A Visit with Dr. Mike

Instead of trying to write a monthly article about health (which I’m blatantly bad at keeping up on) I’m going to write a nice and short, simple post, on what you can expect when you visit my office and leave it up for the rest of eternity.

Treatment

For starters when you come in, I want to see you move. I want to watch how your body works or doesn’t work and assess your range of motion to figure out what needs to be corrected in order to help you most effectively.

I want to listen and hear YOUR story. The details that you share with me not only about the injury, but about your life and every day activities, your past, etc… help me paint a picture of what is going on and why you ended up in my office. I want to help you find creative solutions to prevent the issue going further (exercise and dietary recommendations along with mental and spiritual health tips).

I want to take you beyond your pain, to a new and better place! Often times I will hear comments like “I want to go back to the way I was before this happened.” While that is a valid request, restoring you back to another time is not possible. You are a new person every day of your life. Your pain is your body’s signal that things need to change, and since time only keeps on marching forward, I want to help take you to a new and better place of change.

I treat using my hands, my heart, and my ears. In my office you can expect 30 minutes of face to face time with me, the Doctor. No bells and whistles, no machines, no fluff. Just real quality time spent with a Doctor who cares about you and wants to help you heal. The treatment will consist of hands on manual soft tissue therapy geared towards muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves, along with chiropractic adjustments to misalignments in the spinal and extremity joints if need be. The majority of the therapy will be geared towards treating and restoring the function of your muscles.

The Office

This is a laid back experience. You will not find a doctor wearing a white coat. You will find a doctor wearing a shirt, jeans, and a warm smile. I practice out of a gym, and I ask my patients to wear comfortable clothing that allows them to move freely, in order so that they may demonstrate the movements that bother them the most.

The Outcomes

The outcomes from person to person will vary. We are all unique individuals and everyone will respond differently to the treatment and recommendations. Like I said, I want to help you move beyond your pain and part of that is coming up with creative solutions on how to prevent it going further. I may talk to you about exercises to avoid, dietary recommendations, and mental and spiritual well-being. Where you take the advice is up to you and may affect the outcome of where the treatment can go. All you need to know is that I am on your side, and will give you 100% in the office so that YOU can heal as quickly as your body allows.  

Blessings to all of you who chose to walk into my office. I wish you all the best on your road to health and healing!

Dr. Mike Murray is a chiropractor, manual therapist, nutrition expert, wellness coach and chronic pain and sports injury specialist. He has been trained under the Integrative Diagnosis system for “clinical excellence”. He practices out of CrossFit Virtuosity and loves to help people in ANY way he can. Please reach out to him if he can be of a service in any way.

The Present is a Present

“We’re focused on getting there, instead of just walking there.”

The above was a self quote that stuck out in my head after speaking with a patient about his gait.

Over time he developed the habit of “toe-ing out” with his right foot while walking instead of having the toe pointing forward.

Now there is a decent amount of things that I can help him with physically to improve this using A.RT. , but the bottom line is that he has hard wired his body to walk like this and until he makes a cognitive effort to change it, the issue will continue to persist.

The same can be said for poor posture.

The best thing you can do for either of those scenarios is notice that you’re doing it, and then “auto-correct”.

Sounds simple enough, right?

Then why don’t we do it?

Well… We’re too busy to notice!

We’re too distracted by our phones and televisions. Advertisements. Relationships. Our jobs. The drama.

Back to the feet

Let’s start with walking… If you live in New York, then you may notice how everyone around you is practically sprinting to their destination. A large majority are concerned with arriving, instead of on the task at hand (or foot in this case). This hurried pace leads to a lack of present moment awareness.

Now imagine that you are having difficulty with your gait, or discomfort while walking, yet instead of slowing down to examine the problem internally, you continue to rush around and load the foot improperly by toe-ing out. This is like doing 100 body squats at max speed with a rounded back, except times a thousand (or however many foot steps you take in a day). You can imagine what doing repetitive squats with poor form does to your back. It’s a similar scenario with your feet and ankles while walking around at top speed.

In either case, you need to slow down and assess the movement, and learn how to perform it correctly.

So for my friend above with the “toe-ing” out, he needs to slow down the pace of his walking and focus on pointing the toe forward in order to re-learn the correct position. If he were to put his head down and charge away down the street at full speed, worried about arriving over enjoying the walk, there is a good chance he will not be paying any attention to the damage that is being caused to the plantar fascia.

