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In dealing with the public every day, I have learned how unfortunately hard it is to find a good doctor. So, I sincerely respect one when I see one. Dr. Alex Tauberg is one of those docs. He and I met during the PSP program, and together we became two of the first in Pittsburgh to achieve this certification. I realized immediately that we are like-minded, laser focused on improving patient outcomes, and above all else -- he’s someone I would trust with my own patients. I’m constantly working to build a network of competent, evidence-based, and trustworthy medical providers so that I can refer my friends, family, and even my own patients to the right location that makes it convenient for them to get the care that they need. I am proud to have Dr. Tauberg in my network to bounce ideas off of, discuss difficult cases, and to ensure that we’re always becoming better doctors together.

Dr. Tauberg has recently authored a piece on the importance of sleep, and I felt compelled to share it with all of my blog readers. Read on to learn more about why Sleep is one of the best performance enhancers.

Sleep: One of the Best Performance Enhancers for Athletes

We all know that physical conditioning and conscious eating are vital to athletic performance. Often overlooked, though, is that the quality and amount of sleep one gets also plays a significant role. When sleep deprived, the body doesn’t have time to repair itself. It can’t release performance-related hormones that it otherwise would when one gets enough sleep. In addition, sleep deprivation raises levels of stress hormones, results in fatigue, low energy, and poor focus. For athletes, sleep can be a key differentiator that ultimately allows you to outperform your competition. There are several specific areas where a well-slept athlete will outperform a competitor who is struggling to get enough sleep.

1) Continuous Performance Improvement

Lack of adequate sleep has been shown to significantly decrease the production of glycogen and carbohydrates that the body stores for energy use during physical activity, which partially determines how quickly an athlete’s body rebuilds muscles, replenishes nutrients, maintains endurance, speed, and overall performance.

2) Muscle Repair

Post-exercise recovery among athletes is vital, as it helps the body and brain function properly. During sleep, the body recovers from the stresses that have been placed upon it during the day. When training, athletes break down their muscles at a micro-level. During sleep, the muscles repair themselves. Proper sleep gives the body the adequate amount of time needed to perform these processes.

3) Decision Making

In addition to the effects that sleep plays on one’s physical abilities, sleep can affect memory and decision-making, which every athlete knows plays a huge part in sports and competition. The refreshing affects of sleep allow athletes to mentally prepare themselves for the rigors of sport.

4) Learning from Practice

They say that “Practice Makes Perfect”… but not without sleep. While sleeping, our brains also undergo a process that helps to reinforce learned skills. This is vital during an athlete’s training. Getting the proper amount of sleep can actually make it easier to learn a new skill. On the contrary, being sleep deprived will make it more difficult. Learning new skills and perfecting skills is a key aspect of any sport.

So, how do you improve your sleep to enhance your performance?

Strategies suggested for optimizing sleep in athletes include: 1) identifying the root cause of any sleep issues, 2) introducing some stress-reduction tools like yoga or meditation and 3) following recommended sleep guidelines.

  • Get 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

  • Develop a bedtime routine. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day including weekends. Setting a regular schedule allows your circadian rhythm to become regular. You will be able to fall asleep easier and wake up feeling more rested.

  • Find the perfect mattress and pillow for you. There is no optimal bed for everyone. It’s based on personal preference and what helps you feel rested.

  • Avoid nighttime exercises, caffeine, alcohol intake, and sleep aids. These may interfere with sleep and athletic performance.

About the author: Dr. Alex Tauberg D.C. is a chiropractor serving the Fox Chapel & Oakmont areas of Pittsburgh . He practices in an evidence-based manner to get people out of pain and back to enjoying their active lifestyles. Dr. Tauberg has been certified by the University of Pittsburgh as a Primary Spine Practitioner, is a certified chiropractic sports practitioner, certified strength and conditioning specialist, and is an emergency medical responder. He is also the team chiropractor for The Pittsburgh Vengeance.

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You probably knew that chiropractors could help with back and neck pain, but did you know that chiropractic treatments can also help to relieve ear and sinus issues? Read on to learn about 4 of my favorite chiropractic treatments that promote drainage and sinus relief naturally, without the use of medication.

