Why am I still in pain?!

Why am I still in Pain???

Are you still in pain even after taking medications and have gone the surgery route? Why does this happen to so many people?
Even though our understanding of pain and how the brain processes pain has improved drastically, certain treatments are still based on old, and outdated information or models. For example, the Cartesian pain model, and the belief that our brain is hardwired.

Usually therapists have an understanding of “pain fibers”. A person sprains his or her ankle, and the “pain fibers” send “pain messages” to the brain, then pain is perceived by the brain and the person will do something to help the ankle. But how does this explain the reason for pain when there is no injury? How does this explain phantom limb pain? Or explain how Kerri Strug in the 1996 Olympics was able to pull off a faultless vault performance? Her ankle injury was so severe her coach had to carry her to the platform. Truth is, it doesn’t explain, hence why the medical profession needs to update their information about pain.

 

The Old School Train of Thought: The Cartesian Model

The Cartesian Model could be the reason for the misunderstanding about pain and where it starts. This model comes from Renè Descartes. (1596-1650) Even though this model is extremely outdated, its theory of pain is the backbone of the way doctors approach pain issues today. This model basically says if you were to put your foot either in or near fire, that a message is sent to the brain via pathway or wire. When the message hit the brain it would result in a ringing of a bell producing pain. Not only is this idea extremely simple it’s incorrect. Therefore, if the teaching is overly simple and incorrect, the treatment will be as well.

(Little known fact: Descartes believed that nerves were hollow tubes and that spirits flowed up and down them).

When looking at the Cartesian model you’ll see that to treat a person in pain, several options show up.

1. Remove foot from the fire.

First, the person can take his foot out of the fire, but what about the persistent pain that exists afterward? This also doesn’t account for the instance of pain triggered by emotion. For example, fear of being burned while standing by the fire can cause pain or evoke the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is our flight/fight/freeze mechanism.

2. Dousing the fire.

Second, you can douse the the fire with a bucket of water. Looking at the modern approach, “dousing the fire” would be pain medicine or injections. However, Medicare in the U.S. has had a 629% increase in expenditures for lower back pain over the last five years (Deyo, Mirza et al.,2009), yet pain rates are increasing, not decreasing. So logically, you can say “dousing the fire” doesn’t work.

3. Cutting the wire.

Third, and more severe approach to the Cartesian model of getting rid of pain would be to cut the wire. This would severe the message even getting to the brain, so if the brain can’t receive the message, pain will not exist. This modern approach would be surgery. If the Cartesian model was correct than surgery would be 100% successful. However, “20% of lumber discectomy patients have the same if not worse pain after surgery. (Ostelo, Costa et al., 2004); Lumbar fusions, in general, only have a 50% success rate in decreasing pain (Deyo, Nachemson et al.,2004; Deyo Gray et al., 2005).

More than 360 years after Renè Descartes death, this model continues to have influence on the way doctors and therapists think of pain.

Incorrect assumptions.

As a result of the outdated information, when you go to a therapist or doctor you might be introduced to some inaccurate assumptions. For example:

There is a direct link between the amount of tissue damage and the level of pain that you feel.

  • All pain is caused by an injury and if there is a increase of pain it must mean more tissue damage.
  • If you are dealing with chronic pain, under the Cartesian model, this means that the tissue isn’t healing and the damage is still going on.
  • Pain is an input driven system.
  • The nervous system is simply built for conduction (a wire).
  • However pain is just way more complex.

Pain fundamentals.

As mentioned above, its been a belief that our brain plays a role when we experience pain. The idea was that there was a specific area in the brain, like a “pain center.” However, science today has proven that there is not a specific spot in the brain that deals with pain. In fact, their is many areas of the brain that are involved when we are in pain. So when looking for answers on how to treat your pain, understand that there are more than a few ways to fix it.

Pain is actually an action signal. The brain makes a decision based on its perception of threat. For example: someone hurts their ankle, and is crossing the street. They see a bus approaching them very fast. The person now runs across the street with no pain in their ankle. As soon as the person calms down their ankle pain comes back. Why did the pain go away? The brain perceived that the bus was a greater threat to your survival, so no pain was produced to protect the ankle, allowing the person to get out of harms way.

