Should you use chiropractic during pregnancy?

At our Palo Alto office, we're often asked about chiropractic care for pregnancy. Those nine months see all sorts of monumental changes to a woman's body, shifting your center of gravity and compressing on the back, spine, and hips. The result is often pain, soreness, and discomfort stemming from structural issues.

People often think about the pain and structure issues when considering pre-natal chiropractic, but what's often overlooked are the indirect effects. Pain and discomfort lead to worse sleep, trouble focusing, and general grouchiness -- which is all understandable given the physical changes of pregnancy, but no one wants to go through that if there's a way around it.

Ways Pre-Natal Chiropractic Can Help During Pregnancy

Here are just a few of the ways chiropractic visits can help a woman during pregnancy.

  1. Back, spine, hip pain relief: These areas are in pain because of different reasons, but they're all related to the musculo-skeletal system. An adjustment can help relieve pinched nerves, sciatica, structural pressure, and other such issues.
  2. Manage morning sickness and nausea: While chiropractic will not alleviate nausea/morning sickness for everyone, it can provide relief for a number of people. Spinal manipulation ensures that organs are allowed to function, and as many of these can be one of the many causes of morning sickness, many women find it helpful.
  3. A smoother delivery: Chiropractic is all about getting the body's structural system into proper alignment. Nine months of carrying another human being can create misalignment due to posture changes, natural structural changes, and stress on joints/muscles. By getting the spine and pelvis into alignment and ensuring there are no impinged nerves or pressured organs, the body can go into labor as naturally as possible.

Palo Alto Chiropractic for Pregnant Women

At the VSWI Palo Alto office, we have a team of experts ready to help relieve your pain from pregnancy. This includes a number of options, including chiropractic, massage, and more. Book an appointment today or get in touch to see if our prenatal chiropractic treatments are right for you. 

Saturday Appointments are Back!

Starting now, Dr. Andrew will be available between 9am - 1pm by appointment Every Saturday.

We'd like to give a warm welcome to Dr. Andrew as he joins our VSWI family. He's a fantastic addition to the team and his positive energy and friendly smile help keep all of us in good spirits.

Dr. Andrew was originally on track for a career in BioTech, with his degree in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, but after years of monotonous lab work, he followed his passions and pursued a different path. Dr. Andrew became a chiropractor and has found his calling. He's passionate about helping others feel better and enjoy life to its fullest.

Sports medicine was always something he was fascinated with as he played in many different sports since he was a child and he has definitely had his own fair share of injuries that benefited from conservative treatment. As a member of the PCCW Sports Council, he had the privilege to work with many athletes in a variety of events around the Bay Area such as the North Face Endurance Challenge, Sea Otter Classic, and the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk for the Cure.

He believes that every patient should always receive the best treatment possible and he strives to make that happen. Dr. Andrew uses a variety of techniques to treat patients including Active Release Technique (ART), Graston, Functional and Kinetic Treatment with Rehab (FAKTR), RockTape, and Power Plate training.

He's in Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Book an appointment and come say hello!

Making the Most of Ironman Race Taper, Part 1

Hi guys, Doris here taking ahold of the blog for a series we’re calling “Making the Most of Ironman Race Taper”, chronicling the lead up to my Ironman race. Hoping you can take some of my learnings to help with your own race!

I’m so lucky to have VSWI supporting me as I close in on my biggest race yet. I’ve done at least a dozen 70.3 distances and countless olympic distance triathlons, but there’s one distance that’s eluded me: the full ironman. This distance begins with a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike, and finishes with 26.2 mile run (full marathon). I’ve always known I’d find myself at the starting line of an ironman, I just didn’t know when. For years my coaches and I held off on embarking on this journey until I was ready. This year, however, we decided it was time. I’m racing Ironman Florida in Panama City Beach on November 7th.

