Gallagher Performance Blog

The number one priority of any coach or trainer should be the health of your athletes. At GP, we look at any and all entities that should be addressed to increase the wellness of each of our athletes. This takes into account biomechanical/movement quality considerations, exposure to inappropriate training, the compatibility of current training loads and parameters, nutritional considerations, and the coordination of therapy and restoration techniques.

The process of developing athletes and ensuring they remain healthy in the process can present a major problem and one that could be remedied with both higher coaching education standards and the utilization of performance-based therapy.

1. Raising Coaching Education and Qualification Standards
To ensure the health of our athletes while realizing their athletic potential, we spend countless hours on improving movement efficiency as well as balancing workload compatibility during each training session and block. Statistics consistently demonstrate the more mechanically efficient you are, the less injuries you have. Movement efficiency also translates into athletes having higher levels of performance while expending less energy in the process. Expending less energy means less fatigue. This is important since athletes are more likely to get injured in a fatigued state.

Workload compatibility refers to the importance of understanding compatible training methods when addressing a dominant physical ability during a phase of training. For example, this demands that the coach/trainer understand if they are trying to develop alactic sprint abilities why glycolytic or anaerobic-lactic training must be restricted or avoided.

In the attempt to improve any number of physical abilities, most coaches/trainers often fall into the trap of pushing their athletes too hard in training. They understand that in order for athletes to perform any number of biomotor abilities (speed, strength, work capacity) at higher levels, they must push them during training to create a specific adaptation. In the process of achieving adaptation, often times they manipulate variables (intensity, frequency, duration, workload, etc.) without any understanding as to why they are making the change. As a result they compromise the athlete’s ability to adapt appropriately and set the stage for injury.

Simply put, more educated coaches understand workload compatibility and the development of specific biomotor abilities as they relate to an athlete’s sport. They have a system of checks and balances that dictate training variables and they are constantly monitoring their athletes to avoid declines in performance standards and injury.

Movement efficiency and the proper management of training loads/parameters is a relatively poorly understood concept by the majority of trainers/coaches when most of them have simply taken weekend certification courses and are under qualified, with no background in sport and exercise science. This is far too common in the US, as trainers with minimal experience and knowledge of these concepts as they relate to sport often find themselves responsible for the coaching and development of athletes.

This approach is in stark contrast to the coaching qualification process in the former Soviet Union, where the development of coaches/trainers was a scientific and well-planned undertaking. Those who wished to become coaches had to be high-level competitive athletes themselves and were required to take entrance exams in subjects such as biochemistry, physics, biology, and physiology. The applicants who made the cut were entered into one of the country’s Physical Culture Institutes to undergo four to five years of a rigorous, scientifically oriented coaching curriculum. Coaching in the former Soviet Union was not something one decided to do a “whim”. Coaching and the development of athletes was viewed as a career that required specialized education, mentorship, and training.

It doesn’t take long to realize why the Soviet Union dominated international athletic competition for as long as they did once you understand the qualification criteria for their coaches was a serious and intellectual process.

Athletes should seek out coaches and therapists who have the competitive sporting background and accomplishments, educational background and accomplishments, as well as clinical competence, methods, and track record to keep athletes healthy and performing at their best. Period. Anything less, and you should be skeptical about what you are getting.

2. Integration of Performance-Based Therapy
In addition to raising coaching education and qualification standards, excellence in therapy is another component that is often missing when it comes to keeping athletes healthy. Unless you have integrated sports medicine and therapy (sports chiropractic, massage, manual therapies, recovery methods), eventually an athlete will need to reduce the overall volume/intensity/frequency of training. What you are able to learn about an athlete in a therapy session is invaluable and can serve to help guide what you do in training.

As Dan Pfaff said best,
“A top athlete is like a formula one car and have you seen how much fine tuning they do with those things? The ability to run your hands over an athlete and know what is restricted gives you immense inside information into their functioning. You cannot expect the athlete to tell you either because they are terrible barometers when it comes to knowing what they are ready for. Just asking “are you ok for today’s workout?” is not enough because their motivation is so high athletes do not necessarily listen to what their own body is telling them.”
Therapy serves to normalize joint and soft tissue (muscle, tendon, ligament) function and promote movement efficiency by removing dysfunctional movement patterns. Similar to training, therapy cannot be randomly applied. Random application always equals random results. Therapy must be strategically implemented during the training plan. It should not be ignored that therapy provides a stimulus/stress to both tissues and the nervous system and, depending upon the athlete’s needs, must be utilized appropriately.

For instance, some forms of therapy can serve to promote recovery and restoration by pushing an athlete into a parasympathetic dominant state. Conversely, other forms of therapy can up-regulate the sympathetic nervous system and will either heighten performance levels or prolong the recovery/regeneration period depending upon when therapy is applied. Another factor that must be consider is how each individual athlete responds to therapy. Some athletes may respond to intensive therapy sessions just as they do to intensive training and therefore proper rest/recovery must be accounted for accordingly during the training week.

Closing Words
Both higher coaching education/qualification standards and performance-based therapy are necessary components in the health and performance of athletes. The more coaches know, the better they are able to serve their athletes and address their needs appropriately. Failure to integrate performance therapy in a complementary manner can be a mistake, as there tends to be an increase in reliance on other forms of therapy that stress rehabilitation and recovery rather than optimizing performance.

Related Articles:

What is Performance Therapy?
Have You Mastered Your Movement?
Technique is fundamental and should be the primary focus of instruction when it comes to any new exercise or sport skill. It's essential to the continual refinement of movement skills. Technique also has implications in the rehabilitation process as well.

However, there appears to be a huge gap in terms of what most people acknowledge as proper technique and the technique they actually demonstrate or coach.

1. Sure many coaches and trainers can "tell" you what proper technique is, but are they capable of identifying technique errors?
2. Are they skilled and knowledgeable enough to understand why they are seeing technique errors and how to systematically go about improving technique?
3. Do they understand the joint and muscular actions involved in the complex execution of specific movements?
4. Do they understand that technique can be dictated by your anatomical structure and that there is no such thing as a "one size fits all" approach when it comes to coaching proper technique?
Despite hearing time and time again from coaches, trainers, and clinicians preaching, "Technique, technique, technique", the reality is many in the fields of health and fitness do not understand technique as well as they should. Sure, they may claim to practice or teach 'perfect technique' to their clients or patients. They may agree that technique is important and that it should be accounted for.

