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Technology continues to help enhance the health of athletes

By Dick Harmon
Deseret News
Published: Thursday, April 15, 2010 12:31 a.m. MDT

JohnThe statement is inarguable: Performance of the best teams is directly connected to how healthy they are.

How to achieve that optimum level of health is a debate that’s key to our time of playoffs, BCS bowls, rankings, win-loss records, and filling seats in arenas and stadiums — a billion-dollar enterprise.

Why is it that some athletes perform at a high level, make remarkable comebacks or seemingly prevent missed time on the field or court while some others get knocked out by freaky, unexplainable injuries? Why does Jazzman Carlos Boozer have an MRI after a non-contact injury in his rib area this week?

Why did BYU receiver McKay Jacobson tear a hamstring in pregame warmups last fall?

Why did Cougar linebacker Terrance Hooks blow out a knee just jumping straight up trying to intercept a pass two years ago?

Hardworking Ute RB Matt Asiata suffered an impact so dramatic it makes you flinch as he breaks his leg one season, but then why does he freakishly blow out an ACL while seemingly celebrating a touchdown another season?

Collisions that maim are understandable and unpredictable injuries that could lead to major surgery. But what of impairments that we label pulls, strains, ligament tears, back pain, joint discomfort, nagging pulls, ankle sprains and other maladies that keep athletes sidelined or lead to more serious injuries that then require surgeries? Are these preventable?

What if there were a technology that could forecast instability, strengthen the body’s systems, and prevent missed practices and games by star players?

Are our medical practitioners using all available knowledge to treat patients/athletes?

Before the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, I debated the issue with several colleagues. They insisted I look into the work of Craig Buhler, a chiropractor in Kaysville who’s worked with the NBA, NFL, PGA Tour, Stanford swim team and Olympians. He spent 23 years with the Utah Jazz, where John Stockton swears Buhler, not his toughness, kept him one of the most active players in league history.

“Yes,” said Buhler, “injuries can be predicted and prevented. If you can determine positions of instability, imbalance or weakness in muscles, then you can predict where an injury can occur and prevent it.”

I went on a Buhler watch as the Olympics approached. What I found is an interesting track record in keeping subjects performing at a high level with unconventional means. It is called Advanced Muscle Integration Technique.

Buhler and the Jazz parted ways after trainer Mike Shimensky retired. Sparks recommended Buhler treat Adrian Dantley’s back pain back in 1979. At the ceremony to retire his Jazz jersey, Dantley credited Buhler for helping him perform at his peak.

Stockton and Karl Malone swore by Buhler’s treatment during a segment of a quarter century. In that time, the Jazz registered the fewest player-missed games per year (51) due to injury compared with the league average (171).

Buhler’s patients include 10 Olympians, many among the top U.S. swimmers, speedskaters, ski racers, snowboarders, basketball and football players. A fifth of his patients are elite athletes including Picabo Street, downhill skier Steven Nyman, aerial specialist Elli Ochowcz, speedskater Emily Cook and Australian snowboarder Torah Bright.

This past winter, Bright suffered a concussion and dislocated her jaw when she hit the edge of the halfpipe at the X-Games. This happened eight weeks before the Olympics in Vancouver. Two weeks after the mishap, Bright came to Buhler complaining of headaches and lack of balance. In one week, she passed neurological protocols and returned to training for Vancouver. Three weeks later, Bright sustained a second and third concussion and returned to Buhler unable to stand on one leg with eyes closed and keep her balance.

“Again, I implemented daily therapy on her up until the day of her event,” said Buhler.

Bright won a gold medal in the women’s halfpipe and used a trick no other woman had performed.

“I can’t live without it,” Bright said of her AMIT treatments, which she began in 2006. “After my initial course of treatments with many and varied corrections made over time, I felt and continue to feel more energetic, train with more capacity, and injuries that had bothered me have disappeared.

“My competition results have been better than ever. And my body feels better than ever. I am just one of many elite athletes that have been helped and maintained by Dr. Buhler and his program.”

U.S. Olympian Shannon Bahrke rehabbed a cruciate ligament repair a year ago and consulted with Buhler last winter because she was in pain, the knee aggravated by training. Within months, she returned to competition, made the 2010 team and won the bronze medal in women’s moguls. She gave Buhler permission to use her case and name.

A key cog in Buhler’s treatment includes getting muscles to fire properly.

