Success stories from Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City: Maria notices significant improvements with her hip issues after eight therapy sessions

Maria is a preschool teacher who came in to Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City after she had been experiencing issues with her right hip.  Her primary complaint was stiffness, pain, and weakness in the hip, and these symptoms were interfering with many of her abilities.  In particular, Maria found it difficult to walk, stand, exercise, sit on the floor with students, squat down, and sleep because of these problems. 

After performing a complete evaluation, Maria’s therapist found that she had decreased strength in the muscles of her buttocks (gluteal muscles), decreased stability in her lower back and hip region, decreased hip range of motion, and muscle tightness in the muscles responsible for rotating and moving her hips outwards.  Based on this assessment, Maria was diagnosed with right hip pain and a condition called trochanteric bursitis, which is the inflammation of a fluid-filled sac in the hip. Maria also reported that she has had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since the age of 7, and based on her X-rays, it was determined that the goal of her treatment would not be to increase her hip range of motion. Instead, the goal was stabilization in the appropriate range. This was based on the fact that Maria was also diagnosed with trochanteric bursitis three years ago, and was successful with physical therapy at that time.

Before beginning treatment, Maria stated that her personal goals were to reduce her pain levels, increase her strength, and improve her mobility and tolerance to walking. She also wanted to be better prepared for work tasks at school, particularly in her ability to sit and stand.

Maria’s treatment program from Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City

The first part of Maria’s treatment plan involved therapist-led education on her diagnosis and the importance of continuously strengthening her hips and core muscles, as well as staying active, even when she’s not in pain. From there, hands-on treatments included Active-Release Techniques, the Graston Technique, and stretching exercises for the quadriceps and hamstring muscles of her right thigh.  The program also focused on strengthening exercises that Maria was to perform while her arthritis symptoms were flaring up.  As her strength increased, Maria was soon instructed to perform an advanced home-exercise program to maintain the improvements she was making within the clinic. Eventually, the focus of her treatment shifted to single-leg stabilization exercises.

Each of Maria’s sessions would include one or a combination of the following techniques:

  • Joint manipulation and lateral distraction
  • Soft-tissue massage
  • Taping to improve posture
  • Cupping and the Graston Technique
  • Postural restoration and integration techniques
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises of the hips, quadriceps, and hamstrings
  • Exercises to improve the flexibility and stability of the core muscles

After eight sessions of physical therapy, Maria started noticing much less pain in her hips, and she was able to tolerate walking and standing for longer periods of time.  Her gluteal strength increased, and she quickly started to tolerate single leg movements. Eventually, Maria was able to return to her normal exercise routine and felt more confident with her hip movements.  Maria had this to say about her experience with us: “Physical therapy has really helped me get back to my daily routines and even push myself further!  The exercises and helpful tips from my physical therapist, Ashli, are what helped me increase my daily exercise while decreasing the pain and discomfort.  Thanks Ashli!”

We couldn’t be more pleased with Maria’s outcome, and are thrilled that she had such positive things to say about her treatment.  If you’re experiencing any pain or movement-related issues of your own, we invite you to come in and see us for a consultation that will serve as your first step towards improvement.  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 juvenile arthritis.

Children can get arthritis, too, but our New York City physical therapists can provide an effective solution through education and activity

When you hear the term “arthritis,” the first image that comes to mind might be a frail elderly person who has trouble opening up a jar of pickles or tying their shoes.  It may surprise you, then, to hear that arthritis can affect children and adolescents, too. Arthritis that affects these younger populations is referred to as juvenile arthritis, and although it’s not nearly as common as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, it can still be a major barrier to a normal life for the many individuals with the condition.  Fortunately, our New York City physical therapists can provide an active treatment program for these patients that focuses on movement to alleviate symptoms.

The immune system develops rapidly throughout childhood and is not fully formed until about age 18.  This state of development in the immune system is one of the main factors that leaves children and adolescents vulnerable to juvenile arthritis.  As an autoimmune disease, juvenile arthritis causes the body’s normal defense system to attack itself, which compromises a child’s ability to fight normal diseases and leaves them open to further complications.  Nearly 300,000 children have some form of juvenile arthritis, many of whom are impaired in their abilities to function normally in everyday life.