Training for this race began almost a year ago. It’s seemed so far in the future for so long that it’s impossible to believe it’s almost here. I encountered some injuries early in the season which fully derailed my schedule and forced me to take time off and alter my training drastically. Dr. Aaron and team helped work with my injuries (mostly sciatica/piriformis issues) and with our combined efforts, a few months later I was running again. My first triathlon of the year wasn’t until late August where I showed up in Santa Barbara hungry to race. I had a great swim and got only 10 miles into the bike before I crashed. Hard. I attempted to brush myself off and finish what I started, but after my derailleur fell to the ground, my race was over. I broke two ribs, dislocated my shoulder, broke my helmet, and had some nice road rash. Devastated and disappointed, I was facing more set backs. Once again, Dr. Aaron and team saw me first thing Monday morning and did an incredible job diagnosing and coming up with a treatment plan for me. My range of motion in my shoulder was sub par and quite scary. My brain told my arm to move up and despite my best efforts, something was not firing or receiving the signal and my arm remained motionless. Paul performed ART, Daniel massaged and worked the heck out of it, and Dr. Aaron did his multitude of strategies and treatments to get the best results possible. I had less than 3 weeks to prepare for my next race: Santa Cruz 70.3. All year I had looked forward to this one. I wanted it to be my best performance and really shine. 3 weeks of very limited training — I was able to bike indoors on the trainer after the first week and began running towards the end of the second week (as long as my ribs were well taped). I did one short swim the final week leading up to the race and I left that workout unsure if I’d be able to complete the swim portion of the race. My coach worked with me on recalibrating my expectations and developed my new race plan. I showed up to the race unsure and nervous. I ended up having a race that I’d always dreamt of. It was nowhere near a PR or anywhere close to the times I had originally hoped for, but I felt strong and capable the whole way and had such a fun time on the course. The release of expectations and goals let my mind relax and take everything in. I raced at Ironman paces (rather than half ironman paces) and this left me with plenty in the tank to crank on the run. I was given the “ok” to push if I felt good at mile 9 and push I did. I raced hard and finished happy. It was just what I needed heading into IMFL. 

Last week marked my 3 weeks out and Dr. Aaron helped me devise a plan of attack for this last push. He went over my body and found my key areas of concern: my hips/glutes/low back and my right shoulder. After some percussor and ART work, he gave me my homework. I was to do 20 mins per day of stretching — down dogs, yoga band hip stretches, and floor angels with foam roller. I was to also continue my plank routine (5+ mins per day). He also gave me a vitamin regimen: 2 Phytogenics multis + 2 Fish oils in the morning, 2 Phytogenics multis + 2 Fish oils in the evening, and 1 Herbalife Repair capsule before bed. 

Each week we’ll reassess and make changes to my plan, all in hopes to get me to that starting line as fresh, healthy and ready as possible...

Kinesio Taping: How to Tape the Knee

Up next in our kinesio tape video series is the knee. 

Knee pain is a common complaint that affects people of all ages. The pain can stem from a variety of injuries such as runner’s knee or patella tendonitis, jumper’s knee, patella tracking, arthritis, meniscus tears, plica, patellofemoral pain, and general instability.

These injuries can arise from an infinite number of causes. Muscle imbalances, poor running form, misaligned hips or poor posture, poor nutrition, overtraining, compensation for another injury, hyperextension, arthritis, and blunt trauma to ligaments are just a few of the most common causes of knee pain. Common effective treatments among all of these conditions include increasing circulation, providing support, reducing pressure, and maintaining range of motion.

Kinesio tape serves all of these purposes without the downsides of bracing or wrapping. Common injuries can all be best addressed by using this taping application.

With this technique you will get support, pain relief, and normal body mechanics without restricting motion or circulation like other treatments.

If you missed our brief overview of taping, we recommend watching it first in order to grasp the basics and make sure you have the right tools.

We've got awesome pink or black VSWI x Rocktape tape here at the office for $20 a roll, so book an appointment or stop by and pick up a roll and we'd be happy to answer any questions you may have. 

Up next: Hamstring Taping
Last time: Calf Taping

Saturday appointments now available!

Starting June 20th, Dr. Paul will be available between 8:30am - 12:30pm by appointment on the 1st & 3rd Saturday of the month.

Dr. Paul is a part of the ART Ironman Medical Treatment Team at the Ironman World Championship in Kona HI. He has treated runners, CrossFitters, rock climbers, bicyclists, surfers, volleyball players and swimmers. Additionally, Dr. Paul has worked in numerous local companies to provide onsite healthcare and ergonomic assessments. 

