Posts Tagged ‘Stretches’

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.


Staying Injury Free When Starting a New Workout Routine

“I just started working out and I hurt myself!” is a common phrase uttered by patients of mine looking to get healthier this year. Often my patients are just like the majority of Americans.

We sit in our car on the way to work, walk a few steps to sit in our chair at our desks during work. On a good day we might walk around a bit at lunch but for the most part we sit during lunch and then again after lunch as well. We sit in our cars on the way home, sit down to eat dinner and then to decompress after our long days we sit and binge watch our favorite TV shows.

This happens day in and day out.

It catches up with us at some point and we decide to join a gym. This is a great first step but often within the first week people new to fitness experience an injury that sets back their progress.

There are a few reasons for this but today I’ll just be addressing one. When we sit all day, some muscles become shortened while others become lengthened. It messes with your biomechanics. Then we workout, stress our system with improper biomechanics and bam- your low back hurts. Or your shoulder, or your neck. You get the idea.

How do we fix this problem when most of us have to sit through the whole day?

  • Get up every hour to get a drink/bathroom break. When you get up do a few stretches like toe touches to relieve pain in your lower back. Or bring your hands behind your back to stretch your pectoral muscles-these are the muscles that get shortened when you’re hunched over a computer all day and can lead to upper back pain or tightness.
  • 10 min walk during lunch. It may not seem like a lot but it can really help to not only keep you healthy but also keep you pain free. Just a few minutes every day can stretch out and engage the muscles that atrophy when sitting for long periods of time. Plus, it’s been proven to make you more productive when you get back to work because it clears out all the mental cobwebs as well!
  • Make a goal to do something active before sitting down at night watching TV. The weather is nicer so make it a family thing! Go for a walk around your neighborhood or walk to the park and push your kids. If you don’t have a family, ask a friend or walk with your dog. They would both appreciate that!
  • If you decide to start a workout program, start slow with proper mechanics. If you have questions on how to do a specific lift, ask someone at your gym if there is a wellness coach that can just walk you through the equipment and how it all works. Or ask me! I would love to get your started on a plan that will get you healthy and active and keep you that way for a long time!

Most importantly, if you do experience pain come in right away. The worst thing you can do when starting a new exercise routine is to ignore your body’s signals that something isn’t right. If you come in right away we can figure out the problem that might have you just sitting a day or two out. If you continue to push through the pain there’s a chance you can do lasting or permanent damage that would require even longer rest.

But take a minute to celebrate that you are doing it! You deserve to be healthy so congratulations on making that first step and joining the gym! Good luck!

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.