Squats, the (F)Utility of Research, Total Knees, and Pain vs. Suffering – Movement Debrief Episode 18

Just in case you missed last night’s Movement Debrief Episode 18, here is a copy of the video and audio for your listening pleasure.

in this debrief, I was stumped!

Andrew from Facebook asked a phenomenal question on the biomechanics of the squat, which led to great discussion on what it means and takes to squat.  Great contributions from Dani and Jonathan to the discussion.

Here were all the topics:

  • How I use research
  • Influences on full knee extension and flexion post-operatively
  • Changing perception of rehab post-total knee arthroplasty
  • The problems with chasing pain
  • Pain vs. suffering
  • What is squatting, what it means, and the biomechanicsIf you want to watch these live, add me on Facebook, Instagram, or Youtube. They air every Wednesday at 8:30pm CST.

Enjoy.

                

Here were the links I mentioned tonight

Pain and Stress in a Systems Perspective: Reciprocal Neural, Endocrine and Immune Interactions

On the (f)utility of pain

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August 2017 in Review

Every week, my newsletter subscribers get links to some of the goodies that I’ve come across on the internets.

Here were the goodies that my peeps got their learn on from this past August.

If you want to get a copy of my weekend learning goodies every Friday, fill out the form below.  That way you can brag to all your friends about the cool things you’ve learned over the weekend.

Biggest Lesson of the Month

You must first take care of yourself in all aspects of life before you can adequately take care of others. That includes personally, professionally, health, finances, everything. While I have done well in certain areas, I have lagged in others. This imbalance is one reason why I opted to take a job in a rural location. It has helped me strike a balance in many areas, and has eliminated potential distractions that could deter me from achieving that balance.

Cryptic? Somewhat. But I think about those times that I’ve been sleep deprived and lost patience with my clients. My lack of taking care of myself in that instance limited my capability to take care of others.

Are you taking care of yourself?

Quote of the Month

The only thing that separates successful people from the ones who aren’t is willingness to work very, very hard. ~Unknown

I saw the above quote when I was staying at a hotel before hiking Capitol Reef. The funny thing was separates was spelled wrong…Make sure you also work smart 🙂

Hike of the Month

This was a tough one, as I did both the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and Capitol Reef. While the North Rim was spectacular, an incredibly challenging hike, and was spent with a dear friend of mine, I have to give Capitol Reef the slight edge.

Capitol Reef reminded me a lot of Zion, in the sense that it had varied terrain, very cool rock formations, and free apples!!! All of the big cliffs were on this crazy slant, and it was just cool to see. Plus I didn’t die like I did in the Grand Canyon. Uphill finish = hate life

How do you like them apples? Quite tasty as a matter of fact.

Rehabilitation

 

Blog: Why Physio Discussions Are Just Another Simpson’s Episode

There is just so much right with this post. Douglas going after a huge problem within the movement realm. Instead of uplifting one another, many of us tear each other down. Doug Kechijian explains why this is problematic.

Quick Hit: Check Arm Position if You Have Neck Pain

Many times, neck pain involves neck muscles increasing their accessory breathing function. A quick trick to reduce this function is by altering arm position. Check out if one of these positions alters your symptoms the next time you have neck pain.

Blog: Clinical Mileage

David Butler has been one of my biggest influences, and this post is no different. Here David discusses the Concept of Clinical Mileage, the importance of reflection, reshaping our treatments. I admire, despite all the years he has practice, he continues to evolve his thought process; something we should all aspire to do.

Research:  The Relationship Between Low Back Pain and Lumbar Lordosis: A systematic Review and Meta-analysis

But wait? I thought posture doesn’t cause pain? What about the studies showing imaging pathology in asymptomatic studies?

One thing we don’t consider is the frequency of imaging pathology in individuals with pain. This study is an example of that.

Pain is an experience in which the causes are multifactorial, and that means we cannot discredit how biomechanics can influence that experience.

