A Doctor’s Experience with Low Back Pain- A Letter to my Patients

I have a confession to make.  I’m not as invincible as I thought.

My days in the office revolve around helping people make measurable improvements in your health by caring for a number of health concerns.  I’m honored by all of you who put your trust in me with your health.  It is truly a privilege to be your doctor.

During a normal day, I am very active and rarely sit down between patients.  I may sit for a minute or two every few hours if I have the chance.  There are times where I am required to bend and lift during adjustments and exams.  I consider myself to be overall fairly healthy, and most days at the office proceed as normal.

Recently, though, I gradually noticed over a few days that my upper and lower back did not feel right.  Being busy and active, I figured it was probably a simple tight muscle from all the work or from the gym. I decided to rest that evening and do no exercise.  But next morning, my back still ached like never before. The low back pain increased to the point where I would pray for a break in the schedule so I could sit and rest.

I knew I needed an adjustment, but I had no appointment for my regular visit. This was my first mistake. My problem began right before the holiday break, and my Chiropractor was out of town.  So I was forced to wait over a week before I could be adjusted.

All I wanted to do was lay down.  But even then the pain was still nagging at my body and my mood.

I tried everything I could think of, but nothing corrected the problem.

It wasn’t until I was adjusted that I really noticed a difference.  My body began healing once the problem was addressed.

This episode was an important event for me.  I had the intellectual knowledge of knowing what it feels like to live with chronic pain, but it wasn’t until I experienced it myself that I was able to fully understand the emotions and thoughts surrounding low back pain.

In summary, I learned a few valuable lessons.

  1. Listen to your body
    • When I noticed my body wasn’t working at 100 percent, I should have realized something needed to be done sooner than later.  Ignoring a problem like low back pain doesn’t make it go away.
  2. Know your limits
    • Everyone needs regular check-ups to stay in optimal health, even myself.  If I would have scheduled sooner, when I was feeling great, this could have been avoided.
  3. Act Fast
    • The problem with my back did not begin when I started feeling the secondary condition of pain. The primary condition (a structural shift) started before I was able to sense anything was wrong.  This is why keeping appointments, including me, is very important.  If not, the adjustments will simply serve to chase pain and never lead to better long term health and function.

Sincerely,Dr. Sean Gimbert

Alzheimer’s Disease and Protecting Your Brain

As our species continues to live longer, our elderly population grows exponentially year after year. While the population worldwide continues to age, the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease is predicted to grow with it. But why? Thus far, the cause seems to be unknown. Most of the studies believe it is due to environmental and genetic factors. Recent research paves the way for other emerging topics including preserving brain function and brain blood flow as strategies for approaching the inevitable process of age.

Alzheimer’s is an irreversible and progressive brain disorder with the most common symptom being memory loss. It is also known as the most common cause of dementia. As the disease progresses, cognitive function like thinking and reasoning as well as behavioral abilities and overall independence decline. The characteristic findings of Alzheimer’s are biomarkers called amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles found in and around the brain. It can destroy a life long before it passes and is extremely heartbreaking for families to endure.

Lifestyle Risk Factors

Many of the factors that put an aging individual at a higher risk for Alzheimer’s are lifestyle choices. Research has shown that things like smoking, diabetes, obesity, and vascular disease have been found to increase the risk. Something as simple as throwing out the pack of squares for good, or adding 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise a day can reduce that risk. Cognitive stimulating activities like reading or strategy games also show long term benefits for the brain and memory. An interesting correlation between vascular health, cholesterol, and Alzheimer’s Disease lays the groundwork for the possibilities of prevention.

How Alzheimer’s Changes the Brain

The pathophysiological changes that occur in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s Disease can lead us in a new direction for health care. As this disease progresses, the brain begins to breakdown by means of atrophy (or shrinking), inflammation, an increase in free radicals, and mitochondrial dysfunction. Free radicals are formed when there is a disruption in the balance between anti-oxidants and biological stress. This is why it is important to maintain a diet high in anti-oxidant rich foods. Plant-based foods like fruits and green cruciferous vegetables are a great place to start. That large stuffed crust pizza just isn’t cutting it in the fight against free radicals.

