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The Beginner's Guide to Injury Recovery

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

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

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

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

Avoid Complete Rest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seek Out Professional Evaluation and Treatment

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

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

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

Recognize the Gift of Injury

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

What do I mean by forced discipline?

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

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

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

Understand the Science of Pain

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

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

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

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

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

Wrapping Up

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

 
More related reading:

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

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

https://gallagherperformance.com/technique_and_performance/

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

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

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

 

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/

Improved Approach to Chronic Pain Management

Pain is incredibly complex, making the treatment and management of chronic or persistent pain a unique challenge. After reading this article, the hope is that you have a better understanding of the complexities of pain and how treatment must be directed if one is truly to overcome chronic pain.

Pain has a nasty habit of getting in the way of activities that we not only enjoy, but also the mundane tasks of everyday living. It becomes of paramount importance that treatment not only decreases pain, but also that the individual is able to resume activities that are important to them with improved function and mechanics.

To begin with, let's start with an understanding of pain and the reality behind why we perceive pain.

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

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

2) Hurt Doesn't Equal Harm
Another key component of the education process is that “hurt doesn’t equal harm”. Just because a movement or activity may “hurt” this doesn’t mean that you are doing harm to the body or damaging tissues. In fact, there is a growing body of research supporting poor correlation between pain and structural changes seen on advanced medical imaging. Just because one has degenerative joint disease, a disc bulge, or rotator cuff tear doesn’t mean they will have pain as these imaging findings are routinely found in asymptomatic individuals.

It’s important patients understand this concept because when it comes to exposure to movement through exercise, you don’t want the fear of structural damage to interfere with the ability to become more active. While not all movement will be pain free, movement isn’t causing harm. And that’s extremely powerful for patients to understand.

3) Movement is Medicine
Movement has the ability to be healing by reducing the pain response in our brain. Thus this is why movement is like medicine and why movement eventually has to take center stage in the management of chronic pain. Similar to manual therapy, graded exposure to movement through exercise will essentially teach your nervous system to “wind down” and not be as sensitive to pain. In doing so, you become more confident and reassured that you can do more without pain or the fear of a relapse in your condition.

4) The Work is Just Beginning
Unfortunately, the pain fix isn’t an overnight solution. For chronic pain patients, often times the rehabilitation process can take months of consistent work and repeated inputs to the nervous system to make a substantial change on pain and function. Repeated inputs come in the form of manual therapy and home exercise/self management strategies. Thus patient’s must understand the importance of compliance within their home exercise program as this makes a significant difference in their outcomes.

It’s important they understand the nervous system is easily tricked. It's easy to yield immediate change, but these changes should not be confused with lasting results. This concept is illustrated with any number of assessments commonly used in chiropractic and physical therapy offices – from leg length analysis to functional screens - as well as therapeutic interventions – from manual therapy to manipulation. By performing pre and post checks, it's possible to see immediate changes within one treatment. It can be easy to impact pain and create changes in range of motion or body function that have patients leaving your office feeling great.

But no single input can create lasting change. It requires multiple inputs over a period a time to create lasting change within the nervous system. This is why exercise and training is so important. If patients are not provided with the right exercises to compliment therapy, this is why they have pain relapses. Patients must exercise and must train to make a lasting change within their body. Otherwise they will get frustrated with chronic recurrences of leaving a provider's office feeling great only to experience a return of pain symptoms. And this becomes the pain cycle many become stuck in unless a change is made.

Break the Pain Cycle
If you are dealing with chronic or persistent pain or stuck in the pain cycle, the hope is that this article gets you thinking differently about how pain should be managed for successful outcomes. It’s why the management of painful conditions, especially chronic pain, must focus on pain education, the appropriate use of manual therapy (ex: joint mobilizations/manipulation, relaxation techniques such as PIR, soft-tissue and neurodynamic mobilizations) and graded movement exposure through exercise.

More related reading:

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

 

The Best Exercise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More related reading:

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

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

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

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

Post-Surgical Rehab Success is All About Team

Recently, Shannon Perrine of WTAE Channel 4 News in Pittsburgh featured a story on a patient of ours, Karla White. The focus of the story being Karla's same-day hip replacement surgery. It was a short, yet informative piece on the work of her surgeon and the rehabilitative process with special attention to the factors that played a role in a very successful outcome. If you have not seen the story, head to our Facebook page and check it out. All of our social media links are here on the website. You'll find them at the top of the page.