Research: Knee Osteoarthritis has Doubled in Prevalence Since the mid-20th Century

Your patients with bone-on-bone can officially no longer use the “old age” excuse anymore. Knee osteoarthritis is commonly blamed for our longer lifespan and BMI, but this cadaveric study seems to think otherwise. When comparing the knees of modern people to those of the 18th-19th century (and even some prehistoric knees!), they found that even when lifespan and BMI were controlled for, modern subjects had a 2.1 greater incidence of knee OA. What do they think is the cause? Read it to find out.

 

Performance

Quick Hit: Recovery Position

Want to recover more effectively between intense bouts of exercise? You should probably watch this video. I’ve found with many of my clients that dropping further into a squat enhances heart rate recovery incredibly fast. I used it on my most recent hike, and made many of the hard parts more bearable.

Podcast:  Mike Irr on Winning an NBA Championship

Mike Irr is just a phenomenal human being. And to hear him speak with such poise, such humility, despite being an NBA champion, is refreshing. You’ll also learn a great deal about the successes, failure, and challenges of working in the big leagues. Give the guy a listen.

Might be the goodest dude in the history of good dudes.

Quick Hit: Which Hand Should the Weight be in During Offset Movements?

Should it be the same side or the opposite side of the front leg? Depends on your goal. In this video I discuss when each strategy ought to be implemented.

Health

Infographics: Managing Performance Throughout Periods of Travel: Coping Strategies for Eastward Travelers

for Westward Travelers

Yan Le Meur just keeps killing it with these infographics. Today he eloquently summarizes the essential strategies for effective traveling across multiple timezones. I learned a ton from this series.

Infographic: One Hour of Physical Activity Eliminates the Detrimental Effects of 8 Hours of Inactivity

Wearing my Oura Ring has done wonders for keeping me on task regarding my sleep, activity and readiness levels. It has also made me sickeningly aware of how damn much I sit.

All is not lost, however, as my man Yann Le Meur, who puts out killer infographics, made me aware of this study here. Pretty remarkable that much of the damage of sitting can be offset.

Blog: Why am I So Tired?

Allen Tucker is a dear friend of mine, and he wrote a phenomenal post on all things sleep; drawing from his own experiences with sleep deprivation and sleep apnea. Though he is no medical professional, Allen is a guy with an incredibly broad knowledge base, and my internet endeavors would be nonexistent if it weren’t for him.

Just wish the bastard would write more!

Miscellaneous

Quick Hit: Learning Arsenal

We all have our ways we learn. In this promo I go over some of my tools in my learning toolbox that help me get the most out of my learning endeavors.

Video: All Your Excuses are Lies

Taken from Podcast #83

No one can make you want to be more disciplined than Jocko Willink. He has probably been one of the most influential people that I’ve come across this year. His material is a life changer. His advice is simple, direct, and effective. If you are following his stuff. Quit making excuses and do it!

Blog: You are Who You Grab Coffee With – 3 Steps to Get Expert Advice on Any Topic 

Ramit Sethi is a finance guy whose material I have really been digging. He gives a lot of practical financial advice tips that really resonate with me.

In this post, he discusses how to effectively connect with experts, and definitely have used some of these methods at continuing education courses. I think he outlines effective strategies quite well, and especially love the email template he provides.

One of the many reasons to drink coffee.

Article: What Do Economists Actually Know?

While evidenced based practice and the scientific method are incredibly important, these sources are not infallible. All sources are biased, muddied, difficult to appraise, and occasionally dishonest.

We still operate with a large degree of uncertainty with the people we work with. We can’t hang our hat on research alone, especially when dealing with the complex entities known as humans.

This uncertainty extends beyond medicine and performance, as Russ Roberts discusses the very same problem in his field of economics.

My favorite quote? “Published and true are not synonyms.”

Music

Music: Lush Vibes

As you know, I am a huge hip hop head, but need something to chill out at night and be focused to. This playlist = absolutely incredible for that. Minimal words, very low key beats, and productivity has been spectacular while listening.

Music: Ambient Chill Playlist

I’ve been trying a bunch of different things before bed to enhance my sleep capabilities, as for awhile I was struggling, fam. At night, listening to this bad boy before bed did wonders for calming me down. Also think it’s a solid playlist for productivity. Check it out for sure.