In that case, he could seek help from someone like myself, but my care will only get him so far. What he truly needs is to slow down and stop weighting the foot improperly. If he does not, then there is a good chance he will continue to come to me with the same symptoms presenting themselves week after week.

The same goes for poor posture and your shoulders.

Poor posture and your low back.

Poor posture and your neck.

Emotional stress and indigestion.

Emotional stress and aches and pains.

The list goes on.

All of these scenarios require one thing:

TO BE PRESENTLY AWARE OF THE SITUATION, AND ATTEND TO IT.

The best way to do that is to slow down and take notice.

 

I love you all. Let’s start by slowing down.

 

Dr. Mike Murray is a chiropractor, chronic pain specialist, sports injury, and A.R.T. provider. He has been trained under the Integrative Diagnosis system for “clinical excellence”. He practices out of CrossFit Virtuosity and loves to help people in ANY way he can. Please reach out to him if he can be of a service in any way. It does not hurt to ask.

 

Too Much Push, Not Enough Pull

Road to Recovery with a Shoulder Injury

I’ve come to a hypothesis as to why I am having shoulder pain. At least, a further in depth answer to just plain overuse. Sure I have been overusing the shoulder, but I want to know the exact how so that I can correct the issue.

What I came to, is that lately in my life, there has been too much push, and not enough pull.

Job) I work with my hands, pushing my thumbs inches into people’s tissues to correct scar tissue adhesions in muscles, ligaments, and nerves. I always push down on the adhesions. It’s part of Active Release Technique. I never pull on someone’s adhesions (though I may try now) because that was not how the technique was developed.

Fitness) I like to work out hard just like the rest of you. It’s fun to push your body to limits that you have yet to explore. However lately my workouts have involved a lot of pushing. Handstand Push-ups, Muscle-ups, bench press, planche push-ups, and so on.. I can’t remember the last time I performed a respectable deadlift (shame on me!) or enough pull-ups to counterbalance all the pushing I have been doing. New Goal: Equal pull for all the push. That’s when of course the shoulder has healed long enough to allow me to do either without pain. For now the goal is to rest, get treated, and incorporate some scaled pulling with the good arm.

Life) I have been pushing forward towards things in life instead of pulling, or attracting, them to me. Sometimes it’s easy to forget to take a mental and emotional holiday and just unplug from all the stimulation. I get caught up in all of it, put my head down, and push on through. It’s spring time, time to get outside, kick back, and direct a little more flow my way.

 

Dr. Mike Murray is a chiropractor, chronic pain specialist, sports injury, and A.R.T. provider. He has been trained under the Integrative Diagnosis system for “clinical excellence”. He practices out of CrossFit Virtuosity and loves to help people in ANY way he can. Please reach out to him if he can be of a service in any way. It does not hurt to ask.

Road To Recovery with a Shoulder Injury

A few months ago I aggravated my left shoulder working out. In my profession, a hurt shoulder is less than ideal.

So what did I do?

Well, I rested it. A bit. Maybe a week max, with little to no treatmenet.

And then what?

I worked out again. And the shoulder hurt again. This time it was a bit more uncomfortable and lasted longer. But after the inflammation went down, I worked out again. I’m not exactly sure what I expected to happen, maybe I knew, but as you can guess, the shoulder began to hurt again.

I think my biggest lecture for my patients is to respect the healing process and allow for proper rest. Meaning not using the injured area until it has fully healed, and then “wade back into the pool” when introducing load to the structure.

It’s great advice, and exactly what I DID NOT do.

Instead I jumped back in, straight into the deep end, and ended up with the same results… an injured left shoulder.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.” #famousquote

So now what do I have?

Well.. I have a shoulder that aches, feels aggravated with a handful of movements, and feels weaker when I use it. The weakness is even working it’s way down into my forearm. Actually it is my forearm finally starting to fatigue after compensating for my bum shoulder these past few months.

My plan.

First, I’m going to lay off the shoulder completely. Which really sucks, because I want to play with my friends! I want to do handstands, and press weights, and do push-ups. But all of those montions include using my already overused shoulder, and would only add further insult to injury. I really feel for all of you when you look at me like I have two heads when I tell you that you need to rest.

