actually innervates the skin of the face, the mucosa, and the nasal cavity, and so it has a very deep connection with the vagus nerve. Therefore, it actually produces specific neurotransmitters, so when there’s a dysfunction of the trigeminal nerve, it can be associated with some mood issues and neuropsychiatric disorders.

When there’s a miscommunication between these two nerves, often influenced by stress or trauma, then this can contribute to clenching and grinding.

2. Airway dysfunction

One of the biggest causes of jaw pain, and often overlooked, is an overbite, underbite, poor tongue posture, tonsil issues, small nasal valves, or a deviated septum. There are so many potential airway dysfunctions that could be contributing to your jaw pain, so it is very important that if you’ve had chronic jaw pain, you have your airway evaluated by a specialist. That can help you breathe, move and sleep better.

3. Lack of stability in the body

Finally, one of the reasons why you may have jaw pain is compensation for lack of stability somewhere else in the body. Most commonly, there’s a deep connection to the pelvic floor. When the pelvic floor is very overactive, and is not sequencing, relaxing, and contracting the way it should, there can often be associations with the clenching and grinding within the jaw.

And so, let’s take the example of you standing on one leg. If you’re trying to stand on one leg and you’re really out of balance, your body is going to figure out some mechanism to be safe.

When you have jaw pain, or any other pain for that matter, you really want to dig deeper and find out why so that you can treat the underlying cause. Identifying the root cause will help you become pain-free, live an active lifestyle, breathe better, sleep better, eat better, and do all the wonderful things you deserve.

If this was helpful, please give it a like and a share, and subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

If you need help on your journey, we would love the opportunity to help, so please reach out to us for a discovery session, and we can help you get on the right path.

​​If you are ready to take action now, schedule here: https://p.bttr.to/3Qu7wRd

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10 Best Biohacks for 2023

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10 Best Biohacks for 2023

Biohacking is all the rage right now. But what’s it really about? Essentially, biohackers are people who are interested in the best ways to live healthier, happier, and more productive and purposeful lives.

Here are ten of my favorite biohacks that you should consider using for the new year 2023 to help you gain greater health, vitality, longevity, and well-being.

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If you’ve watched my videos, you know that these are some of my favorite things, but not only are they my favorites, these are things that are evidence-based and proven over and over again to be effective for your overall mental, emotional, and physical health and longevity.

So yes, you may want to look better and feel better, but ultimately you want to be able to do the things in your life that you want to do, right? You don’t want to be held back, and therefore, we cannot take our health for granted. All of the things that I’m going to mention today are so easy to integrate that there’s really no excuse not to do them.

I’m not asking to spend hours a day, rather, focus on these simple strategies that you can easily integrate into your life and make huge improvements in your health.

10 biohacks you should try this 2023

1. Track your heart rate variability

Track your heart rate variability. Essentially, this you’re tracking your vagal tone. There are many options: Whoop, Oura, Fitbit, or an Apple Watch, just to name a few.

One of my favorites is the app Elite HRV, which I use along with a chest monitor. When you wake up in the morning, you can assess your heart rate variability, resting heart rate, and readiness for the day. This allows you to make very intentional changes in your life. Did I sleep well? Did I eat well? How much stress am I under?  You can track the trends of your overall health and how it is affecting your resiliency day to day. This is one of the best objective measures that we can use to assess vagal tone, track your overall health, and be able to ultimately make changes accordingly.

2. Optimizing your sleep

Sleep should be a non-negotiable, but I’m going to give you my quick tips for optimizing your sleep.

  • Number one, get blue light blockers. You want to wear them after 7 PM because, realistically, you’re going to be using your phone or your TV, so get blue light blockers to eliminate the blue light at night. The blue light is ultimately stimulating the receptors in your eye to signal that it is morning.
  • Number two, when you wake up in the morning, you either want to get 20 minutes of natural sunlight within the first 20 minutes or if you can’t do that and that’s not realistic, get a SAD  light that has at least 10,000 lux and set it up as you’re getting ready in the morning or brushing your teeth. You want to optimize your natural cortisol peak in the morning and, ultimately, your melatonin production that night.

This is really important for sleep optimization, and of course, there are many other sleep tips, but these are critical.

3. Vagus nerve stimulation

When it comes to vagus nerve stimulation, you can look at all of my different videos. I have over 50 different vagus nerve exercises, but I will perhaps come back to my favorite — the one and only diaphragmatic breathing.

When we are breathing diaphragmatically, we are stimulating the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve runs right through the diaphragm, and we release a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, creating a relaxation response.

