After a rough accident and a series of setbacks, Jason is finally beginning his return to full activity

Hang around enough physical therapy places in New York City, and you’ll eventually hear a cyclist—and now patient—telling his story of the car that T-boned him at an intersection. Race director of the Westchester Triathlon and avid cyclist Jason Twedt was that unlucky biker just one week following the 2017 event.  According to Jason, he had been “left crossed” by an oncoming minivan.

“I was on my way home from a hard training ride,” he said. “I was tired, glycogen-depleted, grumpy, and I really just wanted to get home and have a beer. It happened in slow motion. I had the lane and a green light, and then a blue minivan driving the other direction made a left turn directly into me. I went flying. The driver was a woman about my age who got out the car and stood over me saying, ‘Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.’ I was like: ‘Oh my god! You hit me!’ My first thoughts were, Am I okay? Can I move my fingers and toes? And man, the rest of this ride is going to be annoying! But then I looked down and saw my knee, couldn’t move my big toe, and was like, Oh crap. It’s also difficult to ride a bike that is in two pieces! Being laid out on the pavement on your back is a lonely place after your life flashes in front of you. I had never felt so alone.”

Jason had sustained an ACL tear in his left knee and crushed the bones in his left big toe.  He was sidelined from cycling, and had to take time away from his bike shop, which he had just opened in Bethel, CT.  He had two separate surgeries, one to fuse together the bones in his toe and another to repair the torn ligament in his knee. His initial progression through the typical ACL rehab timeline was slow because he couldn’t bear weight on his healing left toe.  Nonetheless, he was aggressive with the exercises he was able to perform, and once his toe could bear weight, his program advanced.

Eventually Jason was able to get back on his bike trainer indoors, though not without pain and stiffness.  He had a screw in his toe that made walking and cycling painful, and running impossible.  He had also developed excessive scar tissue in the knee joint that limited his motion, caused pain and swelling, and inhibited his quadriceps muscles. Together, this further added to the obstacles of running.

According to Jason’s physical therapist, Bridget Dungan, DPT, “Scar tissue and swelling in the knee has an inhibitory effect on the quadriceps muscles, which decreases muscle fiber activation and makes it really hard to build strength,” she said. This is why even basic everyday tasks had become difficult to Jason because of his decreased range of motion and inefficient quads.

“Stepping over the ledge of a bathtub and going down stairs was really tough,” Jason said. “What once had been simple everyday motions became challenging. I was beginning to learn what old age must feel like!”

Back ‘under the knife’ once again

Jason is not only a cyclist, but also a triathlete, so returning to running was a priority.  The only option to fix the toe pain and improve his knee bending was to go “under the knife” again.  One year after the accident, Jason was back on the operating table to remove the screw from his toe and clean out the scar tissue from his knee.  And once again he was back in physical therapy.  This time, the priority was knee range of motion and then strengthening his left leg.  Despite his three-day-a-week treatment program after the first surgeries, he never fully regained his quadriceps muscle strength due to inhibition from scar tissue and pain.  He had a lot of catching up to do.  Luckily, the second surgery didn’t involve any repairs, so he could be relatively aggressive with his therapy right from the start.  And with the screw out of his toe, he was no longer held back by pain from the hardware.

“Getting Jason’s knee to bend to its full potential after that second knee surgery was a delicate balance between pushing his limits but not over stressing the joint and causing it to swell,” Bridget explained.  “It was important to regain and maintain his motion within the first two weeks after surgery, otherwise scar tissue could form again.”

Jason finally felt he had hit the home stretch, but was then faced with another unexpected trip to the operating room. He had been feeling some neck and arm pain since the accident, which gradually started to worsen. A minor surgery fixed the problem, but sidelined him for a few more days, giving his knee some unwelcomed—thought probably beneficial—rest. If you see Jason running around at the Westchester Triathlon, you know he doesn’t take well to sitting still!

A long-awaited shift in focus to full recovery, followed by training

Finally back on track, Jason could focus his energies on his physical therapy. His rehab approach was comprehensive: Bridget performed manual (hands-on) therapy for range of motion—which included Active Release Technique, Graston Technique, and joint mobilization—three times a week, and Jason performed self-stretching and range of motion exercises (including time on the stationary bike) several times a day. He was on a progressive strengthening program targeting his legs and core muscles, with a focus on his left quadriceps. Strengthening his hip muscles was also important, so that he would have a stable pelvic base when he eventually returned to running.

