Click this link to hear my philosophy and approach toward helping my patients become independent from pain and read the Case for Kettlebells below.
Dr. Nathanael Klein expounds the chiropractic philosophy of the bonesetters of the late eighteen hundreds. The theory that a mechanical change can impact all systems of the body via removal of neurological interference is a core tenant of his practice, but he has come to believe the chiropractic “adjustment” is not the best way to make this mechanical alteration. Nor does he believe the chiropractic “pop mill” was the original desire of the practice’s founding fathers as a viable or even logical answer to the pharmaceutical “pill mill”. While chiropractic will always have its place, Nathanael believes it to be a mere tool in addressing the distortions in the spine and preventing the spread of degenerative patterns. Sadly, it is a very useless tool IF the patient’s faulty movement patterns are not being addressed to bring stability to the damaged and decaying tissues.
Chiropractic has unfortunately evolved into a machine that enables patients to remain just that, patients who continue to waste their time and money each week to not actually address their degenerative patterns. Chiropractic cannot address degenerative patterns alone, nor can any passive modality. Re-education of the musculoskeletal system to operate as it was designed “adjusts” misalignments far better than any chiropractor because not only do these changes actually last and not further the body’s instability, but it places the power in the hands of the individual, transforming them from the patient to the doctor. Our ability to perform certain movements is a great diagnostic tool to assess our health. Eighty percent (that is a gracious guesstimate) of the modern human’s chronic pain issues are generated due to poor shoulder and hip mobility/stability and the kicker is the hip and shoulder tend not to be big complainers whereas the neck and back tend to be the squeaky wheel. Chiropractic, in most cases, has become a back-brace that offers temporary stability but is a detriment if long-term use is employed. Chiropractic allows a keyhole glimpse into the well-lit room of good health. The beam of light is enough to give you hope, amidst your suffocation by darkness, that a better existence is obtainable, but strength training is the only thing that will allow you to walk through that door.
Dr. K’s Case for Kettlebells
Degenerative patterns and why you should care.
A degenerative pattern is a combination of tissue changes (muscular, ligamentous, joint, and neurological) due to micro-trauma or macro-trauma that are seen along with faulty movement patterns. There is a re-active phase of a degenerative pattern where the tissues produce pain. If the degenerative pattern is not addressed, through re-education of the body’s movement patterns, tissue death will occur over time creating pockets of rigid tissue that has a lack of springing capacity. The degenerative pattern will remain and persist creating further faulty movement patterns up and down the kinetic chain from its source. This “compensation” often involves a distortion of the spine to help remove stress from the effected tissues. Thus, degenerative patterns act as a form of metastasizing cancer that spreads throughout the body. You can be strong, flexible, have no pain and still have a severe degenerative pattern. Degenerative joint disease, disc disease and tendinopathy are all found in the various stages of a degenerative pattern. Diagnosis of a degenerative pattern through palpation and movement assessments can identify arthritic/degenerative changes long before they will appear on radiographs. It is encouraged that any children that are involved in sports be assessed for degenerative patterns. Chiropractic is a useful tool in addressing the distortions in the spine and preventing the spread of degenerative patterns but more importantly, the patient’s faulty movement patterns need to be addressed to bring stability to the damaged and decaying tissues.
Ultimately, we should care about degenerative patterns not because they cause pain and mobility issues but that they can and will affect your nervous system and that in turn can cause digestive, immunological, cardiovascular... you name it pathologies. Yes, your current health issue can be solved by learning to swing a kettlebell. Movement (proper) is medicine. People struggle with this idea, they waste so much time and money on herbs, supplements, massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, and even more literally crazy things but will refuse to learn how to breath or squat properly. You have been conned by people who want to make money off you. There is a place for the things I listed above but they are tools to help you achieve improved functionality. No doctor can magically heal tissue for you, no doctor can magically strengthen weakened inhibited muscles but you. For more on mechanical stress: https://youtu.be/mngjr_TAo9Q
We have defined the disease now let us define the cure, stability: Most coaches would classify this as unwanted movement at the lumbopelvic region and sacroiliac joints. This is something we want for a majority of our movements throughout the day and even our static postures such as sitting or standing. When we workout our first goal should be reeducation of the body to improve our functional patterns. We can lose weight, build muscle, and still share the same degenerative patterns as someone who sits at a desk all day and never exercised in their life. As a Chiropractor and certified Foundation Training instructor I further understand spinal stability to include the whole spine and even the ribcage. The thoracic spine and ribcage are generally more stable than the cervical and lumbar regions in most cases. The thoracic region and its posterior chain of muscles tends to need more mobility work. For example, someone can have hypermobility at the glenohumeral joint (shoulder socket) but lack shoulder blade, ribcage, and thoracic mobility. I tend to see the opposite in the hip joints, where the lumbar spine and upper sacroiliac joints have too much movement (lack stability) and the hips are very restricted in certain ranges of motion. This person is 99% of the time unaware of this issue and can even be convinced they have great hip mobility without realizing the true nature of this degenerative pattern.