But are they actually making sure your technique is what works best for you?

Take for example a high school athlete that was recently seen at GP. His primary complaint was low back tightness and pain following squatting and lower body training days. He had been seeing a local chiropractor for his back pain and training with a teammate at another local gym. He had been receiving care for almost 6 weeks with no change. Despite 2x/week adjustments and performing a routine of abdominal strengthening exercises and hamstring stretches, he continued to have 'severe' tightness and occasional pain in his low back for 3-5 days after squatting.

As I dug deeper into the nature of his low back tightness, the pattern of his symptoms made me increasingly suspicious that something was clearly wrong with his squat technique.

So I asked him, "How's your squat technique?" I wanted to get inside his head and hear his thoughts on his technique. His reply was, "I think it's pretty good. I learned from my training partner who has lifted more than I have and our football team's strength coach gave us tips."

I want to emphasize this point. He believed his technique was not an issue. He believed he had received good coaching when it came to his squat technique. Rather he kept expressing how he had been told he had weak abs and needed to stretch his hamstrings, and that this was the root of his problem. His mind wasn't focused on technique.
At GP, we have the luxury of using the gym to provide real time feedback during our evaluations. This kid looked pretty good doing a body weight squat, but I knew things would change once we got him loaded up. So we took our session to the gym floor. Needless to say, there were a number of technique issues with his squat that were ultimately at the heart of why he was routinely over-stressing his low back. Rather than addressing mobility or strength issues, we simply figured out the technique he must utilize based on his anatomical structure.

This young athlete had structural adaptations that had to be taken into consideration when figuring out the most appropriate squat technique that worked for him. These very same structural adaptations had been previously overlooked, yet they played a huge role in why he was symptomatic.

After cleaning up his technique issues, it was no surprise to me that his back was not a complaint. But it was a huge surprise to him. He had just spent weeks getting adjusted, strengthening his abs and stretching with no results. How could something so simple as technique modification resolve his issue?

Closing Thoughts
When someone is experiencing a weakness in their performance or is recovering from a musculoskeletal injury, determine if the main culprit is improper technique.

Far too often, most will think to only improve physical abilities (endurance, strength, balance, coordination, flexibility, etc.) when dealing with poor performance or injury rehabilitation. While addressing physical abilities is important, physical abilities have limited value without proper technique.

In the ideal situation, technique changes or modifications should be made simultaneously as strength or other physical abilities develop. For athletes, strength should be coupled with skill through what is known as special strength exercises. In other words, strength is developed in the same neuromuscular pathway as used in execution of their competitive skill(s).

Rehabilitation programs that primarily focus on isolated physical abilities without integrating those newly developed abilities into specific movement tasks or sport skill will fail to ensure that athletes are equipped to handle the demands of competition. When it comes to injury rehabilitation and injury prevention, failure to couple strength as it relates to technique will increase the chance of recurring injury.

Consider the relationship between hamstring injuries and sprinting. Several athletes frequently experience hamstring injuries, which can take weeks or months to rehabilitate. However, when efficient sprinting mechanics are coupled with development of the physical abilities specific to the actions involved in sprinting, the chances of hamstring injuries are essentially nonexistent.

This is why experts are convinced several common athletic injuries, not just hamstring injuries, are preventable. This also explains why having a coach and/or therapist who understands technique is invaluable to athletes.

In the attempt to improve athletic performance or prevent sports-related injuries, it is common to read that muscles in the body should be balanced. At times, what “balanced” means is never fully explained and is often assumed to mean that muscles on both sides of a joint should be equal in qualities such as endurance or strength. As a result, trainers and coaches may advise athletes to perform equal training for musculature on all sides of a joint to ensure balance.

The intent is to achieve symmetry. Not just at one particular joint, but often throughout the body. The goal is to see symmetrical movement on both sides of the body. Consider how therapists and coaches will use movement-screening systems to evaluate movement and then apply correctives with the goal to ‘balance’ the body or to reduce the risk of injury.

However, one must question if this the most intelligent thing to do in relation to high-level athletic performance. 
From the few studies done on this topic and from observation, symmetry may not be an effective means of improving performance. Rather, It appears that the majority of high-level athletes are asymmetrical.

This should not be surprising if you have been looking closely at high-level athletes. I recently attended the ACA Rehabilitation Symposium in Las Vegas over this past weekend. Professor Stuart McGill was one of the featured speakers and he has extensively researched the factors which make great athletes great. Professor McGill provided numerous examples from cases he has seen over of the years of athletes being ruined by someone attempting to 'balance' their body. The intent was on improving their performance or ‘correcting’ movement, yet the end result was making that athlete a patient. Essentially, he cautioned us all as chiropractors, therapists, and trainers to be very wise in what we do with our athletes.

One example he provided was Olympic sprinters and how many of them have very stiff, tight ankles. He stated how this is necessary for their performance and ultimately their success as elite level sprinters. Their ankles must be stiff to serve as ‘springs’ for explosive running. Yet, as he stated, many therapists would want to ‘mobilize’ their ankles and ‘release’ or ‘stretch’ the musculature surrounding the ankle to improve range of motion. However, now you have robbed them of the very thing that makes them a great athlete in their sport.

His example brought to mind a high school football player who trains at GP. He is our fastest athlete and his ankles are incredibly stiff. This stood out immediately upon his initial assessment. Did we do anything to mobilize his ankles? No. We didn’t touch his ankles, understanding that his ankle stiffness is what made him fast. Made him incredibly agile and quick.

If you try to balance muscular development or joint function, it can potentially interfere greatly with an athlete’s performance. It’s important to remember that what makes athletes asymmetrical also makes them great. It is not only a consequence of their training, but often what their sport demands. To take time out of their training to balance their body arguably interferes with more productive training.

This does not mean that they do not do exercises to keep their body healthy and prevent injury. We have our athletes perform many exercises for this purpose, but they are typically done during the general preparatory period, not in the competitive or precompetitive periods.

Former Soviet Union sport scientists studied this concept. The Soviets understood that asymmetry appears to be a key to athletic success. Asymmetry that is produced appears to allow athletes to go above and beyond what other ”well-balanced” athletes are capable of doing. It seems that the asymmetry allows the athlete to perform on a higher level.

There appears to be enough evidence to indicate that perhaps we should not be anxious to 'balance' every athlete’s physical development. Keep in mind that this does not mean that you ignore development of antagonistic muscles. But you do not emphasize them to the same extent as you do with the main muscles and joints involved in the execution of the athlete's competitive sports skill.

