Sprinting vs Distance Running

Both athletes and non-competitive fitness enthusiast utilize running as a form of aerobic exercise. Some prefer the long-distance jog, while others like quick speed training as part of their workout. Each style offers benefits, so which style should you choose to help you reach your intended goals? Here is a breakdown of some of their benefits.

Sprinting is a high impact exercise which means it helps to build muscle, bone strength and density. It improves the storage capacity of calories and energy within your muscles while burning fat stores.  Sprinting enhances your strength endurance as it aids in your body’s ability to compete while it strengthens your muscles and improves your cardio stamina.  Sprinting will also increase the size of your mitochondria, which is the energy powerhouse found in every cell.  Speed training such as sprinting allows your body to become stronger and is a form of HIIT that continues cutting fat all day long. It is an excellent training tool for athletes as it simulates game like situation while building up your body.

Distance running is the more common running form often utilized as jogging. The most notable benefit is increased endurance which allows your body to work less as it reaches the same performance level on subsequent events. This occurs by building your heart muscles so it improves overall blood flow preventing your muscles from becoming fatigued. Distance running recruits the fast-twitch muscle fibers so you have more muscle fibers conditioned to get you through long distant events such as marathons. Weight loss is a primary benefit of long-distance running, although you can lose not only fat but muscle tissue. There is an increase opportunity for calorie deficit with long distance running over sprinting; which benefits weight loss.

Both forms of running have their positive benefits. It is necessary to evaluate your goals and chose which form of running allows you to reach them. There isn’t a right or wrong answer, its what fits your needs, lifestyle and abilities.

Until Next Time,

Dr. Michael Guadagnino

Chiropractic Physician

To reach Dr. Guadagnino at his Ramsey, NJ office: email DrMGuad@gmail.com and follow him on Instagram @Dr._Guadagnino & YouTube @Dr.MichaelGuadagnino

Don’t Forget the Secondary and Tertiary Injuries!

You injured your back, knee, neck etc. Then given a diagnosis about the injury and a plan on how to correct it, but an often overlooked and important point: are the secondary and tertiary problems being addressed? Treating the primary diagnosis is extremely important but taking care of the corresponding issues can be the difference from being 80% better to 100% better.

As an example, you are diagnosed with a herniated low back disc. The obvious treatment protocol calls for reducing this herniation; but this type of injury typically is associated with muscle imbalance issues. Another example is carpal tunnel syndrome, which is a pinched nerve in the wrist. Often times carpal tunnel syndrome includes impingements of that same nerve as it travels from your neck down your arm, do you only treat the wrist?  These are just a couple of situations that are normally found when treating musculoskeletal injuries.

It is important for your doctor to not only look at an X-Ray or MRI, but to perform an entire examination on the injured area. This includes a full history, orthopedic, neurological and structural evaluation of the injured location as wells as the adjacent anatomical structures. Someone may have arthritis on x-ray, but they may also have joint dysfunction in the areas above and below this arthritis. This can only be identified by putting the evaluation together with any films and diagnostic tests.

Over my 30-years in practice I have referred hundreds of patients for MRI’s. Often times the films will identify a problem which isn’t the primary cause of the injury. It is common to have a piriformis muscle lesion that creates sciatica. The film may show a disc injury, yet the piriformis problem is the primary reason for the pain. If I treated the disc and didn’t address the muscle this patient most likely would not reach their full healing potential. My suggestion is to choose a practitioner that performs a full evaluation along with using any diagnostic tools available. This could be the difference from partial to total healing.

Until Nex Time,

Dr. Michael Guadagnino

Chiropractic Physician

To reach Dr. Guadagnino at his Ramsey, NJ office: DrMGuad@gmail.com and follow him on Instagram @Dr._Guadagnino

When is Hand Pain Not Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Contradictory to common belief, all hand pain is NOT Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS).  Often times, patients who enter my office and are experiencing hand pain believe that they are suffering with carpal tunnel syndrome. This is an understandable misconception as a lot of advertisements, media and other discussions seem to label hand pain as CTS.

It is helpful to know what carpal tunnel syndrome is, so you know what carpal tunnel syndrome isn’t.  The actual diagnosis is an impingement or pinching of the median nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel in your wrist. This passageway allows the median nerve and three tendons to reach from your forearm into your hand; and it is called the carpal tunnel. When pressure is applied to this tunnel by a host of pathological or non-pathological reasons the median nerve can become pinched. As this occurs pain, numbness or weakness may be felt your first 3 fingers. This is carpal tunnel syndrome, anything other than this exact pathophysiology is not.