 Alzheimer’s Disease and Protecting Your Brain 2
Cholesterol does not build up in the arteries from too much cholesterol. Plaques build up in the lining of the artery wall from an immune reaction to inflammation.

Cholesterol plays an important role in brain and nerve function. The brain contains 23% of all the cholesterol in the body. It is what makes up the phospholipid bilayer or membrane surrounding every cell in your body. It also makes up the protective covering known as the myelin sheath that surrounds all nerve and brain tissue. It is an essential component of nervous system health and therefor simply lowering total cholesterol is not a logical means of preventing disease processes that occur in the brain with Alzheimer’s. In fact, cholesterol in the blood cannot even reach the brain due to something called the blood brain barrier, and instead is made locally in the brain. The key lies in the defects of cholesterol metabolism. The goal instead should be put on maintaining a healthier ratio of cholesterol with higher levels of HDL (high-density lipoproteins) and lower levels of LDL (low-density). This can be done by replacing vegetable oils with coconut and olive oil, reducing carbs and increasing essential fats (ketogenic) in the diet, and regular exercise. A high-quality fish oil intake of about 1–2g of EPA/DHA a day has also been shown to not only benefit HDL levels, but promotes brain protection and regeneration by decreasing inflammation and oxidative stress in the CNS.

Brain Fluid Mechanics

As mentioned previously, atrophy and inflammation are hallmark findings in people with Alzheimer’s Disease. Recent evidence is shining a light on a decrease in blood flow and cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) in and out of the brain as a potential cause of brain atrophy in the elderly. Adequate blood flow into the brain is needed to supply it with oxygen and nutrients. CSF provides the brain and spinal cord with a liquid cushion during movement. It has also been linked to the brain’s immune system otherwise known as the glymphatic system. Too little CSF inside the skull and the brain stem sinks into the hole at the bottom of the skull, the foramen magnum, causing something called Arnold Chiari. Too much and something called hydrocephalus occurs. Chronic hydrocephalus causes edema and compression to the brain tissue resulting in the ventricles of the brain enlarging and an inflammatory reaction. A decrease in blood flow into the brain overtime causes chronic ischemia, (lack of oxygen) and may play a critical role in brain atrophy.

 Alzheimer’s Disease and Protecting Your Brain 1

One of the most likely places for a blockage of CSF and blood flow to occur is where the vessels pass through the junction between the skull and the upper cervical spinal canal. Acquired shifts, congenital malformations, and degenerative conditions of that delicate bony passageway may affect necessary fluid dynamics in and out of the brain and lead to neurodegenerative changes that are also seen in Alzheimer’s disease. Seeking out a cranio-cervical junction specific chiropractor to identify the presence of shifts in this area and addressing it through precision structural corrections may be the missing link to preserving brain health and avoiding the tragedy that is Alzheimer’s disease.

 

-By Dr. Ernesto Fernandez

 

[1]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3405821/

[2]http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jgs.14663/full

[3]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2841576/

[4]http://embor.embopress.org/content/early/2014/09/15/embr.201439225

[5]http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166223613001987

[6]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4635245/

[7]http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1526-4610.1995.hed3509557.x/full

[8]https://uprightdoctor.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/midbrain-atrophy-in-parkinsons-alzheimers-and-multiple-sclerosis/

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Dizziness and Balance Problems

Dizziness — More Than Just A Feeling

By Dr. Ernesto Fernandez

A broad spectrum

Dizziness is what is known as a vestibular disorder. A vestibular disorder is a condition that affects your body systems that control your sense of balance and sense of awareness of the environment. Epidemiological studies have reported that dizziness including vertigo affects over 20% of adults yearly and has reached up to 40% in those older than 40.

Different individuals can experience various forms of dizziness. You know, like the feeling after spinning one too many times on the merry-go-round, or after having one too many cocktails and then lying down. Unfortunately, many suffer from dizziness on a regular basis, without having done either of those things. In certain people being dizzy may feel like the world is spinning or rocking. In others it may feel like an inability to concentrate or even light headedness. In more severe cases of vertigo one may experience nausea and vomiting.

