Once a week you'll have the opportunity to peek inside the mind of one of our local health & wellness experts. They'll share with you their advice, suggestions, wisdom and answer their most popular question from clients.
This week let's get to know our local health and wellness expert Dr. Gregory Shea, PT, MPT, DPT, CSCS, Cert. SMT, Cert. DN, FMT-C, Dip. Osteopractic, is a Doctor of Physical Therapy & Osteopractor who specializes in the evaluation and treatment of neuromusculoskeletal pain and orthopedic sports medicine conditions. Dr. Shea received a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology and a Master's of Science in Physical Therapy from American International College and a postgraduate Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Temple University. He earned his diploma in Osteopractic physical therapy through the Spinal Manipulation Institute and American Academy of Manipulative Therapy. Additionally, he holds a certification in strength and conditioning through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Dr. Shea completed a two-year certification in spinal manipulation through The Spinal Manipulation Institute & American Academy of Manipulative Therapy. He uses his 20 years of clinical experience to solve complicated cases and ultimately help people reclaim their highest levels of performance.
Tell us about yourself and why you choose to go into a health field?
Alpine skiing has been part of my life since age 2, and I began racing in the 3rd grade. At age 13 I broke my femur while training giant slalom. It was complicated and involved a long road to recovery. The rehab process was slow with many trips to the hospital to work with physical therapists who helped me along the path to recovery. As an athlete, I have always been fascinated with anatomy & physiology. I knew I would appreciate the opportunity to work directly with people as they tackle some of life’s most important and difficult problems.
What makes you unique in your field?
Professionally, I am an Osteopractic Physical Therapist or Osteopractor. Osteopractic Physical Therapy is a subspecialty within physical therapy, and more specifically brands the kind of physical therapy services (rather than simply “physical therapy”). Prospective patients and colleagues alike, can identify the appropriate practitioner to most effectively treat their condition. An Osteopractor is a physical therapist or medical doctor that has completed a rigorous post-graduate training program with a primary focus on spinal and extremity high-velocity low-amplitude thrust manipulation, dry needling, instrument-assisted manual therapies, and differential diagnostics for the management of neuromusculoskeletal conditions. I am one of the first physical therapists to achieve the Osteopractic diploma, one of only 150 Osteopractors in the world, and the only Osteopractor in the Upper Valley. What this means is I have a huge arsenal of modalities to selectively choose from and I have advanced training in all of them. Ultimately, this provides the patient with the absolute best opportunity to achieve their goals quickly. This advanced training along with my 20 years as a physical therapist and strength and conditioning expert means I have seen a lot of movement dysfunction and have developed a keen eye for pattern recognition. Pain is real and should be taken seriously. It’s the alarm in our body that tells us something is wrong. I do a very good job treating pain, but I am able to go beyond simply treating pain; I address mechanical limitations, resolve movement dysfunction, and performance limitations so you can perform at your fullest potential.
What question do your clients ask most frequently and how do you answer them?
What’s the difference between dry needling and acupuncture? Both professionals use the same tool (filament needle). Acupuncturists are Eastern trained practitioners and follow a theoretical construct to move blocked energy (chi) in the body. Acupuncturists are trained to treat all 12 systems of the body. Acupuncture treatments are based on Eastern principles. Dry needling is a Western medical approach to treat neuromusculoskeletal problems. MD’s, DO’s, chiropractors and Physical Therapists can become certified in dry needling. Dry needling professionals treat muscles, tendons, and nerves to eliminate pain, improve range of motion and improve performance. We can stimulate a localized healing response and there can also be supraspinal effects. Protocols are based on a Western medical examination to identify areas of limitation, dysfunction or pain that may benefit from this profoundly effective technique.
What do you see as the greatest health risk posed to this generation?