Some other common areas for nerves to become impinged and create sensations in your hand are your elbow, shoulder and neck. Anywhere a nerve courses through your body it can become impinged, but these are the three most common areas, along with carpal tunnel syndrome that can cause hand pain.

treating CTS with cold laser therapy

There is also something called a “double crush syndrome”. This is when nerves are impinged in two or more areas. As an example, you could have an ulnar impingement in the elbow, and a median nerve pinched in your neck. In this scenario you may experience pain in the hand, but the remedy is to treat multiple areas.

As with telephone lines the nerves that terminate in your hand begin from more distant areas. They branch off the spine, through the neck, along the shoulder, between the elbow and down to the hand. A correct diagnosis as to the level of nerve impingement will allow your practitioner to treat the cause which should remove the symptoms. Is your hand pain carpal tunnel syndrome?  Maybe, or it might be something else too.

Until Next Time,

Dr. Michael Guadagnino

Chiropractic Physician

To reach Dr. Guadagnino at his Ramsey, NJ office: DrMGuad@gmail.com and follow him on Instagram @Dr._Guadagnino

Avoid Those Gym Injuries

One of the most frustrating parts of exercising are those times you injure yourself while training. Often times this will put you on the sidelines unable to work out for a period of time and stall you from reaching your goals. There are some things you can do to limit your risk of injury and help you improve your gains. Here are what I consider the most important.

First is to always be mindful of your mechanics. Not only is proper form important for injury prevention, but it will help you realize your gains. Isolating muscles, while limiting stress on joints and tendons is paramount to an effective set. The reason there are mirrors in a gym is not for vanity, but to watch yourself perform the exercises, making sure you follow correct mechanics.

Next is the importance of rest. If you exercise a fatigued muscle, you are risking strain or sprain. This includes getting enough night-time sleep to recuperate, as well as giving yourself the proper space between days exercising each specific body part. Training while fatigued may also make you susceptible to stress fractures, particularly in the lower extremities with aerobic exercises such as jogging.

Third is what I call the incidentals to working out. This would include warming up before, cooling down after and hydrating during your workout. I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen individuals, and sports teams walk into the gym or onto the field cold and not properly stretched. Knowing how to warm up is important too, which includes understanding the difference between a static stretch and a dynamic stretch (a good explanation is here). When you are finished don’t just walk off the floor, make sure you cool yourself down taking your body out of exercise mode and bringing it back to civilian life.

As referenced earlier, workout injuries can be very challenging. It is important take into consideration all the above recommendations to limit these risks. It is always good to work with a trainer, or someone else who knows what they are doing. Don’t take for granted that everyone knows how to exercise, regardless of their experience. Take advice from a health care worker with exercise knowledge or from a certified trainer. Do everything you can to limit your risk for injury and achieve your goals.

Until Next Time,

Dr. Michael Guadagnino

Chiropractic Physician

To reach Dr. Guadagnino at his Ramsey, NJ office: DrMGuad@gmail.com and follow him on Instagram @Dr._Guadagnino

Your Upper Back, Where Stress Lives

Pain and discomfort in the Upper Thoracic Spine (upper back), is no less common than other spinal conditions, yet care and alleviation of upper spinal aches is a rare occurrence.  The thoracic spine’s natural anatomy makes it less prone to strains, sprains and disc injures when compared with the rest of the spine. The thoracic spine is very well fixed to the ribs, which also attaches to your sternum (breast bone). As a result, this makes the soft tissues more vulnerable to tightness, trigger points and joint dysfunctions. Symptoms can vary, while treatment can have a very effective immediate impact.

The upper back is an area we tend to carry stress, both emotional and physical. In a stressful situation our soft tissue will tighten across our shoulders. Under this tension the upper back muscles can develop, what are called trigger points. A trigger point is a tender pinpoint area originating from the facia located around taut muscle bands. They can be located in almost any muscle group in the body but are commonly found in the major upper back muscles, the trapezius, rhomboid major, rhomboid minor and levator scapulae.  Decreases in the normal thoracic spinal joint range of motion is almost always associated with upper back muscle issues. This is why a thoracic adjustment feels so good, it opens up all these joint dysfunctions and frees up upper back movement.

