Balanced Body Soft Tissue & Spine | Ankeny, Iowa Chiropractor Balanced Body Soft Tissue & Spine | Ankeny, Iowa Chiropractor

The Next Chapter

Now that I’ve fulfilled my legal obligations, I wanted to get a little more personal about closing my practice here.

It’s a little crazy how life works as I didn’t even have a desire to practice in Ankeny 7 years ago; I wanted to live in the hustle and amenities on the west side of the metro. Thankfully I ended up here and have appreciated the cozier feel of this commuter community that’s ironically becoming more like the western suburbs each year.

Professionally I grew from renting a single room and slowly transformed that into the practice I dreamed about from that tiny space. When I moved to my current location just over 3 years ago I was in love — from the details my dad helped me design to the patient base I organically built by going a little above and beyond what other chiropractors were willing to do. In that time I also went from an overwhelmed new graduate (sometimes education really oversells and under-delivers) to a confident physician. But through it all, a virtue that served me well was to treat and care for my patients how I would want my closest family members to be treated by another physician.

It’s bittersweet to close this chapter of my life. I’m leaving behind a practice that was once my dream: taking care of people, running and owning my own business, and knowing that I tried to make the world a little bit better for someone each day. However, it’s exhausting to be the business owner, the physician, the billing guru, the insurance liaison (on especially difficult cases), the internal accountant, the employee manager, the office decorator and the social media content brainpower. I get home at night and wonder how people have a family on top of all this.

My new opportunity allows me to focus on what fulfills me most: patient care. Being a good physician requires a lot more than going to school and showing up to work each day. As a new graduate, I felt like that should’ve been enough — I just studied my butt off for 3 years and shackled myself to an enormous amount of debt. After a few years in practice (ah, the irony) I finally felt grounded yet unimpressed with chiropractic’s short-lived results. I continued to look for ways to improve treatment and finally gave in to a colleague’s nudge to look into Integrative Diagnosis™. Training in the ID system changed so many things about my practice but the most important was respecting the diagnostic process and prioritizing that over any treatment.

The current insurance and healthcare model creates an incentive for doctors to deliver quantity and not quality. Doctors will either continue to see more patients, deliver quicker and less attentive care, and/or throw on multiple ‘treatments’ (ultrasound, e-stim, kinesiotape, laser, decompression, etc, etc) in one visit to get paid more OR double down on developing a skill that delivers high value and get the hell out.

Because of this, I’ve accepted a position at Peak Injury Solutions in St. Petersburg, Florida. It is another ID-based office that operates on the case fee model so no medical decisions are dictated by the billion-dollar industry of health care insurance. This position gives me the opportunity to hone in on and continue to develop and improve my skillset which means more efficient outcomes for patients. Switching to this new model creates more transparency for the patient; there’s an incentive for the doctor to get you better quick as possible and the patient is held accountable because they have made a commitment to see the case through to full functional improvement and condition resolution.


I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have served the Ankeny community and every one of you. Thanks for trusting your health in my hands and — for the majority — referring in your loved ones and family! Look for more to come on social media and the blog as the official moving date gets closer (last treatment day is September 21st). Until then, I’m here to make sure everyone is functioning at their maximum until we transition you onto another provider.

— Dr. Hommer

Five Must-Have Movements for Pain-Free Running

Runners get injured a lot.

Want proof? Here are the stats¹:

  • 65 percent of runners injured each year
  • 1 injury for every 100 hours of running per runner
  • 5-10 percent of workouts missed per year due to injury
  • Novice runners more likely to be injured
  • About half of injuries are recurring

Do you want to know which one is the most bothersome to me? The last – 50% of injuries are recurring. That tells me one of two things: your injury isn’t being properly diagnosed (and subsequently treated properly) or you’re being seriously misguided by someone’s advice [this does not exclude your own]. The good news? We can help with both!

We truly don’t want you to suffer from something you greatly enjoy, so here are some tests you can do to make sure your body is primed to hit the pavement this spring! (Need more guidance on a test or more information when symptoms are elicited? Click the title to be taken directly to that blog post.)

