Brooklyn Half Marathon Crash Course Recap

We had a blast last night hosting the Crown Heights Running Club at our Clinton Hill location for our Brooklyn Half Marathon Crash Course.

The presenters included physical therapist and owner of Park Sports Physical Therapy, Boris Gilzon, PT, DPT, OCS, CHT, Certified Coach for the Road Runner Clubs of America, Nate Turner, and nutritionist, Tara Mardigan, MS, MPH, RD, AKA “The Plate Coach.”

They shared a lot of great information with us. This post will serve as a brief recap of some of the material that was reviewed.

Dynamic Stretching VS Static Stretching

Dynamic stretching is preferred over static stretching. You will want to focus on “warming up” your muscles before a run or undertaking any form of exercise. This can be in the form of jumping jacks, lunges, or any other full body movement. Core exercises are strongly encouraged.

There is no correlation between stretching and preventing injury, but stretching is still very beneficial in other ways. Boris recommends holding a stretch for twenty seconds or more for the muscles to get the full benefit of the stretch.

Tara recommends staying properly hydrated as that also plays a role in the performance and flexibility of your muscles.

Anywhere from 7-10 minutes of dynamic stretching will be enough to get you warmed up.

Cross Training

Cross training is useful, but depending on your goals, whether they be increasing mileage, speed, or endurance, nothing can replace running.

Boris and Nate both recommend strategic planning in terms of setting up a schedule for training to achieve your goals. The example given was a six-month training schedule. Boris recommends starting off with a light workout and running schedule at the very beginning and then increasing the intensity of theworkoutss as time progresses. This allows the body to adapt.

According to Nate, you should plan ahead and find ways to stimulate the climate of the actual race. For instance, if you are training during the colder seasons for a race that takes place during warmer seasons, you should try running in warmer temperatures some days. This could be done on a treadmill indoors with higher heat. Don’t forget to stay hydrated during these experiments!

Identifying Pre-Existing Structural Issues to Avoid Injury

Having a pre-existing injury or structural issue can lead to more serious injuries down the line. Both Nate and Boris strongly advise against working through the pain during training. Structural issues can be evaluated by a medical professional, physical therapist, or even an athletic trainer trained in identifying imbalances in the body.

A physical therapist will be able to assess your body’s strengths and weaknesses and will be able to offer valuable insight as to how you can improve your odds to avoiding injury, whether they be through strengthening exercises, modifying certain movements, correcting postural issues, or stretching and manual therapy.

If you are interested in getting a movement evaluation done by one of our physical therapists, schedule your appointment here.

Increasing Mileage Safely

Boris and Nate mentioned when training for a half marathon or even a full marathon, it’s best to work your way up to running that distance.

Instead of flat-out running thirteen miles, you could distribute a certain amount of miles each day that adds up to the full thirteen miles.

For example, on Monday you run four miles, Wednesday you run four miles, and Friday you run five miles. You can slowly increase your mileage safely in this manner instead of just deciding to run ten miles one day.

Nutrition for Runners

Tara put together an excellent handout reviewing some excellent advice in terms of nutrition, rest periods, and more. Here’s a PDF of the handout for those of you who couldn’t make it last night.

Wrapping Up

To those of you running the Brooklyn Half Marathon, we wish you the best of luck. You have trained hard and whether you aim to break a new personal record, finish the race, or have a set time that you would like to finish, we are here to help.

Want to learn more about Park Sports Physical Therapy and get started? Fill out this form here.

AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill

We are offering a 20% discount to Crown Heights Running Club’s members interested in trying out the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill.

Schedule your first run today! Call 718.230.1180

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Spinal Stabilization Exercises and Their Role in Alleviating Lower Back Pain

By Boris Gilzon, PT, DPT, OCS, CHT

The Effectiveness of Spinal Stabilization Exercises for Back & Neck Pain

There is no standard approach treating chronic lower back and neck pain. Although this may be unfortunate for many patients to hear, the good news is that there are many conservative methods to alleviate pain.

While conditions like degenerative disk disease, spondylolesthesis, lumbar and cervical radiculopathy are rarely cured completely by conservative measures alone, physical therapy does offer a fair amount of pain relief in the long run.

