Honoring Saratoga WarHorse On Memorial Day

By: Sports PT Staff


Memorial Day is dedicated to remembering and honoring the men and women who have or are currently serving in our Armed Services. Today, we’re proud to say thank you for your service, and to honor the family members who “serve and sacrifice” when their military family members are deployed.

Saratoga WarHorse is an outstanding program in Saratoga that uses thoroughbred horses to help veterans with their transition back to civilian life. Veterans who are having difficulty with images, panic attacks, and more can participate in the Saratoga WarHorse program for healing. The thoroughbreds, who no longer race at the track, find their next gift in the form of helping those suffering.

Sports PT is pleased to help raise much needed funds for this worthwhile cause. Kristen, a patient in our Saratoga clinic, shares this story:

“Saratoga WarHorse has a special place in my heart. Living with someone after they come back from war, whether they are physically or mentally traumatizing, is traumatizing to the family unit. The program was extremely helpful for me and I am eternally grateful for it.

I have an equally special place in my heart for Sports PT. It is not a surprise to me that Sports PT is committed to giving back to their community; after all, you help so many people get back to a better quality of life every day. I’m not sure where I would be without either one of these services.  So, I thank you from the very bottom of my heart. You guys are an amazing crew there from your front office staff to every single physical therapist. I love you guys. Thanks for giving a little bit to the veteran community.”

To learn more about Saratoga WarHorse, visit: http://www.saratogawarhorse.com/. You can contribute to our fundraising efforts by calling our Saratoga clinic at 518-583-7537.


Avoiding Low Back Injuries With Squatting And Deadlifting

By: Raphael Fabrizi, SPT


Low back pain is very common among weight lifters, however can be prevented or improved by some simple technique modifications to help take stress off the low back. I’m sure if you’ve been to a gym, you’ve seen some awful technique. Now let’s talk about some steps we can take to not become “that guy” at the gym.


1. Avoid rounding your back. Rounding your back puts a great deal of stress on the structures of the low back and is a common scenario for low back disc issues.

2. Stay tight. Keeping your upper back muscles and core tight will help better transfer the weight from the bar to your feet, helping you to lift more weight safely.

3. Bend the bar. When squatting attempt to bend the bar across your back, and when deadlifting attempt to bend the bar by turning your hands out and pulling your shoulder blades back.  This will help to engage your lats and help to stabilize the back from top to bottom.

4. Spread the Floor. “Spreading the floor” will help to activate your hip muscles which will help to take stress away from the low back and place it in the hips to help you generate more power.

5. Save the belt for the max lifts. Doing your warm-up and lighter sets without a belt can help develop crucial muscles in your low back.  No doubt a belt can help you lift more by increasing stability, but save if for the heavier sets.

6. Lift with a partner. You may not notice your technique flaws, but having someone else there to let you know where your lacking can be a very valuable tool to help your lifting. If this isn’t an option, try videotaping yourself and watch the video to see if your low back rounds or form breaks down in any way.


Good luck, and happy, safe lifting!



1) Raske, Åse, and Rolf Norlin. “Injury incidence and prevalence among elite weight and power lifters.” The American journal of sports medicine 30.2 (2002): 248-256.

2) McGill, Stuart. Low back disorders: evidence-based prevention and rehabilitation. Human Kinetics, 2007.

3) McGill, Stuart. Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance. 2006. 

Identifying And Treating Pain From Nerve Tension

By: Kelly Mottolese, SPT


What is nerve tension? Nerve tension is pain that occurs because a nerve is being compressed or stuck in its surrounding tissue which prevents it from moving within its tract like it normally does. This can happen for a variety of reasons. If a joint has been immobile for a period of time it increases the risk that a nerve can get a little stuck due to the prolonged lack of motion. The movement patterns that a person typically uses can also increase the chance of nerve tension. Sometimes there is no known reason at all.


How does this cause pain? This can occur for several reasons. The first is because of inflammation in the tissue surrounding the nerve causing compression. This compression on the nerve can send signals to your brain indicating pain at the site of inflammation. It could also be due to hypersensitivity of a nerve. This is when the nerve sends signals to your brain indicating pain with movement that is not usually painful. Finally, it can also occur if the nerve is getting stuck in the tract that it normally glides in. This prevents the nerve from moving freely and can limit that amount of motion allowed at a joint.


What are the symptoms? Some common symptoms can be a burning or tingling sensation in positions that elongate the nerve. A feeling of heaviness or weakness can also be caused by a problem with nerve tension. Even a decrease in the range of motion of a joint can sometimes stem from a nerve tension issue.


