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The Overlooked Gap in Maternal Healthcare: Postnatal Care Disparities

The Overlooked Gap in Maternal Healthcare: Postnatal Care Disparities
Rachel Kelly, MSOTR/L, PCES, CBS, CCST-I

As a mother of two beautiful daughters, my journey appeared to be somewhat “typical.” With my first pregnancy, I found an OB associated with the hospital I wanted to deliver at, I had pretty regular pregnancy, I was told I “could” take some course, where I was then directed to the hospital to take a birthing course, I went to what seemed to be a billion doctors appointments, I was pricked what felt like several times, I peed in endless cups, I delivered and then went home. Between the delivery and going home I was overwhelmed by the amount of random strangers (medical strangers) who felt that they had to keep checking me, touching me, getting my blood pressure, asking me to go to the bathroom, oh and don’t even get me started on the hospital noise, beeps and dings and people oh my! 

Just as quick as delivery went, so did the hospital stay. Miraculously they handed me this perfect baby and off we went. No instructions or book to reference. In fact right after delivery my OB turned to me and said “great job, now this is about to feel like a bad breakup, see you in 6 weeks.”

Doesn’t it seem odd that there is NO follow-up care after birth? Well, besides that one ten-minute 6-week checkup chatting about birth control and clearing you for “$exx + exercise”. Cue the eye roll 😉 

Let’s take a bit of a dive deeper and really look at how this process looks. 

Prenatal appointments for mother = 8-12 visits 

Babies first year of life = 6 – 8 visits 

Postnatal appointments for mother = 1 visit 

Still scratching your head? THIS right here shows us the MASSIVE gap in our healthcare system. What happens to the mother? Are we forgetting about mothers? The short answer… YES. However the bigger question may appear as a question you may not have asked yourself or even thought about, are we somehow, maybe unintentionally creating a series of unnecessary pelvic floor dysfunctions, but labeling them as a “normal part of childbirth?”

The United States is one of the richest countries in the world to date, however our medical system presents as one of the worst maternal health follow-up programs, statistics, and postpartum care compared to other countries. Taking a moment to compare birth methods and healing time is eye opening, let’s check it out:

BIRTH METHODS TIMELINE FOR HEALING
Vaginal Birth (no tearing or 1st degree with no stitches) 6 week checkup & “all cleared”
Vaginal Birth (2nd degree tearing with minimal stitches) 6 week checkup & “all cleared”
Vaginal Birth (3rd or 4th degree tearing, multiple stitches, significantly impaired) 6 week checkup & “all cleared”
C- Section (7 layers cut, sutured together) 6 week checkup & “all cleared”

 

Do you see anything wrong? Possibly a gap in treatment? Let’s discuss this, if you were to need rehabilitation on your ankle, how many sessions of rehabilitation therapy would you need? I know the answer isn’t 1!

These statistics are what laid the groundwork for Nurtured Pelvic Health & Wellness. Aside from being interested in learning more about the pelvis, the GAP in care drove me to take the approach of learning more, taking an abundance of continuing education credits and becoming outspoken to better fill the gaps and support moms like you!

Making the leap from institutionalized OT to pelvic floor quite literally saved my entire occupational therapy career. PLUS, falling into a passion is way better than falling into a “good job”. I am here to say we are conquering pelvic floor dysfunction at the source, helping moms feel confident in returning to exercise, and most importantly providing YOU with the tools in your toolbox to feel empowered, educated in your rehab AND allow you to recover. 

Schedule your free consultation or discovery call TODAY!

Website: https://www.nurturedpelvichealthwellness.com/

Phone: 201-338-0727

Embracing Innovative Wellness: Introducing Ozone Treatments with UBI at Core Therapies

Embracing Innovative Wellness: Introducing Ozone Treatments with UBI at Core Therapies

In the pursuit of wellness, exploring groundbreaking approaches often leads to new avenues for optimal health. At Core Therapies we’re thrilled to announce the integration of a pioneering therapy that’s been gaining traction for its potential health benefits: Ozone Therapy also known as Major Autohemotherapy and (UBI) Ultraviolet Blood Irradiation. When used together, the synergistic effects of Ozone Therapy and UBI are purported to enhance their individual benefits. 

 

What is Major Autohemotherapy and UBI?