After the story aired yesterday, I had a number of thoughts that came to mind. Primarily these thoughts centered around how many medical professionals and the general public have a misunderstanding of the training and qualifications of chiropractors and strength & conditioning specialists. Especially as they relate to rehab, be it from injury or surgery. Many may find it unconventional and, at times, silly that one seeks out the professional help of a chiropractor or strength coach for the oversight of their rehabilitation.

Traditionally, once a patient is ready to begin post-surgical rehab, this process is guided by a physical therapist. It’s conventional thought and accepted practice. You have surgery, then you go to physical therapy.

That said, there are post-surgical patients who will seek out a chiropractic rehabilitation specialist to manage their rehabilitation. And, depending upon the setting and patient, strength & conditioning specialists may be involved as well.

Now there may be a few thoughts running through your mind right now. Maybe thoughts such as:

“Wait….chiropractors aren’t qualified to do post-surgical rehab!”
“Why would you use a strength & conditioning specialist for a rehab patient? Those are only for athletes!”
This news story has opened up the opportunity to help educate, so let’s address these questions or concerns.

Are chiropractors qualified for post-surgical rehab?
The reality is, when patients seek a provider for their post-surgical rehab, they may choose to seek a professional who is not a physical therapist. Some may not have the flexibility to make their own decision, but for those patients are looking for the best person for the job and they will exercise their right to make that decision. Regardless of title (PT or DC), patients must be in the hands of a provider who has the professional training and expertise to handle their rehabilitation appropriately. Providers must be competent and efficient for the sake of minimizing post-surgical complications and improving outcomes.

I’ve highlighted this before in previous writings, but my residency truly provided professional training very few chiropractors ever receive. During my 3+ year residency, I managed or co-managed numerous spinal, shoulder, hand/wrist, hip, knee, and foot/ankle post-surgical rehabilitation programs. Our department at Palmer College of Chiropractic worked with local orthopedic and neuro surgeons to co-manage routine as well as highly complicated surgical cases within the Quad City area. Meaning, we saw everything from athletic injuries to total joint replacements.

I don’t stress this to simply pump my own tires, but to convey to our audience that I’m not new to post-surgical rehabilitation and there are chiropractors out there that have similar training and expertise as well. We don’t exist on the level of physical therapists nor are we claiming to be physical therapists. Physical therapists have their own unique training and skill set. The ones I know do outstanding work for their patients.

The point I’m trying to make is that it is possible for chiropractors to have a background in functional and post-surgical rehabilitation. These chiropractic rehabilitation specialists are qualified and are capable of successful post-surgical rehab outcomes.

What is the value of Strength & Conditioning during post-surgical rehab?
For all those that want to be evidence-based, exercise and strength training literally helps more musculoskeletal conditions that all other treatments. The same can be said of post-surgical rehab as it is all about regaining range of motion, strength, and functional capacity. If you have the privilege of having a knowledgeable and qualified strength & conditioning specialist in your corner, they will provide enormous value to the post-surgical recovery process.

Yes, the involvement of strength coaches may be more commonly used in the athletic world, within the collegiate, professional and international ranks. But, when available in the private sector, they add an immense advantage as the rehabilitative process is very time sensitive and it’s critically important no time is wasted. The more quickly a post-surgical patient can regain adequate strength and movement quality through gradual exposure to the functional demands of strength training, the more quickly they are able to return to their activities of daily living, job, or sport with confidence and minimal complication.

Strength coaches are experts in what almost all musculoskeletal conditions will benefit from: exercise and strength training. Keep in mind, they must have the appropriate qualifications. Not all strength coaches are created equal and those that are capable of being involved with a post-surgical patient are rare. I can't stress that enough. These professionals understand their role and the best results are seen when they work together with the rehabilitation specialist to ensure ideal outcomes for the patient.