Juvenile arthritis is actually an umbrella term used to describe the many autoimmune and inflammatory conditions that can develop in these younger populations.  It can appear in children as young as six months old and as late as 18 years old, and though each type of juvenile arthritis has its own unique features, most involve some degree of joint pain, swelling, redness, and warmth that doesn’t go away over time.

Some forms of juvenile arthritis affect the musculoskeletal system, but oddly, joint symptoms may be minor or nonexistent.  It can also affect the eyes, skin, muscles, and gastrointestinal tract.  The most common form is called juvenile idiopathic arthritis, often referred to as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA).  JRA affects about 50,000 children in the U.S. and is the result of the immune system mistakenly attacking the body’s tissues, which causes inflammation and an array of painful symptoms.

When children show signs of juvenile arthritis, some parents assume the swollen joints and fever may just be the flu, or that a rash is from an allergic reaction.  It’s for this reason that parents should be vigilant and know the possible indications of juvenile arthritis when these symptoms continue longer than expected.

How our New York City physical therapists can manage juvenile arthritis

There is currently no cure for juvenile arthritis, so the condition is instead managed by helping patients control their pain, reduce inflammation, and maintain mobility.  Many children with juvenile arthritis lose muscle mass and flexibility during a flare-up, which is a period in which symptoms get significantly worse.  These patients are often unable to regain these losses in between flare-ups, and their physical abilities tend to gradually decline over time as a result.  It’s for this reason that physical therapy is often recommended as one of the best solutions for these patients since it aims to improve joint flexibility, muscle strength, and overall fitness levels.  A treatment program for children with juvenile arthritis from our New York City physical therapists will typically consist of the following:

  • Stretching exercises to help patients regain flexibility that has been lost
  • Strengthening exercises to build back strength deficits, particularly high-repetition, low-weight resistance exercises that target weak muscles
  • Education and guidance on how to stay physically active and what types of activities are best
  • Pain-relieving modalities like ultrasound, ice, and heat therapy
  • In some cases, a physical therapist will also recommend an assistive device like a splint to help keep joints properly aligned and stretch them

Juvenile arthritis is a bothersome condition for younger patients that must be acknowledged and managed accordingly, and we strongly believe that physical therapy is the best way to accomplish this.  If your child is displaying symptoms that might suggest juvenile arthritis, our New York City physical therapists recommend that you come in for an evaluation to determine if the condition is present.  Call Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy at 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment today, or click here for more information on juvenile arthritis.

Success stories from Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City: Amy is free of pain, headaches, and vertigo symptoms after completing treatment

Amy is a 50-year-old woman who was dealing with a number of bothersome symptoms following brain surgery for a subarachnoid hemorrhage.  This is a type of stroke that is caused by bleeding in the space between the brain and the membrane that surrounds it, which is called the subarachnoid space.  The bleeding in these strokes is usually due to the rupture of a blood vessel in the brain (aneurysm), and it can lead to permanent brain damage and even death if left untreated.

After undergoing surgery, Amy reported feeling pain in her temporomandibular joint, which connects the skull to the lower jaw.  She also started experiencing symptoms of vertigo, in which it felt as if the world was spinning around her, and tension headaches, which are usually described as a tight band of pressure around the head.

Amy eventually came in to see us at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City in search of a solution for these issues.  From there, Amy was referred to Katerina Tsernou, an integrative wellness practitioner and certified hypnotist.  Katerina evaluated Amy’s condition and created a treatment program to address her symptoms, which included the following interventions:

