Posts Tagged ‘Exercises’

Stretches, Exercises and Adjustments for Sore Wrists

Often when a patient calls in complaining of wrist pain they assume they are experiencing symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Although the wrist is small in surface area, it has many important soft tissues that pass through it (muscles, nerves, and tendons). I wrote about carpal tunnel syndrome HERE and described it as a situation where a nerve gets compressed and can lead to tingling down into the fingers. However, there are other reasons that one’s wrist may hurt.

For example, if you get pain whenever you do pushups, or get in the front squat position with a bar against your collarbone- that is not carpal tunnel syndrome. Most likely it is a misalignment of one or more of the 8 little bones in the wrist or adhesions within the ligaments. If you ignore the pain and don’t fix the problem, you may start to compensate and could injure another area in the body. So what can you do about it.

  1. Come in to see me. I can determine where the cause of the problem actually is. I can adjust the bones and get them moving correctly.


  1. Strengthen your wrist with these simple exercises- 2x/day, 15-30 repetitions.IMG_7128 IMG_7129

Again, if you have any questions, feel free to call the office!

Dr. Marcus Dawson 515-967-3007


Exercises and Stretches to Ease Shoulder Pain and Rotator Cuff Issues

I receive many phone calls from people experiencing shoulder pain who tell me it’s their rotator cuff acting up. But is the rotator cuff really the cause of their shoulder pain?

The rotator cuff usually gets most of the blame when it comes to shoulder pain, but is it really the cause of your shoulder discomfort? The rotator cuff could be getting damaged secondary to the real problem. The real problem could be your misaligned back. Let me explain…

A lot of people have rounded shoulders which can be contributed to tight pectoralis muscles as well as a weak mid back. This pulls the scapulas way off to the side when they should be close to the spine. This causes the scapulas to move too early when you raise your arm to the side and your rotator cuff does not like it. So now that we know the problem, what’s the solution?

Chiropractic care has been proven to help with some shoulder pain and I could work on your rotator cuff every time you come in which will certainly offer some relief.  You could also look up shoulder exercises on the internet and try to do internal and external rotation exercises to help and it could cause more injury to your shoulder.

My recommendations:

Come in to see me to adjust the mid back as well as access the problem of your shoulder to see exactly what you need. I will also probably recommend the following stretches and exercises.


  1. Stretch pectoralis muscle in all three directions. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds.


  1. Rows in all three plains. Shoulders down and back, elbows next to side. Squeeze scapulas together like crushing a ball between shoulder blades. 2 sets of 12
  2. Serratus anterior-  punch at corner of ceiling with thumb up. 2 sets of 12

These stretches and exercises should not cause shoulder discomfort if they do stop and ask for help at your next appointment. Check out the video below for demonstrations of the stretches and exercises.


How to Prevent Injury in Baseball and Softball Players.


I have had an influx of patients recently coming in with complaints of pain and tingle sensations of the arm. These baseball and softball players really just want to know how to prevent injury so that they can get back on the field feeling great.

I was at a conference this last weekend in Des Moines, Iowa hosted by ChiroClasses and they brought in some great speakers. The hosts of the event brought in two orthopedic doctors from Capital Orthopedics who were both great but one specialized in the upper extremity. He mentioned how baseball players today are having more shoulder and elbow problems and he is seeing it more frequently and at younger ages. I was going to write about this topic earlier but after hearing Dr. Yanish speak, it confirmed that I needed to talk about this now.

It’s become increasingly clear in the scientific community that the problem is overuse. Many of these young pitchers are pitching in multiple leagues, all year round, on underdeveloped bones and muscles. This causes both short term and long term damage.

So how do we prevent shoulder and elbow injuries?

-Come in to see me! Chiropractic care helps keep the body in alignment so there are no impingements that could be the cause of the injury. The nature of a throw is such that it naturally misaligns the body, so often an adjustment is all that is needed to get your player back in peak performance.

-Follow the proper pitch count and rest days between pitches. If your child is on multiple teams, it is your responsibility as a parent to keep track of these numbers!

-Proper warm up, stretches pre/post game. I will be posting great stretches and exercises for baseball and softball players to do before practice and games but until then, make sure your son or daughter has a sweatshirt on their throwing arm while sitting in the dugout. That helps to keep the joint warm and blood circulating throughout.