This procedure exposes blood to multiple light wavelengths to enhance specific biological effects. It is based on the research of Niels Ryberg Finsen, a Nobel prize winner in the field of Physiology of Medicine. The procedure has been used in Europe and the United States for decades and over 300,000 successful clinical trials have been observed. Before the advent of antibiotics, vaccines, and corticosteroids it was a main treatment for infectious diseases but now has also been shown to be effective in autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, fatigue, depression and more

 IV Ozone Treatments with UBI

While your blood cells naturally receive oxygen through the lungs, that regular re-oxidizing may not be enough to refresh oxygen-starved blood. However, a dose of ozone can energize your bloodstream. This leads to a number of potential benefits, including:

  • Strengthening of your immune system
  • Encourage your body’s stem cells to move to the targeted area, where they can work to heal injuries
  • Stimulation of white blood cells
  • Increased circulation
  • Purifying the bloodstream
  • Promote higher levels of NAD+ in the body (NAD+ is important in the functioning of the mitochondria)
  • Increased resistance against infections, bacteria, and fungi
  • Improvement of varicose veins
  • Significantly enhance tissue oxygenation
  • Protects against cell mutation and the formation of cancers
  • Help the body cope with autoimmune disorders


UBI treatment, or Ultraviolet Blood Irradiation, exposes the blood to ultraviolet light. This weakens bacteria and viruses already in the bloodstream and increases the overall strength of the immune system. 

The benefits of UBI may include

  • Increased immune system response
  • Reduced tissue pain
  • Improved circulation
  • Improved metabolism
  • Stimulation of new blood cells
  • Cardiovascular protection
  • Increased pain tolerance, especially to cancer treatments
  • Greater tissue oxygenation
  • Increased resistance to infection
  • Increased homeostasis

While both IV Ozone treatments and UBI can improve your overall health, when they are used in tandem, it becomes the perfect combination for optimum health. UBI destroys all of the viruses, bacteria, and other contaminants in the bloodstream while the ozone improves overall health function.

How does Ozone Therapy work?

First, a portion of the patient’s blood is drained using gravity. Next, the blood is infused with ozone (O3) and enters back into your body. This aids in energy, immune system support and overall well being.

How long does Ozone Therapy take?

The Ozone infusion process takes about 30-45 minutes. Please allow for about 1 hour for the consultation and appointment.

How do I know if Ozone Therapy is suitable for me?

A Consultation with our Nurse Practitioner is needed as she can assess your health history, current conditions, and goals to determine if it aligns with your needs. Call the Office to schedule a consultation today!

Celebrating Your Journey to Pelvic Wellness

Celebrating Your Journey to Pelvic Wellness: A Comprehensive Guide to Nurtured Pelvic Health & Wellness
Rachel Kelly, MSOTR/L, CBS, PCES, CCST-I

Hello! It’s a pleasure to join the team and provide pelvic health therapy. If you’re still reading past the first line, perhaps you’re considering pelvic floor therapy. I can imagine you have many questions and may even feel a bit uncertain about how the process may unfold. I hope this blog can offer some background on what to expect. Pelvic floor dysfunction can be a challenging, even isolating, time in someone’s life. BUT, here you are, taking steps towards wellness and health—congratulations! Recognizing that something doesn’t feel right is one thing, but taking the time to explore solutions to help you feel better puts you on the right track. You might be wondering, is pelvic floor therapy right for me? What are the sessions like? In this blog, I’ll introduce you to what most pelvic floor treatments look like at Nurtured Pelvic Health & Wellness. If you have specific questions regarding your condition, don’t hesitate to call or schedule a free 15-minute discovery call at 201-338-0727 or email me at RachelKellyOT@nurturedpelvichealthwellness.com.

 

So What Does the First Visit Look Like?

You’ll enter the fantastically calming atmosphere of Core Therapies Family Wellness, where the receptionist desk will greet you with smiling faces. At your appointment time, we’ll spend a good amount of time talking. I understand that having an in-depth conversation with a healthcare provider may seem novel—it’s not very common in most healthcare settings. Providers often rush through history taking, but at Nurtured, we have the luxury of taking the time to truly understand your condition, its impact on you, and any relevant health history contributing to your pelvic floor dysfunction. We’ve all experienced those doctor’s appointments where you walk away feeling unseen or unheard, rushed out, or with more questions than answers. At Nurtured, our value is our clients, and we prioritize listening and putting you at ease because being seen and heard is crucial for healing. Beyond understanding you and your health history, a thorough subjective interview helps me zero in on what may be driving your symptoms and determine the most important elements to check during your physical exam.