More related reading:
Similar to the current trend of marketing driving training (discussed in this article), marketing appears to have a similar and undeniable impact on services provided in the world of physical medicine. From the latest and greatest in modalities such as laser therapy and electrical muscle stimulation to musculoskeletal injury interventions such as kinesio tape (KT), the colorful tape that gained popularity from the Olympics.

Earlier this week, a GP client was speaking of someone they know who recently got “taped” because they were having knee pain while running. This client went on to explain that a few days after getting taped, the very same person went out for a run and felt a “tearing and pop” in the same knee that had been taped and is now in worse pain than before.

Our client wanted to know, “What's the deal with the tape? Is it effective or is it a cheap trick?”

Kinesio Tape: Legit or Hype?
What seems to be at the center of any benefit from the application of KT is something known as novel sensory input. Basically, this means when you tape someone, they feel it. Sensory input changes “output” – in this case – motor control and perception of pain.

In the case of the painful knee (or any joint/muscle), stick some tape on it and odds are in your favor that the patient will feel slightly better for a brief period of time.
But is this really “therapy”, getting at the root of the problem, or simply masking pain symptoms?

First, we must start with an understanding of pain. Pain is your body’s way a telling you something is wrong. Pain with movement indicates a movement problem and no amount of tape will ever solve a movement/biomechanical problem. However, taping is very effective at altering proprioceptive/sensory feedback. Sensory input will dampen pain perception, thus making it easier for your brain to ignore pain signals and you are now feeling “less pain”. This is known as “sensory gating”.

You feel less pain and you are happy, so what’s the problem?

You have disrupted the injured tissue’s ability to tell the truth, now you are more likely to continually overload a compromised structure and worsen the condition. To illustrate this phenomenon, one only needs to recall Manteo Mitchell, the sprinter who sustained a fracture of his fibula – wearing KT – while running the 400m in 2012 Olympics. The applied KT allowed the athlete to distribute more load on a painful and compromised ankle. The tape did its job. It blocked pain and allowed the athlete to feel capable of competing, but unfortunately the result was a worse condition than before the tape was applied. Keep in mind, this isn’t always the outcome of taping but it certainly is a risk one must understand.

Not only are companies claiming the pain relieving benefits of KT, now some are stating how their tape prevents injury or enhances performance. Just go to their websites and read for yourself. Spider Tech’s website has the tag line: “Recovery, Performance, Prevention” and Rock Tape (on their About Us page) has this to say:
“I discovered that the tape can be used to ENHANCE PERFORMANCE. I found that taping in advance of exercise promotes increased blood flow to the muscles, thereby reducing fatigue.”
Marketing with fancy words and convenient KT placement on some elite athletes does wonders for a product’s popularity. But are the claims substantiated?

There are few high-quality studies on taping, but a recent systematic review of the research literature revealed that KT had insufficient evidence to support its use for musculoskeletal injury. Studies have shown that benefits from KT are generally minor, brief and inconsistent in nature. The value of taping is unclear, with several experts dismissing the effectiveness of taping as placebo only. The systematic review conclude that KT did provide short-term pain relief and even range of motion (ROM) improvement, but failed to offer any long-term results to patients.

In Closing
For the most part, taping is a lot of marketing hype. At best, taping is mostly a minor and imprecise method of pain control. The amount of tape being used by athletes lately is silly and, in my opinion, its popularity has more to do with marketing than results. Sure taping may make someone feel better and in a “results now” society this can go a long way to keep patients satisfied. However, there is no long-term solution to be found with any amount of tape.

Where does one turn for a long-term solution?

At GP, we consider ourselves part of a growing body of providers who strive to identify the repetitive movements and postural abnormalities that cause pain and discomfort by performing thorough and detailed examinations. Assessments and individualized treatment plans aim to identify the underlying cause of your condition rather than merely alleviating symptoms.

The more accurate the assessment, the more accurately treatment will target a patient's pain generators. At GP, we stress a collective and active approach on the part of each of our patients through education. By clearly educating each patient on their condition and why they are performing prescribed exercises, the focus becomes about patient empowerment and providing them with a sense of what they can do for themselves. This typically results in great patient compliance and shorter treatment plans, with the average patient realizing fully recovery in 4-8 treatments. Many patients quickly improve in as little as 2-3 treatments.

Mostafavifar M, Wertz J, Borchers J. A systematic review of the effectiveness of kinesio taping for musculoskeletal injury. Phys Sportsmed. 2012 Nov;40(4):33-40. 

More related reading:
After completing my Sports Injury and Rehabilitation residency in September 2012, making the decision to start up this business with my brother, Ryan, was one of the most daunting tasks I have ever encountered, including all the efforts to get it started and keep it growing. Considering I had offers for some well paying jobs all over the country, why would I possibly want to take the risk of launching a business? As a sports chiropractor with a specialization in rehabilitation, I had job offers to perform patient rehab in established offices, working as little as 20 hours per week. I could do that along with writing, consulting, and putting on seminars – all while enjoying plenty of free time. However, I saw a huge problem. That wasn’t me. As much as I enjoy what I do as a sports chiropractor, I equally enjoy assessing and evaluating athletes, designing training programs, coaching, being in the gym, training, and helping athletes achieve their goals. There was no way I could find personal fulfillment in my job unless I could be directly involved with both the training and therapy of athletes. More money or less hours didn’t matter to me.

About the time I was wrapping up my residency at Palmer College, Ryan was finishing his massage therapy schooling and working full time as a trainer while residing in Ohio with his wife, TIffany. For years, we had dreamed and talked about starting our own business that integrated not only our services, but our educational and professional backgrounds. We knew we had a unique approach and the desire to provide quality in our sports performance training, chiropractic, massage, and nutritional services. We believed that if we did things for reasons that were in line with our values, the business would grow to provide fulfillment beyond just money. We wanted to measure our success by delivering great results to our clients and athletes.

GP opened in April 2013 and has experienced steady growth every month since our opening. Our sports performance training services have become increasingly popular. With the summer upon us, athletes are coming in looking to capitalize on their off-season by improving their abilities (speed, strength, power, agility, etc). Each athlete we have worked with has seen tremendous results, which speaks to our business model, the individualized approach we use with each athlete, and the character of our athletes. We are receiving large amounts of referrals, which, to us, is the greatest compliment our business can receive. Slowly, GP is gaining the reputation for having an approach that is unlike any athletic development program in the area.