Ankle Dorsiflexion

  1. Stand close to a wall, placing one foot a few inches away from the wall and one foot behind you in a staggered stance about shoulder width apart.
  2. Put your hands on the wall for support and adjust to get in a comfortable position keeping weight on both feet.
  3. Bend the front knee and lean weight forward until the knee touches the wall.
  4. Any assessment that fails to meet normal range of motion increases your chance of injury this season. The most common reason these tests are restricted is adhesion. In order to fix adhesion, manual therapy is necessary.
  5. Continue to move back away from the wall until the knee can no longer touch without the heel coming off the ground.
  6. Slide forward slightly until the knee is just touching the wall and the heel is on the ground, this is your maximum range.
  7. Grab your ruler and measure the distance from wall to toes with it. Normal range of motion for this test is six inches pain free and with ease.

 

Knee Flexion

  1. Lie down on your stomach with legs flat and grab a friend to help (or stand if you’re able).
  2. Bend your knee and have the your friend gently push your heel towards your buttocks. Again, this should be easy, pain-free and with minimal force.
  3. If you’re able to perform step 2 easily then keep your heel against your buttocks and gently lift the knee off the floor. You should find 2″ of extra slack before reaching full range of motion in a healthy knee and quadriceps.  If you have to stop at step 2 or if this position produces symptoms or requires a high degree of force, you have failed the test.

 

Hip Flexion

  1. While still lying on your back pull your knee to your chest one leg at a time.
  2. The front of your thigh should easily touch the bottom of your rib cage without any pain, pinch or pressure in the front of the hip, groin, or outer leg.

 

Hip Extension

  1. Standing up, take a large step forward and drop the back knee to the ground; place a ruler adjacent to your down knee.
  2. Keep your body upright with your shoulders over your hips and move your hips forward.
  3. Place something straight against the prominent bony part of the front of your pelvis and measure how far the front of the hip moves down the ruler. Switch sides and repeat. Y
  4. ou pass the test if you have at least 12″ of movement and only mild stretching in the front of the hip. If not, the test is limited and you don’t pass.

 

Toe Touch 

  1. Standing upright bend forward and try to touch the floor in front of your toes.
  2. If you can touch the floor with only stretching in the back of the legs you pass, if your can’t touch or have symptoms, you have an issue that needs to be addressed.

 

 

What Now?

If you don’t have full mobility in any of these ranges, you’re putting yourself at a high risk for an injury that could derail your running plans this season or, in the worst case, indefinitely. There is a window of opportunity for conservative care to be successful and unfortunately the longer you wait on any injury, especially recurrent, the worse your prognosis becomes. Adhesion, the most common underlying condition in many stubborn joint and muscle problems, is missed by providers across the board. If you have had inconsistent results or failed to respond to massage, traditional chiropractic care or physical therapy and wish to avoid the side effects and poor outcomes of other symptom-based ‘treatments’ like pills, tape and cortisone injections, please give our office a call.

 

If you been suffering from recurrent symptoms while running and want to a complete and accurate diagnosis please call us at (515) 963-1641. Dr. Hommer at Balanced Body Soft Tissue & Spine is the only certified Integrative Diagnosis™ provider in central Iowa for treating chronic muscle, nerve, and joint problems. Integrative Diagnosis™ is the most advanced diagnosis and treatment system for solving musculoskeletal problems for symptoms and pain with running. 

 

¹ http://health.usf.edu/nocms/medicine/orthopaedic/smart/pdfs/sports_specific/cross%20country.pdf

At Home Assessments: The Ankle

Do you have ankle problems while walking, running, squatting, jumping or doing other activities? Are you tired of seemingly endless stretching or foam rolling with little to no success? Here’s why — to have a healthy ankle, one movement needs to be full and pain-free. While most providers or massage therapists just focus on the calf muscle, experts understand that less obvious muscles and ligaments are actually responsible for blocking this very important motion.