After discussing your experiences, when they started, and most importantly, how they affect you, we’ll begin the pelvic floor therapy exam. This might be the point where some people understandably feel nervous. A typical pelvic floor exam involves checking the muscles internally and externally for tightness, spasms, weakness, and coordination. This is done as gently as possible with a gloved, lubricated finger. This exam provides valuable insights into how your pelvic floor muscles are functioning, shedding light on the potential causes of your symptoms.

Recognizing that you are the leader of your body, it’s vital to emphasize that consent and comfort are my top priorities. If you’re not ready for the pelvic floor exam, that’s okay. We can spend our time evaluating other parts of the body that affect the pelvic floor. Posture, visceral mobility, and hip strength and mobility can significantly impact the pelvic floor. For those not ready for a pelvic floor exam, these assessments can be a great starting point and go a long way toward identifying the drivers of your pelvic floor dysfunction. Interestingly, these aspects of the physical exam are so essential that I include them in many evaluations, regardless of completing an internal examination or not. The role, strength, and mobility of the hip alone in pelvic floor function merit a whole conversation!

After gathering your in-depth history and obtaining results from the physical examination, the journey toward wellness begins! Together, we’ll create a plan tailored to your lifestyle. Goals and treatment plans will be attainable, allowing you to drive your recovery. Some treatments may involve manual in-office work followed by specialized homework. In other cases, neuromuscular re-education may be necessary to teach individuals to move throughout their day without clenching their pelvic floor in response to stress or heavy physical exertion. Variety and individuality are key, as two patients with similar symptoms may have different causes, requiring specialized and thoughtful care.

At the end of your first visit, you should leave with a good understanding of what’s going on, how we plan to treat it, and a general estimation of how long it should take to feel better. I take time at the end of our first treatment to discuss exactly what we’ll be doing in follow-up visits and why these treatments are essential. It’s crucial to me that you leave treatment feeling confident in your next steps.

 

Neuromuscular Education

What a term, right? It sounds fancy, but it’s also straightforward and simple. It answers the question, “After therapy, what keeps my symptoms from coming back?” Neuromuscular education is a broad treatment modality used across different disciplines, from teaching stroke survivors to rise from a chair independently to helping office workers with sore necks sit more ergonomically at work.

In the pelvic floor world, neuromuscular education is a significant part of what we do and forms a crucial part of treatment, regardless of the practitioner’s treatment philosophy. At Nurtured, I use neuromuscular education in many ways with the goal of fostering pain-free pelvic floor function.

The first step of pelvic floor neuromuscular education is to teach the pelvic floor what “relaxed” feels like, what an effective contraction (kegel) feels like, and what an effective “push” for bowel movements feels like. In individuals with pelvic floor dysfunction, these movements can be challenging, and it’s not uncommon for them to believe they are pushing effectively when they are actually closing their anal sphincters—a phenomenon known as paradoxical contraction. By taking time to “teach” the pelvic floor how to contract and, more importantly, relax when needed, we can reduce clenching patterns that may lead to pelvic floor dysfunction in the future.

 

Strengthening

It’s so much more than kegeling! If someone tells you to “fix your pelvic floor, JUST do some kegels,” RUN! We require more complex training to meet goals like running without incontinence, jumping and dancing without the feeling of prolapse, and much more. No one should be afraid to laugh, cough, or sneeze because they might leak. You should be able to jump on the trampoline with your kids or take that run to clear your mind.

Consider someone who leaks a bit when lifting something heavy. When picking up something substantial, like your toddler, our core muscles need to stabilize our spine, requiring a lot from the pelvic floor. If the rest of our core is weak because we’ve only been doing kegels, we may find ourselves straining and holding our breath to lift our kids. Straining can put a lot of downward pressure on the bladder, resulting in leaks. To address this issue, we must treat the pelvic floor, but for the pelvic floor to have a real fighting chance to keep us dry, we must also address the rest of the core.

Additionally, strengthening outside the pelvic floor allows us to return to the activities and exercises we love, which we may have thought were causing the pelvic floor to over-tighten. As we’ve discovered, the pelvic floor is part of the core, and if the rest of the components are weak or not working at the appropriate time, the pelvic floor can overwork and over-tighten. It benefits us to approach strengthening from a holistic standpoint when rehabilitating the pelvic floor.

 

How Do I Know If Nurtured Pelvic Health & Wellness Is Right for Me?