Pain is part of the survival system. This means that if your brain views something as a threat, it will create pain.

Pain is also individual. This means that two people can be hurt in the same way, and have two different pain experiences.

Pain is a multi-system output event. This means again, since survival is of upmost importance to the brain, pain will influence body-wide changes in order to help us handle the threat that has presented itself.

What all these fundamentals of pain boil down to is the most current view of pain. Science is now calling it the neuromatrix. The neuromatrix highlights the fact that its not one thing that causes pain, you need to take a persons background, emotional state, physical state, etc into consideration.

neuromatrix

If you are someone who is still in pain after medication and surgery, I encourage you to look at your life, and see where there may be something your brain is viewing as threatening. This can come in ways of eating inflammatory foods or not enough food, poor sleep, lack of movement, and a stressful job.

Hypertension, High Blood Pressure, Edema… Salt may be the Solution

hypertension and salt

Does salt cause high blood pressure?

I wanted to share with you a helpful tool I use when working with my clients… SALT.

I, like so many other people was convinced salt was a bad thing, and limiting your intake of it was a wise and health-conscience decision. We are told that a diet with a “high” salt intake could lead to issues such as high blood pressure, hypertension, edema, and heart disease. However, my personal experience with salt has been a positive one. In the past when I’ve cut salt out or decreased intake, it led to more health issues.  Finally, my confusion lead to a whole lot of researching and experimenting.  The following is my experience with salt.

Working with my clients and through research on how to help issues such as high blood pressure and edema, I discovered increasing salt intake was the answer to fixing them. The more I studied about the human body’s functions the more dumbfounding contradictions I found in the medical literature. For many years they have told us to stay away from salt, however, in an emergency situation, like dehydration, poisoning, or major blood loss,  you would be given an intravenous drip of saline… SALT!!

Some doctors have been known to use salt to reduce inflammation, improve sleep, aid muscle recovery and function, increase insulin sensitivity, improve thyroid function, and stabilize blood pressure. So why is there so much conflicting information our there?!

When and How Did Salt Get Its Bad Rep?

In the 1950s drug companies marketed newly discovered (thiazide) diuretics to the general public.  This new drug was being sold as a solution to deal with swelling, edema and hypertension.  Pregnant women found themselves as a big market for the sale of diuretics.  The one noticeable side effect of taking the drug was the loss of sodium in a person’s urine.  This raised a few flags, but instead of questioning the safety of the drug, the diuretic company claimed this excessive sodium loss must be a result of too much salt consumption in the diet.

It is the belief of several doctors, including Dr. Ray Peat, that the diuretics industry convinced a whole generation of doctors that pregnant women should limit salt in their diet, take a diuretic for preventive measures, and restrict calories to prevent “excessive” weight gain.  The advertising campaigns created also created a strong belief that salt was the culprit in hypertension.

Millions of women and their babies were harmed by these claims.  The prescribed diuretics intended to treat high blood pressure, pulmonary edema, heart failure, “idiopathic edema,” orthostatic edema, obesity, and other forms of water retention, including pregnancy.  The loss of all this sodium in their systems caused various disfunction in their bodies.  And since they caused sodium to be excreted in the urine, their sale was accompanied by advising patients to reduce their salt intake to make the diuretic “more effective,”  compounding the problem.  Modern diuretics use new chemical mixtures, but still have a damaging and negative side effects on the kidneys.

The Study…and 50 deaths… or maybe more.

What about the actual studies regarding salt and the effect on the body? David McCarron, M.D., (professor of medicine and head of the Division of Nephrology, Hypertension and Clinical Pharmacology at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland) looked at the government’s recommendations and the figures they were based on.   He found that people who limited their sodium intake had the highest blood pressure.  In contrast, people who consumed more sodium had lower blood pressure or became  “healthier”.  [McCarron found this to be inaccurate and in his research he claim a calcium deficiency to actually be the cause of  hypertension. Sadly, even though Dr. McCarron wrote 150 articles on the subject, the CA university where he taught, asked him to leave. Sodium was just an innocent bystander, but we’ll come back to this in a moment.]

