Is your head bone really connected to your neck bone?

Some of you may remember singing this song as a young child. It may very well have been the way you learned the names of your knees, hips, shoulders, neck and head in elementary school. And it’s true….our bones are all connected in some way.

That’s why it’s often important to work on strengthening all our bones and muscles. For instance, if you’re experiencing lower back pain, it may help you to strengthen your lower abdominal muscles to give your back more support. If you’re having neck pain, it may help to strengthen your shoulder muscles. If you have knee pain, it may actually be caused by something in your hip. A physical therapist is the best place to start to help determine where the source of your pain is coming from, and where to focus your exercises to strengthen your bones and muscles.

So, don’t just let this song run through your head, give us a call to help you get out of pain and back in action! #GetPT1st

Skiing Injuries

By Shannon Donohoe, SPT

Now that winter is in full swing here in upstate NY, many of you have been hitting the slopes. While being active and being outdoors is great for both your mental and physical health, sometimes ski or snowboard trips don’t always go according to plan. You may have hit that jump wrong, gotten your pole jammed, or just left the mountain with seemingly random aches and pains. Physical Therapists can help you recover from common ski and snowboard injuries and even show you tips and tricks for prevention so you can shred all season without fear!

               Injuries that occur on the mountain vary, especially between skiers and snowboarders.  Both populations are inherently at risk for head or neck injuries, particularly concussions. The best way to prevent this type of injury is to wear a helmet that is properly fitted to yourself. If you do suffer a concussion, seeing a health care provider is probably at the top of your list. Did you know that Physical Therapists are more than qualified to help manage a concussion?

               At all levels of skiing, the injuries you are most at risk for are lower extremity injuries, particularly at the knee. It’s common to see many ACL or MCL sprains or tears in downhill skiing due to the torsional forces from equipment, stance, and fall mechanisms. PT’s are experts at both prevention and rehabilitation from this kind of injury. They can help you with overall strength and stability and even help you fine tune your landing and stance form to help minimize the forces being applied to the knees.

               While skiers are more at risk for lower extremity injuries, snow boarders are more at risk for upper extremity injuries. Usually these injuries are from falling out onto your arms, common injuries include wrist fractures and shoulder dislocations. The cause of these vary from inexperienced riders falling onto an outstretched arm to experts in the terrain park landing on their arms.

               The important thing to know is that there are ways to minimize the risk of these injuries as well as recover afterwards. Studies have shown that core stability and neuromuscular training may be beneficial in preventing falls while skiing and snowboarding. Physical Therapist’s are experts in this kind of training! They can break down your landing mechanics as well as your normal stance to help train your body to move in the safest way possible. If you feel you are at risk or just want some advice, PT is a great resource!

References

  1. Weinstein S, Khodaee M, VanBaak K. Common Skiing and Snowboarding Injuries. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2019;18(11):394-400. doi:10.1249/JSR.0000000000000651
  2. Concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury. Apta.org. http://www.apta.org/TBI/. Published 2020. Accessed March 4, 2020.

Can more sleep help keep your bones strong?

By Sports PT Blog Team

Osteoporosis risk factors include gender, bone structure and race. Physical activity and following a healthy diet can help keep our bones stronger, but can getting more sleep help too? New research published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research has suggested that an additional way to keep bones strong is to get enough sleep on a nightly basis.

Investigators found that women who slept five or fewer hours a night had a significantly lower bone mass density (BMD) and a greater risk for osteoporosis compared with women who had a full night’s sleep of at least seven hours. Stronger bones mean fewer fractures, which is one or the most prevalent heath issues that older women face. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), one-half of all women over age 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis; a woman’s risk of breaking a hip is equal to her combined risk of breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer.

