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Fitness is Not Sports Performance

One of the biggest challenges plaguing sports performance is the prevalence of general fitness programs masked as "sports performance" programs.

Sadly the concept of sports performance has become so polluted that most parents and young athletes buy into programs that ultimately are just heavily fitness-focused with very little or poor instruction in regards to true development as it relates to sport.

True sports performance addresses much more than how fit you are or how hard you are willing to work. It's much more than cleans, sled drags, sprints, and conditioning circuits. You can use all these methods and more to sell someone on the "look" of sports performance. But if you truly analyzed most "sports performance" programs they boil down to general fitness and that's it.

Some will say, "Well fitness is important in sports. You got to work hard. You got to be in shape. You got to learn how to push through." Fact is anyone can workout tired. Anyone can workout sore. If they want it bad enough. The problem is none of that matter when it comes to performance. The reality is once an athlete has to go up against another human being, only one thing matters - is their ability greater than their opponent?

It doesn't matter how fit you are and how hard you train if you show up on competition day and fail to be at your best. Sport performance is multi-faceted and should never be treated in the context of fitness-focused training. There are general fitness attributes that are important in sport, but true sport performance must move beyond fitness in order to allow athletes to truly realize athletic potential by focusing on specific adaptions relevant to their sport.

It's important to do your homework and look beyond what may seem like sports performance. Despite what you may see on Instagram or hear from a friend, what you sign up for may not be exactly what you were looking for.

For more related reading:
https://gallagherperformance.com/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-sports-performance/

 
https://gallagherperformance.com/physical-preparation-vs-fitness/

 
https://gallagherperformance.com/learn-how-to-spot-the-fitness-frauds/

 
https://gallagherperformance.com/training-maximize-athletic-potential/

 
https://gallagherperformance.com/athleticism-requires-more-than-just-strength-speed/

 
https://gallagherperformance.com/training-tip/

Exercise Hacks Ep. 14 - Jump Rope & Sprint Mechanics

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQj4CnMyU1M[/embed]

Going back once again to the podcast with Clinically Pressed, I mentioned the jump rope as a great tool for developing low grade plyometric qualities in the foot and ankle.

Let's take this a step further and demonstrate how these same qualities apply to sprinting. Front side mechanics or tripe flexion is extremely important to running and sprinting ability. Most people focus on the posterior chain and triple extension with little focus on triple flexion. There is a reason why sprinters spend so much time practicing and rehearsing front side mechanics with marching and skipping drills.

A critical part of triple flexion is dorsiflexion at the ankle. Often you'll see athletes sprint with a lazy foot that isn't brought into dorsiflexion during the gait cycle. This must be addressed and trained accordingly. We want to train an 'active' foot, not a lazy foot. Training an active foot will require cues but the use of external cues such as the jump rope will force an athlete to become more reactive, thus possibly leading to quicker learning of new skills.

The jump rope can be included in skipping drills to develop ideal foot/ankle mechanics as they are necessary for optimal speed and power development. If these qualities aren't trained and mastered then athletic potential will be hard to realize.

 
For more related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/health-and-sport-performance-improved-in-5-simple-steps/

https://gallagherperformance.com/a-few-words-on-athletic-development/

https://gallagherperformance.com/what-is-natural-talent/

Athleticism Requires More Than Just Strength & Speed

 
There's no single blueprint coaches follow when building an athlete. There are no shortcuts. Those cool looking, cookie-cutter programs found online, they often result in failure. In the training world, athletes aren’t built by copying the same program and applying it across the board. At GP, we are in the business of individualized architecture – intelligently designing personalized programs for each athlete. Whether in the weight room or on the field, it should be individual-specific.

We dial in to specificity instead of just saying let’s just go train hard and get bigger, stronger, or faster in the generic sense. Coaches and athletes can be obsessed with bigger, stronger, faster. Yes these are important elements of training but not at the expense of movement skill.

Sometimes athletes need more specific work when it comes to the quality of their movement in regards to stabilization, sequencing, rhythm, relaxation, timing, etc. Developing movement skill is often ignored or disregarded. The problem is there can be a huge disconnect between what an athlete thinks they are doing during a specific movement and what they are actually doing. We must improve their perception and awareness of movement. When combined with proper strength and conditioning, Improving an athlete's body awareness and movement skill will yield far greater results than just focusing solely on strength and speed numbers.

Movement skill acquisition should increase with as strength and speed development increases. This will only enable the athlete to move more efficiently and with less risk of injury.

There are different methodologies, philosophies, systems and styles used in the strength and conditioning industry. Reality is there is no gold standard by which everyone should follow. It’s about finding the right fit for both athlete and coach. Every athlete is slightly different and there won’t be one method that will work for every athlete. That's exactly why individualized decisions should be made for the athlete.

 
For more related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/thinking-of-taking-your-child-to-a-trainer-read-this-first/

 
https://gallagherperformance.com/understanding-the-benefits-and-concerns-of-youth-strength-training-programs/

https://gallagherperformance.com/the-essentials-of-speed-training/

https://gallagherperformance.com/how-do-you-build-an-athlete/

https://gallagherperformance.com/guidelines-for-selecting-a-strength-coach-or-personal-trainer/

 
 

Exercise Hacks Ep. 13 - Horizontal Pressing Alternatives for Painful Shoulders


[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNH6aIezqd0[/embed]

Outside of low back pain, shoulder pain is one of the most prevalent musculoskeletal complaints. For avid exercisers and athletes, shoulder pain is something most are familiar with, especially when it comes to horizontal pressing movements.

The most popular of the horizontal pressing movements being the barbell bench press. Bench press often enough, long enough, and heavy enough, you will likely experience some degree of limitation due to shoulder pain or injury.

This can be for a number of reasons that all should be considered. But there is one reason why the barbell bench press becomes unfriendly to the shoulders - the fixed position the scapula (shoulder blades) are placed into.

Creating a tight upper back and stapling the scapula to the bench is critical for a big press as this forms the foundation for pressing.

But let's consider healthy shoulder motion is dependent upon a freely moving scapula. Otherwise too much stress is placed at the glenohumeral joint (shoulder joint). Yes, accessory exercises should be programmed to maintain healthy shoulders but there is only so much that can be done to offset thousands of pounds of bench pressing volume. We absolutely should be proactive in our approach to avoiding shoulder pain and/or injury.

That's why it is important to incorporate horizontal pressing movements that allow the scapula to move more freely. Whether they are used as a primary movement, accessory movement or alternative while the shoulder is on the mend, the exercises seem in this video can offer increased shoulder stability and motor control while giving your joints and connective tissue a break from intense training. See in this video are:

1) Standing Horizontal Cable Press

2) Stability Ball Dumbbell Press

3) Stability Ball Alternating DB Press

4) Stability Ball Single-Arm DB Press

A great benefit to these exercises is the amount of core and hip engagement required which is awesome for teaching force transfer through the body and how to steer strength.

Note: if performing heavy presses on a stability ball be sure to use a properly rated ball.

 
 
 
For more related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/advanced-training-for-elite-athletes/

https://gallagherperformance.com/effective-treatment-shoulder-pain/

The Essentials of Hamstring Rehab

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZUKOz1iuhk[/embed]

This video highlights the hamstring rehab with Carter Henderson. Carter was a standout linebacker at Duquesne University, leading the team in tackles the last two seasons. Now he is in preparation for an NFL Pro Day.