One key element of his strengthening program was the use of blood flow restriction (BFR) training, which is beneficial for building muscle strength after surgery. It involves the use of a controlled tourniquet system that occludes a percentage of blood to the limb while performing exercises, so that the muscles are working in a deprived oxygen state. This makes the muscles work harder, without having to load the joint. Jason used BFR training in the leg press with a very low weight, which taxed the muscles but not his knee, and helped him to quickly regain his quadriceps strength.

Retraining Jason’s balance and proprioception was also a priority, since these are usually impaired after joint injuries. Emphasis was placed on single-leg functional tasks with careful attention to using proper form. When the strength of his left leg returned, he was ready to start agility training and plyometrics, and is now on a return-to-run program. Soon, his workouts will be less about rehab and more about training, as he prepares for his first race back.

“I’m a better athlete now,” Jason said. “Going through rehab and basically starting over forced me to look at old habits and really address weaknesses. It made me do things I probably should have done from the beginning, and that’s made me even stronger. I take a much more defensive approach to riding. It made me think about what was important in life. But the most rewarding and important lesson was when I finally realized I had the courage to let go of what I can’t change. I might never be as fast, run a marathon again, or probably see the podium in a race…or perhaps I will. But regardless, I am still here to enjoy the ride!”

Jason is the Race Director of the Westchester Triathlon, which will be held this year on September 22. For more information, visit www.westchestertriathlon.org.

For common triathlon injuries in New York City, our physical therapists can provide the treatment and training guidance needed to bounce back

Most athletes strive to push themselves to their physical limits—and sometimes beyond them—but it can be argued that triathletes are in a class all their own. Triathlons, which consist of a grueling combination of swimming, running, and cycling, are all-encompassing events that require the use of practically every part of the body. Training also tends to be equally intense, with many avid triathletes logging hundreds of miles total in these disciplines each month. It should come as no surprise, then, that triathlon injuries in New York City are quite common. These types of injuries can sideline triathletes and get in the way of their aggressive training regimens, but our physical therapists can provide the treatment and guidance needed to help them recover and get back on the saddle.

Triathlon participation rates vary from year to year, but more than 2 million individuals complete at least one triathlon on a consistent basis every year. There is also a great deal of variation in the distances of the events in each triathlon in order to accommodate all skill levels. These range from the shortest triathlon (the “sprint”), which usually consists of a 0.5-mile swim, 12.4-mile bike ride, and 3.1-mile run, to the Full Ironman, which features a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, 26.2-mile run (a full marathon).

The vast majority of triathlon-related injuries are classified as “overuse injuries,” which means the culprit is training too much or too hard without enough time to recover. In fact, one study found that in the six months leading up to a triathlon, 87% of participants reported experiencing some type of overuse injury. The primary issue here is that triathlon training repetitively stresses the muscles, tendons, and tissues around bones and joints, and this continuous stress produces small amounts of trauma (microtrauma) in these structures. The body can only do so much to keep up with this repetitive microtruama, and when it can’t repair all the damage done through training, the result is pain, weakness, and inflammation that are associated with an overuse injury.

Triathletes are subject to the wide array of overuse injuries that can occur in swimming, cycling, and running, but some injuries tend to crop up more frequently than others in this population. These include:

  • Rotator cuff tendinitis: an inflammation of any of the tendons of the rotator cuff, this injury is typically due to repeatedly performing the freestyle swim stroke
  • Iliotibial band syndrome: the iliotibial band, a large tendon that runs from the top of the hip to the top of the shinbone, can get irritated or inflamed from rubbing against the kneecap; increasing running mileage too quickly is usually the culprit
  • Achilles tendinitis: the strongest and longest tendon of the body—the Achilles tendon—takes on a great deal of impact in triathlon training, and when it wears down from tight calves or too much training, the result is pain above the heel
  • Patellar tendinitis: the tendon that connects the kneecap to the shinbone can also get inflamed, often from an improper bike fit or tight quadriceps muscles
  • Stress fractures: these injuries, which are small fractures (usually in the feet), occur when increasing your training without taking enough time to recover

