Laura came in for a visit at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City with a complaint of lower back pain that was radiating into her hip joint and buttocks. She noticed the pain on both sides, but it was stronger on the left. Laura reported that she was unable to sit for long periods of time, felt jolts of pain when standing up from a seated position, would wake up feeling very stiff and in pain, and was unable to lift her left leg and put on socks or pants without feeling lots of discomfort.
Laura also told us that her pain has been chronic for over 5 years, and that she had managed it with physical therapy and chiropractic adjustments. She also went through periods of intense pain to lower levels of pain, but has not been free of discomfort for even a day over the last several years. However, in the last few months the pain intensified and the usual approaches to remedy her pain did not help. Despite the pain, Laura has tried to stay physically active and has a passion for cycling, biking most evenings and going for long-distance rides on weekends.
An MRI revealed that Laura had disc herniations in her lower spine, and with this diagnosis in hand, we performed a thorough evaluation to determine how she was limited by her condition. We found that Laura was unable to bend to her side or touch her toes, and experienced some pain with rotation. The examination also revealed spasms in two sets of muscles in the back, tightness and weakness in the gluteal muscles, weakness in left hamstring muscles, and tightness in muscles of the hips and IT band.
How we helped Laura achieve her goals at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City
Before beginning treatment, Laura stated that her primary goal was pretty straightforward: she wanted therapy to reduce her pain so that she could perform daily activities and engage in sports without pain. To help Laura accomplish her goals, first we focused on reducing the tone of all her tight muscles and released trigger points utilizing needling and cupping techniques. Then, utilizing motor point acupuncture, we worked on changing the motor inhibition and weakness in her core and gluteal muscles. Strengthening these muscles helped Laura to use appropriate muscles while cycling instead of relying on her back and hip muscles, which should serve as a support.
After completing treatment, Laura no longer has pain when standing up, and she can put socks and pants on without pain as well. She is also able to sit for long hours—which her job occasionally requires—and her pain is significantly lower after many hours of cycling. She still feels achy after wearing heels or walking long distances, but we are currently working to resolve that, too.
Laura had this to say about her overall experience: “Thank you for giving my happiness back. For me cycling is happiness, and because of you, I am able to do it!”
Helping patients overcome their impairments to experience happiness again makes us happy as well, and it’s exactly what we focus on accomplishing with every patient that walks through our doors. So if any type of pain or physical limitation is holding you back from happiness or enjoying life, we’d like to help you next. Contact Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City at 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment today, or click here to read our last blog for more information on acupuncture.