Carter came to GP for rehab of a hamstring pull 12 days out from his Pro Day. His initial 5 days focused on manual therapy, eleetromuscular stimulation (EMS), with a primary emphasis on exercise progressions based on his tolerances and weaknesses. Focus was placed on exercise specificity to the stresses the hamstrings encounter during sprinting. We aimed to match joint angles, mechanics, and dynamics as they relate to his sprint form and lateral movement.

Days 6-8 on his rehab focused on tempo runs and flying 40s, keeping intensity below 75% effort. Gradually worked into higher intensities with specificity to pro day drills. Focus still on manual therapy, joint mobilizations and manipulation when indicated.

Effective treatment for a hamstring strain, and for any injury, must address not only the site of pain but ALL possible predisposing factors. 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 act of ‘pulling’ a hamstring usually occurs at high speed running during the terminal swing phase of the gait cycle. 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:

  1. Poor neuromuscular control of the lumbopelvic region,
  2. Asymmetries in muscle length and/or hip range of motion, and
  3. 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 and improve rehabilitation outcomes.

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.

This essentially sums up the process behind Carter's rehabilitation program.

Carter has turned around nicely and tons of credit to him. He wasn't able to walk without pain when we first started his rehab and was able to run a 4.75 sec 40 yard sprint on his pro day at Duquesne University. He did everything right in his rehab. Carter is extremely coachable and great to work with and we wish him all the best.

 
For more related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/solving-pain-influence-czech-rehabilitation-techniques/

https://gallagherperformance.com/posture-and-movement-linking-training-and-therapy/

https://gallagherperformance.com/makes-sports-rehabilitation-chiropractor/

https://gallagherperformance.com/fascia_muscular-adhesions_how_they_relate-_to_pain_and_overuse_injuries/

https://gallagherperformance.com/best-way-recover-tendon-pain/

Stop Chasing Shortcuts

When it comes to health, fitness, or athletic goals, there is no secret. There is no special exercise class, no special equipment or supplement. There is no magic. Yet people keep looking for one.

The truth is there are no shortcuts and anyone promoting shortcuts is lying to you. And if you bought it, you were buying 'hope' only to discover you actually got a bunch of nonsense that left you disappointed and frustrated.

Chasing shortcuts is a mentality that is robbing people of not only achieving their goals, but the ability to maintain them. If you some how think that serious health and fitness goals are able to be achieved with anything less than 100% commitment, dedication, discipline, and will power to sacrifice for your goals - there is nothing anything or anyone can magically do for you.



Spend your time, energy, and resources on what does work instead of chasing shortcuts. Recognize the work it is going to take and commit 100% to your goals.

Is this easy? No way. Most want something only when it's convenient or when it's easy to prioritize. They prefer the sound of some shortcut that will get them where they want to be - with less effort, less time, or without changing anything.

Where are you getting advice? Who are you listening to? Are they simply trying to sell you a BS program or product? Stop listening to this nonsense. It doesn't work. What works is tried and true sustainable actions with long-term focus.

Sustainable actions may be tedious and boring. But you know what isn't boring? The results sustainable actions consistently produce and the ability to maintain them. Ask anyone that's ever achieved anything worthwhile - in business, academics, or athletics - they all found success in doing the tedious and boring. All day. Every day.

Health. Fitness. Performance. Nutrition. They're no different. They are all lifetime pursuits. It's called a 'lifestyle' for a reason -you have to be in it for life. The question is do you value your goals enough to commit to the level of work, dedication, discipline, and will power needed to achieve them?

Change your mindset. No excuses. No shortcuts. Just results.

 
More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/what-is-natural-talent/

https://gallagherperformance.com/attitude-is-everything/

https://gallagherperformance.com/learning-through-misconceptions/

https://gallagherperformance.com/training-tip/

https://gallagherperformance.com/dns-solves-pain-improves-performance/

Exercise Hacks Ep. 10 - Loaded Progression for Shin Box Get-Up

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwIba7PpgXA[/embed]

Keeping with the concept of core stability and hip mobility, the shin box has become a popular drill for improving hip rotation, eccentric loading of the hips, as well as reinforcing ideal intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) and core stability.

Ideally the shin box is performed in a progression of static to dynamic variations. Progressions are dependent upon the ability to achieve ideal external rotation in the lead leg and internal rotation in the trail leg while maintain an upright, braced torso with sufficient IAP.



While the shin box and its get-up variations are most popularly used as a warm-up/movement prep or 'mobility' drill, loaded progressions can be an awesome tool for increasing hip strength and neuromuscular coordination of force transfer through the hips and core.

This advanced progression of the shin box involves the hanging band technique with a safety squat bar. The hanging band technique is great for cleaning up technique and reinforcing proper stability and motor control. Failure to control your technique or movement will result in the hanging weighs to sway uncontrollably. The fight your body goes through to maintain stability and the control needed to avoid excessive sway does plenty to 'coach' one how they should be moving. There's tremendous value in utilizing exercises or movements that allow one to problem solve on their own. That's what makes this loaded progression an awesome tool.

Not only are you improving 'mobility' but you're also developing strength and doing so in a way that movement quality won't be compromised because of load. It's something that happens all too often with exercise. You see people sacrificing form and quality of movement for the sake of more weight on the bar. With this exercise it isn't going to happen. If you try to perform this exercise with too heavy a load that causes form breakdown, the movement isn't happening at all. Arguably, one of the biggest contributors to 'mobility' issues is poor form associated with mismanaged loading strategies - or basically trying to 'muscle through reps' at the expense of quality in movement. This ultimately will cause joint issues and mobility restrictions as you place too much stress on your joints on a repetitive basis.

So what's the best solution to mobility issues?

Sometimes the best mobility drill is building the foundation of ideal technique in a well-designed strength training program that erases your weakness. And this loaded progression of the shin-box get-up does just that.

 
For more related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/do-you-really-need-more-mobility/

https://gallagherperformance.com/solving-movement-problems-entertainment-vs-effective/

https://gallagherperformance.com/the-best-exercise/

https://gallagherperformance.com/unlock_your_potential_with_this_powerful_tip/

5 Reasons Not to Be Skeptical of Chiropractors

You've thought about seeing a chiropractor before, but have hesitated because you:

  • Heard it was "BS" or "quackery"
  • Thought that once you start going, you'll have to go for life
  • Were afraid of being adjusted
  • Thought they just won't be able to help
Let's first address the reality that all chiropractors are not the same. While "chiropractic" refers to the profession as a whole, what many people experience - from one chiropractor to the next - can be quite different. There are numerous techniques and specialization within chiropractic that enable chiropractors to do more than "just crack necks and backs".

In fact, chiropractors have the ability to successfully treat a number of common musculoskeletal problems. Below you will find five reasons why you shouldn't be so skeptical of chiropractors and why finding a great chiropractor can prove to be a priceless investment to your health and well being.

1. Solve joint and muscle pain without unnecessary medication or surgery

Let's illustrate the significance of this point with an all-too-common experience for many of us. You begin to experience joint (neck, back, shoulder, knee, etc.) pain seemingly for no reason at all. Your pain has just appeared and you are puzzled as to why.

What do must people do first?

Most commonly, they start in the medicine cabinet with common over-the-counter (OTC) medications like Tylenol, Motrin, Advil, or Aleve. They may ice the area or apply pain-relieving gels. Others may just give it time and play the waiting game to see if the pain goes away on its own. If OTCs, ice, pain-relieving gels or time don’t do the trick, then they pay a visit their primary care physician only to receive a script for either anti-inflamatories or muscle relaxers and a referral for an orthopedic consult. The orthopedist will likely perform a physical examination along with possibly ordering imaging studies such X-ray, CT scan, or MRI. Based on your examination and imaging results, one of two recommendations is often made - physical therapy or surgery.