This is the question I was hoping you would ask! First off, let’s chat—schedule the discovery call and let’s get you on the road to wellness. Pelvic floor therapy is a specialized niche in the OT/PT world. To become a diverse, well-rounded, and educated therapist, you must love to learn and carry the compassion and understanding of functional movements. Researching pelvic floor practitioners and practices can be overwhelming! I have spent years studying maternal health, pelvic floor, and developmental continuums. My philosophy is and will always be that my clients lead their treatment, with me as the guide. No one knows your body better than you. As a mother myself, I understand the overwhelming nature of pregnancy appointments, followed by the loud, overstimulating, medical delivery with nothing more than a 6-week checkup. I know that recovery and building a team of professionals are essential in your wellness and motherhood journey.

We help optimize your motherhood journey through personalized pelvic health care, taking you from a place of pain, leaking, or discomfort to a place of recovery and wellness. Becoming a mom is incredible, but it’s definitely not like the movies depict it! Recovery from childbirth can be challenging, not just physically. No one prepares you for the combination of physical and emotional challenges of birth recovery. And let’s be honest—a 6-week “checkup” just isn’t enough. Just because some symptoms are common during pregnancy and postpartum doesn’t mean they are normal and you have to live with them.

Still have questions? Call or email today for your free 15-minute discovery call at 201-338-0727 or email me at RachelKellyOT@nurturedpelvichealthwellness.com.

Chiropractic Care for Men Unlocking Strength

Chiropractic Care for Men: Unlocking Strength and Performance
by Dr. Sebastian Poma

At Core Therapies, we understand that our patient base is likely to consist of more women than men. It’s not because men experience fewer pain ailments, but rather because they often tend to wait it out, believing that the pain will disappear on its own. However, we want to emphasize the importance of addressing these issues sooner rather than later.

When it comes to acute low back pain, which is commonly experienced by men due to their demanding physical activities or strenuous work, it’s essential to recognize that strong backs don’t simply “blow out” without a significant injury. Instead, what often happens is that the structures in the back gradually tighten up over time, accumulating stress. This, in turn, leads to weakened core back muscles and the emergence of “fragile back” syndrome. The result? A seemingly minor movement like bending over to pick up a golf club or a child can suddenly trigger excruciating pain.

This is where specifically applied chiropractic adjustments come into play. Our chiropractors are skilled at realigning and mobilizing the tight joints, restoring proper movement and functionality. By addressing structural alignment and mobility, these adjustments enable the deep core muscles to engage and strengthen, providing the necessary support for the back.

Energy, agility, and endurance are crucial for most activities we engage in daily. However, misalignments in the body, impaired nerve function, and weak muscles can drain your energy and limit your performance. With chiropractic care, your body can regain its ability to focus its energy on the things you want and need to do. Even after just a few visits, many men report noticeable improvements in their energy levels and overall performance.

It’s important to recognize that prevention is key. Many men tend to adopt the mindset of “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” Unfortunately, this often leads to delayed treatment when the problem could have been easily prevented. In fact, studies show that one-third of untreated lower back problems eventually escalate to become persistent and disabling. By seeking chiropractic care, you can take a proactive approach to your health and well-being.

At Core Therapies, our chiropractors will provide you with a comprehensive assessment of your condition before embarking on a mutually agreed-upon course of treatment. Our approach extends beyond pain relief. We develop a strategy to improve movement, prevent the recurrence of injuries, and promote healing and strengthening of the back.

Don’t let pain hold you back or wait until it becomes a chronic issue. Take charge of your health and schedule a consultation with our experienced chiropractors today. Let us help you regain your strength, energy, and overall well-being, so you can live life to its fullest potential.

Tendon Health

Tendon Health
By: Dr. Matt McGowan, D.C

As I reflect on my journey back from a ruptured bicep tendon over the last 4 months, I felt it imperative to pass along important information regarding tendon health. My injury was 100% due to overuse. “Overuse is often synonymous with terms like ‘Chronic Degeneration or  Repetitive Stress’.” Over time if we continually use a joint in the same repeated patterns under any load, we can be causing a long term negative effect on our tendons integrity at that joint.  A person can be very active, and in relatively good health and have unknown problems brewing at their tendons. Statistically, males in their 40’s-50’s tend to be subject to tendon failures the most, but it can honestly happen to anyone who repeatedly loads their tendons.  

So what does it mean to cause repetitive stress on a joint?  It can be a multitude of scenarios; an example can be someone who works with their hands often, a mason lifting and cutting stones over and over again. It can be the pickleball newbie that is so excited about the game that they play 4 times a week for several hours at a clip. It can be the person who has been doing the same exercise routine in the gym for the last 30 years with little to no variation. Any of these scenarios can demonstrate how simple activities that we take for granted can be causing a long term overload on the tendon.  