After adjusting for factors such as race, education, smoking, alcohol use, physical activitybody mass index (BMI), and sleep medication use, the researchers found:

  • Women who slept five hours or less a night had a 22 percent higher risk of having low bone mineral density and a 63 percent higher risk of having osteoporosis of the hip compared with the women who slept seven hours a night.
  • The women who slept less than five hours a night had a 28 percent higher risk of osteoporosis of the spine, and a 94 percent increased risk of osteoporosis of the whole body compared with those who slept seven hours per night.
  • Sleeping longer than seven hours didn’t add any additional benefit in terms of bone mineral density or osteoporosis risk reduction.

This study is a follow-up to research published in March 2019 in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, according to Dr. Ochs-Balcom.

“In that study we looked at sleep and found that women who had short sleep were more likely to have a fracture,” she says. “We wanted to know more about what could be behind that association. Was it that the women who slept less were walking around more or was it because they actually had lower bone mineral density?”

It’s true, sleep can help with many of our health issues. So can physical activity. Being active helps build stronger bones and muscles on a sustained basis. Call us today to see how we can help you remain or get active safely.  

Preparing for Spring Cleaning

By Tiffany Cao, SPT

 

 

Warm weather is approaching which means it’s time to pack away your winter decorations and start looking for your cleaning supplies! Spring cleaning is under way and whether it’s indoor or outdoor cleaning, it’s important to be safe during these tasks to avoid possible injuries. 

 

 

Spring cleaning can be a very tough and long task, especially when it requires a few hours of carrying, lifting, and re-organizing your home. Here are some tips to avoid getting hurt and maximize your cleaning experience this year:

 

 

 

  • Plan ahead.

 

    • It’s very helpful to plan in advance in order to space out your time and availability. Some examples would include writing a To-Do list, marking dates and times on your calendar, and adding notifications on your phone.

 

 

 

  • Perform small tasks at a time and take breaks.

 

    • Another good idea is to work one task at a time and give yourself rest breaks in between to avoid fatiguing or overworking yourself.

 

 

 

  • Use good body mechanics!

 

    • Maintain a good posture. Try to keep shoulders relaxed and back neutral when performing activities. Avoid rounding your shoulders and bending excessively through your back to avoid injury.
    • Lift with your legs. When picking up an object from the floor, it’s best to bend both your knees and hips as close to the item as possible, all while keeping your back neutral and firm as possible.
    • Carry items close to your body. The farther away an object is from your body, the more difficult it is to control the weight.
    • Lift reasonable weighted items. If the object is beyond the weight you can handle, your body will use compensatory strategies such as bending and twisting improperly which increases risk of injury. If the weight is too heavy, such as a large box, we suggest breaking down the item as best you can or ask for help from friends or family rather than lifting on your own.
    • Use your body weight to move objects. Weight shifting or lunging maneuvers will help with pushing a lawnmower, cleaning with a broom or mop, and raking or shoveling.

 

 

 

  • Ask your physical therapist!

 

    • PT’s are movement specialists and can analyze your performance in these tasks. Discussing with your PT will provide insight on your body mechanics, get advice on how to improve your form and learn more about your lifting and carrying tolerance.

 

 

 

References:

Douglas P Gross, Michele C Battié, Reliability of Safe Maximum Lifting Determinations of a Functional Capacity Evaluation, Physical Therapy, Volume 82, Issue 4, 1 April 2002, Pages 364–371, https://doi.org/10.1093/ptj/82.4.364

Keep Your Seniors Safe From Falling!

By Sports PT Blog Team

 

 

 

This time of year can create some hazardous walking conditions. Ice, snow, and slush make it more difficult for all of us to maneuver, but those factors can be even more troubling for the seniors in our lives. The National Council for Aging Care shares some staggering facts:

 

 

11:

 

Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency department for a fall.

 

 

65:

 

According to the National Council on Aging, one in four Americans over the age of 65 falls each year.

 

 

7,000,000:

 

In 2014, older Americans experienced 29 million falls, resulting in 7 million injuries.

 

 

19:

 

Every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.

