Use of Foam Rollers – Tips and Techniques

Benefits of using a foam roller is comparable to a deep tissue massage, myofascial release and myofascial trigger point therapy. Myofascial trigger points are taut bands or knots in the muscle tissue that can refer pain to other areas. For example, a trigger point in a gluteal muscle may refer pain down the leg. Trigger points can also limit range-of-motion, inhibit muscle strength and cause muscle fatigue. Regular work can increase flexibility and performance while decreasing muscle tension and pain.

Maximize the effectiveness of the foam roller by incorporating it into your daily stretching routine. Use the roller before and after activity, and always roll before you stretch. This will help to warm up cold muscles and prepare them for deeper stretching.
Make sure you roll on soft tissue and not over joints, ligaments or bony protrusions. Start by placing your body on a roller and slowly roll up and down the muscle. If you find a knot or tight band, hold that spot and try to feel the tissue release and soften underneath the pressure. Take deep breaths and try to keep your body as relaxed as possible.

Use of the foam roller can be painful. If an area is too painful to roll, place your body on the roller for 15 seconds before moving on to the next spot. As the tissue starts to loosen up you should be able to roll with less pain.

For low back lumbar extensor muscles:
Position the roller so that it’s in line with your spine. To focus on your right side, roll your body to the left, keeping your spine parallel to the roller and stop on the muscles that run along the length of your spine. Hold and allow your back to relax. Repeat on the left side.

For lateral low back obliques & quadratus lumborum muscles:
Position yourself as shown placing the foam roller between your ribs and hip. Slowly roll backwards until you feel a stretch and pressure in your lower back region. Hold on tight spots until you feel the tissue soften. Do not hold on any one spot for longer than a minute. Be careful not to over-treat. Repeat on the opposite side. 17

For gluteal muscles, piriformis:Start side-lying on the foam roller. Extend your right leg so that it’s in line with your torso and rotate back to position your right gluteal on the roller. Bend and place your left leg behind your right and place both hands on the floor for support. Proceed to roll the right gluteal region along the roller. Repeat for your left side.


Stop in the office and take home your roller today! 802-655-0354

Foam Roller Techniques, OPTP, 2008, Michael Fredericson, MD, Terri Lyn S. Yamamoto, PhD, Mark Fadil, CMT, p. 15, 17, 23.


Massage Therapy Benefits Those with Chronic Pain

bth_massageMore than 15 percent of the population suffers from chronic pain related to the joints and musculoskeletal system.  Lack of exercise combined with obesity, occupation related physical stress, sports and hobby related injuries and other phenomena contribute to this statistic.  Many people choose massage therapy, often after suffering for a long time and not finding resolution with other treatments.

Chronic pain is a pain sensation that lingers longer than would be expected, versus acute pain from a recent injury.  Chronic pain may start acutely, from an injury for example, and then remain for a disproportionate period of time.  It can then transform into a more diffuse, longer-lasting pain condition.

Most recent research is showing that fibromyalgia pain originates in the muscles (not in the head).  The role of massage is particularly beneficial for this condition.  Those with chronic fatigue syndrome also frequently experience debilitating, body-wide pain.

Chronic pain complaints may develop either from or into an interactive process involving metabolic factors, such as food or allergies; psychological stressors; chemical or environmental impacts; or any number of sensory system irritants.  This produces an overactivity of the sympathetic nervous system – the system in “high-gear” during the fight-or-flight response.  Prolonged, excess sympathetic system activity can generate  pain in various regions of the body.  Factors that become perpetuating include insomnia, poor sleep, lack of exercise or movement, fatigue, and psychological stress and depression.

According to Rolfing and Feldenkrais practitioner Robert Schleip, “our body’s richest sensory organ is not the nose, ears, eyes, or mouth – but rather the myofascial system”.  With the largest amount of sensory information coming in to the central nervous system through the myofascial tissues, massage therapists have a great opportunity to decrease the barrage of nervous system input from pain receptors.

By addressing different areas of the body, soft-tissue therapists can change the entire sensorimotor experience for the individual.  Massage therapy is an intervention that reduces the noxious input from the myofascial tissues.  By decreasing this input and reducing the sensitivity of the neural pain receptors, massage therapy is able to break the perpetual cycle of pain.