Due to the complexity of causes and effects of dizziness, it is important for doctors to not give the same cookie cutter diagnosis to all. Dizziness is not just some insignificant feeling. It can hinder the level of independence in an individual. Something as routine as driving their car becomes a difficult and dangerous task. It can take a toll on the overall quality of life, affecting time with family or favorite hobbies. Imagine trying to return a serve in tennis while the court is spinning around you! More important, it may dramatically increase the risk of falling and becoming seriously injured.

It’s all about the brain

Dizziness can be more accurately diagnosed and treated with a better understanding of the sensory integration between three vital aspects of the body and the brain.

  1. The inner ear (vestibular apparatus)
  2. The eyes
  3. The proprioceptive system (muscle, joint, skin)

Dizziness can manifest as a primary condition such as positional vertigo or Meniere’s disease, or as a secondary condition due to head injuries, medications, and stroke.

The most common form of dizziness diagnosed is caused by problems in the inner ear also known as Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). In brief; this type is caused by a disruption in the sensory organs in the inner ear and its ability to tell the brain where you are in the environment. This is normally due to a trauma, abnormal positional change, or viral infection. This piece of anatomy in the inner ear is called the vestibular apparatus and communicates with the brain through the vestibulocochlear nerve. Who knew the ears were responsible for much more than just hearing. Although, our spouses may believe our anatomy can’t even get that part right.

Other conditions, like a head injury or concussion for example, may affect the way your eyes move, fixate, and track targets in the environment. If your eyes are unable to register the appropriate and accurate information from the environment, your brain receives faulty signals and interprets it as a loss of balance. This creates a sensory mismatch between the eyes and the brain and can result in dizziness.

Furthermore, the proprioceptive system plays a critical role in the diagnosis and treatment of dizziness. The proprioceptive system includes receptors within the joints, muscles, tendons, and skin that communicate with the central nervous system to tell it where it is in space. Areas of the body with the highest concentration of these receptors include the hands, feet, and upper neck. A study done on the density of these receptors in specific muscles found a range of 190–242 muscle spindles per gram of tissue in the suboccipital muscles. These are tiny muscles of the upper neck that attach to the spine and skull. That is a whole lot of information coming from just your neck to tell your brain what position you’re in! Acquired or degenerative conditions of the neck like trauma, muscle spasms, and chronic postural abnormalities can cause structural shifts of the head and neck as well as tension in those joints, ligaments, and muscles. These shifts manifest as postural distortions away from the center of gravity and interferes with the important job those receptors carry. This creates another sensory mismatch between the proprioceptive tissues and the brain.

Dizziness and Balance Problems 1

A thorough investigation of each of these body symptoms should be done by doctors before making an accurate diagnosis of dizziness or vertigo. From there, different treatment strategies can be implemented to address the specific anatomy wreaking havoc in these patients’ lives. In Part II of this dizziness series we will discuss specific treatment strategies that may offer hope to those who continue to suffer from dizziness and can’t seem to find answers.

 

Sources:

[1]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27638063

[1]https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2149881-overview

[2]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22999306

[3]https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/64bb/b1b73041418d1caefcd9b9a0273501743242.pdf

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Beat The Bloat During The Holidays

With the holidays fast approaching, there will be the inevitable temptations of sweets and calorie laden dishes at every party and gathering, waiting patiently to take your health goals and drag them through the proverbial mud. But fear not! You can beat the bloat. Here are a couple ways to stay ahead and come out of the new year looking AND feeling great.

