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I can't believe this is Month 3 of Optimize Monthly! 

In this edition of Optimize Monthly I dive into the relationship between Fibromyalgia and Adaptability, take a look at the importance of data when it come to function and structure and examine the relationship between neck strength and concussions and how it could change athletics from high school to the professional level. 

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Adaptability, Fibromyalgia, And How They’re Related.

            Fibromyalgia is characterized by muscle pain, fatigue, depression, cognitive dysfunction, and sleep disturbance and currently affects 3.5 percent of women in the US or up to 1.2 million men and women (1). While the rate of those who suffer from fibromyalgia is thought to be increasing in some populations, the underlying cause of fibromyalgia is still yet to be discovered (2).

            However, with more research being done on chronic pain syndromes like fibromyalgia a link between the autonomic nervous system and these syndromes is starting to come to light. In fact research is starting to point towards autonomic dysfunction as a possible underlying cause of fibromyalgia (3).

            What is autonomic dysfunction? It’s when the autonomic nervous system doesn’t work properly. An easy way to think of your autonomic nervous system (ANS) is to compare it to the operating system of your phone or computer. It controls everything going on in the background, automatically. 

While you are reading this your ANS is controlling the digestion of the food you ate earlier today, it is regulating the time between each beat of your heart, it is controlling how the hair on your arms stands up as you walk outside into the cold or if sweat starts to form on a warm day. The ANS is the master control system of the entire body, the only thing it doesn’t have direct control over is your voluntary controlled skeletal muscle like your biceps and calves. As frustrating as it is for you when you have to update your phone and all your apps are slowing down or not working, when there is dysfunction of the ANS it can have devastating effects in the body (3).

            This autonomic dysfunction can be measured by heart rate variability.  Heart rate variability (HRV) is the measurement of the time interval between heart beats. In a broad sense the more variability you have between beats the better your body is performing and your ANS is working at a higher level. However, when there is lower HRV, as seen in fibromyalgia, it means that there is Autonomic Dysfunction and your body will not be able to heal, adapt, or respond to the stresses in life whether physical or emotional (4,5,6,7).

            Since low HRV is seen not only in Fibromyalgia but many other chronic pain and neurological conditions increasing HRV could have a major impact on the lives of those suffering with those conditions (8).

            Currently many studies are looking at different ways to increase HRV. These studies have looked at, yoga, deep breathing, exercise, and analysis based chiropractic as interventions to help increase HRV. While many studies have shown positive findings no direct conclusions can be drawn. However, it could explain why many chronic pain sufferers see a decrease in their symptoms and an improvement in their life when incorporating mindfulness practices into the life as well as provide a backbone to the numerous chiropractic case studies that have shown drastic improvement in those suffering with chronic pain disorders. 


Structure, Function, And Why Data Matters 

            If you take a look around there are examples of structure dictating function everywhere. Whether, it’s the skyscraper you pass on your way to work or the Tesla that passes you. They were both designed with structure and function in mind.

            In the Tesla they added multiple deep aluminum extrusions in the side rail of the Model S, this structure absorbs the impact energy (similar to the Apollo Lunar Lander) and transfers load to the rest of the vehicle. Resulting in another 5 star rating for Tesla’s Model S. For the skyscraper they have to design them withstand winds over 100 miles per hour. They do this through creating structures that break the wind up when it hits the outside of the building, test are done in giant wind tunnels to make sure that the structure can withstand these high force winds.

            What does this have to do with your structure? In both examples when building either the Tesla or the skyscraper do you think they measured every individual part before going forward with building? Did they make sure the ground in which the skyscraper was built on was even? Did Tesla make a calculated decision when making the chassis of the Model S so that the result of a collision from the side would disperse throughout the entire car without injuring those inside?  

            In both examples data was taken and then from the data changes were made to improve the structure resulting in better function. As complicated as a skyscraper or Tesla is, it pales in comparison to the complexity of the human body. This is the reason that throughout our care we do a thorough analysis of your structure and your function. By analyzing the structure to the millimeter and the degree we are able to tell where the body has broken down and how to work to restore the body to as close to normal as possible. At Optimize Chiropractic we are Data-Driven because we want you to not only feel the difference, but also see the difference of Neuro-Structural Chiropractic. 

How Strengthening The Neck Could Change High School, Collegiate, And Professional Athletics 

If there were a way to reduce the risk of concussions in sports by 5% or more would you do it? How much could that change the lives of athletes across the nation?

            Concussions… They’re in the news; they’re talked about in what seems like every sports broadcast. They’re one of the reasons parents are pulling their kids out of contact sports like lacrosse, football, hockey and more. Every year it seems more information is coming out about the devastating effects of concussion. Yet, if you’re a parent that wants their kids to be involved in sports and activities where there is obvious risk for concussions or an athlete who is wanting to continue to play what are you to do to reduce that risk?

            Before we go into that lets first look at some stats on concussions… A study published in the Journal Of Athletic Training looked at the concussion rates over 27 sports in 147 High Schools, they did this by looking at the number of concussions that occurred during the game (event), practice, and then combined them for the overall rate of concussion to athletic exposure (meaning an athlete taking part in practice or competition).

            This is what they found. With 10,000 athletic exposures there is likely to be a certain number of concussions that happen with each sport.

