My first day with the Fitbit Surge.

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After several days using and enduring the short battery life of my Fitbit Charge HR, it was time to upgrade to the new Surge with my hopes that I could get a better battery life as well as a better overall experience.

I’m glad I did.

The Fitbit Surge is perfect for me, and it might just be the perfect fitness tracker, despite what Gizmodo says about the Charge.

The Surge does a great job of tracking heart rate and steps, which are both things that my Charge HR did. But this goes a couple of steps further.

This screen shows how I maintained my heart rate sufficient to stay in my fat-burning mode.
This screen shows how I maintained my heart rate sufficient to stay in my fat-burning mode.

For starters, the Surge tracks GPS. Today I took my brown dog for a walk in the hills above Lafayette, and I turned on the GPS tracker to map out my hike. See the picture below. I know that my phone can do the same thing; I use that function all the time, but this time it’s all tied into the Fitbit ecosystem, which is a win for me.

This is the Fitbit Surge display screen on my iPhone.
This is the Fitbit Surge display screen on my iPhone.

Second, since the device itself is bigger than the unfortunately named charge, it has a longer battery life. I’m coming off of being a loyal Fitbit One user, and I found the half day charge that the Charge held unacceptable. Especially if it’s designed to track your sleep, so you have to wear it overnight… When do you charge your charge? I would wake up in the morning with a full battery, and by the time I got done with my first workout, it would be near-death. So yes, I’m happy that the Surge is bigger.

Here I am chasing Oco the brown dog on the trails overlooking Lafayette, CA.
Here I am chasing Oco the brown dog on the trails overlooking Lafayette, CA.

Further, I’m loving the notifications that the Surge gives me. I like the way I get text messages and Facebook notifications with a little buzz on my wrist.

A GPS map generated after I went for a short hike.
A GPS map generated after I went for a short hike.
Oco the brown dog, loving his hike.
Oco the brown dog, loving his hike.

Felicia Abernethy-Lloyd

The Joint Commission now Recommends Chiropractic Therapy for Hospitals and Urgent Care Centers

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Starting this month, January 2015, The Joint Commission is now recommending that doctors and administrators refer pain patients to chiropractors and other non-pharmacological therapists.

In the past, when hospitals received a patient who was complaining of pain, the only approved mode of treatment that they did, according to guidelines, was to give drug-therapy.

However, with our growing awareness of the dangers and abuses of opioid drugs for pain, the Joint Commission revised their recommendations for pain.

If you go to an urgent care center or a hospital with pain now, they have two paths they can take. the first path is the same one that has always been there: They give drugs. The second path is the new one: They recommend chiropractic or acupuncture for pain.

This is important because the research showing that chiropractic is effective for acute and chronic back pain is now catching up to hospital recommendations. This allows high-risk patients to have an alternative to drugs for their pain. This gives more options for patients and doctors alike.

Chiropractic is a profession, not a therapy. But a big part of our tool box is to use spinal manipulation to restore function. When your spine moves better, it feels better.

Todd Lloyd, DC

Annual Report Joint Commission (pdf)
Chiropractors as physicians
From the ACA

Point Bonita Lighthouse

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Last weekend, the weekend between Christmas and New Years, Felicia and I took my son, Alexander to Point Bonita Light House. This is that lighthouse that watches guard and protects ships as the enter the Golden Gate. It’s a small lighthouse that has a new, interesting suspension bridge for pedestrians.

To get there, you take the last or first Marin Exit, Alexander Avenue. The. You drive past all of the tourists getting their unique perspectives of the Golden Gate Bridge, and you continue your way to Point Bonita. The hike down to the lighthouse is steep, and you duck through a tunnel carved into the rock before you emerge to the lighthouse.

We didn’t get a chance to spend much time here because we were already running behind for a different obligation. But we got a couple of pictures in. Here they are.

What is your favorite light house in California?

Todd Lloyd, DC
Chiropractor in San Francisco.








New Years resolutions

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I’m sitting here setting up the WordPress app on my iPhone. Why? Because I have 3 resolutions to make in 2015.

1. Build my chiropractic practice here at Rincon Chiropractic in San Francisco.
2. Build my professional brand and reputation on and off-line.
3. Build my personal fitness.

