nikki's picture

A Holistic Pittsburgh Physician Collaborates with the Massage Therapists at PCCHH

We are often asked as Massage Therapists if we know any doctors in the Pittsburgh area who are willing to work holistically and collaborate with their massage or structural integration sessions that we of offer here at the Pittsburgh Center for Complemtentary Health and Healing. So, I would like to introduce you to Justin Berthold, D.O.  who recently opened his own practice in Forest Hills where they focus on function and quality of life.

Treating Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Pain, Holistically

 At the Rehabilitation Physicians of Pittsburgh, we understand that fibromyalgia and myofascial pain can really limit how your body functions and affect your quality of life.  To borrow a quote from Dr. William Osler, “the good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.” This approach holds true when treating fibromyalgia and myofascial pain.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals. Also on this spectrum is Myofascial pain syndrome, a chronic pain disorder where pressure on sensitive points in your muscles (trigger points) causes pain in seemingly unrelated parts of your body. This is called referred pain. Myofascial pain syndrome typically occurs after a muscle has been contracted repetitively. This can be caused by repetitive motions used in jobs or hobbies or by stress-related muscle tension.

Focusing on the whole patient and not just the disease, we oftentimes identify problems related to poor sleep quality, high levels of stress, postural influences, insufficient exercise, and tobacco use. As a result, the nervous system remains in a state of hyper-excitability and our muscles and their supporting connective tissue (fascia) experience the downstream effects of muscle tension and “knots.”

Many times, patients with Fibromyalgia and myofascial pain are treated very effectively with gentle forms of massage therapy and a specific type of therapy known as structural integration, which uses techniques of Myofascial & Neurofascial Unwinding Alignment Therapy to relax the nervous system allowing access to deeper fascial layers. For more information on this and other manual treatments available, talk with your licensed massage therapist who can help guide you in the right direction.

Additionally, a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation physician can be a helpful resource in managing these disorders holistically. They will work with you and your massage therapist to develop a comprehensive treatment plan which may include specific types of exercise, posture improvement, sleep restoration, smoking cessation, counseling, medications, and sometimes procedures such as trigger point injections or dry needling (which is similar to acupuncture). Trigger point injections are thought to cause relaxation and lengthening of the muscle fiber through the mechanical stimulation of a thin needle and the effect of a locally injected solution, usually an anesthetic medication. When combined with the treatment from your massage therapist, trigger point injections can be a good option particularly for those trigger points that are more complex and difficult to treat.

The most important thing is finding the right treatment for you specifically. At the Rehabilitation Physicians of Pittsburgh, we pride ourselves on a patient-centered approach and taking the time to listen to you. If you would like to schedule a physician appointment, please contact us at (412) 816-1400. To learn more about how we can help you, visit



Justin Berthold, D.O.

Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Physician

Rehabilitation Physicians of Pittsburgh - Focusing on Function and Quality of Life

Clinical Faculty, LECOM Seton Hill College of Osteopathic Medicine


Forest Hills Plaza Suite 144

Pittsburgh PA 15221

P: (412) 816-1400

F: (412) 223-4519





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leslie's picture

Being Aware of Your Anger

Much of the work done in psychotherapy involves increasing awareness of emotions, such as anger, and finding ways to use them constructively. 

Anger can be informative and motivating. For someone who usually feels content, a feeling of anger can inform her that something is not right.  The anger can act as a separating energy, motivating her to separate from what is harmful.

If we ignore our anger, it may become manifested in less conscious ways.  Suppressed anger can become experienced as physical symptoms and/or illness.   The anger may “build up” and become expressed at later times, sometimes explosively or of proportion to the situation at hand.  Without acknowledging our natural emotions as they arise, we may convince ourselves that everything is okay even when it isn’t, and thus be less motivated to make the changes that could actually improve the situation.

If you are chronically angry, have difficulty controlling it, or are otherwise finding it interfering with your overall wellbeing, it would be a good idea to get help.  Exploring how your anger is connected to current and/or past experiences, working to understand and resolve any related underlying tension, and developing skills for coping with the anger when it arises can be extremely beneficial. 

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Amy Remic's picture

Massage Gift Certificates are the Perfect Father's Day Idea!

It's that time again.... Father's day! What to do? What to get?
Every year I rattle my brain to get my dad, my father in law and husband a good fathers' day gift. I always end up going with the typical gifts such as golf balls, a new shirt, or even the ugly tie. They all seem to be happy with what they have and their interests are always the same too. They are always very grateful, but I just wish I had a better idea every time this holiday comes around.

This year I want to do something extra special especially for my husband. I'm pregnant and suffering from the never ending morning sickness, and he has not only picked up my slack on dishes, towels, and making dinner but has really been an outstanding dad to our son as well. I tell him thank you night and day but I really want to do something special for him.

Last night, he was getting up from the couch and mentioned his feet were killing him from weed whacking our steep bank  in front of our house. And then it hit me. He needs a massage! The summer chores of grass cutting, tree trimming, and the other endless honey do lists of summer are  reason enough to get him this gift, and I'm embarrassed I hadn't thought of it until now. It's not like I don't recommend this kind of gift all the time. And he does come in occasionally, but not nearly enough. So I'm going to get him a gift card to cover a  Head to Toe session. This will not only take care of his aching feet but all his other aches and pains.

Once I realized what I was getting him, it all fell into place for me, why make gift giving so stressful massages for everyone:)  And I don't just mean for Father's day but my friends that are graduating, my son's teachers, my friend that is getting married, and anyone else I need to get something for, this is the gift. It's a gift that shows people you really do care. So what are you waiting for, return that ugly tie and give the gift of wellness.

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