  • Facial exercises and massage techniques, which were intended to both strengthen and release a number of facial muscles, including the buccinator muscles, which control the cheeks, and the risorius muscles, which assist with the mouth movements needed for a smile
  • Breathing exercises, which engage the vagus nerve and create a sense of relaxation and pain relief
  • Progressive muscle relaxation techniques, which systematically relieve tension in various muscles, one group at a time, to alleviate stress and anxiety; in Amy’s case, it was found that she had tension particularly in her jaw, which was likely due to past trauma and stress
  • Hypnosis and imagery training that focused on minimizing Amy’s pain, reducing her stress levels, and providing a sense of calm, clarity, and elevated mood
  • Emotional freedom technique (EFT), a technique in which Amy tapped various points throughout her body (meridian points) with her fingers to release emotions, create change, and help her gain confidence to live a healthy, pain-free life

Amy had a positive response to her treatment program, as she experienced feeling less overall pain during the very first session.  Katerina reported that she was in control of her sensory system and that she managed or minimized the duration and intensity of the pain and headaches.  Amy accomplished this by using the power of her mind, coupled with hypnotic suggestions at this first visit.  During the next session, Amy was able to uncover and address the emotional/psychosomatic reasons behind her vertigo.  Through careful observation, Katerina also discovered that unresolved traumas were causing Amy’s body to experience giddiness as an escape mechanism when she was stressed.  Through the hypnosis sessions, Amy released these old traumas, which in turn reduced her overall stress levels.  She is now pain-free, vertigo-free, and healthier than before, both physically and emotionally.

Here at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City, we’re excited to see that Amy was able to improve so rapidly from such a variety of interventions.  Her story also shows that because every patient is different, the treatments that will lead to the best possible outcome will also vary from one case to another.  So if you’re dealing with any painful issues of your own, we invite you to find out how we can help you impove next.  Contact us at 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment today, or click here to read our last blog for additional information on headaches and other issues related to the neck.

Headaches, vertigo, and jaw pain in New York City can all be caused by issues that start within the neck

More than 100 types of headaches have been identified, and while each of these arises from a different cause, they all tend to make life more difficult during an episode.  One of the most common types of headaches is called a cervicogenic headache, which is actually more related to a problem within the neck than the head.  Issues related to structures of the neck can lead to complications elsewhere as well, including vertigo and jaw pain in New York City.  Fortunately, our physical therapists are trained to identify cases when the neck is responsible for these problems and can then work on designing an appropriate treatment program to address them.

Headaches can generally be classified into two groups: primary and secondary.  A primary headache simply means the headache itself is the disorder, while secondary headaches result from other conditions or injuries to other areas of the body.  Cervicogenic headaches are one of the most prevalent types of secondary headaches, and they account for about 15-20% of all headaches.  They’re classified as secondary headaches because they occur due to a dysfunction within the neck rather than the head.

As a result, cervicogenic headaches are considered to be a form of referred pain. This means that even though the source of the pain is within the cervical region of the spine (the neck), the sensation of pain is felt in the head as a headache.  The reason that neck problems lead to headaches is because there are nerves in the upper spine that have connections with certain nerves in the head.  As a result, damage or dysfunction in one area can lead to symptoms in the other.

But the repercussions of a neck-related dysfunction don’t end with headaches.  The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a hinge joint that connects the part of the skull directly in front of the ears (temporal bone) to the lower jaw (mandible).  Since the neck, TMJ, and skull are located so closely to one another, slight variations in the way each of these areas functions can lead to problems in others. This is one reason why about 44% of patients with cervicogenic headaches also have TMJ pain, as the two can influence each other.

The muscles and joints in the neck also send signals about the position and movement of the head to the brain, which helps to keep the body balanced.  But when the receptors in the neck can’t properly communicate with the brain because of neck problems, it may result in vertigo, which is a sensation that a person or the world around them is spinning.

