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.

What we did at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City to help Katie improve

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.

Success stories from Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City: Mark overcomes pelvic floor issues after completing a course of acupuncture

Mark came in to Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City after experiencing symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction.  He complained of urinary frequency, tension in his pelvis, pain when sitting, and tightness in his buttocks.  He explained that he had suffered a tailbone injury in college and believed it was the event that led to the onset of his symptoms.  Mark also reported that stress, as well as a lack of sleep, both seemed to make his symptoms worse.

After learning of Mark’s injury history and set of symptoms, his therapist performed a full-scale evaluation to gather a clearer understanding of what was bothering him.  When palpation was performed—in which the therapist examined the size, shape, and other features of various body parts with touch—it was found that Mark had a lot of sensitivity and tightness in pelvic floor muscles, abdominal muscles, lower back muscles, buttocks, and hamstrings.  Palpation in the pelvic area also brought on symptoms of an urge to urinate.  Mark’s tailbone was shifted and sensitive to touch, and his pelvis was shifted as well.

Before beginning treatment, Mark stated that his primary goals were to reduce discomfort with sitting, reduce his urge to urinate, and alleviate some of tightness and pain.  Based on Mark’s condition, it was decided that acupuncture would be the most appropriate treatment to help him accomplish his goals.

A total of 14 acupuncture and cupping treatments were provided to address Mark’s symptoms. It was also found that Mark had a habitual pattern of clenching his buttocks when he was stressed, and when he became aware of the behavior, he started to work on eliminating the habit.  Mark was also advised to do yoga that specifically targeted the pelvic floor five times a week.  Finally, he was instructed to keep a food journal, and together, we worked through it to help him eliminate inflammatory foods from his diet.

After completing acupuncture, Mark reported that he no longer experienced pain with sitting.  His urinary urgency now only occurs occasionally, when he is very stressed or drinks too much coffee, and he no longer feels any pain or sensitivity around his tailbone.

Mark had the following to say about his treatment experience with us: “Thank you for making me feel so comfortable and allowing me to open up about my symptoms.  I am very happy to be pain-free and thank you for showing me how much lifestyle can have an impact on health.”

Experience similar results at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City

Mark’s story shows that some physical issues may somewhat uncomfortable to bring up to a healthcare provider, but once they are shared with us, we can always find the best solution to address them.  We wish Mark continued success in the future, and encourage any of you dealing with physical ailments of your own to visit us at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City to get started on a clear path to recovery. Contact us at 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment today, or click hereto read our last blog on pelvic floor dysfunction.

A comprehensive physical therapy treatment program is the best way to address pelvic floor dysfunction in New York City

Many common physical ailments—like sprained ankles and low back pain, for example—can usually be discussed with a healthcare provider and addressed without much pause.  But other health issues are a bit more personal, and as a result, aren’t always easy to bring up to your doctor.  One condition that usually falls in the second category is pelvic floor dysfunction in New York City, which is more common that you probably think.  Fortunately, our physical therapists see patients with this complaint often, and we can offer an effective, comprehensive program to address it.

Approximately one in five individuals in the U.S. suffers from some form of pelvic floor dysfunction at some point in their life, but the problem is not always addressed due to its personal nature.  This means that millions of Americans are currently dealing with pelvic floor-related symptoms, and many are simply living with the pain and discomfort because they may not entirely understand what’s wrong or how to fix it.

The pelvic floor is made up of muscles and other tissues that form a “sling” from the pubic bone to the tailbone.  These structures assist in supporting the abdominal and pelvic organs, and help to control the bladder, bowels, and sexual activity.  While most people think of the core muscles as the abdominal and perhaps the lower back muscles, the pelvic floor is another major group that will affect the rest of the body.  Good pelvic stability will have a positive effect on spinal alignment, knee stability, hip function, and many other areas of the body, while poor stability can throw the entire system out of whack.

Pelvic floor dysfunction refers to a wide range of problems that occur when these pelvic floor muscles are weak or tight, or if there’s an impairment of the lower back and/or hips.  In these cases, the tissues surrounding the pelvic organs may have increased or decreased sensitivity, or there may be some irritation, which can result in a variety of symptoms.  Pelvic floor dysfunction may be due to pregnancy or childbirth-related issues, poor posture from low back or hip pain, direct trauma, or surgery, or in many cases the cause is unknown.  Symptoms and potential complications may include:

  • Pain in the lower back that is unrelated to other causes
  • Ongoing pain in the pelvic region, genitals, or rectum with or without a bowel movement
  • Painful urination
  • Constipation
  • Pain during sexual activity (for both males and females)
  • Leakage of stool or urine during exercise or exertion
  • Tailbone pain
  • Nerve pain in the pelvic region
  • Infertility/reproductive issues
  • Abdominal surgery
  • Cancers of the pelvic region 

Typical physical therapy protocol for pelvic floor dysfunction in New York City

Pelvic floor dysfunction in New York City can be a complex issue that requires the care of experts who are familiar with its many possible nuances.  Our physical therapists and acupuncturist see patients with pelvic floor issues frequently, and we are committed to identifying the source of the symptoms and then developing a personalized and comprehensive treatment program that addresses them.  Each program is unique and depends on the patient’s evaluation, but most will include the following components:

  • Pelvic floor strengthening exercises
  • Manual therapy
  • Posture retraining and education
  • Transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TENS)
  • Biofeedback
  • Myofascial release

So if you’re dealing with symptoms that may be related to pelvic floor dysfunction in New York City but are no sure what to do about it, we are here to help. Contact Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy at 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment today, or click herefor more information on pelvic floor dysfunction.