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Featured Interview

Dr. (Gierman) Shays has had the pleasure of working with Nora Boyd, founder of Hullwinkle. Her company focuses on transforming quality of sleep with her product: the Hullwinkle pillow.

The Hullwinkle pillow is a buckwheat pillow that supports the body, encourages deep & restorative sleep, assists with temperature regulation, and is made from biodegradable materials.

Pillow Talk
Can a Buckwheat Pillow Help With Neck Pain?

Interested in learning more about what category of neck pain you fit into and ending your pain cycle? Request an appointment by clicking the button below.

Blog Posts

Cupping:
What's the Deal with Cupping?

By Hanna Shays

Cupping involves placing cups (made of glass, plastic, bamboo or ceramic) on the skin to create suction. Cups can be placed on the back, shoulders, stomach, legs or any muscle group where it’s easy to attach the cups.  Suction creates a negative pressure environment allowing for myofascial decompression as the skin is drawn into the cups. This negative pressure is held for anywhere from 5-15 minutes. While massage therapy uses direct pressure (or compression) to release tension, cupping uses negative pressure to lift the muscle fibers and draw blood to the area. Blood moving into the area brings oxygen and nourishment to the tissues. It also helps move various stagnant cellular debris out of the tissues for the body to excrete. The marks left by the cups also tell you how stagnant blood flow to that area has been. These marks are actually NOT bruises! Cupping does not cause more pain and should not be painful following the formation of a mark. Not only is this a great treatment for dysfunctional tissue, but it also provides your physical therapist with more information regarding the level of tissue dysfunction. Deep purple indicates severe stagnation, which is typically present with chronic and severe pain. Red is less severe, though still an indication of stagnation. Cupping marks typically fade and disappear over the course of 5-7 days, pending how dark the discoloration is. If blood flow to an area is more "stagnant," then that means cellular debris, lymphatic fluid and inflammatory markers aren't being properly cleared out from that tissue by the body. This can be a contributor to your pain and muscle tension! Cupping and other techniques can help improve circulation to the restricted areas and allow for the debris to be better cleared by your system. As a result, cupping can be a great technique to help reduce myofascial pain and improve your range of motion. Contact us to learn more and to see if cupping could be right for you.

Sleep:
The #1 Way to Help Your Body Heal

By Hanna Shays

Pain is stressful. It causes our heart rate and blood pressure to rise and our sympathetic nervous system ("fight or flight") kicks into gear. If we develop chronic pain, then our system remains in constant overdrive and a negative snowball effect of future poor health is imminent. Pain Perception and Sleep: Pain and sleep are interconnected. Sleep disturbances can exacerbate pain perception, while adequate sleep helps alleviate discomfort. Studies have shown that individuals experiencing chronic pain often struggle with disrupted sleep patterns. This disruption furthers our already active "fight or flight" response and leads to increased sensitivity to pain. Sleep is meant to be the time for our parasympathetic nervous system ("rest & digest") to be active, but today's demand on high avhievement in both work and home life (thanks social media) has only placed more burden on our nervous system. Many people lose sleep due to excess stress from their daily life, and when our sleep isn't restful, we cannot begin to heal. By prioritizing and optimizing sleep, patients can break this vicious cycle, as improved sleep quality can help reduce pain intensity and promote pain management. Tissue Healing and Regeneration: Sleep is a restorative process that supports tissue healing and regeneration. During sleep, the body undergoes various physiological changes, including autophagy. Autophagy is the process where the body disposes of old/damaged/decaying cells and their debris. If our sleep is limited or sub-optimal, then this process suffers. Autophagy (among other processes which occur during sleep) is crucial for repairing injured tissues, reducing inflammation, and accelerating the healing process. By allowing ample time for restorative sleep, patients provide their bodies with the right environment for tissue recovery. Immune System Support: Adequate sleep is vital for a robust immune system, which plays a pivotal role in tissue healing. Sleep deprivation can impair immune function and increase fasting blood glucose levels, leading to delayed healing, increased inflammation, and increased susceptibility to infections. By prioritizing sufficient sleep, patients with pain can strengthen their immune response, aiding in the prevention of complications and promoting a more efficient healing process. Psychological Well-being and Coping Mechanisms: Living with pain can take a toll on one's mental and emotional well-being. Sleep deprivation further exacerbates stress, anxiety, and depression, which can intensify the perception of pain and hinder recovery. Quality sleep provides an opportunity for emotional restoration, improved mood, and enhanced coping mechanisms. By fostering a healthy sleep routine, patients can better manage pain-related psychological challenges and experience an improved overall quality of life. In the journey towards pain management and tissue recovery, sleep emerges as a critical factor that should not be overlooked. By recognizing the powerful interplay between sleep and tissue healing, patients can actively prioritize sleep hygiene, establish a consistent sleep routine, and create a conducive sleep environment.