Too often surgery can be recommended before more conservative approaches are given a chance. Disregarding the risks associated with surgery, what happens when the procedure fails? Surgery is not a great choice when pain is associated with a positive — often incidental — finding on an MRI. These incidental findings are well document and often times structural adaptations to functional problems.

When assessed properly by a trusted conservative musculoskeletal care specialist, whether a chiropractor or physical therapist, many muscle and joint problems can be resolved without the need for surgery.

Seek conservative care first. If you don't respond to care within 6 weeks, then it wish to consider more invasive procedures if they are indicated.

2. Manage complicated disorders

Remember when I said all chiropractors are different? It's true.

Just like the medical profession, there are many areas of specialty in chiropractic. Those who specialize as a sports injury & rehabilitation chiropractor (such as Dr. Gallagher) have undergone the traditional education on joint manipulation or adjustments. However, in addition to their core curriculum, sports injury & rehabilitation complete hundreds of hours in continuing education learning about exercise and sport-related injuries, manual therapy, and functional rehabilitation methods.

Chiropractors who utilize a sports injury & rehabilitation approach incorporate joint mobilization/manipulation, soft-tissue treatments, various manual therapies, and functional rehabilitation techniques to provide a gold standard of care in treatment for individuals with exercise and sport-related injuries. This combination of complementary approaches uniquely positions sports injury & rehabilitation chiropractors to manage complicated disorders that other specialists may have difficulty in treating.

3. Prevent future episodes of pain by changing function

Imagine a world where patients get the advise, education, and treatment they need. Imagine doctors who:
  • Make sense of what a patients says
  • Know exactly what a patient needs
  • Confidently provide gold standard advice and treatment interventions
This world is obtainable, but it must first begin with better quality, order and structure to our thinking patterns. One of the fundamental challenges with healthcare is that the human body is amazingly complex and adaptive. In response to the complex nature of dealing with the human body, doctors and therapists may have the tendency to routinely provide services that serve their own skill set better than appropriately addressing the patient’s needs. Often times this leaves both the patient frustrated with lack of response to care.

As ac chiropractor it's my job to educate my patients and help them problem solve. I have to help them understand not just what their problem is, but more importantly why it started.

In understanding why their problem started, we aim to change the function of their body. If patients don't commit to changing their behaviors and habits that got them into pain in the first place, then how can they expect to find a solution to their problem?

4. Enjoy a healthier lifestyle

As stated in the point above, chiropractors should be educators. As educators, we teach individuals how to live their best life and do so in a model that promotes our patients's have a sense of independence, capable of making informed, intelligent lifestyle choices.

Regardless of specialization, a universal truth to chiropractors is that they generally practice a “holistic” approach to patient treatment. Meaning chiropractors view the individual as a whole, identifying and focusing on more than just physical symptoms such as pain. By employing a combination of manual treatments, ergonomics, postural education, exercise prescription, nutritional interventions, lifestyle advice, and other strategies (practitioner dependent), chiropractic is more than just cracking backs to reduce pain. Chiropractors want their patients to enjoy a healthier lifestyle.

5. Enhanced performance

We put our bodies through the ringer daily (some more intensely then others). Periodic treatment from a qualified chiropractor will help keep your body running like a fine-tuned machine, improving your ability to perform and progress in your training programs by optimizing the body’s ability to function at it’s best.

How?

By combining chiropractic with functional rehabilitation and strength and conditioning principles.

It's exactly why we do what we do at Gallagher Performance.

Almost every case involving muscle or joint pain requires some level of strengthening exercise progression and education. We will make sure you are doing the most appropriate exercises for your situation and your level of ability. 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 to keep pain from returning.

Regardless of the number of treatments you receive, the goal remains the same – to make a lasting change in your body through posture and movement re-education.

Wrapping Up

There are many great reasons to visit a chiropractor. Every chiropractor is different, so just because one didn’t work for you it doesn't mean that all chiropractors are useless. You just haven't found the right one for the job and that can prove to be a difficult task. Yes there are some bad ones out there (like any profession), but there are plenty of good ones that can be trusted.

No matter who you see, keep in mind that it is critically important that you understand your problem, your treatment plan, your expectations for recovery, and how to manage your problem during as well as after treatment.

At Gallagher Performance it is our intent to get you back to what you love doing and as quickly as possible. We create clarity by helping you understand your problem, why it behaves they way it does, and apply the right tool to make a lasting change in the way your body functions.

 
More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/dynamic-duo-chiropractic-dns/

https://gallagherperformance.com/busting-chiropractic-myths-misconceptions/

https://gallagherperformance.com/are-you-promoting-independence/

 
https://gallagherperformance.com/before-you-go-to-a-chiropractor-read-this-first/

https://gallagherperformance.com/when-should-i-see-chiropractor/

12 Week Distance Training Client Results

This training client sought out our services for three primary reasons:

1) Rehabilitate a chronic recurrent low back condition that has prevented him from training with any type of intensity or frequency for over two years AND get back to training while staying healthy in the process

2) Get stronger while packing on some quality size, and

3) Regain the feeling of athleticism from when he played college football.

We recently concluded 12 weeks and during that time he had three BOD POD evaluations. Debate on the accuracy of the BOD POD aside, impressive changes were made in only 8 weeks. These evaluations occurred on 11/21/17, 12/19/17, and 01/16/18.

Some of the BOD POD highlights include:

  • Fat Weight lose of 3.786lbs
  • Body Fat % decrease from 12.6 to 10.3
  • Fate Free Weight gain of 6.745lbs
  • Body Weight increase from 182.9 to 185.9

Images 1-3. BOD POD results from 1/16/18. This was the third, and most recent, analysis during an 8-week period.

Included below are photos of a few of his training weeks to give you a glimpse of how his training was structured. Along with the changes seen in his body composition, his strength continues to progress and he is training with weights and a frequency that he has not seen in over two years while maintaining a healthy feeling body.

Continue reading

Exercise Hacks Ep. 6 - Deadlift Variations for a Functional Core

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6qNeTnJdyU[/embed]

In this video we discuss two deadlift variations that will build rock solid functional core strength - the suitcase deadlift and pitchfork deadlift.

The suitcase deadlift and pitchfork deadlift are two deadlift variations that will expose energy leaks and strength imbalances real quick. Building a functional core often requires unconventional methods that go beyond aesthetically driven exercises. While unconventional these exercises force the lifter to generate total body tension to complete the lift - which makes them an awesome tool to teach lifters how to generate and maintain tension during squats, deadlifts or heavier training.
Each variation offers something unique.
1) The Suitcase Deadlift - targets the lateral stabilization system or lateral line in the body as detailed in Anatomy Trains. The lateral line will create or resist lateral bend in the body and serves as a 'brake' for lateral and rotational movements of the trunk. The lateral line runs in balance on both the right and left side of the body from the skull down to the trunk and lateral aspect of the hips, thighs, calves and mid-point of the foot.
2) The Pitchfork Deadlift - this variation of the pitchfork deadlift also targets the lateral stabilization system while forcing the lifter to resist rotation. It really hammers the spiral line detailed by Thomas Myers in Anatomy Trains. The spiral line is responsible creating or resisting rotations in the body. The spiral line is a myofascial sling that includes musculature that begins in the neck down to the opposite shoulder and then to the same side hip, knee, and foot arch, then up the back of the body to rejoin the fascia on the skull.
The bonus is both these exercises will reinforce patterns of stabilization in the body that are essential to movement.
These exercises are advanced and it is not recommended to go try them just to see if you can do them. They require a certain level of stability, coordination and strength to be able to do. Respect the process needed to progress to these exercises.
 
