Gallagher Performance Blog

Obesity in America

Obesity is a problem. It's a real problem.

Today, 34% of the US adult population is obese and roughly 18% of US youth aged 2-19 years are obese. It is well established that children who are obese are more likely to be obese as adults, putting them more at risk for health problems such as heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, stroke, cancer, asthma, and osteoarthritis. The burden of obesity on the healthcare system is tremendous as billions of dollars are spent annually on prescription drug, emergency room and outpatient visit healthcare costs.

The Framingham study has demonstrated data that obesity rates have gone up 2% per  year and they project that by the year 2050, 42% of the US population could be obese. And that’s the best-case scenario.

Possible Theories for Climbing Obesity Rates
There are several theories that attempt to explain obesity and it's rise to "epidemic" status. Theories can range from obesity being the result of food purposefully manufactured to be addictive, to nutrient imbalances, to environmental, psychological, and genetic factors to name a few.

There has even been research done to investigate whether obesity is “contagious” or something that we can “catch”, similar to the flu or other infectious diseases. This research was centered on studies that have demonstrated those who have social connections to obese individuals are more likely to be obese themselves.

The reality is the cause of obesity is multi-factorial and there are likely many reasons for obesity with very individual considerations. While there are many factors that will raise one’s risk for obesity, it’s important to recognize one key factor in the prevention of obesity - the body is programmed to regulate body weight.

So how can Americans - who continue to get fat even with the increased prevalence of dieting – regain control over body weight regulation?

Get Moving!
Low energy expenditure and sedentary lifestyles are the cause of body weight dysregulation. Meaning, lack of exercise or low energy expenditure is the MAJOR limiting factor in the ability to properly control body weight.
Yes, nutrition makes a difference but we see athletes who eat poorly all the time without becoming obese. Why?

Their high activity level keeps body weight regulation tighter. Nutrition is important for energy balance and is responsible for physical change. However, no amount of calorie control will help until the genetic switch is turned “on” by appropriate levels of physical activity.
But who has time for all that exercise, right?

The most recent National Human Activity Pattern Survey and American Time Use Survey have found people watch, on average, 30-35 hours of TV per week or almost 5 hours a day! This is a drastic increase from 2007, as these surveys reported American’s watched 19.5-21 hours of TV per week or almost 3 hours a day on average.

Most Americans move too little! Period.

Put a Plan into Action
Here are some steps and strategies you can use to better regulate your bodyweight, fight the battle of the bulge, and reduce your risk of obesity:
  • Build muscle with properly designed strength training and conditioning program. Incorporate regular, proper progression to encourage new stimuli and promote muscular and metabolic adaptations to fuel post-workout energy expenditure.
  • Increase “non-exercise” physical activity. Simply put, sit less and move more. Get out for a walk, do some yard work, or ride a bike. Pick something you enjoy that gets you up and moving.
  • Stay consistent with your nutrition and eating habits. Developing unhealthy or unsustainable nutritional habits can have disastrous consequences on your body’s body weight regulation. Avoid the tendency to "hop around" with your eating habits and change them based on what some celebrity or your friend is doing. Avoid extreme diets as these come with the risk of long-term overcompensations that can be challenging to change.
  • Nutritional habits must be sustainable or they will not be successful. Sustainable actions produce optimum results. Your eating habits should be developed around practical application and science, not cookie-cutter planning or gimmicks. This is where individual considerations must be made and working with a professional has tremendous value.
  • Sleep 7-9 hours each night. Sleep is an incredibly powerful tool in promoting an optimal hormonal environment for proper bodyweight regulation.
  • Develop strong social support networks. Surround yourself with people who are like-minded and will support your health, fitness, and wellness goals.
  • Realize you are responsible for you. Despite having the best training program or the best nutritional program or the best support network possible, you are ultimately in the driver’s seat and results will not come unless you put those plans into action. Commitment to consistent, sustainable action is the key. This is not an 20-day or 12-week fix. These are habits that are meant to last a lifetime. Recognize your responsibility and commit to it.
Bottom Line
We must eat, move, and live better if we are going to prevent unwanted weight gain and control our bodyweight.  The health and fitness world can sometimes be a confusing place, but it doesn’t have to be. Let us help you make sense of it all and achieve the goals you desire. Gallagher Performance is here to develop the best eating, exercise, and lifestyle strategies — unique and personal — for you.

