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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/

The Benefits of Spinal Manipulation

Spinal manipulation, also known as Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy, is an effective and efficient way to improve joint mechanics, reduce pain, improve mobility, and facilitate the acquisition of improved movements patterns when implemented strategically into treatment plans.

Yet the benefits of spinal manipulation, or chiropractic care in general, is still met with skepticism.

We are so far past establishing that there is evidence supporting spinal manipulation. Rather, we are moving in the direction of how to best establish the use of spinal manipulation in the management of specific musculoskeletal conditions and pain syndromes. The fact is that there are so many studies, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses done on spinal manipulation that a Medline search would be overwhelming to discuss.

The evidence is well summed up by a review of international low back pain guidelines. Over the last 10 years, 12 countries have done critical reviews of the scientific literature concerning low back pain. The international consensus is that the evidence supports chiropractic spinal manipulation as an effective tool in managing low back pain, and therefore is included in the recommendations.

However, the benefits of spinal manipulation do not begin and end with back pain. There are numerous benefits to spinal manipulation that make chiropractic care an invaluable addition to one’s health related or athletic pursuits. Below is just a short list.

  1. Joint pain relief - The most obvious benefit is relief of pain. Chiropractic manipulative therapy (CMT) can almost instantly relieve pain experienced in the low back, mid-back, neck, and extremities and has demonstrated this in research.
  2. Disc Bulge/Sciatica - The European Spine Journal published the findings from a clinical trial with chiropractic manipulative therapy showing 72% success rate in treating sciatica and associated symptoms. Disc bulges respond favorably to spinal manipulation techniques which focus on resorting joint mechanics and unloading the intervertebral discs.
  3. Headaches (tension and migraine) – There are hundreds of peer reviewed research articles demonstrating the ability spinal manipulation to prevent and ease the burden of headaches and migraines.
  4. Blood Pressure - In 2007, a team of researchers published a study in the Human Journal of Hypertension demonstrating that one upper cervical chiropractic adjustment had the same effect as two blood pressure-lowering drugs. Those effects were not simply short-term, they lasted more than six months.
  5. Surgery Prevention - The Journal of the American Medical Association recently published its low back pain guidelines and suggested that people suffering from back pain first try chiropractic before resorting to surgery. When appropriate, a growing number of physicians and specialists are recommending patients pursue conservative management of musculoskeletal conditions and pain syndromes before surgical intervention. The majority of these patients avoid surgery as they respond extremely well to conservative management via chiropractic care, physical therapy, or a combination.
  6. Athletic Performance - There is a reason why countless professional and Olympic athletes receive regular chiropractic care. The physiologic and neurologic benefit of spinal manipulation is super charged when used in a comprehensive care plan to address pain and dysfunction. Simply stated, muscles just work better when proper joint motion is restored via manipulative therapy. Athletes thrive on proprioception and motor responses from sensory input. Proprioception and motor response all improve from spinal manipulation. Coupled with exercises to facilitate motor skill acquisition, the short-term responses from spinal manipulation eventually become long-term improvements in movement quality and efficiency.
Based on my knowledge and experience as a sports performance and rehabilitation chiropractor, I’ve seen some surprising improvements with pain, joint proprioception and overall movement quality due to chiropractic spinal manipulation. When appropriately indicated, I regularly use spinal manipulation for reducing joint pain, improving joint mechanics, reducing muscle tension, and improving movement.

As stated above, spinal manipulation is a power tool that can be used within a comprehensive treatment plan. These treatment plans often utilize a variety of approaches that emphasize soft tissue work, guided exercises to improve stabilization and movement patterns, and patient education. These combined approaches serve as a “gold standard” for successful management and treatment of a number of musculoskeletal conditions.

To learn more about chiropractic and how it can be a benefit to your health or athletic goals, please contact our office at (724) 519-2833.

