Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is a frustrating condition, but Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy can help

If you’ve ever experienced the sensation in which it felt as if the world—or your own body—was spinning, but in fact nothing of the sort was happening, chances are it was most likely vertigo.  Vertigo is defined as a type of dizziness and the incorrect perception of motion when there is none, and is quite prevalent in the U.S., with millions of people experiencing it every year.

One of the most common types of vertigo is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), which can affect people of all ages but is most common in adults over 60, where its prevalence is about 9%.  BPPV is a disorder of the inner ear and causes brief periods of dizziness that usually occurs when lying down, turning over or looking up.

The inner ear contains tiny calcium crystals, or rocks, which normally stay in place and help regulate balance.  As the result of a trauma such as infection or inflammation, these rocks can become detached and are free to travel to other parts of the ear.  Eventually they move to a part of the inner ear called to the semicircular canal and cause an unwanted flow of fluid, which tricks the brain into perceiving motion when it does not exist.

The good news is that BPPV is the most easily treated balance disorder and most people can recover from it with some basic lifestyle modifications and treatment.  Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy can treat your BPPV with a number of balance exercises, as well as head and neck maneuvers that are all intended to remove these rocks from the semicircular canals.

Fortunately, about 70-80% of patients are cured through treatment offered, but we also recommend the following lifestyle changes to reduce the symptoms of BPPV:

  • —Use two or more pillows in bed at night
  • —Avoid sleeping on the side of your head with the ear that’s causing problems
  • —Get up slowly in morning, sit on the edge of the bed, and take a moment before standing
  • —Try to avoid leaning over to pick things up or tipping your head too far back to look up
  • —Be cautious when playing sports that require you to turn your head, lean over or lie on your back

If you’re experiencing BPPV and would like a treatment program to eliminate episodes, or for any other musculoskeletal aches or pains, please visit us at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City.  Call 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment.

Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy urges CrossFit athletes to focus on asymmetries in order to prevent injury and improve performance

The first phase of the CrossFit Games, a multi-platform competition designed to identify the fittest athletes in the world, started recently and will be continuing on for the next few weeks.  This bold new form of competitive fitness has only been around since 2007 but has grown rapidly in popularity since then, with more than 10,000 people worldwide expected to participate this year.

Athletes in the Games are challenged in a series of events and workouts in which they perform a broad range of functional movements each meant to test a certain component of strength or endurance.  In the first of three phases, the “World Wide Open,” athletes complete five timed, videotaped workouts that are then submitted to a council for scoring and judging.  The top men, women and teams from phase 1 move on to phase 2, “Regionals,” and then eventually on to the actual CrossFit Games (phase 3) if they score high enough, where they will compete for top honors.

Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City helps a number of patients train for the CrossFit Games and we’ve noticed that assymetries not tended to properly can eventually lead to problems.  Maintaining good body symmetry ensures athletes are utilizing all their muscles and joints to the maximum potential and reducing chances of an injury, and certain asymmetries put them at risk.

 

Some of the more common asymmetries are shoulder rotation, hip alignment, arch height and mid-back rotation, and often numerous repetitions of bilateral movements—which use both sides of the body at the same time—are to blame.  Fortunately, CrossFit training itself will help point out some of these asymmetries, and there are some changes you can make to improve these faults:

  • —Get a coach, trainer of physical therapist to help guide you in your training process and closely follow their professional advice
  • —Listen to your body, being perceptive of any possible assymetries, and tend to them by stretching and massaging regularly when detected
  • —Perfect your technique before increasing your load
  • —Don’t train through any problems you experience; instead, seek professional assistance and work out your issues before resuming training
  • —Under the guidance of a professional, engage in symmetry exercises that work on a single side of the body at a time to reduce bilateral movements

If you’re in the midst of training for the CrossFit Games yourself and you’d like our professional advice and how to work on asymmetries to avoid injury and improve performance, visit us at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City, where we’ll be happy to you train safely and to the best of your abilities. Call 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment.

New York Islanders’ John Tavares out for rest of season with meniscus tear from Olympics; Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy explains more on these common injuries

The 2014 Winter Olympics came to a close this past Sunday in Sochi, RU, and while host nation Russia led the final medals count, our northern neighbors in Canada took home the much-coveted gold medal in ice hockey.  Team Canada, however, accomplished this feat without their center, New York Islanders star John Tavares.

