Does CBD Oil Work?

CBD seems to be in just about everything with claims that it can reduce pain, help you relax, help you sleep and even cure seizures. But does it really work?

What Does the Research Say?

So far there have not been many studies done on CBD. The limited research that has been done shows the most promise for CBD as a treatment for childhood epilepsy syndromes. The research that has been done on the effectiveness for treating pain have been limited but do suggest that it may reduce inflammation and help with chronic pain conditions but so far nothing has been proven to work with humans.

Even if it Does Work Pain is Not The Problem

Here’s the thing...even if CBD does reduce pain and inflammation, pain and inflammation are not the problem. Pain and inflammation are symptoms of a problem. Pain acts as an alarm or warning system. It acts to alert us when something is wrong or that something may be a threat to us. Touch a hot stove and pain will alert you that touching that stove will burn you. Inflammation is the body’s response to damage or injury. Inflammation is the first line of defense when we are fighting infection or a virus and is the first stage of the healing process when tissue is injured or damaged.

If there is a fire in your home, your smoke detector will screech to alert you that there is a fire. How would you react to the smoke detector going off? Would you remove the batteries of the smoke detector to stop that annoying noise? Obviously the screeching smoke detector is not the problem, the problem is the fire that is about to consume your home. Turning off the smoke detector does not put out the fire.

When you are experiencing pain, especially pain of a chronic nature, you must determine what the root cause of the pain is. If you treat pain as the problem your relief will be temporary at best.

What is the Problem?

The problem is the injury or damage to the tissue that is inflamed or painful. There are obviously all kinds of things that can result in an injury but what about chronic pain that never seems to get better or that seemingly came on without a traumatic event or mechanism of injury? Often times chronic pain can be the result of the way we move. When the body moves the way nature intended then the strain of moving is shared across the proper joints and muscles in an efficient way, minimizing the chance of an injury. If our body is not moving correctly then the strain of movement is shifted to an area that must compensate for the faulty movement pattern and this can cause an injury to the tissue or joint that is compensating. CBD oil cannot change the way we move and no one has made any claims that CBD can heal damaged or injured tissue.

Should I Try CBD?

So far it seems that CBD is fairly harmless. However, there still needs to be more research to determine if there are any harmful effects and to see if it really works at all. That said it seems that there is no harm in trying it. Often times pain can affect the way you move and can make the process of resolving an injury more difficult. So if it does seem to reduce your pain and it allows you to address the underlying problem then why not? Just keep in mind that even if CBD does reduce your pain you still have not addressed the underlying problem that caused the pain. But do not stop at using CBD. See a physical therapist who can evaluate your body to see if there is a movement dysfunction that may be causing the pain in the first place and work to restore proper movement patterns. Remember that to be well you must move well and move often.

The Thoracic Spine: The Key to Neck Pain, Upper Back Pain and Shoulder Pain

The thoracic spine is the part of the spine where the ribs attach and makes up one half of our entire spine. It is often overlooked when it comes to treating neck pain, shoulder pain and upper back pain. The thoracic spine is also an important key to proper posture and spinal alignment.

tspine.jpg

When the spine is in a neutral alignment or proper posture the neck, shoulders and upper back function correctly reducing the risk of injury and reducing stress to the neck, shoulders and upper back.

Proper posture or a neutral spinal alignment is classified by a slight lordotic (inward) curve in the lumbar spine (low back), a slight kyphotic (outward) curve in the thoracic (upper back) and a slight lordotic curve in the cervical spine (neck).

posture.jpg

Often times injuries of the shoulder, upper back and neck are treated by trying to stretch, strengthen, massage, poke, needle and electrically stimulate the muscles of the neck, upper back and shoulders. But if the thoracic spine is not in the proper neutral alignment and if the proper alignment cannot be controlled and held stable during movement then it is likely that the neck or shoulder pain will not be resolved.

Improving Thoracic Posture

The first step to improving thoracic posture is to determine if the muscles and joints of the thoracic spine have the proper mobility to achieve the correct postural position. Tight muscles or restrictions of the joints of the thoracic spine may prevent the spine from moving into the proper position. Modalities such as massage, needling, joint mobilizations and stretching/mobility exercises may be used to restore the mobility of the muscles and/or joints so that the spine can be properly aligned.

Next, motor control must be established. Motor control is not the same as strength. You cannot strengthen your way out of bad posture. Motor control starts with the ability to actively get into a proper spinal posture. It is developing an awareness of what proper posture looks and feels like. Motor control is enhanced by the ability to maintain proper posture while moving. Start with less complex movements with little to no resistance and progress to more complex patterns of movement and eventually against greater resistance.

