As most people in my life are aware, I have been dealing with tendinitis in my foot for the last month. This made me grumpy (I like to be able to walk without pain), and hindered my social life (I had to turn down opportunities to go backpacking and running). I was doing all of the usual things to allow for healing, i.e., ice, massage, rest, but the progress was painstakingly slow. After much thought, I decided to try a chiropractor who specializes in ART.
ART, or active release therapy, is a soft tissue technique that, according to the ART website, (www.activerelease.com) breaks up scar tissue that builds up in injured muscle. This is not unlike SMR, which can be done using a foam roller or tennis ball. The difference between the two is SMR is done while the muscle is in a relaxed state, while ART moves the muscle and joint through a more full range of motion. After talking to some people who have had ART done and doing some research online, I came to the conclusion that most chiropractors use something similar to ART when doing soft tissue work, as do some massage therapists. I have always been skeptical of chiropractic care, so I chose to go to someone who was a licensed ART practitioner. Somehow, this eased my skepticism, and I made it clear I wasn’t looking for any sort of adjustment- just for my foot to get back to normal.
I won’t bore you with details from the treatments, but after 4 sessions, I am able to hike, my pain is almost gone, and I was even able to start running a little bit (albeit slowly). My inflammation is gone and, while I still feel a little bit of scar tissue in there when I am self massaging it, I am confident that after another treatment or two, that will be gone as well. If you are struggling with a chronic soft tissue injury that doesn’t seem to be responding to more conventional treatments, you may want to consider some soft tissue work.
Fiber is one of those things we all know we should be getting, and most of us probably don’t get enough of. Fiber is a carbohydrate that differs from sugar and starch in that it doesn’t break down until the end of the digestive process. Fiber comes from plants, primarily the roots, leaves, and stems (http://www.active.com/nutrition/Articles/The-Truth-About-Fiber.htm?cmp=1123). There are two types of fiber: soluble, and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and slows sugar absorption. It also lowers LDL, or bad cholesterol. Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water (hence the name), and increases stool bulk. Soluble fiber is found in the skin of fruits, oats, and beans, while insoluble fiber is found in wheat bran, nuts, and vegetables. Foods that are high in fiber make you feel full longer. If you get enough fruits and vegetables a day (the recommended amount, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, is 5-13 servings a day), you get enough fiber. If you are not currently consuming enough fiber, don’t try to drastically increase the amount of fiber in your diet all at once. Like any new lifestyle change, it is best to do it gradually. If you are a long distance runner, this is extra important- while fiber has wonderful health benefits, it can lead to gastrointestinal problems if you suddenly consume far more than your body is used to.
The next two videos for the Strong Center, Healthy Back series are coming soon. If you have any health and wellness questions, or you have something you would like me to address, please let me know!
Yours in health and wellness,