Music: Raekwon “The Wild”

Raekwon the Chef coming on strong with a new album. The beats = fire. The wordplay = fire. The storytelling = fire. You can tell the Chef has grown up quite a bit since his Wutang days, but still represents and reminds us of his sordid past. The joint he did with Lil Wayne; daummmmmn.

A recent systematic review concluded that the Chef is always cooking up fire #science

Music: Twista “Crook County”

I have a soft spot for fast rappers aka choppers, and Twista is the gold standard. For a hot minute he was trying to do the mumble rap, and it wasn’t good. Here Twista gets back to his roots, yet varies his flow enough to show exactly how versatile (and underrated he is). The sound is similar to a lot of new stuff you’ll hear on the radio, but with actually good rappin’. Listen to “Hollywood,” it’ll change your life.

Which goodies did you find useful? Comment below and let me know what you think.

Photo Credits

Mortefot from Flickr

Weekly Dig

Trial and Error, Triplanar Movement, Networking, and Mentors – Movement Debrief Episode 11

Did you miss yesterday’s Movement Debrief? We had a lot of fun. The first time I went on facebook, twitter, and Instagram simultaneously.

This debrief was a bit different, as it didn’t involve as much reflection on my patient care, but more on the wonderful continuing education weekend I had.

I got to spend time with all my friends learning about a lot of different things. And it led to some great reflections.

Here’s what I talked about:

  1. Why trial and error is important
  2. Being outcome-focused
  3. How triplanar movement impacts single plane movements
  4. Why having a good network is important
  5. Keys the networking
  6. The importance of mentors

If you want to watch these live, add me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. They air every Wednesday at 8:30pm CST.

Enjoy.

 

 

Workers’ Compensation, Dealing with Late Patients, Fall Prevention, & More – Movement Debrief Episode 9

Episode 9 was a long one, and I’m so sad if you missed it live.

Here were some of the topics:

  1. The necessary organizational fix to worker’s compensation
  2. Ways physical therapists can have patients simulate work
  3. Targeting educational-specific impairments
  4. The need to expand scope or collaborate to help clients thrive
  5. How to deal with patients who are always late and don’t do their exercises
  6. Working on getting up off the ground after a fall

If you want to watch these live, add me on Facebook or Instagram. They air every Wednesday at 8:30pm CST.

Enjoy.

The Art of the Debrief & Work/Life Balance – Movement Debrief Episode 8

Episode 8 of the Movement Debrief, despite technical difficulties, persevered.

In case you missed it live, we talked about the following topics:

  1. What is a debrief?
  2. How I structure my debrief
  3. Balancing work, social interaction, health, etc
  4. What makes you you

If you want to watch these live, add me on Facebook or Youtube. They air every Wednesday at 8:30pm CST.

Enjoy.

Course Notes: PRI Postural Visual Integration: The 2nd Viewing

Would You Look at That

It was a little over a year ago that I took PRI vision and was blown away. A little bit after that, I went through the PRIME program to become an alternating and reciprocal warrior.

I had learned so much about what they do in PRI vision that I was feeling somewhat okay with implementation.

Then my friends told me about the updates they made in this course.

I seriously just took it
I seriously just took it

 

I signed up as quickly as possibly, and am glad I did. This course has reached a near-perfect flow and the challenging material is much more digestible.

Don’t expect to know the what’s and how’s of Ron and Heidi’s operation. And realistically, you probably don’t need to.

Your job as a clinician is to take advantage of what the visual system can do, implement that into a movement program, and refer out as needed. This blog will try to explain the connection between these two systems.

If you want more of the nitty-gritty programming, I strongly recommend reading my first round with this course. Otherwise, you might be a little lost.

Let’s do it. Continue reading “Course Notes: PRI Postural Visual Integration: The 2nd Viewing”

Manual Therapy Musings

When I think About You…

Prompted by some mentee questions and blog comments, I wondered where manual therapy fits in the rehab process.

To satisfy my curiosity, I calculated how much time I spend performing manual interventions. Looking at last month’s patient numbers to acquire data, I found these numbers based on billing one patient every 45 minutes (subtracting out evals and reassessments):

  • Nonmanual (including exercise and education) = 80%
  • Manual = 20%
  • Modalities = 0%!!!!!!!!!!!!
Especially happy with the last number...and that I forgot how to work these useless things.
Especially happy with the last number…and that I forgot how to work these useless things.