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/solution-long-term-improvement-back-pain/

https://gallagherperformance.com/the-solution-for-chronic-back-pain/

https://gallagherperformance.com/low_back_pain_causes_and_treatment_recommendations/

A POWERFUL, INNOVATIVE APPROACH TO IMPROVING HOW THE BODY FUNCTIONS

The Gallagher Performance approach will improve the way your body moves and functions.
Simple yet effective changes to improperly functioning muscles and joints will allow the body to make immediate shifts toward working as a functional unit. Thus reducing pain and enabling higher levels of strength, speed, and power with greater resilience.

The results are incredible. Time and time again, our patients and athletes quickly change from a state of pain and tension, to a state of relaxation primed for performance. This all comes back to assessment and knowledge. When we do the right thing, the body responds immediately.

The methods used at Gallagher Performance are utilized internationally by elite athletes, sports teams, and health practitioners. Not only are we able to efficiently and effectively treat injuries and enhance sports performance, our methods are also powerful tools for stress management, quickly breaking common patterns of movement dysfunction related to chronic pain. The methods have international recognition and no provider, therapist, or trainer in the Pittsburgh area has the training and background in these methods that Gallagher Performance offers, making us truly unique.
HOW DOES THE GP SYSTEM WORK?
Our body is designed to breathe and move. In order to breathe and move, our body finds ways to accomplish these tasks, and it’s willing to do so in efficient or inefficient ways. Our breathing and movement can develop compensation patterns or “key dysfunctions” that become the target of successful musculoskeletal treatment.

These compensation patterns cannot be ignored, as they put us at risk of poor sport performance, tension, or pain. Our body’s ability to overcome the stress of life can result in reduced movement quality and energy levels. Measurable reductions in stability, strength, power, mobility, and stamina are often the result. Our body becomes less resilient, increasing the chance for fatigue and breakdown.

If you experience a traumatic event or injury, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Post injury, you’ll notice the slow and gradual decline in energy, function, and performance. Compensations begin to manifest in order for us to avoid pain and accomplish daily tasks. The result may range from noticeable decline in energy, to impaired function of muscles and joints, to chronic pain which long outlasts the initial injury.
It is almost inevitable nowadays for the majority of us to experience the effects that stress, injury, and/or compensation has on the human body. And it can be simple to reverse those effects when you focus on what your body needs to regain ideal function.
The system at Gallagher Performance starts by testing how your body is currently functioning, so that changes can be clearly measured. This is accomplished through evaluating joint restriction, muscle activation and strength, and functional patterns of movement.

Once compensations are identified, we target “zones” to help activate the body to perform better. These “zones” can be a specific muscle, group of muscles, joints, or a combination.

Once we activate, we have to integrate. In order to do this, we run through the body’s movement patterns, testing and activating along the way to enable muscles and joints to regain their ideal function. Then through cueing and exercise, the brain can integrate improved patterns of movement, allowing you to move effectively and efficiently.

A body that moves better has less stress and less pain, allowing you to work at greater capacity and with greater energy.
That doesn’t mean you’ll suddenly be indestructible for the rest of your days. That would be too good to be true. After all, it you enjoy being active and testing your body’s limits, you are going to feel it. Our movement patterns need reminding and that’s why we use targeted home exercises to help the body reinforce ideal function and keep compensations from returning.

The methods and techniques used at Gallagher Performance are proven to be effective in getting people out of pain and elevating performance. We truly offer unique, powerful tools for control over your own health and performance.
More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/chiropractic-rehab-dns-treatment/

https://gallagherperformance.com/tendinitis-changing-treatment-and-improving-recovery/

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

Low Back Pain: Causes and Treatment Recommendations

Low back pain is not an uncommon condition among the American population. Several studies have supported data that demonstrates up to 85% of the population will experience at least one episode of low back pain during their lifetime. Low back pain is responsible for millions of dollars in healthcare costs every year.