Chronic pain may also involve trigger points.  These are areas of tissue with ischemia and lactic acid build up.  Trigger points can create local nerve fiber impairment or aggravation, leading to increased pain.  Many times, soft-tissue pain is not produced by a local tissue, but is referred from some other location.  Therapists recognize the characteristics of referred pain sensation and adapt their therapy accordingly.

Massage is beneficial in improving sleep, reducing anxiety and stress levels.  For many, finding relief through skillful soft-tissue therapy can be a life-changing experience.  Call the office and book your massage today!  802-655-0354

Chiropractic Economics, The Soft-tissue Solution, Whitney Lowe, September 21, 2011, pg. 76

Living With Osteoarthritis


Living with Osteoarthritis  

Osteoarthritis (OA), or degenerative joint disease, affects more than 20 million Americans.  The disease affects the cartilage on the ends of the bones.  With osteoarthritis, the cartilage is broken down and eventually wears away.  As a result, instead of gliding, bones rub against each other causing pain, swelling, and loss of motion.  Over time, the joint may lose its normal shape.  Also, small deposits of bone called osteophytes or bone spurs may grow on the edges of the joint. Bits of bone or cartilage can break off and float inside the joint space causing increased pain and damage.

80% of people over the age of 50 have osteoarthritic joint changes.  Family history of OA, being overweight, lack of exercise, and prior joint injuries are risk factors.  Not all osteoarthritis is inevitable, however.  Perfectly normal cartilage may wear unevenly when a joint is misaligned.  

Signs of osteoarthritis include:

  • Steady or intermittent joint pain
  • Joint stiffness after sitting, sleeping, or otherwise not moving for a long time.
  • Swelling or tenderness in the joints
  •  A crunching feeling or the sound of bones rubbing against each other.

Exercise is one of the best forms of OA treatment and prevention.  It strengthens muscular support around the joints and improves and maintains joint mobility and function.  Low-impact activities such as walking and light weight training work best for OA patients.  Stair climbing, water aerobics, and Theraband workouts help to keep the joints mobile without straining them.

Nutritional supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate have been reported to improve the symptoms of people with osteoarthritis, as have certain vitamins. Clinical trials have shown that the use of  glucosamine sulfate 1,500mg daily in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee results in a significant reduction in joint pain and an improvement in joint function. In addition, glucosamine appears to reduce the loss of cartilage in the knee joint over at least a three-year period, particularly in those with milder osteoarthritis. 

Chiropractic adjustments can help restore normal joint function and prevent unnecessary wear.  Research shows chiropractic spinal manipulation increases range of motion, restores normal movement of the spine, relaxes muscles, and reduces pain.  This makes chiropractic an effective treatment for osteoarthritis.  See if chiropractic treatment may be helpful for you.  Call the office today to keep your joints moving smoothly!  802-655-0354  

Acidic and Alkaline Food Consumption for Healthy Living

All food digested in our bodies metabolizes, or burns down into a residue which can be neutral, acidic, or alkaline, depending on the content of the original food. Scientific research emphasizes the importance of balancing pH levels to maintain good health, proper immune system function and to avoid many diseases.

The pH is the measurement of the substance’s acidity and alkalinity. The normal pH of the human blood is between 7.35 and 7.45. A blood pH below 7 is considered acidic whereas a pH above 7 provides an alkaline blood chemistry.

Our body manages the acid load by excreting it through normal channels of elimination, and by buffering the acid with minerals borrowed from our bones. When the body accumulates excess acid and the elimination system can no longer get rid of it, our body will store the acid waste in our tissues, joints and muscles. Symptoms of an overly acid pH include joint and muscle pain, osteoporosis, low energy, digestive problems such as indigestion and acid reflux, colds, flu, allergies, hormone imbalances and immune system dysfunction.

In general, animal foods such as meat, eggs, dairy, processed and refined foods, yeast products, fermented foods, grains, artificial sweeteners, some fruits, and sugars are acidifying, as well as alcohol, coffee, chocolate, black tea, and sodas.