We have seen our sports performance training services utilized by athletes who participate in soccer, cross country, basketball, baseball, lacrosse, hockey, and football. We even have a client who is preparing for military special operations in hopes of becoming a Navy SEAL. With that said, our training services have especially become popular among football and hockey players (high school, college, amateur, and junior level).

Reflecting back on the past year, there have been lessons learned and constant reminders of why we do what we do at GP. To begin with, we are consistently reminded that regardless of sport or competitive endeavor, the primary goal of any physical preparation program is to prepare the athlete for the demands of the competitive season and/or higher levels of competition. This sounds simple in nature, but is incredibly complex at times as an overwhelming majority of our young athletes need to master the fundamentals of general calisthenics and body weight exercises before introducing the execution of movements with either increasing resistance using external loads or at increasing velocities.  Some of our programs may not seem “advanced” and it’s for a good reason. Too many young athletes, and sometimes their parents, have bought into the idea that they should be training “like the pros”. Kids need the basics, and a lot of them, before more advanced training can be introduced.

Another lesson we continually learn at GP is the importance of promoting structural balance and recovery for our athletes. At any age or level of competition, it’s imperative to recognize the stress an athlete’s body experiences during their competitive season(s). Often a number of precautions and considerations must be made from the onset of training and throughout the duration of the off-season to restore balance to an athlete’s body and facilitate recovery. This becomes increasingly important as an athlete ages and progresses through higher levels of competition, as they accumulate greater amounts of wear and tear. The recovery and regeneration protocols used at GP have been a welcomed addition to our athletes’ programs, since many of them have never been introduced to approaches that keep them healthy and their performance levels more consistent. We do whatever it takes to keep our athletes healthy and injury-free as they seek to improve specific performance markers.

Something else we have come to appreciate more and more is how valuable the education our athletes receive is to them. In talking with our athletes, we have consistently discovered that they do not understand how or why an athlete must train according to the demands of their sport. This is a foreign concept to many of them. The educational process provides our athletes with the knowledge they need to understand how an athletic development model is applied to their sport. This has proven to be invaluable because our athletes truly appreciate understanding the mistakes they have made and understanding they are receiving guidance that has their best interest in mind, based solely on their needs.

The educational process and witnessing the development/results each of our clients and athletes achieve, to me, has been the most fulfilling part about what we do at GP. The smile a young kid gets when they step on the scale and see that they are 10 pounds heavier or the high-five and genuine enthusiasm shared when they set a new personal best in strength, jumping, or speed makes it all worth it. And as for our clients who are training to lose fat and/or improve general fitness levels, we love to get feedback that their body feels great, they are training pain-free, and are able to enjoy the training process while maximizing the benefits of their efforts.

The vision for GP was an easy one to establish. Ryan and I made the choice to build a business that was fulfilling both personally and professionally. The process has not been an easy one, but it has been rewarding and we are enjoying it.

We also acknowledge that GP would not be what it is without the consistent support we receive. A sincere thank you goes out to all you – clients/athletes, parents, family, friends, social media followers, and professional colleagues – for your continual support over the past year. Without you, GP would not be what is today, and we look forward to many more years to come.

More related reading:

We have noticed a problem here at GP and it’s likely a problem many others in the sports performance industry have also observed. The problem I am speaking of is rooted in the disunity that exists among specialists involved in the preparation, rehabilitation, and regeneration of athletes. From experience, I’m specifically speaking to the working relationship amongst coaches and physical medicine professionals, such as chiropractors and physiotherapists.

There are coaches who specialize in the physical preparation of athletes while others specialize in technical sport skill development. In the physical medicine world, there are professionals specializing across a broad range of rehabilitative, orthopedic, neuromuscular, manual therapy, and manipulative therapy services. The disunity seems to stem from a lack of communication and understanding as to why specific approaches or services are being provided by specialists involved with an athlete. We have heard similar stories from a number of our new athletes when they speak of previous experiences.

Commonly, the story sounds a little something like this:

Athlete X is being trained by Coach A for physical preparation purposes while also receiving private, sport skill development lessons from Coach B. Keep in mind that Athlete X underwent surgery at the end of their competitive season to repair an injury and has been seeing Therapist C for rehabilitative care. In addition to post-surgical rehabilitation, they also visit Therapist D for chiropractic and manual therapy services such as Active Release, Graston, or massage services.

Now while this may appear to be all well and good, the problem exists in that each individual specialist often has little to no understanding in regards to either the specific work loads or therapeutic interventions being made by the others, resulting in a collective degree of stress placed on the athlete far greater than any specialist is aware of because nobody is on the same page. All the while, Athlete X is either failing to progress in their rehabilitation, consistently dealing with the same nagging aches and pains, or is having inconsistent training sessions.

More In Common Than We Realize
Physical preparation of athletes, sport skill development, and rehabilitative/manual therapy share a common bond and that is the restoration or optimization of movement.

In athletics, the improvement of both sport skills and physical abilities is without question directly related to the systematic planning and organization of developmental protocols. Often these developmental protocols aim to improve qualities such as strength, speed, skill, stamina, suppleness (flexibility), and postural control as they relate to an athlete’s sport(s) of participation.

In the world of physical medicine (manual therapy, chiropractic, rehabilitation), protocols are utilized to promote the restoration, regeneration and recovery of the body’s nervous system and tissues, improve postural balance and control, and aid in the reduction of repetitive injury patterns.

Clearly, efficient movement and postural control should be of importance to coaches, therapists, and athletes alike. Efficient movement mechanics and their respective postures are dependent upon the balance and control of the body’s movement system. The movement system consists of over 200 bones, around 600 muscles, and a seemingly endless network of fascia and connective tissue. This system is monitored and controlled by a sophisticated network of proprioceptors or sensors, which serve as our brain’s guide for learning, establishing, and maintaining correct posture and movement.

Postural Training Considerations
Correct posture, as it relates to dynamic sport skill execution, is essential to athletic success. Posture is not just a static concept, associated only with sitting or standing. Posture is dynamic and must be thought of accordingly. Poor dynamic postural control will influence the development of biomotor abilities such as flexibility, coordination, strength, speed, and any combination of the previously mentioned.