In most cases, low back pain is relatively self-limiting condition, meaning it reduces naturally over a period of a few days. That said, it is not uncommon for many to experience severe pain. For this reason, it is important to begin treating low back pain conservatively with interventions such as chiropractic, manual therapy, therapeutic massage, and/or proper exercise prescription. All these conservative interventions have demonstrated their ability to successfully treat low back pain and its causes.

Some common back pain causes that respond well to a combination of chiropractic, manual therapy, massage, and/or exercise include:

Sprain/Strains: Injury to muscle and/or connective tissue, such as tendons or ligaments, suffered during activity, accidents, or lifting with poor form. Sprain/strains are extremely common and most range from mild to moderate (little to no tearing of tissue) and respond well to conservative treatment such as chiropractic, manual therapy, and progressive rehabilitation. Severe sprain/strains are characterized complete tears of ligaments or tendon ruptures. These may require surgical intervention.

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction: These pelvic joints usually produce pain as a result of alter joint mechanics from lifting or straightening up from a stooped position. The pain is usually relieved with sitting or lying down. Muscular tightness in the low back and hips is common.

Facet Syndrome: Pain in the low back that is localized, sharp and provoked with either extension (arching of the low back) or a combination of extension and rotation of the spine.

Sciatica: Radiating pain into the lower extremity on the posterior thigh/calf/foot. Sciatica can be caused by central issues (disc herniations) or peripheral issues (piriformis syndrome, nerve entrapment).

Disc Herniations: Low back pain which may also radiate pain into the hips or legs. Typically worse in the morning; worse with bending forward; usually better standing than sitting. Because of the disc injury, muscle spasms are not uncommon. These muscle spasms serve to limit movement in order to protect the disc from further injury.

Piriformis Syndrome/Nerve entrapment: Radiating pain on the posterior thigh and leg caused by tightness in the piriformis muscle. This muscle is deep within the hip lays underneath the glutes. Tightness in the piriformis can create irritation by entrapping the sciatic nerve, thus creating the radiation of pain. The sciatic nerve can be entrapped within the hamstring and calf musculature as well. Low back pain may also accompany hip pain.

Myofascial Pain Syndrome: This is a chronic form of muscle pain caused by trigger points. These trigger points are often present within muscles of the low back and hips due to any combination of joint dysfunction, postural imbalances, and/or poor stabilization/support function of the core musculature.

Spondylolishthesis: A fracture of the vertebrae resulting in pain with extension. Similar to sprain/strains, spondylolishthesis is graded in severity. Mild forms for spondylos can respond well to chiropractic manipulative therapy (CMT) and rehabilitation programs. This condition is frequent in athletic populations who perform repeated extension movements, such as gymnasts, football players, wrestlers, and weightlifters.

In many cases, several studies support that low back pain responds exceptionally well to the combination of chiropractic care, manual therapy, massage, and proper exercise instruction. If you are suffering from low back pain, whatever the cause, consider Gallagher Performance for your evaluation and treatment. Our goal is to relieve your pain while teaching you what you can do to keep the pain from returning. Please contact us as we have every expectation that our chiropractic and rehabilitation programs will help you Experience the Difference.
 
This blog post was written by Dr. Sean Gallagher.

Gallagher Performance offers customized treatment plans. Visit our website for complete contact information.
To schedule your appointment, call (724) 519-2833.
 
More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/why-stretching-wont-solve-your-tight-muscles/

Fascia & Muscular Adhesions: How they relate to pain and overuse injuries

What is Fascia?
The soft connective tissue, located just under the skin, is a white membrane that wraps and connects muscles, bones, nerves, organs, blood vessels of the body.

This soft tissue is known as fascia. Think of fascia like the white fuzz inside an orange peel connecting and wrapping around the orange and the individual sections or slices.

At times, muscles and fascia are can become stuck or tear, resulting in soft tissue injuries or adhesions. Adhesions restrict movement and the quality of muscular contractions resulting in either soreness, pain, and/or reduced flexibility.