How our physical therapists can help with triathlon injuries in New York City

Addressing triathlon injuries is not as straightforward as the process usually is in single sports, as active triathletes are working out their entire bodies, and the cause of the injury may be difficult to single out. Treating these injuries requires an intimate knowledge of each sport involved and the common injuries that may be seen in them, which is something we happen to pride ourselves on here at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy. For triathlon injuries in New York City, we can provide the following:

  • An assessment of your swim stroke, running form, bike, and cycling position; if any of these components are out of balance, it may be contributing to your injury or pain, and we will work with you to identify the issue and correct it
  • Advice on training duration and intensity, with a particular focus on avoiding drastic changes in your training program, which is often associated with overuse injuries
    • One benefit of triathlon training is that—depending on the injury—if you can’t perform one sport, you may be able to compensate by spending extra time with the others
  • Injury-specific treatment, which may include any of the following:
    • Pain-relieving modalities like ice, heat, ultrasound
    • Stretching exercises
    • Strengthening exercises
    • Sport-specific education and rehabilitation
    • Manual (hands-on) therapy

Competing in triathlons and putting in the training time needed to excel is a serious undertaking that comes with plenty of payoffs, but injuries are unfortunately a part of the whole bag as well. Treating triathlon injuries in New York City requires the expertise and experience of professionals that understand why these injuries occur and how best to overcome them, which is something we have in abundance here at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy. So if you’re currently dealing with any triathlon-related pain or soreness that’s holding you back from your training, we’d like to help you get back on track. Contact Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy at 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment today, or click here for more information on common triathlon injuries.

Our New York City physical therapists break down post-concussion syndrome, in which symptoms continue long after the injury

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury caused by a direct or indirect hit—usually to the head—that aggressively moves the brain within the skull. This sudden movement can stretch and damage brain tissue and trigger a series of harmful chemical and cellular changes that may interfere with normal brain activities. Concussion symptoms like headaches, fatigue, and brain “fogginess” usually come about after the injury and then gradually dissipate within about two weeks for most people. But symptoms can last for much longer for others, and when this occurs, it’s usually referred to as post-concussion syndrome. Unfortunately, there are many factors that are not completely understood about post-concussion syndrome, but our New York City physical therapists offer what is known about the condition and what types of treatment approaches may be used.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 3.8 million concussions occur in the U.S. each year, but this figure may be even higher since many individuals fail to report concussions. Concussions can result from any traumatic force that causes the brain to move within the skull—such as a fall or car accident—but the majority occur in sports and recreational activities like football, rugby, soccer, hockey, and boxing. Less than 10% of concussions result in a loss of consciousness, which is why anyone who experiences a blow to the head should be evaluated and monitored afterwards for symptoms.

Concussions often lead to both physical and mental symptoms

The immediate physical symptoms of a concussion may include headache, dizziness, nausea/vomiting, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, double or blurred vision, sensitivity to light and/or sound, and problems with balance. Other cognitive and emotional symptoms may include confusion, problems with memory and concentration, fogginess, irritability, depression/anxiety, aggression, personality changes, and mood swings. For about 80-90% of individuals, these symptoms will usually subside within 7-10 days after the concussion. But when symptoms continue to be a problem, individuals are often diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome.

Post-concussion syndrome is a complex disorder in which various physical and mental symptoms—like fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and fogginess—remain long after the concussion has occurred. These lingering symptoms usually only last for a few additional weeks, but can continue for up to 3-6 months in some individuals. Patients with post-concussion syndrome can experience symptoms at rest or in response to too much physical or cognitive (brain-related) activity, which can have a major impact on their social, personal, and professional life.

Studies have shown that approximately 10% of high school athletes experience post-concussion syndrome, while occurrence rates in other age groups range from 5-30%. The causes of post-concussion syndrome and what makes some individuals more likely to experience it than others are not completely understood, but there are some theories as to what might be responsible. Some experts believe that symptoms are caused by structural damage to the brain or a disruption of messages sent by nerves due to the impact of the initial injury. Others believe that symptoms are related to psychological factors, especially because most of these symptoms are similar to those that are often experienced by people with anxiety or depression. In many cases, both the physical effects of the trauma to the brain and the emotional reactions to these effects play a role in the development of symptoms. Older adults, females, and individuals with a history of prior concussions are also at a greater risk for developing post-concussion syndrome.