You can tap into breathing anywhere, anytime, and for most people, it is a very effective tool in regulating your nervous system. However, please check out all my other videos on vagus nerve exercises because there are countless exercises that you can do that are extremely effective. Nonetheless, you want to think about how you can regulate your nervous system in the New Year.

4. Lymphatic drainage

This is one of the easiest things you can do because you can basically do it anywhere, including in the shower. You can do it right before or after you get out of the shower. It’s such a gentle and quick technique.

You can check my other lymph blogs or videos for more specific details on how to do that.

5. Strength training

This is something that I will say repeatedly; strength training is the best aging-gracefully strategy you can do. We want to think about how our muscles are influencing our longevity because as we get older, we lose muscle mass; that’s called sarcopenia.

Strength training and optimal protein intake are what allows us to maintain that muscle mass, optimize bone density, and be able to generate force, and adapt to life’s demands without injury. It is one of the most important things that I suggest and doing so in a safe program that includes mobility, strength, and stability all wrapped up in one so it doesn’t take a lot of extra time.

6. Walking

Walking always gets overlooked. It is one of the best forms of exercise that we can do. It is a low-intensity exercise that is great for fat loss, aerobic capacity, and emotional regulation because of its rhythmical nature. It’s what we’re designed to do from a movement perspective.

Work towards a movement mindset. Figure out how many steps you’re taking a day right now. Get your baseline and try to work towards getting 8,000–10,000 steps a day.

If you’re working out of the gym in between sets, take a few laps. If you are parking at the grocery store, park farther away. There are many ways to increase your steps, movement, and overall activity and stimulate your fascial tissue.

There are so many amazing things about walking. It’s often overlooked, but it is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your body.

7. Xlear

This is one of the best things that you can have in your toolbox, especially if you’ve suffered from more immune issues this year. This is such a great preventative and treatment that you could use.

I recommend the Daily Rinse, which you would do twice daily. If you are exposed to someone that’s sick, you’re in larger crowds, or if there’s some for a particular reason why you may need a little bit more of a boost — you’re at an airplane or you get sick, then you want to use the Rescue. Saline alone can actually dry out the nasal cavity so where the xylitol helps to kill bacteria and moisten the nasal passages.

Mutes

I also recommend Mutes. They are fantastic for opening the airway; they can open the airway up to 38 percent to improve nasal breathing, which of course, we know is so important for everything in your body: your core function, nervous system, and your sleep. You can get a trial pack to determine the best size for you.

8. Naboso

Naboso is a specific technology designed to stimulate the small nerves in your hands and feet. It helps to improve balance, gait, and movement efficiency. We need sensory information to create optimal movement.

You can use the ball, the splay, recovery socks, or the mats. I highly recommend this, so please make sure you incorporate this into your life so that you can enjoy improved movement.

9. Protein

I talk about this all the time, but it is so important to have the optimal amount of protein per day, to increase muscle mass, prevent sarcopenia, help with bone density, and help with lean body composition.

We want lean muscle versus increased fat tissue because fat tissue is actually inflammatory. Almost every patient I’ve ever worked with is undereating protein.

We want to think about getting that protein from ethically sourced animal sources that contain all of your essential amino acids. To calculate your protein goal on your own, you would use your ideal body weight.

  • For women, the ideal body weight is a hundred pounds for the first five feet and five pounds per every inch after that. So if you were 5’3”, it would be 115 pounds. (115 g Protein/day)
  • For men, it’s 106 pounds for the first five feet and six pounds per inch after that. So, if you were 5’10” as a male, your ideal body weight would be 166. (166 g Protein/day)

This will vary among people depending on their goals and their activity, but this is a really good start.

10. 1st Phorm Micro Factor

Most often, of course, people need supplementation because we’re not getting the nutrients from our food as we once did. Additionally, most people aren’t consuming all the nutrients they need on a regular basis.

So Micro Factor has been awesome for me and for my patients. Essentially, it has a multivitamin, antioxidant, CoQ10, fruits and vegetables, essential fatty acids, and probiotics, and it comes in a handy little packet. It makes it easy to travel and to be able to grab everything you need without having tons of bottles of supplements.

This can be a great addition to your routine. If this is appropriate, sometimes I have people take the probiotic out if they’re having certain gut issues, and they might have to use a specific probiotic strain, but if you’re just looking for general wellness and health, this is a great pick. You can check it out here.

I hope you found at least one tip that you can apply in the New Year.

Follow us at The Movement Paradigm for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

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What if vagus nerve hacks aren’t working

Have you been trying all of these different vagus nerve hacks, and they just don’t seem to be doing the trick? You’ve tried breathing, meditation, humming and cold showers, but you still feel like you’re dysregulated?