Considering poor dynamic postural control is a recurring theme among many of our clients and athletes, the training and teaching philosophy at GP allows us to focus on postural improvements. This is accomplished through activities and drills that enhance the ability to hold correct postures and positions, promoting the directional strength needed for ideal force application by reducing muscular imbalances and biomechanical weaknesses. We introduce developmental posture drills in our training programs, since athletes who learn ideal postures during simple motor tasks will lay the foundation for more rapid mastery of increasingly complex motor skills while providing the long-term benefit of reduced risk of repetitive injury.

These developmental posture drills are limited only by knowledge of kinesiological principles as they relate to sport dynamics and one’s imagination. As dynamic postural control improves, the result is more advanced movement skills. Similar to any other biomotor ability, when planning for postural control drills in the training schedule, the volume, intensity, frequency, and work to rest ratios will be influenced by factors such as training age, time of the season, medical/injury history considerations, and skill/ability parameters.

Coaches and therapists would mutually benefit to be on the same page since  the goal of any physical preparatory program, including  the integration of rehabilitative or regenerative protocols when required, is nothing more than movement preparation based upon the evaluation of sport requirements. GP’s approach to physical preparation accounts for an inclusive approach when addressing proper movement. Our inclusive approach accounts for what is seen by the “eye” of the coach or therapist and allows us to adapt developmental protocols as needed. We do our best to account for all stressors each athlete is exposed to during a training week as well as over the course of a training cycle. We want to know when and how often they are working with other sport skill instructors and physical medicine professionals. We make our specific considerations for each athlete’s training not just based on their needs, but also on other factors such as outside workloads from practice, competition, skill development, and additional forms of therapy. If needed, we will consult with the other professionals involved in order to keep the athlete’s best interest in mind.

At GP, as physical medicine professionals and performance coaches, we are able to stay on the same page and promote a more seamless transition for our athletes as they progress through specific phases of training and/or therapy. Similar to other high-performance training centers, GP’s approach places a primary importance on feedback and communication between coach, therapist, and athlete to ensure quality and consistency in our services.

More related reading:
What you need to know:
  • For athletes, reaction time is highly important to success as many athletic events can be determined by tenths of a second.
  • Outside of practice and training, chiropractic adjustments appear to improve reaction time.
Reaction time is the ability to respond quickly to a stimulus. Not only important in sports, reaction time is important for day to day activities as well. Dependent upon nerve connections and signal pathways, reaction time is the time lapse between a stimulus and movement (i.e. sprint start or hitting the brakes to avoid an accident).

When it come to athletics, practice and training are critical to improving reaction time. Athletes receive stimuli from their eyes (position of other players, the ball, etc), ears (calling from players or coaches), and kinesthetic sense (body position). Elite athletes have the ability to reduce reaction time by selecting the most important information and then anticipate the actions of other players or the path of the ball quickly. In sport, the ability to react quickly provides a competitive advantage.

To have an appreciation of how quickly athletes need to react, here is a short video:
Nowadays, athletes look for competitive advantage wherever they can gain it. So what if you could boost your competitive advantage by improving your ability to react faster outside of practice or training?

Get ready for some very interesting news: chiropractic adjustments can have a beneficial affect on reaction time. A recent study conducted at the New Zealand School of Chiropractic tested the effects of chiropractic adjustments on reaction time. Two groups were utilized to test reaction times. The first group received chiropractic adjustments to the neck. For comparison, the second group was designated as the control group and received a short period of rest.

Results showed a significant improvement in reaction time for the chiropractic adjustment group over the group that only got to rest. The group that rested did show an average decrease in reaction time of 58 milli-seconds. In this study, that represented an 8% faster reaction time. The group that received the chiropractic adjustment showed an average decrease in reaction time of 97 milli-seconds, representing a 14.8% faster reaction time.

The importance of reaction time is not just limited to athletes and on-field performance, reaction time also has importance in other areas of life. The benefits of being able to react faster can make the difference in avoiding traffic accidents and preventing falls. As for competitive athletes who depend on the ability to react quickly to game situations, the addition of chiropractic care can prove to be beneficial. This study can help to explain why many athletes report the ability to perform better when they decide to include chiropractic treatment as part of their routine.

In fact, several athletes are advocates for chiropractic care, including Jerry Rice, Tiger Woods, Joe Montana, Aaron Rogers, Tom Brady, and Maurice Jones Drew. Reggie Bush, current Detroit Lion's running back and former Heisman Trophy winner, had this to say about chiropractic:
"As a professional athlete, I am highly competitive - only accept the best. When it comes to healthcare, chiropractic is an essential service. It keeps on-field performance at its highest level and contributes to the success of the entire team!"
Gallagher Performance successfully treats and trains athletes of all levels, addressing their individual needs accordingly. We integrate services such as chiropractic, manual therapy, massage, nutrition, and sports performance training to help athletes realize their potential.

For those of you that are familiar with Gallagher Performance, you understand the importance we place on the integration of our sports training, chiropractic, massage, and manual therapy services. We feel this model allows for optimizing sport-based outcomes while keeping our athletes healthy and ready-to-train. The model is not completely unique, as chiropractors, therapists, physical medicine providers, and strength/physical preparation coaches are collaborating in similar models to better serve their clients and athletes.

With that in mind, one frequently asked question we receive is,
"How are these services different from sports medicine care I can receive from a physical therapist or other specialist?"
The concept of what is commonly referred to as ‘Performance Therapy’ can be seen as a unique and completely separate approach from traditional sports medicine or physical therapy. To illustrate this, here's a quick look at a comparison of the mindset behind sports medicine and performance therapy.

Traditional Sports Medicine
  • Reactive approach to sports injuries
  • Therapy and rehabilitation focused
  • Emphasis placed on passive modalities, manual therapies, manipulation, therapeutic exercise
  • Tissue-specific
  • Patient-centered
  • Occasional focus placed on "injury prevention" strategies
  • Primary goal is the return to training or sport abilities prior to injury
Performance Therapy
  • Proactive approach between coach, athlete, and doctor/therapist
  • Focus is on mechanical efficiency for skill acquisition and motor learning
  • Continual "tweaking" to optimize performance
  • Manipulation and manual therapies used for facilitation, to enhance the process of building mechanical efficiency
  • Skill-specific
  • Athlete-centered
  • “Injury prevention” is a by-product of the process
  • Primary goal is to enhance sport performance
We are very fortunate to have a skilled and knowledgable team of therapists and coaches working at GP. The dynamic created between therapist and coach allows us to not only screen each client and athlete prior to all training programs, but to also carefully watch their movement during each training session. The goal is identify specific movement qualities that could potentially have a negative impact on sport-specific movements, the acquisition of new skills, or injury prevention methods. This approach continues throughout the duration of the training program and allows movement dysfunctions to be addressed before they lead to greater issues.