Managing post-concussion syndrome usually includes a period of rest and allowing the brain’s natural recovery process enough time to heal the damage from the concussion. After this period of rest, active therapies are often prescribed to help alleviate symptoms, but there is no single treatment that’s effective in all cases. Instead, treatment should identify the patient’s worst symptoms and then target them with specific therapies to reduce the symptoms or eliminate their cause. This can be accomplished through acupuncture or a comprehensive physical therapy program, which may include vestibular (balance) therapy, vision therapy, and/or aerobic therapy, depending on what symptoms are most troubling.

Contact our New York City physical therapists if you have lingering concussion symptoms

If you’ve recently experienced a concussion and your symptoms have not yet subsided, you might be dealing with a case of post-concussion syndrome, and our New York City physical therapists would like to help. Contact Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy at 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment, or click here for more information on post-concussion syndrome.

Success stories from Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City: after several failed treatment attempts, Danielle finally finds a path to pain relief with us

Danielle is a female swimmer who came in to see us with a chief complaint of right hip and knee pain. Her pain began after running a half marathon two years ago, and afterwards, she attended physical therapy at another practice and experienced a reduction in her symptoms. But while training for an upcoming half marathon, her symptoms returned once again and began to intensify. An MRI revealed that Danielle had a tear of a structure called the labrum in her right hip, and a joint injection was performed, which led to only a minimal reduction in symptoms. She also underwent another course of physical therapy, but this did not lead to any significant reductions in her pain either. Once Danielle decided to first visit Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City, she could not run or attend yoga classes due to pain on the side and front of her hip.

While performing a comprehensive evaluation, Danielle’s therapist Jon found that she had signs of both hip dysplasia and joint laxity. Hip dysplasia is a condition in which the socket of the hip doesn’t fully cover the ball of the upper femur (thighbone), while joint laxity is a term used to describe joints that are too loose, or lax. Danielle also displayed too much internal rotation of both her hips, stood with significant knee recurvatum (too much backwards motion of the knee), and had poor stability of her core muscles while performing exercises that postured her in right hip extension. Finally, it was found that she had limited external rotation of her hip, weak hip muscles, and squatted with right lower extremity valgus. After completing this evaluation, Jon confirmed her diagnosis as a right hip labral tear and greater trochanteric bursitis.

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

Before beginning treatment, Danielle stated that her primary goals were to return to her running routine, independent gym workouts, and yoga classes after completing her program. Danielle’s treatment started with an aggressive hip and core strengthening routine that focused on exercises to improve the extension of her right hip and strengthen a specific set of muscles called the hip abductors. Next, Jon incorporated some strengthening exercises at the end range of her hip internal rotation. Although the goal here was not to necessarily increase her range—since it was already too great before she started treatment—it was still important to focus on end range strength here so that Danielle was strong through her entire range of motion. This was key a key component of Danielle’s treatment and different than what she had worked on with previous physical therapists. She also worked on maintaining the flexibility of several muscles on the outside of her hip, including the iliotibial band, tensor fasica latae, and quadriceps muscles.

Once Danielle completed her personalized treatment program, she noticed a significant reduction in her pain levels and was able return to her running routine without noticing any pain. Getting to this point took a great deal of one-on-one time with Jon and further evaluation of her condition and response to treatment. Eventually, this process helped Danielle understand that her hip laxity/dysplasia was the main obstacle that was interfering with her ability to improve, which unfortunately cannot be changed by physical therapy because it’s an anatomical problem. However, Jon told her that if she continued with her core strengthening exercises in specific positions, hip strength at the end range, and flexibility exercises for the muscles of her hip, it is possible for her to become pain-free in the future.

Danielle had this to say about her physical therapy experience with us: “Jon was attentive and knowledgeable in diagnosing the source of my injury and how to resolve it. We worked together on a movement treatment plan that reduced my pain and allowed me to more my hip more easily. Now, when I do my exercises regularly, I can run, ski, do exercise classes, and stand for long periods of time (all previously problems!) without pain.”

Jon and the rest of the staff at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City are thrilled to see Danielle finally find an effective solution for her condition, and we wish her continued, pain-free success in the future. If you’re dealing with some pain of your own that’s holding you back in any way, we’d like to help you next in achieving similar outcomes to Danielle. Contact us at 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment today, or click here to read our last blog for more information on hip dysplasia.