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How vagus nerve issues present

As many of you know, vagus nerve issues can present very differently for each person.

For one person, it may present as heart rate and blood pressure dysregulation. Another person may experience dizziness, headaches, or digestive issues, even something such as gastroparesis. Some may have increased anxiety or depression.

Even if you’ve tested your vagus nerve, such as the uvula or gag reflex test, and it’s shown that there has been some dysfunction of the vagus nerve, it is important to ask why there is vagus nerve dysfunction.

Why you may be having vagus nerve issues and how to address them

Although vagus nerve dysfunction may cause a whole host of different symptoms for each person, it is really imperative to figure out why that is happening. I know that many of you have heard, “getting to the root of the issue.” Many times, there is more than one underlying cause.

You may have had a predisposition in addition to a triggering event such as an infection, toxin exposure, vaccine, or even a stressful event.

And we also have some kind of, you know, triggering event or perpetuating factors that might be contributing to this ongoing process. So it’s really important to look at all of those.

If, for example, you have a gut issue like Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), leaky gut, candida, or even a parasite, this will largely impact your gut-brain connection. Your gut and brain are connected via the vagus nerve.

Eighty percent of the information from the vagus nerve goes to the brain from the viscera. Conversely, if there is any type of structural pathology, such as airway dysfunction (deviated septums, small nasal valves, enlarged turbinates, jaw issues, tongue tie, etc.), these will influence the vagus nerve, as the vagus nerve passes through the diaphragm.

If we are breathing from our neck and shoulders 25,000 times a day, that will affect how that nerve functions.

The last is a lymphatic issue. Our nerves are bathed in our lymph system. If there’s any congestion from systemic inflammation, perhaps stemming from the gut originally,  or myofascial restrictions, these will impact the vagus nerve. Our vagus nerve passes right through the left supraclavicular region, where we have the majority of our lymph draining here. If it’s congested, it will affect the rest of the system.

I hope you can appreciate that there are many reasons to delve into to be able to understand why you have vagus nerve dysregulation.

We offer integrative vagus nerve therapy to be able to help you, through this journey to be able to identify what these causes are and really help you take the next step forward, It’s important to continue to do all of the suggested vagus nerve hacks, all while determining the underlying causes of why you have it in the first place, emotionally and physically.

If you are ready to take action now, schedule here: https://p.bttr.to/3Qu7wRd

If it was helpful, give it a like, give it a share, and of course, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset nutrition and movement thank you as always.

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What to expect and not to expect from physical therapy

Are you wondering what you should expect from physical therapy? Or maybe what you should not expect? As a physical therapist for the past 12 years and as a movement specialist for the past 24 years, I can confidently share what you deserve in physical therapy.

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What you should expect from physical therapy

1. Thorough evaluation

You deserve a thorough evaluation, no matter what you are reaching out to physical therapists for, whether that’s movement issues, chronic pain, acute pain, vestibular, balance issues, post surgery, pre surgery, or any other reason.

That means not only a physical therapist should be looking at your current symptom (s), but they are looking to figure out why they happened in the first place, even during post-surgical cases. A thorough evaluation includes looking at a detailed movement assessment, where your compensation patterns lie, what might be driving some of the issues you’ve had, and all of your modifiable lifestyle factors. How is your sleep? How is your nutrition? How are your relationships? How is your stress management? If your therapist is missing these details, they are missing a huge element of helping you heal.

2.  Practicing what they preach

You deserve a physical therapist who practices what they preach, whether that’s movement, balance, or exercise. They should be a health leader, educator, and movement specialist, and because of that, they have an obligation to be able to do the things that they are recommending that you should do.

3. 1-on-1 care

It is hard to find 1-on-1 care in today’s healthcare environment. I worked in the outpatient practice for eight years, so I understand a busy outpatient setting, and unfortunately, the demands of insurance companies are dictating this. However, you deserve to be able to be the only person in the room, to be listened to, and to have your therapist understand your diagnosis, prognosis, underlying causes, current concerns, goals, and plan of care without being pulled in a million directions. One-on-one care is extremely important, whether that’s 30-minute sessions or 60-minute sessions.

4. Someone who will look at you as a whole person

You should expect someone who listens to your story and understands that you are not a “shoulder problem,” you are not a “hip injury,” and that you are a person; you are human with a story and emotions and thoughts and all the things that make you wonderful. So, make sure that someone is looking at you as a human with a beautiful story, not just an injury.

5. Mindful and intentional movement

You should expect a therapist to help you perform mindful, intentional movement to help guide you to move with interoception, internal awareness of self, to be able to understand movement quality, as opposed to high-volume exercises with poor form.  As movement educators, one of the greatest gifts we can share with you is to help you move your body the way it was intended to so that you can continue to do the things you love.