The hardest part about these injuries is that there are often no warning signs. I never had any pain in my bicep, it never felt tight. In fact most people who rupture their Achilles tendon, never have any warning sign until it pops. The good news is that there are ways we can alter our training to help avoid these tendon issues and ruptures. The most challenging part is staying self aware of our activities and loading patterns and being self accountable to make ourselves do the preventative work. This is where I failed myself. I did not respect the amount of load I was putting on my biceps on a daily basis. If I had taken certain steps in how I train, this may have been avoided.

What I feel are the most three most effective ways to avoid major tendon failure are:

  1. Proper nutrition. Avoid any foods that have an inflammatory effect on your body. Try to limit cheat meals and highly processed foods.
  2. Vary your activity as much as you can control it. Obviously if your job is working on a factory line, you cannot change this, but if you are a runner who loves to jog on a treadmill 5-6 times a week and you never change from that, then adding in other forms of exercises in replacement on 1-2 days can go a long way. 
  3. The most important thing you can do is include eccentric loaded exercises to your routine. The eccentric phase of the exercise is commonly known as the negative phase. The most simple way to explain a negative phase is the phase in which you return the weight back to its starting point. It is when the muscle is elongating. For example with my bicep, normally when people lift weights for biceps there is a smooth cadence of 1-2 seconds pulling up, and often 1 second going down. The key for tendon health is loading the muscle on the way down in a slow and controlled manner.  

A great start for anyone who feels that they may find themselves undergoing repetitive load or stress should take the following steps:

  1. Figure out what joint/tendons may be under repeated stress.
  2. Figure out what exercise can be done to load that tendon directly.
  3. Perform 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions of that exercise with following cadence:

2 second concentric phase (shortening phase)/ 5-7 second eccentric

(lengthening phase)

Not every exercise of every workout has to be done in this manner, but adding this in every few weeks is very important to preventing tendon breakdown. If you feel like you may be exposing yourself to tendon overload but do not know where to start or what exercises to do, come in and get it evaluated and we can certainly help you out. 

“Why we chose Waveblock”
By. Dr. Melissa Sonners

Hey moms,

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m constantly juggling and doing my best to balance our kids’ exposure to technology.

Although I don’t love them being on iPads, iPods, computer games etc, I do also realize this is and will continue to be a big part of their world.  We give our kids (age appropriate) authority in making their decisions allowing them to have a sense of control, freedom and engage in critical thinking.   If there is something they’re interested in, we have conversations and listen to them on why they’re interested in it, why they think they’re mature for it and what healthy boundaries they’ll create around it. 

Recently, Levi has been wanting wireless earbuds.  We spend a decent amount of time on airplanes and our phones unfortunately no longer have headphone jacks.  On a recent cross country flight, he forgot his headphone adapter which is what prompted this conversation.  

Earbuds emit high levels of EMF/radiation.  Although it is still unknown exactly HOW exposure to high levels of EMF impacts us, there is emerging evidence that these can contribute to a variety of malignant tumors.  Although more studies are needed, some researchers feel there’s already enough evidence of harm from long-term, low-level exposure that EMF’s should be classified as a Group 1 known carcinogen.  Kids are especially sensitive to these EMF’s due to the rapid development of their brain and nervous systems.  

EMF’s are also suspected to contribute to: 

-Sleep disturbances

-Headaches

-Depression

-Irritability 

-Tinnitus (ringing in ear) 

& more 

Although Levi made some great points on why he deserves earbuds, this was a NO for us due to all of the above.  His determination led him to some searches on the internet looking for a solution and he came across Waveblock.

Waveblock has created an anti-radiation sticker that has been lab tested and proven to block the majority of EMF’s from earbuds.  

The founder of the company is a father of three and went on a mission to create a solution after realizing other countries limit EMF in nurseries and schools because of the impact they have, particularly on children.   

So we reached out to them and asked if we could try out their products.  We instantly tested the earbud wraps with our EMF meter and sure enough, the majority of the EMF’s were blocked! 

We were very surprised to also see that earbuds with waveblock on them created LESS exposure than a cellphone to the ear.  

So, Levi now has earbuds and is super happy- although he is only allowed to use them in extreme moderation, we feel at peace knowing his exposure is low. 

The products were so easy to apply, he did it himself and they didn’t negatively impact any sound quality or other features of the earbuds.  

If you haven’t already, check them out.  They have a variety of great products.  We also got the protective sticker for the back of our cellphones.  

https://www.waveblock.com/?rfsn=6669409.2632ad9&utm_source=refersion&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_campaign=6669409.2632ad9

Their prices are super affordable and you can also use our code SONNERS15 for a discount.