Overcome your hip pain with a personalized New York City physical therapy program

Hip impingement syndrome, or femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), is a fairly common and painful condition that results from too much friction between bones in the hip joint. Hip impingement is often caused by repetitive movement of the hip, which is why it’s frequently seen in sports like soccer and football. But in other cases, a condition called congenital dysplasia can lead to changes in the hip that will go on to cause hip impingement later in life. Regardless of its cause, hip impingement leads to bothersome symptoms that can interfere with patients’ lives, but all cases can be effectively managed with a course of New York City physical therapy.

The hip is a ball-and-socket joint in which the “ball” is the thighbone (femur) and the “socket” is the pelvic bone (acetabulum). Both the femur and the acetabulum are covered with smooth articular cartilage that protects the bones and prevents them from rubbing against one another. In addition, another specialized piece of cartilage called the labrum provides a suction seal and helps to further stabilize the hip joint.

In a normal hip, the femur easily fits into a concave section of the acetabulum, and the joint glides smoothly with its additional reinforcements from the labrum and articular cartilage. Hip impingement arises when small bony projections (bone spurs) develop along either the femur or acetabulum, causing these bones to rub against each other directly, without protection. This rubbing leads to pain and decreases the range of motion of the hip. Other symptoms of hip impingement include stiffness in the thigh, hip, or groin, and pain in the groin area, particularly after the hip has been flexed.

Many cases of hip impingement occur from repetitive activity that involves recurrent movement of the legs beyond their normal range of motion. Athletes in sports like soccer, baseball, football, tennis, and hockey, are therefore all at an increased risk for developing it. A single traumatic injury that damages the hip joint may also be responsible for hip impingement.

Some people actually have hip impingement for their entire lives but aren’t affected by it, while others will eventually go on to notice symptoms. One possible reason for impingement is congenital dysplasia, a condition present at birth in about 1 of every 1,000 babies. In patients with dysplasia, the hip socket may be shallow, which lets the head of the femur slip in and out of the socket, sometimes completely. Although dysplasia is not a common cause of impingement, it can be very painful when it does occur. Patients usually describe the pain to be more like a pinching sensation in certain positions of sitting or hip movement, such as a high kick when dancing.

New York City physical therapy to the rescue

Whether the hip impingement is due to sports activity, congenital dysplasia, or some other cause, all cases can be effectively managed with a course of New York City physical therapy. Each treatment program will vary depending on the patient’s specific condition and involvement in sports, but most will typically consist of the following components:

  • A full-scale evaluation in which the physical therapist will identify specific movements or activities that may aggravate pain and advise against them
  • Recommendations for rest and limiting or temporarily stopping participation in whatever sport caused the injury (when applicable); icing the injured area is also helpful
  • A muscle-strengthening program that focuses on the muscles of the hip, as well as the core and legs, which will also affect the functioning of the hip
  • Manual therapy, in which the physical therapist will gently move muscles and joints to decrease pain and improve motion and strength
  • Movement re-education, which will include self-stretching techniques to help restore normal motion of the hip, back and legs; we will also offer advice on stretches to avoid, like passive stretching, which can be damaging to the hip

So if you’re dealing with any symptoms that might suggest the presence of hip impingement, Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy would like to help. Pete Schultz, DPT and Bridget Dungan, DPT specialize in treating hip pain for active and athletic individuals, and both were recently selected as two of the few physical therapists to complete the Advanced Hip Clinician credential through the Hospital for Special Surgery. Contact us at 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment today to get started with your personalized New York City physical therapy program, or click here for more information on hip impingement.

Success stories from Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City: Laura’s pain levels significantly decrease after completing treatment

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.

Acupuncturist Mila Mintis identifies 5 things you may not know about the practice

In this day and age, nearly everyone has heard of acupuncture. Because of celebrities like Kim Kardashian posting pictures with needles in her face during her facial rejuvenation sessions and athlete Kobe Bryant using it for ankle injury, acupuncture has made its way from the dark dungeons of Chinatown into the most prominent offices of Manhattan. Pain is the most common condition treated by acupuncture. However, many people do not know that this medicine has healing abilities that stretch far beyond just pain management.