Now let’s get to testing one of the most significant ranges for your lower half: dorsiflexion.

The Assessment

Ankle Dorsiflexion

  1. Stand close to a wall, placing one foot a few inches away from the wall and one foot behind you in a staggered stance about shoulder width apart. Put your hands on the wall for support and adjust to get in a comfortable position keeping weight on both feet.
  2. Bend the front knee and lean weight forward until the knee touches the wall.
  3. Any assessment that fails to meet normal range of motion increases your chance of injury this season. The most common reason these tests are restricted is adhesion. In order to fix adhesion, manual therapy is necessary.
  4. Continue to move back away from the wall until the knee can no longer touch without the heel coming off the ground.
  5. Slide forward slightly until the knee is just touching the wall and the heel is on the ground, this is your maximum range.
  6. Grab your ruler and measure the distance from wall to toes with it. Normal range of motion for this test is six inches pain free and with ease.

If you’re able to pass with ease and still find yourself with ankle pain, check out our previous assessments for low back pain, hip range of motion or healthy knee mobility as your problem may be lying somewhere else.

If you’re part of the other 95%, here’s why: adhesion. The ankles do a lot of work — think about all the motions they have to be able to perform — from simply walking up the stairs or on even ground to burpees at the gym. And let’s not forget the amount of repetitions it takes to hit your 10,000 daily steps goal. The high stress load can create injuries or tears in the ligaments and muscles around your ankle joint. When these structures get stretched too far or loaded too much this creates sprains (ligaments) and strains (muscles) and your body repairs the injury by laying down scar tissue, or adhesion. With the adhesion present, the structure is “fixed” but weakened by the adhesion. The weakened structure can lead to more pain or worse problems down the road. On the other hand, overusing these muscles (like training for Dam 2 Dam) leads to less oxygen distribution in these muscles that don’t get a break and adhesion can settle in the same.

If you don’t have full range of motion in dorsiflexion, you will likely suffer from conditions such as ‘plantar fasciitis’, achilles tendinitis (likely tendinosis by the time you get to my office), recurrent ankle sprains or calf strains and/or cramping. Without proper treatment by a soft tissue expert trained in Integrative Diagnosis™, injuries to the foot and ankle can leave you with a lifetime of pain and recurring injuries. Any assessment that fails to meet the normal range of motion increases your chance of injury in the future and permanent joint damage.

 

If you been struggling with ankle pain and are sick of endless stretches or physical therapy please call our office at (515) 963-1641 for a complete and accurate diagnosis. Integrative Diagnosis™ is the most advanced diagnosis and treatment system for solving musculoskeletal problems.  Dr. Hommer at Balanced Body Soft Tissue & Spine is the only certified Integrative Diagnosis™ provider in central Iowa for treating chronic muscle, nerve, and joint problems.

 

 

At Home Assessments: The Knee

Although the knee is a pretty simple joint, with its main two actions being to bend and straighten, it can be a huge pain generator. Unfortunately, when people with knee pain aren’t assessed and diagnosed properly they can finish treatments or procedures with no better outcomes than doing nothing. Let’s jump to the assessments first and explain them afterwards.

The Assessments

Knee assessment begins with passive knee flexion. Perform the Knee Flexion Test on anyone with knee symptoms. If you have a knee issue, it may be hard to do these on your own so grab a friend to help.

  1. Lie down on your back without your shoes on.
  2. Bring the hip to 90 degrees and let your leg relax down towards your buttocks.
  3. If you’re able to on your own, bend your knee and pull your heel towards your butt until it touches. This should be easy and pain-free. If you can’t perform this on your own ask a friend to help.
  4. Regardless of  how you test it, if you’re unable to get your heel to touch the butt, this position produces symptoms or requires high force you can’t pass this test.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If can you pass the first test, move on to the Quadriceps Length Test

  1. Lie down on your stomach with legs flat and grab a friend to help.
  2. Bend your knee and have the your friend gently push your heel towards your buttocks. Again, this should be easy, pain-free and with minimal force.
  3. If you’re able to perform step 2 easily then keep your heel against your buttocks and gently lift the knee off the floor. You should find 2″ of extra slack before reaching full range of motion in a healthy knee and quadriceps.  If you have to stop at step 2 or if this position produces symptoms or requires a high degree of force, you have failed the test.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So how’d you do? The most common conditions that will limit these tests and produce symptoms include adhesion surrounding the knee joint or in the thigh and internal joint derangement (aka dysfunction like meniscus or degeneration). In either case you should have a reduced range and/or symptoms with testing at least 1 of these assessments.

