You Got Some Nerve!

The truth is you have a lot of nerve!

  • There are more nerves in your body than stars in the Milky Way.
  • The human brain alone consists of about 100 billion neurons. If all these neurons were lined up it would for a 600 mile long line.
  • The nervous system transmits impulses at 100 meters per second, or 224 miles per hour
  • There are 43 different pairs of nerve which connect the nervous system to every part of your body. 12 pairs exit in your brain and 31 pairs are connected to your spinal cord..

The longest nerve in the body is the sciatic nerve.  It is made up of nerve roots from 5 levels of your low back and sacrum (L4-S3) and ends at the tip of your toes.  The sciatic nerve is about the size of your thumb as it passes through your buttocks.  The sciatic nerve travels in the spaces between the large muscles in your leg (often with the arteries and veins).  Sciatica is the term used when the sciatic nerve gets irritated and causes pain that radiates down the leg.  We treat sciatica successfully every day in our office.

The sciatic nerve can get entrapped anywhere from where the nerves exit the spine to the toes.  When a nerve loses its ability to glide, or move, within it pathway the function of the nerve can be corrupted.  There are areas where the sciatic nerve is more frequently entrapped.  One is the tarsal tunnel.  You’ve heard of carpal tunnel. The tarsal tunnel is in the foot, just below and behind the inside of your ankle bone (or medial malleolus).  Another common entrapment site is the piriformis muscle (one of the deep muscles of your buttocks).

There are functional diagnostic tests to determine if and where the sciatic nerve is entrapped.  Active Release Techniques® (or ART®) has specific protocols to release entrapped nerves.  There are about 35+ ART® certified providers in Massachusetts and only 10+ ART® Nerve Entrapment certified providers, of which 3 practice at Performance Health Center. It amazes me on how many of the patients we meet have been living in pain, sometimes for years with sciatic nerve entrapment.  Having an entrapped sciatic nerve can manifest in many ways, not only leg pain. Since nerve entrapments are a functional condition it requires a functional solution and ART® provides one.

Recently I saw a patient who had bilateral foot pain for 3 years, initially caused by wearing bad running shoes too long.  Over the 3 years before I meet her, she was labeled with having many different pain syndromes from multiple medical providers. She even had nerve release surgery on both her tarsal tunnels.  The day I met her, she gave me her detailed history and I performed an exam with included sciatic nerve entrapment screening.  I uncovered poor motion of the joints of her low back and sciatic nerve entrapment.  The function test of the sciatic nerve was so obvious she understood and felt the tension as I performed the test maneuver.  When I explained to her what I thought was the problem, that her sciatic nerve was entrapped at the tarsal tunnel, and told her I thought I could help her, she teared up. She told me that of all the doctors she had seen over the years, I gave her the most thorough exam, explained her problem in a way she could understand it and gave her hope.

The good news is that after 8 treatments she is doing much better.  The pain level is significantly reduced. She can walk without pain. She is not running yet, but will be within the next 2 months. She had a functional problem caused by faulty biomechanics of her spine and sciatic nerve pathway.  Our functional treatment approach includes manipulation of her low back (where the nerves that make up the sciatic nerve exits the spine), ART ® on the muscles of the LB and leg, plus sciatic nerve entrapment ART® protocols, and Kinesio® Taping to minimize the tension on the sciatic nerve at the tarsal tunnel between treatments.  It is not possible to correct 3+ years of faulty motor patterns in the body overnight, but just like braces on teeth, if we continue to put a demand on the body, it will change.

Getting our patients out of pain is usually the easy part of treatment.  The next and most important phase is the rehabilitation, or re-education to optimize the body’s function.  Of course our patients have responsibilities too.  They need to improve the ergonomics at work and play. They receive stretches and strengthening exercises when appropriate, and are an active participant in their treatment.

If you or anyone you know is sick and tired of being sick and tired, and think they have done everything to get better.  Remind them if they have not had the benefit of ART®, they have not done everything!  As always, after the initial examination, if we do not think we can help, we will make the appropriate referral.  If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at:


The Glue that Keeps Our International Tennis Athletics Competing

Loving the game of Tennis and understanding the sport as a competitor is a perfect professional fit. I was invited as a Board Certified Massage Therapist to travel to Umag Croatia to work with our Senior USA tennis teams in September.

