Elbow pain can be one of the most irritating and inconvenient issues. I once had a patient say that the most painful part of his day was just cutting butter for his toast in the morning.
Classically, we tend to blame the tissues at the joint—wrist extensors/flexors. Sure, the common insertion for these muscles becomes inflamed, but what causes that? I like to view the elbow similarly to the knee; it is a joint that is pushed and pulled on either side by very complex joints. The shoulders will largely influence the biomechanics of your elbow and the amount of torque that passes through the joint.
Although somewhat simplified, we could group you as either tight and immobile or mobile and bendy. Each characteristic has its own pros and cons, but the cons are where pain manifests. With decreased shoulder mobility and/or control, the elbow will take the brunt of the force when lifting weights or swinging a racquet. Shoulder stabilization and control are important for correct biomechanics of the shoulder girdle and upper extremity. Lack of control upstream, allows more movement downstream at the elbow. The repetitive, small insults at the elbow joint will eventually result in elbow pain.
Hammering away at the soft tissue around the elbow is often where athletes start when self-treating. Don’t get me wrong, a little forearm smash with a lacrosse ball or barbell is great. But if it does not improve your problems, move on! In this case, we are going to check out the shoulder.
Less mobile folks: To decrease the torque at the elbow, it would be ideal to improve both the external rotation (front rack) and flexion (overhead position) or your shoulder. Tight lats can often be the cause of the restrictions. Try these two mobility pieces:
More mobile folks: Shoulder stabilization is going to be the key for you. A simple way to start on this is kettlebell carries, all variations! Here are two simple, yet effective stabilization drills:
As always, do a movement screen/ form check first. Get a coach or super friend to watch you move and see if they notice any faults. Racquet sport athletes—if you constantly have elbow pain, check your grip size. Grips too small or too large can cause elbow issues as well. If you are a desk jockey, check out your work station and the ergonomics!
Try these mobility exercises and tips out. If you continue to have issues, come see us at Athletes’ Potential. We see elbow pain often and are able to effectively treat it with an evaluation! Keep devoting time to making your body work and feel better.
Adrenal fatigue is the inability of the adrenal glands to carry out their normal function. The kidneys produce hormones to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure, burn fat and protein and react to stress. A disruption can cause changes in metabolism, fluid and electrolyte balance, the cardiovascular system and sex drive. The adrenal glands are the main stress control of the body and thus are affected with a stressful, overworked and under nourished lifestyle.
Some common triggers or causes of adrenal fatigue are: over-exercising, high stress levels, sleep deprivation, high sugar intake, chronic illness, depression, surgery. This is not an exhaustive list by any means but you can likely identify with a few of these.
The signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue can be slightly different with each person. Keep in mind, one or two symptoms does not suggest adrenal fatigue. Rather, a cluster of the symptoms and lifestyle factors in an otherwise healthy adult could point towards adrenal fatigue. Unfortunately, adrenal fatigue is not on the forefront of “old school docs” minds or they were never taught this in med school. Holistic medical practices, dietitians or nutritionists are more likely to recognize the symptoms and prescribe a non-medicinal approach to working back to health.
Weight gain and inability to lose it- often abdominal area
High frequency of sicknesses that tend to last longer than normal
Reduced sex drive
Lack of energy, even with adequate sleep
Reliance on caffeine- coffee, soda, energy drinks
Chronic pain of unknown origin
Obviously, we at Athletes’ Potential are not dietitians or nutritionists but we have a strong belief that input = output. We tend to treat the output side, but you could see they are directly related! So if you train 6 days per week, crave and/or eat sugary foods, sleep 4-5 hours a night and have trouble sleeping once you lay down--- your body is TIRED. As a society wrapped up in the ‘go until you drop’ mindset, it is not often that we take time to slow down and let the mind and body recover.
Take a minute to answer these questions for yourself: How many minutes each day are quiet and calm? Meaning, no phone, no TV, no conversation, no working, no cooking. After a workout or long day at work, what do you do to ensure that your body is ready to do it all again tomorrow? How do you respond when your body sends stress signals?
Any “I don’t know” or “I don’t have time” responses? Keep reading!
Where to start?
Recovery practices- If you are that athlete training 5-6x/week but have no recovery schedule, it is only a matter of time before you will have an injury or begin to experience some of the above symptoms. Recovery can look like an off day (more than once every 2 weeks), a stretching and soft tissue regimen, appropriately fueling for the training or a resource such as whole body cryotherapy. Stretching and soft tissue maintenance has always been our mantra but something you may not be familiar with is the cryotherapy. It will reduce inflammation to speed recovery, boost metabolism, decrease chronic pain, burn calories and increase norepinephrine (increase focus, attention, mood). Many of our patients with chronic sleep issues tend to have more restful nights following a few bouts of cryotherapy. This could be the game changer for you!
Nutrition- Not my area of expertise, but definitely an area of interest! A friend of ours is a Nutritional Counselor at a Holistic and Integrative Medicine clinic here in Atlanta. She shared a short blog about supplements that she suggests if you are experiencing these symptoms, found HERE. There is also a delicious recipe--- you’re welcome! A dietician or nutritionist can work with you one-on-one to talk through symptoms and which food changes could impact your health.
