Category Archives: Mechanical and Structural
This is a compilation of posts I put on https://www.facebook.com/drscott.vrzal in Oct-Nov 2014.
KNEE CAP AREA PAIN
There is a very common food-like substance that can cause both knee’s to hurt near the kneecap. The food-like substance that causes both right and left quadriceps muscles to “turn off” is _____?
Aspartame is classified as an excitotoxin. What that means is that it excites nerve cells to the point of death. Your brain is the main place these nerve cells die, but in the case of aspartame it can cause peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage in the legs and arms). In higher doses it can cause Multiple Sclerosis-like symptoms (Pseudo MS). One of the most common places I see this show up is in a weakening of the thigh muscles on both legs. It is so consistent that if both knees hurt at or near the knee caps I’d consider it a guarantee that there are artificial sweeteners (aspartame) in the diet somewhere. If this is something you struggle with, prove it to yourself. Stop all gum, breath mints, and diet anything to then enjoy improved memory and likely no knee pain. If the pain is on the back of the knee, the cause is likely caused by ________?
As described yesterday, the quads on both legs get weak with aspartame consumption. If you have historically consumed artificial sweeteners (aspartame) then you may want to consider taking a B6 supplement like B6 Niacinamide from Standard Process Inc. B6 is used up in metabolizing Aspartame and this is likely where a lot of the nerve problems come from, including memory loss and depression. B6 is water soluble, thus posses very little risk of toxicity. If the pain/weakness is just one side and especially if it is in the VMO area you may do better to consider and good digestive enzyme product. FYI Bicycling is the best exercise for the VMO.
PAIN BEHIND THE KNEE(S)/WEAKNESS
This pesky little muscle behind the knee, called the popliteus muscle gets weak and spastic when the gallbladder (GB) is congested. The GB receives toxins from the liver and delivers them to the small intestine to help digest fats with bile. Toxins and/or wheat can congest the bile causing pain and weakness behind the knee as well as dry skin on the heals and possibly right sided headaches. Beets help thin the bile and are very good for the GB. The GB even has emotional paradigms like anger, frustration or resentment that can be stored and congest its optimal function.
PAIN ON THE INSIDE OF THE KNEE
Many of you may have had surgery for a medial meniscus tear or have worn a brace for a period time for pain on the inside of the
knee. There are three muscles that attach there and support the area when they are firing properly. Unfortunately two of these muscles (sartorius and gracilis) dysfunction under adrenal stress. Therefore when we are under the stress of intense physical activity, under rested or emotionally stressed the inside of the knee becomes vulnerable to injury. Methods of reducing the knee strain potential (stress management) are _______?
~Get appropriate sleep
~Don’t skip meals. Eat frequent, small meals.
~Balance intense physical training with cardiovascular based low intensity training.
~Minimize sugar/simple carbohydrate consumption.
One other muscle that can cause inner knee pain is a weakness of the adductor (groin) muscle. This muscle gets compromised when the uterus or prostate (not in the same person lol) are not optimally functioning. This is yet another pair of glands that take a hit when blood sugar is not as it should be. Ladies, if you are prone to PMS, etc. see how much better it is after not eating sugar for a month.
KNEE PAIN PRIMARILY WITH ACTIVITY
If the knee primarily hurts after you have been walking or on your feet, then there is a good chance that unstable blood sugar is causing your feet to not work properly. If you do not sleep through the night there are likely blood sugar concerns. Cut sugars and see how you feel and sleep. If you still have cravings then there are probably blood type “avoids” that are triggering them.
I posted on this aspect of knee pain a while back, but it is always a good review. The muscle on the outside of the leg, called the iliotibial band or tensor fascia lata muscle gets weak and tense/tender when the colon is unhappy. Trigger foods like many different grains, corn or dairy often trigger pains in the IT band, thus causing pain on the outside of the knee. If you are challenged in this area, pay attention to what you had eaten just before the pain exaggerated. There will emerge a pattern… Or you can contact your local, highly effective Kinesiologist to help you figure it out, haha
The knee, like every other area of the body is trying to tell you something when it hurts. Through the muscle-organ correlations as laid out in Applied Kinesiology by the late, great Dr. Goodheart one can learn a lot about their health when pains are appropriately evaluated for the true cause. Listen and learn what your body is trying to tell you.
If you’ve ridden long enough you have likely hit the dirt or pavement at least once. It is part of the learning process unfortunately. When I first started riding mountain bikes in the early 90’s I had no fear and no skill which was a bad combination. My wife would give me the once over after each ride to determine what I had done this time. After countless abrasions, a separated shoulder and helping literally thousands of injured athlete’s this is what I find helpful.