More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/movement-improves-brain-function/

https://gallagherperformance.com/athletes-do-not-need-balance-to-be-successful/

https://gallagherperformance.com/the-essentials-of-speed-training/

https://gallagherperformance.com/fascia_muscular-adhesions_how_they_relate-_to_pain_and_overuse_injuries/

https://gallagherperformance.com/the-best-exercise/

 
 

Training to Maximize Athletic Potential

When it comes to athletes, critical developmental stages begin at an early age. As children mature, they progress through these important developmental stages during their growth and maturation process. If long-term athletic development is of any importance to the coach, parent, or athlete, specific aspects of athletic development must be addressed at appropriate time periods, otherwise the chances of the athlete reaching elite status is reduced.

The model used at Gallagher Performance began with a review of research and methods utilized in child and athletic development around the world. Through the review of current and past training methods used with elite athletes, it was concluded that to truly address athlete development, a new way of looking at how to properly structure “Strength and Conditioning” programs must be considered.
The reason is because early specialization in sport is becoming increasingly more common amongst children in the United States, and it’s not working. The rationale behind such a decision typically being if a child plays one sport, year round, they will be more advanced than their peers, more likely to be the ‘star’, get recruited, and/or possibly go on to make millions.

Recent research from UCLA reveals that early specialization in sport has very poor connection with young athletes achieving elite status. A survey of almost 300 NCAA Division I athletes found that 88% played two or three sports as children and 70% did not specialize in one sport until after the age of 12. These findings were already understood in former East Germany and USSR within their youth development programs.

Studies in former East Germany and USSR found that children who went through an early specialization program did have more immediate improvement in their performances. But these children also had their best performances between the ages of 15-16, had greater inconsistencies, many quit or ‘burnt out’ by the age 18, and they had greater rate of injuries because of forced adaptation compared to children who played multiple sports and specialized later in life.

Long-term athletic development is a process that occurs over many years. This is not an “8 week program”. Rather, it starts at an early age and continues on into adulthood. Long-term athletic development is about progressive development and must be approached accordingly. It is not simply a linear process, but is one that must be highly individualized to assist the athlete in reaching their full potential.

The greatest challenge to coaches, parents, and athletes is the understanding of how difficult this process is. Young athletes are continually dealing with massive changes in physical attributes, brain function, and sport skill acquisition. These all must be managed simultaneously while stressing the concepts of hard work in a positive environment.

For more reading on how we approach sports performance training for athletes, click on the links below:

https://gallagherperformance.com/the-value-of-in-season-training-for-athletes/

https://gallagherperformance.com/why-specificity-in-your-training-plan-matters/

https://gallagherperformance.com/early-specialization-in-sports/

https://gallagherperformance.com/guidelines-for-selecting-a-strength-coach-or-personal-trainer/

https://gallagherperformance.com/commonmistakesindevelopingyoungathletes/

https://gallagherperformance.com/3-benefits-of-integrated-training-and-therapy/

The Beginner's Guide to Injury Recovery

Although we’ve worked with a broad spectrum of athletes - high school, collegiate, professional, former World’s Strongest Man, and elite triathletes - we work with just as many weekend warriors and those who simply love to be active. Whether it’s improving your running distance, increasing strength in the gym, or swinging a golf club without pain, we want to help you achieve your goals.

We also successfully treat those with overuse injuries, enabling them to return to the highly active lifestyle they enjoy.

Being active is an essential part to a healthy lifestyle. The many benefits of movement and exercise are well documented. Unfortunately, injury can become a reality for those that live an active lifestyle. When injury occurs, the effects are not only physical, but psychological as well. It is easy to become frustrated when your active lifestyle has been interrupted and concerned when you aren’t healing or turning around as quickly as you had hoped. Recovery from injury is a process that must be understood, appreciated and respected.

To help you better understand how to manage your own recovery from injury, here is a short list of items to be aware of so that you can respect the healing process and set yourself up for a timely and safe return to sport or activity.

Avoid Complete Rest

When injury occurs, it is often advocated to rest. Rest is a critical part of healing and the amount of rest one needs will be determined by the severity of the injury. Injury is a balance of load and capacity of tissues within the body. Once we exceed the capacity of a tissue (bone, ligament, muscle, tendon, disc, etc.) with a certain load, injury occurs. Rest helps restore the capacity of tissues by minimizing or removing load and thus allowing healing to occur.

As critical as rest is to the healing process, movement is equally, if not more, critical. In the absence of severe injury and conditions where movement would be contraindicated (i.e. fracture, dislocation), movement serves to facilitate healing. The majority of musculoskeletal injuries heal best when we don’t avoid activity, but rather when we modify activity. The important factor here being that one finds activities they can perform without pain and that will facilitate healing through movement. This may be as simple as walking or gentle range of motion exercises. However knowing exactly what you should do for your specific injury can be a complicated answer. This brings me to my next point.

Don’t Rely on Social Media Gurus to Solve Your Injury

When injury occurs, people want a definitive answer when it comes to what they injured and how to manage it. And there are growing numbers that are seeking this information out online without ever consulting a licensed healthcare specialist. This could be due to frustrations with the medical model, a growing consciousness to seek out “non-traditional” or “alternative” therapies, or simply wanting to avoid paying out of pocket when there is free information available online. There can be the mentality of, “Why pay someone to fix me when I can learn to fix myself?” Not that this is wrong, but please understand that there are limitations when it comes to purely trying to self-manage your injury.

Let me illustrate this point with an example of someone who may go onto an internet forum or social media page and state, “If have an L4-L5 disc bulge with sciatica, what exercises should I do to help me get out of pain?”

If you are seeking an answer out online, keep in mind the most appropriate answer you should receive is, “It depends”.

Any advice you receive from someone who hasn’t evaluated you is truly just throwing darts in the dark and hoping something sticks. Most people on the internet and social media who are offering up advice when it comes to injury rehabilitation are not licensed to do so, thus you should be skeptical. Many of these same people try to position themselves as an expert for one reason or another, but reality remains they are not a licensed professional and thus you should be skeptical. Skeptical because how can someone tell you what to do when they haven’t evaluated you – in person.

When it comes to injury rehabilitation, the evaluation process is the most critical step to ensure no time is wasted in the early phases of rehab and to minimize complications. Evaluations should consist of orthopedic and neurological testing as well as biomechanical/functional testing to evaluate for structural pathology, movement sensitivities and functional deficits.

The sharing of symptoms through some online medium is extremely limited in its value and it inherently creates bias. It will bias the feedback and direction you receive from who you are seeking advice from since all they have to operate off of is what you tell them. But when you are evaluated live, in person, by a licensed professional, bias can fall by the wayside when things are discovered that you may not feel are all that important or relevant to your present injury. Yes, history and understanding your problem is important, but it’s only a part of the puzzle.

This is because as professionals, we are trained to evaluate with our eyes and hands to assist in the diagnosis of your condition.

Seek Out Professional Evaluation and Treatment

There are numerous products and programs currently online that essentially attempt to remove the need for someone to see a licensed professional for an injury or ailment. These products or programs will draw people in as they hope to learn what they can do to fix themselves. There is nothing wrong with that, as self-management strategies are important for anyone to learn. People who are dealing with pain or injury must learn why their pain or injury developed in the first place and what they can do to help prevent it from returning.

However the limitation to these products or programs is that they are mass marketed, attempting to appeal to a large audience and, therefore, are very general in nature. They are incapable of being highly specific to the individual. These programs or products may work for some, but when someone needs more individualized solutions they need to turn to a licensed professional such as a chiropractic rehabilitation specialist or physical therapist who approaches injuries and ailments from a functional perspective, not solely based on structural pathology.