Let us know what you think! 

Travel Tips for Those Traveling with Lower Back Pain.

Travel Tips for Those Traveling with Lower Back Pain.
By Dr. Matthew McGowan

 

With upcoming holidays, camps, and summer vacations causing a spike in extended travel, we have been fielding a lot of questions on how to keep one’s back steady while traveling.  

If you are taking a long car trip and you suffer from low back pain, it would be a good idea to stop after 2 hours of driving if possible and do a quick 3 minute stretch.  The two most common stretches I suggest that can easily be done while stopping for gas or at a rest stop are the standing figure four stretch and the standing hip flexor stretch.  

For Air travel, you can follow the same guidelines allowing yourself to walk to the back of the plane near the restrooms where you can also do a hip flexor stretch or a standing figure 4 stretch.  Here are photos of both of these stretches:

Standing figure 4:  you can hold onto the side of the car with one hand, cross your ankle at your opposing knee and sit back and down until you feel a stretch across the butt on the side of the crossed leg.  Hold this stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds and do 3 per side. 

 

Standing hip flexor:   you can place your front foot up on a guardrail, a tire, or even inside the base of the car with a door open.  Before lunging forward it is important to contract the butt muscle on the trail leg and keep it squeezed as you lunge forward.  This will ensure you feel the stretch down the front of your trail leg and keep the lower back safe.  Hold this stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds and do 3 per side. 

 

  • For shorter intervals of driving or times when you cannot stop, it can also be a good idea to use the seat controls and change the position you are sitting in.  Varied seat positions will keep you from getting stiff in one continuous position.
  • If you are a person that deals with sciatica, you can place a folded beach towel on the seat so that it lifts the butt upwards and keeps the front part of the seat from digging into your sciatic nerve.  Also try to pick your foot up fully when going from gas break rather than just pivoting on the heel.  Leaving the heel down on the carpet and having the foot rotated out towards the gas pedal for long periods of time can irritate people with sciatica as well.  

 

While travel can be tough on people with low back issues, these tips or tricks can sometimes make it a bit more manageable. 

BIRTHFIT in NJ

BIRTHFIT

BIRTHFIT Isn’t Just For Pregnant Women

 

My Personal Recovery Journey
By Dr. Meagan McGowan

Core Therapies recently had the pleasure of hosting the BIRTHFIT Professionals Seminar, individuals from across the country gathered to hold space together. Chiropractic doctors and students, Midwives and Doulas, Physical Therapists and PT Assistants, Pelvic Floor Physical Therapists, Yoga Instructors, and Functional Medicine practitioners were among the professionals represented. We share a common love of supporting women throughout their motherhood journey. Despite the resources and care available today, there are still many shortcomings in support, education, community and beliefs. BIRTHFIT recognizes all stages of motherhood, creating integral values stated as the Four Pillars: fitness, nutrition, connection and mindset. Encompassing all of these values, BIRTHFIT seeks to create a standard of care that far surpasses the current state, especially when it comes to postpartum care.

How I Discovered BIRTHFIT

 

I was first introduced to BIRTHFIT through a podcast featuring its founder Dr.BirthFit NJ Lindsey Mathews. I related immediately to the passion I heard in her voice and dove a little deeper into BIRTHFIT’s message. Coincidentally, one of my patients had someone she wanted me to meet…someone who was equally passionate about working with women. This woman happened to be the BIRTHFIT Regional Director for NJ and co-owner of Crossfit SOAR. We met, we talked, we laughed, we shared our frustrations surrounding the state of readiness specific to motherhood. I signed up for my first BIRTHFIT Professionals seminar immediately. I thought this would be a great addition to my practice at Core, but it was so much more than that!

My Journey With BIRTHFIT

My husband and I have had two welcomed pregnancies, both boys birthed with the support of Midwives. I felt prepared, heard and supported beginning pre-conception through delivery. My postpartum care consisted of a pelvic exam at 6 weeks postpartum and was told everything looked good. I was happy and went on my way. Admittedly, my second pregnancy was a bit different and slightly more difficult than my first. I felt pressure and heaviness much earlier on, and Matt was kinesio taping my belly for extra support. By 8 weeks, I experienced pressure equivalent to eating a Thanksgiving dinner every night. What I did not know then – and was not discovered until 10 months after my second birth – is that I had Diastasis Recti which was palpated and measured during the BIRTHFIT Professionals seminar. Diastasis Recti is a separation of the abdominal fascia. This happens to every pregnant woman at some point during her pregnancy. Some women are left with minimal separation postpartum, others – like myself – have a much larger gap. When this happens the core muscles are not equipped to counter the abdominal pressures created with movement. This is a sign of core and pelvic instability. Most women have no idea when this occurs during their pregnancy, but I distinctly remember the moment I bent down to put a piece of paper in our shredder and felt a surface level burning discomfort go up the middle of my belly. That was with my first pregnancy. Recalling that occurrence, then the peaking or tenting I saw in my belly after delivery with our first son, and then the exceptional pressure I felt while pregnant the second time, it became apparent that I went into my second pregnancy severely separated and with an unstable core and pelvis. I had no idea.