No, these aren’t goals. Goals have to be measurable with a deadline. I’ll be doing goals too. I plan on setting in goals in 1-week increments. I’ll be setting up measurable targets that are attainable in weekly intervals. Something like eat a salad for breakfast every weekday this week. Or, reach a body weight of 225 as measured on the family FitBit Auria scale in the morning.

So, part of this resolution setting is to be consistent with blog posts and to make them meaningful and educational to the public at large. And, I’m sorry to say, this is a test post that I may just keep public.

Keeping this public will keep me accountable. What do you do to make yourself accountable for your own goals?

Todd Lloyd, DC
Chiropractor in San Francisco.




Progress being made on our exam room.

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Our diplomas laid out and ready to hang up.
San Francisco Chiropractic room
Adjustment bay 1!
Adjustment bay 2!

Now we are finally starting to get closer to our ideal work flow as we set up the final room in our office here at Rincon Chiropractic.

Rincon Chiropractic
180 Howard St.
San Francisco, CA 94105

Dr. Todd Lloyd
doctor of chiropractic in San Francisco

What does it take to get back into shape? And is it healthy to be super-lean?

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This interesting infographic from Precision Nutrition shows an overview of the healthy habits that you get into when you make the change to be healthy instead of unhealthy. This graphic goes through stages from a person who is sedentary to different levels of leanness and athleticism. It shows you the general habits you need to adapt when you want to be that person who has less than 20% body fat and looks good naked.

Full infographic here.

This shows the unhealthy habits of the average person who doesn't really care about their health or their appearance. Someone who might be ready to make a change.
This shows the unhealthy habits of the average person who doesn’t really care about their health or their appearance. Someone who might be ready to make a change.
This is someone who maintains a reasonable level of health and fitness, but may have to avoid the unhealthy habits of others as they go to social gatherings.
This is someone who maintains a reasonable level of health and fitness, but may have to avoid the unhealthy habits of others as they go to social gatherings.
With tons of work and dedication, you can be that person who is on magazine covers with a chiseled six-pack set of abs. But at what cost?
With tons of work and dedication, you can be that person who is on magazine covers with a chiseled six-pack set of abs. But at what cost?

From Precision Nutrition.

Todd Lloyd, DC
San Francisco Chiropractor

What are the top 4 causes of disability in the United States?

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[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][text_output]Most people know that heart disease, stroke, and cancer are the biggest killers in America. That’s why everyone talks about sticking to a “heart-healthy” diet, whatever your way of eating may be.

But did you know what the biggest ailment is for your quality of life?[/text_output][skill_bar heading=”Low Back Pain” percent=”87%” bar_text=”3181″][skill_bar heading=”Depression” percent=”83%” bar_text=”3049″][skill_bar heading=”Other Body Aches” percent=”71%” bar_text=”2603″][skill_bar heading=”Neck Pain” percent=”58%” bar_text=”2134″][text_output]Isn’t that interesting? These problems don’t kill you, but they might make you wish you were dead. as a matter of fact, according to this chart, you can combine deaths and quality of life to provide a stat that talks about “Disability-Adjusted Life-Years” (DALYs.) It’s not just important to life a long life so you can continue to contribute to society, your community, and leave a legacy with your family, but it’s also important to have a good quality of life.

You can’t have a good quality of life if your body can’t move. You need to have hips that move through their full range of motion with full strength in order to do the most basic functions. You need to be able to squat on the toilet in order to live independently. You need to be able to climb stairs in order to live in San Francisco. Your shoulder needs to move through full range of motion in order to care for yourself too. And let’s not forget that in order to have a healthy brain, you need to be able to exercise and move about your day. Depression is number 2 on the list, and it can be devastating.

Yes, it is important to maintain good cardiovascular health, and good-working lungs are vitally important. But, as you go about your day to day life, taking care of the way your joints articulate, the way your muscles support your skeleton, and the way your nerves orchestrate it all is the most important part of your waking day.

This chart shows the causes of death in America, then it also show s the causes of disability.
This chart shows the causes of death in America, then it also show s the causes of disability.

Todd Lloyd, DC
Doctor of Chiropractic in San Francisco.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Moving to a standing desk: do you have a transition plan?