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/dietary-fat-is-not-the-bad-guy/

The Gut-Brain Connection

The Gut-Brain Connection
About the Author: Kristin Gallagher has a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is currently a first-year student in the Physician Assistant program at Baldwin Wallace University. She has a special interest in dermatology, food allergies, GI disorders, and understanding the role gut health plays in health and disease. This paper has been reproduced with her permission.
Over 2,500 years ago Hippocrates had stated that “all disease begins in the gut.” It has been in the last several decades that this connection has been explored in great detail and proven that the gut serves a much bigger role than just nutrient extraction. In fact, this topic has gained popularity especially within in the past couple years. There have been several connections established between the gut and the brain and the ways in which they communicate with one another through the nervous, immune and endocrine systems (Patel).

So the question becomes: how exactly does our gut microbiome influence our brain health? By controlling our gut microbiome, how exactly can we affect our brain health and in what ways?

This topic is of great interest because of the correlations found between certain conditions and how the microbiome influences the development of them. If what Hippocrates hypothesized is true, it is of the greatest importance for one to understand how exactly they can influence their own gut microbiome because of the clear correlation seen between the gut and the development of different diseases. This is of clinical significance because of the influence it can have on recommendations and treatment options for certain diseases. If you were given the option to increase the wealth of your future, wouldn’t you want to explore how?

The Pathways Established
First it is important to understand the mechanisms behind how the gut and the brain are believed to interact and communicate with one another. The biggest influence in their communication involves the permeability of the gut. It should be noted that activity between the two systems via the vagus nerve has also been acknowledged as an influence (Stilling). Intestinal permeability has been established as the most important factor influencing microbial interactions with the rest of the body. It has also been established that having normal gut microbiota is essential to prevent harmful bacteria from colonizing. When normal gut microbiota is changed, by antibiotic therapy for example, it is noted that this allows pathogenic organisms to colonize the gut epithelium which leads to toxin production and thus focal inflammation, causing an increase in gut permeability. So what happens when gut permeability increases? The increase leads to more gut bacteria being translocated across the intestinal wall, resulting in the activation of inflammatory cytokines and the vagal system, both of which modulate the activity of the central and enteric nervous systems. These systems control the development of our cognitive, emotional and behavioral processes which would make sense for the various abnormalities seen with abnormal gut microbiota. Increased permeability also leads to the translocation of metabolic products such as lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or neuroactive peptides, also affecting the activity of the central and enteric nervous systems (Yarandi).



So, how do we control gut permeability?

Research has revealed that a large influencer of gut permeability is stress, be it acute or chronic in nature (De Palma). It has been observed that stress reduces water secretion and increases ion secretion in the intestine, which affects the physical barrier of the gut. Stress not only directly affects the permeability of the gut but it also directly changes the content of the gut microbiota itself. Controlling stress, as well as other factors that have been seen to change gut permeability as well as the gut microbiota itself, may in fact directly control the extent of gut permeability (Stilling).

Additionally, it is important to understand how these changes are relayed to the brain. What serves as the communication between the gut and the brain? As stated earlier, it is under the influence of the vagus nerve but notably, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is also a crucial pathway between the two. The HPA axis is a key stress regulatory system in the CNS and it is noted that gut microbes modulate the stress response and this pathway directly. Most of the studies regarding this pathway that have been completed up until this point have focused on using germ-free (GF) mice. What they have seen is that GF mice have an exaggerated HPA response to stress, but by injecting these mice with B. infantis, it corrects the abnormal response seen (Yarandi). From this information, the general understanding is that the content of our microbiota directly influences the integrity of our intestinal permeability and when this is affected, it allows for more influence of bacteria over the CNS and ENS thus establishing the relationship seen between our gut and our brain. Many other specific organisms, out of the 3.3 million non-human genes found in the human gut, have also been explored as well (Stilling).