There are quite a few symptoms that can arise from upper thoracic stiffness. One of the most common is a tension headache. These headaches are experienced as a band around the head which may also be felt behind the eyes. Other symptoms can include *difficulty taking deep breathes, pain down the arms or that pain between the shoulder blades. Either way, upper back discomfort is very uncomfortable yet often times ignored when experienced.

What to do for upper thoracic pain and the other symptoms related to it? As with any muscle soreness or trigger point, working the muscles out can offer some relief. This would include placing hot packs on your back, using a roller on those trigger points or seek a massage to passively loosen up the muscles. A thoracic chiropractic adjustment not only restores the joint dysfunction in the thoracic spine, but in doing so releases the spasmic reflex, allowing the muscles to relax and become restored back to its normal resting posture. (More info on the science of a chiropractic adjustment)

Upper back pain is extremely common, yet not talk about as neck pain or lower back pain. Don’t ignore thoracic pain, as it genuinely is a quality-of-life issue. 

Until Next Time,

Dr. Michael Guadagnino

Chiropractic Physician

To reach Dr. Guadagnino at his Ramsey, NJ office: email DrMGuad@gmail.com and follow him on Instagram @Dr._Guadagnino & YouTube @Dr.MichaelGuadagnino

Keto Diet – Some Whys and Hows

More and more people are turning to a Keto diet, not only for weight loss but for their overall health and maintenance. Although I do not recommend one form of nutrition over another, I do feel that a keto diet, if followed succinctly is very healthy.

Ketogenic diet, or Keto for short works on the theory that you should receive your calories from protein and fats as opposed from carbohydrates. I was first introduced to the low carb diet almost 30 years ago when I read Dr. Robert Atkins book. A key to this dietary regime is that the body should burn fat for fuel, not carbohydrates. Circulating sugars when used in energy production will keep your fats stored in their adipose cells while these sugars act as a quick fix energy source. The keto diet, which is low on carbs keeps your energy and insulin levels consistent all day and stops the sugar surges and cravings that can harm your overall health.  

A keto diet will put your body in a state of “ketosis” which is why it is called a ketogenic diet. While your body is in this state your liver will produce ketone bodies as a byproduct of the fat breakdown. Ketosis is produced anytime your body is not using sugar as the source of energy, most commonly during a fast and even during a long night of sleep. The only way to consistently keep yourself in a nutritional ketosis is with a sustained ketogenic diet. By testing the presence of ketone bodies in your system you can assure yourself that you are in ketosis.

Some of the micro-benefits which create the over health from a ketogenic diet are as follows. Weight loss is the most common benefit as you will be using fat for energy as opposed to storing it away. Another advantage is that your body can maintain a regulated level of hunger while not allowing the ill-effects of sugar to disturb your balanced appetite regulation. Chronic illness such as Type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes can be reversed as you give your pancreas a chance to heal and repair without the constant drag of producing insulin to digest carbohydrates. Ketosis may enhance levels of sustained physical activity in athletics as well as daily functions. A keto diet also moderates moods, again by preventing alternating surges of sugars and insulin throughout the day.

If you are considering transitioning to a keto diet there are always two options, go slow by decreasing your sugars daily or going right at it. Either way it is important not to cheat. The sooner you can get your metabolism into ketosis the sooner you can reap the rewards. Traditionally there is a 1–2-week period of adjustment, so don’t jump on the scale right away or become frustrated, let the diet and more importantly your body become accustomed to your new way of living. The only downside, are for those that are vegan; a vegetarian keto diet can be achieved but it is a very challenging maneuver.

For more information on a keto-diet there are a lot of great sources out there. Knowledge is power, arm yourself with all the facts including recipes and all sources keto.

Until Next Time,

Dr. Michael Guadagnino

Chiropractic Physician

To reach Dr. Guadagnino at his Ramsey, NJ office: email DrMGuad@gmail.com and follow him on Instagram @Dr._Guadagnino & YouTube @Dr.MichaelGuadagnino

Key words: 

Ketone body: three related compounds (acetone, acetoacetic acid, beta-hydroxybutyric acid) produced during the metabolism of fats.

Ketosis: Physiologic ketosis is a normal response to low glucose availability, such as low carbohydrate diets or fasting, that provides an additional energy source for the brain in the form of ketones.