Acid forming foods will speed up aging causing a rapid decline in the cardiovascular system. Oxidative stress is known to be linked to over 200 diseases. Consuming acidic foods causes free radical cell damage in the body. Prevention is the key in slowing down the aging process and disease manifestation. Balancing your pH via diet helps to lower cholesterol and reduce stress along with improving the functioning of the immune system.

Vegetables are alkalizing. A few non-sweet citrus fruits are also basic or alkalizing to the body, as are sprouted seeds, nuts, and grains. In general, grains are acidifying, though a few (millet, quinoa, buckwheat, and spelt) are only very mildly so. Raw foods are more alkalizing, while cooked food is more acidifying.

To maintain a balanced pH in your blood and tissues, your diet should consist of at least 70 to 80 percent basic foods – that is, no more than 20 to 30 percent acidifying foods. To accomplish this, eat two alkaline foods for each acidic food you eat (see accompanying chart) and you will soon be feeling and looking great as well as on the road to a healthy old age.

acid Alk chart

Natural Cowgirl, 6/25/2013, pH – Get Yours Balanced for Better Health!

How Healthy is your Brain?

People are living longer than any other time in history. Major nutritional and medical advancements have been made to help keep the body physically healthy. The bad news is we are seeing an unprecedented number of mild brain health issues affecting our families and our friends. When life spans were shorter, people simply were not living long enough to see the effects of natural brain aging that are common today.

Scientists estimate we lose between 30,000 and 50,000 brain cells every single day. This leads not only to common occurrences like the misplacement of car keys and reading glasses, but difficulty with management of our time and household tasks. A recent study by the Natural Marketing Institute ranked healthy mental function as the number one health concern among those over 60 years old. In the year 1900, the average life expectancy was 47 years. In the year 2012, life expectancy has risen to nearly 80 years. While this increase reflects positive improvements in health care, it has led to an increase in the wear and tear on our bodies, including our brains.

Caring for our brain requires an understanding of its needs. The brain is a demanding organ. Despite comprising just 2% of the average adult body weight, the brain requires 20% of the body’s energy and up to 25% of the heart’s blood flow. In each of the 100 billion neurons in the brain are energy factories known as the mitochondria; the neuronal mitochondria turn glucose into chemical energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Feeding your brain the right nutrients becomes more important as we age.

• Eat the right kind of fat. The brain and nervous system are comprised of 60% fat, so ensure your diet is rich in the Omega 3 essential fatty acids found in cold water fish and flax oil. Avoid foods high in saturated fat or overly processed foods. People with high cholesterol and blood pressure levels are several times more likely to experience age-related mild memory problems.

• Drink plenty of water. Consuming 8-12 eight ounce glasses per day will help keep skin
looking healthier, regulates body temperature and helps in digestion. Tea, coffee and soft drinks don’t count. These will actually dehydrate you. If you want to feel better, drink at least 8 glasses of water per day. You can’t live without it!

• Eat your vegetables. Research has found that to retain health benefits associate with eating broccoli and other cruciferous veggies (like cabbage, turnips, cauliflower and kale), you must consume the real thing because the phytochemicals inside them is missing in vitamin supplements. Cook only for 2-3 minutes or steam until still crunchy to maintain its health value.

Maintaining a healthy diet is an important part of brain health, but it isn’t the only way to better memory. There are also many lifestyle changes that can also improve brain health.

• Physical exercise. Consistent, low stress workouts, like a brisk walk a few times a week or yoga is excellent. Gardening or other everyday activities promote good brain health by helping to maintain fine motor skills and concentration.

• Mental exercise. Directly stimulating your brain with crossword puzzles, word games and math problems is not only fun, but also strengthens connections within your brain. Scientific evidence is showing that you can fight aging by challenging your mind.

• Embrace technology and balance it with real life interactions. New technologies allow people to learn about a certain topic or communicate with a variety of people. Networks of people can learn to collaborate globally and may help you build a sense of community. Multi-tasking involves that part of the brain that governs social and reasoning behavior. Use social technologies as a planning tool or to join a local group. Interacting with people face-to-face is a great way to keep your brain sharp.