-Coaches, if a player on your team complains of shoulder/elbow pain while throwing, take it seriously and have the arm evaluated by myself or another medical professional. It’s better to be out a few games to let the arm heal than be out for a season or two down the road. Kids heal really quickly but even they can’t heal quickly with an extensive overuse injury.

-Lastly, after the season is over, take 4 months off of baseball or softball and play a different sport to give the arm a rest. I know there is so much pressure to play a single sport year ‘round, and Malcom Gladwell’s theory of 10,000 hours didn’t help any, but every bit of scientific evidence proves it is just not worth it. More often than not our kids are experiencing injuries not previously seen in athletes until their 30s or our young athletes are experiencing mental and emotional burnout. If your child really wants to play sports at a high level, encourage them to be the best all around athlete they can be-those players are essential for any coach!

If you have questions or comments feel free to call, comment or email, I would love to help. Check back here soon for stretches and exercises that will help increase strength and range of motion for your baseball or softball players.

-Dr. Dawson


Frequently Asked Questions: Self Adjustments

I hear a lot of the same questions from patients and community members. I thought it would help to have a resource for anyone wanting to learn more about the Chiropractic industry to just address some of them here. If you have any you would like me to answer, leave a comment below or send me an email through the contact form. I would be happy to answer.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION #1: Is it ok to pop my own neck or back?

I get this question all the time from patients as well as other people in the community when they find out I’m a Chiropractor. Let us first look at what creates the popping sound.

The popping sound comes from gasses within your joints. When you take your neck or back to end range it creates pressure within the joint. When that pressure becomes too great, nitrogen gas is released which causes the “pop”.

There is also another noise you may hear. You may hear a clicking in some joints, most often the hips and knees. This could be due to tight muscles, misalignments, or structural damage.

So back to the original question: Is it bad to pop your own neck or back?

Answer: Yes!

Here’s why: When you twist your own neck and hear a “pop”, that noise is coming from the loose joints in your body. When you self adjust in this way, you are making the bones in your neck hypermobile, which is not good. As Chiropractors, we focus on the hypo-mobile joints-the ones that are stuck-and get them moving properly and in the right direction.

If you do self adjust, you need to do strengthening exercises to prevent the hypermobility and visit your Chiropractor so she/he can address the “stuck” joints.

Believe me, I understand how tempting it is to do it yourself. But in the same way self diagnosing from webMD is never a good idea, neither is self adjusting. Chiropractors spend years learning about proper alignment and adjustment so trust us to do the work for you!

Give Dawson Chiropractic a call to set up your appointment so that I can help with any stiffness that might be tempting you to self adjust.



Stretches and Exercises to Keep you Pain Free on Road Trips

I have been seeing more patients with low back pain and many of them are relating it to traveling over the holidays. Whether it was to see family or the Iowa Hawkeyes play at the Rose Bowl, many patients are having low back issues from being in a tight sitting spot for long hours. Here are a few suggestions that might help during travel time and after you make it to your destination to help you stay loose.

During the road trip:

Drink lots of water- 12 ounces every hour would be ideal. Water helps muscles from cramping and causing pain. Also, it will require you to take rest stops along the way to stretch and loosen up. I know most travelers try to dehydrate themselves so there will be less stopping while on the road but this can do more damage than it’s worth. Not only will it cause you discomfort due to muscles cramping but it can also exasperate joint pain as well.

Don’t sit in the same position- Always keep shifting weight from side to side. Obviously if you’re the driver this is the hardest one to manage while still staying safe but try to make small shifts every 20 minutes or so. Keep your coat or sweatshirt nearby to roll and place at your low back if you feel like that needs a stretch. You can also move your non-driving arm around and get great shoulder and chest stretches as well. Maybe even make a game out of the next song that comes on and do abdominal crunches whenever you hear the words “love” or “heart”.

After trip:

Watch the video for the 3 main stretches to do after every road trip:

  • Hip flexor- Very important muscle because it attaches to your low back. If it’s tight it can throw you out of alignment.
  • Glutes- Give your leg a hug and feel the burn in your bum!
  • Hamstrings- When sitting long periods, hamstrings become short and put pressure on the low back.

If you have any questions contact Dr. Dawson at 515-967-3007