Specialists exist for a reason. When your in-home or self-management strategies fail or if you are having persistent or worsening symptoms, you should seek out professional consultation. Specialist such as sports medicine physicians, rehabilitation chiropractors and physical therapists are capable of providing solutions to pain and injury through either diagnosing your condition, devising a rehab plan, and providing treatment. Massage therapists are another specialist to consider as many ailments and injuries have soft-tissue components that respond favorably to massage therapy by reducing pain and restoring muscle function.

Recognize the Gift of Injury

The recovery from injury is as much mental as it is physical. Believe it or not, there is a gift of injury – forced discipline.

What do I mean by forced discipline?

Injury often times forces us to confront the very reasons why we got injured in the first place. The reason could be faulty mechanics, sharp increases in workout or training volume, or ignoring warning signs our brain was sending us.

Professional specialists mentioned above should assist in the process of helping you recognize the reason(s) for your injury and given you the direction needed in your recovery. But it's upon you to be disciplined and mindful during your recovery process and beyond. This new sense of discipline can apply to making better decisions when it comes to your rehab program, your posture, your movement, and the amount of stress or work you place upon your body.

Failure to do so can often lead to someone rushing his or her own recovery, returning too soon to sport or activity or frequent relapses. Be disciplined and regain control of your body.

Understand the Science of Pain

Failure to apply discipline in your recovery can also result in the feeling that your injury will never heal. The reality is all injuries heal. But long after the site of injury has healed, pain can still persist. Pain becomes a reminder to some that they aren’t healed. They will believe they are still injured.

“So if my injury is healed, then why am I still in pain?”

Pain is a message from our brain that is meant to protect us. Even though pain is meant to protect us, pain is not a reliable source of indicating the extent of an injury or even where the injury is located. The classic example here is phantom limb pain. Amputees regularly will experience this phenomenon. One may experience left leg pain, yet they do not have a left leg. If pain is purely related to damage or injury, how would one experience pain in a limb that doesn’t exist?

The reality of pain perception can be a difficult education point as this is typically a new concept for the majority of patients and one they may need some time to understand. But it’s critical as their beliefs about pain can complicate the recovery process. It’s extremely beneficial for patients to learn about pain and address fear-avoidance behaviors and other factors that will interfere with reactivation into normal movement, activities of daily living and sport.

Gradual exposure to correct movement which takes stress of tissues can help to desensitize the brain to pain signals. Movement re-education serves to reduce pain signaling in the brain. As one learns to move better, pain goes down. You need to break your pain cycle with a better movement solution. It’s that simple.

Wrapping Up

Thanks for reading. We hope this post was helpful. Please leave any comments or questions you may have. Share this post with those who you feel can benefit from understanding how to better approach recovering from injury or pain.

 
More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/resetting-bodys-function-post-injury/

https://gallagherperformance.com/the-hidden-causes-of-sports-injury/

https://gallagherperformance.com/technique_and_performance/

https://gallagherperformance.com/nutrition-for-faster-recovery-from-injury/

https://gallagherperformance.com/improved-approach-chronic-pain-management/

https://gallagherperformance.com/effective-treatment-shoulder-pain/

 

Clinically Pressed Podcast Episode 38

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3oAEjdiQK1A&feature=youtu.be[/embed]

Clinically Pressed Podcast Episode 38

Had the opportunity to sit down with Joel and Kyle of Clinically Pressed and answer their questions.

Clinically Pressed is committed to sharing as much useful and applicable information as possible to their audience. Comprised of a PhD, DC and ATC, the CP podcast that seeks to make the complicated simple. CP wants to connect you with experts in their fields - all at no cost to you. They want their audience to be able to access information as easy as possible. Be sure to check them out on the web, on their social media, and support them on Patreon. Also be sure to check out their free weekly newsletter - Total Athletic Therapy.

Website: clinicallypressed.com
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From the Clinically Pressed website, here the notes from the show:

0:00- Episode introduction and check out Paragon Nutrition for some of the most effective and well done supplements on the market. Use code “CP15” for 15% off at check out.

1:26-CP Intro Video: Courtesy of Justin Joy of “Elder Pine Media” Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

2:04-Welcome Sean Gallagher DC of Gallagher Performance and the connection to Palmer College.

3:38-The sports injury department at Palmer and it being one of the only in the country.

6:00-Dr. Juehring of Palmer and his clinical experience along with his athletic background make him one of the hidden gems in the industry.

Continue reading

What Makes a Sports Rehabilitation Chiropractor?

Chiropractors have traditionally been known for treating patients suffering from acute or chronic pain related to the neck and back. Chiropractic treatment that involves spinal manipulation is regarded as a standard for treatment of cervical spine (neck) pain and acute lower back pain. Not only is it safe, but it has also shown tremendous health benefits for improving range of motion and reducing pain in patients during the rehabilitation process.

However, chiropractors are also capable of helping patients rehab and recover from injuries suffered in an accident or sports. The role chiropractors play in rehabilitation and sports medicine has grown substantially in the last 10 years. Almost all professional sports teams in North America utilize chiropractic services because of the recognition chiropractors has received in their ability to help athletes perform at their highest possible level. Apart from this, many rehabilitation clinics include chiropractic care as part of the services offered to patients.

Consider for a moment that the Managing Director for Sports Medicine for the United States Olympic Committee is Dr. Bill Moreau....a chiropractor!

Holding a position as a sports rehabilitation chiropractor is growing in popularity and, just like an athlete, a sports rehabilitation chiropractor must possess many tools or skills to be both effective and efficient in treating patients who are active and athletic.

Below is a list out 5 critical elements you should find when looking for a chiropractor who will be capable of treating you from a rehabilitation or sports injury perspective. Consider that these are not simply just my opinion, but rather this list has been compiled based on the insight of several of my colleagues and mentors, their clinical experience, as well as my own clinical experience.

  1. Palpation & Adjusting Skills. The heart of chiropractic is the ability to assess, diagnose and treat (heal) with our hands. Our hands truly are the greatest diagnostic tool available to us. I've had people say to me that what I do as a chiropractor is "easy" and that "anyone can adjust". There is some truth to that. Adjusting is easy. You can make a joint "pop" real easy. The challenging part is palpation and finding exactly what joint needs corrected, what motions are limited, and determine exactly how you will adjust the dysfunctional joint(s). Palpation is a skill and takes years to refine. You would be wise to find a sports rehabilitation chiropractor who is very skilled with their hands and capable of determining appropriate application of chiropractic adjustments.
  2. Functional Approach to Evaluation and Treatment. The use of functional evaluations is another critical skill of the sports rehabilitation chiropractor. The ability to assess movement and identify hidden causes to injury and pain become invaluable to helping patients find relief and optimize performance. If your chiropractor isn't taking time to assess your movement and helping identify how it may be playing a role in your pain or injury, you may be miss reasons why your pain is recurrent or why you just can't seem to get better.
  3. Functional Rehabilitation. A sports rehabilitation chiropractor should incorporate rehabilitation and active care into your treatment plan. Almost every case involving muscle or joint pain requires some level of strengthening exercise progression and education. The functional approach to rehabilitation includes identifying joint dysfunction, muscular imbalances, trigger points, and faulty movement patterns. These are often the hidden causes of injury. Observing how a patient moves and functions allows us to identify improper movement patterns that become contributors to pain and poor sport performance. By placing an emphasis on strategies to improve movement and function, functional rehabilitation is effective in improving qualities of endurance, strength, stability, balance, agility, coordination, and body awareness.
  4. Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS) and Vojta Therapy. DNS and Vojta Therapy are advanced approaches used to not only treat a variety of neuromuscular conditions but also used by athletes worldwide to elevate performance. By applying principles and techniques rooted in the study of child development, DNS and Vojta Therapy aim to improve and restore the activation ideal movement patterns. These techniques are used to promote the ideal postures, movements, and degree of body awareness that is essential not only to athleticism, but to also treating the underlying causes of several pain syndromes that are commonly treated by sports rehabilitation chiropractors.
  5. Myofascial Release & Manual Therapy Techniques. Myofascial release targets adhesions that develop either within a single muscle or between adjacent muscles and other forms of connective tissue such as fascia, tendons and ligaments. Sports rehabilitation chiropractors commonly use myofascial release & manual therapy techniques such as cross friction massage, active release, instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization, muscle activation, PIR, and PNF. Many athletes and patients experience accumulative or overuse trauma (ex: plantar fasciitis due to running or carpal tunnel syndrome due to prolonged computer/desk work). The goal becomes to work a muscle to remove adhesions and restore neuromuscular function to decrease pain while increasing range of motion, strength, and coordination of movement.
 
