Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City recommends staying active and keeping off the pounds on Thanksgiving and through the holidays

It won’t be long now until temptation is presented to us in the form of turkey, stuffing, sweet potato pie and just about anything else imaginable that can fit on the table. That’s right, Thanksgiving is almost here, and that means the first of many celebrations filled with food and spirits that are characteristic of the holiday season.

We know the drill and expect it every year, but try as we might, for many of us this means falling victim to the many opportunities to let our taste buds run the show.

If this sounds at all familiar to you, you can take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone. The holiday season is a dangerous time for weight control, as gatherings and feasts of all kinds take precedent over healthy eating and exercise. It all starts with Thanksgiving and the cornucopia of tasty and often calorie-filled treats presented to us. In fact, a typical Turkey Day dinner contains a whopping 4,500 calories, which is more than double most people’s daily calorie needs.

Thanksgiving may only be one day, but it’s also a chance to start a trend for the next few weeks of the holidays. Why not get the season started on the right foot by using self-control, practicing healthy eating habits and exercising regularly during this time and keeping it up into the New Year?

Better yet, try to focus on losing weight during this time while everyone else is gaining it. You’ll thank yourself for it down the line and will be ahead of the game when everyone else starts making New Year’s resolutions. Below are some tips to help you conquer the holiday temptation season and actually lose some weight:

  • Begin a new exercise program now or increase the intensity/frequency if you already have one going; find a workout buddy to help you stay motivated during what’s sure to be a difficult time
  • Exercise will lower your blood glucose levels; this can lead to dizziness, nausea and increased appetite, which can cause you to overeat during your next meal; to prevent this, eat a well-balanced meal at least an hour before and/or a snack within an hour afterwards high in carbs or protein
  • Before big meals like Thanksgiving, eat a small breakfast high in protein and fiber so you’re not too hungry when you get to the table
  • Appetizers can be especially dangerous, so try to make safe snacking choices before the big meal; raw fruits and veggies and pretzels are smart
  • Survey the table or buffet before filling your plate, and go with small portions of healthy foods only available during the holidays; avoid seconds
  • Regulate your alcohol intake, which can also add to calorie intake quickly
  • Go for a brisk walk with family or friends after any big feasts

Regardless of how much willpower you have, there’s no denying that the next few weeks will be tough. But if you create a plan to exercise regularly and approach the big feasts carefully, you’re giving yourself a great chance of getting through the holidays without the extra pounds. For more information on weight control during the holidays or to schedule an appointment for any exercise guidance, contact Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City at 212-317-8303.

Therapists at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City are equipped with the Functional Movement Screen to assess your injury risk

Injuries happen.  All the training, prevention and strategic planning in the world can’t eradicate them entirely.  But that’s not to say they cannot be reduced significantly, and it turns out the best way to accomplish this is by identifying risk factors and addressing them individually.

The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is an injury risk assessment system that does just this, and physical therapists at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City are trained to use the FMS to help steer patients away from injury.

Based on years of innovation and the most current scientific research, the FMS is a ranking and grading system that documents movement patterns key to normal function.  In screening these patterns, it helps to identify muscle asymmetries, tightness, weakness and other risk factors for injury by examining mobility and stability of the hips, core, shoulders, knees spine and ankles.  Once identified, these risk factors are then used to design a corrective exercise program intended to restore proper movement and build strength, helping to retrain the body to move in the most stable, efficient way possible.

As a comprehensive system with a thorough evaluation, the FMS eliminates the need for extensive tests and analysis, and it also uses simple language so patients and physical therapists can communicate clearly on progress and treatment.

The FMS works by testing 7 different movement patterns, scored on a scale from 0-3, with 0 signifying extreme pain during the pattern and 3 meaning an unquestioned ability to perform the pattern.  If any of the 7 movements is mechanically unsound, there are limitations or asymmetries somewhere.