Tavares, who is currently the third leading scorer in the NHL with 66 points, tore his meniscus and medial collateral ligament (MCL) after a hard check during Canada’s 2-1 quarterfinal win over Latvia last Wednesday.  With the devastating injury, Tavares was placed on injured reserve by the Islanders Monday and will reportedly miss the remainder of the season.

This unfortunate blow to the Islanders will likely reopen the conversation about whether professional athletes should be playing in the Olympics, but unfortunately, meniscus tears are prevalent and difficult to avoid no matter how you slice it.

The knee is one of the largest and most complex joints in the body, and because it’s used so much and consists of so many parts, it’s incredibly vulnerable to many different types of injuries.  Meniscus tears are one of the most common types of knee injuries experienced, and athletes in contact sports are at an even higher risk due to some of the dynamics involved in game play.

Meniscus tears usually occur when the foot is planted and the knee suddenly twists or turns, sometimes from a hit or a tackle.  Common symptoms include pain, stiffness, swelling, the knee “giving way” or a lack of range of motion, and it’s imperative that a physician examines an athlete to determine the extent of injury.

Depending on the location and severity of the tear, either surgery or conservative treatment are recommended.  Non-surgical treatment should include the following:

  • RICE
  •    Rest: take a break from the activity that caused the injury
  •    Ice: use a cold pack for 20 minute sessions, several times a day
  •    Compression: wear an elastic compression bandage
  •    Elevation: recline with your leg raised above your heart
  • —Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine to reduce pain and swelling
  • —Physical therapy: this is a major part of conservative treatment and should also be performed immediately after surgery for optimal recovery results
  •    Goals of physical therapy are to restore range of motion, strength and endurance of the knee through a variety of strengthening exercises, including heel raises, quad sets and hamstring curls

At Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City, we can create a personalized rehabilitation program for your torn meniscus or for other injuries to the knee or anywhere else in the body.  For more information, visit us at or call 212-317-8303.

Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City can treat your injury or improve your performance with kinesiology taping

Over the past few years, you’ve probably noticed some athletes like Serena Williams and David Beckham sporting multi-colored tape that makes them look a tad like cyborgs, which may have led you to wonder just what exactly is the purpose of such garish accessories.  At Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City, we’re here to clear up any questions you might have and tell you that we in fact offer the same type of treatment many professional athletes receive: an effective technique called kinesiology taping.

Kinesiology, or kinesio taping, has been around for over 30 years but has been gaining significant popularity and its use has become more widespread recently.  The kinesio taping method was originally designed to facilitate the body’s natural healing process while providing support and stability to muscles and joints.  The five major overall effects that kinesio taping seeks to accomplish are the following:

—  1) Correct muscle function

—  2) Improve circulation

—  3) Relieve pain

—  4) Reposition subluxed (partially dislocated) joints

—  5) Increase proprioception (sensory awareness)

At Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy, we use a brand of kinesio tape called RockTape, a high-tech, top-of-the-line variety that’s used to treat a wide range of sports injuries or increase performance.  Made of a natural-hybrid product (97% cotton, 3% nylon), RockTape is extremely durable and elastic, which means it lasts longer and allows athletes to move more freely when it’s applied during performance.

In order for us to use RockTape on you, we’ll first evaluate and assess your condition fully, and determine where the tape can be of the most benefit.  Then we’ll apply RockTape over and around muscles that are either injured or of concern, and the tape is kept on for several days after each application.

Once applied, the RockTape will help alleviate pain and facilitate lymphatic drainage by microscopically lifting the skin away from the soft tissue underneath, which will improve circulation of both blood and lymph.  The best part about kinesio taping is that it can be applied in hundreds of different ways and can be used on any age group, from pediatrics to geriatrics.  RockTape has been proven to be effective for reducing pain and inflammation, enhancing performance, preventing injury and promoting good circulation and healing, which is why it’s popularity is growing for a reason.

To learn more about kinesio taping like RockTape or for any other musculoskeletal concerns, visit us at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City or call 212-317-8303.

Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City offers these 8 tips to ski safely and reduce your chance of injury this season

Though snow usually brings to mind traffic delays and never-ending shoveling for most people, for skiers, it also means another season of fun on the slopes.

As a great form of exercise and a perfect way to experience the outdoors, skiing creates an opportunity to stay in shape without having to stay inside during the winter.  While improvements in equipment have made skiing a much safer sport than it once was, the risk for injury is still apparent and can easily ruin a vacation or even an entire season.

Due to the pivoting nature of skiing, knee injuries, especially to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) are the most common of all injuries seen in the sport.  Injuries to the shoulder, including dislocations, sprains and separations, also occur frequently as a result of arms being put out to break falls.  Though not as prevalent, skiing can also result in other injuries to the hand, wrist, spine, lower extremities, and in some cases, head injuries like concussions.

If you’re eager to get in the snow but don’t want to cut your season short from an injury this year, ski smart and safe on the slopes by following these 8 pointers:

—  1) Be sure you’re using proper, up-to-date equipment; boots should fit snugly with no ankle movement, bindings should be adjusted, also wear a helmet

—  2) Warm up with some brisk walking or running and stretching for about five minutes before hitting the slopes; especially focus on your hamstrings

—  3) Take some slower runs on beginner-to-moderate trails to ease into the day before attempting more strenuous work on advanced trails

—  4) Stay hydrated and fueled all day, and take breaks when needed

—  5) Follow advisory signs, stay in-bounds, always ski with a partner and follow the rules (e.g. the person in front of you always has right of way)

—  6) Don’t ski above your ability level or try to keep up with too fast a pace

—  7) If you do start to fall, go with it instead of trying to resist; a rigid body is much more prone for injury than a loose one

—  8) If you’d like to get ahead of the game, try training a few weeks before and during the season to put yourself in optimal shape and reduce injury risk: Strength training (single leg squats or lateral lunges are recommended), flexibility training (increases range of motion) and aerobics training (increases stamina) will all help accomplish this

Most skiing injuries occur at the end of the day or after eating lunch when fatigue sets in and people aren’t as careful on the mountain, so be extra careful during these times and don’t continue skiing when you’re too worn out.

We at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City hope you have an enjoyable and injury-free ski season, and would be glad to assist you with any additional questions or concerns about a fitness program or how to best prevent an injury this winter.

Trying to lose weight or get in shape for the New Year? Don’t fail like the rest and make it really happen this time around

With the New Year comes a new batch of resolutions, and 2014 will start off just like every other year before it: masses of people with ambitious goals and aggressive attitudes jumping out of the starting blocks, firmly committed to keeping up the pace for the remainder of the year.  Whether or not this approach continues on for the next 12 months, however, is not so easy, and for about 90% of Americans, it’s the latter.

Yes, sadly, only about 8-12% of people in the U.S. actually stay true to their New Year’s resolutions for the entire year, with most failing due to lofty goals, excuses, lack of motivation or some other combination of factors.

Unsurprisingly, about one-third of all people make weight loss the primary goal of their resolution, with another 15% aiming to start a new exercise program in the New Year.  Seeing as so many of us commit to losing weight and even more of us don’t succeed at doing so, we at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy would like to tell you that keeping on top of your resolutions is absolutely feasible, and encourage you to follow the seven tips below if you’re truly interested in bucking the trend:

—  1) Carefully select realistic and specific goals before setting out on your quest; it also helps to write them down and chart your progress

—  2) For any new training program, start slowly and gradually ease your way into it rather than going full speed ahead from the start

—  3) Having a few moderate- to high-intensity workouts every week is one key ingredient to losing weight and should not be overlooked

—  4) A good fitness program should consist of exercises that work out the whole body: cardio exercises are great for the heart and lungs, while weight-bearing exercises enhance the health of bones, muscles and joints

—  5) Pick exercise(s) you find to be most enjoyable that increase the demand for oxygen for a true cardiovascular workout

—  6) No fitness program is complete without a proper diet, so be sure to eat healthy and make adjustments when needed; educate yourself with books/magazines or see a trainer/nutritionist for more information

—  7) Injury prevention: in the midst of your new workout regimen, be sure to take precautions to prevent injuries such as warming up and stretching before working out, staying hydrated, eating two hours before exercising, wearing proper gear and getting sufficient rest afterwards and at night

If you do happen to injure yourself while working out, don’t push through the pain, which can be dangerous, but don’t abandon your fitness plan either.  Instead, adjust it accordingly to accommodate your injury and stay active.