 

 

 

Physical therapists can help individuals with their balance. They can assess falls risk and provide exercises that will strengthen muscles that will result in better balance. If you have seniors in your life who are dealing with decreased sensation, vision impairments and general weakness, let our physical therapists do a falls risk assessment to see if they would benefit from physical therapy.

Skiing & Snowboarding Injury Prevention Tips

By Sports PT Blog Team

 

 

Skiing and Snowboarding are great outdoor winter activities. The fresh air and exercise do you well on a lot of fronts. But, like every sport, there are risks when you participate in a sport. Here are a few safety tips that will help you have fun and be safe.

 

 

  1. Always wear a helmet designed for skiing or snowboarding.
  2. Wear ski googles that fit properly with a helmet.
  3. Make sure your boots fit properly and bindings are adjusted correctly.
  4. Do not ski or snowboard alone.
  5. Stay on designated trails.
  6. Stretch your muscles before you go!
  7. Stay hydrated with water.

 

 

Bruises and broken bones are the most common types of skiing and snowboarding injuries. However, traumatic brain injury can also be a serious injury with this sport. Be safe and have fun!

Urgent Care to PT ASAP

By Alison Synakowski, DPT

 

 


Many people are seeking the assistance of urgent care to assist with musculoskeletal pains. The access to orthopedic evaluations and imaging has significantly improved society.


While ruling out fractures or sinister pathologies is very important in many cases, the need to start an active course of care is equally important. More and more we are seeing referrals to PT from both orthopedic based and non-orthopedic based urgent care providers. This is because research is increasing- proving early initiation of physical therapy is instrumental to not only your short term vitality, but also your long term health.


Research has proven that early access to physical therapy (within 3 days of the onset of back pain) is associated with lower costs and utilization of healthcare. This study involved over 46,000 individuals. Research also shows that atrophy of muscles begins within 24 hours of injury. Physical therapists are trained to help reduce the effects of an injury and safely teach movements that help to minimize the impact of an injury.
Many times we are told to rest following an injury or if we have pain, however this should be considered relative rest. Meaning, rest the tissue(s) that have been impacted, but keep the rest of your body moving!!


It is an exciting time for our society in that we are learning to manage injuries faster, with less associated cost, and with better outcomes. The consumers are driving this movement, seeking out care that is now easy to access, asking for less invasive and less expensive strategies to overcome dysfunction and being proactive about managing injuries!

So if you are hurting, seek care sooner than later, it not only impacts your outcome but your finances too!!

Shoulder Impingement? Here’s why PT may be the best treatment for you!

By Josette Messere, SPT

 

My doctor told me I have Shoulder Impingement. Is this rare?

 

No need to fear, as you are not alone! Shoulder pain is actually VERY common.  In fact, roughly ⅓ of of individuals in the United States will experience some sort of shoulder pain in their life. Of those that report shoulder pain, up to 50% are said to have subacromial impingement syndrome, or SAIS. 

 

 

Subacromial Impingement Syndrome (SAIS)? What is that?

 

SAIS typically presents as pain on the front and side of one’s shoulder that progresses over time.  It occurs when one of your rotator cuff tendons is squeezed in a crowded space between part of your scapula and the head of the humerus. You may have pain with activities like reaching into high cabinets or even washing your hair.  

 

 

Who gets SAIS? 

 

  1. Athletes
    1. Overhead sports: ex. baseball, volleyball, and tennis
    2. Under the age of 25
  1. Middle Aged Adults
    1. Activities or occupation that requires repetitive overhead activities
    2. Aged 40-60
    3. Increased risk for women 

 

 

Is Physical Therapy a good Treatment option for me? 

 

Yes! PT is a great option and has been shown to have beneficial outcomes for those with SAIS.  PT’s will incorporate an exercise program into your treatment that will help to strengthen certain muscles, relax others, and address posture as well.  Best evidence shows that manual (hands on) work on your shoulder and spine also help to decrease pain and increase mobility. In addition, Physical Therapy has been proven to be just as beneficial long term, and maybe even more-so, than surgery.  