Dr. Paul specializes in disorders of the musculoskeletal system. He has had training in Clinical Nutrition, Cardiology, Clinical Chemistry, Neurology, Men’s Health, Ergonomics, Physiotherapy, and Sports Pathology.

Happy weekend! 

Kinesio Taping: How to tape the calf

Up next in our kinesio tape video series is the calf. 

Calf pain is a common occurrence in sports that involve running, jumping, and landing. The calf is made of three major muscles: the two gastrocnemius muscles (medial and lateral), and the soleus muscle which all attach to the Achilles tendon. 

Calf injuries can occur to both muscle and tendon structures. They are commonly caused by excessive forces during explosive contraction, eccentric control loading or when your calf muscles fatigue.

Calf pain can be alleviated by using kinesio tape (correctly, of course). Dr. Aaron gives a demonstration on how to properly tape your own calf.

If you missed our brief overview of taping, we recommend watching it first in order to grasp the basics and make sure you have the right tools.

Up next: Knee Taping
Last time: Foot Taping

Video Series: Kinesio Taping & How to Tape the Foot

We're excited to launch the first of several how-to videos. While we plan to cover a range of topics, our first series will be focused on the art of kinesio taping. We are huge fans of Rocktape, however any kinesio tape will work. It's important that you truly understand how to apply the tape correctly as to not cause complications. Once you grasp the basics, it's just a matter of applying them in the right capacity.

We're gonna start at the bottom of the body and work our way up. Up first, Dr. Aaron demonstrates how to properly tape a foot for plantar fasciitis, dropped arches, achilles sprains strains, heel spurs, or any foot disability. 

We've got awesome pink or black VSWI x Rocktape tape here at the office for $20 a roll, so stop by and pick up a roll and we'd be happy to answer any questions you may have. 

Up next: Calf Taping

Please feel free to comment below and let us know if there's any topic you'd like us to cover in our videos.

Importance of a Strong Core & our Plank Routine

Many of us equate core strength with a flat tummy or six-pack abs. While those may be motivating goals, there are so many more benefits that come from improving core strength than simply how your midsection looks -- including improved posture, better balance, reduced back pain and easier breathing. 

So, where is your core, exactly? If you pointed to your belly button, you’re partially right. Many people think the core consists only of the abdominals, but the core also includes your pelvic muscles, mid and lower back muscles, and even your hip muscles. All of these muscles work together to support your spine and skull.

We created a plank routine and we strive to do it every morning at the gym. We do between 6-9 minutes continuously, though you can always start with 1-2 minutes and work your way up. We prefer to do our planks on the Power Plate which creates a bit more instability and therefore we work a little harder. 

If you're an athlete of any kind, a strong core can only enhance your ability in your sport of choice. Dr. Aaron uses his strong core while rippin' on those gnarly waves while Doris employs her core while training for triathlons (swimming/biking/running). 

Let us know if you try our routine. We'd love to hear your feedback/results!

Yours in health,
The Team at VSWI

We now offer professional bike fitting!

Triathletes, roadies, newbies and everyone between: we have some exciting news to share!! We're partnering with Fit Endurance Coaching to offer premiere bike fitting right here at VSWI.

Cycling can be a great activity for people to participate in through out their lifetime. It is great for your cardiovascular system and it's a non-impact activity-- meaning it puts very little stress on bones, joints, and ligaments. As long as your bicycle is properly fit to your specific body, there is no reason you can’t enjoy pain free cycling for a life time.

When people arrive complaining about pain with cycling, a red flag immediately goes up in my mind.  With cycling, pain most likely means improper bike fit. To the lay person, a bike may not seem very complicated to set up. To an expert, however, this is not the case.

There are an infinite number of adjustments that can me made on a bicycle. Knee pain could mean a seat is to high or too low, too far forward or two far backward. Pain with the saddle could mean the seat is tilted too far up or too far down. People complaining of neck or shoulder pain may be in need of adjustment of the height or reach of the handlebars or aero bars. Those who ride with cycling specific shoes could need their cleats placed properly on their shoes. The problems don’t stop there. Bike fit works to both treat and prevent injuries and if your bike is fit properly, you likely won’t develop an injury in the first place.