Dr. Michael Alderman, a blood pressure researcher at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and editor of the American Journal of Hypertension, said medical literature on salt and health effects were inconsistent.  Allow me to explain…

The study was published in the May 4, 2011 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association. http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/899663.  The objective of the study was to see whether the amount of urinary sodium excretion in a 24 hour period could predict blood pressure and health outcomes.  The initial study only involved participants without high blood pressure.  The results were considered at best suggestive and not conclusive.  It included 3,681 middle-aged Europeans with high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease who were followed for approximately 8 years.

The researchers analyzed the participants’ sodium consumption at the start and end of the study, and  measured the amount of sodium that was lost over a 24-hour period.  All the sodium a person consumes is lost in urine within a day, so this method is the most precise way to determine sodium consumption. However, that may have been inconsistent as well.

Dr. Peter Briss, a medical director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, “its subjects who seemed to consume the smallest amount of sodium also provided less urine than those consuming more. This acted as an indication that they might not have collected all of their urine in an 24-hour period.”  Briss thought the urine samples of those with lower sodium levels weren’t properly collected.

A follow up was implemented on all 3,681 participants over a period of around 8 years.  Researchers found that the less salt people consumed, the more likely they were to die of heart disease — 50 people in the lowest third of salt consumption died during the study.  24 in the medium group, and 10 in the highest salt consumption group. Those eating the most salt had, on average, a slight increase in systolic blood pressure — a 1.71-millimeter increase in pressure for each 2.5-gram increase in sodium per day — they were no more likely to develop hypertension.

“If the goal is to prevent hypertension” with lower sodium consumption, said the lead author, Dr. Jan A. Staessen, a professor of medicine at the University of Leuven, in Belgium, “this study shows it does not work.”

What’s the cause for high blood pressure then?

Dr. Ray Peat teaches  how low-salt diets have been shown to increase inflammation and activate the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone (RAA) system, stimulating greater activity of the sympathetic nervous system. Meaning, that low-salt diets trigger the stress and inflammation chain reaction in the body that can lead to hypertension.

Also having a deficiency in calcium causes an increase of the para-thyroid hormone to pull calcium out of the bones and moves into cells. When too much calcium enters a cell it activates many enzymes, prevents muscle, blood vessels, and nerve cells from relaxing, and eventually kills the cell.

How to fix the problem

Having a diet with a good amount of salt and calcium will relieve symptoms of hypertension, high blood pressure and edema. Sodium stimulates energy production and protects against inflammation and other stress reactions. It also activates thyroid function and pushes calcium from the cells and helps cells to relax.

Dr. Ray Peat recommends  2,000 mg of calcium and other alkalizing minerals: magnesium, sodium, and potassium to relieve your symptoms.  Sodium also aids in the production of CO2. Increasing carbon dioxide  eliminates calcium from the cells which will relax the blood vessels, allowing  the calcium to move out of the blood vessels, and back into the bones, ultimately decreasing blood pressure, water retention and more symptoms of hypertension. Other ways to increase carbon dioxide in the cells, is to breathe into a bag, add a pinch of baking soda to your drink, or  baking soda to your bath.

 

 

References

http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/899663

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/04/health/research/04salt.html

http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/salt.shtml

http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/calcium.shtml

 

Dairy Sensitivity? How to fix Lactose Intolerance.

ice-cream-happinessYou had a stressful day at work and you just wanted to treat yourself to your favorite flavor of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. On the drive home you begin the mental debate  “should I take that gamble?” You think about the last time you had dairy and rationalize why  this time won’t be as bad. That last time was just an fluke. So you take the leap, go to the store, and buy your ice cream. Already starting to regret your decision, you take that first bite. You wait a couple seconds waiting and listening for your stomach to let you know how your night is going to be. After awhile you finish your bowl and you lay on the couch and settle in for a nice night… Then it happens.. your stomach comes alive!. You sit up right away clutching your stomach and your doing the dash down the hall.