The Importance of Infancy
Much of the literature on this topic looks at how the gut is influenced from birth. There are several environmental factors that have been associated with influencing the gut microbiome contents, these factors including: mode of delivery (vaginal or caesarean section), breast-feeding, diet, disease, status of the immune system, age, pharmacological treatments (especially antibiotics) and physical activity. There has been a noted correlation in that babies delivered by caesarean section, a number that has dramatically increased over the past several years, with an increase in autoimmune diseases and allergies being seen as well (Stilling). It has also been observed that babies not delivered vaginally also are seen to have a greater chance of developing allergies, asthma and diabetes later in life. Other findings noted include that breastfed babies show a decrease in harmful gut bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium, as compared to formula-fed babies. Studies reveal that formula-fed babies have an increase in harmful bacteria such as coliforms, Bacteroides and Clostridium difficile (Clarke). It is important to realize that the human intestinal tract is basically sterile at birth. It is then immediately colonized and exactly the way in which it is colonized is essential for the development of the baby. Maternal separation is also noted to play a role in inducing long-lasting hyperactivity of the HPA axis, increasing anxiety-like behavior, visceral hypersensitivity, intestinal permeability and altering the cholinergic activity in the gut (De Palma). Visceral hypersensitivity has been found to be correlated with irritable bowel syndrome and the administration of probiotic therapies has been shown to reverse this in animal and human trials (Stilling). The general idea is that when we are born, there is a window of opportunity for influencing the gut microbiota and that the presence or absence of any specific microbe during this window can have a notable, lasting effect (Yarandi).

The Diseases Correlated
With all this talk about the importance of the gut microbiota for normal pathway functioning and signaling, as well as how important it is in the first few years of life for our future leads us to the question: why should we care? There are a number of diseases that have been correlated with altered gut permeability and gut microbiota. With the increasing number of individuals being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), it is interesting to note the differences in the gut in these individuals as well. It is seen that they have abnormal gut microbiota (De Palma) as well as increases in bacteria from the Clostridium species and decreases in the Bacteroides species. It is postulated that this is why these patients often benefit from gluten free and casein free diets. It was also seen that ASD patients administered oral vancomycin, to help with their gastrointestinal (GI) issues, not only experienced a decrease in their GI symptoms but had an improvement in their autistic behavior as well (Yarandi). Other diseases that have been associated with abnormal gut microbiota include inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, schizophrenia, depression, obesity, metabolic syndrome, anxiety, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease (Foster). There are many specific bacterial associations seen in these different diseases but the foundation of each is dysbiosis, the disadvantageous alteration in microbial composition (Stilling). It is believed that dysbiotic changes in gut microbiota is what leads to disease states, behavioral changes, and changes in brain function (Foster). All of this poses a larger question as to the root of the problem; is it the changes in gut composition that cause diseases or the diseases that cause changes in the composition (Stilling)? The research still seeks to find an answer.

Conclusion
Of all the themes seen throughout the literature, these three were clearly the ones discussed the most. There are many more correlations seen and the evidence for them is still being built upon. The evidence stands clear that a diverse gut microbiome is beneficial to health and that changes in the microbiome directly affect behavior; the microbiome regulates nervous system development, our stress response, anxiety and appetite levels as well as our circadian rhythms. Clearly established in the literature is the obvious connection between the gut and the brain, making clear that a healthy microbiota is necessary to maintain a healthy nervous system (Mu).

Looking back to my question of inquiry, the literature proves that our gut microbiome does in fact influence our brain health as well as disease states and behavior. The research that has been done so far on this topic has just barely scratched the surface and further research on it is a necessity, especially honing in on studies in humans because most research up until now has been done utilizing mice and rats. There is much more to be said on this topic and I could only expose just the beginning of some of the findings to this date. This is just the beginning of a topic that holds a bright future for potentially changing medicine in a drastic way. Someday soon, we may be able to prove Hippocrates hypothesis to be true indeed – that all disease does in fact start in the gut.

Works Cited
Clarke, G., O'Mahony, S. M., Dinan, T. G., & Cryan, J. F. (2014). Priming for health: gut microbiota acquired in early life regulates physiology, brain and behaviour. Acta Paediatrica (Oslo, Norway: 1992), 103(8), 812-819. doi:10.1111/apa.12674
De Palma, G., Collins, S. M., Bercik, P., & Verdu, E. F. (2014). The microbiota-gut-brain axis in gastrointestinal disorders: stressed bugs, stressed brain or both?. The Journal Of Physiology, 592(14), 2989-2997. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2014.273995
Foster, J. A., Lyte, M., Meyer, E., & Cryan, J. F. (2016). Gut Microbiota and Brain Function: An Evolving Field in Neuroscience. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 19(5), pyv114. http://doi.org/10.1093/ijnp/pyv114
Mu, C., Yang, Y., & Zhu, W. (2016). Gut Microbiota: The Brain Peacekeeper. Frontiers in Microbiology, 7, 345. http://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2016.00345
Patel, K. (2016). What have we learned about nutrition in the past 5 years? Retrieved November 13, 2016, from https://examine.com/nutrition/an-interesting-5-years/
Stilling, R. M., Dinan, T. G., & Cryan, J. F. (2014). Microbial genes, brain & behaviour - epigenetic regulation of the gut-brain axis. Genes, Brain, And Behavior, 13(1), 69-86. doi:10.1111/gbb.12109
Yarandi, S. S., Peterson, D. A., Treisman, G. J., Moran, T. H., & Pasricha, P. J. (2016). Modulatory Effects of Gut Microbiota on the Central Nervous System: How Gut Could Play a Role in Neuropsychiatric Health and Diseases. Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, 22(2), 201–212. http://doi.org/10.5056/jnm15146
More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/why-poor-recovery-will-make-you-sick-sad-and-weak/

Cold Season: Are You Winning the Battle for Your Immune System?