Adhesion, which acts like glue between soft tissue knee structures, will create an early stop in range of motion as these external structures get stretched to their full (yet limited) range. Adhesion is the primary result of overuse and is commonly misdiagnosed or chalked up to ‘old age’. Fixing the adhesion restores range of motion, increases strength, and eliminates pain. This adhesion on the outside of the joint can act like a vice grip on the internal structures of the knee joint and create knee symptoms with testing. If left untreated, this external pressure will degrade the internal joint cushion at a much faster rate putting you on the fast track to osteoarthritis/degeneration and eventually a knee replacement.  If your doctor has told you have arthritis there is a very high chance you also have adhesion!

On the other hand, if you passed these tests easy breezy then you probably actually don’t have a knee issue at all *gasp*.  If you have knee pain (and you’re not some geek like me that would do test these without symptoms) then you should check out our two previous blogs on assessments for hip pain and low back pain or wait until next week for our ankle pain assessments to see what other areas of your body may be putting undue pressure on the knee.

If you been struggling knee pain and want to avoid unnecessary knee surgery, cortisone shots or endless physical therapy please call our office at (515) 963-1641 for a complete and accurate diagnosis. Integrative Diagnosis™ is the most advanced diagnosis and treatment system for solving musculoskeletal problems.  Dr. Hommer at Balanced Body Soft Tissue & Spine is the only certified Integrative Diagnosis™ provider in central Iowa for treating chronic muscle, nerve, and joint problems.

 

 

 

At Home Assessments: The Hip

The Pelvis

Hip pain is confusing … but it doesn’t have to be. I struggled to find the best way to introduce this blog because there’s so much misinformation out there about conditions and dysfunctions tied into the hips. So, I decided the best way to start is with a basic anatomy lesson.

Anatomy of the Hip

Your pelvis, the strong and stable heart-shaped bowl that provides most of the structure for your ‘hips,’ is the true bridge between your low back (your spine) and your hip joint (the ball and socket connection formed between your thigh bone and  pelvis). If you have a dysfunction in one area, you’re bound to have a compensation in the other because they heavily rely on one another to accomplish everyday tasks such as standing and walking. Thus, providers diagnosing and treating based solely on where there is pain is ineffective at best and unfortunately quite dangerous in the long run. When proper care isn’t taken to establish an accurate diagnosis, the patient struggles to find a solution for their pain.

The Assessments

Because the low back and hip are so intimately tied together, I’d recommend going back to last week’s low back pain blog and performing those three tests and these tests together. Hint: If you can pass the tests below easily, the problem’s probably not in your actual hip joint.

 

Knee-To-Chest

While still lying on your back pull your knee to your chest one leg at a time.  The front of your thigh should easily touch the bottom of your rib cage without any pain, pinch or pressure in the front of the hip, groin, or outer leg. If you get any of these symptoms, the opposing leg raises up or the thigh falls short of the chest, the test is limited and you don’t get a pass.

 

 

 

Lunge

Standing up, take a large step forward and drop the back knee to the ground; place a ruler adjacent to your down knee. Keep your body upright with your shoulders over your hips and move your hips forward *no cheating* -> keep those shoulders directly above your hips.  Place something straight against the prominent bony part of the front of your pelvis and measure how far the front of the hip moves down the ruler. Note what you feel in this position and record your measurement in inches. Switch sides and repeat. You pass the test if you have at least 12″ of movement and only mild stretching in the front of the hip. If not, the test is limited and you don’t pass.