What you shouldn’t expect from physical therapy

What are some of the things that you should not expect from physical therapy? This is equally as important.

1. You should not be on things that will not help you get well

You should not be on hot packs, cold packs, electrical stimulation, ultrasounds, or other modalities that aren’t helping you get well. They are sometimes time-savers for the therapist, but they are not actually creating better movement in your body. They’re not getting to the root of your issue. They are not moving you forward, and you want to be able to maximize your time spent in physical therapy.

2. You shouldn’t be warming up on machines

You don’t want to get to physical therapy and go on the treadmill or bike to warm up for 10 or 15 minutes. You want to learn how to move your body. Every minute counts!

3. You shouldn’t be on tons of band exercises

You should not be going through tons and tons of band exercises with poor form without guidance. Especially when you feel like you are going through the motions and you could do this at home.

If you feel like you could do that at home, that’s your first sign that this is not a good fit.

I want everyone to believe in physical therapy. We have an amazing opportunity to share with you the gift of movement.

In summary, when you think physical therapy is a waste of time, you’re put on machines and lots of modalities, and you feel like you are competing for your PT’s attention, you deserve better.

Please make sure to find a great physical therapist in your area who does one-on-one care, that looks at you as the whole person, that addresses potential root causes of your injury or your pain or any other issue that you might be experiencing.

If you need help, please reach out to us, we do virtual and in-person care, and we perform holistic physical therapy. Schedule your evaluation here: https://p.bttr.to/3qHXz8i

If it was helpful, give it a like, share it, and subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

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3 ways to treat your acute low back pain

Do you have acute low back pain, and you’re not sure what to do? Maybe you keep stretching over and over again without any relief? Whether you have pain with forward bending or backward bending, here are some things that you may want to consider to allow you to feel better quickly.

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What you need to know about lower back pain

One in four people will experience low back pain, and approximately 80 percent of Americans will have low back pain at some point in their lives.  

Let’s say that you bend over to simply pick up a pencil, and suddenly, you have excruciating low back pain. You feel like you can’t stand up. You don’t really know what to do. Well, oftentimes, people will ice, stretch, and rest. Sometimes they keep stretching, thinking that their back is tight and that, unfortunately, will just continue to make things worse.

Conversely, let’s say that you bend back, and you realize that you get this jabbing pain in your low back. Once again, you perform stretches, perhaps in back bending or side bending. Unfortunately, that will make things worse.

What’s the number one thing you want to do when you have low back pain?

1. Movement

It is not rest; it is movement. You want to perform, at the minimum, light walking or movement around your home or office. Any prolonged position, like sitting or standing in one place, will increase your pain. Movement is number one, not rest—no lying on your back for a long time, no lying on your stomach for a long time, and no sitting for a long time.

2. Diaphragmatic breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing is a must regardless of how your back pain is presenting. Diaphragmatic breathing means you’re breathing in through the nose with the tongue resting at the roof of the mouth, gently touching the top teeth. The pressure that builds up from diaphragmatic breath goes all the way down to the base of the pelvic floor to create 360 degrees of pressure. Your vagus nerve runs right through the diaphragm. When you’re breathing diaphragmatically, this will stimulate the vagus nerve and release a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, creating a relaxation response. This will ultimately decrease your pain. Try breathing with intention throughout the day. Taking at least three to ten deep breaths will be very effective in decreasing your overall pain.

3. Movement bias

Now, of course, there are always outliers to this rule. However, if you have pain with forward bending—you’ve reached down to touch your toes and feel excruciating pain—then you do not want to do any forward bending motions. For example, things like a child’s pose, a cat stretch, or sitting for a long time.

You want to think about doing most extension-based movements—lying on your stomach, crocodile breathing, or propping yourself up to a sphinx position onto your elbows.

If that feels comfortable, then go into a small press-up. Repeat and check out your painful pattern afterward to see if the pain has decreased. So, for example, re-test your toe touch, see if it feels less painful. If so, then you could continue those exercises throughout the day, especially with the acute low back pain.

Now, if you have pain with back bending and you feel good with forward bending, focus on forward bending. For example, you could start off in a child’s pose position. Then move to a cat position, rounding the spine, tucking from the pelvis, and breathing in that position. Lastly, you could even go into a standing forward fold.

Essentially, this works great for acute low back pain. Put simply, move towards what feels better and away from what’s causing pain. If you continue to move in a painful range, motor control is distorted, which affects timing, sequencing, and coordination of muscles.