Delving a bit further, here’s my time spent using PRI manual techniques versus my other manual therapy skill-set:

  • PRI manual = 14%
  • Other manual = 6%

As you can see, I use manual therapy a ridiculously low amount; skills that I used to employ liberally with decent success.

Skills-that-I-learned-in-the-mountains
Greatest skits on the internet per Cochrane review.

 

There’s a reason for the shift

I want my patients to independently improve at all cost and as quickly as possible. The learning process is the critical piece needed to create necessary neuroplastic change; and consequently a successful rehab program.

Rarely is learning involved in manual therapy. Continue reading “Manual Therapy Musings”

Course Notes: BSMPG 2015

#Bestconferenceevaahhhhh

I shipped off to Boston to attend my first ever BSMPG summer symposium. And it was easily one of the best conferences I’ve ever been to. There was an excellent speaker lineup and so much of my family. Art Horne really put on a fantastic show.

And we grow more everyday.
The League of IFAST grows stronger every day.

If you haven’t been to BSMPG before, put it on your to-course list. It is one of the few courses that has a perfect combination of learning and socializing. I hope to not miss another.

Instead of my usual this person talked about that, let’s look at some of the big pearls from the weekend.

 

Why Sapolsky Doesn’t Get Ulcers

In one quote Robert Sapolsky summed up my current foundational premise to rehabilitation and training:

“The stress response returns the body to homeostasis after actual or potential threats.” ~ Robert Sapolsky

 

Regardless of what your malady is, it can probably be linked back to the stress response gone awry. The specifics become irrelevant because the stress response occurs nonspecifically.

what your symptoms are.
what your symptoms are.

This response works best against acute crises. Guess how we screw it up? Chronic stressors.

Human stressors are quite different from other species’ as we have the capability of inducing this stress response psychosocially. Gazelles on the Serengeti don’t have to worry about student loans.

 

I have thought about it on more than one occasion
I have thought about this viable option on more then one occasion

We can see how chronic stress becomes an issue when you look at what occurs in the stress response:

  • Glucose travels to the bloodstream to mobilize energy.
  • Increased cardiovascular tone, heart rate, and blood pressure.
  • Decrease long-term building projects such as digestion, growth, and reproduction.
  • Increase immune system activity
  • Sharpen cognition, alertness, and pleasure

If the stress response perpetuates, other systems fail and break down to continue to support the need to reduce potential threats. We see a shift in the homeostatic set-point toward elevated levels of the above.

Although we all must deal with stress in some way, why is it that some people tolerate chronic stress better than others? It’s all in how one copes. The following is needed to successfully deal with stress:

  • Need an outlet for stress.
  • Have predictable information.
  • Have a sense of control.
  • Have a healthy social circle.
  • Perceive that life is improving.

 

Stress Antifragility

Per the book of Sapolsky:

 

Optimal stress = moderate severity + shorts duration/amount + safe/benevolent environment.

 

Aka good training. But how do we build up individuals to continually better tolerate further challenging stressors?

Here is where my man Eric Oetter dominated the conference.

My 2 favorites from the weekend.
My 2 favorites from the weekend.

When chronically stressed, the aforementioned stress response takes high priority in all our systems, including nervous. Immune molecules smudge our various homunculi, dopamine floods the system to reward outputs, and myelin solidifies neurological pathways to perpetuate it.

Breaking a chronic stress cycle involves habit alteration.

To be able to effectively create newly favorable habits, movements, or pathways, attention is key. This piece is something we lose in a stressed state; as prefrontal cortex activity decreases. This is why salience is so important.

To return to a favorable homeostatic environment, we enlist Eric’s three P’s:

 

#Prime

 

Both prime and Prhyme are essential
Both prime and Prhyme are essential

Prime brain activity via the aerobic system. It boosts brain power, especially if done before an activity.

 

How: Work between 120-150 bpm for 15-30 minutes prior to motor skill learning. Do something you enjoy so you do not become overly stressed by the activity itself.