More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/prevent-re-injury-integrated-training-rehabilitation/

https://gallagherperformance.com/before-you-go-to-a-chiropractor-read-this-first/

https://gallagherperformance.com/fascia_muscular-adhesions_how_they_relate-_to_pain_and_overuse_injuries/

3 Exercises for Athletic & Mobile Hips

Please watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRZL6Y6gtZI

In this video, we discuss exercises aimed at training proper hip dissociation - an often overlooked and undertrained function of the hips. Poor hip dissociation is commonly a reason for pain and poor performance.

Some key points discussed in this video:

  • What hip dissociation means. Hip dissociation is the ability to independently move the hips without compensations from the rest of the body.
  • Why poor hip dissociation and compensations are often a reason for low back pain, hip pain, and even pain within the knees and feet/ankles.
  • How poor hip dissociation is related to increased risk of injury.
  • Why the inability to move properly though the hips limits athletic potential and will negatively impact your performance.
  • And most importantly - what to do to improve your ability to move your hips independently with simple exercises that you can perform at home, at the gym, or basically anywhere with just a few simple tools.

Thanks for watching and as always, let us know your questions or comments.

More related reading:

https://www.gallagherperformance.com/blog/advanced-training-for-elite-athletes

https://www.gallagherperformance.com/blog/2-exercises-for-groin-and-knee-pain

https://www.gallagherperformance.com/blog/the-solution-to-long-term-improvement-of-back-pain

https://www.gallagherperformance.com/blog/pistol-squat-or-skater-squat-which-is-better

https://www.gallagherperformance.com/blog/how-dns-solves-pain-and-improves-performance

https://www.gallagherperformance.com/blog/a-powerful-innovative-approach-to-improving-how-the-body-functions

Chiropractic, Rehab & DNS Treatment

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceIcoreYu8o&t=4s

This video illustrates how we integrate chiropractic, rehabilitation and dynamic neuromuscular stabilization (DNS) into patient treatment. For the purposes of this video, these techniques were used to speed up post-workout recovery, ensure structural balance and improve how the body functions. Similar to fine-tuning a race car, the human body can benefit tremendously from fine-tuning to keep body prepared for high performance.

Key take home points:

  • Treatment is directed at patient-specific goals and outcomes. There are different levels of care that may need, ranging from symptomatic (i.e. painful conditions) to more performance-based therapy or fine-tuning.
  • Chiropractic manipulative therapy (i.e. adjusting) was not filmed but utilized for the spine and hips.
  • Soft-tissue work was done manually and instrument-assisted to mobilize muscle and connective tissue to improve recovery.
  • Dynamic neuromuscular stabilization (DNS) was used to fine-tune motor patterns and muscular activation. Proper muscular activation and stabilization function of muscles helps to ensure proper muscular coordination while minimizing stress on the joints.
  • This all adds up to optimizing performance while keeping the body as healthy as possible.
More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/fascia_muscular-adhesions_how_they_relate-_to_pain_and_overuse_injuries/

https://gallagherperformance.com/dynamic-neuromuscular-stabilization-advancing-therapy-performance/

https://gallagherperformance.com/powerful-innovative-approach-improving-body-functions/

https://gallagherperformance.com/solving-pain-influence-czech-rehabilitation-techniques/

The Most Effective Treatment for Shoulder Pain

Our approach to working with shoulder pain or injuries is very unique in that we really don’t work around shoulder injuries when properly indicated. The majority of the time, we don’t force someone to rest for several days while inflammation quiets down. Yes, it can be necessary in rare circumstances. However, rest and traditional methods of ice and anti-inflammatory meds are often over utilized when properly prescribed movement (i.e. exercise) is probably the better bet for improved recovery. At Gallagher Performance, we have a nasty habit of getting our athletes, clients and patients to work through pain and injuries by strategically incorporating exercise with specialized approaches tailored to find “the hardest thing they do well”. We want to find what they can be successful with while not posing any undue risk. And the best part? The system works.

When it comes to the shoulder, pain and injury is most commonly associated with poor shoulder function and faulty mechanics. And when I say most commonly, it’s not a stretch to say over 50% of shoulder injuries are due to these underlying problems. If muscles are unable to fire properly to provide ideal amounts of support (stability) and motion (mobility), then injury will occur regardless of how strong or flexible one is.
I have written extensively on the subject of the “hidden cause of injury” since the root cause of the overwhelming major of musculoskeletal injury is dysfunctional movement. Most doctors and trainers do not have the training or eye to look for dysfunctional movement and no amount of rest, ice, and Advil will ever provide the solution. No amount of passive modalities, taping, cupping, mobility drills, or stretching will correct dysfunctional movement. When it comes to shoulders, the solution to reducing shoulder pain and preventing injury is all about restoring proper rhythm and mechanics of the shoulder joint. This includes all it’s associated articulations – the glenohumeral and scapulothoracic. Basically we have to improve how both the “ball and socket” joint or “shoulder joint” (as most of us know it) and “shoulder blade” function together.

When it comes to improving the function of the shoulder, we’ll take an athlete or patient and have them perform variations of rows, pulls, presses, and ground-based movements with adequate loads to reinforce ideal body mechanics and correct dysfunctional movement or stability patterns. This is done through a combination of exercises, tempos, external stimuli, and progressions to essentially re-educate the nervous system. This is why it’s called neuromuscular re-education. We must teach the nervous system to do things better and break bad habits. Yes bad habits can be very challenging to break. Most people would rather pop a pill or rest until their pain disappears rather than break bad habits because breaking bad habits sounds like hard work. Popping pills and rest are great because they are easy and effective. But those who deal with chronic recurrences may want to think about a different strategy once their patience wears thin.
For example, some lifters have such poor thoracic spine posture and scapular dyskinesis that they may need 6 months+ of rehab and corrective work. But they have no interest in that. They have no interest in stepping back a little and refocusing their training for long-term development. They prefer to band-aid symptoms while they push their training and perpetuate the pain cycle.