The venue was named the International Tennis Federation World Super -Senior Team Championships.

The championships is the largest and most important competition of tennis seniors over 65 to 80 plus years in the world. There were 107 teams representing 26 different countries.

I was introduced to both men and women players from our USA Teams, letting them know I was available pre and post event for Kenesio taping, active isolated stretching, spot massage treatment and full body treatment.

As veteran senior athletics they knew the value of massage for maintaining-their competitive edge.

I’m always amazed at untypical 80’s women and they continue to give me inspiration. One of the team of four has been doing yoga for thirty years and loves to show off her stretching routine doing the splits. Another puts her kinesiology tape on her knees and runs for shots with little effort.

Every day at four I had an appointment with Dave, a 65 USA team player from Dallas He was playing  number 1 singles . The surface was red clay which is easier on the body but a slower surface to play on. As a result his legs were fatigued, hamstrings tight and his low back was talking to him The massage focus was bring about an awareness and facilitate more  blood-flow while decreasing tension in those tight muscles  .After a 1 1/2 hour treatment my goals were achieved and he was ready to go back on the courts the next day.

Our USA teams did well.  The US 80’s Men and Woman and  75 men and woman came in first place, Our 65 men and woman came in 3rd place My experience was professionally rich.

Never stop moving! Life is Motion!  I’m always proud to represent our country.

To schedule your next massage, call the office at 508-655-9008

What Does Kinesio® Tape Do Again…?

We have been using Kinesio-Tape at Performance Health Center for years help treat musculoskeletal conditions, and have had great success in doing so.  In fact, I am wearing some right now as I type this month’s article.  I was doing a trail run the other day, mostly likely from the uneven terrain, and strained my calf.

However, no matter how many patients I tape, or how many different conditions I tape for, and how well I explain what the tape does, I am always being asked the same question, “What does that tape do again?”

Kinesio-Tape was developed over 45 years ago by a Japanese chiropractor who was looking for a way to keep his hands on his patients after they left his office. In 1988, Kinesio-Tape was accepted and used by Japanese Olympic and professional athletes.  Following that, the tape started spreading across the world.  It was really the colorful tape patterns being displayed on the Olympic beach volleyball players at the 2008 Summer Olympics that really increased the popularity of the Kinesio-Tape.

Kinesio-Tape is a stretchy cotton elastic strip.  The tape is thin, mimicking the skin’s pliability and thickness.  There is an acrylic adhesive on the under side of the tape to help it adhere to the skin.  The tape therefore does not restrict or constrict one’s movement, and prevents the tape from slipping.  The tape provides dynamic support, helps protect muscles and joints, and allows for safe and functional range of motion of the taped muscles and joints.  The Kinesio-Tape supports the part of the body being taped, helps to provide pain relief, and control the parts affected by muscle inhibition.  The tape can provide tactile feedback through the skin to help with proprioception as well.
When treating a large variety of musculoskeletal injuries and conditions that are inflammatory, the characteristics of Kinesio-Tape are very important.  Because of its adhesive abilities, this increases the tape’s therapeutic value.  The tape can be left on for several days, and is able to provide therapeutic benefits throughout the day.  This can help to increase the ability for a traumatized area to heal by helping to decrease inflammation.  To do this the tape provides a “passive” lift to the skin due to the elastic properties of the tape and how it is applied.  Creating a “lift” to the skin and moving it away from the inflamed tissue allows the lymphatic and venous systems to drain more efficiently, helping swollen or bruised tissues to heal quicker.  This is also thought to be helpful to remove excess build up of lactic acid post exercise to help decrease the onset of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).  The tape can also be worn during exercise, and can hold up through showering/bathing, and swimming.

I hope this simple but more detailed explanation helps everyone understand will a little more ease what Kinesio-Tape’s actual therapeutic value is.  We are not just putting it on our patients and athletes because it “looks cool”.  We tape of all kinds of injuries and conditions. We also carry all four colors of the Kinesio Gold Standard Tape (which is the tape I prefer and recommended properly by the Kinesio-Taping Association) in our office (blue, pink, black, beige).  We have over many self-application videos on the Self-Care section of our Website-   As always, we are here to offer our insight and recommendations, and to tape you professionally as needed.