 

#Prune

And helping you learn since 10000 BC
And helping you learn since 10000 BC

Sleep is a big deal. According to one of the speakers, Vincent Walsh, we sleep 37% of our lives. Yet we only work 19% of them. We sleep so damn much that it should probably be taken seriously.

Sleep helps us remember by helping us forget things. The sleep cycle replays our day; keeping the important pieces and discarding the unnecessary.

This discarding is the pruning that Eric referred to, and it occurs by glial cells. Glia is what smooths out new neural connections.

How do we get good sleep?

  1. Respect the chronotype – keep your normal sleep-wake cycles.
  2. Take naps – 26 minute naps are bomb.
  3. Banish blue light – cut out 1-2 hours before bed, as blue light from electronics tells the suprachiastmatic nucleus in the brain that it is light out.
  4. Become a sleep environmentalist – No caffeine after 12, no meals 3 hours before bed, sleep in a cool room, etc.

 

#Prefrontal

If you can’t access to the prefrontal cortex, you will never hit the cognitive stage of motor learning.

Chronic stressors inhibit access to the PFC. The PFC is the doorway to variability, which is something unwanted during a stress response. Automaticity is king.

Getting the PFC allows all systems to be freely expressed. How do we do it?

  • Mindful meditation.
  • Monitoring (omegawave, bioforce HRV, etc).
  • Remove the “neurolock” via redirection and respiration (hint hint– PRI)
  • Energy systems development.

 

Respect the Thorax

 This section will channel my homie’s James Anderson and Allen Gruver. Can’t go a place without getting a PRI fix.

It's quite uncanny actually
It’s quite uncanny actually

What keeps the spine and sternum oriented right despite the thorax counter-rotating to the left? The answer would be airflow. A hyperinflated left chest wall pushes these areas to the right.

Thoracic movement is determined by this position as well as timing/coordination of gross movement patterns. We can observe how the thorax is driven through what the extremities are doing.

If you look at the baseball throw, we ought to see alternate positioning on each arm. For example, if the right forearm is in supination during a part of the throw, the left arm ought to be in pronation. This reciprocal arm function promote the thorax rotating in one direction. It’s a PNF thing.

Do you even PNF bro?
Do u even PNF bro?

If the arms go in the same direction, the thorax must extend or flex. Since sport is usually extension-driven, we can guess which direction one will go.

 

The Decision

Vince Walsh gave an excellent talk on the brain. He thinks we miss lots of talent because we look predominately at physical prowess.

Physicality is only one piece of the puzzle. Some individuals may develop excellent decision-making skills later on in their careers that may trounce athleticism.

Your ability to make right choices and avoid wrong ones is necessary for success, and is a trainable skill.

To know how to train it, it is important to understand the three types of decision-making:

  • Physical – What to do and not do (e.g. gun slinging)
  • Mental – e.g. poker playing
  • Temporal – e.g. playing chicken

Vince predominately used computer simulations to train these decisions, but it seems plausible that these tests could be applied to any type of training. Perhaps something like a reactive agility test could help improve physical decision making as an example. You just have to be creative.

 

For example
For example

A Cautionary Note on Data

Al Smith said some of the most profound words this weekend. He spoke to caution us on data.

Data does not always tell the individual story, as it can lead to less individualized training or rehab. It dehumanizes both our clients and us. This statement made me think quite a bit to those folks who champion evidenced-based everything.

Perhaps instead of measuring everything, one must first ask if there is a problem with what one is thinking of measuring.

Cynefin

Another cool thing Al Smith showed us was the cynefin framework; a sense making model in which acquired data precedes framework.

download

Depending on what a situation can be categorized in, one would expect to utilize different thought processes.

Simple – predictable relationship between cause and effect (use best practice)

 

Complicated – predictable relationship between cause and effect that’s not self-evident (use good practice)

 

Complex – A system without causality (use safe-fail experiments)

 

Chaotic – A completely unpredictable system (Use novel practice)

 

Where does training fit? Where does rehab fit? We may be using incorrect methods in particular situations.

You can learn more about the framework here, it’s definitely something I hope to explore more in the future.