The funny thing is breaking bad habits isn't as hard as most people think. If you work with the right person you’d be surprised what proper coaching, cueing, and exercise can do in a relatively short period of time. The reality is most people are highly resistant to breaking bad habits because of either ego or the unwillingness to take a step backward. Typically after a number of training or therapy sessions, the individual is able to perform any and all movements without pain and with improved shoulder mechanics. For those dealing with shoulder pain, improving their mechanics through sensory-motor training enables their nervous system to be re-educated. This re-education process is the most effective form of therapy and healing available. It cannot be understated that a critical component of this process is proper coaching and cueing. This is the responsibility of the coach or therapist. As much as proper coaching and cueing can be beneficial, improper coaching and cueing can prove to be very damaging. It is my opinion that many injuries occur because the athlete or patient had previously received very poor coaching or instruction.

This is exactly why performing exercise with proper technique is proving to be the single most effective form of therapy as it promotes almost immediate healing. If someone is having pain during a movement, they are doing something wrong. Correct them into the proper movement and watch their pain disappear. The key is re-educating the nervous system so movement becomes both therapeutic and performance-enhancing to one’s body rather than promoting pain and destroying joints. This is truth when it comes to the shoulder joint as well as any joint within the human body.

Tired of pain? Want to reach your full potential? Visit gallagherperf.wpengine.com
EXPERIENCE THE DIFFERENCE.

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/finding-a-solution-to-your-shoulder-pain/

The Best Exercise

Often I am asked, "What is the best exercise?" or "What is the best type of exercise?"

To answer that question, let's set the stage of what exercise really is - movement.

Teaching patients not only about chiropractic but how to move better all comes back to function and understanding how all the intricate parts of our body make up a highly complex movement system. But here are some key points to understand:

1) Function determines movement. Chiropractic and rehabilitation seek to restore proper movement function. Functional examinations determine WHY movement is painful or problematic. Utilizing the functional model of movement helps to determine who is at risk for injury, which movement patterns or body regions are dysfunctional, and what treatment or exercise strategy is needed to address those issues in combination with chiropractic/manual therapy methods.

2) Function is critical to movement and movement is critical to our health. Our bodies are designed to move. The growing list of chronic diseases and immense burden on the healthcare system associated with an overly sedentary society clearly demonstrates one conclusion – we need to move more.

3) Movement is exercise and exercise is medicine. The medicinal benefits of exercise are numerous. There is a reason why exercise and proper nutrition is being labeled as "lifestyle medicine".

For those who wish to start an exercise program, the public is told to “see your doctor” before starting an exercise program. Most patients are cleared to exercise after history and vitals are considered “normal”. Sure your organ system may be healthy enough for exercise, but nothing is mentioned about seeing a doctor to determine how well you move or how well your muscles and joints are functioning. Why wouldn’t this be considered? Why wouldn’t seeing a “movement specialist” before considering an exercise program be equally advocated?

So, in typical fashion, most of us embark on an exercise program believing we will be healthier for it. We are told to exercise and practice sound nutritional habits, but what do most of us do for exercise? How about go to the gym, sit on a machine and pull or push weights while hunched over with lousy posture. Or, after sitting for 40-60 hours per week, let’s go out and put staggering amounts of stress on our bodies through recreational activities like weekend skiing, Thursday night softball league, rec league hockey, golf, or basketball.

There's nothing wrong with those activity choices, yet what happens when pain or injury come into the picture? Most of blame the exercise or blame the activity when, in most cases, we should be blaming our own body.

When it comes to pain and injury, the reality is what our body is capable of performing cannot meet the demands we are placing upon it. The overall function of our body must be ready to handle a specific task or movement otherwise problems will eventually arise. Problems that may range from mild (muscular tightness/stiffness, joint aches) to more severe (pain and/or injury).

The beauty of the functional model is that those regions that have mechanical sensitivity (pain) and/or abnormal motor control can be identified and solutions are discovered. Exposing these compensations and correcting them plays a huge role in not only getting patients out of pain, but improving how their body functions.

Why is changing how our body functions so important?
While pain is why most people seek care, the reality is if we only change pain and fail to change how a patient’s body functions, we have our reason why so many patients relapse. But if we get them out of pain and improve how their body functions then we are doing what we need to do to keep the pain from returning.

Whether we need mobility (improved range of motion) or stability (motor control), that can be addressed with a proper functional examination through movement. After a functional examination, it just makes sense to reinforce functional movement patterns with specialized exercise to build a foundation of proper movement coordination, strength and skill. Now we are beginning to get somewhere to build form, function and fitness. Now we are getting people to move better through better exercise!

Correct movement is the best exercise
Once people learn better movement, how to project their joints and what exercises they should be performing, their bodies are much healthier for it. There is less risk of injury and most will ultimately start feeling better instantly. Rather than beating their bodies up due to poor movement, movement becomes healing. Correct exercise is the answer. Correct movement is what we need to get out of pain, feel capable and feel healthy.

That’s the essence of the functional model. It’s about promoting health and healing through therapy, movement, and patient-centered education. That’s what we pride ourselves on at Gallagher Performance as our model is truly unique in the services we provide and the results we achieve.

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/prevent-re-injury-integrated-training-rehabilitation/

https://gallagherperformance.com/powerful-innovative-approach-improving-body-functions/

https://gallagherperformance.com/do-you-really-need-more-mobility/

https://gallagherperformance.com/the-truth-about-functional-exercise/

Solving Pain: The Influence of Czech Rehabilitation Techniques

As physical medicine becomes increasingly specialized, chiropractors and therapists must remain educated and capable of offering the highest quality in their professional services, knowledge, and examination abilities. Regardless of whether you are entrusted with the care of an athlete, chronic pain syndrome patient, or post-surgical rehabilitation, we have the job of reaching successful outcomes for each individual we encounter.

We must find their real source of pain, their true sources of dysfunction. Even if it means identifying sources others do not know exist.

We should be able to perform orthopedic, neurological, and also functional assessment to not only diagnosis problems, but also determine how to prevent any future problems.

One such country that has encouraged this level of thinking among it’s doctors and therapists is the Czech Republic.

The emergence of Czech ideas within the United States has grown over the last 15-20 years. My mentor and residency director, Dave Juehring, DC, DACRB, CSCS and director of the Sports Injury & Rehabilitation Department at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, IA has one of the most extensive backgrounds in Czech approaches to manual medicine and rehabilitation within the United States. In my opinion, there is no brighter mind in the chiropractic rehabilitation world. He may not be well known by industry standards, but those that know him know his knowledge and skill set is second to none.

The knowledge and expertise he is able to share with his residents, rehabilitation interns, and students has a profound impact on our professional development.

Among many lessons, he really has helped us understand the approach taken within the Czech School of Manual Medicine as well as the Prague Rehabilitation School. The intent of this article is to share some of this knowledge and highlight how these Czech methods can improve rehabilitation outcomes and athletic performance.

Alternative Thinking
The Czech School of Manual Medicine truly has revolutionized the management of musculoskeletal pain. Early in the 1950s, neurologists by the names Vladimir Janda, Karel Lewit, and Vaclav Vojta took a special interest in the rehabilitation of the motor (aka movement) system. As western medicine became progressively more technologically driven, Janda and Lewit focused on the value of manual approaches such as chiropractic, joint mobilizations, and neuromuscular rehab techniques, such as PIR (post isometric relaxation) as critical pieces of the rehabilitation plan. Janda was instrumental in the assessment of muscle imbalances, Lewit’s in joint dysfunctional. Vojta was instrumental in the discovery of global reflex locomotion patterns.

Collectively, their research focused on joint dysfunction, muscle imbalance, and the assessment of faulty movement patterns.

These concepts became components of identifying “Functional Pathology of the Motor System”. In other words, identifying why someone has developed pain or a movement related problem. In contrast to traditional medicine, which had a growing emphasis on medical imaging (X-rays, CT scans, MRIs) to identify structural pathology as the cause of pain.