Why Suffer with Low Back Pain?

I hope you have already read “A Second Chance in Life” (below in body of this blog).  It is truly a remarkable testimonial and the doctors at Performance Health Center are overjoyed at Patsy’s remarkable recovery after using crutches for so many years.

As remarkable as Patsy’s response was to chiropractic are, on a daily basis we  are helping people who are suffering with disabling pain syndromes and getting them out of pain and back to enjoying their lives

Low back pain (LBP) is the number one cause of disability in the United States and in the developed world.  It is the number 2 reason why people visit their Primary Care Physician (PCPs) after the common cold.  Unless you or a loved one is suffering from LBP, you can’t imagine how LBP can effects your life.   Everything from getting a good night’s sleep, to getting dressed, to sitting and driving, to working (whether your sit, or do physical labor) is effected, and that doesn’t include the emotional stress it puts on the whole family.

Here is the true story of a typical LBP patient who walks (and sometimes crawls ) into our office almost every day.  A 55 year old woman told her story to me 2 weeks ago.  She had 1 episode of LBP prior to this one years ago.  Then in April she started to feel LBP.  There was no trauma involved.  Quickly the pain started to radiate down her to her left foot.  She made an appointment with her PCP who told her “maybe you have arthritis and your going to have to live with it,” and she was right.  Up to presenting at my office she has lived on meds, did a round of PT and had 2 cortisone shots with no long term relief.

X-rays and an MRI had shown a bulging disc.


She was frustrated and did not want to continue living in pain.  I did my examination and the first thing I noticed was that she had a McKenzie right pelvic shift, which means her body was in a compensating position and that if she looked down her belly button had shifted to the far right. Basically she was crooked.  I also found that there were no “hot” signs of a disc as the cause of her pain.  In fact  MRI studies have shown that if you take an MRI of people without LBP, two-thirds (2/3) will have herniated discs and other findings, yet they have no pain.

The problem with MRIs and even X-Rays is that they are like taking pictures of a car in a parking lot.  An MRI is like putting your body through a preverbal meat slicer.  It shows everything.  Going back to the car analogy, an MRI would how what the paint job looks like, if there were any dings, dents or scratches, you could see the wear of the tires, you could even see all the hoses and connections.  You could make some obvious diagnostic findings like broken hoses, etc, but until you actually start the car and drive it you don’t know how it functions.

This 55 year old woman had no signs of disc injury as the cause of her pain.  Classic finding of a “hot” disc include pain coughing or sneezing.  There is usually immediately raising the leg straight when on the back, or straightening the knee while sitting.  To sum it up, there were no positive neurological signs to explain her pain, or in medical jargon we would say her finding were unremarkable.

What I did find was poor range of motion, muscle spasm, joints of her lower back not moving and an entrapped sciatic nerve, which are all functional findings  After my exam she told me no one to date had put her through such a thorough examination.  I told her that she most likely was in the right place, but since she did not respond well to other therapies to date, we would start with a trial of care.

Her findings were all functional, or movement faults in her body.  There are 24 vertebrae in the spine, but there are 134 joints.  My job is to find the joints that are not moving and move them with manipulation or chiropractic adjustments.  The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body.  It exits your spine in the low back region from 5 levels.  By the time it goes through your butt (more specifically under the piriformis muscle) it is about the size of your thumb.  The nerve branches, but all the major branches go through the channels between the muscles groups, (along with arteries and veins).  Active Release Techniques® (ART) has protocols to diagnose and free these nerve entrapments.  There are only about 20 chiropractors in the state who are certified in ART Nerve Entrapment Protocols

She agreed to a trial of chiropractic care to include adjustments, ART, Kinesio Taping® and McKenzie Shift Exercises to do at home.  After her third office visit, she reported that she was able to drive again with minimal LBP and sciatica, she was able to “get out of bed without a struggle” and there was no tingling in her toes. I told her that was a great result from her first 3 treatment.   She asked me, just like Patsy did, why no other tramadol medical provider recommended chiropractic treatment for her LBP which has dominated her life for almost a third of the year.  I did not have a good answer for her, except to say her PCP probably never learned how to refer to chiropractors in medical school and through residency.