Lord willing, your injury is just an abrasion, or minor loss of skin as I did in tonight’s race. By this point in your riding career, most of you likely already have what you have found to be helpful. Many like Neosporin or the other anti-bacterial, lubricating gels. Others say cover it and keep it moist. I say clean it and let it heal. After dealing with 100’s of personal abrasions I typically prefer to use hydrogen peroxide immediately and regularly during the first 2-3 days while the wound is still fresh. The bubbling you see is the oxidation of bacteria and contaminants. On the occasions that I have had a race or epic event the day after a sizable abrasion has been procured, I will then use one of the available clear sealing bandages to keep the area soft, clean, protected and heat sterilized while I complete the event.
My initial treatment is to first spray or rinse the area with hydrogen peroxide, then scrub briskly with a soft brush in the shower and shave the affected area. This obviously is the least inspiring part of the process. Immediately after drying off I will again spray or rinse the area with hydrogen peroxide. This is where many differing options come. I prefer to loosely cover the area with non-stick bandages to protect my clothes, other people and the sheets, trying to uncover and expose the area whenever possible. Then as a scar begins to form I may use a calendula cream or USF Ointment by Standard Process. FYI Using vitamin E before the scab is gone is more likely to exaggerate scarring. Vitamin E is most beneficial after the scab is gone for scar repair.
Now for more profound, less available insight. Anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) can cause leaky gut syndromes, G.I. hemorrhage, decreased vitamin C and folic acid (both profoundly necessary for tissue regeneration), erosion of hyalin cartilage, and increased chemical sensitivity. NSAIDs inhibit the primary pathway in the liver (sulfation) in which new healthy tissue is regenerated. This is the process chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine sulfate hope to facilitate, though unsuccessfully if sulfation is dysfunctional.
A drastically better option is to take proteolytic enzymes immediately following an injury. Even better yet, take them before the injury. How? If you are engaging in an event where there is a high risk of injury, like football, take them before engaging in the activity. If you are scheduled for a surgery, take 1-2 capsules 3 times the day before the procedure. Since they facilitate recovery as well, try taking 1-2 before a race or epic training event. Then, the magic happens when you take them hourly, away from food immediately following an injury or surgery. Take them every waking hour for 1-4 weeks following the trauma until you begin to feel mild gastric distress. Then reduce to 1-2 capsules three times per day until complete recovery is accomplished.
Digestive enzymes, the main ones of which we are considering are proteolytic enzymes (protein digesting) have many beneficial effects. They reduce inflammation so synthesis, repair and regeneration of injured tissue can begin sooner. They reduce pain and edema, reduce scar formation and improve blood supply. All this combines to dramatically accelerate and enhance the recovery process, while minimizing pain sensations. See chart statistics from “Enzymes: What the Experts Know” by Tom Bohager and volumes of work by Dr. Evan Maladenhoff and his work with the Kansas City Chief’s.
Some of the commercially available sources of proteolytic enzymes are Wobenzyme, or Garden of Life makes a couple good enzyme products. You are looking for “Digestive enzymes” without HCl in them. Digestive enzymes without HCl taken away from food digest the protein byproducts of inflammation. Meaning they are naturally anti-inflammatory. This is what you want for injuries and training recovery. Some may contain the beneficial anti-inflammatory herbs of boswellia or turmeric which also aid in this process. Digestive enzymes with HCl in them are designed to aid in the digestion of meals and are used for a different clinical picture. Consider these if you have frontal or left sided headaches, sluggish digestion, bloating or constipation.
Another thing you should truly consider in a traumatic injury is good Chiropractic manipulation. Again after dealing with countless injuries both personally and professionally, manual manipulation as expertly done by a skilled Chiropractor shows tremendous benefit. I have treated many who have preferred that I use more conservative, passive style adjustments which I use often clinically. They get better. However, the outcome in full recovery, speed of recovery, and renewed proprioception (sense of balance) is far greater when specific adjustments are rendered.
Cycling is a wonderful sport and the best way to maintain health that I have seen. If you encounter an injury, take advantage of the great therapies available to get you back on the bike ASAP! Follow https://www.facebook.com/drscott.vrzal for regular health insights.
