Self-treatment techniques for lower back pain

One of the most common questions that I get goes something like this, “Hey, I tweaked my lower back the other day. It’s really hurting me. What stretches should I do?”

This can be a tricky question to answer, because so many things in injury rehabilitation depend: depend on your unique history (Have you had lower back pain previously?), the severity of your injury (Does hurt a little? A lot? Are there any red flags, such as muscle weakness, that need to be promptly investigated further?), your activities/hobbies (Are you a cyclist? Runner? Yogi? Not very active?), your specific anatomy and biomechanical factors (How is your muscle strength, flexibility and joint range of motion?), and so much more.

However, there are usually a few safe ways to attempt to relieve lower back pain on your own, and I often send out the general recommendations below as a response when I get asked about back pain.

Read More
When Healthy Goes Too Far: Meet Orthorexia

Lets play a little game of association here. When you hear the word healthy, what comes to your mind?

The “healthy” is a loaded word these days. Gluten-free, toned thighs, 12 pack abs, dairy-free, nut-free, paleo, keto, whole 30, long flowing locks, youthful-ageless skin, ________ insert any other #trendingnow thing.

Recently there has been an increase in interest in eating healthy, which is AWESOME don’t get us wrong. We love that people are thinking about food. We love thinking about food.

Read More
Low Intensity Training and the Maximal Aerobic Function Test: Measuring Aerobic Fitness and Nervous System Function

Testing strength standards is fairly straightforward: can you lift a certain weight for a certain number of reps, or not?

However, measuring cardiovascular and aerobic function can be more complex. Of course, there's a straightforward race or time trial -- how fast can you go over a certain distance -- but this does not consider different cardiovascular energy systems, or the role of mental fortitude, for example.

Even more complex is measuring nervous system function. Do you live and work primarily in a sympathetic state (more hype, more stress, faster-paced sprint efforts), or a parasympathetic state (resting and digesting, slower aerobic efforts)? This is important to consider as it can be a window in both the effects of our training, and how we are coping with all of the other stresses present in our lives. 

Read More
Performance Training Standards: How we progress our athletes over time

Central to our Performance Training program and thought process is progression: How to we make sure that you get from A to B? How to we develop an athlete over time to ensure that they are well-rounded, resilient, durable, and capable?

It's a tricky question, and many people have experienced problems from a lack of proper progression. These can include:

  • Improvements early in a program followed by a plateau.

  • Getting injured soon after started a program.

  • Excelling in one specific area or domain with little carryover or ability in others.

  • Fizzling out of a program because you didn't see "where it was going."

While we want to encourage exercise and physical activity in all of its shapes and forms -- our healthcare system would have much fewer issues if more people were more active -- at EVOLVE, we want to be more nuanced, and not simply exercise for the sake of exercise. A training program has a progression model in mind. It's easy to write a hard workout, but more challenging to adequately and appropriately challenge an athlete over time.

Read More
Introducing EVOLVE Performance Training

“Do what you love, for life.”

Since the beginning, our goal at EVOLVE Flagstaff is to help you do what you love, for life. We want to help you feel and look great, to overcome injuries, prevent chronic disease, and live your life to the fullest.

To better fulfill that mission, we are incredibly excited to announce that EVOLVE Flagstaff will be expanding to a larger space in downtown Flagstaff. We’ll be moving from our current 350 square foot office to a 2,400 square foot clinic and training space. This move will provide the following dedicated private offices for our Registered Dietitian and Physical Therapist, allowing for more available treatment times and less distraction. We’ll also have a state of the art strength and conditioning equipment with ample space to train.

What’s most exciting about this move is that we will launching a Performance Training Program that we’ve beta tested over the past year to address all of the most common problems we see people encountering while pursuing an active lifestyle.

Read More
Travel Nutrition Priorities

We love traveling at EVOLVE, whether it's a quick weekend in Scout the Van (see figure 1), or jet setting to far off lands.

Exploring new places, cultures, and food is great, but we know that it is easy to feel like travel throws a wrench in all of your awesome, healthy nutrition habits. So, let’s take a moment to break down our nutrition strategies on the road or in the air.

Read More
I like good fats and I cannot lie: A guide to "healthy" fats

It seems like there’s always some type of debate going on in the nutrition world about the role of fat in a healthy diet.

First, low-fat was the way to go. This led to the development of sketchy fat substitutes like “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” (I can believe it) or Olestra (anal leakage for your Friday night?), and the injection of excessive amounts of sugar and salt into “low fat” foods to make them taste good and pass as edible.

Then, the pendulum swung to the opposite side of the spectrum with the Paleo and other ancestral health movements, which promoted fat as the new solution to all of our diet-related problems. Hungry? Need to lose weight? Want more energy? Just add butter to it! Things like Bulletproof Coffee became the new craze, and bacon became a “health food.”

We’re now living in this awkward new world where it seems like things are just plain confusing. Some people remain stuck in the low-fat mindset while others pile bacon, butter, and olive oil on top of everything.

Read More
10 reasons to pay out of pocket for physical therapy and dietitian services

We do things a bit differently at EVOLVE. One of our goals is to deliver healthcare in the way that we would want to experience it as a patient. This means: our appointments are not rushed or behind schedule, our focus is 100% on your results, we practice according to the most up-to-date available scientific evidence, and we are transparent in our approach, thought processes, and price.

Perhaps most striking to some people, especially those who have seen other physical therapists or dietitians before, is that we are “out of network” with all insurance providers. What this means is that we charge a flat rate at the end of each appointment, payable by credit card, cash, check, or a health savings account or flexible spending account (we don’t accept bitcoin yet, sorry). We can provide appropriate receipts for our patients to submit to their insurance for out-of-network reimbursement, but do not bill insurance directly.

We chose to set up EVOLVE in this way for a number of reasons. This post will explore 10 reasons why we think it’s actually better for you, the patient, to experience your physical therapy and dietitian services in this way.

Read More