How physical therapy can address your cervicogenic headaches, vertigo, and jaw pain in New York City

Since all of these potential issues originate in the neck, the only way to fix them is by first identifying the source of the problem and then addressing the dysfunction.  This is where we come in, as our physical therapists perform a thorough evaluation during patients’ first visit to get to the root of the issue before beginning any treatments.  From there, if your symptoms are found to be related to the neck, your therapist will then create a treatment program that will target any structures that may be weak or out of balance.  Below are a few interventions that might be recommended for cervicogenic headaches and other similar issues:

  • Manual therapy: after identifying what parts of the upper spine are dysfunctional, your therapist will move and mobilize specific muscles and joints to relieve tension and reduce symptoms
  • SNAGs: sustained natural apophyseal glides, or SNAGs for short, are a type of exercise ideal for cervicogenic headache in which you’ll mimic the manual therapy performed by the therapist on your own
  • Postural reeducation: since poor posture can often be a contributing factor, your therapist will help to identify if there are any aspects of your posture that are out of alignment and guide you on how to correct them
  • Strengthening exercises: these exercises will focus on building up the strength of the muscles in the neck and shoulder regions to provide more support and reduce the chances of future symptoms
  • Soft-tissue massage: this is another hands-on technique performed by the therapist to reduce tension and alleviate painful symptoms
  • Vestibular neck exercises: these exercises are designed to improve the positioning and orientation of the head
  • Vestibulo-ocular reflex exercises: for vertigo-related issues, these exercises will help improve visual tracking and coordination between head and eye movements

While there are still many unknowns when it comes to managing headaches and other problems arising from neck dysfunction, physical therapy remains an effective option that you should strongly consider. So if you’re dealing with headaches, vertigo, or TMJ pain in New York City, we’d like to help.  Contact Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy at 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment today, or click here for more information on physical therapy for cervicogenic headaches.

Success stories from Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City: Jordan breaks out of a painful cycle after just three weeks of treatment

Jordan is 20-year old college lacrosse player who came in to see us at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City due to back issues.  He explained that he had been experiencing severe episodes of back pain that came and went over the past few years.  Jordan also noticed that his pain typically occured during times of increased life stress, including graduating college and a recent breakup with his girlfriend.   Two years ago, he injured his lower back while performing a heavy deadlift, and now every time he deadlifts, his back is painful for 1-2 days afterward.

After hearing Jordan’s complaints, his physical therapist performed a thorough evaluation to develop a clearer understanding of what was ailing him. The evaluation revealed that Jordan had pain when extending his lower back, decreased mobility in his right hip, and weakness in his left hip and core muscles.  He also experienced a tingling sensation down his right leg when he touched his toes, and although he felt pain after deadlifting, his deadlift form was good.

Before beginning treatment, Jordan explained that his primary goals were to experience no pain in his lower back when performing daily activities, and to decrease the number of intense episdoes of low back pain during stressful times of life. He also wanted to be able to deadlift, exercise, and touch his toes without pain or any tingling ion his right leg.

Jordan’s treatment plan at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City

Jordan’s treatment plan consisted of several components that were all focused on reducing his pain levels and improving his functional abilities. He performed strengthening exerises that targeted his left hip and core muscles, and his therapist applied a series of hands-on techniques to mobilize his right hip.  Jordan’s therapist also educated him on chronic pain, which was responsible for his condition.  He explained that his brain was interpreting danger signals from the lower back based on his prior injury, even though there was no actual tissue damage to this region when he was in pain.  Lastly, Jordan was taught methods to help him manage his stress levels and to become more aware of the  sensitivity of his nervous system during stressful life events.

After three weeks of physical therapy, Jordan was able to exercise without pain once again, which included heavy deadlifting and power movements. He was also able to touch his toes without any pain or tingling sensations, and has not had any painful episodes in the past month.

Jordan had this to say about his experience with us: “I finally feel able to exercise without back pain.  I am grateful that I found a PT clinic that was able to identify the physical as well as the psychological cause on my pain.  Now I am not only pain-free, but I know that I also have the tools to keep the pain from coming back.” 

Here at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City, we couldn’t be happier to see Jordan break out of his painful low back pain cycle so quickly. Chronic pain can be difficult to manage, but Jordan’s story shows how a combination of education and carefully targeted exercises can help patients rid themselves of pain without any medications. So if you’re experiencing any pain of your own, we invite you to come in for a visit and take your first step to eliminate it.  Contact us at 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment today, or click hereto read our last blog for more information on chronic pain.