For a quirky take on fascia or "the fuzz", watch this video by Gil Hedley, PhD. The video provides great visuals as to what fascia looks like, how our muscles have to slide while we move, and what muscular adhesions look like and how they limit movement.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FtSP-tkSug[/embed]

How do you treat Fascial/Muscular Adhesions?
Treatment of fascial/muscular adhesions through manual or instrument assisted techniques have clinically proven to achieve successful outcomes in many acute and chronic conditions. Gallagher Performance offers a number of soft tissue approaches to treat painful or tight muscles, tendons, and ligaments. We have extensive training in identifying and treating muscular adhesions that compromise quality of motion and contribute to pain symptoms or reduced sports performance. Many overuse or repetitive use conditions respond well to treatment of soft-tissue structures through myofascial release, including back pain, shoulder pain, shin splints, runner’s knee (IT band syndrome), and plantar fasciitis.

Myofascial release is a manual or instrument assisted therapy targeting soft-tissue structures to reduce the presence of adhesive/scar tissue. Adhesive muscular tissue is arguably the most common yet most underdiagnosed condition in the entire human body. Muscular adhesions act like glue among muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments, and even nerves. As a result, this reduces flexibility, strength, and stability to the body by altering movement control patterns. Adhesive tissue along nerves can cause numbness, aching, tension, tingling, and in some cases weakness. This is condition is called nerve entrapment and can happen in an estimated 150+ locations throughout the body.

How does adhesive tissue develop within the body?
Often adhesive tissue develops in result to acute injury or from overuse/repetitive trauma injury. Overuse injuries are caused by repetitive stress on the muscle and skeletal system without enough rest to allow the body to adapt. Studies show these overuse injuries account for more than half of pediatric sports injuries and often happen due to intensive focus on a single sport with an intensive practice and competition schedule. Unrecognized and untreated, they can sideline athletes from play and lead to more serious injuries.

Who is qualified to diagnose and treat fascial/muscular adhesions?
Sports medicine experts are advocating a greater role for therapists who can help athletes or active individuals recover without incurring lasting damage or hampering their activities. Specialists such as chiropractors, physical therapists, and massage therapists who specialize in sports-related injury and rehabilitation are often the first line of defense in managing and treating overuse injuries. These licensed professional are best for identifying muscular or fascial adhesions as they related to overuse injuries and movement disorders. With specialized training, these professionals are able to detect and treat muscular adhesions, expediting the healing process and minimizing downtime due to overuse injuries.

This is exactly why at Gallagher Performance we have a team which includes a massage therapist and a board certified chiropractic rehabilitation specialist. We strive to offer our athletes and patients the latest treatments and evidence-based soft tissue and rehabilitation techniques. Helping our athletes and patients achieve and sustain their best level of health and performance is our goal.

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/tendinitis-changing-treatment-and-improving-recovery/

https://gallagherperformance.com/why-stretching-wont-solve-your-tight-muscles/

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

Painful Back? You May Be Hurting It By Stretching

What you need to know:

  • Many healthcare providers and trainers poorly understand how movement of the nervous system relates to several common pain syndromes and musculoskeletal conditions.
  • Dealing with neural tension is not as simple as just stretching. While stretching may feel good, it very easily may aggravate symptoms.
  • Once appropriate treatment of neural tension begins, patients often normalize their movement very quickly and experience pain relief. Often this pain relief is instantaneous.
What is Neural Tension?
Neural tension is rather unheard of yet it often plays a significant role in many pain syndromes and musculoskeletal conditions. We all understand for movement to occur in the body, joints must move and your muscles must contract. But did you know that your nervous system tissue must also move freely and unimpeded during movement?