“It’s cold season."

How many times have we heard that saying? Yes, we are approaching the time of year when most of us are more susceptible to coming down with a cold or the flu. But, I’ll let you in on a little secret – there is no “cold season”.

Rather than figuring out a strategy to keep our immune system working at it's peak potential, it's as if some of us just throw in the towel and accept that we will be sick, as if there is nothing we can do to prevent it.

Reality is we are constantly under attack by pathogens, viruses or bacteria that want to infect us. We are constantly exposed to pathogens and we are either winning or losing the battle. What is likely to blame for the “cold season” has more to do with what our body’s internal environment lacks than what is attacking us.

There's the saying, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." I'm not saying cold season is completely preventable, but what I am trying to communicate is that we all can take steps to reduce our likelihood of getting sick and possibly prevent it.

Aside from proper exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle choices, what are some simple prevention steps you can take (any time of the year) to keep your immune system firing on all cylinders and help it win the battle against the "cold season"?

1) Sleep. The most powerful tool that you have to keep your immune system running high is sleep. Research demonstrates that lack of sleep compromises the immune system, thus predisposing you to sickness. There’s a reason why you sleep a lot when you are sick. Don't underestimate what proper sleep habits can do for your health. Are you getting enough sleep? Ask yourself the following questions:
  • Do my eyelids feel heavy in the afternoon?
  • Do I use caffeine as a “pick me up”?
  • Do I sleep extra hours on the weekend?
  • Do I fall asleep the minute my head hits the pillow?
To promote deep, restful sleep try to keep your room as dark and cool as possible. Ideal room temperature appears to be 65-68 degrees. Calming agents like magnesium, valerian root, chamomile tea, or a warm bath used before bed can also promote more restful sleep. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and exercise before bed as these can interfere with our normal sleep rhythms or make it more difficult to settle.

Shoot for 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Athletes may need as much as 9-10 hours per night.

2) Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is a global issue, which is disturbing as poor vitamin D status is linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, certain cancers, and many other chronic conditions. Not only does Vitamin D have a critical role in immune system support, it also has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and anti-viral effects.

According to James Cannell, MD, of the vitamin D council, most of us will need to take in 5000 IU per day to obtain healthy vitamin D blood levels and avid exercisers should shoot for as high as 10,000 IU per day. In comparison, the current RDA is set at 600 IU for individuals 1-70 years of age and 800 IU for those 71 years of age and older. Clearly there is a large gap between what is considered adequate and what is considered necessary for optimal health.

In determining appropriate vitamin D intake, it's important to know your vitamin D levels first. A simple test can be run by your doctor with blood work. Be sure to consult your healthcare provider.

3) Vitamin C. Vitamin C's role in immune system support is well established and less of a discussion is needed here. To maximize vitamin C's immune system boosting effects, It's best to consume a vitamin C supplement or vitamin C rich foods every 2-3 hours when sick as blood levels take 2-3 hours to peak, thus you will ensure blood levels remain high.

4) Zinc. For as much evidence as there is to back vitamin C’s ability to support the immune system, there is stronger evidence for zinc. However, zinc's role in immune system support is not as widely known. Zinc plays a central role in the immune response and zinc-deficient individuals are more susceptible to a variety of pathogens. While consuming whole foods rich in zinc should be standard dietary practice, directed use of products like Zicam, zinc lozenges, or highly bio-available zinc supplements at the early signs or symptoms of a cold has proven to be beneficial.

5) Glutamine. Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in skeletal muscle, making it critical to the health and function of our muscular system. However, glutamine is also integral to the function of our digestive and immune systems. The health of our digestive system is critical to the health of our immune system as the GI tract uses a tremendous amount of glutamine to feed the mucosal cells. When needed, glutamine supplementation is a great way to support the immune system. Aim for 5-15g grams, three times a day. Make sure a dose is taken upon rising, mid day, and before bed. The dose before bed is important as the immune system is highly active during sleep.