 

If you have failed either of these tests or low back tests in the previous blog, you are putting yourself at a high risk for future injury. Limitations in these simple joint-specific mobility tests gives you a window into future function before your condition deteriorates past the conservative care window. Adhesion, the most common cause of limited mobility, acts like glue in muscle and ligaments making them weaker and less flexible. Fixing adhesion in the hips restores necessary range of motion and can only be done effectively and efficiently by a soft tissue expert trained in the Integrative Diagnosis™ system.

Integrative Diagnosis™ is the most advanced diagnosis and treatment system for solving musculoskeletal problems. If you been struggling with hip, low back or knee pain and want an accurate diagnosis please call our office at (515) 963-1641 for a complete and accurate diagnosis. Dr. Danielle Hommer at Balanced Body Soft Tissue & Spine is the only certified Integrative Diagnosis™ provider in central Iowa for treating chronic muscle, nerve, and joint problems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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At Home Assessments: The Low Back

Low back pain is so common in the US that studies have found it will affect upwards of 80% of people in their lifetime and it most frequently impacts those from 30-65 years of age¹, the time in your life that it’s hard to slow down. Low back pain can be very tricky for the sufferer to understand as there are so many views on its root cause and most effective treatment option. It typically starts with the seemingly ‘harmless’ preliminary stages of muscles aches, stiffness and intermittent symptoms that will likely be discounted by many providers or feel ‘normal’ if you exchange stories with colleagues or friends.

Unfortunately, not taking action at this stage will lead you to the all too common scenario that presents in my office. You bend over to pick up something unremarkable or ‘twist wrong’ and BAM! sharp, stabbing pain in the low back followed by the inability to find symptom relief, bend over to put your socks on for days or accomplish daily tasks you take for granted for up to a 10 day period, although it probably feels much longer. When this acute stage ends, you’ll probably still find that you wake up each morning with a stiff low back that you chalk up to age (false), find that you’re just not as flexible as you used to be (true, but not due to a lack of stretching) and notice more pain after sitting that you deem must be that crappy chairs fault (probably only a half-truth)

If any of the above scenarios seems familiar, you likely have an underlying disc problem. ‘Tight muscles’ alone will not create the above symptoms which is why the majority of ‘solutions’ keep you in this cyclical phase of continuously irritating your low back. Far too many people are left looking for answers to why their back always hurts, hopefully this weeks at home assessment can help you find the answer! You rely far too much on your spine and keeping your low back healthy should be a priority. So before you continue with your weekly adjustment or spend 20 minutes per day foam rolling, let’s make sure your back can move properly.  The tests below should be pain-free and easy with full mobility.  If your current provider or massage therapist isn’t measuring and restoring healthy mobility with these tests, it’s unlikely they’re fixing your back pain.

The Tests

 

 

 

Standing Toe Touch  While this may seem simple, most people with low back conditions are unable to bend at the waist and touch the toes to the floor without pain or tension in the low back or back of the knees and calves.  The test should be effortless and without pain. Standing upright bend forward and try to touch the floor in front of your toes.  If you can touch the floor you pass, if your can’t – that’s your first fail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hamstring Mobility Lie on your back with feet straight out in front (corpse pose).  One leg at a time, lift your leg towards the ceiling until you can no longer stretch or the opposing leg starts to lift off the ground. Have a friend snap a picture of you or use the self timer on your phone to see where your leg is relative to the ground. To pass this test you must have a solid 90 degree angle (leg appears perpendicular to the ground) on both sides,  if you lack 90 degrees on either or both sides that’s a fail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cat Pose/Pencil Test For the finale, you will need a partner and a pencil. With hands and knees on the floor arch your low back as much as possible by trying to bring your hips towards your chest. Have your partner place a pencil on your lower back with the bottom of the pencil at the low back ‘dimples’.  What does it look like? If it looks like the picture (only touching for 1.25″ and wedges on both sides of the pencil) then you’ve passed. If the pencil rests for more than 1.25″, is completely flat or you there’s space under the pencil then you have failed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have failed any of these tests, you are already treading on thin ice (pun intended today). Limited mobility in the low back directly increases stress on the lumbar spine joints.  Adhesion, the most common and most misdiagnosed cause of lower back pain, acts like glue in muscle and ligaments making them weaker and less flexible. Due to the nature of overuse (excessive and prolonged sitting, standing & exercising) in our lifestyles, adhesion buildup creates limited mobility. Fixing adhesion in the low back and restoring healthy mobility can only be done by a soft tissue expert trained in the Integrative Diagnosis™ system.