• Engage with people. Actively engaging with others requires using different regions of the brain. The unpredictability of conversation requires attention in order to follow along and contribute to a dialogue. Active listening and allowing to share our struggles and deal with stress, gives a sense of purpose and well-being.

• Find something to love. Having love in your life is in itself a source of energy – helping provide reason, purpose, and direction. You will be making the most of the positives and dealing firmly with life’s challenges. It is important to recognize you can play an active role in the health of your brain. Scientists have demonstrated that connections between brain cells are constantly changing. A lack of brain activities will cause disconnections, while active care of the brain will promote greater mental acuity.

In addition to nutrition and lifestyle changes to support your brain health, a key protein supplement, Prevagen®, can play a role in addressing specific functions of the brain.
Prevagen® is a safe and effective brain health supplement shown to improve memory. It has not been found to conflict with any other supplement or medication.

In a published study, Prevagen® has been clinically shown to support cognitive function over 90 days in a computer-assessed, randomized placebo-controlled study.
The uniqueness of Prevagen®:

• One of a kind ingredient – Prevagen® contains “apoaequorin”, a protein found in a certain species of jellyfish. Apoaequorin was first discovered in 1962 by Princeton researcher Dr. Osamu Shimomura, Ph.D., who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2008 for the discovery of the protein. Apoaequorin is now produced through a controlled scientific process.

• Long research history – Apoaequorin has been a diagnostic tool used in research for decades to monitor and measure calcium. Quincy Bioscience holds the patent on the application of the protein that includes supplementation. Pre-clinical in-vitro research at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has shown support for brain cells.

• Unique mechanism of action – In humans, neurons express proteins as a mechanism for brain function. Research has shown that after the age of 40, the production of these proteins diminishes which can lead to memory problems seen in normal aging. Apoaequorin has been shown to be an effective supplemental source of these proteins.

Many patients taking Prevagen® report improved memory and mental clarity within 90 days. Do you have memory concerns? Call 802-655-0354 or email to take our free Memory Screening Questionnaire and consider starting Prevagen® today!


LaserStim Cold Laser Therapy


At Onion River Chiropractic, we use LaserStim cold laser therapy with patients who suffer with pain associated with a variety of conditions:  Tendonitis (knee, ankle, forearm, shoulder, hip) bursitis, rotator cuff injuries, plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tarsal tunnel syndrome, neck and back pain, muscle strains, soft tissue injuries, myofascial pain syndrome, peripheral neuropathy.  It is helpful, safe and effective for those who have artificial knees or hip replacement or other metal implants.  It is the only physiotherapy modality that can treat joint replacements as it does not cause vibratory insult or heating of the metal implant as is the case with ultrasound treatment.

Laser works by emitting photons (light energy) into the mitochondria and cell membrane of the body’s tissues.  It uses both red, visible light and infrared light which can penetrate the tissues from the surface of the skin up to a depth of 5 inches with a peak power of up to 25W. 

Physiological changes affecting the body’s immune and nervous systems include: 

  • An  increase in cell growth, metabolism and regeneration
  • An increase in vascular activity, increasing blood flow to the injured area
  • Invoking of the anti-inflammatory response, promoting tissue healing
  • Relaxation of muscles and stimulation of nerve transmission, resulting in increased healing of areas affected by nerve damage
  • An increase in the production of endorphins, providing pain relief
  • Reduction in swelling and inflammation
  • Decrease in scar tissue formation from cuts, burns, and surgery

The diverse tissue and cell types in the body all have their own unique light absorption characteristics; that is, they will only absorb light at specific wavelengths and not at others. For example, skin layers, because of their high blood and water content, absorb red light very readily, while calcium and phosphorus absorb light of a different wavelength.  Although both red and infrared wavelengths penetrate to different depths and affect tissues differently, their therapeutic effects are similar. 

Visible red light, at a wavelength of 660nm, is beneficial in treating problems close to the surface such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, wounds, cuts, scars, trigger and acupuncture points, and is particularly effective in treating infections.  Infrared light (905nm) penetrates deeper than visible light and is effective for treating ailments of bones, joints, and deep muscle tissue.