When to do these exercises

Now, of course, this can apply to all low back pain if it seems appropriate, but these recommendations are specifically for acute pain.  

If you’ve watched our videos or followed our blogs, you know that I’m going to encourage you to find the root cause of your pain. But in the short term, it’s really important to be able to treat it, manage it, and move on so that it does not turn into chronic low back pain.

Acute back pain is very easy to treat and can resolve quickly. You want to begin immediately, whether doing things like this yourself and/or seeing a qualified health professional to treat you.

If this is helpful, give it a like, give it a share, and of course, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. If you need our help, whether virtual or in person, please reach out; we would love to help you.

Schedule your 15-minute discovery session here: https://p.bttr.to/3qHXz8i

If you are ready to take action now, schedule here. https://p.bttr.to/3Qu7wRd

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Pelvic floor–Gut Connection

Did you know that your pelvic floor is directly linked to your gut health? Let’s talk about that important connection today.

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The connection between the gut and pelvic floor

Our gut is the opening from the mouth to the anus. Whether you are experiencing chronic constipation, diarrhea, or even a specific condition, like SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), leaky gut, SIFO (small intestinal fungal overgrowth), or large intestinal fungal overgrowth—all of these conditions are going to have a direct influence on your pelvic floor function. Conversely, any type of pelvic floor dysfunction will influence your gut health.

For example, if you have a tight pelvic floor, otherwise known as a hypertonic pelvic floor, it will likely contribute to chronic constipation. There are three key connections:

Ways the gut and pelvic floor are connected

1. Sphincters

The first connection includes the pelvic floor sphincters, an internal sphincter and external sphincter.

Think of the internal sphincter as our communication system, which signals to the brain that it is time to have a bowel movement. When we have chronic constipation, for instance, it affects the sphincter and thus disrupts this communication system. Therefore, we ultimately have to retrain our bowel habits to improve this communication.

We also have an external sphincter, which can be stimulated by mere wiping. If we are having excessive wiping when having a bowel movement, it will stimulate that sphincter to drop stool down through the rectum. The more that we do this, the more we are creating miscommunication and ultimately having to wipe more. This can commonly be associated with someone who has looser stools, potentially has dysbiosis or leaky gut, and is chronically wiping when they’re going to the bathroom to ensure they’re clean.

2. Pressure management

The next connection is essentially pushing, or we can also call this poor pressure management.

We want to think about pressure management for everything related to bowel movement and the pelvic floor. If you’ve ever gone to the bathroom, whether it was looser stools or firmer stools, and you are pushing or bearing down to release, you know exactly what I am referring to.  Unfortunately, this involves poor pressure management in our core and definitely within our pelvic floor. This can cause pelvic floor dysfunction.

It is important to manage pressure properly, and the exercise you can do is called “Belly big, belly hard.” When you feel like you’re about to have a bowel movement and you have the desire to push, try making a closed fist, breath in, and then blow into your fist with your cheeks puffing out for three seconds. Now, pull your fist away and keep breathing. You should feel like you’re able to excrete in a very natural and relaxed manner. We need the pelvic floor to relax to have a bowel movement.

3. Bowel mechanics

Finally, the last pelvic floor-gut connection is your bowel mechanics. This will go hand in hand with pressure management, so the Squatty Potty, for example, is a great way to improve your squat mechanics. You can also just elevate your feet, which will allow the stool to move easily into the rectum to be ultimately evacuated.

It’s important to optimize squat mechanics and biomechanics, to optimize pressure management, and to think about the role of your sphincter’s communication with your brain to positively influence your bowel habits and pelvic floor function.

This is just scratching the surface of all of the different connections between these two, but hopefully, it gives you an appreciation that if you have any kind of bowel issue, you absolutely need to address your pelvic floor and vice versa.

They go hand in hand, so if you really want to take the time to work with a professional, please make sure you reach out to us. We’d be more than happy to help you in your journey virtually or in person and really begin to uncover what issues may be affecting you on either side of things.

So, if you found this helpful, give it a like, give it a share. If you’d like to reach out to us for an appointment, please do that as well. Schedule your appointment here: https://p.bttr.to/3Qu7wRd.

Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on

mindset, nutrition, and movement.

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4 ways to improve your shoulder stability and symmetry

Are you struggling with a strength deficit or you keep getting injured? Well, it’s really important to address your shoulder stability and symmetry to be able to optimize your overall strength, performance, and movement longevity.

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What is stability?

Stability is defined as sequencing, timing, and coordination, also referred to as “motor control.” It is different from strength which is defined as how much force we can generate. The best way to improve stability is through isometric contractions that create fascial tensioning— tension around the joint. Think of our stabilizers as muscles that are close to the joint. If we’re referring to the shoulder specifically, the rotator cuff close to the joint.