For persistent pain, assistance with a fitness program or any other musculoskeletal concerns, visit us at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City, and we can help tend to your questions, whatever they may be.

Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy features therapists trained in the effective soft tissue mobilization treatment called Graston Technique®

Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City proudly features therapists trained in Graston Technique®, an innovative treatment form that uses instruments on afflicted areas of soft tissue to permit more movement and alleviate pain.  Using specialized instruments, Graston Technique® is designed to decrease overall treatment time, lead to a faster recovery and reduce the need for anti-inflammatory drugs.

Originally developed by an Indiana athlete who was dissatisfied with his treatment options, Graston Technique® uses six specially designed stainless steel instruments to specifically detect and treat areas with soft tissue problems or chronic inflammation.  Soft connective tissue, or fascia, is a white membrane located just beneath the skin that wraps and connects muscles, bones, nerves and blood vessels.  When muscles and fascia aren’t stretched properly, they get stuck or tear, which can lead to soft tissue injuries that restrict movement and lead to pain and soreness.

Here are some highlights on the tools and treatments used in Graston Technique®:

  • Instruments feature curvilinear edges and concave/convex shapes, which mold them to the contours of the body
  • Each instrument combs over the body until it “catches onto” fibrotic (scar) tissue when it resonates like a tuning fork, which immediately identifies the area of restriction
  • Once the tissue is identified, instruments are used to break up scar tissue so it can be absorbed by the body
  • Most treatment sessions include a warm up and both stretching and strengthening exercises in addition to Graston Technique®
  • Treatments are recommended twice a week for about 4-5 weeks

Following this protocol, Graston Technique® is usually effective by the third or fourth session, and its been clinically proven to achieve quicker and better outcomes in treating both acute and chronic conditions.  Graston Technique® has actually been found to lead to 75-90% positive outcomes for all conditions treated, some of which include: plantar fasciitis, golfer’s elbow, shin splints, tennis elbow, trigger finger, and pain in the back, neck, knee, shoulder ankle and wrist.

Trained therapists here at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City are glad to answer any additional questions you might have about Graston Technique® and if it’s the right treatment for your condition.  Feel free to contact us at 212-317-8303 for more information or to schedule an appointment, and we’ll help get you back to a life with less pain and more mobility once again.

Ensure you’re getting the most out of your golf swing by focusing on proper mobility and stability

If you happen to golf regularly, even if it’s on an amateur or professional level, chances are likely you’re not 100% pleased with your golf swing.  All golfers strive to continue improving their swing, and due to its numerous components and complexities, it usually becomes a career-long process.

Though not a single factor that affects the golf swing is to be overlooked, two of the most central components of the swing all golfers should focus on are stability and mobility, particularly in the shoulders, thoracic spine and hips.  In order to maximize the power and performance of your golf swing to its fullest potential, each of these parameters needs to be strengthened.  Improving these factors will not only give you the most from your swing, but will also reduce the likelihood of experiencing pain and other golf-related injuries.

Shoulder stability

  • Shoulder stability is essential for a powerful golf swing, and without it, flexibility and strength in this region won’t be nearly as efficient
  • Tip: Incorporate shoulder strengthening exercises into your exercise routine

Hip stability

  • Extremely important for both power and efficiency, as poor hip stability may cause a sway/slide and may cause the ball to hook or slice
  • Culprit is usually weak hip abductor muscles (outside of thighs), which will lead to unstable or excessive hip movements
  • Tip: Develop strength in core, especially deep abdominal, spine and hip muscles; also try to avoid side to side movement of the pelvis during backswing and follow-through

Thoracic (central back) mobility

  • Almost as important as the hips: poor thoracic mobility will decrease the power of your swing, and can cause issues in the lower back, shoulders, neck
  • Thoracic spine is built for rotation, flexion and extension, and proper form with good posture uses the spine correctly and rotates it a long way
  • Tip: Fully rotate thoracic spine at top of backswing, and extend it into follow-through

Good posture is key for a proper golf swing, so it’s also recommended to work on your posture throughout the day, especially while sitting or reaching down for something.