This was an article I produced for the Orange County Wheelmen’s newsletter:
There is a common thread between some low back pain, Iliotibial band and thumb pain. When the large intestine is not functioning optimally pain, weakness and/or spasm can manifest in the thumb, the flank (quadratus lumborum) muscles of the low back or in the iliotibial band of the outer leg. IT Band Syndrome can produce pain in the outer knee or outer hip which effects many cyclists and runners alike. The good news is the problem is readily eliminated when appropriate lifestyle changes are instituted. Often the challenge is identifying the true cause. Is it bike fit, a food intolerance, or a nutrient deficiency?
For this article and group it will be assumed that you have already addressed bike fit. A saddle height that is to high may cause outer knee pain or flank area pain as one sways back and forth to compete the peddle stroke. Not to mention robbing valuable energy and power.
If any of these areas have given you grief chronically chances are pretty good that there is a food that you are eating which is causing the large intestine to dysfunction. A simple place to start might be to log your diet and note when the pain flairs. Did you eat whole wheat products, corn or possibly beef shortly before experiencing the pain? The food possibilities are diverse and different for many, but with determination and diligence can be identified.
Maybe the intestine has not been functioning properly since being sick or on an antibiotic regimen? If this is the case a good probiotic supplement may be in store. I typically find that probiotic supplements are best taken at bed time. Start with a high dose like six capsules for 1-2 weeks to initially repopulate the colon (intestine) then reducing to three at bed for another 1-2 weeks. Another supplement consideration for the colon is chlorophyll. Are you eating enough green leafy vegetables? They are one of the best preventers of colon cancer. Additional benefits for us aerobic athletes come from all the iron we derive from foods like spinach, kale and beets. Iron helps us carry that vital oxygen in the blood for enhanced stamina.
Got fiber? If you are not having 2-3 well formed bowel movements per day the colon is likely sluggish. You might benefit by consuming a good, not wheat based fiber product as well as increasing your veggie consumption. If there is also bloating experienced, digestive enzymes could well be the “Holy Grail” for you. The great news here is that digestive enzymes are also very anti-inflammatory.
There are some therapeutic points that may give you some relief while trying to ID the true cause. There is a very common acupuncture point named LI4 (pictured) on the thumb web which will be tender when active. Firm rubbing on the side of pain will often give some temporary relief of flank area low back pain, IT band pain or even head band pattern headaches. The popular rolling of the hip (pictured) also is a reflex area that helps to relax the colon.
I pray that this information is helpful in empowering you in the pursuit of optimal health. Follow me at https://www.facebook.com/drscott.vrzal for regular health pearls like these.
I was happy to have a few of my Linked and Rockform buddies help get the adventure started. Jim Bishop was behind the camera. Departing from Rock N’ Road Laguna Niguel, we promptly headed to PCH where I would be spending the next 4 days. For me, the first 3 were unsupported so as you can see my jersey pockets were loaded to the hilt. I started the day with a densely blended protein shake consisting of almond milk, pineapple juice, walnuts, chia seeds, omega 3 oils, 3 scoops of protein powder, kale and spinach and chased it with a oat based food bar. This had me feeling a bit slow to start, but I certainly wanted to preload. My size 12 flip flops dominated my tail section. Also in tow were enough Shotblocks, Vitargo, Skratch Labs, vitamins, nuts, toothbrush/paste, third water bottle, chargers for my phone and Garmin, wallet, and the lightest shirt and shorts I could locate to minimally meet potential needs for the first 324 miles. Not pictured, and highly recommended were my roadside tool kit, tubes, patches and the shift cable I wished I had brought. All rolled into plastic bags stuffing the Niblewear pockets. Impressively, there was no compromise to the integrity of the jersey riding this way for 4 days. While riding I was focused on energy efficiency, knowing that I had 4 long days ahead. It was not time to be going after KOM’s. As if? Day one’s average speed was compromised by all the summer Sunday beach traffic as I enjoyed the people watching while peddling through cities like Huntington, Malibu and Venice. I thought the reduced pace compromise was worth the cultural experience of Venice. The route from Laguna to Ventura presented little of the nasty head winds I was warned of. The Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Ventura was comfortable and presented a nice harbor view for only about $125, including a decent continental breakfast. With temps in the mid 80’s I consumed 1 bottle with Vitargo, 2 with Scratch Labs and five with ice water acquired from Subway’s soda fountains (temp’s were high 80’s on the first day). Calories were maintained by 3 packages of Shotblocks, a parfait at one stop, and trail mix (no peanuts for me!). I intended to stop for lunch in Malibu, which would have been an ideal point for a break. I stopped at 3 fish walk up restaurants, but God has not granted me patience for lines yet, so I passed and road onto Ontario where I stopped for some Mexican food. Kind of silly since I was only 10 miles from completion. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize it though since I used up my Garmin battery with the mapping feature and my phone was in my jersey with 12% battery left. The day was completed at about 99 miles with 3468′ elevation gain. My evening shower was extended by hand washing my kit in the shower with hotel shampoo to freshen it up for the next day. I then rolled all of the washed gear (gloves, jersey, bib, bandanna, and socks) into towels and jumped on them before laying them out to finish drying. Before laying them out to finish air drying, I sprayed everything, jersey, bib, gloves, bandanna, shoes, socks and helmet with a cool new product called DeodorALL. I carried the 8 oz bottle in my jersey pocket.http://deodorallsport.com/products/8-oz-bottle This stuff is the bomb. It even passed my wife’s very sensitive sniff test. They were ready to go and fresh as ever in the AM. Dinner at the attached hotel was yummy macadamia crusted mahi mahi and salad.