6) Probiotics. Probiotics are healthy bacteria for our gut and they also have the ability to support the immune system. Simply stated, a healthy digestive system feeds a healthy immune system. Research has supported the ability of probiotics to reduce the occurrence of colds and gastrointestinal infections. Be sure to consume more probiotic foods or take a quality probiotic supplement. Foods such as yogurt, raw cheese, raw apple cider vinegar, and kombucha tea are just a few examples of foods rich in probiotics.

Wrap Up
Prevention is the key when it comes to staying healthy. We either make time for prevention or we make time for illness. Take the steps to support your immune system and win the fight during cold season.

More related reading:

 
https://gallagherperformance.com/why-poor-recovery-will-make-you-sick-sad-and-weak/

Veteran's Day: Saying Thank You Means Remembering

Veteran's Day: Saying Thank You Means Remembering
November 11, 2016.

Veteran’s Day.

Today we recognize the selfless service and sacrifice of the men and women of our Armed Forces. It’s a day that should resonate with everyone in this country. Our veterans fought for the rights, privileges, and freedoms we take for granted everyday. For some, this day hits closer to home than others as we know loved ones who have served or are currently serving.

To all of you, we thank you for the service you have given to our country.

Veteran’s Day carries individual meaning as well. As for our family, this means reflecting on the service of our brother Joseph Anthony Bailey, currently serving the US Air Force in Aviano, Italy, our uncle Harry Eugene Fletcher, who served in the US Air Force during World War II, and grandfather, Harry William Getz, Jr., who served in the US Army during the Korean War. We are so proud of them and grateful to have such selfless individuals as part of our family as they felt the call to be of service to our country.

Today, I want to acknowledge our pap’s service as he passed away on August 18 and is no longer around for us to thank him. I’ve decided to write as a thank you to him. To honor and acknowledge not just his service, but also the man that he was and the impact he had on our family and those that knew him.

Pap was a very humble man, quiet and simple. He listened first before he spoke. He was patient as the day is long, but could be as stubborn as a Germans can be. Pap never finished high school. He wouldn’t be considered intelligent by the world’s standards, but he was smart. The kind of smart only life can teach you. Pap was a problem solver, possessing a mechanical mind that enabled him to fix just about anything.

I think this came from his work history. After his time in the military, pap owned his own service station, worked for the railroad and a tow service, and then eventually drove school bus for a local district before he retired. That just gives a glimpse of some of the trades he worked in during his time.

[caption id="attachment_2166" align="aligncenter" width="285"] Pap at his service station in East Liberty


He had simple tastes and interests. Some of the favorites he enjoyed were: old western movies, Clint Eastwood, country music, cereal, breakfast for dinner, root beer ice cubes, lemonade, listening to the rain, naps, any crunchy food, Pittsburgh sports, taking pride in his work, his faith and his family.

Pap loved cars. Whatever make or model he owned, he took care of it. Didn’t matter how beat up it was; he would fix it up with pride. He taught all his grandkids how to drive. But before we could drive, we had to learn about the car. We had to learn how to check fluid and oil levels, how to charge a dead battery, check and change an air filter, change a tire, check tire pressure, etc. These were prerequisites to driving. To him, driving was the easy part. Knowing the vehicle and proper maintenance of it was the key.

Pap loved sports. Loved the Pirates and the Steelers. But his first love grew to become hockey and it started with the Penguins. He started watching them in the mid 1980s, when they were awful and drafted some kid out of Montreal name Mario Lemieux. As a family, we are convinced he is the reason why all my brothers and sisters eventually played hockey. Pap started it. He bought my brother Matt and I our first pair of skates. Something I’ll always remember.

Hockey was just a small piece of the puzzle. Pap and gram came to as many of their grandkids events as they could. They rarely missed. No matter if it was on the stage, field, court, or ice. No matter if it was birthdays, holidays, or graduations. It didn’t matter; pap and gram were always there. They were always present and that was their greatest present to us.

Being present was easy for them because they both were givers by nature. Pap was always giving. Giving of his time and his resources. He did that for everyone. He never considered himself better than anyone. Pap had a unique ability to talk to a complete stranger as if he’d known them for years. You always felt welcomed around him and I think that had a lot to do with his childhood.