Weekend Quotes

  • “Too much exercise is not normal hominid behavior.”
  • “This CT scan was not drawn by a commissioned artist.”
  • “If you think that’s a tight pec you better check pressure in the air.”
  • “10,000 hours can’t always undo 100 dumb ones.”
  • “Frank Netter shut down the left AIC.”
  • “Deny PNF and you are messing with the system.”
  • “We’re all barking down the same tree. We just like to complain.”
  • “No plan survives the first contact with the enemy.”
  • “Changing the answer is evolution; changing the question is revolution.”
  • “If you live in mediocrity you eventually think it’s good. You don’t know what good is.”
  • “It’s not normal to fart all day.”
No more complaining or whining. There is no bathroom.
No more complaining or whining. There is no bathroom.

Course Notes: PRI Interdisciplinary Integration 2015

A Stellar Symposium

Back in April I had the pleasure of finally attending PRI’s annual symposium, and what an excellent learning experience.

The theme this year was working with high-powered, extension-driven individuals.

The amount of interdisciplinary overlap in each presentation made for a seamless symposium. Common themes included the brain, stress response, HRV, resilience, and drive. These are things altered in individuals who are highly successful, but may come at a cost to body systems.

If you work with business owners, CEOs, high-level athletes and coaches, high level positions, straight-A students, special forces, and supermoms, this symposium was for you.

Or a combination thereof
Or a combination thereof

And let’s face it; we are both in this category!

There were so many pearls in each presentation that I wish I could write, but let’s view the course a-ha’s.

The Wise Words of Ron

Ron Hruska gave four excellent talks at this symposium regarding high performers and occlusion. Let’s dive into the master’s mind.

Enter at your own risk. Shizzzaahhhh
Enter at your own risk. Shizzzaahhhh

People, PRI does not think extension is bad. Extension is a gift that drives us to excel. Individuals who have high self-efficacy must often “over-extend” themselves. This drive often requires system extension.

Extension is a consequence, and probably a necessary adaptation, of success.

If this drive must be reduced to increase function and/or alter symptoms in these individuals, we have to turn down the volume knob.

How can we power down these individuals?

  1. Limit alternate choices – These folks take a wide view of a task
  2. Set boundaries – These folks attribute failure to external factors
  3. Making initial tasks successful – So these folks don’t give up at early failures
  4. Objectively measure improvement – This helps motivate people to continue
  5. Establish rhythmic activity that reflects specific set goals – the higher the goals the more likely the positive change.
PRI, we have a bobsled team
PRI, we have a bobsled team

A Tale of Two Forward Heads

We discussed a lot of attaining neutrality at the OA joint. What does that entail?

A: Both occipital condyles centered in the atlas fossa with unrestricted lateral flexion.

What is needed to have that?

  1. 55-60 degrees of cervical extension.
  2. Equal bilateral first rib rotation position.
  3. Centric occlusion with the anterior teeth guiding protrusive movement and canines guiding lateral movement.
  4. Normal maxillary and mandibular teeth contact.
  5. Ability to nasal breathe.
  6. Alternating pelvic capability.
  7. Visual flexibility.
  8. Normal hearing bilaterally.

Lose any one of these and a forward head posture may occur.

The two types of FHP we see include one with the atlas migrating forward with increased cervical flexion and occipital protraction.

Forward-Head-Posture

 

And one in which the atlas migrates backward on the occiput in which excessive upper cervical flexion coupled with lower cervical/upper thoracic hyperextension.

images

With the former’s case, these individuals have a harder time feeling posterior teeth; a loss of frontal plane. When one loses frontal plane, the individual must attempt to increase anterior guidance via extension. Strategies used to do this include tongue thrusting, bruxism, fingernail biting, mouth breathing, clenching, etc. These strategies are protective in nature as they limit potential stress at the TMJ and OA.

Most of the latter include your bilaterally extended individuals. They retrude the atlas to significantly increase cervical stability. This hyperstability allows for dominant performance in the sagittal plane. These individuals may need more visual interventions.

 

She’s a Wise Woman

Dr. Heidi Wise gave one of my favorite presentations of the symposium. She discussed vision’s role in extension-driven individuals.

