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When Should I See A Chiropractor?

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aaE3CIouTU[/embed]

In this video we discuss some important points to consider when to see chiropractor or why to see a chiropractor, especially one that has a sports injury and rehab specialization and practices in a functional movement model.

Some points to consider:

  • How important is your health to you? Health is an investment and requires a proactive approach rather than be reactive.
  • Do you want to get out in front of rather muscle tightness and joint range of motion/mobility restrictions before they get more serious or painful?
  • Most people are unsure of who to see for back pain and joint pain, even muscle tightness. They may see their PCP, but not receive the answers or solutions they were hoping for. They are looking for a provider they can trust.
  • Those that have a positive experience with a chiropractor or have one they trust, turn to them when they start to "feel off" or they feel their body is moving as it normally does or they start to feel pain.
  • Ideally, chiropractors who have a specialization in functional rehab, sports injury, and movement are the experts you should see for the most musculoskeletal conditions that we commonly deal with.
  • When, or if, you see a chiropractor is ultimately your choice and one that can prove to be beneficial and a worth while investment.
 
More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/the-importance-of-functional-evaluation/

https://gallagherperformance.com/low_back_pain_treatments_that_just_wont_help/

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

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

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

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

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/

Understanding Methods and Application in Training and Rehab

It seems, inevitably, we get weekly questions wanting our insights or thoughts on some training or rehabilitation method.

Regardless of the whether its the fitness industry or physical medicine profession, methods come and go all the time. Some interventions have staying power as they provide lasting results. Some trends are just a flash in the pan. The more recent or more intriguing the trend, the more it seems to generate questions.

When it comes to rehabilitation, this can be seen in a wide range of modalities and procedures from electromuscular stimulation (EMS) to low level laser therapy, machine-based exercises to the functional approach, stretching to myofascial release techniques, and kinesiotaping to cupping.

In the fitness and training industry, there is an equal (likely greater) amount of options and trends to get hung up on. From kettlebells to TRX, Curves to Crossfit, bodybuilding methods to Olympic weightlifting, and unstable surface training to over-speed training just to name a few.

While the question, "What do you think of....," may be seem to be a simple question in nature, it's a difficult question to answer without understanding the context of it's application.

Unless the application is understood, the results one gets from a specific method is left in question.

If you severely sprain an ankle during a basketball game, sure taping and bracing will help in the early stages of healing. As healing and rehabilitation progress, manual therapy and exercise begin to take more focus. Single-leg balance and sensory-motor stimulation have demonstrated successful application in the rehabilitation of certain injuries, such as ankle sprains. But if you get on a BOSU ball or unstable surface too soon - and you re-injure your ankle - is the problem the unstable surface or just poor application?

Similarly, there are many people who take on a fitness or sports training program but end up worn down and banged up because their application of certain principles is just wrong. This may be due to joining a group exercise class or working with a trainer that provides poor advice and application of training principles. Or it could be due to an individual attempting to structure their own exercise program without proper knowledge of training method applications.

We all could benefit from someone who we can trust for sound advice who it comes to applying the principles of rehabilitation or exercise. They will be able to inform you on what methods may be best for your specific goals and your unique individual considerations. You need someone who can help guide and educate you, who is able to critically think and problem solve. This is what the best trainers, coaches, and therapists are able to do for their clients and athletes.

What we do at Gallagher Performance is exactly that. We critically think and problem solve for our clients and patients. We aim to educate them and implement the most appropriate applications for their desired goals and outcomes.

Despite this, the reality is our philosophy, our approach, or our applications may not be for everyone. We won't sacrifice long-term sustainability for temporary results. We take pride in quality over quantity. We won't focus on the latest trends or what other people are doing. We aren’t concerned with this.

Our primary concern is offering the best training and therapy to the people we work with while educating them on understanding sound application so they are able to make informed decisions. And we will always educate, even if that means people have to hear the hard truth. But hopefully in hearing the hard truth, they learn lessons that provide better guidance in the pursuit of their goals.

More related reading:

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

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

https://gallagherperformance.com/the-benefits-of-performance-therapy/

Summer Grind, Summer Blast

Lately it’s hard to find time to keep up with our blog. Life and business have a way of keeping you busy. Ignoring our social platforms may happen for a period of time, but we always revisit them. If there is one thing I’ve always hoped is that our blog would be informative, educational, and entertaining (at times).

The summer months bring on increased work load. Once May rolls around, we take it up a notch or two at Gallagher Performance. Summer is a grind, but it’s also a blast. We love the grind, love the process. With the volume of high school and collegiate athletes training for strength and performance, along with the patients we see ranging from acute care to rehabilitation to return to play, summer provides tremendous learning opportunities.