According to my mom, pap had a rough childhood growing up in Bay Head, New Jersey. The oldest of three boys, his mom died when he was 8 years old and it was a pain, as our mom would tell us, that never left him. His father was a good, but firm man who worked hard and instilled discipline and respect. All that said, pap grew up feeling he was never good enough. Never felt he had much to offer or was worthy of anything. He never felt deserving. People in his life didn’t think he would amount to anything, doubting he would accomplish much.

After his passing, it seemed to become clear to my family that pap’s self-image was probably a big reason why he was always so willing to help others. He truly didn’t think he was better than anyone. He felt people deserved his time and resources. He was always willing to serve, never expected anything in return, and preferred to stay in the background to avoid attention.

While people measure success or wealth by material standards,  Pap became more than rich in the thing that mattered most to him: his family. And he treated everyone he cared about as if they were family.

As for pap’s family, his father's work eventually brought him to the Homestead area of Pittsburgh. Not long after, he met his future wife Barbara. My gram says he chased her and chased her until she finally gave him a chance. That’s the only chance he would need. They eventually married February 14, 1953. Just three days later, he was shipped off to war and would be in Korea for 18 months.

I recall hearing that story for the first time when I was in high school, yet it took me several years to even get a ounce of a clue what they must have gone through as a newly married couple. I really had to step back in time and put myself in their shoes to fully appreciate what they went through to talk to each other.

Think about it. Think about the challenges of communicating. No international phone calls. No cell phones. No texting. No Internet. No Skype. No FaceTime. We are spoiled beyond belief with the ability to communicate with people around the world. They had none of it.

All they had was hand-written letters. That’s it!

What an awesome test. If the only way you had to communicate with someone was hand-written letters, for 18 months, would you do it? Would you send one everyday? Or would you throw in the towel and move on?

My pap wrote her a letter every single day he was in Korea. And gram wrote back, sealing every letter with a red lipstick kiss. He even included photographs of his time and gram ended up putting them all together in a scrapbook.

[caption id="attachment_2169" align="aligncenter" width="960"] The scrapbook of Pap's days in the Army


It’s no surprise their marriage lasted 63+ years. Their love and example has really showed our family something special through the years.

Learning about those letters was evidence enough to me that my pap was determined beyond belief to survive Korea and get back home. Realize he lived in a time that he didn’t have a choice. His generation had to go to war.

Through the years, he never spoke much about Korea and his experience. If asked, he would never go into details. However, during the final years of his life, he finally opened up about Korea.

War is brutal. My pap saw it first hand. When I say he saw it first hand, I mean he was in the hot zone. He was in combat, on the front lines. He saw his buddies die. He witnessed how shrapnel rips through human flesh. His stories of war so vivid, being able to describe all the sights, sounds, and smells. Like many veterans, these things stayed with him for life.

[caption id="attachment_2170" align="aligncenter" width="960"] Piece of shrapnel from Korea


Yet if you knew my pap you would never have known he was a veteran who had seen such horrors. That he lived in fear and doubt, everyday, for 18 months. He never let on to the deep wounds he carried after the war. At least to the grandkids. We never fully understood what he went through until the end of his life.

Pap never liked attention and would never bring attention to himself. When they would honor the veterans at church, he would never stand. That was just him. It wasn’t that he was making a statement. He simply viewed his service as his duty and that duty deserved no recognition. He viewed others as giving far more than he did, especially those that died. The fact that I’m writing this probably has him up in Heaven shaking his head.

While there are some that may argue what I’m writing would be more appropriate for Memorial Day, the truth is I’m writing this because, like every veteran, pap has a story that deserves to be told. Many of our veterans won’t tell their own story. They are too humble to bring attention to themselves. It’s not in their character. Our pap never brought attention to himself, but on this Veteran’s Day we are thanking him by bringing attention to his service, his life, and his legacy.

To Joe, Uncle Gene, Pap, and the veterans of the US Armed Forces, thank you for your service. It’s because of you that we truly live in the greatest country on Earth.



God Bless America.

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/

Gallagher Performance Receives 2016 Best of Pittsburgh Award

Pittsburgh Award Program Honors the Achievement
Gallagher Performance has been selected for the 2016 Best of Pittsburgh Award in the Chiropractors category by the Pittsburgh Award Program and is among a very small group of businesses that have won the Best of Pittsburgh Award for three consecutive years.

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

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2016 Pittsburgh Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Pittsburgh Award Program and data provided by third parties.