            Football- 9.21

            Boys' lacrosse- 6.65

            Girls' soccer- 6.11

            Boy’s Wrestling- 5.76

            Girls Gymnastic- 2.65

            Girls Volleyball- 2.5

            Boy’s Baseball- .86

            Girls Softball- 3.57

            Boy’s Basketball- 2.52

            Girl’s Basketball- 4.44

            Girl’s Lacrosse- 5.54

            Boy’s Soccer- 3.98


            In nearly every sport there is a risk for concussion (1).

One could argue to get rid of the sports that have the higher risk of concussion and that argument is one being made. However, what if instead of scrapping sports that have been around for hundreds or years we helped these athletes be more prepared for contact in their athletic events whether its football, lacrosse, volleyball or soccer.

            The way in which these athletes could be more prepared is through strength training for the neck. The research being done with neck training and decreasing the rate of concussions is astounding, yet how many athletic programs do you know of that make it a priority for their athletes to train their neck.

            In one study published in the Journal Of Primary Prevention they found that a one-pound increase in neck strength decreased the odds of concussion by 5% (2). In a study done by American Journal of Sports Medicine they found that two factors that play a role in concussion are the strength of the neck and bracing for impact (activating the muscles) (3). Another study looked at head acceleration and how when there is a balance in the neck musculature there is a decrease in head acceleration which could lead to a decrease in the chance for concussion(4). The correlations between neck strength and decreasing the risk for concussion are strong.

            As adults who have influence over the sports our children participate in and how they train it’s on us to put them in the best situations to avoid or decrease their chance of injury.

            If every one-pound of strength in the neck decreases the chance of concussion by 5% what could happen if athletes started training their necks as soon as they started playing competitively.

            It has the potential to decrease the rates of concussion across, high school, collegiate and professional athletics and drastically change the lives of those that would have suffered a concussion.  


Adaptability, Fibromyalgia, And How They’re Related.

1. Gerwin, R. D. (2005). A review of myofascial pain and fibromyalgia - factors that promote their persistence. Acupuncture in Medicine, 23(3), 121-134. doi:10.1136/aim.23.3.121

2. Prevalence, health care utilization, and costs of fibromyalgia, irritable bowel, and chronic fatigue syndromes in the military health system, 2006-2010.

3. Hassett, Afton L., et al. “A Pilot Study of the Efficacy of Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Biofeedback in Patients with Fibromyalgia.” Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, vol. 32, no. 1, 2007, pp. 1–10., doi:10.1007/s10484-006-9028-0.

4. Martinez-Lavin M, Hermosillo AG, Rosas M, Soto ME: Circadian studies of autonomic nervous balance in patients with fibromyalgia: a heart rate variability analysis. Arthritis Rheum. 1998, 41: 1966-1971. 10.1002/1529-0131(199811)41:11<1966::AID-ART11>3.0.CO;2-O.

5. Cohen H, Neumann L, Shore M, Amir M, Cassuto Y, Buskila D: Autonomic dysfunction in patients with fibromyalgia: application of power spectral analysis of heart rate variability. Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2000, 29: 217-227. 10.1016/S0049-0172(00)80010-4.

6. Raj RR, Brouillard D, Simpsom CS, Hopman WM, Abdollah H: Dysautonomia among patients with fibromyalgia: a non-invasive assessment. J Rheumatol. 2000, 27: 2660-2665.

7. Cohen H, Neumann L, Alhosshle A, Kotler M, Abu-Shakra M, Buskila D: Abnormal sympathovagal balance in men with fibromyalgia. J Rheumatol. 2001, 28: 581-589.

8.  Ferreira, Maycon Jr, and Angelina Zanesco. “Heart Rate Variability as Important Approach for Assessment Autonomic Modulation.” Motriz: Revista De Educação FíSica, vol. 22, no. 2, 2016, pp. 3–8., doi:10.1590/s1980-65742016000200001.


How Strengthening The Neck Could Change High School, Collegiate, And Professional Athletics 

1. Kathryn L. O'Connor, Melissa M. Baker, Sara L. Dalton, Thomas P. Dompier, Steven P. Broglio, and Zachary Y. Kerr (2017) Epidemiology of Sport-Related Concussions in High School Athletes: National Athletic Treatment, Injury and Outcomes Network (NATION), 2011–2012 Through 2013–2014. Journal of Athletic Training: March 2017, Vol. 52, No. 3, pp. 175-185.

2. Christy L. Collins, Erica N. Fletcher, Sarah K. Fields, Lisa Kluchurosky, Mary Kay Rohrkemper, R. Dawn Comstock, Robert C. Cantu(2014)

Neck Strength: A Protective Factor Reducing Risk for Concussion in High School Sports. The Journal of Primary Prevention, Volume 35, Number 5, Page 309

3. Eckner, J. T., Oh, Y. K., Joshi, M. S., Richardson, J. K., & Ashton-Miller, J. A. (2014). Effect of Neck Muscle Strength and Anticipatory Cervical Muscle Activation on the Kinematic Response of the Head to Impulsive Loads. The American Journal of Sports Medicine42(3), 566–576. http://doi.org/10.1177/0363546513517869

4. Dezman, Z. D. W., Ledet, E. H., & Kerr, H. A. (2013). Neck Strength Imbalance Correlates With Increased Head Acceleration in Soccer Heading. Sports Health, 5(4), 320–326. http://doi.org/10.1177/1941738113480935