Vision is the most dominant sensory modality, as it has the ability to override all other senses to redirect attention. To me, this is why vision is such a powerful way to get someone neutral.

Redirection of attention through the visual system occurs through saccades. These eye movements occur 85% of the time our eyes are being used. This is how the visual system detects a salient stimulus.

If visual processes hold someone in an extension pattern, it may become extremely difficult to near-impossible to overcome.

Here is how we start thinking a visual process may be promoting an extension pattern:

  • Those who cannot inhibit extension with traditional floor-up activity.
  • Late-onset (past puberty) or severe near-sightedness.
  • People with extremely good eyesight.
  • Folks who over-focus on objects straight ahead (people who stare).
  • People who walk with purpose (makes me think of my mom in the mall!).
  • High-energy.
Probably more than just a vision patient.
Probably more than just a vision patient.

If someone over focuses (read: nearsighted), eye exploration is minimized. It becomes much harder to notice change, or salience. This is how the visual system can keep someone stuck in a stress response.

What is needed to see close?

  • Increases in acetylcholine and norepinephrine.
  • Reflexive increase in neck/head muscle tension. More so if one must strain to see.

Do this too long, and we can see unfavorable autonomic, visual, and neuromuscular stress.

And guess what visual field research is showing we better attune to? The right side; more specifically, the right upper visual field.

The PRI goal? We want to restore ambient vision in these individuals to process three planes of visual motion.

Here were some of Heidi’s recommendations for how to do so.

  1. Take breaks from a task to move.
  2. Be aware of surroundings on both sides without looking when walking.
  3. Walk slower than usual.
  4. Look around using your eyes independent of your head.
  5. If nearsighted, take glasses off occasionally and “be OK” with things far away being blurry. Don’t strain to see well.
  6. Have top of computer screens at about eye level. Look far from the screen as often as possible.
  7. Close eyes and visualize a large open area that makes you calm.
  8. Minimize time on small, close screens and keep object far from eyes.
  9. Read books over e-readers and keep the book as far away as visually comfortable.
  10. Emphasize peripheral awareness before and after high attention tasks.
  11. Change variable such as sounds or environment during high attention tasks.
  12. Get away from looking in the mirror at movements.
  13. Change lightbulbs to natural daylight.
heidi
And Heidi’s as well

 

Mental Muscle

Dr. Todd Stull provided a lot of neat neuroscience nuggests.

  • Glia purges our brain of waste during sleep.
  • Strongest memories are tied to emotions; more negative than positive.
  • If the limbic system is too active (such as in a threatening environment), prefrontal cortex activity goes way down. You can’t learn as well.
  • Cranial nerves are extremely important in social interaction. Nonverbal cues from these areas can unconsciously affect autonomics.
  • During adolescence (12-25) the right side of the brain and limbic system develop faster than the left and neocortex. This lateralization is why this time period can be so emotion-driven.
  • Face to face interaction is needed to cultivate the nervous system. This is the problem with social media and texting.
  • Dopamine pathways are very active during adolescence; it’s one of the reasons addictions start during this time.
  • Feelings of being overwhelmed are 6 times more common in those who have had concussions.
  • Rehearse making mistakes and how you will come out of them.

He also provided some great patient interaction nuggets that I hope to liberally steal.

  • Keep your eyes on the individual and tell them “it’s great to see you here.”
  • If you are not doing well on a given day – “I don’t feel good today but we’re going to have a good session.”
  • If you are at odds with a patient – “We’ve seemed to come to a roadblock. Would you agree?”
Ya don't say?
Ya don’t say?

 

Optimizing Mindsets 

My big takeaway from psychologist Dr. Tracy Heller’s talk was mindfulness.

Mindfulness is something I am hoping to get more into in the future. She defines it as being aware of your thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, and actions in the present moment without judging or criticizing yourself or your experience.

It’s a big deal to have this capability. Practicing mindfulness has been shown to reduced cortisol, stress, pain, depression, and anxiety; while also improving memory, sleep, and cognitive function.