My “Why”

BirthFit NJ

The BIRTHFIT Professionals seminar was the first time in almost 10 years I felt like all of my worlds were coming together. My love for treating and holding space for pregnant woman, learning movements that aren’t modified for the pregnant woman but rather adapted to their changing body, the importance of mindset and strength of connection…all while learning how to help myself recover. It was as inspiring as it was emotional. I knew I could become part of this community that was striving to better care and awareness, but at the same time I was suffering with the current standard of postpartum care. The planks and pushups I was doing to better myself were actually reinforcing and exacerbating my diastasis. I had no idea I should have been working on foundational movements to create stability in my core before taking on load and gross movements. Note: Every baby is born with a diastasis and the movements we observe them doing while on their backs, rolling over, and crawling are all innately done to help them close their diastasis. BIRTHFIT teaches a functional progression of movements adapted from the workings of DNS (Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization), all created by studying the movement patterns of babies and children.

Today

BirthFit NJI am very pleased to report that through my own recovery journey I have reestablished a stable core and have closed my diastasis to one measurable finger width. Although there is always more room to strengthen and stabilize ,I am well within normal limits. I have used my education and my own recovery to relate to women and their stories. I willingly field (and ask) questions about sensitive topics such as pain, discomfort, incontinence, painful sex, urgency, etc. because although these feelings may be typical, they are not normal. Having a practitioner who knows how to support a woman through the full motherhood journey is so empowering for her because the support doesn’t stop 6 weeks postpartum, nor should it. BIRTHFIT supports functionality within your body and your life, connection within your own tribe and in your community, and a healthy mindset open to support especially when underlying causes of depression are present. At first I thought…“BIRTHFIT, great! I’m going to get back into shape.” Today it holds such a presence in my life because BIRTHFIT is much more than just strengthening movements. It is a mission, a community of likeminded individuals striving to reshape the thoughts and conversation surrounding childbirth.

“The pregnant should not be thought of as weak or diseased, it is a time of power! Postpartum is a time to recalibrate the system mentally and physically.” – E.B.

NeuroKinetic Therapy NJ

My Journey to Becoming an NKT Practitioner

My Journey to Becoming an NKT Practitioner
by Dr. Shannon Connolly
June 2019

During the past 8 months, I have been learning a specific technique called NKT or NeuroKinetic Therapy. I had seen it demonstrated briefly back in chiropractic school and was somewhat skeptical, but an introductory course this past fall has made me a believer! As a practitioner, I think it is important to evaluate new techniques or modalities critically, but to also keep an open mind, as we never have all the answers. The only thing a closed mind will do is limit us to possibilities or modalities that may benefit our practice and our patients. I’m thrilled to be adding NKT to the treatment options available to Core Therapies patients.

What is NeuroKinetic Therapy?