Developing Ideas and Techniques
The work of Janda, Lewit, and Vojta influenced the work of Pavel Kolar and his work now represents a very innovative and powerful approach to how the central nervous system not only controls but expresses movement. This approach is known as Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS). The application of DNS has value from the neurologically impaired child to adults dealing with musculoskeletal pain to elite athletes. Kolar’s knowledge and skill set has landed him jobs with the Czech national teams in soccer, hockey, and tennis.

DNS has become highly effective in speeding recovery from injury, rehabilitate the body’s function as a unit, and enhance performance. Even the Czech President relies on his unique skill set. Kolar has worked with some of the world's best athletes, such as Jaromir Jagr, Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic to name a few.

Thanks to the influence of these Czech clinicians, we are now able to look for predictable patterns of dysfunction within the human body and correlate them with pain or injury. It is in the Czech model we are able to piece together the clinical relevance of local, segmental joint treatments (mobilizations, manipulation), muscular imbalances, and central nervous system coordination of movement to optimize how the body functions and performs.

Read more on DNS here:

Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization: Advancing Therapy & Performance
The Hidden Causes of Sports Injury
https://gallagherperformance.com/chiropractic-rehab-dns-treatment/

https://gallagherperformance.com/sports-chiropractic-rehabilitation-massage-therapy/

Understanding Concussions and How Chiropractors Can Help

In light of recent news from the Pittsburgh Penguins regarding Sidney Crosby sustaining another concussion during practice last Friday, the hockey community is a buzz. Crosby’s concussion history is well documented of recent, having sustained three in less than six years. Discussions and speculations of what this means for Crosby's season, and even career, are populating the Internet and sports talk shows.

Despite the advances in sports medicine as it relates to concussion diagnosis, management, and return to play guidelines, concussions remain a challenging condition for all involved.

The reality is concussions are truly challenging. Despite measures to "prevent concussions", concussions are not preventable. There is no such thing as concussion prevention. There is no single piece of equipment, be it a helmet or mouth guard, that is capable of preventing a concussion. Rather than prevention, the focus is on minimizing concussion rates through proper identification, management, and education.

Consider that within the United States, there are over 300,000 sport-related concussions per year and research suggests concussion rates are on the rise. If your child is in contact sports, there’s a risk of concussion. Thus making this is an extremely relevant conversation and one that shouldn't be taken lightly. That said, the goal of this article is to offer insights into what a concussion is, how they should be managed, and the chiropractors potential role in the process.

What is a concussion?
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury defined as a short-lived loss of brain function due to trauma that resolves spontaneously. With a concussion, there is no structural damage to the brain. Simply put, only brain function is altered.

Encased within the the skull, the brain floats in a pool of fluid, known as cerebrospinal fluid. These protections allow the brain to withstand many of the minor injuries that occur in day-to-day life. However, if there is sufficient force to cause the brain to bounce against the bones of the skull, then there is potential for injury. It is the impact of the brain against the inside of the skull that cause the brain to be injured and interrupt its function. This impact is often due to rapid acceleration and deceleration movements of the head and neck. Rapid acceleration and deceleration of the head and neck can be created from a direct blow to the head or from impact that results in whiplash injury common in motor vehicle accidents and falls.

How are concussions diagnosed and treated?
First and foremost, anyone suspected of having a brain injury should seek evaluation by a neurologist trained in concussion evaluation.

The signs and symptoms of concussion may be obvious or very subtle. Most concussions are sustained without the individual losing consciousness or "blacking out". In several cases, the individual may not be aware they have sustained a concussion or may not connect their symptoms with a head injury. Complicating the picture is the fact that some individuals may have delayed onset of their symptoms, not presenting with concussion symptoms for several hours or days after the initial injury.

Typical symptoms of concussion include:

  • Headache
  • Difficulty concentrating or feeling “foggy”
  • Poor recall or memory of recent events
  • Changes in mood or personality
  • Slower reaction times
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Low tolerance of bright lights or loud sounds
  • Irritability
  • Changes in sleep patterns, such as being unable to sleep or sleeping more
 
In some cases, chiropractors can be the first point of access for individuals who recently sustained a head or neck injury, such as those occurring in sports, car accident or fall. Chiropractors, especially ones who are certified by the American Chiropractic Rehabilitation Board, regularly manage athletes who suffer sports injuries, such as concussions, and are trained in proper diagnosis and understand the importance of referral for additional medical evaluation. Gallagher Performance offers such quality in their chiropractic services and has been part of the co-managment team in a number of concussion cases.

An effective tool chiropractors may use to assess the severity of a concussion is called the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 2 (SCAT2). The SCAT2 is used to evaluate, assess, and manage concussions in athletes 10 years and older with the end goal of safely returning the athlete back to the sport.

How are concussions treated and what is the Chiropractors role?
After evaluation, rest is the best treatment. Depending on severity, most symptoms resolve relatively quickly while treatment is directed at symptom control for headaches, nausea, dizziness, and sleep problems. Rest does not simply mean physical rest. Brain rest is equally important as physical rest. Exposure to television, computers, and smartphones and other devices can stimulate the brain and aggravate symptoms. Limiting use of those devices may be helpful in allowing the brain to recover more quickly. Brain rest may also involve student-athletes being held out of the classroom and encouraged not to read, study, or taking exams as this mental effort can aggravate symptoms and possibly delay healing.

When it comes to management and, for athletes, return to play guidelines, often a team of medical professionals are involved. Chiropractors may find themselves as part of this co-management team.

Chiropractors may not be the first medical professional you imagine when it comes to concussion management and treatment, but sport and rehabilitation chiropractors are trained to support the patient during the recovery process. Largely this is due to their focus on treating spinal joint dysfunction present in the head or neck, myofascial techniques to restore muscular and connective tissue function, and sensory-motor based exercise protocols to restore ideal neuromuscular function. For further consideration, two recent literature reviews outlined how chiropractors can effectively manage athletes with concussions (1,2).

Ultimately, the brain will recover at it’s own pace. For athletes, return to play guidelines are established to ensure they are safe to return to sport competition. This involves the close observation of the athlete to ensure no symptoms are present during gradual exposure to increased cardiovascular demands all the way to more intensive and sport-specific measures.

Dear Patient, Be Patient
While 80 - 90% of individuals who suffer a concussion will recover within 7 - 10 days, some will experience symptoms for weeks or months. The length of recovery is not necessarily related to the extent of the initial injury.

Employers or school officials should be informed of the concussion diagnosis and aware of potential issues of poor performance due to difficulty with concentration and comprehension. Return to sport is fully dependent upon complete resolution of concussion symptoms and this decision should come from the neurologist overseeing care. Remember to be patient. The brain is a delicate structure and will heal with time. Don’t rush your recovery process. Returning too quickly can put you at increased risk for worsening your previous condition. Let the brain recover and reboot.

Gallagher Performance has extensive training and experience in evaluation and co-management of patients and athletes who have sustained a concussion. Our experience allows us to assist in providing gold standard care when it comes to concussions.

This blog post was written by Sean Gallagher, DC, DACRB, PES
To schedule your appointment, call (724) 875-2657.

References
Johnson, C.D., et al. Chiropractic and concussion in sport: a narrative review of the literature. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine 2013 (12):216-229.
Shane, E.R., et al. Sports Chiropractic management of concussions using the Sports Concussion Assessment Tool 2 symptom scoring, serial examinations, and graded return to play protocol: a retrospective case series. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine 2013 (12): 252-9.
 
 

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  • 4484 William Penn Highway

  • Murrysville, PA 15668

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