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

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

SOURCE: Pittsburgh Award Program

Solving Pain: The Influence of Czech Rehabilitation Techniques

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more on DNS here:

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

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

Understanding Concussions and How Chiropractors Can Help

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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/

How Movement Improves Brain Function

Movement is essential to the function of our heart, lungs, and lymphatic system. Movement is critical to keeping our muscles, joints, cartilage, and connective tissue healthy. Movement aids in the delivery of oxygen and nutrients throughout our body and assists in removal of metabolic waste products.

These are points that the majority of us have either heard about or have come to understand about the importance of movement as it relates to our overall health.

Yet one major benefit of movement is often overlooked - the stimulation of pathways required for proper brain and body function.

Yep, that’s correct. Movement - especially of the spine - is required for proper brain function and coordination of activities such as concentration and learning, motor control, emotions, and optimizes organ and immune function.
There is a reason why you experience an increase in mental alertness after exercise or even a visit to the chiropractor. According to Roger Sperry, Nobel Prize recipient in Brain Research, movement of the spine generates 90% of the nerve stimulation used to run the brain.
The brain does not simply control the body, the brain requires constant stimulation and that stimulation comes from movement.

Movement charges your brain’s battery and enables you to think, function, and feel better.
Sound a bit too good to be true?

The work of some of the most prominent neurologists and physiologists in the world continually support the role of movement in brain and nervous system health.

The stimulation your brain receives from movement – once again, especially of your spine – is now being considered essential to optimal brain function and development. In fact, research is now showing that people who do not adequately stimulate their brain through movement have learning, memory, emotional, and behavioral deficits.
This is especially true for children because spinal joint receptor stimulation plays an integral role in the development of the child’s brain and nervous system. The effects of decreased stimulation of the brain in childhood have been linked to central motor impairment, developmental impairments, learning disabilities, and concentration problems like ADHD.

Regardless of your age, the message should be clear at this point: Movement does a body – and brain – good.
Get out and get moving.

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/tips-on-recovery-and-restoration/

https://gallagherperformance.com/does-practice-make-permanent-how-practice-rewires-your-nervous-system/

A Solution to Headaches

A Solution to Headaches
Headaches are among the most frustrating and debilitating conditions seen by healthcare practitioners, from primary care physicians to chiropractors. When severe enough, headaches may interfere or prevent even the most basic daily activities that we take for granted, such as thinking, talking, and reading.

While a logical assumption would be that the origin of headaches is in the head itself, science suggests many of the most common headaches are generated from the joints, muscles, and nerves of the neck.

The head and neck is an inherently unstable system that requires a complex neuromuscular system to surround the spinal column for control of movement and protection from injury. 

Many daily activities, such as prolonged sitting and poor posture, can affect the function and health of the joints, muscles, and nerves of the neck. Poor posture or prolonged postures common to students and the majority of the working class can lead to muscular imbalances, restricted joint motion, and unnecessary strain on the neck and upper back often responsible for headaches.

Referred pain and micro-trauma explain how this strain often results in headaches. Referred pain is a neurological phenomenon which is responsible for the perception of pain at a location other than where the problem exists. Using the headache as our example, the problem exists in your neck or upper back, yet your symptoms and perception of pain exists in your head. Micro-trauma is cumulative, small scale damage that occurs in and between soft tissues (muscles, tendons, joint capsules, ligaments and nerves) in response to strain. The bodies response to this strain is to lay down small amounts of repair tissue. Over time, a build up of repair tissue can form adhesions or scar within the soft tissue altering function. Left untreated, these adhesions often lead to pain, tightness, stiffness, restricted motion, and diminished blood flow. The result is a negative feedback cycle, the cumulative injury cycle.



So how do we stop the cycle?

Massage therapy, myofascial release, and IASTM (instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization) techniques are just some of the tools utilized at Gallagher Performance to address scar tissue adhesions and neurological dysfunction in soft tissue. Along with these tools, we often utilize chiropractic manipulative therapy (adjustments), sensory motor stimulation, and Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS) to improve posture, positional awareness, and help restore muscular balance. The combination of these therapies have helped numerous patients find a solution to chronic headaches or migraines.

The next time your dealing with a headache, consider Gallagher Performance. There is a solution to headaches that doesn't involve taking medication. Call our office at (724) 519-2833 to schedule your appointment.

More related reading:

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

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

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

4 Reasons Athletes Get Adjusted

4 Reasons Athletes Get Adjusted
There is a reason why countless professional and Olympic athletes receive regular chiropractic care. The physiologic and neurologic benefit of spinal manipulation is super charged when used in a comprehensive care plan to address pain and dysfunction.