Reflecting back on the past several weeks, there are some friendly reminders and lessons learned or re-learn that I wanted to share:

  • Power-speed athletes thrive on power-speed drills and exercises. Just because one can squat or deadlift 500+ doesn’t mean they are explosive and fast. Yes athletes need strength and for many they will need a primary focus on strength training. However, those newly acquired strength levels must also be displayed in more power-speed dominant means such as sprints, jumps, throws as they have greater specificity to athletics than anything barbell related.
  • Athletes need to rapidly absorb force and rapidly generate force and do it on a level of unconscious activation. That brings me to another point of muscle activation. Muscle activation is a craze nowadays and rightly so. The overwhelming majority of the population will benefit tremendously from learning how to activate and integrate muscles such as their tibialis anterior, glutes, and scapular stabilizers to name a few. A lost art in muscle activation seems to be the use of isometrics. There is always an isometric contraction during the amortization phase of movement. Even during the most explosive movements, there is an isometric contraction. Isometrics are also awesome for reprogramming and generating a powerful mind-muscle connection, making isometrics a great tool for performance as well as rehabilitation. We have been utilizing a select few isometric drills for uprighting, motor control, and priming for improved force/strength generation. In a relatively short period of time, they have more than demonstrated significant value.
  • There is a right way to go about training and a wrong way. The right way will always be dependent on the needs of individual and their specific goals. Don't get caught up in hype, trends, and empty promises. Trust the tradition. There is magic in the basics of the barbell, free weights, sprints, jumps, and bodyweight drills. They have stood the test of time. Fads and trends come and go, the basics remain. Using these exercises is one thing, understanding how to structure them in a training plan is another animal in itself. Find a trainer/coach that understands training specificity or else you are simply wasting your time and money.
  • We are problem solvers. Either as a clinician or trainer/coach, the heart of what we do is problem solving. Maybe it’s a matter of ability or effort, but clinicians or trainers either have the ability or they don’t. The ability to problem solve comes from knowledge and experience and even instinct. When it comes to effort, frankly some are just lazy and don’t care to think hard as it complicates their job. Whether it is listening to what a patient/athlete is telling you or just simply watching, you’ve got to process the source of the problem and how you’re going to solve it. When it comes to performance or rehabilitation, everything makes sense. If it is happening there is good reason for it. If we don’t understand it, it doesn’t make sense to us, but it always makes sense. Never dismiss a client or patient as not making sense. Make the effort to make a change. Change your perspective. Learn more.
  • We all need a coach. No one gets through life all on their own. We all have needed mentors and coaches at some point in our life. These may have been parents, family members, close friends, teacher, professors, bosses, etc. If we pursue something of significance, chances are someone helped us along the way. We need the help of others than have more knowledge, more experience, more accomplishments. I have had a number of mentors and coaches. For everything they did for me, I hope I can pass that on to those that I work with in the role as a coach.
  • Take time to get to know your clients and athletes. Show you care about them. We do more than just simply get kids bigger, stronger, or faster. We have an opportunity everyday to connect with our clients and athletes and hopefully make a positive impact. The reward goes far beyond cash flow. It’s about making a difference for the better.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading and enjoy the grind!

More related reading:

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

https://gallagherperformance.com/faqs-frequency-avoided-questions-of-strength-conditioning/

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/

Prevent Re-Injury with Integrated Training and Rehabilitation

The majority of us will not get through life without sustaining some degree of injury. The joints of the back, shoulder, hips, knees and ankles are all very common injury sites for not just athletes, but the general fitness population as well.

Most injuries that develop over time tend to have one thing in common, a breakdown in the human movement system. Meaning it could be that you are performing specific movements with sub-optimal technique or perhaps muscle imbalances are responsible for your symptom presentation. Regardless of the reason for injury, the goal is the same; to make movement more efficient to ensure that once training or competition resumes, the chance of re-injury is minimal.

Efficiency of movement is rarely a goal achieved in therapy. Incomplete rehabilitation in athletes and the general fitness population has lead to a re-injury epidemic. The problem is rooted in either the push to return athletes to the field as quickly as possible or rushing patients through the rehabilitative process.

With the ever changing landscaped of health insurance, the overwhelming majority of athletes and patients deal with increasing out-of-pocket expenses and limited number of therapy visits. Ultimately, many patients never complete their rehabilitation process.

This may be for a number of reasons, but in most cases athletes or patients are discharged once specific objective and ADL (activities of daily living) measures are satisfied. Sure you may have minimal to no pain, full range of motion and seemingly adequate strength resorted, and basic activities are easy to perform, but this does not ensure you are ready to resume training and competition.

And this is exactly where most get stuck.

They are lead to believe they are ready to resume sport training or their exercise program, but soon after resuming they realize they aren't as ready as they thought they were.

The transitional period between rehabilitation and performance-based training is the most critical period to ensure complete rehabilitation and that the transition back into training and competition carries minimal risk of re-injury.
Sadly, due to points made previously about the state of healthcare, many personal trainers and strength coaches are finishing off the rehab process.

Why do I say sadly?