Post-Surgical Rehab Success is All About Team
The success of the post-surgical rehab program is not solely dependent upon any one specific individual involved in the process. Successful post-surgical outcomes take on a team dynamic. In this case, the surgeon, rehabilitation specialist, strength & conditioning specialist, and patient all had critical roles.

The Surgeon
For Karla, she had a tremendous orthopedic surgeon in Dr. Julius Huebner. Due to a congenital condition and progressively worsening degenerative joint changes to the left hip, Karla underwent direct anterior approach total hip replacement in late May 2016. This surgical approach is essentially a “surgical strike” as described by Dr. Huebner in the video. His surgical procedure resulted in no damage to adjacent tissues and structures. The procedure was a precise as you can get, enabling same-day hip replacement surgery and a faster recovery.

The Rehabilitation and Strength & Conditioning Specialists
In preparation for her surgery, she worked with the team at Gallagher Performance during the months prior to her surgery to improve her post-surgical rehab outcomes. Her pre-surgery rehab program enabled Karla to remain as functional as possible during that time. Pre-surgical rehab programs are never easy and quite challenging. However, Karla is a tremendous patient who demonstrated nothing but commitment and patience, knowing that the work she did prior to surgery meant having that much less to do post-surgery.

Likewise, during the course of her post-surgical rehab program, Karla worked one-on-one with either myself or Ryan. I managed the early phases of her rehabilitation recovery, implementing manual therapy and exercise. This continued as she progressed to more strength training focus in her rehab. That's when Head Performance Coach, Ryan Gallagher, designed and implemented her strength & conditioning program. The collaborative focus was on developing ideal movement patterns to spare her joints, thus improving the health and relative function of her legs, hips and spine. Exercise selection and progressions were based on post-surgical guidelines, tolerances, and functional capacity all while ensuring adequate strength and movement control were demonstrated.

The Patient
As for Karla, she was the ideal patient. She was compliant and motivated throughout the entire process. Karla loves to be active and workout, which only added to her motivation. A motivated patient is so refreshing to work with for countless reasons. The rehabilitative process can be frustrating at times, with obstacles and ups-and-down marking the road. As challenging as rehab can be physically, rehab can be even more challenging mentally. To her credit, Karla was always willing to work, even when she was frustrated or progress was slow. She always worked hard and focused on the little details. It’s because of her attitude that she demonstrated and her drive to regain the quality of life she desired that she is where she is today.

Summing Up
The combined team effort was the key to the success of this post-surgical rehab story. This theme must be present to ensure a patient has the outcomes they desire. It’s a privilege to be involved, providing our services to complement the team effort required during the post-surgical process as we recognize our role in the rehabilitative process. We thank Dr. Huebner for his medical expertise, Karla for being outstanding to work with, and WTAE’s Shannon Perrine for her excellent coverage of the story.

At Gallagher Performance, our focus is on developing the resilience of our clients and patients. We are committed to utilizing cutting-edge, patient-focused progressions to help every individual we work with not only achieve but also exceed their goals. With our extensive training and knowledge in chiropractic, manual therapy, sports injuries, rehabilitation, and performance-based training, we work with all individuals who are interested in living healthy, active, and pain-free lives.

More related reading:

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

Understanding Concussions and How Chiropractors Can Help

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Typical symptoms of concussion include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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/

Low Back Pain Treatments That Just Won't Help

Back pain was believed to be a self limiting condition for the majority of individuals, meaning that the nature of back pain is that it would "run its course" and eventually pain would go away on its own. Current research has demonstrated that this understanding of back pain is flawed; yet many clinicians still hold this belief.

In fact, 85% of people with a single episode of low back pain will likely experience future recurrences and 2-8% of those individuals will develop chronic back pain.

Chronic pain accounts for 75% of all healthcare costs related to low back pain, is second only to the common cold in missed days from work, and is the number one reason for workmen compensation claims.

Considering the burden chronic back pain places on healthcare resources, patient management appears to be an issue in need of addressing appropriately as many patients find it difficult to find effective treatment.