Sound familiar? Many people deal with a dairy sensitivity today.  If you are someone that personally struggles with this issue, you’re in luck.  It can be fixed!

First let me go over what milk is.  As you already know, milk comes from mammals.  Milk from cows, sheep, and goats have great nutritional value.  Milk contains magnesium, potassium, selenium, and vitamins A,B,D,and K, as well as high levels of Calcium.  Whole milk contains about 87 % water, 4.6 percent lactose (sugar), 3.4 % protein, and 4.2 percent fat ( about 70 % saturated fat, 25% monounsaturated fat, and then less than 2% is polyunsaturated fat).  Did you know that higher milk consumption has been linked to lower body fat, lower levels of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), improved bone density, bone mass, and healthier teeth?

Something to keep in mind..

The media, cultural morals, and the way we were raised, have all had major influence on our thoughts and beliefs about nutrition.  From time to time it’s good to step back and question or test the beliefs that we have taken on through the years.

When reading research relating to nutrition and health, we should ask what alternative possibilities are being neglected for “practical” reasons, cultural preferences, and business interests.

For example those who pay for research are those with an investment in or a commitment to the preservation and expansion of the existing systems of production and distribution. Producing a cheap product, and ensuring its durability and long shelf-life are more important than the effects of these foods on your health. The biggest companies are usually able to keep public attention away from the harm they do. Dairy products definitely fall under this category.

Where does the intolerance come from?

Some people with digestive milk issues have found just changing brands have helped with their problem.  Milk with a reduced- fat content is required by U.S. law to have vitamins D & A added.  The methods used in the vitamin preparation, and the chemicals that come in the “pure” vitamins themselves, are  possible sources of allergens in commercial milk.  So when choosing a milk, whole milk would actually be a better option as it commonly found to be less irritating amongst my clients.

A thickening agent found in many dairy products is carrageenan.  It is a powerful allergen that has been found to cause a “pseudo-latex allergy” (Tarlo, et al.,1995).  Carrageenan has given good reasons to believe that its toxic effects are the result of the human body having issues with metabolizing calcium. (see for example Abdullahi, et al., 1975; Halici, et al., 2008; Janaswamy and Chandrasekaran, 2008).

In my experience with people, I find the common problem of digesting dairy is actually a sugar sensitivity.  Lactose, or milk sugar, requires the enzyme lactase to digest properly.  A hormonal condition that may contribute to someone having a lactase deficiency is being deficient in progesterone. A lack of progesterone in the body can come from stress and an increase of estrogen and cortisol. When this happens, a common problem is that the production of the enzyme lactase decreases.  When a person is  deficient in the enzyme lactase, symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas and more severe distress for some, such as a “shards of glass” feeling in the intestines.  Lactase is produced in the microvilli of the small intestine, and is released once lactose enters the intestines.  The problem starts when the gut and intestines become inflamed and damaged (usually happens over time with the consumption of alcohol, drugs, poly-unsaturated fats (PUFAs), grains, processed foods, additives, etc.) and lactase production shuts down.  When this happens, lactose cannot be broken down and what we develop is intolerance to anything containing lactose.

So how do you fix this…. 

Since the issue is inflammation within the gut, cutting out foods that irritate the stomach and intestines would be a good move. Foods that are in high in fiber cause more damage and increased inflammation and irritation to our already damaged guts.  So cutting out or minimizing raw veggies, and fibrous fruits would be ideal. When we consume that much fiber on a daily basis on a inflamed gut, the fiber, which is essentially wood pulp, just sits in the gut and ferments.  This encourages unhealthy bacterial growth and brings stress on the body.  By limiting or cutting out consumption of alcohol, nuts, seeds, grains (PUFAs), and junk foods, you’ll give your stomach and intestines a break allowing them to heal.

