Eliminating Short Leg: Cycling Performance

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Eliminating Short Leg: Cycling Performance

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“I knew a lot about the negative effects leg-length differences have on cycling performance before I had my unequal leg-lengths corrected by Dr. Groover. Leg-length differences are a big bike-fitting challenge I’ve dealt with in my bike frame-building company since the early 1980’s. Naturally, a way to correct these length differences on a long-term basis appeals to me.

For me, working with Dr. Groover is fascinating, informative, and generally very useful. I have been to Dr. Groover after many injuries about which I’ve seen many health practitioners. In almost every case, the unique way Dr. Groover explained the problem, treated it, and the rehab exercises he gave me made more difference to my healing than anything else I had tried.

From having my leg lengths even, my back pain is reduced and my pedaling is smoother and more comfortable. Dr. Groover’s adjustments hold for a long time — until my next bike or ski crash. I did not previously know how correctable most leg-length differences are (for the long term). I recommend Boulder Chiropractic Clinic because Dr. Groover’s treatments are effective, and the beneficial effects are lasting. The benefits riders will appreciate the most are more comfort, especially on long rides – low back, shoulders, and neck, as well as a smoother and more powerful pedal stroke.

The quality of care at Groover Clinic is high. Its Physiological Short Leg Correction program gets your human frame aligned. The Groovers offer high quality advanced treatment programs for taking care of you completely.

To take care of your injuries, I recommend Boulder Clinic’s advanced Holistic Injury Prevention and Treatment Program. Also take advantage of Groover’s Holistic Neuro-Muscular-Skeletal Performance and Wellness Program as a way to fine tune the way your body functions. And for optimizing energy production, power and endurance, try the Metabolic Performance and Wellness Program.

I recommend Boulder Clinic to any cyclist experiencing back, neck, shoulder, or joint pain. But really, in my experience, almost anybody from their teen years on could benefit from it. That’s because due to injury, or to carrying a backpack or purse for years over one shoulder, or to other posture habits, almost everyone has their head carriage off and stands with more weight on one foot than the other. And, while I’ve been to many practitioners who would improve that temporarily, only Dr. Groover’s methods have ever made a lasting difference. My first correction from him held from two years!”

Lennard Zinn is founder and President of Zinn Cycles Inc., Senior Technical Writer for VeloNews, Author, Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance/Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance/Zinn’s Cycling Primer/ Zinn and the Art of Triathlon Bikes.

Low Back Pain: Understanding, Correcting and Managing Healthy Lumbar Curvature and Pelvic Tilt

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Spinal curves are essential for balance, flexibility, and stress absorption and distribution.

Lumbar Curve and Pelvic Tilt Mythology

Of the 80% who have low back pain, an inordinate number seem to be getting, and worsening this condition from believing in some common low back pain-perpetuating myths. These myths surround misconceptions about the role played by the lumbar curve and the pelvic tilt. Their lumbar curve and pelvic tilt assumptions come from an uninformed aesthetic, structural and functional point of view.


Sitting in forward flexed “C-Shape” flattens your low back curve.

Flattening Your Lumbar Curve

Forward bending exercises and stretches, without objective assessment of lumbar curvature, may cause you to develop an abnormally flat low back.

Sitting in a “C- shape”, the shape forced upon us when we sit in a bucket seat, will flatten your low back too.

Ligament Injuries

Flattening your lumbar curve moves your spinal load forward, stretching open and spraining the posterior ligaments of your lumbar spine. Injured ligaments cause joints to become unstable — predisposing them to further misalignments and resulting nerve, inflammation, muscle and pain problems.

Disc Injuries

Chronic straightening and loading of your lumbar with spinal loading forces the intervertebral disc’s nucleus posterior, increasing your risk for nerve encroachment from disc herniation.

Flattening your lumbar curve overloads your front-side lumbar discs, increasing your risk for acute disc injury (bulging, herniation, rupture) and disc degeneration. Flattening your lumbar curve removes or decreases that curve’s spring-action, shock-absorbing function. Therefore, pounding forces traveling through your spine, previously absorbed by this spring, are focused upon your anterior lumbar discs.

Posterior Pelvis Rotation

Rotating your pelvis in the posterior direction additionally flattens your lumbar curve, adding to your already elevated risk for acute lumbar disc injuries and degenerative arthritis of the lumbar spine.

Also, by rotating your pelvis in the posterior direction, it is often believed that you activate your abdominal core muscles, stabilizing your pelvis, low back and rib cage. Unfortunately posterior pelvic rotation does not activate your abdominal core. By assuming that it does; and by using this maneuver during spinal loading activities like lifting, pushing and pulling; you exposes your unstable pelvis, low back and rib cage to joint misalignments and acute joint injuries.

Hyperlordosis (excessive lumbar curve) with accompanying anterior pelvic rotation loads your posterior spine.