Our “core” is more than the abdominals but is a network of tiny muscles that encase the spinal column and other larger groups that are major stabilizers such as the iliopsoas. Whether it be yoga, water aerobics or even heavy lifting using machines, these forms of movement can train us to move improperly for our daily life. We want exercises that train or re-educate our bodies to move right for the activities we are doing all day long. The average person bends/hinges/squats about 4,000 times a day and repetition (with poor mechanics) of this magnitude will override anything you do in the gym even if you are working out for 5 hours a week. Free weights and especially Kettlebells, introduce an “instability” to your workout which forces your spine to stabilize more. Resistance breeds strength. Our daily lives will challenge us in awkward ways, and we need to prepare for that instead of trying to combat degenerative patterns alone through stretching and isolated muscle strengthening. Even sitting is a whole-body exercise and we need to train whole body movements. Most kettlebell work is unilateral, one-sided, which is a far-cry from traditional strength training, and this further brings stability to the spine.
All in one
You can survive solely on Kettlebells even using just one. There are ways to build physique with heavy and or double kettlebell fun if that is your goal, but most people desire improved functionality and diminished chronic pain. Stability can be achieved with one light (I’d recommend working up to at least a yellow, 16kg or 35lbs) kettlebell. The versatility is astounding alone if you’re thinking of just targeting the muscle groups you normally do with other types of weight training but for me the magic is in mimicking movements we were designed to perform. With Kettlebell training we are using the whole body and not isolating specific muscles just like you’d do in real life if you were trying to move something heavy.
What if you like doing a certain activity more? Great, you only need a few short kettlebell sessions a week to make a big difference. Also, strength training teaches you good mechanics for other types of exercise and sports. However, Foundation Training helped me gain enough stability and understanding of proper biomechanics without the risk of weights when I was at a stage of severe degeneration with advanced neurological stress that was highly affecting my gut and immune system. Even though I was in my late twenties my body was in its seventies. My hip and shoulder mobility was atrocious and I couldn’t squat without my heels up. I developed shingles which most people don’t even get past age sixty. I was sick all winter long, I was overweight and depressed, and any exercise would cripple me for a week. Foundation Training was not only the first relief I got but also taught me how to move from my hips and brace my core.
Swings and your body Slings
The Kettlebell swing, in its many variations, mimics farming activities such as shoveling, using a hoe, pitchfork etc. The kettlebell swing is exceptional at eliminating back pain even without coaching because it naturally trains your body to keep the kettlebell at your center of gravity. As the kettlebell swings behind your center of gravity (the back swing) your hips naturally hinge, your core braces, and your feet grip the ground. To bring the kettlebell forward, as if you were lifting a heavy basket that you wanted to bring up for head-carrying, the legs have to push into the ground and your back and entire posterior chain that runs along the spine are encouraged to extend and lift (a movement that can pry open compressed spinal facet joints). Our fascia connects our muscles into slings that wrap and encase the body. These muscular slings are meant to work together. When we do a basic kettlebell swing, we activate the anterior slings to pull the kettlebell back down for the back swing and thread it between the legs where the posterior slings of the body will engage to thrust the kettlebell forward once more. If we do this with one hand or in a split stance, we unilaterally challenge the body. I’ve worked on twisted humans for a decade now and I can tell you we all have slings or one-sided kinetic chains that are inhibited and underworked which result in degenerative changes in the joint and muscular tissues. We need to stop treating the symptoms and address the cause, which is a lack of activation.