How is this treated? This can be treated by gliding the nerve through its tract.  Nerves cannot be stretched in the same way muscles can be. They instead just slide through a tract all throughout your body. So to help them move better you can moving body parts on both ends of the nerve to help “floss” it back and forth through its tract. This helps it to move more freely along its normal path.


Talk to your physical therapist about nerve tension if you feel like this might relate to you.



Coppieters, M., Hough, A., & Dilley, A. (2009). Different Nerve-Gliding Exercises Induce Different Magnitudes of Median Nerve Longitudinal Excursion: An In Vivo Study Using Dynamic Ultrasound Imaging. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 39(3), 164-171.

Ellis, R., Hing, W., & Mcnair, P. (2009). Comparison of Longitudinal Sciatic Nerve Movement With Different Mobilization Exercises: An In Vivo Study Utilizing Ultrasound Imaging. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 39(3), 667-675.

Nagrale, A., Patil, S., Gandhi, R., & Learman, K. (2012). Effect of slump stretching versus lumbar mobilization with exercise in subjects with non-radicular low back pain: A randomized clinical trial. Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, 35-42.

Nee, R., Jull, G., Vicenzino, B., & Coppieters, M. (2112). The Validity of Upper-Limb Neurodynamic Tests for Detecting Peripheral Neuropathic Pain. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 42(5), 413-424.

Van Ryssegem, G. (n.d.). Neurodynamic Techniques. Retrieved April 1, 2015, from https://www.medbridgeeducation.com/


The Greatest Contributor To Obesity? Bulk Foods.

By: Sports PT Staff


According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the economic factor that has the greatest impact on overweight and obesity today is the availability of family-size and bulk packages from “big box” grocery stores and warehouse clubs. Many people opt to purchase larger quantities to save money, and it actually creates an excessive amount of food in their household.


Almost 50% of people have predisposed (genetic) factors that lead them to overeating during the day. So, if they have extra food in their home or workplace, they tend to eat it and gain weight. There has been a lot of advice in the past decade on portion size at meals, and now the research is looking to portion size for what’s in the pantry as well.


The 3 most common traits associated with overeating are:

  • Low satiety
  • Emotional eating
  • Self-control


While physical therapists cannot offer nutritional advice, we have a network of professionals that can help with weight management. We CAN, however, help with proper movement, fitness, and injury reduction. Contact us here.



HealthWatch 360 April 27, 2015.



Helpful Strategies To Prevent Pain In Your Garden

By: Sports PT Staff


With warmer weather appearing, many of us will soon be outside mulching, digging, weeding, and planting. These activities are often repetitive and tiring on our bodies; therefore, it is important to maintain proper posture and to use approaches that allow completion of these tasks without pain. Here are a few strategies:


Plant Location

  • Ground level: Try to do ground level work on your hands and knees to minimize pressure placed on your spine. Periodically swapping your working hand with the one you’re putting weight through may reduce pressure on wrists/shoulders.
  • Raise your garden: For gardeners who cannot make it to ground level, consider a vertical garden design to reduce the need for bending. Lots of inexpensive ideas exist, get creative!



  • Lift closer to your body: Objects further away prevent us from using our larger, stronger muscles. Using a closer approach with good form allows us to use these muscles.
  • Bend at your knees instead of your back: A rounded spine with lifting causes increased pressure on the discs in our backs. Keep your back flat and squat down to lift target object by bending your knees and hips.
  • Tighten your abdominals: Grenier and McGill1 found that an abdominal bracing technique allows for greater stabilization of the lower back. To brace your abdominals, push out your belly; to ensure you’re bracing correctly before lifting, use your hands: the sides and front of your abdomen should be more firm.



  • Keep your tools sharpened: Dull tools may cause us to use more repetitive motion creating more stress the joints in our hands and wrists. It’s a worthy investment to reduce effort. Local hardware stores often offer sharpening services at a reasonable price.
  • Use body-friendly tools: Tools designed for a neutral wrist/hand position may allow for improved strength and less repetitive stress on your joints. They may also reduce the amount of force required from your shoulders to garden.


Hopefully, these tips will help both novice and experienced gardeners this spring. If you do suffer from pain with gardening this spring, don’t hesitate to seek the expertise of a physical therapist.



Grenier SG, Mcgill SM. Quantification of lumbar stability by using 2 different abdominal activation strategies. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2007.