Mila Mintsis, L.Ac. is a leading certified acupuncturist who practices here at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City. Below, she discusses 5 things that you may not know about acupuncture:

1. Acupuncture decreases anxiety

In our fast-paced society, with increasing demands of work and family life and the challenges of finding balance between them, it is no wonder that such a high number of people suffer from anxiety. The statistics show an increase in usage of anxiety medications and in my practice, close to 90% of clients report feeling anxious on a near-daily basis. The bad news is that acupuncture will not solve your work or family problems. But the good news is that it will make you more equipped to deal with life’s challenges. Studies show that acupuncture increases production of endorphins, reduces prefrontal cortex activity and blocks production of stress hormones, which results in a relaxation response. Patients report feeling euphoric and experience a deep state of relaxation following treatments. Want to try acupuncture for anxiety but anxious about needles? Don’t be. People are often surprised by how gentle and comfortable of a procedure it is, and many fall asleep during treatments.

2. Acupuncture clears up allergies

Allergies are an ever-present epidemic. You, as well as people you know, may be suffering from allergies. There are many theories as to why generations before us did not suffer from allergies as much as we do, but there are few solutions being offered. Recent studies have warned that allergy medications can impair brain function and increase the risk of dementia. Luckily, acupuncture can provide a relief from allergy symptoms without any side effects. There are two main mechanisms behind this effect: First, it modulates cytokines, which are secreted by the cells of the immune system and help to reduce inflammation. Secondly, it reduces IgE levels, which are the immunoglobulins that react to allergens and produce the “allergic response.” After treatments, people report reduction in nasal congestion, sneezing and itching and say they can breathe again. For the best results, treatments must be done a few weeks before the allergy season begins. In addition, dietary modifications such as elimination of dairy and sugar are recommended for longer-lasting relief.

3. Acupuncture can help you get pregnant

Yes, you heard me right. After pain management, fertility is probably the most sought-after treatment by acupuncture. Often performed in conjunction with Western medicine treatments, acupuncture has shown to increase the success of pregnancy rates. Acupuncture increases blood flow to the uterus; decreases anxiety and stress (which often come as a result of being unable to conceive), and regulates hormone levels. Some studies show that receiving acupuncture before and after the embryo transfer in assisted reproduction therapies greatly increases the odds of implantation, leading to live births. There are occasions where the man’s health impedes a successful pregnancy. Acupuncture has been found to improve sperm quality in cases of male infertility. In any case, it seems that both parties can benefit from treatments to increase their odds of conception.

4. Acupuncture helps digestion

Digestive complaints are another issue that has been plaguing our society. Often, when I ask my patients about their digestion, they will say that it is “good” or “normal.” Unfortunately, frequent bloating and infrequent bowel movements is the new definition of normal. Many are unaware that for good health, bowel movements have to occur daily, and frequent bloating is a sign that your body is not properly digesting the food and assimilating nutrients. Proper digestion starts with proper nutrition and Chinese medicine offers specific dietary plans according to your individual digestive issues. In addition to dietary changes, acupuncture can improve digestion by promoting the parasympathetic state, which is also known as “rest and digest”. Most of us are constantly on the go and chronically stressed, which results in sympathetic dominance or “fight-or-flight mode”. It is our body’s way of responding to and dealing with stressful situations. This sympathetic dominance physically impedes proper digestion. Creating a favorable parasympathetic state, as acupuncture does, helps to heal digestive complaints.

5. Acupuncture can get rid of your headaches

Whether you suffer from tension headaches or migraines, acupuncture can help. A study conducted at Duke University, showed that acupuncture was better at treating headaches than aspirin. Other studies have proven acupuncture to be a valuable tool as well. Tension headaches differ from migraines and other headaches in their etiology and therefore acupuncture approaches each with a different strategy. One of the reasons we get headaches is due to constriction of blood vessels, which reduces circulation, and can induce headache pain. Needle stimulation at specific areas on the body increases circulation and induces blood vessel dilation, which can alleviate pain. Tension or spasming in the upper back and neck muscles due to emotional stress or excessive computer use can produce a referred pain into the head, causing tension headaches. Placing needles into involved muscle groups induces relaxation in the muscle tissue and eliminates headaches. During treatments, patients often describe a pleasant warming sensation in the back, and they feel immediately better. And most importantly, acupuncture is safe and has no side effects, unlike some medications.

I hope this information was helpful and insightful. And remember, life can be painful but suffering is always optional. If you have any conditions discussed above, acupuncture may be right for you. Call Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City at 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment today, or click here for more information on acupuncture.