This infographic puts it into words nicely!

The Benefits of Spinal Manipulation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More related reading:

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

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

https://gallagherperformance.com/low_back_pain_causes_and_treatment_recommendations/

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/

 

Before You Go To A Chiropractor, Read This First

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

Improving the Quality of Physical Medicine Care
The last 15 years have been great for musculoskeletal healthcare. There are several new treatment procedures and we have developed a deeper understanding of how the body works and how it breaks down. This has had tremendous impact on the world of physical medicine care, and chiropractic profession is no exception. The advancement of musculoskeletal care education has fueled a growing speciality within the chiropractic profession, sports injury & rehabilitation.

While physical therapy is often the first choice for medical doctor referrals in rehabbing an exercise or sports-related injury, there is a growing trend among athletes and individuals who enjoy an active lifestyle to turn to sports injury & rehabilitation chiropractors.

You may be thinking, “I thought chiropractors were only good for treating low back and neck pain and headaches.”
Just like the medical profession, there are many areas of specialty in chiropractic. Those who specialize as a sports injury & rehabilitation chiropractor have undergone the traditional education on joint manipulation or adjustments. However, in addition to their core curriculum, sports injury & rehabilitation complete hundreds of hours in continuing education learning about exercise and sport-related injuries, manual therapy, and functional rehabilitation methods.

What's so special about a sports injury & rehabilitation chiropractor?
Chiropractors who utilize a sports injury & rehabilitation approach incorporate joint mobilization/manipulation, soft-tissue treatments, various manual therapies, and functional rehabilitation techniques to provide a gold standard of care in treatment for individuals with exercise and sport-related injuries.

If you choose to visit a sports injury & rehabilitation chiropractor, you can expect a comprehensive examination before treatment begins. These examinations generally include:
  • A detailed history, orthopedic and neurologic examination, and functional based examination to create a working diagnosis.
  • Functional based examination to focus on the spine, shoulders, hips and feet, as these joints and their respective functions serve as the "key joints" of the human body.
  • Joint and muscle palpation to assess the quality of your joint movement, trigger points, and muscular imbalances.
Once the examination is completed, we want to discuss your specific goals in order to create a customized treatment plan for your road to recovery. The more accurately we assess, the more accurately we can apply treatment. Four types of treatment used at Gallagher Performance for exercise and sports-related injuries are:
  1. CHIROPRACTIC MANIPULATIVE THERAPYGallagher Performance provides the latest techniques, including joint manipulation (adjusting), designed to treat musculoskeletal complaints. The purpose of joint manipulation is to release restricted joints of the body, primarily in the spine and extremities. Joint commonly become restricted as a response to poor posture, imbalanced muscle activity, and/or trauma. By releasing a restricted joint through manipulation, improvements in the quality of motion of the joint are gained that may not be possible with exercise or other interventions. Manipulation also serves to reduce pain and relax tight muscles.
  2. FUNCTIONAL REHABILITATIONIn addition to providing relief through manipulative therapy and treating muscular adhesions, it can prove to be incredibly valuable to identify the source of a patient’s symptoms. The functional approach to rehabilitation includes identifying joint dysfunction, muscular imbalances, trigger points, and faulty movement patterns. These are often the hidden causes of injury. Observing how a patient moves and functions allows us to identify improper movement patterns that become contributors to pain and poor sport performance. By placing an emphasis on strategies to improve movement and function, functional rehabilitation is effective in improving qualities of endurance, strength, stability, balance, agility, coordination, and body awareness.
  3. DYNAMIC NEUROMUSCULAR STABILIZATION (DNS)By applying principles and techniques rooted in the study of child development, DNS aims to improve activation and neural control of muscles and ideal movement patterns. DNS promotes the ideal postures, movements, and degree of body awareness that is essential not only to athleticism, but to also treating the underlying causes of several pain syndromes.
  4. MYOFASCIAL RELEASEGallagher 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, including back pain, shoulder pain, shin splints, runner’s knee (IT band syndrome), and plantar fasciitis.
If you have any questions or have been struggling with pain related to your activities, exercise or sport, Gallagher Performance offers customized treatment plans to get you our of pain and performing better.

To schedule your appointment, call (724) 519.2833

More related reading:

https://gallagherperformance.com/options-dont-take-insurance/

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

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

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/
We love to hear your input. Tell us about your experience on Google.

Contact

  • 4484 William Penn Highway

  • Murrysville, PA 15668

Hours of Operation

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