To help with the healing process, add good sugar to your diet such as fruit, juice, honey, and even at times table sugar to your daily diet. Sugars can reverse the damage of stress that your body is under.

Today I consume probably 24-32 0z of milk daily, as well as eating plenty of cheese and good quality ice cream.  Whenever I have a few extra pounds i’d like to lose, dairy is the first thing I increase.  

milk-and-coffeeYou may find adding dairy into your life will simplify things.  A glass of milk with a little added honey contains a sufficient ratio of protein, fat, and sugar to qualify it as a small meal.  It’s the easiest meal you’ll ever prepare.  Adding a small amount of milk with your meals is a good place to start when attempting to build up your production of lactase.  We’re talking 1 or 2 ounces of milk with a complete meal consisting of protein, fat and sugar.  For example, I may eat a small piece of steak, a side potato, some melon and a glass of sparkling water. I’ll then just add a couple ounces of milk to chase the meal.

Another great way to add milk into your day is by drinking it in your coffee.  So many people find they can handle milk when it’s in coffee.  

Give it a shot!  Be sure to leave a comment and keep me posted on your progress.  

Suffer from migraines? Let me help

Jenn Migraines Blog

Did you know that nearly 1 in 4 U.S. households include someone with migraine pain?

That’s equal to 36 million men, women, AND children in the United  States.

If you are one of these people, you have seen and heard it all when it comes to how to get rid of a migraine.  I had a close friend who suffered from extremely debilitating migraines.  One day I walked into her house to find her lying flat on the floor in a dark room with potato slices wrapped around her head! Needless to say it didn’t help…

Because I work with the public I have had to tackle this beast named  “Migraine” on a number of occasions.  When working with people it’s pretty common to either immediately relieve some of the pain as well as take it away fully by using a few simple movement techniques or dietary adjustments.

The 2 things I have personally seen to help people is feeding your body with nutrient rich foods to support thyroid and metabolic function in addition to some focused mobility sessions.

When it comes to nutrition the first thing you will want to do is increase your daily sugar intake and minimize polyunsaturated fats in your diet.

Why will adding sugar to your diet help you? Let me explain…

First, I’m talking about sugar found naturally in foods (with the exception of table sugar which I’ll talk about) that contain fructose, glucose, lactose, and sucrose. Such as organic fruits, organic root vegetables like potatoes and carrots, organic dairy, some pulp-free fruit juices, raw organic honey, and even refined white sugar. Starchy foods like breads, pasta and grain tend to cause issues so stay away from them.  White refined sugar isn’t an optimal source of sugar, but it isn’t the demon everyone would like you to believe it to be either!

When the body is under stress the demand for glucose increases, if glucose is low in the blood the body will release adrenaline from the adrenal glands to convert glycogen, to provide additional glucose. The issue with this is, is that adrenaline will mobilize free fatty acids to use as fuel. Free fatty acids disturb the production, transport, and signaling of thyroid hormones. Also, when glucose is in short supply, more cortisol is produced to provide glucose. It does this by the breakdown of structure of muscles and the Thymus Gland in order for glucose dependent systems get what they need. When these stress hormones are released in the body it happens at a “sympathetic state.” In this state your body creates extra tension especially in the neck and shoulders.

Where to get the sugar:

Here’s our hierarch of sugar listed Optimal to Least Optimal but acceptable none the less…

  1. WHOLE FRUIT – FruitsMelons, oranges, cherries, grapes, cooked apples, fruit juices, honey, as well as adding white sugar to your coffee or milk.
  2. FRUIT JUICES – orange juice, grape, apple, lemon aid, etc.  These are normally like having the whole fruit, but have less fiber.  Insoluble fiber in fruits and veggies can be hard on a person’s gut especially if they’re dealing with metabolism problems.
  3. HONEY and SUCROSE (table sugar) – these are even easier to digest and therefor might be the best source of sugar when someone is just getting started on the path to healing their metabolism.

Why avoid polyunsaturated fats?