I know this as a fact.  For 8 years (4 in Vermont and 4 in Massachusetts), I had Family Practice Residents do rotations in my office.  I asked these residents 3 questions when I first meet them. 1- in all your years of medical school and residency what did you learn about chiropractic health care? The answer was nothing! ; 2- In all your years of medical school and residency what did you learn about the musculoskeletal system?  The answer was uniformly not much; and 3- How many vertebrae are in the spine?  In 8 years only one resident was able to quickly state the correct answer which is 24.  Then they spent a day with me and learned how chiropractors diagnose and treat patients.

There are several PCPs in the Metrowest area that do refer their patients to me, and they often tell me how good I make them look!  For those who have been helped with chiropractic care you have a responsibility to tell others and as importantly tell your PCP that you are seeing, or have seen a chiropractor, and how much it has helped.

There are no chiropractic TV series yet and the drug companies are not advertising for chiropractors.  The chiropractic profession has grown and thrived for 120 years because we help people.  We get fast, results safely using for the most part hands-on-therapy only!  The research findings are readily available with a Google search.  All your PCP has to do is read the literature on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of chiropractic care by prescribing Soma medicine.

You can see I am both fascinated and frustrated.  If someone has a functional problem it is fascinating how fast they can respond with chiropractic care which is a functional approach to health.  It is frustrating that so many of my patients have to suffer so long before they find our office.  Please help me to help others by sharing this Blog with your PCP , and your family and friends.  If you or any of your family and friends have any questions about their health, they can call, or email their questions and concerns before they make an appointment at:


July 25, 2015

A letter of testimony, “a second chance at life”

Everyone suffers pain once in a while, but 16 years ago I went from a normal above average health triathlon runner to barely being able to walk with severe pain, in a matter of six short months after suffering a severe stomach virus.

After months of tests, it appeared that I had acquired an illness that affects my musculoskeletal, tendons, ligaments with chronic inflammation caused by an autoimmune disease that progresses into arthritis in my joints.  There is no known cure.  And treatment via medication is only to slow the progression.  Eventually I was prescribed arm crutches and a wheelchair to help on the worst days.  There is no medication for the chronic pain except ibuprofen.  Traditional chiropractic and massage therapy were my only methods to manage my pain.  I found myself going 3-4 times a week just to stay sane from the pain. And eventually the ibuprofen caused an ulcer, my previous pain management course was ineffective.

Then I found Dr. Weiss and Dr. Ball from Performance Health Center in Natick, MA.  I came to try the ART therapy. I came in on my crutches and tightened slouch from years of illness progression.  And I left straight up and crutch-less on the first visit. I was amazed at the results. Of course my illness is chronic and everyday attacks the muscles, ligaments and tendons so it’s a constant work in progress for my body. But after 14 years of debilitating pain and long term muscle dysfunction to have the full elimination of the sciatica nerve pain down my leg be totally gone, eliminate chronic shoulder tendonitis, elbow and knee tendonitis – completely gone! And to eliminate my arm crutch usage for around my house and short trips to the store etc. – priceless!

My quality of life has improved significantly – my pain levels have been dramatically reduced as long as I receive routine ART therapy treatments from Dr. Weiss and Dr. Ball.

What is frustrating, is that not one of my 9 routine doctors ever suggested ART therapy to me earlier in life. I’ve learned from 16 years experience in the medical world – you are responsible for your own long term pain relief – and I’ve finally found it!  I’ve referred several friends to this practice for long term isolated pain issues and they all were amazed how it eliminated the pain issue.

Like I said, thanks to Dr. Ball and Dr. Weiss I have a second chance at a real life.

For those that have muscle, ligament, tendon or joint pain – you’re a fool not to try ART therapy at Performance Health Center.  It is sustainable treatment and works. I’ve had almost every body area worked head to toe and it worked for every one of the issues. Simply amazing! One simple visit – and you will know the difference immediately!  Make the call it’s the real Soma deal

This is one of the greatest blessings I received in life! Thank you Dr. Ball and Dr. Weiss!

Yours truly,

Patsy M.