What is symmetry?

The first thing to recognize is that we are asymmetrical beings because of all the placements of our organs. However, asymmetry in movement can be a predictor of injury. For example, if we can move our right shoulder in a certain range of motion and we are very limited on the left, that could be a huge predictor of injury. As you are working through a proper training program, you want to try to create symmetry. The exception to that rule is high level athletes, like golfers, who whose asymmetry can contribute to their peak performance. To do that, it’s great to do unilateral exercises to see how the right shoulder compares to the left shoulder and vice versa, for example.

4 ways to improve your shoulder stability and symmetry

Although there are many exercises that you could do as well as assessments, I would suggest these few exercises that I think can be very valuable in assessing as well as treating your shoulder symmetry and stability. Now, if any of these progressions are too hard for you, please do what feels appropriate.

Here are four ways to improve your shoulder stability and symmetry:

1. Kettlebell screwdriver

Start with a kettlebell hold. You want to think about packing the shoulder, bringing the shoulder blade down towards the ground and down towards your hips, maintaining that tension in the shoulder while you slowly rotate it in and out. From there, you can move towards a kettlebell arm bar.

Link to Video

2. Kettlebell arm bar

For this, drive from the hips, while keeping the shoulder stable the whole time, moving into your arm bar position where you’re gazing up at the bell. Hold that position for 30 seconds to 1 minute and then come back to your start position while initiating the movement from the thoracic spine.

Link to video

3. Side kick through and crab

Based on animal flow, start from a beast position and drive the ground away and you reach one leg through. Then you can also move into a crab, maintaining strong shoulder integrity.

Link to Video

4. Halo

Lastly is the halo to bring it all together, integrating your core. From a tall kneeling or half kneeling position, while using a kettlebell, bringing it around the head while maintaining a strong foundation.

Link to Video

If these exercises were helpful, please make sure you give it a like, share it with a friend or family member who might need this, and of course, subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

If you need help with your shoulder, please make sure you reach out. We can see you virtually or in person and would love the opportunity to help you on your journey.

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A neck exercise that really works

Are you performing aggressive chin tucks due to your neck stiffness or neck pain with no results? Well, instead, try out this very simple and effective technique that works wonders.

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As a physical therapist for the past 12 years and being in the movement industry for my entire career, I’ve realized that chin tucks are prescribed so often, aggressively. As always, it is important to address root causes of why forward head posture is happening in the first place.  

In our previous videos and blogs, I’ve gone into more depth about forward head posture, and we have to think beyond just the mechanics of it. Is there an airway restriction? Is there emotional and nervous system dysregulation that’s contributing to poor posture? Aside from that, we want to also think about what forward head posture is doing to our nervous system.

What forward head posture does to the nervous system

Poor forward head posture can affect our vagus nerve (and other cranial nerves) and create more dysregulation in our nervous system. It can compress some of our spinal nerves as well as our cranial nerves, which have very important functions.

With that said, we have to think beyond just chin tucks and respect the nervous system.

One of my favorite basic techniques, which is a myofascial technique, stimulates the vagus nerve. It can ultimately help bring us into a better mechanical position and begin to reinforce optimal mobility in the spine.

How to perform

To perform this exercise, think about where the vagus nerve exits right behind the ear. Take both hands and place them right behind the earlobe. Traction that tissue up in the direction of the ear.

Place your hand on the tissue, move the tissue over, tractioning it up very gently, and you will almost immediately or shortly thereafter feel a sense of relaxation that could come in the form of a sigh, a swallow, or a yawn — it could just feel like a simple sense of relaxation.

You should feel like you’re actually placing the neck in a more neutral position, creating a natural lengthening of the spine.

Once you assume that position, from there, move through a gentle range of motion — forward bending, backward bending, rotation, and even side bending. What that will do is give good feedback to the nervous system because you’re actually stimulating the receptors in the joints and signaling to the brain that this is a good position. This feels safe. This feels pain-free.

Begin to incorporate this exercise frequently throughout the day. It’s easy, only about a minute, and can be very effective. 

Are you interested in seeing how we can help you with your neck pain, shoulder mobility, etc.? Schedule your 15-minute discovery session here: https://p.bttr.to/3qHXz8i

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I hope this is helpful. If it was, please give it a like, share it, and subscribe to our Youtube Channel — The Movement Paradigm — for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

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7 of the best foot hacks

Not only is our foot our foundation for human movement, but it is also a powerful neuromuscular structure that gives our brain constant information. This happens through the skin on the bottom of the feet. 