NeuroKinetic Therapy was developed by David Weinstock, an expert Bodyworker who has been practicing Bodywork for over 35 years. He developed NKT while attempting to solve the age old question that many of us as patients (and wellness professionals) may eventually end up asking ourselves at some point: “Why do I come in with pain, go through a treatment session, leave pain-free or with significant improvement, and then return the next week with the same symptoms (often times over and over again)?” In a nutshell, NKT is a technique that primarily looks at compensation/dysfunctional movement patterns from a motor control perspective. The Motor Control Center (MCC) of the brain is located in the cerebellum. This part of the brain stores our movement patterns. The motor control center stores these patterns and directs their completion through the spinal cord and the muscles. Our brains learn movement from the day we are born. Most of these primary patterns are learned within our first year of life. Here’s an example of the MCC in action. Picture a baby learning to stand. Each time the baby tries to stand and falls (i.e. “fails”) the motor control center learns the successful aspects of the attempt. When that program contains enough “correct” information, the baby is finally able to stand. As we go through life, we collect events or experiences leading to the creation or learning of a faulty movement pattern. Think about all those sprains, broken bones, cuts that scar, a car accident or even repetitive habits and activities (i.e. sitting a work!). You probably don’t even know you have developed these patterns. Most of us don’t become conscious of these accumulating issues until there is pain involved. Movement occurs when multiple muscles work together. But what happens when one or more muscles do not have solid connections to your brain? Compensation! Dysfunction! This usually presents itself as pain and tightness. What if you thought your lower back muscles were tight, but actually they were “weak”? You might want to stretch and release them for short-term relief, but I’ll bet the pain or tightness keeps coming back! NKT utilizes manual muscle testing to identify and address compensation patterns in which muscles may test weak (or inhibited) and as a result of that “weakness,” other muscles are forced to work harder and become overactive (or facilitated). These muscle tests are not really testing “strength.” They are testing the ability to react as a neurologic response. It is testing how well you connect to your brain. Think about using your cell phone in a remote area where you get poor reception. Obviously, the solution isn’t to throw away your phone! You would just move to another area for better reception. NKT is testing the “reception” aspect of your nervous system. The manual muscle testing in NKT can be looked at as the key to “retrain” the MCC in order to elicit lasting change in movement patterns. The MCC is open to learning most effectively by failure. This happens when we discover a muscle test that results as “weak.” This “weak” muscle may or may not be where your pain is located. It may not hurt at all. NKT practitioners live by these words: “Don’t chase pain!” The result of the NKT protocol is to “turn off” the muscle that is overworking by a stretch or soft tissue release and to “turn on” the muscle that is underworking through an exercise. If we have discovered the right relationship, you should immediately notice a difference in a reduction of pain, less tightness, more range of motion, etc. However, part of this process does require some extra “homework.” With any new movement, it needs to be repeated in order to become fully ingrained.

NeuroKinetic Therapy has been a game changer for me as a practitioner. I have found tremendous success with this new technique in a very short period of time. However, there is still much to learn and practice with this protocol. It takes time to master the intuitive skill of muscle palpation and manual muscle testing. Finally, it should be stated that NKT does not solve everything. It does have its limits. At the same time, NKT can be extremely useful in solving many lingering issues that may keep you returning time and time again. Come see me and find out what NKT can do for you!

Single Leg Stability Exercises

Single Leg Stability by Dr. Matt McGowan D.C.

Single Leg Stability
by Dr. Matt McGowan D.C.
January 2019

When I look at patients’ current workout plans, a very common theme is a lack of “unilateral training” especially with regards to the lower body. What I mean by unilateral training is specific work done to one side of the body at a time to address any imbalances you may have side to side. Often patients’ programs will contain a wide variety of squats, deadlifts, lunges, etc. – all wonderful movements on their own. But think about the fact that every time we walk or run we are doing hundreds of thousands of single leg balances. Where is this reflected in our training? And it’s not just my patients. I have seen many accomplished athletes who can barely pass single leg balance tests. Unsurprisingly, patients who ignore unilateral training frequently present with lower back pain or hip problems. How do I test in office to see if you have an imbalance? Two very good screening tests can be done quickly at home to see if you have some issues with single leg balance: 

1. In bare feet, stand facing a mirror; raise one leg up to 90 degrees at the hip so that the top of the thigh is parallel to the ground. When doing so first observe the overall ease of movement. Is it hard to do? Are you wobbling or shaking? Next look at your ankle, does it cave inward? Does it want to roll outward? See how long you can hold in that position with minimal ankle wobbles. If you can hold for 30 seconds and remain pretty still, that would be a passing grade. Then repeat on the other side.

2. The second test is a Step-Out Lunge. Again, do this in front of a mirror and perform three step-out lunges out and back per side. In this test again notice the ease of both the movement stepping out as well as the ease at returning back to a standing position. Next look at the knees, as you lower into the lunge. Does the knee stay in line with the second toe? If it moves medially or inwards then that is a big issue. Lastly look again at the ankle, does it collapse inward? Does it roll outward? If you struggle with any of these tests then you are doing yourself a disservice by not including specific programming for these weaknesses. There are hundreds of corrective exercises out there to work on these issues. Some of the more common ones are:

Single Leg Box Step-Ups

Walking or Step Out Lunges

Single Leg Hinges or Deadlfts

Balance Beam Work

Skater or Heiden Lunges

(A quick youtube search will find hundreds of videos if you are unfamiliar with these.)
If you think you might fall into this situation, feel free to come in and be evaluated. We
can certainly get you on the right path to optimal function.