Polyunsaturated Fats actually inhibit the natural burning process of glucose (sugar) and get in the way of integrating glucose in it’s other functions throughout your body. And from what you read earlier when the body doesn’t have enough glucose to keep your blood-sugar level, it uses stress hormones like adrenaline to do the job which again can cause increased pulse, blood pressure, and tension.  This leads to tight muscle tone, limited mobility, and headaches.  Just about every migraine we’ve ever dealt with there has been some link to moments of low blood-sugar.  Eating something sugary at the start of what seems to be a headache usually makes it go away with 20 minutes.  Chronic

Think about the last time you had to be in a position where mobility was limited… Such as a plane ride, road trip in the car, 8-10 hrs a day in an office chair staring at a computer… When you got up, how tight and stiff were you? Maybe you felt pain in your neck or back? Same thing happens when we have a lack of proper nutrition in our body. When our body can’t function like it needs too and needs to depend on stress hormones to keep us alive, it impacts our body in a negative way.

Examples of Polyunsaturated Fats (PUFAs):PUFA

PUFAs can be found in large or small amounts in everything we eat. PUFAs are found in Vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes (like grain and soy), cold water fish (Salmon), poultry, beef, and pork that have been poisoned by a diet rich in PUFAs (grain, soy, and corn fed animals). The worse place where you can ingest PUFAs are the oils. Such as: vegetable, nut, seed, and fish oils.

Your probably shocked on hearing about the Fish oils! I know I was when I first found it out… A great Read that explains why we should stay away from these oils as well as other things is “How to Heal Your Metabolism” by Kate Deering. It’s an easy and informative read that I recommend you read.

Another step I recommend our clients take is to get their protein from Eggs, Beef, Beef liver, Bison, Shrimp, Crab, and Oysters. Making soups of beef bones are another great source of protein which will improve the amino acid profile of your daily intake.  Bone broth has a lot of glycine in it.  Most people lack it in their diet and when they add it in can half a very calming effect.

Just by doing this you will be providing your body with enough nutrients to start the healing process, and as a result can decrease the occurrence of migraines, headaches, and pain and tension in general.  Other cool symptoms of healing your metabolism are increased energy, better sleep,  happier, calm, collected mood, and just a better quality of life.

If you’re suffering from migraines we can help!  Call 702-220-8222 for free, no obligation consultation with me, today.

 

 

Home Workout by Jen

Hey there!

Here’s a little workout to try at home.  It’s very simple by design and should be pretty easy to perform at home or out at a park.  Below you’ll find a short set of mobility drills to prime your joints for the workout, a few sub-maximal plyometric exercises like jumping jacks to get your blood pumping, and 5 exercises you can do in a circuit fashion.

Remember to take your time.  Start by trying to get 2 sets in and work your way up to 5 full sets.

Give it a shot for a week or two, and let me know how it goes!  You can reach out to me anytime at Jennifer@fitlifefusion.com.  Go for it!

 

MOBLITIY WARM UP:

Ankle tilts (5 reps on each side)

Knee circles in a 45 degree lunge  (each side and 3 reps in each direction)

Thoracic glide 5 reps

WARM UP:  20 jumping jacks, 15 squats, 10 push-ups, 10 burpees

WORKOUT:

20-25 squats

15-20 alternating lunges

10-15 push-ups

10 burpees (with or without push-up)

20 sit ups

Rest for 60-90 sec and then repeat set 3 more times

 

What to eat, What to eat…

Hey Guys, First off I’d like to commend everyone on there hard work I’ve been seeing at the gym. You guys have been kicking butt! Also, I love all the questions everyone has been asking me, keep it up.

A question I get a lot is,”What Should I eat BEFORE and AFTER a workout?” What we decide to put in our bodies plays a huge part in our performance when we workout. If we have the right amount of nutrition we will have energy and feel good during the workout, compared to if we eat nothing or eat foods that bogs our bodies down and not allowing the cells to create energy efficiently, which is what we want. This is a lot easier than it sounds. One of the tools our cells use to create energy is glucose. So eating:

Fruit (preferably melon,cherries,grapes, Orange Juice)

milk with sugar

Coffee with plenty of milk and sugar

 

Protein:

Steak

Shrimp

Liver

Smoothie with protein (preferably Gelatin)

Cheese

Milk

Whatever you decide to eat just make sure that your ratio is More Sugar than Protein, more Protein than Fat.