  1. Eat whole grains. A study showed that eating whole grains on a daily basis resulted in burning an extra 200 calories every day. In essence, pass on anything made with white bread, and choose organic whole grain breads. Sprouted grains are best. Whole grains also help fight constipation and bloating.
  2. Watch your milk intake. Milk is great for growing babies and can help athletes recover post exercise. But milk is designed by nature for GROWTH. If you want to prevent growth in your mid drift, limit your servings and consider nut milks as an alternative.
  3. Skip the elevator. Short yet intense periods of stair climbing (10 minutes) improve your heart and lung function and can help you lose weight and beat the bloat. Hit the stairs at home, work, or on the way to a holiday party. You can break up the duration as well. So devote a few minutes each day to the stairs and start improving your appearance and performance for 2018!Beat-the-bloat
  4. Plan your meals.  Yes, you have been looking forward to Grandma’s famous homemade lasagna and Aunt Susie’s made-from-scratch carrot cake that only makes an appearance once a year.  They will both be a featured item on you dish and you will enjoy them.  But think about your meal before you pick up the serving spoon or pie cutter.  A good rule of thumb you can try is allowing for one normal sized plate for dinner and one small plate for desert.  This limits your serving sizes and makes you choose your favorite dishes, not everything on the table.  Also think about the snacks and cheeses.  They will count the next day!

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Resistance Band Training Rehab Exercises

As a part of complete Structural Correction, often times complimentary recommendations will be made by your doctor. During the course of the initial phase of care, he or she may prescribe rehabilitation exercises designed to strength focused areas of the body that require retraining due to an injury or condition. Some may consist of movements with resistance coming from your body weight against gravity. Lunges are a great example of a simple yet great exercise to help with the recovery of certain back conditions. Other exercises may require additional resistance beyond your body weight. Resistance band training can be an effective way to rehab neck, shoulder, knee, upper back and low back conditions.

Resistance bands are rehab and exercise equipment that give steady resistance throughout the specific exercise performed. They usually consist of either rubberized bands or elastic cables with handle attachments. The advantage of a resistance band for rehab over traditional dumbbells is three-fold.

First, resistance bands are compact and easy to use no matter what your skill level may be. Worried about getting off track with your rehab program while traveling? Bands are easy to pack and take up little room. They can easily be used in a hotel room or while on the road.

Second, resistance bands allow for very specific rehab movements as compared to dumbbells that results in better use of your time. Instead of having resistance from one direction as is the case with a dumbbell, resistance bands allow multiple areas of the body to be rehabilitated with one functional movement. Athletes commonly use functional movement exercises to boost performance. They can also be an important recommendation to prevent structural shifts from returning after your adjustments.  Here is one exercise we use incorporating resistance bands:

“Resistance bands are compact and easy to use no matter what your skill level”

resistance-band-training-exerceses-palm-coast

Third, resistance band training allows for continuous resistance throughout the exercises prescribed to you. Continuous resistance engages your muscles while contracting and releasing. You can also hold the movement with the band stretched to add an additional element to the rehab of the injured area. This results in better overall stabilization to injured or underworked areas initially determined by your doctor.

We have an array of bands to choose from at our office. They are the most advanced and effective bands for structural rehab because of their hand and foot holds. We have developed a video series available to our patients to guide you through the exercises. Ask to see our selection on your next visit!

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Fight against cancer cells naturally

 

Do you or someone you know take aspirin on a regular basis for the prevention of disease? The answer is likely yes. The benefits of aspirin and the compounds contained in it it have been extensively studied. The result of digesting aspirin creates salicylic acid (SA). This is the active component contained in aspirin that helps decrease inflammation and can help cells from becoming cancerous. The fact though, is that nature is full of foods containing SA that fight cancer cells naturally!

Salicylic acid is found abundantly in fruits and vegetables, and herbs and spices contain the highest concentrations. Chili powder, paprika, and turmeric contain significant amount of SA, but cumin provides more than any other spice. It has been determined that eating a teaspoon of cumin is like taking a baby aspirin! Plus, cumin has none of the potentially harmful side effects of aspirin.

Cumin is a powerful spice that can help prevent uncontrolled cell growth.

Cumin is a spice that is commonly found in Eastern foods including Indian cuisine. Studies done on Indian culture an incidence of cancer is astounding. Indian populations, who eat substantial amount of spices containing SA have much lower rates of colorectal cancer that is ascribed in part to high exposure to dietary SA throughout life from eating spices.

It is important to note that vegetables also contain other important organic acids that behave in similar ways to Salicylic acid.  Enough emphasis cannot not be put on the positive effects of a diet rich in vegetables.