Frankly, the majority of personal trainers aren’t educated enough to be overseeing such a delicate process, yet many position themselves as psedo-therapists. I’ve lost count of how many personal trainers I’ve seen giving “massage” or performing “joint mobilization” during their training sessions. They have no training or qualifications to perform such work and ultimately the person at most risk is the individual they are working on. Word to the wise: if your personal trainer is performing such work on you and has no license to perform such work, run the other way and seek out a qualified professional.
Within the fitness industry, there has been a large growth in facilities that blend rehabilitation with prevention strategies within strength and performance based training programs. Done well and overseen by qualified professionals, this is a great way to manage what is seen both in a rehab and training setting. This process should not be handled improperly. Implementing “corrective” or therapeutic exercises strategies into a performance-based training program should be lead by qualified professional(s). There used to be a gap between the professionals in the therapy and strength & performance world. Progressively though, that gap is slowly closing as more therapists crossover into the world of strength & conditioning.

Returning from injury isn’t and shouldn’t be a quick process. It’s far better to train smarter through the process. Improving on the function of the body while adding qualities such as endurance, strength, reactivity, power, etc. will help ensure successful outcomes. It’s less about isolation and more about training systematically to re-groove movement patterns. For anyone who has suffered an injury, they all want to get back to their previous level of function while also building the confidence they will not re-injure themselves. It can and will be a detailed process that involves rest, manual therapy directed at specific joints and soft tissues, as well proper exercise progressions. And yes, this means regressing, substituting, and even just slowing down exercises until they are owned.

Once movement and exercises are owned, it opens the door to further progressions in a performance-based setting to help ensure a more complete rehabilitation resulting in reduced risk of re-injury. This has become a huge part of what we do at Gallagher Performance as we successfully help our athletes and patients resume an active, pain-free lifestyle.

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/technique_and_performance/

Welcome to Gallagher Performance

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

Hi. I’m Dr. Sean Gallagher. Welcome to Gallagher Performance. I’d like to tell you about what we have to offer and why it might be a right fit for you to come check us out.

We offer chiropractic, functional rehabilitation, massage therapy, nutritional programs, as well as sports performance and personal training programs.

To begin with, my approach to chiropractic is different from what most have come to expect or have experienced in the past. As a chiropractor, my focus is on returning you to proper function and teaching you what you can do to keep pain from returning. Rather than spending 5 minutes with my patients, I usually spend 30 -60 minutes.

New patient evaluations are an hour long, as this allows me the opportunity to listen and understand their history as well as their desired goals and outcomes from treatment. All new patients receive a neurological and functional-based evaluation as this serves to create a working diagnosis and treatment plan recommendations.

Our functional-based evaluation and treatment plans are focused on looking at how you move so I can figure out strategies to help you move better and ultimately help you understand what could be causing your pain and what you can do to keep it from returning. The process is truly focused on you as the patient and your desired outcomes.

In addition to chiropractic adjustments or manipulations, I perform soft tissue treatments to improve the integrity and function of the muscular system. Massage therapy is offered here as well as it is extremely effective in treating painful or tight muscles and assisting in the healing process. Additional rehabilitation work focuses on improving movement qualities such as endurance, strength, stability, balance, agility, coordination, and body awareness.

When it comes to training, Gallagher Performance is all about individualizing the training process. That’s because we understand each person responds differently to training due to a multitude of factors that must be accounted for. We take time to understand your injury history, training experience, primary sport(s) played, and several other factors. Regardless of whether training occurs in a private or semi-private setting, clients are all closely coached through the entirety of their program to maximize results. This is what separates us and makes us unique from area competitors.

So if you’re looking to improve your performance, whether in sports, the achievement of your health and fitness pursuits, or you just need a tune-up to get your body feeling better, whatever the reason, come see us at Gallagher Performance. We are committed to you achieving your health and fitness goals and would love to be of service to you. Thank you.

Gallagher Performance - Staff Bios

For many of our readers, you may not be aware of the specialized background that Gallagher Performance has in personal training, athletic development, chiropractic rehabilitation, manual therapies, and sports-injury care.

Whether you are pursuing professional services for personal/performance-based training or you’re thinking of seeing a health professional about a sports injury, Gallagher Performance has two board-certified specialists who are capable of addressing your goals and needs.

Meet the Staff

Ryan Gallagher LMT, NASM-CES: Head Performance Coach
Ryan Gallagher is the Head Performance Coach and a Licensed Massage Therapist at Gallagher Performance. Ryan has quickly established himself as a highly sought after coach for athletic development, helping athletes achieve new performance bests while implementing specialized strategies along with manual therapy to keep his athlete’s healthy during their competitive and off-seasons.

Ryan has been involved in the fitness and sports performance industry since 2007. During that time, he has worked extensively with youth, high school, collegiate, and professional athletes. He has also worked with competitive strength athletes in powerlifting and Strongman, as well as physique athletes (bodybuilding, figure, and bikini).

Ryan is certified as a Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and is also a Nationally Certified Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. Ryan holds a bachelor’s degree in Sports Management with a concentration in Wellness and Fitness from California University of Pennsylvania.