Here are seven different ways you can optimize your foot health that can be easily integrated into your daily life.

Rather watch or listen? 

What do you need to know about the foot

As I mentioned, from a biomechanical standpoint, we want to think of our foot as our foundation for human movement. If our foot is not stable and does not provide a stable foundation, the rest of your kinetic chain will be affected.

When we think of the foot from the neuromuscular standpoint, we want to think about the skin on the bottom of the foot. We have 104 different receptors, which are actually stimulated by different external stimuli: deep pressure, texture, skin stretch, and vibration.  

The information coming in through the skin on the bottom of the feet via these receptors goes to the brain, even passing through the emotional center of our brain.  

When we wear shoes and socks, we block this powerful information that’s coming into our nervous system. It is imperative that we focus on stimulating our feet to move, walk, balance, and live better. 

7 of the best foot hacks

#1. Foot release

There are lots of different tools that you can use, including rad balls or a neuro ball by Naboso. Hold the ball under the specific points of the foot for approximately 20 to 30 seconds. You can do longer, ensuring there’s no pain. Allow the foot to naturally relax over the ball. This will stimulate some of the receptors in the bottom of the foot that respond to deep pressure and release tension in your feet.

An easy way to incorporate this into your life is to perform this while brushing your teeth or cooking. That way, you’re stimulating your feet, creating more mobility and elasticity, while simultaneously doing something else. 

#2. Splay

Use splay in your feet. During the toe-off in your gait cycle, females toes should splay  approximately three millimeters; for men, five millimeters. When we wear shoes that have a narrow toe box, it prevents proper splay. This affects the ability of the foot to create a rigid lever to be able to push off from. Ultimately, that’s how we transfer force.

Instead of wearing compressive shoes, which we’ll get into in just a moment, we want to think of trying to create space in forefoot. Try Naboso Splay 30 minutes each night, maybe while you’re relaxing or watching TV; that’s a great opportunity to incorporate this. 

If you have a bunion, you’ll want to address that, too. You won’t fix the bunion by using a toe spacer, but you can use something like a bunion spacer between your first and second metatarsal to realign your first toe and bring it in a more neutral position for push-off in your gait cycle. 

#3. Naboso insole

Naboso is an evidence-based technology that stimulates the small nerves on the bottom of the feet, specifically the Merkel disc. I highly recommend wearing the insoles for constant stimulation in your shoes. 

There are different variations of Naboso insoles. There’s activation performance, neuro, and duo — all of them may be a little bit different based on your needs, but really powerful ways to stimulate your feet while wearing shoes. 

#4. Varied surfaces

You can build a rock mat and stand on that while you’re getting ready in the morning. You can get river stones that are a little bit softer; you can also get little pebbles depending on your tolerance and work up a tolerance over time. Walking outside in the grass, on stones, and on different surfaces really allows you to adapt to different stimuli. You can also use Naboso technology mats.

Yoga mats, for example, decreases your balance and stability.

#5. Short foot

Train your feet! Instead of wearing shoes, socks, and orthotics and losing stability over time, you want to train your feet. That can start with slowly increasing your barefoot tolerance, stimulating the feet and allowing them to do what they are meant to do. We can also intentionally train them, which is called short foot.

As you’re performing this exercise, it really is about sequencing the foot to the core. It’s about connecting all of the fascia in the foot and the muscles in the foot all the way up to the pelvic floor, the diaphragm, and the hip stabilizers. It isn’t just simply a foot exercise, but it’s ultimately how we are stabilizing during dynamic movement.

To perform short foot, you start on one leg, and you can place your foot in a neutral position. You can begin with a kickstand, and from here, inhale through the nose, allowing your foot to relax. As you exhale, root the tips of your toes into the ground. This will lift the arch of the foot and the ball of the foot slightly as you perform this exercise. 

Once you feel comfortable, then you move up onto one leg and perform the same. You perform approximately eight breaths before you move on. 

#6. Footwear 

Next is enhancing your natural foot function with proper footwear. Unfortunately, as I said, as it relates to our feet, we tend to block all this powerful information with shoes, socks, orthotics, and cushion.

The shoe should be able to twist just like the foot does. The foot has to spiral. The midsole should bend unless you have some type of forefoot pathology such as great toe arthritis or neuromas.  

The more cushion we have, the more impact force we have coming in through our body because we are hitting the ground harder. 

More cushion and more support is actually not good despite what the shoe industry tries to push for. You can SLOWLY transition to less supportive shoes as you do more intentional footwork. Ultimately, you want to get to a point where you are enhancing your natural foot function. 