After the workout I like to have at least 24 0z of OJ with a pinch of salt as well as some protein and fruit. Also I like to make time to take an Epsom Salt Bath, this gives our muscles and nerves the food they need…

I hope this has been helpful for you guys, If you have any questions feel free to Email me at jennifer@fitlifefusion.com

 

 

The Vestibular System

The Vestibular System

By Jennifer Davis

image from Science is beauty; tumblr

 

What is that?!

This is your vestibular system. Still confused? This very small but extremely important system supports us in everything that we do. It basically keeps us upright. Let me break it down for you.

Where is it located?

The vestibular organs are embedded in bone deep inside the skull.

Image from www .humanneurophysiology.com

Anatomy of the Vestibular System

  1. Semi-Circular canals (Horizontal, Superior, Posterior)
  2. The otolith organs (Utricle, Saccule)
  3. The vestibulocochlear nerve

Its Job

1. To let us know which way is up and

2. To let us know which way we are going

So we know the vestibular system exists to tell us where we are in space. It tells us which way we are going. It
helps us keep our balance and communicates with our postural muscles so they know what to do whether that means to relax or to tense up.

The vestibular system is so important that it is the first system to develop for a baby when it is still in the womb.

Semi-Circular Canals

You have three of these canals as a part of each inner ear. Each canal has a name based on its position in relationship to the other two canals:

1. Horizontal

2. Superior/Anterior

3. Posterior

These canals are oriented at 90° to one another. As a result, they can signal head movement in any plane or combinations of planes.

These Canals have an important job
1. They Sense Head Motion and how fast the head is moving

2. Enable the VOR (Vestibulo-Ocular Reflex)

(if you are a client at the fit life fusion gym you are familiar with us having you do drills that involve gaze stabilization. We are checking your VOR.)

Did you know that the function of your eyes is closely connected to the function of your inner ear and vice versa? So poor visual skills or function can be damaging to inner ear function while inner ear injury or poor skills can be damaging to your eyes.

3. Each canal is formed by bone and filled with a thick gel something like Jell-O called endolymph. At the bottom of each canal, because they form a loop, there is an bulb called the ampulla. Sitting inside the ampulla is a sail shaped structure called the cupula. Attached to the bottom of the cupula is a nerve. When the head moves, this causes the fluid in the ear to bend the sail in one direction or the other. Depending on which direction the sail bends, the nerve either fires with greater or lesser frequency.

No single canal is designed to work alone. They all have partners on the opposite side of the head, and they work in what is called a PUSH/PULL arrangement.

  • Horizontal Canals: when we turn our head from Left to Right.
  • Left Anterior and Right Posterior Canals: When we move our head down and to the left diagonally.
  • Right Anterior and Left Posterior Canals: When we move our head down and to the right diagonally.So this is what happens when we rotate our heads.
  1. If you turn your head to the right, the fluid in your RIGHT HORIZONTAL CANAL bends the sail (cupula) in a direction that INCREASES the firing rate in the RIGHT vestibulocochlear nerve.
  2. At the same time, the fluid in your LEFT HORIZONTAL CANAL bends its sail in a direction that DECREASES the firing rate in the LEFT vestibulocochlear nerve.
  1. Your brain INTERPRETS this change in signaling from each ear as, “I just turned my head right.”
  2. Your brain will ALSO COMPARE this vestibular input with input from the visual and proprioceptive systems to make sure that all three are saying the same thing.So why is this information important for you? Let’s say you have had small injury (even if was extremely small) to your right inner ear. The injury causes the firing rate to be CONSTANTLY DECREASED. What this would mean over time is that the brain would be getting mixed signals and your brain now is viewing a natural movement that should be easy to do as a threat. As a trainer I will see decreased range of motion, lack of strength, issue in watching your gate, and very common enough you might be feeling pain somewhere.What if you don’t notice some of the symptoms mentioned above… Have you ever dealt with Vertigo, Motion Sickness, or maybe you notice you like to walk on your tippy toes a lot. These are some of the signs of a vestibular issue. In my next blog I will be doing a video showing certain drills that we like to use at the #FitLife Fusion gym that will fix vestibular issues. I hope this Blog was educational and interesting for you, please feel free to e-mail me with any comments or questions you may have about this blog.