A proper bike fit not only relieves those nagging ailments, but also allows you to reach your potential by accessing the correct muscles, making you more efficient, and helping harness your power. Bike fit can have a big effect on aerodynamics and speed -- for those training for a race, we all know this is paramount!

Fit Endurance Coaching uses industry leading protocols along with your personal feedback to generate the best, most efficient position for you. Each fit is individual and relies heavily on rider interaction and communication to provide you with a personalized and professional fit service. Unlike many "fitters", we start at the cleat and move up, ensuring every last detail is accounted for. 

Whether you're training for an event or simply going out for a leisurely ride, do yourself a favor and let us help dial in your fit before you hit the road. Not only will you enjoy the ride more, you’ll also avoid injuries and increase performance. Win, win, win.

Contact us for more information or to book your fit!

The Best Tool For Self Massage

Muscle pain straight up sucks. Whether that pain is from muscle soreness or an injury, stiff muscles and dull pain can slow you down. 

Here at VSWI, we specialize in relieving pain using manual therapies. Our hand-on technique often includes Myofascial release, which involves putting gentle pressure on specific body locations to restore range of motion and ease pain. 

In an ideal world, we'd all see Daniel multiple times a week to help ease the soreness, stress, and tension that we experience on a daily basis. Unfortunately, this isn't realistic for most of us, but all is not lost. Enter self-massage, a highly effective alternative and/or supplement. 

While bigger tools, like the foam roller, are used to relax and relieve larger body areas, today we want to focus on something perfect for targeting those harder-to-reach areas: a Lacrosse Ball. It's also a cheap, portable tool you can keep with you on the go. We recommend keeping one in your car, purse, carryon, etc.

We often give a Lacrosse ball to our patients and prescribe at-home exercises to help speed recovery and prevent future pain. While we personalize and go over each set of exercises/stretches with each patient, we've compiled five different ways you can use a lacrosse ball for more effective myofascial release.

Perform each of the following exercises for up to 60 seconds. They can be performed before or after your workout, as well as any time throughout the day.

5 Ways to use the Lacrosse Ball

1. Feet. 

Place the lacrosse ball under the arch of your bare foot and begin slowly rolling over it. The ball will provide instant relief from tight arches and also help those who suffer from plantar fasciitis. We recommend keeping a ball in a ziplock bag in the freezer for an after-work cold foot massage or storing one in your carry-on bag for your next flight.

2. Glutes. 

In a standing position, rest the lacrosse ball between your glute and a wall with the ball directly over the area you are experiencing pain. Press your glute into the wall and begin performing circular motions in and around the area. Once the pain subsides, stop moving and increase pressure into the wall with the ball resting directly over the sore spot. Hold this position for up to 30 seconds.

lacrosse4.jpg

3. Hips. 

Lie on the side where you are experiencing tightness with knees bent 90 degrees and stacked on top of each other. Rest hands on the floor in front of your body. Raise your hip, place the ball directly under the stressed area, and slowly lower your weight back onto the ball. Begin moving your hips around to massage and release tension in the area. If the pain is too severe, stand up, place the tight hip closest to the wall, and place the ball over the tight area. Begin moving your hip around to massage the pain away.

4. Shoulders. 

Positioning the ball in this area can be tricky, so place it in an old stocking or sock to give you more control. Stand tall with your back close to the wall. Hold the end of the stocking or sock with one hand and, allowing the ball to rest between you and the wall, position the ball directly over the stressed area. Press your back into the wall. You can rest the ball over the area or perform small circular motions until you start to feel relief. 

5. Forearms. 

Sitting in front of a computer all day can wreak havoc on your forearms. If not properly stretched and strengthened, this can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Try these two ways to relieve the tension: Hold the ball in one hand and role it up and down the forearm, or place the ball on a desk or other flat surface and rest your forearm over the ball. Press your forearm into the ball and run it over the ball. I recommend doing this several times throughout your work day to relieve your muscles.

Try these at home then book an appointment for a more personalized plan to help keep your body at its optimum level.

Happy rolling!