Our New York City physical therapists explain that eliminating your persistent pain starts with understanding why it’s there and realizing that your body is not in danger

On the surface, pain might seem pretty straightforward: you jam your finger in a door—for example—and as a result, you feel pain in your finger almost immediately.  But when you look at the process that leads to this painful sensation in more detail, you’ll see that what’s going on invovles several steps and is far more complicated than you probably think.  Understanding how and why pain occurs may not seem all that important, but if you’ve ever experienced persistent—or chronic—pain, it’s actually the first crucial step needed to alleviate it.  This is why our New York City physical therapists would like to explain how chronic pain works and why so many people struggle with it.

Acute pain is what likely comes to mind when most people think of pain.  If you sprain your ankle while running or tweak your shoulder after throwing a football, the pain you experience immediately afterwards is called acute pain.  But if this pain lasts for longer than three months—by which point most injuries have healed—it’s referred to as chronic pain.  According to the CDC, about one in five people are affected by chronic pain, and almost half of these individuals report that the pain limits their daily activities.  Some people deal with chronic pain for years without noticing any improvements, which may be due in part to outdated beliefs on the nature of their pain.

Recent developments in research have changed the way that we now understand pain. While it was once thought that pain could only be related to actual damage within the body, it’s been shown that pain is not an accurate predictor of tissue health.  What this means is that you can experience the sensation of pain when there are minimal or no physical problems, or on the flip side, you can injure your body but not experience the sensation of pain.

Pain being ‘too’ protective

Pain is essentially the body’s protector.  It protects you by creating unpleasant feelings that in turn cause your brain to change your behavior so you can avoid future injuries and allow the body to heal (think of pulling back your hand after touching a hot stove and then learning to avoid touching it again in the future).  But the pain is not really “in” your hand (or wherever else you “feel” it.)  Pain is actually a warning signal sent out by the brain that depends on credible evidence to tell you that your body needs protection and should therefore make a change of some sort.  When it does its job properly, you will only “feel” pain when there is a threat or danger to your body that needs to be avoided.

But the problem is that sometimes pain can be too protective by sending out these warning signals unnecessarily, and this is at the heart of understanding chronic pain.  The body can produce these unnecessary warning signals in a number of ways, such as conditioning, in which the body essentially “learns” pain after experiencing repeatedly.

The body contains specific neurons called nociceptors that normally only respond to painful stimuli, like heat or pressure.  When activated, they send a warning signal to your spinal cord, which can then in turn send this signal to your brain.  The brain then interprets the information it receives and the information already stored based on prior experiences with pain.  From here, the brain determines if it’s necessary to protect the body, and if so, tells you that you’re in pain.  But the brain can make mistakes, which may cause you to experience pain based only on thoughts or memories, when there is no physical stimuli or tissue damage present.

The body can “learn” pain when it wrongly creates a painful sensation over and over. The longer your nervous system produces pain, the better it gets at producing it, which is what happens in individuals with chronic pain.  Long after an injury has occurred, even though there is no longer any physical damage or inherent threat, the body has gotten so accustomed to creating pain that even slight triggers can set it off.  This is why emotions are so tightly associated with chronic pain, as experiencing a stressful event can be misinterpreting as a threat to the body and result in a painful sensation in areas affected by chronic pain.

We can help you understand the source of your chronic pain and retrain your brain

Therefore, coping with and overcoming chronic pain starts with figuring out why it’s there in the first place and how it gets triggered.  If you can understand these factors, you can learn to identify chronic pain and stop it in its tracks.  Over time, you can come to retrain your brain so that it no longer creates pain mistakenly and eliminate your chronic pain in the process.

Our New York City physical therapists can help you get to the bottom of your chronic pain and then provide a set of strategies to help you understand and overcome it.  Contact Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy at 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment today, or click here for more information on chronic pain.