To compliment his educational background, Ryan is an accomplished athlete in the sports of ice hockey, bodybuilding, powerlifting, and Strongman. HIs diverse athletic and educational background provide Ryan with an highly extensive and unique skill set that allows him to efficiently and effectively help his clients achieve their goals while staying healthy in the process.

Sean Gallagher DC, DACRB, NASM-PES: Director of Sports Therapy, Performance Coach
Dr. Sean Gallagher is the Director of Sports Therapy and also serves as a Performance Coach at Gallagher Performance. In 2009, Sean earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, IA. Prior to attending Palmer, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Exercise & Sports Science from Ohio University.

After graduating from Palmer, Sean entered a residency program in Palmer College of Chiropractic’s Sports Injury & Rehabilitation Department. The residency is the only one of its kind within a chiropractic college in the United States. Under the direction of former Olympian, Dave Juehring DC, DACRB, CSCS and Ranier Pavlicek DC, ATC, DACRB, CSCS, the residency provided Sean the opportunity to further the development of clinical skills in the realm of diagnosis, treatment and management of sport-related injuries. During this time, he received extensive training in manual therapies and developmental stabilization methods influenced by the German and Czech rehabilitation schools.

Sean graduated from his residency and completed his board certification in 2012, making him one of a select few chiropractors in the country that have successfully completed a rehabilitation and sports-injury residency. He is a board certified rehabilitation specialist through the American Chiropractic Rehabilitation Board (ACRB) that abides by the standards set out by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

To compliment his clinical training and experience, Sean also serves as a Performance Coach with years of experience working with athletes of all abilities and is a certified Performance Enhancement Specialist (PES) through NASM. He is an accomplished athlete in the sports of ice hockey and Strongman. During his time at Ohio University, he was part of the 2004 ACHA D1 National Championship team. In 2001, he was named to the NHL’s Central Scouting Service “Top 10” High School players in the US and was ranked among the top players in North America (US and Canada). As a competitive amateur Strongman, he has won or placed in several NAS sanctioned competitions since 2010 and was a National qualifier in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Our staff welcomes the opportunity to get you back to 100% and help you reach your fitness or performance-related goals. When you think of sports performance training and chiropractic rehabilitative care in the Pittsburgh area, remember the team of experts at Gallagher Performance.

 

Are You Promoting Independence?

As a chiropractor, I often treat people who have already exhausted all of their insurance money from seeing other chiropractors and/or physical therapists. They come to me out-of-pocket and immediately expect me to do significantly more in one or two visits than the previous professional(s) did after the 12-20 visits that drained their insurance benefits.

I’ve routinely accepted the challenge and many times I’ve closed their case in 2-4 visits by having them listen to advice, advice that addresses underlying issues previously missed or ignored by other providers. Yes, I am a chiropractor and I will adjust and perform manual therapy as needed. But the difference maker time and time again has been the time focused on education directed at independence. Promoting independence on the patient’s behalf is a game changer. This is why I feel so strongly that empowering a patient should be the focus behind therapy and prescribed home programs. As patients discover how they are able to better themselves, their compliance becomes a non-issue and outcomes drastically improve.

The opportunity to educate others is a responsibility that should never be taken lightly. As a provider, the methods utilized to accurately assess a patient’s condition and direct treatment must also serve to improve provider-patient education and accountability.

Gray Cook places this perspective into words very well:

“Our current medical and physical cultures are wasting a lot of time and not creating independence in our clients or our patients. Do we want them to be well and go tell others about their experience or do we want them to keep returning as continual consumers? At what point does wasting time conflict with an oath to do no harm?”
Are you wasting your patient’s time?
One of the fundamental challenges within healthcare is that the human body is a complex adaptive system composed of several interacting parts that are continually changing in response to the stimulus from the environment. This complexity makes understanding the human body a difficult task. Unfortunately, some healthcare providers find reality too complex and would rather repeat the same routine evaluations and treatment over and over again to fit their own skill set rather than truly diagnosing a patient’s condition before administering treatment. This is where providers should question their principles. Are you doing the same thing over and over? Are you so ritualized that your care lacks individualized attention? Are you wasting your patient’s time because you keep missing their problem?

The very essence of what we do is problem solving. Before you can solve a problem, you first must identify what is relevant. On most patients, you can find any number of problems, but it is the relevant problems that are the key. To find relevant problems, you must have a reliable method. The foundation for any method is knowledge and experience. Knowledge and experience that is rooted in understanding how basic science (anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, etc.), pathology, assessment (orthopedics, technique, imaging, etc.), and treatment all integrate.

I’m continually shocked and disappointed when speaking with a new patient who has been told by previous providers that their symptoms “Don’t make sense.” When it comes to musculoskeletal (MS) care, everything makes sense. It may be extremely complex, but it makes sense. If something doesn’t make sense to you, then you don’t understand it well enough. Make changes. Take a more detailed history. Change your perspective. Perform a more detailed assessment. Expand your knowledge base. Do something different.

Never dismiss a patient as not making sense.

As a physical medicine provider, it is your job to have a knowledge base that is large enough to encompass the overwhelming majority of MS problems and conservative interventions. If you don’t, chances are you will suffer along with your patients because your knowledge base is not sufficient enough to diagnose their problems.