Integrative Diagnosis™ is the most advanced diagnosis and treatment system for solving musculoskeletal problems. If you are stuck in a low back treatment rut and want a long term solution please call our office at (515) 963-1641 for a complete and accurate diagnosis. Balanced Body Soft Tissue & Spine is the only certified Integrative Diagnosis™ provider in central Iowa for treating chronic muscle, nerve, and joint problems.

 

  1. Hoy, D. (2010). The Epidemiology of Low Back Pain [Abstract]. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol,24(6), 769-781. Retrieved February 20, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21665125.

 

 

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All in the Wrist [Patient Post]

When I first started experiencing elbow pain a few years ago, I didn’t think much of it.

Aside from mentioning it to my primary care provider, who told me I had golfer’s elbow (I didn’t golf) and suggested I brace it (I never did), I didn’t actively seek care for it. I figured it was from typing, or yoga, or tennis, or rock climbing, or weightlifting — none of which I planned on stopping. I’d live with it, I told myself. It wasn’t that big of a deal. The pain — an occasional, deep ache on the inside of the elbow joint — wasn’t that unbearable. It didn’t disrupt my life. I could still use (albeit sometimes painfully) my arm to type, do downdog, swing my racket, pinch a hold and bench press. In the big scheme of things, I felt my elbow pain didn’t really matter…

That was until I graduated from college and landed a full-time job at a newspaper that had me at the computer 40 hours a week. The pain began to increase while my hopes of alleviating it decreased. I bought a comfier mouse pad to support my wrist but never commited to the ergonomic arm rest sitting in my Amazon cart. When I stumbled across dry needling while writing a business feature, I thought maybe I’d found the answer. I received a complimentary (uncomfortable) treatment as part of my research, and the pain subsided for a few days, only to rear its ugly head in the following weeks.

But I kept on. I joined a recreational tennis league and rubbed my elbow with all sorts of creams and oils after my matches. I bought a hot yoga membership and picked up some epsom salts for muscle soaks in the tub after hard sessions. Ultimately, when other more important health issues came up, my elbow was put on the backburner.

Then life change No. 2 came.

I simultaneously took a job at a climbing gym and was introduced to Dr. Hommer at Balanced Body Soft Tissue & Spine. I’d never considered chiropractic care, but working at the gym had me climbing more than ever. Not only was my elbow sore, but my hands, forearms and wrists, too.

During my exam, Dr. Hommer confirmed my PCP’s diagnosis of medial epicondylitis. She began to work on the inside of my forearm, breaking down the adhesion that had built up from all the overuse. I could literally feel and hear the bad tissue being scraped away during my treatments, and I immediately noticed less aching in my elbow. It wasn’t until about eight treatments that it became really clear the majority of the stubborn dysfunction in my wrist and hands that had been causing my elbow pain all along. It was hard to believe those little tendons, capsules and muscles were responsible for such a huge annoyance, but it made sense.

I thought about all the load I’d put on my wrists in the past: all those repetitive movements from typing, countless plank-based yoga moves, constant feedback from my racket during a set, one-armed hangs on the rockwall, and lugging around free weights. My wrists were tired. Shot. Donezo. And, of course, the dysfunction was most apparent in my dominant hand. But after several treatments, my wrist test looked 100 percent better, and I wasn’t feeling any pain in my elbow — despite climing more and finding a new yoga studio.