We sit too much. Start using a standing desk. Sitting is the new smoking. Even if we go to the gym or run/walk for an hour a day, we still end up sitting for 13+ hours per day, and sleep for 8, which results in a sedentary lifestyle. It has been shown that we interact better and are able to take in more information while standing. Standing lowers risk of heart disease, blood sugar, and cholesterol. Standing also keeps weight off. If an average female stands during her normal workday, throughout the year she will burn the caloric equivalent of running 32 marathons.
What’s the best health/fitness/wellness advice you ever received?
Well, how about I offer one piece of advice that will be life changing for you. Get a standing desk for work. Secondly, take each joint in your body through a full range of motion every day. Think about the cat in the morning when it wakes up.
Do you have a success story of redeemed health you’d like to share?
There are so many, it’s really difficult to choose just one, but here goes. I have a sister who was signed up for a total hip replacement at age 42. Her images showed degenerative changes & loss of joint space and her clinical examination was positive for an internal hip derangement. She was in constant pain, had difficulty sleeping and was just downright miserable. But at age 42 she was far too young for a total joint replacement. After years of trying to get her to commit to consistent therapy, she finally drank the kool-aid and began a regular program. Four weeks later she felt good enough to cancel her surgery. She has improved hip mobility and reduced her pain to the point where she does not notice it. She can go on pain-free walks with her husband and is back to skiing with her family, including her two young boys.
What is your favorite area of wellness to practice?
My favorite area of practice involves utilizing the Osteopractic approach to treat neuromusculoskeletal problems in athletes and active individuals. I find this approach, blended with strength and conditioning, can address the majority of diagnoses that walk in the door. I also have a particular interest in treating cervicogenic headaches (headaches generated from the neck) and sacroiliac joint dysfunction. These two areas really must be addressed by an expert with specialized training. Eliminating chronic headache pathology is life changing.
What are you passionate about, besides your professional life?
The great outdoors are my bliss. I have a high affinity to move and train. I love sharing outdoor adventures and experiences with those closest to me. I am in heaven riding my mountain bike on flowing single track, skiing deep powder, or surfing knee-high rollers.
What’s your favorite quote or mantra?
I have several. Ready? Here ya go:
1. Motion is lotion
2. Show me you can be consistent before you can be heroic
4. Many hands make for light work
5. Some is better than none
What’s one book you recommend everyone should read?
Becoming a Supple Leopard second edition by Dr. Kelly Starrett, DPT
What one suggestion would you make that would have the greatest impact for improved health?
Designate 10 minutes each day particularly in the evening before bed to address your soft tissue restrictions with a combination of mobility and tissue work. For example, foam rolling, trigger point balls, light yoga, pilates, tai-chi, or massage.
Any final piece of wisdom you’d like to share?
This is a phenomenal time in the health science professions. We now know what works and what doesn’t work, and we are collaborating among professions to serve people better than ever before. We have more informed consumers making conscientious decisions about their health. People are more sophisticated and able to make discerning choices regarding where they choose to spend their time and resources. Most people are probably going to live well into their 90’s, so if they decide they still want to be hiking mountains and playing with their grandchildren, they should work backward and decide what choices they need to make now that will result in success 30, 40 & 50 years down the road.
How can people learn more about you and what you offer?
Well, I can provide a little more insight for folks right here (no time like the present): I have lectured on high-velocity low amplitude manipulation of the cervical spine, foundations and principles of spinal manipulation, non-contact knee injury prevention in female athletes, trigger point dry needling, instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, lumbosacral differential diagnosis, and kinesiology taping. I have practiced throughout the United States and treated many professional athletes including members of the NFL, US Ski Team, Olympic level rowers, Nordic skiers, biathletes, professional cyclists, and triathletes, along with many competitive amateur athletes. I have served as the team physical therapist for Team USA at the world championships in Edmonton, Canada and I work directly with the Green Racing Project (GRP) Team at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center along with local college and high school athletes.
To learn more Please visit: https://www.precisionopt.com/ This is the best spot to learn more and easily self-schedule your initial visit. (there is no referral required)
Learn more about the Osteopractic sub-specialty: https://spinalmanipulation.org/
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