Trampolines and Trauma


Recently a trampoline park opened in my town and my kids love it! It seems like all they want to do is go and have to come and watch them do flips. I decided to write this blog because a couple weeks ago I had two cases of children coming into my office with trampoline related injuries. Fortunately, both those children are now 100% better.

After researching trampolines, I have to admit I was surprised at the amount of documented research on injuries. Serious injuries are a real concern such as extremity fractures primarily of the arm, forearm and the lower leg bone close to the knee, especially in children between 2-5 years of age (these are actually known as ‘trampoline fractures’). Also, spinal injuries are common along with sprain/strains especially of the ankle, and even spinal fractures and paraplegia have been reported. (1,2,3) Here is the link to a great article if you wish to read more detail regarding trampoline injuries.

Obviously, people get hurt using trampolines and the purpose of this article is not to stop trampoline use but to create a safer environment for children to play. Kids love trampolines and there are many benefits including laughter, social interaction, playing, strengthening the body and becoming more agile and athletic. There is hope for people that enjoying bouncing on trampolines as the following guidelines will help to greatly reduce injuries.

Trampoline Safety Tips:

  • Only have one person on the trampoline at a time. The risk of injury greatly increases when more than one person in on the trampoline at once.
  • Children aged 0-6 should not use a full-sized trampoline. This age group is highly associated with significant injuries.
  • Avoid doing flips or somersaults as these are highly associated with significant injuries.
  • Do not jump onto or off the trampoline.
  • Adult supervision of children is recommended.
  • Trampoline should be inspected regularly for proper working order and either fixed or discarded if parts are defective such as springs or tears.
  • Protective padding and net enclosures are recommended.
  • Ensure the trampoline is level and set in a clear area away from hazards.

I hope you found this helpful! If you know of anyone with a trampoline, consider sharing this with them.




  1. Furnival RA1Street KASchunk JE. Too many pediatric trampoline injuries. 1999 May;103(5):e57.
  2. Klimek PM1Juen DStranzinger EWolf RSlongo T. Trampoline related injuries in children: risk factors and radiographic findings. World J Pediatr.2013 May;9(2):169-74. doi: 10.1007/s12519-013-0416-2. Epub 2013 May 16.
  3. Königshausen MGothner MKruppa CDudda MGodry HSchildhauer TASeybold D. Trampoline-related injuries in children: an increasing problem. [Article in German] Sportverletz Sportschaden. 2014 Jun;28(2):69-74. doi: 10.1055/s-0034-1366544. Epub 2014 Jun 25.




Posted in Articles, Blog, Cervical Spine, Concussion, Extremities, Fractures, Lower Back Pain, Pediatrics, Torticollis, Trampoline safety, Whiplash

Manual for Life by The Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama

We are far from perfect. We make mistakes and do and say the wrong thing sometimes. But I believe that we can grow, improve and have a more beautiful and fulfilling life with effort, guidance, patience and goals. The late great Wayne Dyer put it perfectly when he said, “You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside.” So when I read these lessons for life by The Dalai Lama I felt an urge to share them with you.  Enjoy.

Instructions for Life in the New Millennium

By The Dalai Lama

  1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
  2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
  3. Follow the three R’s: Respect for self, respect for others and responsibility for all your actions.
  4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
  5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
  6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
  7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
  8. Spend some time alone every day.
  9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
  10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
  11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
  12. A loving atmosphere at home is the foundation for your life.
  13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
  14. Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.
  15. Be gentle with the earth.
  16. Once a year, go some place you’ve never been before.
  17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
  18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
  19. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.
Posted in Articles, Blog, Mental Health, Spiritual Health, Stress Relief

Spanish Chicken BBQ

I am so fortunate to live with someone who is an amazing cook.  My wife Melissa does the majority of the cooking in the house, because I tend to make recipes up as I go along, which can lead to mixed results.  Once in a while, however, I hit it out of the park like I did this last weekend with barbecued chicken.  My wife and kids, who like many children can be a little on the picky side, were big fans so I decided to share the recipe with you.  The great things about this dish are that the preparation time is minimal and it uses the BBQ which is nice when it’s hot outside.  Note: If you don’t have a barbecue, you can use your oven by setting it to 375° and using the broil option.


  • 2-4 chicken breasts (thawed if previously frozen)
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2-4 pressed garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey (raw and locally produced if possible)
  • Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

Cooking Instructions:

Combine the lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper in a bowl, mixing well.  Add the cleaned chicken breasts and let them marinate for 5-10 minutes.  While marinating, turn the BBQ on to medium to medium-high until the grills are hot (about 375°).  Place the chicken on the BBQ and close the lid.  Cook 5-6 minutes per side.  I find the higher heat leaves nice grill marks and makes it look professionally done, as well as allowing for the Maillard reaction to take place (the browning/searing of meat which makes it more delicious).  Serve with salad and grilled vegetables.

 I hope you and your family enjoy this as much as we did.

Posted in Articles, Blog, Recipes

Stretch to Health (Part 3)

Neutral Spine

A healthy spine and nervous system is the foundation to wellbeing and performance.