And to think one insignificant word was behind it all. Adhesion.

 

Have you been struggling to find relief from elbow, wrist or hand pain or have been diagnosed with tendinitis that has not completely resolved in 6 weeks? Most likely the diagnosis was wrong or the treatment was ineffective! You need a second opinion and the help of a soft tissue expert! At Balanced Body Soft Tissue & Spine we specialize in finding and fixing adhesion. Dr. Hommer is the only certified Integrative Diagnosis™ provider in central Iowa for treating chronic muscle, nerve, and joint problems. If you are experiencing wrist, forearm or elbow pain and want it fixed call our office today (515) 963-1641 !

 

 

At Home Assessments: The Elbow and Forearm

The forearm houses the muscles, nerves and tendons that control use of and range in your elbow, wrists and hands. If you’ve ever had to go a day or longer without full use of your hands, you can appreciate how vital the function of your forearm truly is! Because these structures are used in nearly every waking activity, it’s no wonder that these areas will develop adhesion due to overuse. When these muscles are constantly contracted while being used, the blood flow is decreased. And when less oxygen is able to be delivered, adhesion forms.

Adhesion acts like glue on muscles and tendons and doesn’t allow things to move like they should. It’s the most common cause of pain and limited range of motion in the body; yet, it is also the most misdiagnosed and mistreated condition! Very few providers know what adhesion is and even less know how to actually treat it effectively. Incorrect diagnosis leads to incorrect treatment, and as you may already know, prolonged and worsening symptoms.

There are three main classes of symptoms when dealing with forearm conditions:

  1. aching
  2. tingling or burning
  3. sharpness

Aching pain is typically a by-product of inflammation from nearby tissue or joint damage. Ignoring this pain will typically lead to the latter two and should be not be ignored or chalked up as ‘normal.’ Tingling or burning lets you know that a nerve is getting stuck or trapped at a location it would normally be able to slide easily through. Lastly, sharp pain typically occurs when the bony attachments of a muscle or tendon are damaged. This kind of pain signal is your body telling you “there’s a big problem.” In this situation, it is extremely important to come in and have it fully diagnosed before it progresses past conservative care.

So how can you tell if your forearm is functioning well or if you should seek medical help? If you have any of the forearm symptoms above, that’s your first indicator to start investigating. Below we’ll guide you through a simple at home assessment to see how well one set of forearm muscles can move, a solid indicator of overall function.

 

 

 

Place your forearm flat against the wall and drop the elbow just below the shoulder.

 

 

Take the opposite hand and try to pull your fingers back as far as you can while keeping the forearm flat on the wall. The fingers should easily be able to pull back to around 65 degrees of extension, while the wrist should have at least 80 degrees of extension.

 

If you can’t pass the test above easily and with only slight stretching in the forearm, you are at a high risk for future injury. When your functional movement is limited, repetitive motions will overload the soft tissues. This overload will cause adhesion or scar tissue to develop which can eventually lead to tissue degeneration.

 

If you have been struggling to find relief from elbow, wrist or hand pain or have been diagnosed with tendinitis that has not completely resolved in 6 weeks, most likely the diagnosis was wrong! You need a second opinion! You need the help of a soft tissue expert! At Balanced Body Soft Tissue & Spine we specialize in finding and fixing adhesion. Dr. Hommer is the only certified Integrative Diagnosis™ provider in central Iowa for treating chronic muscle, nerve, and joint problems. If you are experiencing forearm or elbow pain and want a long term solution call our office today (515) 963-1641 !

 

 

 

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At Home Assessments: The Shoulder

The shoulder is a very important joint and, due to its tremendous range of motion, is utilized in many daily tasks we tend to take for granted.  By the time you hop in your car for the morning commute you’ve already used it to wash you hair (or your head ;)), get dressed, grab the coffee down from the cupboard and lug a child or your work bag around. With so many facets of your daily life hinging on it, you can see how imperative it is to keep the region healthy and strong.