Meditation- Meditation doesn’t have to be some mystic, religious experience unless you want it to be. By meditation, I mean taking a small chunk of time to relax the mind, breathe and calm the body. This is a new practice for me as well! The first time I tried it, I only lasted about 30 seconds before I was thinking about something else. Now, I almost always make about 10 minutes of relaxation! Check out the app Headspace. It’s free and is directed mindfulness for 10 min each day.
Journaling- Very similar to meditation, but some people prefer journaling. For those with busy minds, taking a few minutes to write down what you are thinking about can be freeing and lighten the load swirling in your mind.
Listen to your body- Although last, it is the most important and closing thought. Listening to your body while training is paramount to all practices. If you feel fatigued, foggy headed, have various aches and pains over the body, perhaps today isn’t the day to run your 10-mile loop or try to PR a lift. Take the time to slow down and be attentive to the signals your body sends!
Thanks for reading,
We all have our own reasons for working out. For many of us, it’s a stress reliever. For others it’s stressful to even think about going to the gym and being around a bunch of sweaty people in tight clothes. Regardless of your reason, almost all of us have a similar goal. We want less body fat and want to look better both with our clothes on and off.
A solid training plan, good nutrition and enough sleep are three things that drive these body changes. Those are very important aspects of your health but what if I told you that there was an x-factor to accelerate fat loss? What if you could burn the same amount of calories as running 4-6 miles in just 3 minutes? I know, it sounds too good to be true but it’s not. It’s Whole Body Cryotherapy.
Whole Body Cryotherapy is essentially a cold exposure session for the body that lasts 3 minutes. You stand in a tube and liquid nitrogen gas is released at temperatures as low as -200 degrees fahrenheit. I know, it doesn’t sound like fun but it’s ten times easier to tolerate than a cold shower or an ice bath. Not only that but you get some astounding body results from it!
Because of the extreme cold exposure and rapid change in skin temperature, your body has an interesting response. The body produces heat internally to warm itself back up. This process is called cold thermogenesis.
Before we get into how to use whole body cryotherapy to help with fat loss, let’s talk about fat itself. Fat, also known as adipose tissue can be either white or brown. White fat is the fat you think about that you’d love to get rid of. The stuff that accumulates around your waist, thighs and arms. Brown fat on the other hand is something completely different. Brown fat is more dense, it’s full of energy/heat producing cells and it helps regulate our metabolism.
So, white fat bad, brown fat good! How do you get more brown fat? One of the ways that has been shown to increase brown fat is cold exposure like Whole Body Cryotherapy. This has been shown to help convert white fat into brown fat. It’s also been shown to increase your metabolism by as much as 350%.
We’ve even seen some interesting results with our patients that had no intentions of losing fat. Recently, I had a 40 year old female come in for an ankle sprain she sustained playing tennis. As part of her treatment plan we recommended she try and do cryotherapy 1-2x per week. She was really motivated to get better and actually came in 3x a week to do Whole Body Cryotherapy.
We didn’t mention anything to her about the fat loss effect that can come from regular Whole Body Cryotherapy exposure. At her last Physical Therapy visit about 4 weeks later, she stated that her tennis skirts were feeling more loose around her waist/hips. I explained the reasoning behind why she may have lost weight while doing Whole Body Cryotherapy. She was ecstatic and said she had been trying to lose weight in those areas since she had given birth to her last child three years ago.
When we look at the pure caloric output that you get from a bout of Whole Body Cryotherapy, it’s easy to see why weight loss occurs. One bout of Whole Body Cryotherapy has been shown to burn between 500 and 800 calories. That’s a lot of calories that get burned for standing in a tube for 3 minutes!
That many calories is equivalent to running for 40-60 minutes at a 10 minute mile pace.
I don’t know about you but I just got really hungry!
Now, let’s assume you didn’t eat those delicious foods that I just referenced. Each time you did Whole Body Cryotherapy you’re burning that extra 500-800 calories. If you did that twice a week that’s 1000-1600 calories a week. If you did that for a month that’s 4000-6400 extra calories burned off!
Your body requires 3500 extra burned calories to lose a pound of body fat. That means that just adding in Whole Body Cryotherapy twice a week would help you burn an extra 1-2 pounds of body fat a month! Throw a good nutrition and exercise plan in with it and you’ve got a recipe for some serious body changes in a very positive way.
Every year I work with hundreds of people in the Decatur and Atlanta area. Our goal is to get a plan together on how they can come back from an injury and get back in shape. For many of them, they just want to look better in a bathing suit. They want to feel more confident and comfortable in their own clothes. They’re also busy and their time is very valuable. They’re just like you and I can’t think of a better return on your 3-minute investment than what you’ll get from Whole Body Cryotherapy.
Give us a call and schedule an introductory session of Whole Body Cryotherapy. Even better come in with a friend and try it together. This is the missing link to help you achieve your health and fitness goals.
-Dr. Danny Matta DPT
Athletes’ Potential is the first and only Whole Body Cryotherapy center in the Decatur Georgia area. Our goal is to help you achieve your health and fitness goals and believe that if you have a body, you’re an athlete.
Dr. Danny and Dr. Jackie's views on performance improvement, injury prevention and sometimes other random thoughts.