By utilizing spine stabilization exercises, our physical therapists are able to help patients reduce back and neck pain. This is an active form of treatment requiring the patient to perform exercises to strengthen the muscles and improve the stability of the spine.

Igor assisting his patient with a spine stabilization exercise.

Patients suffering from chronic spinal pain should be leery of physical therapists who mainly offer passive modalities. Examples of passive modalities include heat, electrical stimulation, and massage. Patients should be aware that passive therapeutic modalities do not have sufficient evidence to support their use in chronic spinal conditions.

Spinal stabilization exercises offer the empowerment of the patient and have plenty of research and evidence to support their effectiveness.

Pilates offers an excellent variety of spine stabilization exercise.
Pilates offers an excellent variety of spine stabilization exercise.

Extensive benefits in treating the spine of those who suffer from lower back pain have been discussed extensively in medical literature. Physical Therapists specializing in the spinal disorders are trained in recognizing the factors that affect spinal stability.

Igor Kozlov, DPT treating patient using TRX for back exercise

Components Affecting Spinal Stability

The concept of spinal stability is relatively new with research beginning during the 1970’s.

There are three components that affect spinal stability.

The first component is the passive spinal element: the bone and ligamentous structures. Studies of the cadaver spine in which the bones and ligaments are intact but the muscles were removed showed to buckle under about 20 pounds.

Spinal Ligaments - Medical Illustration Originally Sourced from Kenhub.com
Ligaments of the thoracic spine: posterior (a), anterior (b), lateral (c) and posterior with vertebral arch removed (d). 1, anterior longitudinal ligament; 2, posterior longitudinal ligament; 3, intervertebral disc; 4, ligamentum flavum; 5, intertransverse ligament; 6, supra- and interspinal ligament; 7, radiate ligament; 8, costotransverse ligament.
Originally sourced from: https://musculoskeletalkey.com/anatomy-of-the-thorax-and-abdomen/

The second component of spinal stability are the muscles that surround the spine. The muscular component provides a necessary ‘stiffening” of the spinal segment. In a healthy spine, a very modest level of muscular activity can create a sufficiently stable joint. In a degenerative disk disease, for example, there is more demand on the surrounding musculature. More strength and endurance reserve is needed to overcome an injury and pain.

Deep Muscles of the Back
Deep Muscles of the Back. Medical Illustration originally sourced from: http://pulpbits.net/7-deep-muscles-of-back-anatomy/the-deeper-muscles-of-the-back/

The third component of spinal stability are the neural elements: the central nervous system and peripheral nerves. They are akin to an orchestra conductor, coordinating the performance of various muscles, making sure they are firing at the right time, at the right amount of force.

Spinal Cord Nerves Originally Sourced from Health Jade
Spinal Cord and Nerves – Medical Illustrations originally sourced from https://healthjade.com/spinal-cord/

Multiple studies have shown patients with lower back pain make a “repositioning error” in which their spine would resume to its original position causing pain after performing a certain movement more than patients with a healthy, stabilized spine.

In physical therapy language, we call it a poor postural control.

Specific physical therapy exercises and treatment has shown effectiveness in treating chronic spinal pain.

Lumbar stabilization exercises improve muscular function which can, in turn, compensate for the structural damage to the spinal segment. A thorough dynamic assessment of the spine helps identify postural deficits.

A thoughtful exercise program is designed for each individual by the physical therapist based on their initial testing and evaluation. The most tangible benefit of a lumbar stabilization is that it gives a patient the tools to control their pain.

Interventional Pain Management

Going beyond the scope of physical therapy, interventional pain management is another passive option for chronic spinal pain. This approach serves as a temporary source of relief for patients dealing with low or medium levels of lower back pain. These techniques include performing procedures directly at the level of your dysfunction.

A pain management physician gains access to the areas causing lower back or neck pain by penetrating the surface of the skin. There is a plethora of interventional pain management options for the diagnosis and treatment of the spinal pain.

Epidural steroids are the most common example of the interventional spine management. However, the accuracy and effectiveness of interventional methods in managing lower back pain are not always clear.

In the comprehensive review article published in Pain Physician, 2013 Apr:16, the authors conducted a systematic review of literature in order to collect evidence for the effectiveness of various interventional pain management techniques in the treatment of chronic spinal pain.