Performance therapy becomes not just about normalizing function or "returning to sport", but optimizing the function of the athlete and "enhancing performance". Therapeutic intervention (or "treatment") occurs as needed during training sessions. This can include the use of a variety of exercises to improve stability/mobility or techniques that activate the nervous system to improve movement coordination. Regardless of the intervention, the goal is for athlete to adapt and improve more quickly than if training and treatment were approached separately.

The transition between training and treatment must be seamless. When it comes to performance therapy, we have noticed the following goals are achieved:
  1. Greater Body Awareness. By integrating the appropriate intervention into the training plan, there is an effect on motor control that generates greater permanence on a neurological level. Basically meaning the athlete masters new movement skills faster. The instant feedback from treatment allows the athlete to provide the coach or therapist with an understanding as to how they feel/move during training. Coaching the athlete thus becomes more specific, allowing them to learn and improve quickly.
  2. Optimization of the Training Session.  Performance therapy integrated with training typically involves a lot of “tweaking” in order to meet the demands of the athlete. It provides the framework to keep athletes performing at their best more consistently. Several athletes receive some type of treatment or practice regeneration/recovery methods prior to competition. So why would they not receive similar interventions during an important training phase?  Both serve the same purpose to optimize performance.
  3. Improved Monitoring of the Athlete. Performance therapy provides additional information on the readiness of the athlete to train. Both the therapist and the coach use this information to make educated decisions regarding the details of each training session, allowing for true customization of your training plan. It’s important that athletes are monitored for how well they have recovered between training sessions so you know how hard to push them. Also, athletes tend to have the ability to 'hide' things very well. Being able to identify slight differences in muscle tightness or movement abnormalities not only will allow us to make better decisions about the training session, but also help prevent more serious matters such as injury or overtraining.
Keep in mind that performance therapy is not intended to create athletes who are dependent on this model, but rather athletes who are held more accountable in the pursuit of their own goals. The coach or therapist is provided with the information needed to recommend the most appropriate "homework" for the athlete, such as foam rolling specific muscles, mobility or stability drills, and the use of recovery methods. Furthermore, performance therapy is not intended to serve as a replacement for other forms of therapy. It is not simply moving the treatment room to the training room. Even though the goal of performance therapy is to reduce the amount of time spent on treatment and return to sport measures, there is a time and place for other medical and/or alternative interventions that should be understood and respected.

Closing Words
Both sports medicine and performance therapy are necessary components in the health and performance of athletes. Failure to integrate therapy in a complementary manner can be a mistake. Without performance therapy there tends to be an increase in reliance on other forms of therapy that stress rehabilitation and recovery.

In sports, the term "game changer" is often used to describe an athlete or action that results in a successful outcome that changes the course of a game. The same can be said about performance therapy because of its ability to play an invaluable role in an athlete's development. If you've been experiencing lack of results or just can't seem to stay healthy, performance therapy may just be the "game changer" you have been looking for to improve your abilities as an athlete and GP is where you can find it.

What you need to know:
  • Many healthcare providers and trainers poorly understand why someone ‘feels tight’.
  • Dealing with muscle tightness is not as simple as just stretching.
Why Muscles Become Tight
The human body is designed to move and movement requires varying amounts of stability and motion. When movement occurs, patterns of stability and motion can occur in efficient or inefficient ways. As structures accommodate movement, the load placed on everything from joints to muscles and tendons to nerves changes and these changes can produce symptoms. In the process of wanting to avoid symptoms, the body will often develop compensation patterns. A common result of this compensation process is the feeling of being 'tight' or 'tension'. This tension serves a protective role, thus it is referred to as protective tension.

The development of protective tension and the reason behind its presentation is one of the least understood mechanisms in musculoskeletal care. The body is smart enough to constantly monitor loads and prevent excessive load of any given structure to ultimately help prevent injury. If you are feeling 'tight', there is a reason and your body is sending you a signal. However, many people will ignore this signal until more pressing issues develop, such as pain. So how does one handle a muscle that ‘feels tight’? Unfortunately, the solution is not as simple as just stretching. Stretching often provides temporary relief because of underlying joint dysfunction, stability and/or mobility deficits, or muscular weaknesses that need addressed.

Thinking Beyond Stretching
To illustrate this concept, let’s look at the classic example of someone with ‘tight hamstrings’. The common solution many people hear from coaches, trainers, medical professionals, and the all-knowing local gym guru is, “You should stretch your hamstrings more.” So the well-intentioned individual chooses to stretch their hamstrings more often because they feel they have received good advice from someone they perceive as knowledgeable.

However, the majority of people will eventually find themselves in a cycle of temporary relief from stretching. They stretch, feel better, then some time later they feel tight again. So they stretch more and more, but fail to have any sustainable results all because they received very poor advice from the start. Be critical of your information source. Just because someone owns a Mac doesn’t mean they are qualified to be a programmer for Apple. Get the point?

Discovering the reason behind your tight hamstrings (or any tight muscle) is a complex process. Here are just few common reasons why hamstrings develop protective tension:

#1 - Poor Posture due to Weakness of the Abdominal and Glute Musculature
The anterior pelvic tilt is a common posture seen today. As the pelvis rotates forward due to stability and muscular control issues, this places stress on the hamstrings since they attach directly to the pelvis. Not only is this a static posture consideration, but also applies to dynamic posture or essentially the posture one assumes while moving. Movement will place greater stress on the anterior and posterior abdominal slings. These slings serve as a link between your shoulders, spine, and hips. Weakness in their ability to control pelvic and spinal movements, such as rotation and extension, can create overactive or tight hamstrings. In this case, the hamstrings will continue to feel tight until the underlying issue of correcting posture and pelvic/spinal stability are improved.

#2 - Adverse Dynamic Tension of the Sciatic Nerve
Peripheral nerves, such as the sciatic, have their own unique biomechanics to allow for movement of the arms or legs. Nerves are surrounded and encased by muscle/connective tissue, so they need to be able to ‘slide’ through tissue during movement. If they can’t slide, tension develops because nerve tissue is highly sensitive and can be injured very easily if too much stress is applied to it. Hamstring tightness can be attributed to the sciatic nerve or its  branches, the tibial and common peroneal nerves, being entrapped within the hamstrings and/or calves. The detection of neural tension requires specialized training. Those that are qualified utilize specific soft tissue work and neural mobilizations tailored to treat neural tension.