On Day 2 I enjoyed some touring in Santa Barbara as I enjoyed a few scenic roads that actually caused me to circle around adding a few miles, but it was beautiful. I found the touted winds at mile 86 of day 2. As I turned off of highway 101 and headed up Ca 1 toward Lompoc/Vandenberg AFB I was presented with a head wind and 5-8% grade. My primary thought as I climbed was, “What goes up, must come down!” The decent helped ease SOME of the labor to climb. Day two’s total’s were 106.5 with 6540′ elevation gain via the Strava phone app. http://app.strava.com/activities/64125756 The Holiday Inn Express in Lompoc was adequate. The journey has been very pleasant and doable. Time for me to go stretch and prepare for tomorrow’s adventure to Ragged Point Ca, the hotel/resort I am most looking forward to on this trip.
After riding 4-6 centuries/year for about the last 10 years, I am occasionally asked about my training and nutritional preparations for an event. So I have put them together in this central location. The nutritional prep will be covered in a follow up blog.
The first step is to know the event vitals that you are preparing for. How much total elevation gain is on the course, and where in the event are the climbs located? What will the conditions be? Are there any specific rules, like no drafting for solo riders? Are there timed, king of the mountain segments? Is the whole event timed or is it a more recreationally structured event?
Then, depending on the goals and conditions of the event, I will begin structuring a plan several months ahead. If is a flat, recreational event like the Palm Springs Century I will continue long, flat “base mileage” type training that occurs at about 65% of my max heart rate predominantly. Then as the season progresses to the more aggressive bigger climb events, I will incorporate far more higher intensity and climbing into my training while maintaining at least one longer ride per week.
Training leading up to the event shifts slightly. If it is a more recreational/training type event then my “taper” preparation for the event would simply be 3 days of very light rides at 65% for less then 1 hour. If it is an event I intend to truly peak for and intend to compete at my best, then I would “taper” for 2 weeks. This 2 week period might be as little as 1 60-90 minute ride in zone 2 every-other-day. This is less ideal for over all progress, so I only plan to peak like this for 2-3 events per year typically.
Thanks to the help of Big Red Coaching I have implemented “opener’s” the day before events. Opener’s are done by going for a gentle zone 2 (65%) one hour ride. Midway during that ride I will take 2 one minute segments on a gentle grade where I aggressively progress from zone 2 to as high as I can get my heart rate (zone 6). If I am well rested, which is ideal for a competitive event, I will be able to get pretty near to my max heart rate. If I am poorly prepared and under rested, my heart rate will not get nearly as high. That is a bad sign if I am looking to peak for the event. By implementing these I have found that I can begin riding at a competitive race pace much faster at the start of the event. Meaning I need far less warm up before feeling “all in!”
These same principles work well for marathon and half marathon type training. I hope you find some value in this for your own training and I wish the very best in your pursuit of optimal fitness. Check out the next post which will cover my dieting/hydration shifts prior to and during an event. God bless.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light.” Matt 6:22
As the eye’s are a lamp of the body, we can learn about our health through visual shortcomings. Many examples of this come from the stress gland the adrenals. The same mechanism that should tonify the veins when you stand up so that blood does not pool in your feet, also should tonify the pupil in bright lights. This is the mechanism that shrinks the pupil to block out light and focus on far away objects (far vision). Alternatively, the pupil needs to relax for reading (near vision).
When the adrenal glands are struggling to adapt to our stress, then it can manifest in the functioning of the eye’s. Ever get dizzy when you stood up to fast? Need your sunglasses in bright lights when you are tired? Trouble focusing when your are hungry? In these scenario’s one would want to identify the core stress, be it wrong foods, under rest, or need of vitamins.