The author came to the conclusion that the evidence was fair to good in 52% of therapeutic interventions. The evidence for diagnostic value fared slightly better at 62%.

One significant drawback of all passive techniques is that they do not require a participation of the patient. Without an active engagement of the patient, there is a limited self-control and independence in managing their own condition.

Do you suffer from chronic neck or back pain? Our therapists can help. Schedule your appointment today.

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Sean “P. Diddy” Combs using the AlterG AntiGravity Treadmill
Twitter post of Sean “P. Diddy” Combs using the AlterG AntiGravity Treadmill

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What is the Schroth Method?

Written by Kristin Romeo, DPT
Edited by Alex Ariza

What is Scoliosis?

curvature scoliosis diagram

Scoliosis is a three-dimensional abnormal curvature of the spine. Everyone’s spine has a natural curvature to it, however, if that curvature progresses beyond a certain degree it can be classified as scoliosis. Scoliosis occurs equally among genders but girls seem to be more likely to have scoliosis that has progressed to a level that requires treatment. There are an array of health issues that can accompany scoliosis such as abnormal breathing patterns, visible prominences and poor posture due to muscular imbalances.

What causes Scoliosis?

Scoliosis X-Ray
X-ray image of a person with Scoliosis. Original Image Source: https://www.orthobullets.com/spine/2053/adolescent-idiopathic-scoliosis

There are several different types of scoliosis, however, the majority of scoliosis cases are idiopathic, meaning it has an unknown origin. Idiopathic scoliosis typically begins at a young age and becomes more pronounced during periods of rapid growth.

What are the symptoms of scoliosis?

Pain does not always accompany scoliosis. Scoliosis can present in a variety ways such as abnormal trunk lean, uneven rib cage/shoulders or even back pain. If you suspect scoliosis contact your primary care provider to address your concerns. Prior to Schroth treatment, an x-ray is needed as scoliosis can present differently externally due to overlying musculature and does not give us the full picture. Knowing the bony anatomy allows us to monitor your progress and tailor your treatment to your specific curvature.

rib cage scoliosis cross section diagram

What is the Schroth Method?

Kristin Romeo, DPT Treating Patient with Schroth Exercise 5 | Park Sports Physical Therapy

The Schroth Method is a conservative form of scoliosis treatment designed to target the flexible, postural component of scoliosis. The method was created in Germany in the 1920’s by Katharina Schroth as a way to treat her own scoliosis. Since then the method has made its way across the globe, only recently in the US. Scoliosis specific exercises are targeted specifically to each patient’s curvature through the use of five principles of correction. Subtle postural corrections, spinal distraction and isometric tension help to increase muscle activation and strength in a neutral spinal alignment.

What can I expect during a session of Schroth method physical therapy?

On your first visit, you will be fully evaluated. We will take a look at your posture, your muscular imbalances, address any goals or concerns you may have and take a variety of measurements. You will be sent home the first day with the beginnings of a home exercise program. During your follow-up treatment sessions, we will be utilizing a variety of equipment such as a Schroth wall ladder, physioball, rice bags and Therabands. You will learn about the five principles of correction (1. Auto-elongation (detorsion); 2. Deflection; 3. Derotation; 4. Rotational breathing; and 5. Stabilization) and how to implement them into your home exercise program. We will discuss safe ways to lift, sit and postural corrections to integrate into your daily routine.

Do you or your child suffer from Scoliosis or Kyphosis? We can help. Schedule your evaluation today.

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Back Pain Treatment in Brooklyn

No matter what’s causing your non-specific back pain, our physical therapist will figure out the best way to address it. So, if you are searching for back pain treatment in Brooklyn, we encourage you to read the rest of this post to learn how we can help.

Back Pain Treatment in Brooklyn is Something That Thousands will Need

Back pain is extremely common. Approximately 80% of Americans will experience it in some capacity at least once in their lives. In the majority of these cases, the pain is centered in the lower back and is nonspecific, meaning no primary cause has been identified and its not known what originally led to the pain.

Low back pain (LBP) is most prevalent in those between the ages of 30-60, partially due to the aging process but also from a tendency to sit more and not get enough exercise during those years. Though some cases of LBP may come and go, up to 10% of people eventually develop chronic LBP, meaning it lasts for more than three months and is therefore a much more serious concern.