Low Back Treatments That Don't Help
Now many experts are questioning the model in which back pain is treated as a growing body of research suggests many common back pain ‘cures’ just don’t work. These include:

  • Ultrasound
  • TENS machines
  • Strong opium-type painkillers, such as diamorphine
  • Spinal injections
  • Spinal fusion
  • Disc replacement
Prescribing drugs or cutting people open when you don't know what's causing the pain is very unlikely to be successful in the long term. Surgery should only be used as a very last resort. There is a significant lack of efficacy for many treatments, but the deeper issue here seems to be that many healthcare providers have difficulty in accurately identifying the cause of ‘non-specific low back pain’.

Top spine expert, Professor Stuart McGill is the world’s leading spinal biomechanics researcher and has identified common reasons for back pain and the importance of exercise as an intervention for effective treatment.

In Dr. McGill's opinion, based on over 30 years of research, every case of back pain has a cause and the reason many treatments are ineffective is because they are used on a one-size fits-all approach, rarely targeting the underlying problem.
There are many possible causes for back pain, but you must first find the positions and stresses that trigger pain. As Dr. McGill says, finding these positions and stressors allows the provider to formulate a precise diagnosis and a roadmap to recovery. This roadmap is guided exercises that can correct the harmful patterns and build a stable, firm spine.

Addressing Misconceptions
The importance of a firm spine can come as a surprise to many, as the common perception is that your back must be flexible in order to be healthy and pain-free.

The spine must be firm and have strong muscles surrounding it to help transmit forces from the legs and the shoulders while minimizing the stress on the spine. When the muscles of the spine aren’t strong enough, micro-movements can occur that eventually can sensitize the spine and lead to a painful back.

If you have some movements, which are comfortable to build on, this opens the door to conservative management and recovery through guided exercise

However, recommendation of exercise without a clear understanding of movement intolerances and muscles that must be strengthened can also be harmful

Guided Exercise: The #1 Intervention for Low Back Pain
Exercise is essential both to protect and repair your back, but simply hitting the gym or doing Pilates or yoga without knowing the movement patterns that are generating your pain or the ones that will protect and build a pain-free back, has little chance of being effective.

Thanks to exercises specifically targeted at a patient’s problems, we are able to help educate them on proper posture and movement so they do not put damaging load on their spine. The guided exercise model is truly about identifying a patient's underlying back pain generators and educating them on not only how they can get out pain, but also what they can do to keep it from returning.

When you consider that 85% of individuals who have low back pain will experience future recurrences, there must be a priority placed on educating patient's about proper posture, movement, and exercises that build a firm, strong spine. Guided exercises are showing clear efficacy for use in patients with low back pain and should be a staple in their treatment plan.

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.

More related reading:

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

 

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.

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/

 

Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization: Advancing Therapy & Performance

Here at Gallagher Performance we not only strive to provide the best in chiropractic, rehabilitation and manual medicine treatments for our patients, but we also utilize comprehensive diagnostic methods and tools to help determine which treatment is best for you. This allows us to apply to most ideal therapeutic interventions. At GP, this could include any combination of the following: chiropractic manipulative therapy, manual therapy according to Lewit and Janda, Vojta Therapy, myofascial release, trigger point therapy, neuromobilizations, and dynamic neuromuscular stabilization (DNS).

Despite many of our patients having previous experience with chiropractic or physical therapy, they are unfamiliar with DNS. Gallagher Performance specializes in DNS therapy. Dr. Gallagher has been studying and utilizing DNS since 2007. His extensive training and background allows him to provide a level of care that is unique to the Pittsburgh area.

Since DNS has implications in both physical rehabilitation and training, we spend a great deal of time educating our patients and clients on DNS and answering some frequency asked questions. With that in mind, the goal of this article is to help educate our readers about DNS and the significance this intervention has as it relates to pain or sports performance.

What is DNS therapy?
DNS is a revolutionary European approach in the treatment of back pain and several neuromuscular conditions. DNS therapy is based on the neuroplasticity of the Central Nervous System and targets the cause of pain/dysfunction rather than its manifestations. DNS therapy evokes ideal movement patterns by manual stimulation of developmental reflex zones and utilizes specific exercises to improve neuromuscular control. The therapeutic benefits become significantly expanded from previous standards of rehabilitation. Any one from infants to adolescents, chronic pain patients to athletes can all benefit from DNS therapy.