 

 

 

References: 

 

Gutierrez-Espinoza, Hector et al. “Effect of supervised physiotherapy versus home exercise program in patients with subacromial impingement syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis” Physical Therapy in Sport vol 41. 34-42. 5 Nov. 2019, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ptsp.2019.11.003

Khan M, Alolabi B, Horner N, Bedi A, Ayeni OR, Bhandari M. “Surgery for shoulder impingement: a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials.” CMAJ Open. 2019;7(1): E149–E158. Published 2019 Mar 7. doi:10.9778/cmajo.20180179

Larsson R, Bernhardsson S, Nordeman L. “Effects of eccentric exercise in patients with subacromial impingement syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2019;20(1):446. Published 2019 Oct 14. doi:10.1186/s12891-019-2796-5

Linaker CH, Walker-Bone K. “Shoulder disorders and occupation.” Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2015;29(3):405–423. doi: 10.1016/j.berh.2015.04.001

Pasin, Tuğçe et al. “Comparison of the Effectiveness of Platelet-Rich Plasma, Corticosteroid, and Physical Therapy in Subacromial Impingement Syndrome.” Archives of rheumatology vol. 34,3 308-316. 28 Mar. 2019,  doi:10.5606/ArchRheumatol.2019.7225

 

De-Stressing the Holidays

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! Or is it? While the time between Halloween and New Year’s can be exciting and fun for many people, it can be a time of stress, depression, and anxiety for others. It’s important to understand stressors so that you can begin to manage them, especially during this heightened time of the year. Below are a few tips we hope will help you enjoy a healthy and happy holiday season.

 

 

First, understand that stress is both internal and external. Here’s a quick breakdown of each type:

 

 

 

So why does the holiday season worsen our stress? Sometimes it’s due to grief. Sometimes it’s because we live in an “either/or” situation or we set excessive expectations of ourselves or others.

 

Here’s how we can de-stress:

 

  1. Acknowledge your feelings. They are real.
  2. If you’re grieving, let the grief process continue, but be sure to reach out for help. Don’t grieve alone.
  3. Be realistic.
  4. Plan ahead.
  5. Stick to a budget.
  6. Learn to say no.
  7. Do less, enjoy more.
  8. Laugh like crazy!
  9. Go tech-free during holiday & family events.
  10. Find 5-10 minutes every day for reflection or meditation.

 

Happy Holidays!

Black Friday Shopping Tips: How to Avoid Low Back Pain

 

 

 

 

It is time to begin planning your Black Friday shopping trip. With the stores releasing their deals, you may have already begun making your list of must buy gifts. Remember that a long day of shopping can lead to pain throughout the body, but especially in the back. Here are a few tips to help avoid such pain:

 

  • Wear supportive shoes 
  • Choose a smaller purse
  • Carry your packages evenly/unload them often

 

Wear supportive shoes:  Wearing supportive shoes is vital when heading out to shop on the biggest shopping day of the year. Keeping your attire comfy while still providing support can help prevent back pain. It is recommended that supportive shoes be broken-in and offer plenty of support to the foot. Research suggests that when the feet are properly supported there is less likelihood of back pain. 

 

Choose a smaller purse:  Research suggests that toting large heavy bags can put a strain on the back, which can lead to pain. Using a smaller purse can help you keep from lugging around a heavy bag all day long. While shopping the day after Thanksgiving, you are sure to find the deals you need to have bags galore. Many of these will be stuffed to the brim and heavy. Give yourself a break by skipping the heavy purse too.

 

Carry your packages evenly/unload them often: As you find success with those shopping deals, be sure to carry your gifts evenly between both arms. If possible, make a few trips back to your car and unload them safely so that you don’t have to carry too many packages at once.