Resolving Shoulder Pain and Neck Pain

Once proper thoracic posture and motor control of the thoracic spine has been achieved then the symptoms of pain in the neck and shoulder can be addressed. Proper thoracic posture will bring the shoulder and neck into proper position which will reduce strain on the joints and soft tissues. By reducing the strain on the joints and soft tissues modalities such as massage, electric stimulation, needling and joint mobilization will be more effective at reducing pain and promoting healing. Proper posture and control of the thoracic spine will also place the muscles of the scapula (shoulder blade), rotator cuff and neck at the correct length to perform movement and exercise more effectively and will respond to exercises more effectively. This proper positioning reduces the mechanical stress to the joints and soft tissue of the shoulder, upper back and neck which resolves pain and improves function and performance.

Physical Therapy and Insurance: Everything You Need to Know

Physical Therapy and Insurance: Everything You Need to Know

Will my insurance cover physical therapy? Do I need a referral? How much will physical therapy cost me? Do I need insurance to see a physical therapist?

These are all common questions that have fairly simple answers. With this helpful guide and a little bit of work on your end, you’ll have all the information you need to feel completely comfortable making your first physical therapy appointment.

"Tummy Time" — Laying the Foundation for Proper Movement [You Can Do More]

"Tummy Time" — Laying the Foundation for Proper Movement [You Can Do More]

The so-called “tummy time” is a recommended activity that you do with your child only after she has developed the ability to control her head. For most parents, this simply means putting their baby on her stomach and allowing her play in that position to facilitate the development of the baby’s ability to lift her head and hold her body in extension. This control eventually allows the baby to develop the ability to roll over, and all of that control is what will eventually allow the baby to sit up.

Why Your Ankle May Be Popping [And What to Do About It]

Why Your Ankle May Be Popping [And What to Do About It]

Continuous popping or cracking noises in a joint can be caused by restricted mobility, excessive mobility, an arthritic joint, or an acute injury to the cartilage of the joint. 

In each of these cases, the goal is to restore the proper mechanics of the joint so that it functions correctly.

The Key to Making Progress During Your Fitness Program

The Key to Making Progress During Your Fitness Program

Making progress towards your goal is more than simply adding more weight, more resistance, or more repetitions to the exercises you started with. Another common mistake we see people make is doing the same exercises in the same order every time they go to the gym. You can only increase the amount of weight, increase the number of repetitions, or increase the resistance until a point when your body reaches a plateau or fully adapts to that particular workout.

3 Simple Ways to Achieve Your Fitness Goals — Finally

3 Simple Ways to Achieve Your Fitness Goals — Finally

If you are anything like me, staying on track to achieving your fitness goals, whether it is weight loss or having that perfect "beach bod" for summer, can be quite the ongoing feat. At this point, I have lost track of the number of times I have started an exercise program or routine in an attempt to finally achieve my goal of looking and feeling fit. Inevitably at some point during the program or routine, I stopped exercising, and every time it was because my routine was interrupted— either because I allowed myself to interrupt my own routine due to a tapering of motivation or because I had an obligation during the time I usually exercised. And off the bandwagon I would fall. 

It wasn't until I had to fortune to start working at OnTrack that I was able to find my exercise groove.

Surviving the Holidays: A Nutritional Guide

Surviving the Holidays: A Nutritional Guide

Did you know that the average weight gain for each American just between Thanksgiving and Christmas is 7-10 pounds? There is no doubt that this can be attributed to the fact that the average Thanksgiving Dinner contains 3,000 to 4,000 calories and over 200 grams of fat and that the traditional Egg Nog holiday staple has about 350 calories, almost 20 grams of fat, and over 20 grams of sugar in just one 8-ounce glass.

Now is the time to determine what it is about the season that makes it so special to you and your family. Become conscious of what are the most important parts of the season, and let them shine when they happen!

What's the Deal with Stretching?

What's the Deal with Stretching?

Over the years the philosophy and science regarding stretching has changed dramatically. First, experts said to stretch before exercise; and when you stretch, you should “bounce” or perform a ballistic stretch. Then, they found that ballistic stretching caused injuries to cold muscles, so they decided that it was still important to stretch before exercise– but, stretches should be static, so no bouncing.

The Benefits of Functional Training

The Benefits of Functional Training

I recently read an article posted by a company that sells diet and supplement shakes as well as a training system that is largely based on weight lifting to help people lose weight and achieve a “better looking physique”. The article claimed that “not all exercise will be effective at changing your body to make you look like a fit person.” It claims that the only way to achieve “looking fit” is to do lots of weight training with simple movements repeated again and again.

OnTrack Stories: Meghan Lout

OnTrack Stories: Meghan Lout

I was introduced to OnTrack coaching and physical therapy after having two years of chronic hip pain and life-long foot problems that at least six podiatrists were unable to resolve. I doubted myself, my running capabilities, and whether I would ever enjoy a pain-free life more and more with each failed attempt to resolve the pain.