Success stories from Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City: Jaymes can comfortably reach without pain after 8 weeks of treatment

A patient named Jaymes came in to see us at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy due to some debilitating shoulder issues. Jaymes had been experiencing pain, stiffness, and a clicking sensation in both of his shoulders, which was interfering with his ability to stand, reach, and carry photography equipment at his job. He also noted that he was limited when trying to reach overhead or across his body, and he often felt a weakness in his arms from fatigue after long days of photo shoots.

The first step in the treatment process for Jaymes was a full-scale evaluation of his mid-to-upper spine, as well as the muscles surrounding the shoulder. Results showed that Jaymes had severely limited flexibility when rotating this region of the spine, as well as limitations when moving his shoulders in a number of directions. Additional findings from Jaymes’ evaluation included the following:

  • Increased sensitivity, pain, and stiffness in the mid-to-upper spine and the shoulder joints
  • Significant muscular restrictions throughout neck, upper back, shoulders, chest wall, and hips
  • A decreased ability to dissociate scapulothoracic movements of the shoulders
  • Severe kyphotic posture when standing and sitting, which caused Jaymes to hunch his back
  • Inefficient breathing with a lot of breath-holding while lifting, bending, and squatting maneuvers
  • Poor strength in a number of the muscles of the upper back and shoulders

Based on this evaluation, Jaymes was diagnosed with a condition called T4 syndrome, which is also known as upper thoracic syndrome.

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

Before beginning treatment, Jaymes stated that his goals were to reduce his pain levels, improve his posture, and regain flexibility throughout his upper body. He also wanted to improve his general fitness and flexibility habits in the long term.

The first part of treatment consisted of manual therapy that followed an impairment-based approach. The sessions would start with manual therapy and then slowly progress into postural training, followed by exercises for the home and long term maintenance. Each session would include some combination of the following techniques:

  • Joint manipulation and mobilization of the mid-to-upper spine
  • Soft-tissue massage
  • Taping techniques to improve posture
  • Electrotherapy, ultrasound, or laser therapy
  • Cupping and the Graston Technique
  • Training in standing, lifting, and carrying ergonomics
  • Postural restoration and integration techniques
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises of the neck, shoulder, and upper back
  • Exercises for flexibility and stabilization of the core muscles throughout spine

After 6-8 weeks of physical therapy, Jaymes noted that he experienced a decrease in flare-ups of his back and shoulder pain. He reported feeling stronger at work with improved stamina and posture. Although his left shoulder still clicks occasionally, there is no pain, and he is able to reach further overhead and across/away from his body during daily activities—something he recalled never being able to do very well.

Jaymes had this to say about his outcome after therapy: “It feels strange to slouch like I used to—almost as if my body is unable to be hunched over like that anymore. I didn’t realize how much more I can and am supposed to reach overhead—my arm is going new places!”

Jaymes’ story is a testament to how physical therapy can help patients achieve their full potential, which in some cases, they might not even be aware of. We are thrilled to see how pleased Jaymes is with his treatment, and wish him continued success. If you’re experiencing any issues of your own that are holding you back, Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City would like to help you next. Contact us at 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment today, or click here to read our last blog more information on T4 syndrome.

A lesser-known condition called upper thoracic syndrome may be responsible for your back pain in New York City

Of all the regions of the body, the spine ranks as one of the most common in which pain occurs. Back pain can result from a wide range of injuries and conditions, and in many cases, it may be difficult to identify any cause at all. But there is also a condition called upper thoracic syndrome, which is considered one of the lesser known and under-recognized causes of upper back pain in New York City. Upper thoracic syndrome leads to symptoms in the back and down to the hands that can be a disturbance to your daily life, but our physical therapists are equipped to correctly diagnose and treat this bothersome condition.

The spine can be divided into the following five segments moving from its top at the skull to the base: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral, and coccyx. The thoracic spine is located right below the neck (cervical spine), starting at the shoulders and spanning 12 bones—or vertebrae—to the lower back region, or lumbar spine. Upper thoracic syndrome, or T4 syndrome, indicates that there is pain in the 4th vertebrae of this thoracic segment of the spine.

Upper thoracic syndrome primarily develops from an injury to this region of the spinal cord. These types of injury typically result from repeated bending, arching, lifting, or twisting movements of the upper back, which causes damage to the joints of the thoracic spine. Upper thoracic syndrome can also be caused by poor posture, particularly from protruding the head too far forward while sitting or standing, as well as slouching.