How does DNS compliment chiropractic adjustments?
DNS therapy favorably compliments traditional chiropractic adjustments in several ways. When patients may be apprehensive about receiving an aggressive or forceful chiropractic adjustment, DNS offers gentle, non-forceful, low velocity manipulation that is well tolerated and safe. For those that receive traditional chiropractic adjustments, DNS works in concert to normalize joint function and restore muscular balance, leading to more sustainable improvements in reduced pain and improved function.

Often times, symptom relief experienced from a chiropractic adjustment can be short-lived with symptoms returning rather quickly. In contrast, when DNS is applied in a chiropractic setting, the approach allows for longer-lasting symptom relief due to therapy’s ability to improve Central Nervous System (CNS) coordination and joint stability which is then maintained by performing prescribed home exercises.

DNS therapy simply enables a chiropractor to effectively treat and manage a broad range of musculoskeletal and neurological disorders. While traditional chiropractic may be limited in what can be done through chiropractic adjustments and passive modalities, DNS represents a powerful alternative to chiropractic care when dealing with pain syndromes and more complex structural pathologies where the effectiveness of traditional chiropractic is highly limited.

How is DNS therapy able to get me out of pain and moving better when other conservative therapies have failed?
The results achieved by DNS therapy are often difficult to achieve with traditional methods used by chiropractors and physical therapists due to the physiological phenomenon that occurs during treatment to minimize muscular imbalances, relieving painful protective muscle spasms, resulting in a more stable musculoskeletal system with improved spinal stability and postural awareness.

During DNS therapy, induced movements are controlled not locally, but by the higher levels of the Central Nervous System. This then results in faster and longer-lasting improvement in function and pain relief. When combined with exercise, the promotion of joint stability and ideal movement becomes habitual and independent of conscious effort.

How are DNS exercises different from traditional physical therapy or physical training exercises?
In the majority of physical therapy and chiropractic clinics, as well as in personal training settings, exercises are performed that simply train muscles in isolation. The patient who has shoulder pain and is only prescribed shoulder exercises illustrates this concept. The fault in strengthening weakened muscles through isolation training is that isolation training will fail to unify the painful or problematic joint with the entire locomotor system. Sure you can perform all the isolation exercises you wish, but this does not guarantee that the strength or coordination gained will automatically transform into adequate performance.

DNS exercises are applied in accordance with development kinesiology or essentially how we develop motor function during childhood. As we develop, reflexive movements (primitive, postural, locomotor) become more refined and coordinated, ultimately leading to specific movements we produce later in life such as walking, running, jumping, reaching, throwing, etc.

However, developing these skills does not happen magically. Learning to control the body and developing fundamental skills make up our motor milestones. These milestones mark critical points in our development and there is a progression that these milestones follow. This is known as developmental kinesiology. In simplistic terms, we need to be able to lift our head and support it, roll over, crawl, support ourselves upright, walk with assistance, and then walk without support.

The understanding of developmental kinesiology and critical motor milestones allows the provider to make exercise progressions and regressions during the course of therapy in order to appropriately address the underlying locomotor system dysfunction(s).

These exercises are applicable for patients with variety of acute and chronic conditions as well as for athletes who are trying to improve their performance and also prevent or rehabilitate injuries.

Often DNS exercises are conducted with active support from the clinician to insure that the patient maintains proper support and executes ideal movement. DNS exercises could include the use of stability balls or bands to further facilitate the desired response of the exercise. These exercises are not only used to improve the stability of the spine, muscle coordination, balance and strength, but also to increase the body’s awareness and sensory integration.

Conclusion
All of a sudden, conservative management and treatment of patients and training of athletes looks a lot different than what is traditional accepted.

DNS is not only a magnificent approach for preventing and rehabilitating pain syndromes in the movement system it is also becoming extremely popular in sports performance circles. The same ideal patterns that keep an individual out of pain also maximize the efficiency of the movements, which not only reduces risk of injury but improves performance.

When you consider the principles of DNS, it truly is not about what exercises we prescribe or what exercises we perform, but rather what we are actually getting from those exercises when we perform them that is important. DNS provides a system of evaluation and treatment which follows motor development, thus providing an effective way to help our patients get the most out of therapy and our clients get the most out of training.