Aside from nonspecific low back pain, there are a number of other conditions that can lead to back pain. These include a herniated or ruptured disc, lumbar spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, sciatica, osteoarthritis, spondylolysis, spondylolisthesis and injuries like a pulled muscle or ligament. Regardless of its cause, LBP will usually result in difficulty performing daily activities that require any bending of the spine, as well as trouble exercising or playing certain sports. For some people, LBP can get so bad that they might not be able to perform their job and will miss work as a result.

Physical Therapy is a Clinically Proven Solution

Fortunately, physical therapy is a solution that will result in less pain for the majority of patients with LBP. Since it’s such a common condition, physical therapists frequently see LBP patients and have refined their treatment methods so they focus exclusively on what’s been found to work. Each physical therapy program will differ depending on the patient and what’s causing the pain, but most programs will consist of the following:

  • Stretching exercises
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Manual (hands-on) therapy performed by the therapist
  • Education on how to prevent future back pain
  • Functional training

There is an abundance of research on various treatments for LBP, with many showing mixed results. But new studies continue to emerge that support physical therapy as a beneficial treatment for LBP. Julie Fritz, PhD, PT, a leading physical therapist and clinical researcher summed it up best when she stated:

Many patients when they arrive at a doctor’s office complaining of low-back pain just need to hear that nothing is permanently wrong and the pain will most likely go away with time. But some patients will want more help. “That’s when physical therapy can play its most important role,”

Reference:

  1. Physical Therapy May Work for Back Pain, But Time Works Best

So if LBP is impacting your life in a negative way and you haven’t yet seen one of our physical therapists for treatment, now would be a good time to give it a try. We are confident that you won’t be disappointed in the results. Click here to learn how to contact us at one of our four offices.

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Scoliosis Specialist in Brooklyn

Scoliosis affects 2-3% of the American population. The most common form being idiopathic scoliosis which affects children ranging from ages 10-15 years old. Idiopathic means the causes are unknown. It is typically detected by school screenings or a physician visit. Patients with idiopathic scoliosis rarely experience pain and the curve is usually minor enough that treatment isn’t needed, but this can change with time. If your child has scoliosis our certified Schroth therapists can help treat and teach your child how to counteract the imbalances caused from the abnormal curvature of the spine.

In this article, Park Sports founder and physical therapist Boris Gilzon, PT DPT, OCS, CHT describes how our therapists utilize conservative methods such as breathing techniques, exercise, and body awareness to address Scoliosis and Kyphosis.

Originally developed in Germany by Katharina Schroth in the early 1920’s, the Schroth method has become one of the most effective and safest approaches to treating Scoliosis.

The Schroth method focuses heavily on rotational breathing, stabilizing and balancing the spine, chest expansion, derotation and reduction of the spine’s irregular curvature, elongation of the spine, hands-on treatment to correct the body’s posture, and educating the patient on exercises and techniques they could use for life.

There are numerous Schroth Method exercise. The combination of exercises our physical therapists prescribe is based on each patient’s body and the curves of their spine.

Unlike most other exercises, which are completed on both sides of the body, scoliosis exercises are generally executed on one side only. This is in order to correct the imbalances of the spine by lengthening and strengthening the muscles in this area.

On the whole, the exercises consist of a combination of stretching, strengthening and breathing techniques, which follow this three-step exercise process:

  1. First, make sure the pelvis is properly aligned
  2. Then, do exercises to lengthen the spine, followed by breathing techniques to move the spine and ribs into the best possible posture
  3. Finally, tense the muscles of the trunk, which will strengthen weak muscles and preserve the posture that has now been corrected

The benefits of the Schroth Method are highlighted in the findings of this recent study:

According to these results, Schroth PSSE (physiotherapeutic scoliosis-specific exercises) added to the standard of care were superior compared to standard of care alone for reducing the curve severity in patients with AIS (adolescent idiopathic scoliosis). Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5198985/

So if you or your child are dealing with scoliosis, the Schroth Method may be your best option to address its symptoms and prevent the condition from progressing further.

Do you or your child suffer from scoliosis or kyphosis? We can help. Schedule your evaluation today.

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