For patients with upper thoracic syndrome, symptoms may be varied depending on how severe the condition is, but some of the most common symptoms include pain in the upper back and/or arms, a tingling sensation in the arms and/or hands, extreme hot or cold temperature sensation in the hands, and a heavy feeling in the arms. Less common symptoms include neck pain, pain radiating towards the chest, muscle spasms, and stiffness.

How our therapists manage patients with this type of back pain in New York City

If you’ve been experiencing a number of these symptoms continuously over time, there’s a chance you may have upper thoracic syndrome; however the only way to be certain is after undergoing a thorough evaluation from one of our physical therapists. If a diagnosis is confirmed, physical therapy is regarded is one of the most effective methods for managing upper thoracic syndrome. At our clinic, a typical treatment program for this type of back pain in New York City will typically include the following components:

  • Joint mobilization and manipulation of the thoracic and cervical spine
  • Soft-tissue massage
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises for the muscles of the upper back
  • Exercises to improve the stability of the core muscles
  • Education on how to minimize further symptoms, such as using the right posture, not sitting for too long, taking frequent breaks, and getting enough rest

Just because upper thoracic syndrome may not be as well known as other back-related conditions doesn’t mean it can’t still be a nuisance to your life. So if your upper back pain in New York City is holding you back from functioning normally in any way, we’d like to help. Contact Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City at 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment today, or click here for more information on upper thoracic syndrome.

Success stories from Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City: Charles experiences significant reductions in pelvic pain after 10 weeks of treatment

Charles had been experiencing pain around his genital and perineal area, as well as sensitivity in his lower abdomen. Together, these issues were making it difficult for him to stand and perform the duties of his labor-intensive job. His symptoms were also interfering with work, social, and personal spheres of his life, as the only way to temporarily alleviate his pain was through pre-emptive or forced urination. Eventually, Charles decided that his problems needed to be addressed, so he came in to see us at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City for treatment.

After performing a complete evaluation of Charles’ pelvic girdle, hip and pelvic floor muscles, his therapist found that he had severely limited flexibility in all directions, and increased sensitivity, pain, swelling and stiffness in his lower abdomen. Additional exam findings included a significantly elevated resting tone in his pelvic floor muscles, a decreased ability to dissociate his pelvic, lumbar and hip movements, poor posture while standing, and inefficient breathing—which included holding his breath while lifting, bending, and squatting. As already mentioned, Charles also had faulty toileting habits, as he would often urinate to relieve his pain, regardless of whether he actually needed to urinate. The resulting diagnosis from this assessment was pelvic pain.

Before beginning treatment, Charles stated that his goals were to reduce his pain levels and regain flexibility throughout his hip and pelvis. He also wanted to improve his posture and urinary habits and work towards enhancing his work and personal/social life.

How we addressed Charles’ issue at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City

Based on the evaluation, Charles was given recommendations to retrain his bladder and help him establish a normalized urination schedule. He was first instructed to perform exercises designed to improve the flexibility of his hip, lower back, and lower abdomen. To relax the muscles of his pelvic floor—which are located at the bottom of the pelvis—Charles completed diaphragmatic and breathing re-education and biofeedback. Finally, he was re-educated and trained on how to increase his awareness, and given strategies to improve his posture and lifting mechanics to decrease stress in his pelvic floor.

After completing 10 weeks of physical therapy, Charles reported that his pelvic pain had improved by about 90%. He noted that his urination has become normalized, and he has been able to perform his job and even work overtime without any interference from pain or a need to urinate. He also enjoys his home-exercise program, which has become part of his new morning routine, and is currently looking forward an extended vacation with his wife without any concerns for a flare-up or return of his symptoms.

Charles had this to say about his overall experience with us: “Pelvic floor physical therapy, with all its exercises, stretches and education, has helped me immensely. It’s unbelievable that the pain I’ve suffered with for years and was unresponsive to medications has resolved and can be controlled with my exercises. I’m so grateful!”

We couldn’t be happier to see how pleased Charles is with his outcome, and we are confident that he will continue to improve as he sticks with his home-exercise program. Charles’ story shows that some people live with pain or impairments for years before trying physical therapy, but once they do, it doesn’t take very long to experience notable changes. So if you are currently in pain or being held back by any type of movement-related issue, we invite you to contact Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City at 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment today. You can also click here to read our last blog for more information about male pelvic pain.