Light therapy can:

  1. Increase vascularity (circulation) by increasing the formation of new capillaries, which are additional blood vessels that replace damaged ones. New capillaries speed up the healing process by carrying more oxygen as well as more nutrients needed for healing and they can also carry more waste products away.
  2. Stimulate the production of collagen. Collagen is the most common protein found in the body. Collagen is the essential protein used to repair damaged tissue and to replace old tissue. It is the substance that holds cells together and has a high degree of elasticity. By increasing collagen production less scar tissue is formed at the damaged site.
  3. Stimulate the release of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).  ATP is the major carrier of energy to all cells. Increases in ATP allow cells to accept nutrients faster and get rid of waste products faster by increasing the energy level in the cell. All food turns into ATP before it is utilized by the cells. ATP provides the chemical energy that drives the chemical reaction of the cell.
  4. Increase lymphatic system activity.  Edema, which is the swelling or natural splinting process of the body, has two basic components. The first is a liquid part which can be evacuated by the blood system and the second is comprised of the proteins which have to be evacuated by the lymphatic system.  Research has shown that the lymph vessel diameter and the flow of the lymph system can be increased with light.  The venous diameter and the arterial diameters can also be increased.  This means that both parts of edema (liquid and protein) can be evacuated at a much faster rate to relieve swelling.
  5. Reduce the excitability of nervous tissue. The photons of light energy enter the body as negative ions. This calls upon the body to send positive ions like calcium among others to go to the area being treated. These ions assist in firing the nerves thereby relieving pain.
  6. Increased phagocytosis, which is the process of scavenging for and ingesting dead or degenerated cells  for the purpose of clean up. This is an important part of the infection fighting process.  Destruction of the infection and clean up must occur before the healing process can take place.

We are offering a Laser treatment special promotion which includes an initial examination and 6 laser treatment sessions for $150.  This offer is not valid with any insurance, personal injury or workers compensation cases.  Scheduled appointments are required.  Valid until July 31, 2013.   Call the office today at 802-655-0354 and see how effective Laser therapy can be for you!

The Photobiological Basis of Low Level Laser Radiation Therapy, Kendric C. Smith; Stanford University School of Medicine; Laser Therapy, Vol. 3, No. 1, Jan – Mar 1991

Low-Energy Laser Therapy: Controversies & Research Findings, Jeffrey R. Basford MD; Mayo Clinic; Lasers in Surgery and Medicine 9, pp. 1-5 (1989)

New Biological Phenomena Associated with Laser Radiation, M.I. Belkin & U. Schwartz; Tel-Aviv University; Health Physics, Vol. 56, No. 5, May 1989; pp. 687-690

Macrophage Responsiveness to Light Therapy, S Young PhD, P Bolton BSc, U Dyson PhD, W Harvey PhD, & C Diamantopoulos BSc; London: Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, 9; pp. 497-505 (1989)

Photobiology of Low-Power Laser Effects, Tina Karu PhD; Laser Technology Centre of Russia; Health Physics, Vol. 56, No. 5. May 89, pp. 691-704

A Review of Low Level Laser Therapy, S Kitchen MSCMCSP & C Partridge PhD; Centre for Physiotherapy Research, King’s College London Physiotherapy, Vol. 77, No. 3, March 1991

Systemic Effects of Low-Power Laser Irradiation on the Peripheral & Central Nervous System, Cutaneous Wounds & Burns, S Rochkind MD, M Rousso MD, M Nissan PhD, M Villarreal MD, L Barr-Nea PhD. & DG Rees PhD,

Low Level Laser Therapy: Current Clinical Practice In Northern Ireland, GD Baxter BSc, AJ Bet, MA,,JM AtienPhD, J Ravey PhD; Blamed Research Centre University Ulster Physiotherapy, Vol. 77, No. 3, March 1991

Low Level Laser Therapy: A Practical Introduction, T. Ohshiro & RG Caiderhead, Wiley and Sons