The good news is, I can still use my legs! So I’m going to squat. And then squat some more… And then, as you can guess… Squat some more. I’m going to squat until my shoulder no longer aches, or hurts when I put my book bag on.

Then, once I actually FEEL (inside my body, not inside my head) that things are actually healed. I’m going to splash and kick in the kiddie pull with light weights and kettlebell swings. I may deadlift lightly, and begin to feel what it’s like to actually re-load the muscles. During which I will be paying careful attention to how it all makes me feel during and after.

All the while getting treated by some of my favorite colleagues. The scar tissue in the back of my shoulder is really restricting my strength and mobility right now! I may even roll with a ball a bit…

I’m going to document the journey here. It will give me something to write about, and something for my patients to relate to.

I hope that you all enjoy the ride.

Now I’m going to go get some sun with a walk in the park!

Dr. Mike Murray is a chiropractor, chronic pain specialist, sports injury, and A.R.T. provider. He has been trained under the Integrative Diagnosis system for “clinical excellence”. He practices out of CrossFit Virtuosity and loves to help people in ANY way he can. Please reach out to him if he can be of a service in any way. It does not hurt to ask.

Health is Created in the Kitchen

Health is created in the kitchen.

Very often my patients will ask me what it is that they can do at home to accelerate the healing process.

My top answers include:

  1. Breathe/Meditate
  2. Stretch/Foam Roll
  3. Get 8-10 hours of sleep
  4. Drink lots of Water
  5. EAT REAL FOOD

Good news! Eating real, quality, fresh food just got easier for those living in the NYC metropolitan area.

Introducing KETTLEBELL KITCHEN!

Kettlebell Kitchen is NYC’s latest food delivery program (they currently only deliver to CrossFit boxes) that offers athletes an opportunity to eat right in a very affordable and convenient manner. I received my first delivery yesterday and I must say that I was very pleased with the overall taste of the food. So far I have only tried the Chicken Meatballs and Chicken Thai Curry, but both were delicious. It was nice to have a meal delivered that I knew I could trust was providing my body with the proper nutrients for health and healing. I will be ordering more from them shortly, and taking my other meals with me to work tomorrow. Talk about easy! It was great, last night I got home from work, and had plans shortly thereafter.. Instead of worrying about making a meal, I was able to heat my Chicken Curry up in the stove, and have a ready made meal in 10 minutes. (They also include microwave instructions, but I would only recommend that as a last resort. Anything that zap fries food in that manner is more likely to ruin the actual nutrients within the food. Some may argue differently  but I’m going on my own intuition, not “research”.) Anyways, I got a quality meal and didn’t have to do any of the hard work like cook or shop for it. Not to mention, the price is reasonable enough that it is comparable to spending that money at the store to make it yourself. WIN WIN WIN.

Alongside this new convenient delivery system, I have two other favorite ways to receive high quality foods.

The first is to participate in the meat CSA at CrossFit Virtuosity from High Point Farms in Trumansburg (Ithaca) NY. They have fresh Grass Fed meat delivered every three weeks to the gym. The best part is that you can go online and order exactly the meat you want, instead of being subjected to whatever might be in a pre-sorted delivery.

The third and final way I like to get my nutrition fix is by ordering Arctic Circle Wild Salmon and having it shipped directly to my door. By now we all know the benefits of eating Salmon because of the high Omega-3 contents which help boost our immune system and decrease inflammation within the body. Not only is the fish healthy, but it is absolutely delicious and far superior to any fish that I have bought in the store. They will have the fish to your door by the next day, and it’s completely fresh and vacuumed sealed.

YUM.

Just remember, you can workout all you want, but if you are not feeding your body the proper nutrients that it needs to sustain that level of intensity, you will not reap the benefits that that sport has to offer. Happy eating everyone!!

 

Why and How Active Release (ART) Works

When something is in your way, how do you move it?

There are a few options, but generally we push it to the side.

If we’re strong enough, we could lift it up over our heads and set it down. Or if we’re floating in water, pushing it down is always a viable option.

When it comes to scar tissue in your muscles, the best option is to push it TO the side, FROM the side.

Active Release Technique works based on the DIRECTION of the force, and the TENSION that is applied by moving the muscle past the contact (thumb, finger, palm).