Carbohydrate: a large group of organic compounds occurring in foods and living tissues including sugars, starch, and cellulose

Pancreas: A glandular organ located in the abdomen. It makes pancreatic juices, which contain enzymes that aid in digestion, and it produces several hormones, including insulin.

Insulin: It regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and protein by promoting the absorption of glucose from the blood into liver, fat and skeletal muscle cells

This Might Be the Reason Your Lower Back Hurts

Lower back pain is a leading cause for work disability. Low back pain can limit motion, make sitting in the car difficult and can keep you up at night. Most acute back pain is transient, which means it leaves as quickly as it came. What about when back pain becomes chronic and sticks around, affecting your daily activities? Here are a few origins of back pain.

Muscle related issues are very common, either as the primary cause or secondary. The lower back has many groups of muscles, from superficial to very deep, as well as massively large to tiny. Any one or multiple muscles could become injured. Often times when the primary cause is not muscle related, you can still have muscle pain from “splinting”. This is when an injured structure creates muscle spasm in an effort to limit motion and protect the area that is actually injured. These secondary muscle spasms can be associated with almost every type of back pain.

A disc injury is very painful. Without going into a full in-depth discussion on the different types of disc injuries, which I have written about in the past, it is important to understand how a disc is painful. This pain can be produced by a couple of factors. The disc itself has a vast network of nerves that surround it. An injury to the disc can cause these nerves to be irritated and transmit pain. When someone is suffering with a disc injury, it is common for them to wake in the morning with pain. This may be caused when the disc experiences its normal resting physiology that can trigger an injured disc to stretch and become painful. A disc may also be bulged or herniated which could press on a spinal nerve or the spinal cord itself. This is how sciatica and other neuropathies can develop from a disc injury.

Another common cause for back pain is arthritis. The most familiar form of spinal arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is a thinning of the spinal discs that may be accompanied with calcification of nearby tissue. This can be painful as it decreases your range of motion, create an instability of postural balance and limit your ability to function freely. There are different ranges and severity of arthritis as each may create pain. Arthritis in the spine cannot be restored, but supportive and limiting the arthritic progression are the goals.

There are other causes of back pain, these are the three most common forms which could be the reason your back hurts. Treatment varies depending on the type of back pain you may experience: As an example, decompression could be helpful for a disc injury or arthritis but can be very painful for someone with muscle spasm. As always it is important to get a qualified evaluation so the correct diagnosis and form of treatment are prescribed.

Until Next Time,

Dr. Michael Guadagnino

Chiropractic Physician

To reach Dr. Guadagnino at his Ramsey, NJ office: email DrMGuad@gmail.com and follow him on Instagram @Dr._Guadagnino & YouTube @Dr.MichaelGuadagnino

Starting to Exercise (again)

Being over 50 and wanting to “get back into exercising” or start exercising, can create a common emotion of uncertainty as to where to begin. Often times I am asked about this as those wishing to exercise, can be frustrated as well as overwhelmed. The human psyche can be a fragile thing, and if misdirected may lead to unwilling procrastination. It is not that you don’t want to start, you may not know how to start. Here is a good playbook to follow.

I always suggest starting slow. You do not have to jump under the bar and start bench pressing right away, or ever at all. Tell yourself that you need to “condition your body” first. This means to spend the initial few weeks, going on walks, stretching a few days a week and eating right. Spend this time researching about the type of working out you would like to graduate to, a learn about nutrition and overall healthy habits. Exercising is not about the movement only, it includes the foods, the thoughts and having a positive attitude.

As these weeks progress your body will want to exercise more. You will get over the challenge of just walking. At this time introduce either weightlifting, cardio or something else that interests you. Begin gradually with a few exercises and let your body become adapted to its new routine. As with the initial conditioning, you will begin to feel and see changes. Continue to build week after week.

In time you will be transforming your body and mind. What once was a frustration is now in your grasp as you begin to own your goals. One small pivot today, with only a gradual change will put you on a trajectory towards a better place tomorrow and in the future. Do not allow anything to be too difficult to achieve. Break it down in small bites and approach it at an attainable pace. You will be amazed at where you can go.

Until Next Time,

Dr. Michael Guadagnino

Chiropractic Physician

To reach Dr. Guadagnino at his Ramsey, NJ office: email DrMGuad@gmail.com and follow him on Instagram @Dr._Guadagnino & YouTube @Dr.MichaelGuadagnino

What’s the Difference Between a Bulging Disc, a Herniated Disc and a Degenerative Disc?