The way we build mindfulness is basically letting go. I like the analogy that I heard while using Headspace (a great app if you haven’t used it). Imagine your thoughts and feelings as cars in traffic. Your goal is to just watch the cars pass by, not chase them. You want to be present in the moment, as we want in most of life.

And if you can do this in LA you'll put most Tibetan monks to shame.
And if you can do this in LA you’ll put most Tibetan monks to shame.

One option of practicing this is resonant frequency breathing, in which we perform 4.5-7 breath cycles per minute. Let the body breathe on it’s own and let the air come in; using terms such as “let,” “allow,” and “permit.” These are cues I have been using much more with patients and has made a big difference.

 

Dad’s Part

This was easily my favorite part of the symposium (I may be biased since my Dad gave this talk). Bill Hartman blew it out of the park teaching us how PRI applies at the highest level of performance.

The rules change in the performance realm because the patterns are incredibly powerful, effective, and efficient. In some cases we may want them. A perfect example that Bill gave: Usain Bolt

Rarely does he cross midline when he runs, making him the fastest runner on one leg. Do we want to change that? Probably not.

Performance does not equal health. Gymnasts for example, may need to create pathology to perform at a high level. Some people must utilize passive elements to produce greater outcomes. Usain Bolt runs on one leg. Everyone is a case-by-case basis. N=1 forever.

What must occur in the performance and health realm is stress management. Acute stressors with recovery make us antifragile; prolonged stressors reduce variability as an allostatic adaptation.

If one must constantly perform at a very high level, where will they be on this stress dichotomy? Prolonged stressors = reduced variability, sympathetic dominance, and system extension.

Variability helps us anticipate demand. It helps us become better able to cope with specific environments and recover movement function. The only way we can know if movement variability is present is through assessing the musculoskeletal system

 “The state of the musculoskeletal system is the other end of the brain” ~ Bill Hartman

If stressed or threatened, body systems use default reflexive mechanisms to combat threat. The brainstem is much faster than the cortex. As a consequence, variability can be lost.

Attaining increased prefrontal cortex activity allows us to inhibit our default response and increase variability. That’s why mindfulness increases HRV, and that’s why a 90/90 hip lift can alter body position.

And why juggling gets Bill neutral. Chainsaws preferred.
And why juggling gets Bill neutral. Chainsaws preferred.

To better manage stress, we must train. Training is a progressive desensitization of threatening input to allow an athlete to perform at adaptive potential with optimal variability and without fatigue.

The higher performance level required, the more difficult it becomes to get neutral. This is what happens during functional overreaching. You gain higher performance output during this timeframe because the sympathetic nervous system and HPA axis are on overdrive.

Applying Bill’s principles along the training and rehab continuum, rehab requires neutrality and variability to rebuild a failed stress tolerance. The amount needed in performance realm will depend on how (in)variant one’s sport is.

The Wild World of Combat

Dallas Wood and Zach Nott work with in a military population, and it was fascinating showing how they mitigate the extension necessary for their clientele to perform. They guys collect a lot of data, and the fun factoid was that about 80-90% of their individuals are PEC and bilateral BC (surprise surprise).

They showed us a very cool auditory case. They had a dude with a PEC/BBC presentation with a history of ear trauma and tinnitus. When they blocked his left ear the gentleman was completely neutral.

A viable treatment in probably more cases than you'd think.
A viable treatment in probably more cases than you’d think.

Treatment underwent reducing the tinnitus by implementing a hearing aid that uses various white/pink noises to slowly reduce tinnitus. Not sure exactly how it works, but this was exciting to hear about (ha). I look forward to learning where PRI takes auditory integration.

 

C’est Fini

 So there you have it. I already signed up for next year’s symposium because this one was so much fun. I look forward to more of the consistently fantastic content that PRI provides. Learn on!

 

Smooth Talker: Nonthreatening PRI Patient Education

I recently had the pleasure and honor of speaking at the annual PRC conference at this past weekend’s Interdisciplinary Integration. I happened to have my younger older brother Connor Ryan record the event.

Didn't even have to photoshop this
Didn’t even have to photoshop this

We unfortunately had some technical difficulties, so a few bits are missing. But you’ll get the gist from the videos below.

Enjoy!

 

Smooth Talker handout