Success stories from Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City: after years of bothersome calf pain, Katie finally returns to her running routine

Katie is a 32 year-old runner who came in to see us at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City because she was experiencing pain in her right calf that got worse every time she started running.  She told us that this pain was intense enough that it forced her to stop running after 10 minutes, and she remained in pain for 2-3 days after each run.  Katie also explained that she originally injured her calf while running in college about 10 years ago and was diagnosed at that time with calcification in her calf.

During Katie’s evaluation, her physical therapist noticed that her hip range of motion was significantly reduced, especially when she tried to rotate her hip while it was flexed or extended.  This dysfunction created a position that caused Katie to rotate her leg outwards all the way from her hip down to her foot and ankle.  Having her foot and ankle rotated outwards limited her ability to move her ankle upwards (dorsiflexion), which decreased the extensibility of her calf muscles, preventing them from stretching easily.

Katie’s treatment plan from Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City

Katie’s therapist originally treated her injury directly with Active Release Technique, which helped decrease her pain levels and increased her soft tissue extensibility. Additional joint mobilizations were used to increase her right ankle dorsiflexion, especially in a weight-bearing position.  Katie got to a point where she was able to start running again, but continued to have slight discomfort as the intensity of her running increased.

During future visits, the focus of her treatments shifted to the hip and how the dysfunction in that area created stress down the chain.  Active Release Technique was administered again, focusing on a number of muscles in the thigh, knee, and core, and joint mobilizations were applied to her hip joint to increase its range of motion.  In addition to these hip-focused treatments, Katie also followed a home-exercise program that helped her maintain the improvements she made with her foot and ankle.

Upon returning to her running program this time, Katie was able to increase the duration and intensity of her running without any complaints of calf pain.  She was discharged from physical therapy and has been able to continue her recreational running program without issue. Katie had this to say about her experience and success with physical therapy: “I came to Dynamic Sports PT with a long-term injury to my calf.  It was preventing me from running on a regular basis for years.  Jon took the time to identify the root cause of my issue and worked to address my problems holistically.  As a result, I am back running again, and most importantly, I am pain-free.  I would definitely recommend Dynamic Sports PT to anyone.  Great and friendly staff and PTs!”

Katie’s success in physical therapy highlights the interdependence of the kinetic chain and how a dysfunctional piece of the puzzle can influence a joint or muscle downstream.  It also shows why as physical therapists, we avoid chasing the pain, as the underlying issue can be one or even two joints away from the painful spot.  Finally, her story highlights the importance of why we reevaluate each patient every time they come in for treatment.  If a patient’s symptoms return after we’ve cleared a body part, we will not continue to treat the same body part and expect a different result.  Instead, we look elsewhere and continue the process of reevaluating the patient to determine what else may be causing the problem.

We are thrilled to see that Katie has returned to her running routine without pain, and we hope that she continues to stick with her home-exercise program in order to maintain her improvements.  If you’re dealing with any painful issues of your own, we invite you to come in for a visit to find out what we can do for you.  Contact Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City at 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment, or click here to read our last blog or here for more information on calf pain.

Ongoing calf pain in New York City is common in runners and other athletes, but we can get to the bottom of the issue

For most active individuals who make fitness a regular part of their routine, occasional pain and soreness is expected.  Runners and anyone else who incorporates lots of running into their regimen are usually accustomed to pain in several parts of the leg, including the calf. Calf pain in New York City tends to feel like a sudden pull on the lower leg that comes about when walking or running, often interfering with one’s ability to keep active.  In some cases, calf pain may become an ongoing—or chronic—issue that does not improve over time.  When this occurs, it’s best to see one of our physical therapists so we can determine what’s causing the problem and create a treatment program to resolve it.