Although it may have seemed to pop up overnight, shoulder pain is typically a by-product of years of overuse or repetitive strain (especially in the presence of a previous injury) with a common thread — decreased range of motion. When tissues in the shoulder joint aren’t able to adequately lengthen due to inflexibility, the joint becomes stiff and weak. Unfortunately, the number one cause of shoulder pain is often misdiagnosed and, because of that fact, often mistreated!

Adhesion, which acts like glue in the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint, is the ‘unknown’ underlying cause of shoulder pain! In the shoulder, adhesion is often diagnosed as rotator cuff or bicipital tendinitis, bursitis, impingement or just ‘inflammation.’ Adhesion, if left untreated, leads to degenerative changes in the joint leading to rotator cuff and/or labrum tears, and eventually early-onset arthritis. Many patients without resolution after physical therapy and injections can certainly bet that the treatments they received didn’t actually address their main problem — adhesion!

So, how do you know if you have adhesion? It’s pretty simple: can you bring your arms up to your head? Although it seems trivial,  limited shoulder motion in this plane has profound implications on your shoulder health and pain.

Stand upright with your arms to your side and head in neutral, preferably in front of a large mirror. Raise your arms out to your side making a big circle until your upper arms are touching your ear. Now turn 90 degrees and see if your shoulder is actually covering your ear and resist the urge to cheat by moving your head forward! If you can’t comfortably hold your arms next to your ears in head neutral for a bit, you have a limited test. You can’t have a healthy shoulder if you can’t do this simple, functional movement!

Getting rid of adhesion will restore range of motion in the shoulder, allowing the rotator cuff to heal and function in a normal capacity, without surgery! If left untreated, shoulder dysfunction can also lead to pain in other parts of the body including neck pain, elbow pain or even mid-back pain.

At Balanced Body Soft Tissue & Spine we specialize in finding and fixing adhesion. Dr. Hommer is the only certified Integrative Diagnosis™ provider in central Iowa for treating chronic muscle, nerve, and joint problems. If you are experiencing shoulder pain and want a long term solution call our office today (515) 963-1641 !

 

 

#1 Musculoskeletal Myth: Treat Where It Hurts

We often aren’t grateful for all the things our bodies do on a daily basis … until they stop. The neck in particular is involved in almost every daily task – from sitting at your desk for 8+ hours to your favorite exercise, watching TV, reading a book or keeping you safe while driving.  You may not realize it, but all these activities create a lot of work for your neck, whose little muscles rarely get a break.

At the base of your skull lie tiny muscles known as the suboccipitals. These muscles are frequently beat up from our modern-day lifestyle of staring down at our phones and slumping at our desks. As a result, these small muscles will develop adhesion and become shortened, closing down the joint and causing your skull base and head to tip up.

Of course, no one walks around with their head tilted up because the body is really good at compensating. Instead of making you stare up at the ceiling or sky all day, your body allows your head to drop forward and go on with your life … at a high cost. Your body has to create stability for this ‘new’ posture so it recruits the muscles of your upper back and ‘traps’ but leads to a great deal of dysfunction the longer it continues.

head posture

As your head creeps farther forward, the upper back and trapezius muscles have to engage more and more to balance the the weight of the head. This is why your upper back hurts and always is ‘tight’. Most people understand that they didn’t get this way overnight, but you can now see why these symptoms are usually a result of a bigger problem, not just the spot where it hurts.

Finding the correct cause of your neck and upper back pain is oftentimes very difficult, leading to your problem being misdiagnosed and mistreated. What you deserve is a doctor who can figure out why the upper back muscles are getting overworked and get to the true cause of the dysfunction, not just beat up the symptoms.

Fortunately, at Balanced Body Soft Tissue & Spine we specialize in finding and fixing adhesion, the most misdiagnosed cause of chronic neck issues. Dr. Hommer is the only certified Integrative Diagnosis™ provider in central Iowa for treating chronic muscle, nerve, and joint problems. If you are experiencing upper back or trapezius (‘trap’) pain and want a long term solution, call our office today (515) 963-1641!