Diagnosis must have accuracy and completeness. It must include a pain generator and the relevant problems or dysfunctions. These must be put into context for the patient so they can understand how they came to be the way they are. This is critical as it provides the framework for the education and advice you provide your patient.

Ultimately, that very same framework serves to empower your patients to become more independent. The process is about transitioning them from dependence on you as the provider to an independent patient who truly understands their problem, how to go about fixing it, and the steps needed to prevent recurrent issues in the future.

Final Words
I’m not trying to do anything in my work at Gallagher Performance that is unheard of, but it is still rather uncommon. For my conscience, I would rather create independence than be routine. I also feel that this conscience is growing among healthcare providers and that it is a mindset patients desire to see from their provider.

Promote independence. Your patients will thank you.

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/stress-overload-and-injury/

https://gallagherperformance.com/relief-care-vs-regular-chiropractic-care/

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

Gallagher Performance Receives 2015 Best of Pittsburgh Award

Pittsburgh Award Program Honors the Achievement
Gallagher Performance has been selected for the 2015 Best of Pittsburgh Award in the Chiropractors category by the Pittsburgh Award Program.

Each year, the Pittsburgh Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Pittsburgh area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2015 Pittsburgh Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Pittsburgh Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Pittsburgh Award Program
The Pittsburgh Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Pittsburgh area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Pittsburgh Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community's contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Pittsburgh Award Program

The Hidden Causes of Sports Injury

The purpose of this article is to provide some basic information about the importance of understanding the role posture and function have in pain, injury, and movement dysfunction. The hope is that you will gain an understanding of why your chiropractor or therapist must evaluate and bring into consideration issues that may not seem related to your pain.
Patients come to us with symptoms and we want to get to the source of their symptoms. In addition to providing relief through manipulative therapy and treating muscular adhesions, it can prove to be incredibly valuable to identify the source of their symptoms. In my experience, the source of a client or patient’s symptoms is often found in painless dysfunction of the motor system.

All too common, providers become reductionist in their evaluation and treatment of the motor (aka musculoskeletal) system. In order to provide long-term solutions and minimize reoccurrences, a holistic or global approach to evaluating functional capacity is needed to identify what is driving pathology in the motor system. This concept is of critical importance when you understand that the majority of motor system pathologies exist because the demands of activity exceed the individual’s capacity. If the demands upon the motor system are at a high level, then capacity must be even higher. Even if demands are relatively low, capacity still must exceed the level of the demand. If there is a capacity “shortage”, the result is a higher injury risk. In musculoskeletal care, one of the greatest challenges is identifying functional capacity “shortages” and how to address them during the course of conservative treatment to provide both immediate and sustainable results.

Professor Vladimir Janda and Dr. Karel Lewit pioneered the process of identifying functional pathology within the motor system. The model is in contrast to the traditional North American orthopedic model, which focuses on structural pathology (ex: disc herniations, rotator cuff injury, labral tears, etc.) as the reason for pain and impairment. But simply focusing on structural pathology can take your eyes away from identifying key reasons as to why they developed in the first place.

Outside of structural pathologies, the functional approach to managing motor system pathologies includes identifying joint dysfunction, muscular imbalances, trigger points, and faulty movement patterns. Faulty movement patterns are protective movements that form in response to pain or the anticipation of pain. These are often the hidden causes of injury, the reasons why many structural pathologies occur. Czech physician Vladimir Janda likened musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction as a chain reaction, thus stressing the importance of looking beyond the site of pain for the source of pain. Janda observed that due to the interactions of the skeletal system, muscular system, and central nervous system (CNS), dysfunction at any one joint or muscle is reflected in the quality and function of joints/muscles throughout the entire body. This opens the door to the possibility that the source of pain may be distant from the site of pain.

Janda also recognized that muscle and connective tissue are common to several joint segments; therefore, movement and pain are never isolated to a single joint. He often spoke of “muscular slings” or groups of functionally interrelated muscles. Muscles must disperse load among joints and provide stabilization for movement, making no movement truly isolated. This ultimately is the reason why many providers within physical medicine are catching onto the saying, “Stop chasing pain.” Chasing pain and other symptoms (ex: tightness, stiffness, restricted movement) may provide short-term relief, but are you providing long-term results?

A common intervention in the rehabilitation of motor system pathology is therapeutic exercise and resistance training. These exercises are used to help restore any number of neuromuscular qualities, such as endurance, strength, and motor control. But often, even in a rehab setting, exercises fail to progress a patient in the recovery process. Sometimes, the application of exercise can make a patient's condition worse. Similarly, many people with the intention of being healthy and wanting to help their body “feel better” will use resistance training in their exercise regimen. Working out, exercising, strength training should improve our state of muscle balance, right? Sure they get the cardiovascular, endocrine, and psychological benefits of exercise, but they start to wonder why all their exercising is only making certain areas of their body feel worse. This is why it’s important to learn that unless exercising occurs in a thoughtful manner, based on a functional evaluation of movement and capacity, the benefits of reducing injury risk, improving posture, enhancing motor control, and restoring muscular balance will be difficult to achieve.