Neural tension is commonly mistaken for muscle tension. Your nerves were not designed to stretch, but rather to glide and give during movement.
If some form of obstruction (soft tissue or bony) impedes your neural tissue then pain or restriction of normal nerve movement is a common result. This normal nerve movement may only be a matter of millimeters, but nerve tissue is highly sensitive and does not like to stretch. Thus if too much stretch is placed on a nerve, the result is adverse neural tension and that can create pain, limited range of motion, as well as other classical symptoms associated with nerve tissue (numbness, burning, shooting pain, etc.)

Neural Tension Treatment
The movement of your nerves, or neurodynamics, can be assessed by a licensed chiropractor or therapist trained in the process of detecting and treating neural tension. Screens or tests commonly used to identify neural tension help identify not only which nerve(s) have adverse neural tension but also where the nerve is being obstructed during its movement. Identify where the nerve is being obstructed is critically important because treatment is tailored to the site of obstruction.

Again, this highlights the importance of an accurate assessment as treatment can be more accurately applied to the structure(s) creating adverse neural tension. Once treatment begins, patients often normalize their movement very quickly and experience pain relief. Often this nerve pain relief is instantaneous.

What Conditions Commonly Involve Adverse Neural Tension?
Some common conditions that adverse neural tension often plays a role in or is a complicating factor that must be treated include:
  • Neck Pain
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Low Back Pain
  • Hip Pain
  • Sciatica
  • Plantar Fasciitis
Stretching vs Nerve Mobilizations
A common misconception in the treatment of back pain and associated muscle tightness is the idea that one must stretch to get relief. Stretching may bring temporary relief, only for one to experience the tightness come back once again or, worse yet, an increase in their pain.

Interestingly, when neural tension is identified as the underlying reason for muscle tightness, the treatment of neural tension doesn't actually involve stretching. Excessive stretching can actually irritate your nerves and increase pain. Excessive stretching may potentially damage your nerves as well.

This should make the message pretty clear - stretching may not be the best thing for your back when it's giving you all the signs that it isn't responding favorably.

Rather than stretching, restricted nerves and the surrounding muscles require a different approach known as nerve mobilizations or nerve sliders. Qualified chiropractors and physical therapists will utilize nerve mobilizations to help entraped nerves slide better during movement. They will also treat the surrounding muscles or tissues that is obstructing your normal nerve movement. After treatment, they will retest your neurodynamics and repeat the process until your full neural movement is restored. This process may take a few treatments to clear up, or take several, depending on severity.

Research Supports Neurodynamics
The concept of neurodynamics or neuromobilization is originally based on the research of Michael Shacklock and David Butler. Over the past several years, further research has added to the scientific support of the concept that your nerve tissue requires full freedom of movement to remain pain-free.

The following excerpts are from Michael Shacklock’s book Clinical Neurodynamics: a new system of musculoskeletal treatment:
"Neurodynamics is an innovative management tool involving conservative decompression of nerves, various neural mobilising techniques and patient education techniques. Neurodynamics offers a fresh understanding and management strategies for common syndromes such as plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow, nerve root disorders, carpal tunnel syndromes and spinal pain."

"Essentially the entire nervous system is a continuous structure and it moves and slides in the body as we move and the movement is related to critical physiological processes such as blood flow to neurones. This movement is quite dramatic and it is not hard to imagine that fluid such as blood in the nerve bed, a constricting scar, inflammation around the nerve or a nerve having to contend with arthritic changes or proximity to an unstable joint could have damaging effects, some of which could lead to pain."
Final Words
Neural tension can be present with many common musculoskeletal conditions, such as back pain. Very often neural tension is easily mistaken for muscle tension, leading many to want to stretch in order to find relief. Stretching can be counterproductive and may aggravate pain symptoms. In order to treat neural tension, it must be examined accordingly. At GP, we are trained in detecting and treating adverse neural tension and why it is present.

If your pain is not resolving with other interventions, consider your pain may be associated with neural tension and you may benefit from the most appropriate course of treatment and client education.

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/why-stretching-wont-solve-your-tight-muscles/

 

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  • 4484 William Penn Highway

  • Murrysville, PA 15668

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