Protection from cancer begins with healthy lifestyle choices. First and foremost, get adjusted when recommended by your doctor. The body cannot function optimally without proper alignment. Be sure to reach for organic vegetables and whole grains over processed alternatives, and consider adding these spices to your recipes to fight cancer cells naturally.

 

 

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Text Neck Pain and Repetitive Stress

We were born to move; its a part of life. From the instant a baby learns to crawl, its world opens up to new possibilities of exploration. As we develop, this ability grows to power our limbs to climb the proverbial (or literal) mountain and reach new heights. Inevitably, the climbing and conquering leads to scrapes and bumps from the journey.

At some point, more than likely when you were in the growth stage of your life, you may have done something small that caused a minor shift in your spine. As kids and teenagers, we are active and typically bounce back from injuries – or so we think.

More often than not, those little injuries have left behind minor shifts or displacements.

If those minor shifts or displacements are not corrected, they eventually progress – usually without pain until later in life. You may have heard the expression, ‘As the twig is bent, so grows the tree,’ – well, if you think about that expression, it contains a lot of truth.

Life is also made of little and big decisions. Our office often sees the effects of repetitive behaviors that result in serious consequences. Flexing your neck forward to read a text, check your social media post or change a music selection places the spine in a position of stress. People who sit a lot progressively shift their spines out of alignment – thus leading to a large variety of problems.

Below is one of many possible recommendations our doctors may prescribe to correct text neck and neck stiffness.

 

Text neck pain can develop in children as well as adults.

Think about it like this; If I drive my brand new vehicle down a road that has potholes, day after day, there’s a very good chance that I could do some damage to the frame. Right?
  Do you think that frame damage could cause secondary problems like asymmetrical wear on your tires…rattling inside the car…the car pulling toward one direction, etc.?

It’s no different when thinking about the spine.  We do things over and over again that challenge our spines. Those disruptions lead to shifts or displacements, and those displacements lead to a series of secondary problems that include pain, muscle spasm and stiffness that must be addressed to restore normal health.

 

Text neck pain and damage from repetitive stress does not have to be something you live with.  If suffering with similar health concerns, an examination by one of our doctors can determine if we are able to help.

 

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Heart Health and How To Lower Cholesterol Naturally

It pumps. It ticks. It pounds when we’re nervous. Whatever attribute you give to the heart, we know that heart health is important in overall health of our cells, tissues, and other organs.  More than ever, we are seeing the effects of an unhealthy heart.  Because people are developing conditions of the heart including atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), irregular heart rhythms, and heart failure, we must consider lowering cholesterol naturally. So what choices can be made to maintain a healthy heart?

To understand how the heart works the way it does, we must look at cholesterol. Cholesterol is a natural substance that is produced by the body and is essential for optimal health.

You may be thinking, “Of course, you must have low cholesterol to have a healthy heart.  I can lower cholesterol naturally or by taking a prescription drug.” But low cholesterol does not equal healthy.

Cholesterol is essential to life and found in every cell.  Many processes in the body from nerve function and hormone synthesis, to vitamin D production depends on cholesterol. If cholesterol is too low, this will lead to problems in health, including the heart.  But we must have appropriate ratios of HDL, LDL, Triglycerides, and total cholesterol.

There are ways to maintain and lower cholesterol naturally.

The first thing to note is that cholesterol works synergistically with two other nutrients : sulfur and vitamin D.   Cholesterol requires these nutrients to make important substances the heart uses for normal function.  Sulphur is used in the presence of cholesterol to make cholesterol sulfate. This is mainly formed from regular sun exposure of the skin. Once made, cholesterol sulfate is then transported to the heart and all cells by way of the blood stream.  Once in the heart cells, the molecule helps to power the pumping action of the organ.

Taking these thing into consideration, There are two important things to think about to maintain and lower cholesterol naturally. First, consider adding sulfur-containing foods like fresh garlic, seafood, and cruciferous vegetables to your diet. This will provide your body with the needed sulfur to produce cholesterol sulphate. Plus, these foods taste great and add variety to your meals.  Second, get appropriate sun exposure. This helps with the formation of healthy cholesterol and vitamin D, helping you and your heart stay healthy naturally.