Blind spots? Structural misalignment in the spine, especially the neck can cause visual blind spots. Did your vision deteriorate after a whiplash or injury? Appropriately administered chiropractic works wonderfully and often instantly here.
Double vision (diplopia or strabismus) can occur from a parasitic infection. Parasites cause a reduction of the brain calming chemical GABA. When GABA is low the muscle on the outside of the eye can get weak. This causes the eye’s to track improperly. The eye in the bottom left of the diagram would quite likely have parasites based on the brown around the pupil and the spots in the iris. There are many highly effective herbs to treat parasitic infections.
There are also wonderful therapies for those who fall asleep in the car or have poor reading retention. Unfortunately, the therapies are widely varied and beyond the scope of this brief over view.
Cataracts are often due to free radical damage of processed diets and respond well to vegetables and antioxidant therapies. Even glaucoma can respond to herbs to help the liver and kidney work more efficiently.
May your eyes be a bright window telling a healthy story.
If you or more commonly, your child get injured there is a simple technique to reduce the negative effects of that injury. I commonly use this when my children get hurt. Even if the effects were placebo, it beautifully distracts them. There is a lot of complex neurological benefits behind this, but the therapy is super simple. The treatment is simply done by rubbing, pushing, or contracting the injured or bruised area. This is immediately followed by a gentle flex (tuck) of the chin. This simple technique gently causes the nerves to allow the damaged muscle or skin to relax and go back to normal length. It works over old scars as well.
September’s Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise states that:
~Men burned an average of 190 more calories during the 14.2 hours following exercise, compared to non-exercise days.
~They burned an average of 519 calories during the biking. Hence, they used about 709 more calories on workout days than rest days.
Dr. V adds, at this rate one would burn about a pound of fat after less than 4 workouts. Based on the statistics, I suspect the exercise rate they were training at was above the target heart zone as previously described. This would cause a higher post exercise calorie consumption, whereas training in the target heart zone trains the body to burn fat. Interestingly, training in the zone actually burns more calories during the activity, but less post activity. This is in part, is why it is good to blend both levels of training after one has established the aerobic base via zone training for at least 3 months.
After sustaining a minor shoulder acromio-clavicular (AC) separation last week, I had the opportunity to personally experience the tremendous benefit of digestive enzymes. I landed on my shoulder from about 8
feet in the air after “coming up short” on a mountain bike jump. Fortunately, I had taken Multizyme before the ride. Studies have shown that if proteolytic enzymes are taken before an injury and hourly thereafter, healing time is reduced by more than half. So “plan your injuries?” Actually, this works great if you are going to be having any sort of surgery or medical procedure. Take 1-2 at three separate, non-meal times before the procedure. Then take them hourly as soon as possible following the procedure. So why had I taken them before the ride? Proteolytic enzymes also assist in recovery from intense physical exercise.
I began taking Multizyme from Standard Process immediately following the injury, and switched to Total Enzymes by Nutri~West a few days later. These products are available through licensed health care providers. With this protocol, I had no need for pain medications and was out of the sling in 3 days. It has been just over a week and my shoulder is functioning at about 75%, meaning nearly full range of motion and just a little weakness left.
My wife had an even more profound experience when she ruptured her achilles last year. We started her immediately on Total Enzymes at 1/waking hour after the injury and surgery. She was at that dosage for about 3-4 weeks. On this protocol, not only did she return to volleyball in less then 3 months, and did not need any pain medications… She lost 15 pounds and 3 % body fat while doing nothing more then laying on the couch recovering!
Bunion’s are the long term manifestation of flat feet. The arches in the feet begin to “flatten” or more truly, pronate due to the prolonged effects of stress. When the body’s stress response system, the adrenals, begin to lose the ability to adapt to the effects of chronic stress then a muscle called the posterior tibialis begins to lose it’s ability to support the arch. Paralleling this the ligaments begin to break down do to the chronic secretion of cortisol 😦 When this goes on for years, the stress of one stepping off their big toe diagonally instead of straight forward causes the big toe to begin to point out. Eventually, bony changes take place and the feet become disfigured. Appropriately manage stress (physical, chemical, or emotional) at its earliest onset and keep your straight toes. Orthotics (shoe inserts) may be beneficial when implemented appropriately. Adrenal vitamins like B5, C, Zn, Eleuthero, etc. etc., along with balanced meals will all likely be beneficial.