The calf is not a single muscle, but actually consists of several muscles that each has a unique function.  The three primary calf muscles are as follows:

  • Gastrocnemius: the big, bulky muscle that most people think of when referring to the calf; the gastrocnemius has two heads and spans from the lower end of the thighbone (femur) to the back of the heel, where it connects to the foot through the Achilles tendon; this muscle allows you to push your foot downwards—which is called plantar flexion—and helps you bend your knee
  • Soleus: this long, flat muscle lies behind the gastrocnemius, along the back of the shinbone (tibia); the soleus also helps to plantar flex the foot—especially when the knee is bent and the gastrocnemius is being used—and helps to keep the body upright when standing
  • Plantaris: this very small, thin, rope-like muscle lies on the outside of the calf area and crosses over both the knee and ankle; it assists the gastrocnemius with both plantar flexion and flexing of the knee

A calf strain occurs when one of these muscles is overstretched or overworked to the point where the muscle is damaged.  Any calf muscle can be strained, but the gastrocnemius is most commonly affected because of its size and the significant role it plays in both the ankle and knee joints.  A sudden, traumatic calf strain is referred to as an acute injury, and symptoms usually include swelling, weakness, tightness, and pain that tends to get worse with movement.  In some cases these symptoms may go away on their own but then return some time later, especially with repeated physical activity that involves the calves.  This is called a chronic or repetitive calf strain, which may be more difficult to address than an acute injury.

Alleviating symptoms and improving function for calf pain in New York City

Fortunately, our physical therapists are adept at diagnosing and treating calf pain in New York City.  When addressing these injuries, our goal is to first identify which calf muscle is damaged, as targeting the wrong muscle can lead to delays in healing. From here, we will craft a unique treatment program based on the calf muscle that’s been injured and your personal goals and abilities.  Most programs will include the following:

  • Pain-relieving modalities: ice, heat, ultrasound, taping, heel lifts, and other interventions will be applied to immediately reduce your pain levels
  • Manual therapy: your therapist will use variety of hands-on techniques that target the calf and surrounding area to alleviate symptoms and improve function
  • Strengthening exercises: your physical therapist will prescribe specific exercises intended to improve your strength and agility, which may include cuff weights, stretchy bands, weight-lifting equipment, and cardio exercise equipment
  • Flexibility exercises: your therapist will also recommend specific activities to help restore the flexibility of your knee and ankle, which is often lost with calf injuries
  • Home-exercise program: additional strengthening and flexibility exercises may be prescribed for the calf, toe, knee, and ankle to prevent future injury of your calf

Calf pain in New York City can be a nuisance to your exercise routine, especially when you think you have the problem under control but it eventually returns in full force.  If you’re dealing with any type of calf issue, our physical therapists can figure out what’s going on and address it with a targeted treatment program.  Contact Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City to schedule an appointment today at212-317-8303, or click herefor more information on calf strains.

Success stories from Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City: Mason is able to return to his normal activities after just four treatment sessions

Mason came in to see us at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City complaining of stiffness, pain, and spasms on the right side of his abdominal muscles.  These symptoms were bothering Mason and interfering with his ability to turn in and get out of bed, which led him to seek out treatment.  He also pointed out that he had a limited ability to rotate his torso and reach overhead and across his body, which was affecting his upper body workouts, rowing, and playing golf.

After hearing Mason explain these symptoms, his physical therapist performed a complete evaluation of his abdominal muscles, shoulders, and mid and lower back.  This evaluation revealed that Mason had severely limited range of motion when rotating the mid back and moving the shoulder in a number of directions.  He also had increased sensitivity, pain, and stiffness in the mid-back, shoulder, and right abdominal muscles, and significant muscular restrictions throughout a number of other abdominal muscles.  Additional findings included a reduced ability to dissociate mid and lower back rotation movements, inefficient breathing—with lots of breath holding—during rotational maneuvers, and poor strength in some key muscles of the spine and core.

Before beginning treatment, Mason stated that his goals were to reduce his pain levels, improve his posture, and regain flexibility throughout his upper body and torso.  He also wanted to improve his golf swing and flexibility habits for the long term.