For example, what Janda discovered is the tendency for certain muscles within the body to become tight and overactive, while others have the tendency to become weak and underactive. So if someone is performing general exercises, the brain will select the muscles that are already tight to perform the majority of the work. This is a phenomenon knows as “compensation” or “substitution”. Muscles that are already chronically overused will continue to be overused, leading to greater risk of an overload injury. The muscles that are “weak” have developed a sensory-motor amnesia that will not correct itself unless the exercise is carefully selected and tailored to activate these dormant muscles. Such exercises emphasis the quality of the movement pattern over any prescribed number of sets or reps. The eye of the provider can’t be focused on isolated impairments, but on finding the motor control error. Finding the hidden causes of injury or motor system dysfunction.

Remember, what enhances performance also reduces injury. Finding the solutions to enhancing performance will often address hidden motor system dysfunctions. If you are training for athletic performance, you must build functionally specific or sport-specific capacity. If you are recovering from injury, you must build function rather than solely focusing on palliative measures and treating the site of symptoms. In either scenario, you are building a better athlete and fast tracking the rehabilitation process by taking a functional approach to motor system dysfunction.

More related reading:

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

https://gallagherperformance.com/the-importance-of-functional-evaluation/

Genetics vs. Hard Work

Lately, the age-old debate on the role of genetics vs. work ethic in determining training outcomes has been a popular discussion with our athletes. Recently, some of the results our athletes have seen during their time training at GP has been chalked up to “genetics” by some outsiders. From their perspective, training is all the same. At the end of the day, they are lifting weights, running, jumping, etc. There was not, or could not, have been anything special about our training system that allowed these athletes to excel beyond what they had previously done. In their opinion, the results these athletes achieved had everything to do with being genetically “blessed”.

What becomes apparent with their argument is the lack of appreciation that exists in regards to the sophisticated nature of training methodologies aimed at long-term athletic development. Long-term athletic development is a concept many coaches, trainers, athletes, and parents are either unfamiliar with or don’t have the patience for. They want immediate results; regardless at what expense those results come with.

When athletes approach us for coaching, we have a big task on our hands. There is a lot of information we must gather regarding each athlete in order to design the most effective training program possible. Keep in mind, there is an incredible amount of detail that will influence how each athlete will respond to training and it is our responsibility as coaches to know the details and address them appropriately during training. The information we gather by spending sufficient time testing and analyzing various performance markers before and during training becomes invaluable in understanding what to address with our athletes.

When designing and coordinating the training plan, we also account for each athlete’s current state of readiness to train. There are a number of factors to consider when determining readiness to train and this information is critical to know as a coach. The ability to identify the degree of intensity and volume an athlete can handle during each training session is critical to progress and avoiding unnecessary training loads. We want to ensure that each training session produces quality work, not pointless work. It’s incredibly easy to ruin an athlete; getting them to progress year after year is a tremendous challenge.

What critics fail to see is exactly how much work, quality work, these athletes put in week after week for months. They don't acknowledge the endless hours of discipline and hard work that athlete was put into a training system that addresses their developmental needs. Instead, nowadays, people find it more convenient to simply blame genetics for their comparative lack of progress or dismiss the athlete’s hard work and suspect cheating (i.e. drug use).

This is truly a shame because it is the culture sport has created. It’s unfortunate to have a young athlete become bigger, stronger, or faster and, in turn, have their peers and others in their lives ask them, “What are you taking?”

Let me be clear about something: if you are failing to see progress in your training program or are seeing more time on the bench than on the playing field, chances are you are simply being out-worked in terms of quality of effort and direction in your training.

You really should take a look in the mirror and ask yourself how bad do you want it. If you want to be great in your sport, greatness is not something you simply decide. You must act upon it. There is a lot of discipline and hard work required to become an elite-level athlete.

Roughly, how much hard work?

You may or may not be familiar with the “10,000 hour rule”. The rule basically states that 10,000 hours is the amount of work needed to reach mastery in any discipline or skill. Even thought the rule has received some criticism, the point remains that it at least provides us with a tangible number when understanding how much time is needed to develop a high-degree of mastery in any pursuit.

Let’s break down the 10,000 rule a bit further. If you practiced your sport two hours a day, five days per week, it would take you just under 20 years to reach your 10,000 hours. More commonly, most young athletes practice their sport 1 hour per day, 3 days per week. At this pace it would take an athlete 64 years to achieve mastery. As you can quickly tell, being a “recreational” athlete will never allow you to reach elite status. Mastery requires time, a lot of time, and thus is a serious decision to dedication that one doesn’t make on a whim.