#3 - Accumulation of Adhesive Tissue within the Hamstrings
This is common in athletes and runners because of repetitive use. Adhesive tissue can develop within musculature in response to overuse, thus affecting how a muscle contracts and lengthens. Typically a muscle that does not lengthen appropriately will create the feeling of tightness. Again, specific soft tissue work is tailored to treat adhesive tissue and allow for proper hamstring function.

#4 - Joint Dysfunction of the Pelvis or SI Joints.
Abnormal joint mechanics will alter muscle function. If joint centration or how the joint moves is altered, this will alter length-tension relationships of muscles surrounding the joint. This affects muscle function and will potentially place tension on the hamstrings. These are best addressed by joint mobilizations or adjustments/manipulations. Licensed chiropractic professionals are well trained in identifying abnormal joint mechanics and the impact it has on the body and nervous system.

Final Words
Protective tension in a muscle develops for various reasons and must be examined accordingly. At GP, our assessments are used to identify protective tension and why it is present. This provides us with the information needed to design the most appropriate course of treatment and client education.
It does not take a professional eye to take notice of the frequency of hamstring injuries in sport. Evaluating the injury list for collegiate and professional teams, you will find that hamstring injuries are at the top of non-contact related sport injuries. Even more staggering is that roughly 1/3 of all hamstring injuries will recur, with the majority recurring within the first 2 weeks. Now these statistics mainly reflect sports which involve sprinting, however hamstring issues can create problems for athletes regardless of sport. It is important to understand that hamstring health becomes more critical as increasing loads and demands are placed on them. Given these statistics, one can logically bring into questions if traditional return to play guidelines and rehabilitation programs are truly ideal.

A quick look at the picture above and it becomes clear the hamstring is actually the collection of four muscles. The semimembranosus (SM), semitendinosus (ST), bicep femoris long head (BFLH), and bicep femoris short head (BFSH). Understand that three of the hamstrings are biarticular (SM, ST, and BFLH). This means they are 'two-jointed' and cross the knee and hip, thus influencing both knee and hip movements.  The two primary actions the hamstring produces are hip extension (except for BFSH) and knee flexion (all 4). This brief overview of the hamstrings has implications as to the how and the why behind hamstring treatment, rehab, and training.

The act of 'pulling' a hamstring usually occurs at high speed running during the terminal swing phase of the gait cycle. In the picture above, this phase is seen in the athlete's right leg. As the hip is decelerating the forceful momentum as the leg swings forward, the hamstrings are loaded and lengthening as you are finishing the swing phase before foot strike. There are predisposing factors that ultimately cause the hamstring to be compromised such as: poor neuromuscular control or the lumbopelvic region, asymmetries in muscle length and/or hip range of motion, and sacroiliac joint dysfunction. All of these factors need to be and should be considered when devising a treatment and rehab protocol to ultimately reduce the risk of re-injury.

The GP Approach
Effective treatment for a hamstring strain, and for any injury, must address not only the site of pain but ALL possible predisposing factors. As stated above, there are essentially three 'reasons' as to why hamstring injuries occur. Sprinting is not the problem. Focusing on each predisposing factor through progressive treatment and training will best prepare the athlete for return to sport activities.

The utilization of manipulation, massage, soft tissue techniques, and nutritional considerations to support tissue healing become the foundation of early care and recovery from hamstring injury. Everything used to facilitate healing is based on examination and identification of the presence of any predisposing factor(s).

The transition from rehabilitation to return to sport then becomes dependent upon a process that addresses proper tissue healing and exercise progressions to improve structural balance, lumbopelvic control, strength, and coordination of movement required by sport specific demands in output and movement patterns.


"He who treats the site of pain is often lost."
- Karel Lewit

The purpose of this article is to provide some basic information about the importance of understanding the role posture and function have in pain and movement dysfunction. The hope is that you will gain an understanding of why your chiropractor or therapist must evaluate and bring into consideration issues that may not seem related to your pain.
When it comes to dealing with chronic musculoskeletal pain, the site of the pain is rarely the actual source of the pain. This concept is often missing or ignored in traditional North American treatment. Let's look at shoulder pain as an example. All too frequently the shoulder pain patient is provided an evaluation and treatment that is solely focused on the shoulder. Depending on the professional you see, the shoulder is typically treated with any combination of adjustments, passive modalities (ultrasound, electrical stimulation, laser), manual therapy, or shoulder exercises. If those fail, you may be referred for shoulder injections or you may become a potential candidate for shoulder surgery.

Notice the pattern? Everything is focused around the shoulder. That's where the pain is, so that's where my problem has to be, right? The same pattern can be seen with low back pain, neck pain, knee pain, etc. This seems like rational thought, but what if you, as the patient, do not respond? Does this mean that conservative treatment failed? Does it mean you need surgery? What if only focusing on the site of pain caused something very critical to a positive outcome to be missed?

Looking Beyond the Shoulder
Czech physician Vladimir Janda likened musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction as a chain reaction, thus stressing the importance of looking beyond the site of pain for the source of pain. Janda observed that due to the interactions of the skeletal system, muscular system, and Central Nervous System (CNS), dysfunction at any one joint or muscle is reflected in the quality and function of joints/muscles throughout the entire body. This opens the door to the possibility that the source of pain may be distant from the site of pain.

Janda also recognized that muscle and connective tissue are common to several joint segments; therefore, movement and pain are never isolated to a single joint. He often spoke of "muscular slings" or groups of functionally interrelated muscles. Muscles must disperse load among joints and provide stabilization for movement, making no movement truly isolated. Meaning shoulder movement does not occur only at the shoulder, but is dependent upon the function of the spine, rib cage, pelvis, and even the ankles. For example, trunk muscle stabilizers are activated before movement of the upper extremities begin; therefore, shoulder pain can be caused by poor core stabilization.

Hopefully you are coming to realize that while you may have pain in a specific area, it's not always the cause of the pain. Going back to the shoulder, a 2006 study that reported 49% of athletes with arthroscopically diagnosed posterior superior labral tears (SLAP lesions) also have a hip range of motion deficit or abduction weakness. This illustrates a key point. How often do you see shoulder pain/dysfunction treated by correcting hip mobility and stabilization patterns?