Though these tips are sure to help you, most golf swings need to be worked on individually, so come see us at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City.  All of our therapists are TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) certified, and will be glad to assist you in improve your swing for a better, more powerful game of golf.

Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City proudly offers Active Release Techniques for patients

Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City would like to proudly inform current and prospective patients that our therapists are certified in Active Release Techniques® (ART), a state-of-the-art soft tissue system/movement-based technique developed and patented by P. Michael Leahy, DC, CCSP.  ART is primarily used to treat conditions related to adhesions or scar tissue in overused muscles, and its goal is to restore smooth muscle movement of tissues and release any trapped nerves or blood vessels to get you pain-free and back to moving properly.

Dr. Leahy developed, refined and patented ART after noticing certain patient symptoms were related to soft tissue changes only felt by hand.  By observing how patients responded to the techniques and making appropriate changes, he’s been able to effectively resolve over 90% of patients’ problems with these treatments.

ART is effective for treating a wide variety of muscle, ligament, tendon, fascia and nerve conditions, including headaches, back pain, shoulder pain, knee problems, tennis elbow, shin splints, sciatica and carpal tunnel syndrome.  Though these conditions derive from different sources, they are similar in that they all usually result from overused muscles.

Overused muscles and other soft tissues undergo changes such as small tears and insufficient oxygen, and these changes can cause the body to create tough, dense scar tissue that prevents patients from moving freely in the affected area.  Over time, as scar tissue builds up, muscles become shorter and weaker, which can cause reduced range of motion, loss of strength and pain.

Every ART session is a combination of both examination and treatment.  Below are some highlights:

  • A certified practitioner will use their hands to evaluate texture, tightness and mobility of soft tissue
  • Using hand pressure, the practitioner will treat abnormal tissues with precisely-directed tension and very specific patient movements
  • The treatment protocol consists of over 500 specific moves unique to ART
  • The practitioner performs the first three levels, but the fourth requires the patient to actively move the affected tissue in prescribed ways while tension is applied; this is considered one of the major advantages of ART

If you’re experiencing any soft tissue problems and are interested in ART, visit us at Dynamic Sports in New York City, where we’ll be able to diagnose your condition and determine if ART is the right treatment for you.

Improve your mobility to better ensure a safer golf swing and a reduced chance of injury

Golf is one of the more popular recreational sports in the U.S., especially among older adults, with at least 25% of the 26 million regular golfers in the country being 65 or older.  Though golf isn’t a contact sport, many of the dynamics of its swing put significant demands on the body, which can lead to a number of golf-related injuries.

Multiple injuries can arise due to golf, but by far the most common is low back pain (LBP), accounting for up to 34% of all golfing injuries.  LBP usually occurs over time rather than from a single traumatic incident, and its onset is most likely due to poor swing mechanics that increase pressure on the spine.  Therefore, taking measures to improve your golf swing could make the difference in keeping you injury-free on the course.

Mobility is a combination of normal joint range of motion and proper muscular flexibility, and it’s essential for proper swing mechanics.  Hip mobility is important because the hips and lumbar spine are linked, and any lack of mobility in the hips will transfer to the spine, while thoracic (chest) mobility shortcomings can often lead to shoulder issues.  Mobility training for these regions, which can be administered by your therapist at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy, can not only prevent injury but may also improve your overall golf performance by building strength and increasing flexibility.

In addition to mobility training, the following tips will help ensure you’re swinging properly and taking appropriate safety precautions:

  • Use proper posture: keep your feet shoulder-width apart and distribute your weight evenly on both feet; avoid hunching over the ball
  • Stay smooth throughout your swing (especially during the impact and follow-through phase) and don’t overemphasize any part of your body for hitting power
  • Don’t overswing by hitting the ball too hard or too fast, but instead keep it consistent and take nice, easy swings
  • Warm up before playing with a brisk walk, some stretching and practice swings, and ease into the game gradually
  • Perform strengthening exercises, particularly for your core, which will lead to better club speed

For additional information on mobility training for your golf game or for any other joint or muscle issues, visit us at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City and we’ll provide whatever assistance you may need.