Excessive Lumbar Curve

On the other hand, excessive lumbar curve and forward rotation of your pelvis shifts the loading down your posterior lumbar spine. Doing so stretches and sprains your lumbar spine’s anterior ligaments, resulting in associated ligament-injury problems.

Posterior loading of your lumbar spine takes the load off your intervertebral discs and shifts it upon your lumbar facet joints. Overloading of these joints causes compressive joint ligament injuries and joint surface wear and tear, bone deformation and arthritis.

Overloaded lumbar facet joints compress, jam, fixate, inflame and are painful.

Joint Pounding

Your lumbar discs cushion and absorb shocks passing along your spine. Shifting loading forces from your lumbar discs to your facet joints exposes these joints, and also joints throughout your entire body, to excessive pounding.

Abdominal core activation compresses abdominal contents, producing a “fluid-filled” column supporting up to 40% of your weight transferred between your thorax to your pelvis.

Bypassing Abdominal Core

Posterior lumbar load-shifting will bypasses the the critical weight-bearing/weight-transferring work performed by your abdominal core musculature.

Bypassing Lumbar “Leaf-Spring”

Furthermore, posterior loading of your lumbar spine diverts shock-producing forces from becoming dissipated through the leaf-spring action of the lumbar curve and into the posterior facet joints of your lumbar spine.


How’s Your Baseline Fitness?

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When performance of your activities of daily living are successful and within your ability to maintain good health, you have baseline fitness. Looking specifically at your joints, when you do your everyday lifting, bending, sitting, walking, running, pushing, pulling and throwing, do your joints remain stable? Are they already aligned or are they misaligned? If they are aligned, when you use them, do they remain aligned? How do you know if your joints are aligned in the first place? How do you know if you have healthy brain-to-nerve-to-muscle-to-joint feedback?

Of course you may come to see me and I’ll answer these questions for you. However, by using the following criteria, you should be able give yourself a fairly accurate assessment.

  1. Do you have joint aches or pains? When your joints miss-align, their state of abnormal mechanics cause them to grind and chafe, to become inflamed and they hurt.
  2. Do you have muscle aches or pains? When your joints miss-align, their associated nerve endings will report this to your brain. You brain will respond to this abnormal feedback by contracting certain muscles. Long-term muscle shortening strangles the muscular blood supply, cutting off the exchange of oxygen (anoxia) and nutrients with carbon dioxide and other waste products. Contracted, oxygen-deprived, waste-saturated muscles hurt.
  3. Are your joints stiff? Contracted muscles stiffen your joints.
  4. Are your muscles weak? Poor neuromuscular control of your joints weakens your muscles.

The stability your joints depends upon their ability to function with strength, flexibility and comfort. Your joint-mover and joint-stabilizer muscles must be reporting and receiving normal information to and from your brain. While your joint mover-muscles remain active, your joint stabilizer muscles must effectively oppose the actions of your joint-movers to keep your joints aligned and healthy. This is joint fitness in a nutshell.


Neuromuscular Education of Your Knee & Joints

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Neuromuscular re-education is an attempt to teach your body to move normally through analysis of your abnormal movement and then learning and practicing the normal movement. Theoretically, your normal movement patterns involve specific nerve signals transmitted through specific nerve tracts between your muscles and your brain. By practicing normal movement repeatedly over time, these nerve tracts become reinforced and these normal muscle movement patterns are learned and remembered. It is thought that normal muscle movement patterns are disrupted when nerves or muscles are injured, and normal movement may be regained through Neuromuscular re-education.

I find it is true that abnormal movement results from nerve and muscle injuries and may be relearned. However, it is my clinical experience that certain conditions must be in place for that to occur. Namely, movement-disrupting injuries are more extensive than those to nerves and muscles, and to restore normal movement, these injuries must be healed.

The traumas which injure muscles and nerves will most likely injure your joints too. In most of my cases, joint injury is the primary injury and the nerve and muscle injuries are secondary to (they are caused by) the joint injury. Joint injuries occur from both acute and repetitive stress traumas. Acute traumas abound in contact sports and motor vehicle collisions, where excessive forces sprain your ligaments, strain your muscles and bruise your nerves, and worse. Accompanying these sprains and strains are displacements of your bones from their healthy, neutral alignments within your joint capsules.

Your joints contain bone, cartilage and synovial fluid encapsulated by ligaments, muscles and membranes. Your joints contain nerve endings (mechanoreceptors) which deliver feedback such as information about the alignment of the bones within your joints, joint capsular pressure, ligament, tendon and muscle tension/tone and the position of your limbs in space. When your joints are injured, and therefore misaligned, feedback from these injured joints to your central nervous system becomes abnormal. You’ve heard the expression “garbage in — garbage out”. The control of the nerves associated with those injured  joints is disrupted or lost and abnormal motion of the joints ensues.

In this case, treating the abnormal muscles and nerves without realigning the joint and healing the ligament and other soft tissue injuries can only go so far. Based upon my clinical experience, I propose that the injured ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves will not effectively heal until their associated joints are realigned and are moving normally in the first place.