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We have a lot of patients in tech and finance who are starting that transition from sitting at their workstation, to standing. That certainly sounds great if you’ve been sitting all day and your shoulders and neck ache after a long day.

But standing at your workstation can provide its own set of problems. Standing at your desk can be just as taxing to your spine as sitting if you aren’t careful.

Quitting Sitting is a nice resource that outlines some of the basic guidelines to make the transition, and to properly set up your workstation.

Here are a sample of ideas:
1. When you set up a standing desk, your monitor should rise more than your keyboard. Your arms should be relaxed at your side more than when you are sitting.
2. Invest in an anti-fatigue mat to take the stress off of your feet.
3. Grab a soccer ball to roll under your feet as you work. This keeps your body moving to avoid fatigue.

There are many more helpful tips. Check it out.

Todd Lloyd, DC
San Francisco chiropractor

What exactly happens in your muscles when you stretch?

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All my life I’ve been told that I need to stretch. Everyone knows that you have to stretch. Except, I’ve always been a little bit against the cult of stretching. First of all, when you stretch before an athletic event, you have a higher chance of injuring yourself (It’s more important to warm up, which is a totally different thing.) However, it’s universally accepted that it’s good to stretch after vigorous activity. I’ve always felt that exercising a muscle is far more effective for keeping it healthy than stretching is, and I stand by this argument.

Now, it’s time for me to put away my bias against stretching, though, and tell you exactly what happens when you stretch.

Why stretch?

You need to ensure that you have good mobility of all of the joints in your body. Mobility means that your joints go through their full articulation range of motion (without going too far or subluxating), and going through this motion with full, healthy strength in the muscles and ligaments that control the joint. Full, strong mobility is essential for your quality of life. If one body part has too little mobility, then another body part has to take up all the work, and can become damaged or over-fatigued.

Muscles have to be strong, but they also have to be fully extensible. That’s where stretches help.

The soft tissues surrounding your joints can shorten due to lack of movement like when you are stuck sitting at your desk all day, or if you are on the couch all evening. Your ligaments and muscles also shorten and lengthen in the wrong places when you have bad posture, too. If your head is jutted forward all day, you will want to do some postural stretches. Past injuries can make your joints stuck in a certain position and preventing full range of motion; stretching is essential for this. you might have a problem that you were born with or has developed as you grew up, like scoliosis, that you need to stretch out.

Loss of mobility can really affect the way you move about your day and ultimately the way you can take care of yourself. Imagine being 70 years old and not being able to use your shoulder to reach around or not being able to use your hips to squat on the toilet. That’s when your kids take you away and lock you up at Merrill Gardens so someone can wipe for you.

You should know what contracture is.

Contracture is defined as the adaptive shortening of the muscle-tendon unit and other soft tissues that cross or surround a joint that results in significant resistance to passive or active stretch  and limitation of ROM, and it may compromise functional activities.

Contracture is when your muscles, tendons, and ligaments are shortened. It’s adaptive, so your muscles have adapted to sitting all day, and they have tightened up in their new position.

Some sources say that contracture is a complete loss of motion, where others use it interchangeably with “tightness” or “short.” The focus of this guide is not to talk about a clinical impairment that you’ll never be able to stretch out without manipulation under anesthesia. Rather, we are going to talk about stretching for the average, functional athlete, office worker, and person with tight hamstrings.

What happens to an unused muscle?

An unused muscle degenerates just like a joint does if it doesn’t move. When you don’t use a muscle, it atrophies. It gets smaller. It gets diseased too. When you don’t use a muscle, the fibrous filaments called sarcomeres start to get reabsorbed by the body. This is called sarcomere absorption and this is how muscles shrink if you stop working out. Along with losing the functional parts of your muscles, your muscles go from lean and efficient to fatty and fibrous. Fat cells start to go in between the layers in the muscles and make a new home. Collagen fibers grown in these same layers and start to velcro themselves to the muscle layers.

They say that once you start using your muscles again, you will reverse this damage, but that only goes so far. Stretching muscles that have shrunk because of disuse can break apart the velcro adhesions left behind from the fibers and allow you full mobility again. Stretching is not enough, though because you still need to actively move your muscles. And by actively moving your muscles, you have to put in the effort. Your brain needs to send a signal to the nerves going to your muscles to tel your muscles to contract against resistance and through full range of motion.