Sources:
Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization & Sports Rehabilitation, Frank C, Kobesova A, Kolar P. Int J Sports Phys Ther. , 2013 Feb;8(1):62-73.
A case study utilizing Vojta/Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization therapy to control symptoms of a chronic migraine sufferer, Juehring DD, Barber MR. J Bodyw Mov Ther, 2011 Oct;15(4):538-41.
Cerebellar function and hypermobility in patients with idiopathic scoliosis, Kobesova A, Drdakova L, Andel R, Kolar P. International Musculoskeletal Medicine. , 2013, 35(3): 99-105.
Effects of shoulder girdle dynamic stabilization exercise on hand muscle strength., Kobesova A, Dzvonik J, Kolar P, Sardina A, Andel R. Isokinetics and exercise Science. , 2015;23:21-32,
Developmental Kinesiology: Three Levels of Motor Control i the Assessment and Treatment of the Motor System. Kobesova A, Kolar P. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies., 2014;18(1):23-33.
The Prague School of Rehabilitation, Kobesova A, Osborne N. International Musculoskeletal Medicine, 2012;34(2):39-41.
Postural - Locomotion Function in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Disorders, Kolar P, Kobesova A. Clinical Chiropractic, 2010;13(1):58-68.
Analysis of Diaphragm Movement during Tidal Breathing and during its Activation while Breath Holding Using MRI Synchronized with Spirometry. Kolar P, Neuwirth J, Sanda J, Suchanek V, Svata Z, Volejnik J, Pivec M. Physiol Res, 2009;58(3):383-92.
Postural Function of the Diaphragm in Persons With and Without Chronic Low Back Pain. Kolar P, Sulc J, Kyncl M, Sanda J, Cakrt O, Andel R, Kumagai K, Kobesova A. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther, 2012;42:352-362.
Stabilizing function of the diaphragm: dynamic MRI and synchronized spirometric assessment, Kolar P, Sulc J, Kyncl M, Sanda J, Neuwirth J, Bokarius AV, Kriz J, Kobesova A. J Appl Physiol. , 2012;42(4):352-62.
Importance of Developmental Kinesiology for Manual Medicine, Kolar P. translated from Czech Journal of Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy, 1996;4:139-143.
Surgical treatment and motor development in patients suffering from cerebral palsy, Kolar P. Translated from Czech Journal of Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy, 2001;8(4):165-168.
Long-Term Efficacy of Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization in Treatment of Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain, Bokarius AV, Bokarius V. 12th World Congress on Pain. Glasgow, Scotland. Aug 17-22, 2008. Presentation # PF225.
A case study utilizing spinal manipulation and dynamic neuromuscular stabilization care to enhance function of a post cerebrovascular accident patient, Oppelt M,Juehring D,Sorgenfrey G, Harvey PJ, Larkin-Thier SM. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies., 2014;18:17-22.
More related reading:

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

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/

GP Client Testimonial - Shaun Davis

I first started working with Sean, at Gallagher Performance, due to an injury to my back/SI Joint in 2014. The injury occurred December of 2013 and I went through almost a year of physical therapy and other doctor appointments before coming to Sean to fix the problem. Sean realized what the problem was and started giving me a combination of chiropractic adjustments and specific exercises to strengthen the area and eliminate the problem.

Over the time when I was injured, I was unable to do anything overly physical. The worst thing that can ever happen to a former athlete is to realize that they can no longer be athletic. I needed to do something more, so I came back to Sean immediately and had him write me up a plan and provide one on one guidance to help me achieve my fitness goals. Sean prescribed a rigorous training program that challenged me day in and day out. I noticed results very quickly and within 12 weeks, I felt better than I had felt in the past 10 years!

I am still going strong with Sean's plans and I look forward to seeing what the future brings using the PROVEN Gallagher Performance methods. Sean single handedly took me from a stale couch potato and he has given me back my manhood! Thanks to Sean I feel like an athlete again. I would recommend Gallagher Performance to ANYBODY looking to get in better shape! They are the best around, hands down!

-Shaun Davis

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  • 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