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Keywords: Sunshine, Vitamin D, Sulfur, Heart health, Lower Cholesterol Naturally

Lower cholesterol naturally

 

It pumps. It ticks. It pounds when we’re nervous. Whatever attribute you give to the heart, we know that heart health is important in overall health of our cells, tissues, and other organs.  More than ever, we are seeing the effects of an unhealthy heart.  Because people are developing conditions of the heart including atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), irregular heart rhythms, and heart failure, we must consider lowering cholesterol naturally. So what choices can be made to maintain a healthy heart?

To understand how the heart works the way it does, we must look at cholesterol. Cholesterol is a natural substance that is produced by the body and is essential for optimal health.

You may be thinking, “Of course, you must have low cholesterol to have a healthy heart.  I can lower cholesterol naturally or by taking a prescription drug.” But low cholesterol does not equal healthy.

Cholesterol is essential to life and found in every cell.  Many processes in the body from nerve function and hormone synthesis, to vitamin D production depends on cholesterol. If cholesterol is too low, this will lead to problems in health, including the heart.  But we must have appropriate ratios of HDL, LDL, Triglycerides, and total cholesterol.

There are ways to maintain and lower cholesterol naturally.

The first thing to note is that cholesterol works synergistically with two other nutrients : sulfur and vitamin D.   Cholesterol requires these nutrients to make important substances the heart uses for normal function.  Sulphur is used in the presence of cholesterol to make cholesterol sulfate. This is mainly formed from regular sun exposure of the skin. Once made, cholesterol sulfate is then transported to the heart and all cells by way of the blood stream.  Once in the heart cells, the molecule helps to power the pumping action of the organ.

Taking these thing into consideration, There are two important things to think about to maintain and lower cholesterol naturally. First, consider adding sulfur-containing foods like fresh garlic, seafood, and cruciferous vegetables to your diet. This will provide your body with the needed sulfur to produce cholesterol sulphate. Plus, these foods taste great and add variety to your meals.  Second, get appropriate sun exposure. This helps with the formation of healthy cholesterol and vitamin D, helping you and your heart stay healthy naturally.

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Keywords: Sunshine, Vitamin D, Sulfur, Heart health, Lower Cholesterol Naturally

Increase Your Range of Motion

Are your joints and muscles causing painful discomfort that limit your ability to do the things you love?  Do you find yourself waking up in the morning feeling no better, or even worse, than when you went to bed the night before?  Is your mobility limited, leaving you with a chronic issue like stiffness or soreness?  ?  If so, adding focused stretching to your daily routine may be of great benefit to you and increase your range of motion.

It is important to understand what kind of stretching you need to increase your range of motion.

As part of our complimentary recommendations, our doctors often recommend implementing a series of structurally rehabilitating stretches. It is important to note, these stretches are begun only after the area of concern is stabilized and ready for stretching.  Even more important to realize is these rehabilitating stretches are limited in their effectiveness for decreasing stiffness if not coupled with structural-fortifying adjustments to correct shifts in the spine.

But we have good news for you, too! New research is changing the long-held perception of stretching routines.  There is new evidence showing that stretches can begin to positively affect range of motion in only 30 seconds! The old thinking of multiple sets of the same stretches is out the door. A study found that a sustained stretch of 30 seconds, once per day, was sufficient to increase your range of motion in a short amount of time.

This is great news for those who loath to stretch throughout the day or simply forget.

Your stiff and sore joints could be helped by incorporating a few minutes per day into your morning routine.  Some stretches we recommend can even be done while brushing your teeth or taking a shower.

So if you are wanting to improve your flexibility and decreasing stiffness, ask our staff for handouts. Also, we are unveiling a complete series of stretches and exercises on video to benefit our patients!  Ask us how to view these structurally rehabilitating stretches during your next visit.

 

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Keywords: Increase Your Range of Motion, ROM, Stiffness, Rehab Exercises