The Muncie Technique for Stuffy Ears Upper respiratory infections, sinus infections, and allergies can all cause that miserable clogged ear feeling. Patients will often describe this as "I can't get my ears to pop". This sensation can sometimes be caused by fluid and/or mucous trapped behind the eardrum in the auditory tube.

The Muncie Technique can be used to reduce adhesions in the muscles and facia surrounding the auditory tube, thus promoting drainage. This technique is a specialized manual therapy performed inside the patient's mouth, which allows the closest proximity to the auditory tube. Many patients will experience mild to moderate discomfort during the treatment, but this is expected to resolve immediately post-treatment. For many patients, the temporary discomfort of the process is worth relieving their ear congestion.

Ear Adjustment for Stuffy Ears

The ear adjustment often becomes a favorite for patients who experience it. With this treatment, the chiropractor will hold onto the ear and manipulate it using a high velocity, low force maneuver. There is usually an audible "pop" when the adjustment is performed successfully. Many patients are able to feel fluid movement in the ear immediately following the adjustment. Some patients also report a bad taste in their mouths. These are both positive signs that the technique has promoted drainage for the patient.

Cranial Sacral Technique

Your sinuses are located within the bones of your face. When your sinuses become inflamed, mucous and fluid have a harder time draining. Poor drainage and trapped mucous leads to feelings of pain, pressure, stuffiness, and even infection. Chiropractors trained in cranial sacral technique can perform this manual therapy to promote drainage of your sinuses. The technique will focus around the head, eyes, skull, cheek bones, and neck. Many patients will breath easier through the nose immediately following this treatment.

Neck & Back Adjustments

A poorly aligned spine can contribute to pain, inflammation, and dysfunctional movement. This can exacerbate sinus issues. Oftentimes, the chiropractor will perform neck and back adjustments in combination with the above treatments for patients who present with sinus issues.

If you would like to discuss your specific ear or sinus complaint, call our office or book an appointment online with Dr. VanWagner.

Legal Disclaimer: The information on this website is generally available and informational. It should not be considered medical advice for your specific condition. Never rely on information from this website in place of seeking professional medical advice and consultation from a qualified healthcare provider.

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Dr. Van Wagner has recently completed the Primary Spine Practitioner (PSP) certification program at the University of Pittsburgh. As part of the inaugural class of 2018-2019, Dr. Van Wagner is now one of the few practitioners worldwide to hold the PSP Certification.

About the PSP

The Primary Spine Practitioner certification program was developed by the University of Pittsburgh to fill a much-needed gap in our healthcare community. Patients with back and spine pain are unfortunately faced with rising costs, which are not translating into improved outcomes. Treatment plans for spinal issues are often ineffective or insufficient in getting patients to their optimum health.

Part of the reason for this is that patients are faced with a plethora of options for spinal care, from specialists like chiropractors, orthopedists, and neurosurgeons to massage therapists, physical therapists, and internal medicine doctors. This has been coined the Spine Care Supermarket. Patients can choose their own entry-point into the health care community and leave what they may actually need “on the shelves”. Similar to a Supermarket, this results in the patient making decisions that are influenced by marketing and brand recognition rather than by evidenced-based medicine.

The Primary Spine Practitioner is trained to be the front door and first point of contact for patients with spine issues entering into healthcare community. PSPs are specially trained to recognize patients who will require interventions such as x-ray, MRI, medication, or surgery. The majority of patients, despite what many believe, do not need initial advanced imaging for their condition. In fact, patients who receive advanced imaging early in care have a higher rate of pain and disability than those who do not. Recognizing those patients who would not likely benefit from certain interventions effectively lowers healthcare costs for patients and reduces their number of unnecessary, ineffective treatments.

Many patients start looking for relief by seeking out pain medication. Many patients start by looking for relief by requesting a referral to a surgeon. The PSP will serve as a portal of entry to guide patients to the correct specialty or intervention, so that patients are not forced to make these difficult decisions before ever being evaluated.

The University of Pittsburgh and Care New England Health System developed this important certification program, having recognized that the current spine-care crisis is unsustainable from both a cost and outcomes perspectives. Dr. Van Wagner and the rest of the inaugural class are now trained to be key parts of this innovative, value-based care solution.

If you are having difficulty navigating the options available to you for your back pain or spinal condition, call our office or book an appointment online with Dr. VanWagner.

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