Glute Activation:
Signs That Your Glutes may not be Turning on...

By Hanna Shays
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The following are signs that your glutes are likely not activating appropriately or at the appropriate time during functional movement or exercise: 1. Frequent hamstring tears or strains (or a history of this) 2. Hamstring cramps when performing bridges or hip thrusts 3. Foot & calf cramps 4. Low back pain 5. Knee pain 6. NEVER feeling your glutes activate during walking, squatting, going up stairs Glute max activation is something that is critical to proper body mechanics. This muscle is a major mover when we are performing hip extension: during walking, going up stairs, squatting, transitioning from sit to stand. Oftentimes, our hamstrings and quads can become the dominant mover, but this is not their job! Why does this happen? We spend far more time sitting on our butts than using them: sitting in class, at work, in the car, eating, watching tv, etc. It doesn't matter how "active" you are--once your brain determines that you don't need to use that muscle group as often, it starts to rely on other muscles (like hamstrings and quads) to do the job. Now think about how this might affect our running, jumping and other sport-specific movements over time! How can we address this problem? First, we need to get our brains talking to our butts again. Performing an isolated glute squeeze is a great way to get the pathway up and running again. You can perform a glute squeeze laying down, seated or standing. Being able to perform this muscle activation alone is crucial to being able to progress to proper glute activation with functional movement and exercise. For a more in-depth approach to addressing potential glute max dysfunction, contact us to schedule an initial consult. Perhaps this is the root cause to your pain!

Magnesium Glycinate:
Health Benefits 

By Hanna Shays

In our quest for optimal health and well-being, we often overlook the importance of essential minerals. Among these vital minerals, magnesium takes center stage as a key player in maintaining numerous bodily functions. One highly bioavailable and potent form of magnesium is magnesium glycinate. In this blog post, we will explore the remarkable health benefits of magnesium glycinate and why it deserves a place in your daily wellness routine. Enhances Sleep Quality: Quality sleep is the foundation of good health, and magnesium glycinate can contribute to a restful night's sleep. This form of magnesium has a calming effect on the body and promotes relaxation by interacting with GABA receptors in the brain. By reducing stress and anxiety, magnesium glycinate helps regulate sleep patterns and improves sleep quality, making you wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Supports Bone Health: Strong and healthy bones are essential at every stage of life, and magnesium glycinate plays a crucial role in maintaining bone density. It enhances calcium absorption and assimilation, helping to prevent osteoporosis and reducing the risk of fractures. By fostering a balanced ratio of calcium and magnesium in the body, magnesium glycinate supports the structural integrity of bones, contributing to overall skeletal health. Eases Muscle Cramps and Tension: If you've ever experienced muscle cramps or spasms, you know how debilitating they can be. Magnesium glycinate acts as a natural muscle relaxant, relieving muscle tension and reducing the frequency and severity of cramps. By regulating calcium influx into muscle cells, this form of magnesium helps maintain the proper balance between muscle contraction and relaxation, promoting smooth muscle function and minimizing discomfort. Calms the Nervous System: In our fast-paced modern lives, stress and anxiety have become all too common. Magnesium glycinate can be a valuable ally in combating these issues. It supports the healthy functioning of the nervous system by modulating the release and activity of neurotransmitters. By promoting a state of relaxation and reducing nervous tension, magnesium glycinate can alleviate symptoms of anxiety, promote mental well-being, and support cognitive function. In conclusion, magnesium glycinate stands out as a remarkable mineral supplement, offering a multitude of health benefits. From promoting restful sleep and supporting bone health to easing muscle tension and regulating blood sugar levels, its positive impact on various bodily functions cannot be overstated. As always, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating any new supplement into your routine, especially if you have specific health conditions or are taking medications. By embracing the potential of magnesium glycinate, you can take proactive steps towards achieving optimal health and well-being.

Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization:
(That Terrifying Metal Scraping Tool)

By Hanna Shays

What if there was a complementary technique that could enhance the effectiveness of physical therapy? Enter Gua Sha (or what physical therapists refer to as Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization), an ancient Chinese therapy that has gained popularity in recent years for its potential to improve musculoskeletal health. Let's explore the fascinating synergy between Gua Sha (or IASTM) and physical therapy and how this combination can accelerate healing, relieve pain, and optimize tissue recovery. Understanding Gua Sha: Gua Sha involves scraping the skin with a smooth-edged tool to stimulate circulation, release adhesions, and promote healing. Traditionally, practitioners used a spoon-like instrument made of jade or other materials. Today, modern tools made of stainless steel or other materials are commonly used. Gua Sha aims to address stagnant energy (known as qi) and promote blood flow, thereby alleviating pain, reducing inflammation, and enhancing tissue recovery. Gua Sha's scraping technique, when incorporated into physical therapy, can help target specific areas of muscle tension and pain. The scraping motion stimulates blood circulation, promoting the release of stagnant cellular debris trapped within the muscle tissue, thus aiding in reduction of discomfort. You may notice bright cherry red and purple markings suddenly appear after a couple of minutes of this treatment. The discoloration will gradually fade into a brown bruise and disappears within 3-7 days, depending on the location and individual. By integrating this treatment technique into physical therapy sessions, therapists can enhance pain relief techniques, facilitating faster and more effective relief for patients. Gua Sha's Place in Post-Operative Interventions: Injuries and surgeries often result in inflammation, swelling, and restricted blood flow to the affected area. Gua Sha's ability to improve circulation and reduce inflammation makes it a valuable tool for post-injury and post-operative rehabilitation--especially when focused around releasing scar tissue. This can assist in acceleration of the body's natural healing process. In conclusion, the integration of Gua Sha with physical therapy can be a game-changer in the realm of musculoskeletal health. By combining the ancient wisdom of Gua Sha with the science and expertise of physical therapy, patients can experience enhanced pain relief, improved range of motion, accelerated recovery, and a more holistic approach to healing. If you are undergoing physical therapy, consider discussing the potential benefits of incorporating Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization into your treatment plan with your therapist.

Jaw Pain: 
Factors Contributing to TMJ/TMD...

By Hanna Shays
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Here at Stability In Wellness, LLC, we take a special interest in conditions affecting the head, neck and arm--that includes the jaw! Below, we have listed a number of risk factors that can contribute to pain in the jaw. However, you may still have these risk factors and jaw dysfunction WITHOUT pain. The risk factors for TMJ/TMD include: 1. Stress, which leads to clenching & grinding the teeth either at night or during the day time. This puts unnecessary pressure and strain on the jaw. 2. Poor posture, usually observed as rounded upper back, slouched shoulders and a forward head. This affects how we move our head, neck & jaw. 3. Weakness of the jaw muscles, making it difficult for them to help keep the joint in proper alignment. 4. Excess tension in the muscles surrounding the jaw joint, causing pain and headaches. Excess tension may also create too much force on the joint in certain directions when chewing. 5. Mouth breathing can affect tongue posture and lead to an under-active diaphragm. This also affects overall posture. So, what can we do for our jaw patients? When addressing TMJ/TMD, we assess breathing, posture, jaw tension and motor control. We will perform dry needling, prescribe exercises to optimize neuromuscular control of the joint, improve diaphragmatic activation, prescribe any corrective exercises for posture, and connect our patients with a dentist that creates a custom bite guard for nighttime. Additionally, it is important to consider one very over-looked problem that can also be a root cause of jaw dysfunction: a tongue tie. Usually, these are caught at a young age due to difficulty with breast feeding and speech impediments. However, some tongue ties are not obvious and can be found in adults who suddenly find themselves struggling with TMJ/TMD. When the tongue is anchored to the floor of the mouth, it loses its natural ability to reach further areas of the mouth (like molars). In attempting to reach these areas, someone with a tongue tie will move their jaw excessively to compensate to increase the reach of the tongue. Over time, this can cause problems at the jaw joint. If a tongue tie is the case, then consulting with a myofunctional therapist is highly recommended. Myofunctional therapists are Speech Language Pathologists that are trained in addressing this specific issue. If you are reading this and find that you have questions, we are always happy to assist in any way possible. Please connect with us via phone, email or Instagram.

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