What does that actually mean?  Well, a healthy spine is one that is aligned, flexible, and supported with muscle; this is the foundation for a healthy nervous system.  Certainly other factors can influence nerve health, such as diet, mental state, and sleep, but without a healthy spine the nervous system cannot function as it should.  The goal of this article is to show you ways to strengthen and stabilize the spine.  I’ll cover techniques for safe spinal movement and a few exceptional exercises that help maintain alignment, prevent injury, and increase performance.

Before we talk about specific exercises it is very important to discuss how to move your spine safely.  What I’m about to share holds true whether you’re picking up a sock or doing a 400-pound deadlift.  In fact, many back injuries are the result of repetitively lifting and bending improperly; someone may feel their back go when they lift an object, but it is often the case that it was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

Bad vs Good

The key to lifting or bending safely is to keep your spine in a neutral position.  Your spine has three curves when viewed from the side and when they are all curved as they are in the diagram, your spine will be at its strongest.  These curves need to be maintained during any motion of bending or lifting no matter for what reason or how heavy a lifted object may be.  You should also keep your spine straight when viewed from the front or back when lifting or bending, avoid twisting and, if possible, keep your neck straight, not rotated or bent.  The key is to bend with your legs and not your spine.  This does require flexibility in the ankles and hips (especially the hamstrings) and adequate leg strength to straighten from a bent position.

The most important curve to maintain when lifting is the lumbar lordosis, and it is easy to do: keep your lower back flat to prevent it from rounding.  A rounded lower back puts strain on your joints, especially your discs.  This strain is intensified if weight is added.  Lumbar disc injuries are slow to heal and have a severe effect on mobility.  Before you lift, get as close to the object as you can with it directly in front of you.  Then brace your core (the tube of muscle from rib cage to buttocks), which feels the same as when you breathe all the way out.  Finally, lift the object with your legs, keeping your spine in this neutral position throughout the movement. Tip: The neutral spine concept also applies to sitting.


With any exercise program there is a risk of injury from overdoing it or performing motions incorrectly.  I cannot overemphasize the importance of maintaining proper form and starting slowly.  In the past even I have overdone it and had poor form – and I’ve paid the price for it.  I think many of us have a tendency to be impatient and want immediate results.  This can be dangerous, so please remember to go slowly and safely.  Remember: you won’t get any results if you can barely move because your muscles hurt too much or you have reduced mobility.  If you are struggling with these exercises please contact me or consult an athletic therapist, personal trainer, or fitness expert for guidance.  There is no exact rule with exercise as to how long to hold a position or how many repetitions (reps) and sets to perform.  Listen to your body and try one set of 5-10 reps and see how your body responds over the next several days.  Slowly you can increase reps, sets, and intensity to increase your strength and fitness.  With strength training, I recommend training 1-3 times weekly to allow time for rest and regeneration.  As your fitness improves, you can do more, but always allow for a day or two of rest per week, especially if you are exercising intensely.

Functional Core Strengthening Exercises:

  1.  1. Squats: Squatting is an essential movement needed for bending down and lifting up but it’s also a fantastic way of strengthening the core.  It may seem simple, but because of tight hamstrings, muscle weakness, or stuck spinal or ankle joints, people often do squats incorrectly.  It can be done with weight on your back or chest or simply with your own body weight; don’t underestimate the effectiveness of a squat without any weight added.  To perform squats correctly, keep your spine neutral (straight or ideally slightly concave lower back), brace your core, and bend down as if sitting in a chair.  Your weight should be on the middle or slightly toward the balls of your feet, not on your heels.  Your stance should typically be shoulder-width or wider and the upper body should be leaned forward to counter balance.  Your knees should track in an imaginary line parallel to your feet as you bend.  If you are new to this movement, start with simply the weight of your body until you are comfortable and confident with the movement.  The goal is to get your femur bone at a 90-degree angle to your tibia or parallel to the ground as you bend down, then drive back up to a standing position.  You can add weight as you get stronger.  Aim for 5-10 repetitions for 1-3 sets one to three times a week.
  2. 2. The Bird Dog: Pardon the funny names on the next two exercises; they make sense but do sound a little silly, despite being industry standard.  This exercise is wonderful at strengthening the core and re-engaging muscle firing sequences.  To do it, get onto your hands and knees on the floor or a bed if you’re unable to get on the floor.  This exercise and the one below does challenge balance and coordination, so if balance is an issue, you might want to consider doing this next to a wall.  It takes time to master the movement; it’s normal to feel awkward initially.  From that hands and knees position, extend one arm and the opposite leg until they are parallel with the ground and then return to the starting position without arching or bowing your back.  Your head should be in a neutral position during the whole movement.  Keep the motion controlled and try to keep your pelvis from rotating.  Engage your core during the motion and use your gluteal (buttock) muscles to push your leg back.  Once you get to the extended position you can hold for a brief moment, but that isn’t necessary.  Aim for 5-15 repetitions for 1-3 sets per side one to three times a week.3. The Dead Bug: This exercise is the mirror of the Bird Dog above because the same movement is done while you are lying on your back.  The movement for the Bird Dog focuses more on strengthening the muscles on the back-side (posterior) of your body while this one is more focused on the muscles on the front (anterior), such as the abdominals and hip flexors.  To perform the Dead Bug, lie on your back with your arms straight and pointed up to the ceiling.  Lift your legs, keeping your knees bent, so your thighs are 90° to your body and your lower legs are 90° to your thighs.  This should put you in the same position you were in on hands and knees with the Bird Dog.  From here, slowly lower one arm and the opposite leg to the floor, straightening your leg as it descends, and return to the starting position.  Move only opposing limbs and don’t worry if you feel uncoordinated at first.  Like the Bird Dog, the Dead Bug takes a little getting used to. Remember to engage your core and keep the pelvis and spine neutral (no rotation or bending).  Sets and reps are same as above.