Often times my office gets phone calls from perspective patients that say they have a “disc injury”. This could mean many different things, and treatment needs to be tailored depending on the specific type of disc injury. Logically, unless someone has had training in anatomy and physiology, they may not understand what type of disc injury they are experiencing. Here is a quick breakdown of the three major forms of spinal disc injuries.

It is important to first understand what is a spinal disc. Located between all your vertebrae from the second cervical to your sacrum, there are cartilaginous pieces of material that acts as a shock absorber called spinal discs or discs for short. There are two main parts to the individual discs; the inner nucleus which is known as the nucleus pulposus, and the outer ring called the annulus fibrosus. Similar to a jelly donut the nucleus should always be located in the center of the outer ring.

A bulging or prolapsed disc occurs when the inner nucleus pushes out on the outer ring. This can cause an actual bulge in the circular pattern of the disc. Think of an air bubble on a tire, a bulging disc will have the same physical appearance as the tire bubble. Damage has occurred to the outer ring, but it has not completely failed, still holding the inner nucleus within the confines of the disc.

A herniated or slipped disc is when the outer ring has suffered a tear and the nucleus has now moved outside the disc. This tearing creates the appearance of the disc “slipping” to one side of the spinal column. There are soft tissue structures in the form of ligaments that keeps the nucleus from exiting the disc completely. In very rare instances the material breaks off and moves away from the spine to create what is called a free-fragment or sequestered disc.

A Degenerative disc is a form of arthritis commonly called osteo-arthritis. Wear and tear can produce a thinning of the disc as well as dehydration of the same disc. On an x-ray a degenerative disc will look like the two sandwiching vertebrae are moving closer together. This can initiate the surrounding ligaments to thicken and possibly calcify which makes the bones look sharp and pointy.

Each of these conditions can cause pain and discomfort. Sometimes it is from the injured disc touching a nerve or sometimes the pain is from the injured disc and neighboring soft tissue. A thorough consultation and evaluation will lead to identifying the actual cause of your disc pain and allow for a proper and consistent treatment protocol.

Until Next Time,

Dr. Michael Guadagnino

Chiropractic Physician

To reach Dr. Guadagnino at his Ramsey, NJ office: email DrMGuad@gmail.com and follow him on Instagram @Dr._Guadagnino & YouTube @Dr.MichaelGuadagnino

Anti-bodies and the Need for Zinc

Zinc is a very important micro-nutrient necessary in protecting us from the sun, healing our wounds and repairing DNA. The World Health Organization estimates that between 17-30% of the people on the planet are deficient in Zinc. There are so many important properties of Zinc, what I’d like to focus on is its significance in enhancing your immune system’s antibody response.

Your immune system has a very developed protective response against pathogens as it creates combative proteins called anti-bodies. These antibodies can be thought of as the soldiers released by your immune system to circulate and attack invading viruses, bacteria or other microorganisms. These antibodies are produced by your B-lymphocyte, more commonly known as B-cells. When a foreign invading protein enters your body, the B-cells will decode the information needed to produce an appropriate antibody response. Once your B-cells have registered this information it is stored and coded should you be exposed again. If and when you come in contact with the pathogen, your body will repeat the production of these specific antibodies to fight the infection.

Zinc is a required nutrient in antibody production. Zinc not only helps the B-cells it is also plays and important role in supporting the T-Lymphocyte, better known as T-cells. Your T-cells play various roles in your immune response such as attacking the micro-invaders head on. Unlike B-cells, these lymphocytes will engulf the invaders directly. Another important function of T-cells is that they play a role in supporting the anti-body production of your B-cells.  Once the T-cells recognize foreign invaders they will send messages to the B-cells helping them decode an antibody response.

Our immunes system in quite complex, a short blog post is not sufficient enough to offer full appreciation for this unique system. The message is that Zinc is a very important in keeping your immune system working at its highest level. Zinc deficiency can cause a break down or failure of any part of the immune response above. This is why Zinc has been included as an important supplement during the pandemic. Zinc may not be a vitamin, but it is an important micro-nutrient that plays a key role in boosting your immune system and especially improving your antibody response.

Until Next Time,

Dr. Michael Guadagnino

Chiropractic Physician

To reach Dr. Guadagnino at his Ramsey, NJ office: email DrMGuad@gmail.com and follow him on Instagram @Dr._Guadagnino & YouTube @Dr.MichaelGuadagnino