Sunday, September 29, 2019

Introducing Steve

I am so happy to be sharing

this exciting news!

The clinic is growing.  Stephen Shaffer, PT ScD, FCAMPT, has recently joined me to offer a manual therapy approach to physiotherapy for all your aches and pains.  If you have a musculoskeletal problem of your spine, limb or jaw, Steve can likely help you.  He is a clinical specialist of the neck, jaw and headache pain.  He joins me from High Point University in North Carolina where he was a clinical supervisor and instructor.  Find out more information by clicking to his bio below.

If you are having any of those aches and pains that need to be worked out or you know someone who is in pain or injured, 
please think of us.  
We are thrilled to be accepting new patients.

May I introduce you to the newest member of our misfit crew, without further ado...

Mr. Stephen Shaffer



I am pleased to announce that in early June I joined Shannon Marion Physiotherapy.
In addition to being a clinical expert in spine and extremity pain, I am excited to bring my expertise in the evaluation and management of temporomandibular disorders (TMD) to Cornwall.

This group of problems, which is often called “TMJ”, affects the jaw joint and surrounding tissues. While joint popping or clicking is the most commonly recognized symptom of TMD, according to research it is also the least alarming. Evidence suggests that treating problems associated with joints, muscles, and/or tendons can generate more benefit for patients than focusing on the popping sound made by the disc. The primary benefits of physiotherapy services typically include decreased pain and increased function such as improved mouth opening and eating tolerance.
Importantly, we know from decades of scientific research that TMJ problems are linked to both neck pain and headaches, which means it is often if not always crucial to evaluate and manage all three of these areas if promoting maximum benefit is the goal.

Furthermore, while it should not be stated that successfully treating problems such as jaw and neck pain is guaranteed to resolve severe headaches such as migraines, doing so is often feasible. In fact, a common link between migraine headaches, TMJ problems, and chronic neck pain is a phenomenon known as central sensitization. This commonality between what otherwise appears to be separate diagnoses could explain why treating these problems simultaneously is helpful.

Central sensitization is a form nerve hypersensitivity that results in the brain being overly receptive to input. Stated otherwise, when the brain becomes overly sensitive seemingly benign stimuli such as a gentle touch, a light that is too shiny, or a tight joint can trigger a massive pain response. Addressing the orthopaedic complaints associated with head, neck, and jaw pain can calm down the brain and spinal cord sufficiently to partially or completely overcome this type of hypersensitivity.

In addition, each of these conditions typically benefits from addressing what are called psychosocial variables. These variables include but are not limited to such things as sleep dysfunction, stress, medication overuse, and a lack of pain science knowledge. Luckily, researchers have spent decades investigating these topics and a lot is known about how to successfully address them. Tendons can be massaged, joints can be stretched, nerves can be desensitized, and patients can be educated, all of which generally helps people feel better and restore their normal daily routines. Regarding the array of treatment options, manual physiotherapy might be the most intriguing. There is a large body of work that informs us about how a physiotherapist with advanced clinical training can use their hands to address many of the variables at play. While not all people with diagnoses such as TMJ problems, neck pain, and/or headaches will respond perfectly to these treatments, most people can and do get better, which is the type of information that should give people hope.