Mason’s treatment program from Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City

Mason’s treatment program began with manual therapy that was applied by the hands of the physical therapist and followed an impairment-based approach.  Treatment sessions would start with manual therapy and then rapidly progress to include a home program that was to be performed as a pre-exercise/golf routine in the long term.  These sessions would include any or a combination of the following techniques:

  • Bed mobility techniques to protect the site of injury
  • Joint manipulation and mobilization of the thoracic spine and diaphragm/rib cage
  • Soft tissue massage
  • Taping to improve posture
  • Heated ultrasound
  • Cupping and the Graston technique
  • Assessment and training in golf swing components and ergonomics through a Titleist Performance Institute golf screen
  • Postural restoration and integration techniques
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises of the hips, shoulder, upper back, and diaphragm
  • Exercises for flexibility and stabilization of the core muscles throughout spine

After just four physical therapy treatment sessions, Mason began to notice a reduction in his abdominal oblique pain. He reported feeling more mobile and stronger when turning in and getting out of bed, and was also able to resume his upper body workouts, rowing and playing nine holes of golf without any injury recurrence or setbacks.

Mason had this to say about his treatment experience with us: “I am so glad I came to Dynamic after I got injured.  It was amazing that I started to feel noticeably better after a couple of visits! Now I can get back to working out, playing golf, and being with my three kids this summer without losing a beat.”

We couldn’t be happier that Mason experienced this type of outcome after such a short period of treatment, and wish him continued success in the future. If you’re dealing with any painful issues of your own, we invite you to give physical therapy a try and see what kinds of results you can experience.  Contact Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City today at 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment, or click here to read our last blog on oblique abdominal strains.

Our New York City physical therapists explain why strains of the oblique abdominal muscles are so common in rotational sports

If you were to think about what regions of the body that are most likely to get injured in sports, the abdominal muscles would probably not be the first one that comes to mind.  Injuries to the knees, ankles, shoulders, and elbows are indeed far more common and typically worthy of the attention they receive, but they are certainly not the only areas where injuries occur.  Strains of the abdominal oblique muscles—or side strains—may not be all that well known, but they are actually quite common in sports, particularly those that involve rotational movements.  To give you a better sense of who’s at risk and how we can help, our New York City physical therapists dive into the mechanism of these strains in the athletic population.

Your body’s core is made up of lower back, abdominal, pelvic and hip muscles, which together provide balance and trunk stability that allows for certain movements of the limbs to occur, such as throwing and swinging.  The oblique muscles are found on the side of the rectus abdominis, which is the six-pack muscle that most people associate with the abs.  There is an external oblique that lies on top and an internal oblique that lies underneath both sides of the rectus abdominis, and these muscles play a significant role in flexing and rotating the trunk, as well as stabilizing it during complex sports movements.

Most abdominal injuries occur in either the external or internal oblique muscles through a number of possible ways.  Having poor mobility of the hips or mid-spine can put excessive strain on the trunk during swinging and throwing movements, which can result in compensation by other muscles.  An imbalance between the right and left oblique muscles is also common in sports like golf and baseball, which can put additional stress on the lead side oblique muscles.  This is why athletes involved in sports that involve rotational movements like throwing a ball or swinging a bat, club, or racquet are at a particularly high risk for experiencing an oblique abdominal strain.

The internal oblique is more likely to strain than the external oblique, and after the injury, patients typically experience a sharp, sudden pain in or around the rib cage.  The abdominal muscles are also tender and a bruise may develop.  Twisting and bending motions are usually painful, which can make it difficult to perform basic everyday tasks.

Treatment and prevention from our New York City physical therapists

After an oblique abdominal strain, athletes should stop participating in their sport to avoid further damage and seek out further assistance from a physical therapist.  Here at DSPT, our New York City physical therapists can provide you with an exercise program to alleviate symptoms and reduce the chances of further injury.  Most programs will include the following:

  • Cold therapy
  • Heat therapy
  • Compression
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Stretching exercises
  • Advice on what exercises and sports to stay away from
  • Guidance on how to modify your form to prevent future injuries

Even though oblique abdominal strains may not get the same attention as some of the more common sports-related injury, they can still be just as bothersome and frustrating for patients.  If you’re an athlete in a rotational sport dealing with symptoms that may suggest an oblique strain, our New York City physical therapists would like to help you.  Contact Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy at 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment today, or click here for more information on oblique abdominal strains.