Remember, hard work is only one side of the coin. Anyone can work hard. Anyone can go nuts during a training session and work to complete exhaustion. For novice trainees, this may even produce some results in the beginning. But what happens in the coming weeks or months when you stop developing and hit that dreaded plateau? This is one of the biggest problems we see, especially in developing athletes. Far too often, talented kids stop developing because of poor attention to individual considerations. When working with young athletes, there has to be a period of development that cannot be rushed. This requires an extreme amount of patience on the part of coaches, athletes, and parents. Athletes must earn the right to progress by being consistent in gradual development.

At GP, we consider coaching athletes to be a long and potentially slow process. We also acknowledge that some athletes may not be interested in this approach. However, our interest is not just in creating quick and easy success for athletes, but directing a process that will allow them to reach their true athletic potential. From a coaching stand point, anyone can create changes in an athlete. It’s not hard. Simply having anyone perform an exercise or a routine that is new will create change. But, is that change purposeful? Was it directed towards meeting that athlete’s needs? Or was the change made to simply make a change without an understanding as to why the change was made?

This is where hard work within a well-directed training program, under the guidance of a knowledgeable coach will trump hard work without direction. Our training system tailors each program to meet the individual athlete’s needs, differences, and current level of readiness to train.

It is not uncommon for some of our athletes to tell us they have “worked harder” during training sessions. They are accustomed to coaches running them into the ground and trainers mindlessly make them do high-intensity work with little rest. What else do we hear? We hear these same athletes are failing to improve. Rather many of them feel extremely fatigued and unmotivated. Sure they saw some results to start, but lately they are frustrated and confused.

When first starting at GP, they may feel that our system of training looks “easy”. This is a huge mistake. Our training may appear to be “easy”, but each training session is demanding. Each session is extremely detailed and may move at a slower pace than some athletes care for. News flash: if you’re more interested in going nuts than being productive, there’s not much any training system can do for you. Simply put, if you work hard to get better as an athlete, but also have some detailed thought applied to your training, the results will be greater than you would ever expect.

Yes, athletes with superior genetics do exist. Their genetics will allow them to progress more rapidly and experience great adaptations to training stimuli than athletes with lesser genetics. But they are more rare than you think. When it comes down to it, quality work in a well-designed training program aimed at long-term athletic development, under the guidance of a knowledgeable coach likely has more to do with superior athleticism than genetics alone.

As the saying goes,

“Genetics are the hand you've been dealt, but it's how you play the hand that counts.”
 
More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/6-factors-that-influence-an-athletes-dedication/

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

 

Stress Overload and Injury

In the world of athletics and pursuit of elite level performance, injuries are a given. However, the prevention of sports injuries is never as simple as identifying movements or exercises that should be avoided. It would be nice if it was that simple and if we could solve all the injury problems for athletes across the globe by eliminating one particular movement. Unfortunately, the human body is too complex to be solved by one solution that can be applied to everyone.

Rather than debate the role of specific exercises in a training or rehabilitation program, loading parameters and progressions, or whether certain exercises pose greater risk than reward, the purpose of this article is to discuss a much deeper concept that is at the heart of injury prevention and management, the balance between stress and adaptation.

Hello, My Name is Stress
Stress is something each and every one of us is all too familiar with. Whether it’s related to financial struggles, work-related problems, academic pressures, athletic expectations, family or relationship issues, stress is a common theme of the human existence. Now while these forms of mental stress are responsible for many reactions within the human body, for the purposes of this article this is not the kind of stress I am talking about. Rather, we will be discussing what is known as biological stress and how it relates to injury.

What is Biological Stress?

Biological stress accounts for all the physical demands (stress) placed on our bodies, both mechanical stress and metabolic stress.

Mechanical stress is a measure of the force produced and absorbed by the entire neuromusculoskeletal (NMS) system, including components such as nerves, muscle fibers, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and bone.

Metabolic stress is a measure of the demand placed on all the systems responsible for energy production/recovery and involves every major organ system in the body, such as the cardiovascular, nervous, muscular, endocrine, and immune systems.

As you can tell, both mechanical and metabolic stress are highly interrelated. The greater the degree of mechanical stress, the greater the degree of metabolic stress.

Balancing Stress & Adaptation
Training is best defined as, the targeted application of stress designed to disrupt homeostasis and put the body’s defense mechanisms at work; remodeling, strengthening and improving the efficiency of many different systems throughout the body.”
Factors that Influence Biological Stress:

  • Training Volume
  • Training Intensity
  • Training Frequency
  • Exercise Selection
These simple variables are what define individual training sessions and the training block/phase. They will dictate the amount of biological (mechanical and metabolic) stress, its application to the human body, and how much stress is applied. The training goal becomes to apply the correct type of stress in the appropriate dose/amount while targeted to the appropriate areas necessary to improve performance.

Training and biological stress is one side of the coin. The other side takes into consideration factors that influence adaptation. What makes the training process enormously more complex than it appears is what happens in between sessions as our body responds to the stress of the training session or adapts. The complexity stems from how many variables are involved in how we adapt to the stress imposed by training.