Jennifer’s E-mail: jennifer@fitlifefusion.com

Living Room Workout

 

image from Philadelphia Magazine

Hey Everyone! For those of you who went on the Red Rock hike Thank you so much for coming! Looking Forward to doing it again. While I was on the hike I asked some people if anyone had any questions about nutrition or fitness… And fitness won!

So I wanted to share a full-body workout plan that you can do 2x a week and in your own living room. It will burn Fat, increase muscle tone and help you with your endurance. Most of these exercises don’t require dumbbells but you can always add weight to increase the intensity. You want to use a weight that by the end of the last 2 reps its challenging to finish.
Start by doing 1-2 mobility,visual or vestibular drill

Warm-up
20 sec jumping jacks
20 sec High Knees
20 sec sit-throughs
10 push-ups

FIRST HALF
Military press with Dumbbells 8-10 REPS (when holding the dumbbells palms face forward)

REST for 45 sec

Biceps Curls with Dumbbells 8-10 REPS

REST for 45 sec

Push-ups (as many as you can do)

REST for 60 sec

REPEAT Set 2 more times
SECOND HALF

Jump Squats 8-12 reps

REST 45 sec-1 min

Suitcase deadlift with Kettlebell or Dumbbell 8-10 reps Tempo : squat down for 3 sec and come up for 1 sec

REST 45-60 sec

Wall Squat 60-120 sec * To increase intensity you can hold hands above head or hold a KettleBell or Dumbbell while in squat

REST 60-120 sec

REPEAT 1-2 more times

**BONUS ABS WORKOUT**

Sit-ups 20-30 reps

REST 20 sec

Hip Raises 15-20 reps

REST 20 sec

Plank 60 sec

REPEAT 3 times

Finish by drinking a nice cold 24 0z glass of OJ with a pinch of salt

Your Future-Self Will Thank You

Hey!
I just wanted to commend everyone on their hard work I’ve been seeing at the gym. I love seeing people who are consistently food journaling and really focusing on their nutrition. Keep up the hard work!

For those of you that have been following the Ray Peat Diet, good job! A lot of questions might pop up when you are first starting this diet so please feel free to pepper us with questions. The more you educate yourself about your metabolism and how your body functions the faster you will heal from an unhealthy metabolic place to a well functioning one. The results of having a healthy metabolism are:

  1. increased energy,
  2. balanced hormone levels,
  3. living pain-free,
  4. healthy digestion, and
  5. being able to lose weight and actually have it STAY off!

Please take a few minutes and meditate on these questions:

  • How do I want to feel emotionally and look physically years from now (imagine how you would feel accomplishing your goal)?
  • Am I eating in a way that supports a healthy lifestyle?
  • Am I open to learning new ways for getting out of pain and living a healthy life?
Fitness at any age. Taken from National Post Sports.

Fitness at any age. Taken from National Post Sports.

Here’s something that I would like you to try, as it has definitely been helping me. Think about 1 small unhealthy habit you may struggle with and replace it with a healthy one.
For example:

  • Instead of eating 5 Oreos eat 3
  • Instead of drinking that 2nd soda replace it with a glass of orange juice.
  • Instead of sitting and watching the commercials on TV do some jumping jacks or push-ups.

Whatever it is that you choose make it small, and don’t expect perfection. Changing habits can be frustrating but it doesn’t have to be. Start out small and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment when you make good choices. Again, do something today that your future self will thank you for