Overcoming Anterior Head Carriage Affliction, By Dr. Tom Groover

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Anterior head carriage with elevated Frankfort Line, a syndrome afflicting almost everyone, is the basis for acute neck injuries and long-term restricted breathing, arthritic degeneration, weakness, stiffness, inflammation and pain. Posture and movement training and spinal joint corrections align and stabilize your head – shoulder relationships for vibrantly healthy living.

Odds are you have anterior head carriage accompanied by superior Frankfort Line. Anterior head carriage exists when your ear canal protrudes forward beyond mid-shoulder and superior Frankfort Line when your inferior eye socket is elevated above your ear canal. These pervasive, acute and repetitive stress-induced, head and neck trauma-related disorders account for widespread headache, neck stiffness, fatigue, pain; even anxiety and depression. Understanding this condition, making the necessary lifestyle modifications and getting the proper professional help could change your life for the better — forever.

Posture and Movement Origins

Our bed pillows, car seats, chairs, couches and desks; at home, work and leisure; forwardly flex our bodies, for many hours per day, into C-shapes. The forms taught to us for gym workouts and even yoga practice do the same. Our activities of daily living train our front side muscles to become short and strong, and back side muscles to become long and weak. Our world is so full of forward flexion and forward interaction, that we are not too aware of the space immediately behind us. We tend to move into, and relate very well to the space before and beside, but not behind us. Therefore, when asked to stand up completely erect, almost everyone’s body curves forward while they insist that they are standing completely upright.

Whiplash Origins

Whiplash thrusts your head and neck backward and then forward, injuring neck ligaments and muscles; misaligning your vertebral joints, bending your neck forward and forcing your face upward. Whiplash injuries frequently occur during car crashes, but also from sports collisions and slips and falls.

Ligament Traumas

Torn and overstretched ligaments of your neck’s vertebral joints injure nerve endings within these ligaments responsible for maintaining your spinal stabilization system. Your spinal stabilization system protects your spinal joints from injuries and vertebral misalignments by activating and coordinating your core stabilizer muscles. These muscles maintain the alignment of your spine during movement and exertion. Neck ligament injuries disrupt the nerve control of your neck stabilizer muscles, making them weak, contracted, painful and unresponsive. Cervicogenic headache is the headache generated from such neck injury. Destabilization of your neck causes susceptibility to acute injury, and causes abnormal neck movement and neck joint wear and tear leading to degenerative neck arthritis.

Spinal Nerve Injuries

Spinal nerve roots emanating from your neck undergo tension, compression and congestion stress when your neck miss-aligns. Associated nerve disruptions impair your muscle and organ functions and interfere with your righting mechanism, disturbing your balance and sense of where your body is located in space.

Postural Stress

Your forward positioned neck and upward tilted head lock up your neck’s vertebral joints. They chronically over-stretch your back-side neck ligaments and muscles and compresses your neck’s intervertebral discs. These abnormal posture and movement patterns generate neck stiffness, pain and headaches. In addition, your forward head carriage chronically stretches your spinal cord, which in turn stretches your brain and spinal nerve roots. This nerve tension interferes with neurological function throughout your central and peripheral nervous systems and therefore,  all organs and systems throughout your body.

Respiratory Stress

Anterior head carriage with superior Frankfort Line disrupts normal breathing by shortening your respiratory muscles, compressing the front side and tensing the back side of your rib cage. The resulting shallow breathing reduces your lung capacity, requiring more frequent breaths. This respiratory impairment diminishes your lung function (O2/CO2 exchange), reduces your energy production and alertness, but also affects your mood. Shallow, rapid breathing correlates with anxiety and resignation.

Overcoming Anterior Head Carriage

Healing neck ligament injuries involves body-awareness training to wake up to the blind spots in our postural and movement perception. Along with posture and movement training, spinal misalignments must be corrected. Doing so facilitates your joint movement and activates the nerves and muscles to successfully execute, strengthen and stabilize that new upright and aligned posture and movement.

You must develop the capacity to extend (bend backward) your lower back and neck while tilting your head down (lowering of your chin) for placing the center of your head over the center of your shoulders and holding it there without effort. The relief you feel from your stiffness, aches and pains and improved capacity for breathing, thinking, feeling and being will more than reward you for your time and efforts.

Professional Treatment and Training

During you initial evaluation at Boulder Chiropractic Clinic you head carriage will be examined. Treatment will usually include specific, expert correction of your upper cervical spinal misalignment (deviation of the base of your head from your upper neck). This procedure will be followed by evaluations and corrections of your pelvis, lower back, upper back, lower neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, ankles, feet and temporomandibular joints as indicated. Posture and movement training, neck extension traction, and follow-up examinations and corrective care would continue until stabilization. Occasional wellness check-ups are then required for long-term maintenance.