It’s Easy and Fun
While I enjoy Olympic lifting and I understand its tremendous benefits it can be complicated to learn and can require mobility that most people don’t have. With Kettlebells we are using a lot less weight and the design is more forgiving and versatile than a barbell. While I actively promote Foundation Training, its complexity can be a turn off for people. Kettlebell training is a good starting point for most people even if your body cannot handle the swings right away, Romanian style deadlifts with breathing and bracing can help you grasp the core principles Foundation Training is trying to impart. Decompression, anchoring, and integration are the three elements of Foundation Training, but these concepts are designed to be applied to all your movements and workouts. Often a small amount of weight can be just enough input for your muscles and joints to adopt the principles of Foundation Training without having to fully grasp them theoretically. As I mentioned earlier, placing someone's muscles and joints in an unstable environment for a brief period can cause the posterior chain’s mechanoreceptors to fire to protect the joints of the spine, forcing the ball-socket joints (hips and shoulders) to do more. Sometimes If I see someone bending at the low spine (rounding or tucking the pelvis) instead of hinging at the hips to do a kettlebell swing or RDL I encourage them to try more weight to see if that solves the form issue. If not, we can always get back to basics with Foundation Training to train lumbopelvic stability in a slower, but safer way.
Want to learn Kettlebell basics from me? Watch my Coffee and Kettlebell show at 7am on Tuesdays. Search TheFIXNEPA on Facebook to find our page and follow us to catch our next live workout.
Follow this link for past live workouts or Search NEPAFIX on YouTube and go to playlists.
You were designed.
I believe in a Creator and that we were designed for a specific purpose. Our environment has trained us to move improperly. Flat surfaces, shoes, chairs, cars, books, and technology all encourage poor biomechanics (breathing being the most vital victim) but also the lack of physical tasks such as heavy lifting has diminished our vitality. There are blessings that come with operating within our designed parameters and curses for failing to perform our function. The laws of nature are eternal, comforts can be curses and pain can be a blessing. Adam was created to be a gardener, a keeper of Yahweh’s Temple. He did have a job even before sin and the fall. Man was still designed to take care of the earth, move on uneven ground, lift heavy things and breath the fresh air. Our modern comforts of living have brought a heavy curse, but the good news is it is not as hard of a fix as people make it out to be. Folks have beaten terrible diseases simply by learning to breathe and move better. We were designed to lift weight; it helps decompress the intervertebral discs and takes pressure off the nerve roots and spinal cord. As we build this ‘load tolerance’ we suffer from far less injuries and mechanical stress. Now, some people can go out and just start doing hard labor and fix their issues but unfortunately most will take their poor biomechanics and force their bodies to lift in ways we were not designed to. Reeducation is vital before anyone attempts “exercise”. Removing mechanical stress reduces emotional and toxic stress as well. For more on how we were designed to move watch the series Exile-Strong. https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLWKiUOLKtZXQdG4vC09ipamW-srNQyNdz
SAY GOODBYE TO YOUR PAIN
FIND RELIEF WITH THE FIX
I have been practicing as a Chiropractor since 2013. Around 2018, I had become fed up with sending my patients to expensive physical therapists who weren’t giving them the instruction they needed to become independent from pain. The whole body approach that programs like “Foundation Training” teaches, helped revolutionize how I understood the healing process. The motions we use all day, everyday, are important and the most repetitive of those motions is breathing. Working on the fundamentals is the key to solving neurological stress and joint degeneration.
Testimonial from Patrick Bland @Ridgelinefitness
If you want make an appointment click on book now or call us 570-561-8019
ABOUT THE FIX
Learn to fix yourself
Is having great health easier to achieve than you've been making it out to be? Movement therapy isn't the first solution that comes to mind for addressing most of the diseases our culture faces today, but how we breath and approach movement is more at the root of our problems than what you've been told... why haven't you been told? Because it's more profitable to sell you diets, pills, and passive treatments that just mask the symptoms. Movement costs little money and takes minimal effort each day to gain ground.