[skill_bar heading=”Healthy muscle” percent=”95%” bar_text=”healthy”]
[skill_bar heading=”Atrophied muscle” percent=”55%” bar_text=”sick” style=”background-color: #993300″]

Exercise that sick muscle!

So what happens when you stretch?

When you stretch, your muscle lengthens a certain percentage. This is called sarcomere give. The telescoping fibers in your muscles slide apart until they are caught by the signals from the nerves and/or from the limits placed from the connective tissue surrounding the muscle fibers.

When you hold that stretch, there are two things that are probably happening.

  1. You are stretching the connective tissue of the muscle, including the ligaments that surround the muscle itself like Saran Wrap and the tough tendon as it moves to attach to the bone. This fiberous tissue gives a little with its elastic quality. While holding the stretch longer, you are testing the connective tissue’s viscoelastic properties. It will lengthen and won’t shrink back into position for some time. The longer you hold the stretch, the longer it will hold a new length.
  2. The microscopic filaments in the belly of your muscle (the sarcomeres) are slowly being more and more lengthened. Special sensors in the muscles called muscle spindles are relaxing their tight grip on the set tone and length of the muscle and it is allowing a small amount of relaxation to happen. At first, there’s a big fight as the reflex is triggered, but it may give up after a minute of a gentle stretch.
Muscle spindles regulate the length and tone of the contractile elements of your muscles.
Muscle spindles regulate the length and tone of the contractile elements of your muscles.

If you are stretching an unused, atrophied muscle, like your hamstrings that you sit on all day, you are stressing the fatty and fibrous connective tissue that has marbled your muscle. You are pulling it apart. You are stimulating it to go away. Slowly and gradually. As you work this out, and with more muscle exercise, you will resorb more and more fatty infiltrates. You will make more healthy muscle fibers. Your muscle cells will build more mitochondria, which helps create more energy.

When I first started looking into “what happens when you stretch a muscle?”, I first thought that I would have to explain away the complex neurology between the muscle spindles in your muscles, the golgi tendon organs in your tendons and the nerves that travel back and forth between your muscle and spinal cord and even the inhibitory neurons from the brain.

It turns out that stretching only has a temporary effect on the length of the active contractile fibers. When you stretch your muscles and you trick them into becoming longer, it only lasts so long, then the nervous system rests itself to its normal tone. Of course, this tone has to do with how well the underlying joint is moving, or not moving. You stretch, you return to normal.

They say that stretching actually influences the non-contractile elements in your muscles. This is that Saran-Wrap like sheath of tendon (epimyosin) that surrounds the muscle belly and any scar tissue adhesions that you developed over the years. It also includes the marbleized fat inside your muscles when you don’t move them.

What does marbelized fat in your muscles look like? You've seen fatty steaks before. It's the same thing. Good for steaks, but bad for your own muscles.
What does marbelized fat in your muscles look like? You’ve seen fatty steaks before. It’s the same thing. Good for steaks, but bad for your own muscles.

Does chiropractic stretch the joints?

Just like your muscles can develop contracture that makes them shorten and tight, your joints can develop contracture too. You can get fibrous adhesions in your joint capsule that will restrict motion. When your joints don’t move well, they signal your muscles to guard against too much movement. This can happen quickly, even if your joints are relatively healthy. Think about the burning sensation you can develop in your shoulders from sitting too long. Your muscles are reacting to being fixed in one place for too long. The muscles in your spine are particularly vulnerable to this.

If you’v e had a chiropractic adjustment, then you know the relief that you get when your joints move better. Your muscles relax with it. Chiropractic will take an immobilized joint in your spine and make it move better. In some cases, it will free up adhesions so the movement is permanent.

Action steps.

Yes. Keep stretching short muscles. However, if you are already really flexible, then avoid stretching muscles that are already too long. If you are working on muscles that are short, atrophied, and diseased, then you also need to exercise that muscle. Your tight hip flexors need to actively move as well as being stretched.  It sounds counterintuitive, but a short, hurting muscle needs to contract too.

Stretch those tight hamstrings, but also do some deadlifts and lunges to rehab them to their former glory.

Todd Lloyd, DC
chiropractor in San Francisco