Bone Fracture Consolidates Faster With Low-Power Laser, MA Trelles, MD and E Mayayo, MD, Barcelona, Spain; Lasers in Surgery & Med. 7:36-45 (1987)

Wound Management with Whirlpool and Infrared Cold Laser Treatment, P Gogia; B Hurt and T Zim; AMI-Park Plaza Hospital, Houston TX, Physical Therapy, Vol. 68, No. 8, August 1988

Effects of Skin-Contact Monochromatic Infrared Irradiation on Tendonitis, Capsulitis and Myofascial Pain, T.L Thomassoi DDS, 19th Annual Scientific Meeting, American Academy of Neurological & Orthopaedic Surgeons, Aug. 27-30, 1995 Facial Pain/TMJ Centre, Denver, CO

Benefits of Stretching

Stretching is not just for athletes.  The following are some of the reasons why stretching may be beneficial for YOU!

1. Increase your range of motion.   Stretching helps to warm up muscles and joints. Synovial fluid is released from the cartilage within the joints, lubricating them and keeping bones moving freely.  Elongation of muscles and tendons becomes even more important as we age as our range of motion can become quite restricted along with loss of joint flexibility.  Getting into a stretching routine will help keep us strong and flexible.

2. Injury prevention.  Stretching will help us become stronger and more flexible in performing a variety of physical activities, including household chores.  Stretching affects the viscoelastic behavior of muscle and tendon. (Viscoelasticity refers to the ability to exhibit a change in length as well as amount of flow and movement).  Flexible muscles are able to distribute strength, increased balance and use less energy in the process.

3. Reduce muscle tension. Stretching is helpful in getting blood flowing into the muscles and joints.  This improves movement, circulation, promotes lower blood pressure and lessens fatigue.  Mentally, the relaxing signals sent to the brain during stretching are carried on for several hours after the exercise.

Tips when stretching:

  • Focus on major muscle groups.  Neck, shoulders, low back, hips, thighs, hamstrings, calves.  Stretch both sides (right and left) equally.
  • Slow and steady.  Hold the stretch for about 30 seconds, breathing with each stretch.  Inhale during rest and exhale while doing work.   Don’t bounce.  Bouncing can cause small tears in the muscle, tendons or ligaments leaving scar tissue as it heals.  This will actually make you less flexible over time.
  • Be consistent.  You can achieve the greatest benefits by stretching regularly, at least 3 times a week.  Stretching should feel good, increasing your flexibility with gentle tension.

Beginner Gluteal Stretches – Single Knee to Opposite Chest:  Begin by lying on back, with both knees bent.  Take a breath in and as you exhale bring right knee towards the left side of your chest, grab with both hands and pull towards chest to hold for 20 seconds. Repeat for the left side.


Figure Four:  Lying on your back, place your right foot on your left knee. Take a breath in, and as you exhale bring your left knee towards the left side of your chest and hold with both hands under your left knee for 20 sec.  Repeat other side.


Rock the Baby: Seated exercise, begin by lifting one leg up and grabbing under the knee and ankle.  Stretch for 5-10 seconds and then move leg across your body for another 5-10 second stretch. Remember to breathe!       


Lying Knee Extension:  Lying on your back, take a breath in and as you exhale bring one leg towards your chest, grab behind knee (or use a towel to wrap behind your leg) and bring leg toward chest.  This can be done lying in a doorway, with one leg resting on the doorframe. Hold for 30 seconds, breathe!

B6 B7

Dick, F. Sports Training Principles. London, A & C Black. 1997

Lipowitz, Alan J.  Synovial Fluid Chapter 86 Stretching:  Focus on flexibility, accessed 3/12/13 New Insight Into Joint Lubrication That Keeps Osteoarthritis At Bay

Article Date: 02 Apr 2006 – 5:00 PDT

National Strength & Conditioning Association Human Kinetics. 2002  Champaign, IL Essentials of strength training and conditioning,2nd ed

Joint cracking and popping: Understanding noises that accompany articular release Marina G. Protapapas, DO, Tyler C. Cymet, DO

Shrier, Ian.  Does stretching help prevent injuries?  Blackwell Publishing 12/26/2006, page 36