When they fire as nerve pathways intended them to do, the system efficiency increases and one aspect of the body isn’t compensating or overloading another.

He calls it cutting-edge technology.

“We use a therapy base of chiropractic care and advanced muscle integration technique to assess, diagnose and treat athletic injuries,” said Buhler.

“We do this by integrating the structural, chemical and electromagnetic systems in the body to accelerate healing and improve human performance.”

This is unique in that it isolates 710 muscles in the body to determine which ones are creating positions of instability. The treatment seeks to reactivate inhibited muscles.

“We found years ago that when a muscle is overloaded beyond its ability to support the stress, it either tears or the proprioceptive system inhibits the muscle in an effort to protect it. This is much like a circuit breaker in an electrical system,” he said.

Hocus-pocus, magic and “smoke and mirrors” are frequent labels often tossed around in arguments between established medicine and alternative health practitioners. Yet many athletes and teams have turned to acupuncturists, chiropractors and nutritionists and married it with other specialties, including podiatrists, physical therapists, internists, orthopedists and neurologists.

“It is not hocus-pocus,” said Springville’s Jeff Collinsworth, whose son Kyle played summer tournament basketball last summer with a broken back.

Kyle Collinsworth, a Provo High all-state guard, went to Buhler last August after a CAT scan confirmed the injury.

“After a few sessions, Kyle’s pain subsided and he was able to play without issues. It was a matter of finding out what was not in balance and correcting it by getting the right muscles to fire and relieve the burden of the ligaments that were overloaded,” said Collinsworth.

“It’s like having three good tires and one bad tire on a car. If you don’t fix the one bad tire, you can predict your car will break down,” said the father.

A side benefit to his treatment was that Kyle Collinsworth increased his vertical leap by 6 inches. He was named Utah’s Mr. Basketball by the Deseret News this past winter after leading Provo to the 4A state semifinals.

A standard medical practice for treating injuries is prescribing medicine: painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs and cortisone injections, and when structures are broken, surgery. Day-to-day aches and pains are met with what is called “ice and stim,” or cold packs and stimulation.

Aside from necessary surgeries to correct structure, Buhler and others make a case for prevention and looking beyond standard thinking — the ice and stim.

Former BYU team captain Cameron Jensen signed with the Seattle Seahawks, and in NFL spring camp after his senior season at BYU, he immediately suffered patellar tendinitis in his knee.

“It was so painful; I could hardly work out, and it stayed that way for a year,” Jensen said. “I was referred to Buhler, and after three or four treatments, he fixed it. I didn’t swell up and I could return to training without pain.”

The issue here isn’t if Buhler is a miracle man, but are we as a society missing out on successful methods in health care because of ignorance, jealousy and tradition?

My Son Jack

My son (Jack, 14) suffered from chronic headaches. He had gone through many typical medical routes before finding Craig. For example, pain management via multiple medication trials, MRI, CT scan, Optic exam, ENT evaluation with subsequent antibiotic trial, and some physical Therapy/Massage/Chiropractic (not Craig AMIT Method) sessions.

At the end of this cumulative approach, with Jack only receiving marginal success at best, the final decision presented to us was to put Jack on daily medication. The medication was a prophylactic medication and was the last recourse we were offered to manage his pain. We could not accept the idea of our previously healthy and vibrant 14 year old to be put on medications chronically. He was 13 prior to the onset of headaches and weighed merely 80 lbs.

We decided we weren’t done searching for other health care options. We found Craig and using the AMIT Method Jack’s life began to change for the best. His headaches began to diminish slowly but surely. Craig was not looking to “manage” Jack’s head pain, but to discern “why” he was having the headaches. He then worked to “fix or resolve” the problem, finding the underlying cause of his pain.

As Craig worked on Jack and explained his findings, he helped us understand the sound underpinnings of his approach. We felt like Jack had finally arrived into healing hands.

Not only was Craig extremely knowledgeable, intelligent, and grounded in understanding the human body as a multidisciplinary “system”, he helped to alleviate our anxiety about Jack’s condition. We trusted Craig. We felt ourselves becoming more confident and calm as time progressed. Jack was getting better!

We are grateful to have found Craig. It is scary to think where Jack would have been without his skilled intervention. Many Thanks!