Factors that Influence Adaptation:
  • Genetics
  • Training History
  • Nutritional Habits
  • Sleep Quality
  • Mental Stress
Our genetics, nutritional habits, level of mental stress, training history, and sleep play a critical role in how quickly our body’s systems and tissues are able to rebuild and adapt from the stress of the training process. Get enough sleep, eat well, have better genetics and a long history of training, you will adapt much faster and respond quicker to the same level of training/stress than someone who is experiencing higher levels of mental stress, has poor sleeping habits, a poor diet, and lesser genetics. Even minor differences in any one of these factors can have a major impact on the ability to adapt to your current training.

Out of Balance, Out with Injury
By now, it should be clear that looking at sports injuries solely from the standpoint of the use or misuse of particular exercises or protocols doesn’t paint a very complete picture of why they happen. Even when discussions of injuries extend into the realm of assessing various movement patterns and joint function while trying to predict or minimize risk of injuries purely through improving quality of movement, often times these discussions fail to consider the fundamental concepts of the stress-adaptation balance.

The truth that is rarely discussed is that every athlete and individual is truly different and no two people will ever respond to a given training program or level of stress in the same manner. Recently, the days of individualized training have been replaced with current fitness trends of bootcamps, CrossFit, P90x and other such programs that irrationally encourage anyone and everyone to do the same thing.

Not only do such approaches always fail to consider a person’s individual ability to adapt to stress, they often preach that results are a direct result of nothing more than lots of effort with lots of intensity. The classic American attitude of “more is always better” approach has spilled over into training, training with high intensities at increasingly higher volumes. Now combine that with no individualized considerations and what you have is a recipe for injury. Current fitness trends seem to place a greater importance on the business model rather than having an appreciation and understanding of the complex function of the human body as it relates to developing a quality training program for the individual.

When you consider the stress-adaptation balance, it's not surprising why the injury rates are continually rising in youth sports. Young athletes today are under incredible pressures to specialize in one sport, be it from coaches or parents, and this is why it’s become sadly common to see athletes as young as 12-14 suffering from chronic stress injuries like tendinitis, or the more correct diagnosis of tendinosis. The ‘multi-sport’ athlete has been replaced with the ‘single-sport, all year long’ athlete. A year round competitive schedule, lack of properly constructed sport practice, and lack of time dedicated to physical preparation and athletic development is largely to blame for the huge increase in youth sports injuries in recent years.

I just happened to catch a recent interview with Tommy John on Dan Patrick’s radio show. For those of you who may be familiar with his name, Tommy John is a former MLB pitcher and the “Tommy John” surgery is named after him since he was the first individual to have the medical procedure of ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction. When asked about his thoughts as to why the surgery is so common now, Tommy John has this to say,
“I really believe….that sports, high school sports, little league sports, have become year round. And they force these kids at a very young age to pick a sport and that’s the only sport that they play, they train at. And you have these….pitching academies and your kid comes in and pays $2000-$3000 and you go in every Saturday and work on pitching. And I tell parents this, “If the best pitchers in the world don’t pitch year round, then why should your kid pitch year round?”….You have to get all these great surgeons that do Tommy John surgery, or did Tommy John surgery, they cringe when you say ‘year round pitching’ because you must let the arm rest.”
Without knowing exactly why, Tommy John nailed the central issue when it comes to several sports injuries, the lack of appropriate rest to allow the body the chance to recover and adapt to the stress placed upon it. Despite his example of baseball and pitching, the truth is each sport has it own unique injury rates. It truly all comes back to stress and the inability of most coaches and trainers to respect the stress and adaptation process. While some athletes are capable of adapting to stress far more efficiently than others, no one is immune from the effects of a poorly designed training or sport preparation program. Such programs are run by coaches or trainers that chronically stress athletes with little understanding of how to facilitate recovery and adaption, ultimately leading to injury.

Final Words
Regardless of whether you are a doctor, therapist, coach, athlete or simply just train to be healthy and stay in shape, this article was to present you with a more complete view of the role stress and adaptation play in the injury process. There is certainly value in assessing the degree of stress specific exercises may place on particular joints/tissues and whether or not they are appropriate for an individual given their needs or limitations. Failure to consider the role of stress tends to lead to an approach to injury prevention based purely on exercise selection/avoidance rather than one than also places consideration on biological stress and adaptation management.

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/ultimate-runners-guide-to-injury-prevention/

https://gallagherperformance.com/3-simple-steps-to-reduce-your-risk-of-sports-injuries/

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

https://gallagherperformance.com/magnesium-for-better-health-athletic-performance/

The Essentials of Keeping Athletes Healthy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As Dan Pfaff said best,

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

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

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

Related Articles:

What is Performance Therapy?
Have You Mastered Your Movement?

The Benefits of Performance Therapy


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Contact

  • 4484 William Penn Highway

  • Murrysville, PA 15668

Hours of Operation

  • CHIROPRACTIC
    Monday-Thursday: 9am-1pm, 3pm-6pm
    Friday: 9am-1pm, 3pm-5pm
    Saturday: by appointment only
  • MASSAGE & TRAINING
    Hours are by appointment only