    This concludes my three-part series on stretching for your health.  I hope you have enjoyed it, learned from it, and (hopefully) tried some or all of these exercises for yourself!



Posted in Articles, Back Health, Blog, Core Strength, Injury Prevention, Knee pain, Knee tracking, Lower Back Pain, Lumbar spine rehab, Spinal Biomechanics, Spinal Health, Spinal Strengthening Exercises, Squatting technique, Strength Training

Stretch to Health (Part 2)

Doorway Stretch

Staying limber and strong can be done in as little as a minute a day. While yoga is good for strength building and balance, the hour of your time it requires is not necessary for outstanding health.  Obviously I believe in the importance of chiropractic, but if you learn how to move and stretch it can greatly diminish the need for treatment. In this article we are going to focus on some important stretches for the upper body.

If you are new to stretching I recommend starting slowly and gently. Stretching is a wonderful way to listen to your body, improve flexibility, increase confidence and energy, and restore balance; however, it can be detrimental if overdone. There are no perfect rules as to how long you should hold or repeat these stretches. Be aware of how your body feels, breathe, and aim to increase your flexibility slowly over time. I recommend starting with one to three repetitions for each or until you feel a good stretch. As always remember to stretch as evenly as possible, making sure you stretch and strengthen both sides of your body. Often we are stronger and more limber on our dominant side, but balancing this out is very beneficial and will keep you safer from injury.

  1.   The Doorway Stretch:

Tricep Stretch

This stretch is terrific for people who sit in front of a computer or have shoulder issues, but also focuses on the pectoral muscles.  As an added bonus, it feels awesome. To perform this stretch, lightly grip the doorframe and hold as you push through the doorway (see picture).  I recommend keeping your arms straight because this lengthens the biceps, an overused and tight muscle for many. As you become more comfortable with this stretch you can push further by extending your upper back and leaning forward.

  1. Triceps:

The triceps are the muscles behind the biceps and often they are tight. Tight triceps can limit shoulder mobility that can lead to issues such as difficulty reaching overhead and increased risk of injury and pain. To stretch these muscles, bring your arms above your head and bend them so you can hold one elbow. Then bend that arm as much as possible, pulling it evenly behind your body. See if you can get the arm your stretching lined up with to your torso (when viewed from the side) and, as with all stretches, remember to do both sides.

  1. Wall Angels:

Wall Angels

This exercise can be challenging but for the majority of people is very beneficial. It’s terrific for those with headaches and chronic neck and shoulder problems. It can be done against a wall (most effective but difficult) or laying flat on your back. Stand with your heels and back touching a bare stretch of wall and bring the back of the wrists, elbows, and shoulders against the wall. Then slide your arms down as far as you can and then as high above your head as you can, as if you were making a snow angel. The goal is to keep your wrists, elbows, and shoulders in contact with the wall throughout the motion without arching your back. If you cannot accomplish the full movement, do not push yourself too far; do enough of the movement to feel the stretch. If you are uncomfortable performing this stretch against the wall, try starting it on the floor, remembering the goal is to keep your whole arm in contact with the floor and to keep your back from arching. Over time you’ll be surprised by your progress. Tip: Retract your head during this exercise by pushing straight back into the wall or floor.

  1. Child Pose:

This stretch is great at simultaneously stretching the upper and lower back. For this stretch, sit on your heels and bend forward, reaching with outstretched arms to touch your palms and ideally rest your forehead in the floor. Tip: Opening your legs will make it easier to bend forward.

  1. Shoulder Stretches: A) This first shoulder stretch is great for people with rotator cuff issues.  Reach one arm behind your back from the top and the other arm behind your back from below and clasp hands. This stretch is a good indicator of shoulder mobility but isn’t easy for most people. If clasping your hands isn’t possible, start off slowly: hold the ends of a hand towel between your hands to lengthen the distance between. Once there, pull down with one hand and when done pull upwards with the other. B) The second shoulder stretch should be something most people can accomplish. Hold your arm directly out in front of you at shoulder height, and, while keeping it straight, slowly draw it across your

    Child’s Pose

    torso. To increase this stretch, you can use your other hand to pull your elbow closer to your chest.

I hope you enjoy these. Stay tuned for Part 3 when I’ll discuss proper spinal movement and strengthening.

Posted in Articles, Blog, posture, Shoulders, Spinal Health, Stretching
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