Scar Tissue Is In Your Way

It is preventing you from getting stronger (scar tissues does not contract like a muscle) and it is preventing you from achieving a full range of motion (scar tissues does not lengthen).

Scar tissue is DENSE “dead” tissue.

Because scar tissue does not lengthen, stretching the affected region will NOT fix the problem. When you’re stretching an adhered area of muscle, you are really only stretching the area north and south of the scar tissue. I say it won’t fix the problem, because stretching won’t remove the scar tissue, but it may decrease your pain by bringing you below symptom threshold. Imagine you have a shoulder impingement at the top of the joint, and you stretch the hell out of the rotator cuff in order to alleviate the pain and move through your day. You haven’t actually removed the cause of the pain, you have only lessened the degree to which you feel the pain. The issue, IN your tissue, is still there. My goal is to remove the issue!

So how do we achieve that goal?

We push that scar tissue TO the side, FROM the side.

Again, ART is effective because of the DIRECTION of the force. I could push on the adhesion all day from above, but that will not do anything but cause more pain. Patients often perceive that I am only pushing down on the scar tissue, however, if you feel closely to what I’m doing during treatment, you will notice that I am coming up from the side, and pushing the scar tissue AWAY, not down. My direction and tension is always applied from the SIDE.

Imagine you are shoveling snow… Take the head of that shovel, lay it flat across the top of the snow, and press it down. Where did that snow go? Well, you may have compressed it down a bit, but all of that original snow is still there.

Now take that shovel how it was intended to be used and bring it up alongside of the snow. Push that snow onto the shovel and move that shit!

Now obviously I’m not lifting your scar tissue onto my hand (shovel), but you get the idea. ART works because of the DIRECTION of the force.

Pushing the scar tissue down, won’t remove the scar tissue.

We’ve all seen the Rogue bands. How are they used? (…Bro-science…Product placement…)They’re used to compress the tissue. We’ve also seen those same people with the Rogue bands using them over and over and over again. Why? Because they are only compressing their muscles, not actually treating the issue. The only benefit I can see from using such a device, would be that it acts as a tourniquet to bring blood flow back into the area once it is taken off. That’s great and all, but you don’t see arteries blasting through scar tissue. If they did, we would have some serious problems once that tourniquet was removed. Because not only would that blood flow be pummeling our dense, thick, scar tissue, it would also be blasting our nice supple healthy areas of muscle tissue with ease… Yikes!

So what about foam rollers and balls?

I’m all for self treatment (self love) and stretching if it helps to alleviate the pain, but keep in mind, most of those techniques have to be applied over and over and over again, just to feel relief. They’re really not fixing the issue. All they do is compress the tissue. When rolling on a ball or foam roller, we are rolling over the scar tissue from above and pressing it down. That scar tissue has not been removed, just rubbed.

If you are having musculoskeletal pain, seek professional help, and get to the cause of the pain.

Let an ART certified professional take your muscles in the right DIRECTION.

Get It Straight.

You know that nice straight hollowed position that you should be striving to achieve when performing a handstand? Toes pointed, glutes squeezed, abs on, active shoulders, eyes on the horizon, neck neutral.

Do you have the image in your head? The one that looks more like a pencil and less like a banana.

Okay, great.

Now take that image and flip it.

Now you should be imagining and person upright with their spine stacked over their hips and their arms overhead.

Gently tell that image that he/she can put their arms down at their side. Now tell that image to breathe easy and relax all those muscles, while maintaining a nice UPRIGHT position. Don’t allow that image to push his/her hips forward, or slouch his/her shoulders, or stare down at the ground…

Sweet.

Now take that nicely aligned image, and apply it to your own body…. always.

By correcting our daily posture while standing and seated, we can greatly decrease the tension we feel in our neck, shoulder, upper back, lower back..

Imagine (I know, i know, more imagination!) that your hips are a pot filled with soil and your spine is a plant stretching and reaching up towards the sun. Think upward thoughts! That’s a good place to start.

If you’re having trouble with this image and applying it to your everyday life, I HIGHLY recommend working with an Alexander Technique professional. I know a woman who helped correct my posture immensely, and she could do the same for you! If you’re interested in contacting her, please reach out. Having her teach me how to correctly stack my spine to allow my muscles to relax while standing and seated, is the reason why your favorite chiropractor stands up so straight. I can help you too, but she’s better at it than I am.

Happy stacking!