The 7 movement patterns of the FMS

  • 1) Deep squat: Screens hips, shoulders, knees, spine and ankles
  • 2) Hurdle step: Screens hips, knees and ankles
  • 3) Inline lunge: Screens ankle, knee stability, abductor/adductor weakness
  • 4) Shoulder mobility: Screens shoulder’s range of motion, external and internal rotation, and posture
  • 5) Active straight-leg raise: Screens hamstring and calf flexibility, hip mobility, and pelvic stability
  • 6) Trunk stability pushup: Screens trunk stability and core strength
  • 7) Rotational stability: Screens core stability and asymmetry

Since no human moves completely perfectly, anyone can benefit from being screened, and the FMS system can be applied to any fitness level.  To get yourself screened and lower your chance of injury, visit us at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City.  Call 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment.

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.

How to identify hip impingement syndrome and avoid complications like labral tears

Hip impingement syndrome, or femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), can be a painful condition that results from too much friction between bones in the hip joint.  In a normal hip, the thighbone (femur) fits into a concave section of the pelvis (acetabulum) like a ball-and-socket, and a soft tissue called articular cartilage lines the two surfaces and helps them glide smoothly.  FAI 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.

Strangely, some people have FAI their entire lives and aren’t affected by it, while others will notice the symptoms (pain or stiffness in their groin or outside of the hip), especially during turning, twisting or squatting motions.  If identified regularly over time, these symptoms usually indicate hip damage that will likely progress, and it’s imperative that you modify your activities and/or seek advice from a medical professional.

Unfortunately, FAI does not heal on its own; however, it’s entirely possible to manage FAI with certain strategies and prevent further complications like labral tears.  Labral tears occur in the labrum, a piece of cartilage that can be seen as the gasket of the acetabulum that holds the femur tightly in place.  Symptoms are similar for the two conditions and labral tears can often be caused when FAI worsens, but may also develop through repetitive motion in sports like hockey, golf and soccer, or as the result of a single injury to that area.

Due to their common characteristics, treatment for both conditions is generally similar:

  • Try to identify the source of the problem and lay off that activity until pain subsides
  • Conservative treatment, particularly physical therapy, is considered the best initial course of action, with exercises designed to improve range of motion and strengthen muscles in that area
  • Though many cases will improve with conservative treatment alone, in extreme situations when pain persists, surgery is sometimes recommended

If you happen to experience any hip pain and suspect FAI or a labral tear, please see your physical therapist at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City.  We will find what works for you, such as Active Release Techniques and hip strengthening exercises to tend to the problem and avoid further complications.

Make these final preparations to get the most out of your New York City marathon

The New York City Marathon is right around the corner, and as the Sunday, Nov. 3 date approaches, marathon runners can take solace in knowing they’ve already done most of the hard work in their training, and all that’s left to do now is make a few final preparations before taking the 26.2 mile plunge.

While each runner should prepare in their own way with whatever works best for them, Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City provides some tips below to help ensure all runners are ready to go on race day:

  • Taper
  • Tapering is a controlled decrease in mileage and intensity that allows the body to repair itself and restock its fuel supplies before racing
  • It’s usually recommended to start tapering 3-4 weeks before a marathon, so if you haven’t started already, begin tapering now
  • Reduce mileage gradually to the point that you’re running 30-40% of your peak mileage during the final week before the marathon
  • Diet
  • Staying fueled before and leading up to the big day is essential for a successful race
  • Focus on certain foods and avoid others, and as a rule of thumb, try to consume 50-65% of your calories as complex carbohydrates (e.g. whole grains), 20-25% as lean protein and 15-25% as unsaturated fats
  • If you’re hungry in between meals (which is completely normal for marathon runners) eat healthy snacks like mineral-rich fruits and vegetables and stay away from processed foods and sugars
  • Hydration
  • Be sure to stay properly hydrated before, during and after the race
  • Drink at least an entire bottle of water on race day before it starts
  • Be careful not to overdo it, however, as over-hydrating can lead to hyponatremia (water intoxication)
  • Miscellanea
  • Trim your toenails a few days before the race to avoid blisters and other foot problems
  • Check the forecast and prepare your clothes and shoes appropriately; make sure shoes and laces are in good shape and dress in layers if necessary
  • Eat a light meal about an hour before the race (e.g. bagel, toast, banana)

To work out any last-minute aches or pains, feel free to visit us at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City.  We wish all marathon runners a healthy and successful race.