Outside of glenohumeral joint range of motion and rotator cuff endurance/strength, has your shoulder evaluation included any of the following items:

#1 - Breathing Pattern
The average person will take close to 20,000 breaths per day but until recently the impact breathing has on movement and dysfunction has been largely ignored. Proper breathing certainly provides great benefit to athletes and individuals who display a variety of movement dysfunction.  Neurologist Karel Lewit said, “If breathing is not normalized, no other movement pattern can be.” Understanding the impact proper breathing has on the body and how to restore ideal breathing patterns is critical in both athletic development and rehabilitation.

#2 - Thoracic and Cervical Spine Function
Spinal posture lays the foundation for shoulder function. Improper function of the thoracic (mid-back) and cervical (neck) areas of the spine will compromise the function of your shoulders. Imagine the spine as a series of cog wheels, movement in one area will impact all areas. This is visualized in the picture below:

Regardless of whether they are sitting or standing, the majority of people tend to fall into a posture very similar to what is seen on the left. Increased kyphosis of the thoracic spine (rounded mid-back) is a major reason for forward head posture and rounded shoulders. There are seventeen muscles that attach to the shoulder, many of them influencing the position and movement of not just the shoulders, but spine as well. Shoulder function is dependent on proper spinal posture and without correction of spinal posture, the shoulders don't have a fighting chance to stay healthy.

#3 - Mobility of the Opposite Hip and Ankle
The importance of looking at hip mobility was emphasized previously, but let's also consider the ankle. This ankle becomes of particular importance when dealing with overhead throwing athletes. Dysfunction at the ankle will alter mechanics up the kinetic chain and place undue stress on the shoulder and elbow. Correcting any muscular tightness or poor joint movement of the ankle sets the stage for ideal throwing mechanics and the prevention of shoulder injuries.

Closing Thoughts
Despite focusing on shoulder pain, many of these concepts hold true for any type of chronic musculoskeletal pain. Before abandoning all hope or 'learning to live with the pain', consider that being evaluated by a professional who will look beyond your site of pain could be the solution you have been looking for. That's why these concepts form the foundation of the examination and treatment process at Gallagher Performance.
Seen by doctor after doctor with no relief of your joint pain?
Dealing with a previous injury that still holds you back in your daily activities or sports? Frustrated with lack of results in your training or dieting?

Be it joint pain or just stubborn body fat, it seems all too common that people deal with frustration when they are seeking results and it seems there are no answers as to why they are not getting better or improving. Unfortunately, some people are eventually told to "Live with it" or "Take this pill". While others decided for themselves, "Maybe this is the way I'll always be".

Just like a good real estate agents say, "Location, location, location'. A good doctor/therapist says, "History, history, history'. The history holds the clues, often more than patients expect.

At GP, we understand the importance of taking a detailed history and utilizing comprehensive assessments to provide our patients/clients with quality information and service. Experience the difference GP has to offer and let us help you get the results you want.

Back injuries are not rare. Unfortunately, back pain will affect most people and interfere with their daily routine at some point in their life. To combat this issue, many people feel it is necessary to maintain a 'flexible' back.

According to research performed by Dr. Stuart McGill, professor of spine bio-mechanics at the University of Waterloo, statistics show that individuals with more 'flexible' backs are more likely to get injured. The joints and muscles of the hips and shoulders are designed for movement. The muscles of the torso and back are designed to prevent or stop movement, maintaining a stable back and preventing excessive range of motion. A stable back provides the platform to generate movement and transfer force/power.

This information demonstrates the importance of teaching athletes and clients how to maintain the control of a stable torso/back during movement. Any area of the body that lacks proper stability/control will compromise movement and increase the risk of injury.

The GP Clinic specializes in DNS (Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization). Dr. Gallagher's extensive training and background in DNS therapy allows him to provide a level of care that is unique to the Pittsburgh area.

What is DNS?

DNS is a revolutionary European approach in the treatment of back pain and several neuro-muscular conditions. DNS therapy is based on the neuroplasticity of the central nervous system and targets the cause of pain/dysfunction rather than its manifestations. DNS therapy evokes ideal movement patterns by manual stimulation of developmental reflex zones. DNS exercises are used to improve neuromuscular control and the therapeutic benefits become significantly expanded from previous standards of rehabilitation. Any one from infants to adolescents, chronic pain patients to athletes can all benefit from DNS therapy.
One question we receive frequently is, "What makes you different from other chiropractors?"

It is our philosophy that patients should not have to come in for care for the rest of their lives. Instead, we strive to identify the repetitive movements and postural abnormalities that cause pain and discomfort by performing thorough and detailed examinations.

This enables us to create a treatment plan which targets each patient's pain generators. We stress a collective and active approach on the part of each of our patients through education. By clearly educating each patient on why they are performing their prescribed exercises or stretches, the focus becomes about patient empowerment and providing them with a sense of what they can do for themselves. This typically results in great patient compliance and shorter treatment plans, with most patients seeing noticeable changes in 4-8 treatments. Some patients may even experience significant changes in 1-2 treatments.

At Gallagher Performance, we work for the individual and not on the individual. Our focus is on your goals and your outcomes.
Many people say that once you start going to a chiropractor you have to go for life. They are afraid they are going to get locked into something for life when the same thing could be said for routine medical physicals, dental check-ups, and even regular exercise if you want to experience the benefits and take a preventative approach to your health.

When it comes to chiropractic care, patients may choose to be seen for a brief treatment period to help relieve a specific problem. They may choose to receive regular care because it helps them feel better. The patient always has the choice.

The reality is, there is a level of personal responsibility one must accept if they want to live an active and healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise and proper nutrition are arguably the two most important life-style changes one can make for themselves. The majority of the clients we see at GP initially are looking for exercise and/or nutritional programming. But once they experience massage or chiropractic care and what it can do for their body, their health, or their recovery, many opt for routine care. This is exactly why several top level athletes make regular massage, soft tissue treatment, and chiropractic a part of their recovery and maintenance program.

At GP, we strive to provide our clients and patients with the tools and knowledge they deserve so they are able to live active and healthy life-styles.
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  • 4484 William Penn Highway

  • Murrysville, PA 15668

Hours of Operation

    Monday-Thursday: 9am-1pm, 3pm-6pm
    Friday: 9am-1pm, 3pm-5pm
    Saturday: by appointment only
    Hours are by appointment only