#7. Barefoot time

Lastly is increasing barefoot tolerance. If you’re somebody that wears shoes and socks at home all the time, you must go really slow. If you are already barefoot all the time, you’re off to a great start. 

Start with about five minutes. Whether you are scared to go barefoot, or your podiatrist told you to never go barefoot, whatever the case may be, go very slowly while building tolerance and a sense of safety over time. 

If it’s extremely fearful and scary for you, then you have to respect that. Start with one to two minutes at a time. Keeping all of these nerves stimulated is one of the keys to preventing falls as we age so that we can prevent any kind of major accident as we age.

I could go on and on about feet, but hopefully, these seven hacks were helpful.

If you are interested in learning more about your feet and what your foot needs, then please reach out to us. We are trained through EBFA Global as barefoot rehabilitation specialists.

I hope this is helpful. If it was, please give it a like, share it, and subscribe to our Youtube Channel — The Movement Paradigm — for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

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Peeing yourself during heavy lifting is not okay

No, peeing yourself by lifting heavy weights is not normal! There are numerous posts floating around social media that are making light of the fact that women (and men) performing heavy lifting are peeing themselves. This is purely information that we need more pelvic health education.

Rather watch or listen? 

We have three different layers of the pelvic floor which are part of the intrinsic stabilizing unit of our core. This system is based on pressure management.

At the top of our core, we have our diaphragm. As we inhale, the intra-abdominal pressure that’s built up from the diaphragm as it descends continues to move down to the pelvic floor. Initially, as we inhale, the pelvic floor relaxes. As we exhale, the pelvic floor is gently lifting (contracting). This is simply a normal function of our diaphragm and pelvic floor. It also involves our transverse abdominis, which is our natural weight belt. As we inhale, the transverse abdominis lengthen and eccentrically contract. As we exhale, we’re creating a corset as it contracts.

If there is an imbalance in the pressure management in the core at a basic level, then when going under heavy loads, the pelvic floor cannot support this amount of pressure.

3 Key Reasons Why You Have Dysfunctional Pelvic Floor During Lifting

There are three key reasons why you have dysfunction of the pelvic floor during lifting. If you can understand and appreciate the anatomy, then these are all going to make sense. 

1. Shallow Breathing

We breathe about 25,000 times a day. If you are breathing from your neck and shoulders on a day-to-day basis, then this will create downward pressure on the pelvic floor.

Breathing from the neck and shoulders creates a reverse breathing pattern. When you inhale, everything is lifting, and as you exhale, the belly comes out. We have to be able to breathe optimally, which means as you inhale, you have 360 degrees of pressure in the abdomen, all the way down to the pelvic floor.

During exhalation, allow the abdomen to contract and bring the belly button towards the spine. Coordinating your breathing pattern during dynamic movements or heavy lifting is essential. 

2. Breath Holding

When doing something like a heavy deadlift or squat, you are performing a Valsalva maneuver which can effectively increase intra-abdominal pressure and can help with spine stability and trunk rigidity.

If you have an over dominance of your outer core muscles (think six-pack muscles) and a lack of stability in our deep stabilizers, which are the diaphragm, pelvic floor, transverse abdominis, and the multifidi, then that can create significant downward pressure on the pelvic floor. That can cause dysfunction in our pelvic floor and result in urination during lifting.

3. Doming 

This is also caused by instability in the deep core. The way that we would test this is to lie on your back, bring your knees up, and see what happens to your abdomen. Many times the abdomen will dome immediately. Sometimes that could be due to diastasis recti. It can simply be that there is poor intrinsic stabilization (deep core).  If you’re trying to do heavy lifting without proper stabilization and coordination of intraabdominal pressure, then, unfortunately, it can result in a lot of pelvic floor dysfunction. 

What can you do

One of your easiest takehomes from this is to begin working on breathing coordination with your deep core. As you breathe in through the nose, allow the abdomen to expand 360 degrees all the way down to the pelvic floor. As you exhale, you can focus on an active exhalation, pulling the belly button towards the spine.

This creates more of an abdominal brace. Work on the coordination, sequencing, and timing of all of these important muscles. Then begin to integrate that into dynamic movements. When you get into heavy lifting, you will need to learn how to maintain your pressure while you are doing a lift.

If you don’t have good coordination, to begin with, and you’re trying to manage pressure at a high level, it’s not going to work out so well.  If you have been lifting for years, implement this newfound knowledge and awareness of your pelvic floor, diaphragm, and coordination among all of your deep core muscles. 

I hope this is helpful. If it was, please give it a like, share it, and subscribe to our Youtube Channel — The Movement Paradigm — for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

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