Jack’s Mom

Affiliate Testimonial – James Parker

DSC_4286 color crop web resizeThe AMIT certification courses have armed me with one of the best tools to reverse injury and produce results that not only are immediate but long lasting.  As a relatively new practitioner it has been such a great approach that has made me look really good with patients.  “Wow” is a common word that most patients say during and right after treatment.  I have seen that nothing is out of my realm of treatment and assessment given what I have learned through the courses.  As a former Olympic athlete I never ran into such a fast and effective treatment.  Also what about performance enhancement?!!  I have seen amazing things.  Next day personal records in lifting, jumping or individual exercises are way too common.  I am thoroughly pleased with my training and I am glad I spent the time and money to learn.  It has increased my value as a practitioner 1000 fold!

James D. Parker, D.C.
2004 Olympian

Dr. James D. Parker, D.C.
Performance Health Chiropractic
2019 W 1900 S Ste 100
Syracuse, UT 84075

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Patient Testimonials – Cindy Murphy

After 20 years of pain in the pain of the area of my shoulder blade and neck, I finally found relief with Dr. Buhler. I had tried multiple chiropractors, medical doctors, injection, physical therapy, yoga, pilates, and strengthening exercises with only temporary relief at best.

Once I had my AMIT evaluation, I knew that this was different from anything I had ever heard before. During my first appointment, I received the most thorough examination I had ever been given. As the treatments began over the following weeks, I noticed a significant improvement. Due to how long I had been in pain, it took many months for Dr. Buhler to activate all of my muscles, but he never had to do the same one twice. Once it was activated, it seemed to be a permanent fix. When enough muscles were activated, the pain resolved. Then I could move on successfully with strengthening exercises that I was unsuccessful with in the past. Since then, I have brought my husband and son in for evaluations and treatment as well as my out of state relatives. Everyone is amazed and so please with how they feel!

Patient Testimonials – Johanna Hofmeister

Dear Dr. Buhler (and company),

I will be forever grateful for Dr. Buhler’s contribution to my life! After 25 years of chiropractors and continued back pain, my aunt (a reputable acupuncturist) insisted that I see Dr. Buhler. Well rooted in alternative healing and dedicated to healthy living, I had not even realized how poorly my body was functioning. Dr. Buhler’s AMIT method restored function, agility, resilience, and health. If you want to be in your best body possible, Dr. Buhler’s work is an excellent place to start!

Johanna Hofmeister
CEO, Innovations Educational Consulting

Patient Testimonials – Stefanie Schulte

After I gave birth to my son 1 1/2 years ago I suffered from increasing and intensive pain and numbness in pelvic region and knees. I felt an incredible improvement after the past treatment and I didn’t have to take pain killers anymore. This is my first pain free time since 1 1/2 years and I’m looking forward to the next appointments.

Patient Testimonials – Tanner Redding

Our first introduction to Dr. Buhler was when our son, Tanner, was having back trouble and trouble with his SI Joint that limited his ability to play high school sports that he’d always participated in. A friend referred us after Dr. Buhler helped her son get back on the soccer field. Within 3 or 4 visits Tanner was able to start playing football and baseball again. Throughout all of the high school sports seasons Dr. Buhler’s method have kept Tanner competitive and able to play. Even after a serious, high ankle sprain Dr. Buhler was able to help him back to a miraculous recovery and ability to play quickly. We recommend Dr. Buhler to anyone and have experienced incredible results, both preventative and recovery.

Thanks Dr. Buhler!

The Redding Family

Patient Testimonials – Mike Aitken

I was recommended to Buhler by Laura Hadar because my shoulder wouldn’t stay is socket. I met with Buhler I don’t know how many times, that’s besides the point…He got my shoulder working…that is 80%. Before my reason I feel for meeting Buhler came in to play…In 2008 I had a BMX bike crash and had a traumatic brain injury. When I got home from the hospital in Utah, I had a card from Buhler, it read: Mike, I’ve had really good luck with people who have had brain injuries. Come see me. So, I don’t remember how long it took me to come in, but I hobbled in a crooked man. My whole right side had been paralyzed from my injury. Buhler first did cranial work to take pressure off the brain stem and then began turning back on every muscle on my right side while relax fully placing my skeleton back where it belongs! After Buhler performed his expertise on me I walked in my moms house and she started weeping tears of joy. She was like “Mikey, you stand before me a straight man!” My experience with Buhler has been life changing; spiritually & physically. I say that because I believe that it is all connected…and Buhler helped me get to that place.

Thanks Buhler
Love, Mike Aitken