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Throwing Athletes & The Risk of Injury

Throwing Athletes & The Risk of Injury

A pilot study was recently published in Orthopedic Physical Therapy Practice which looked at balance deficits in throwing athletes (specifically baseball players) and whether or not it could determine injury risk.  The study was a small sample size of just baseball pitchers but it did highlight some interesting points. The results showed that approximately 30% of the participants increased their injury risk after throwing an average of 30 pitches.  Further, the study highlighted a significant decline in performance on the Y-balance test following pitching.  

With any athlete, the concern is always keeping the individual healthy.  For baseball pitcher specifically we worry about shoulder, elbow, hip, and back issues that can start to develop as a result of poor transfer of energy during a pitch.  As such, there parameters put in place to avoid injury such as age-related restrictions on pitch count.  This article highlights that injury prevention tactics should also involve a thorough evaluation of the athlete including dynamic balance.  

At Mana Physical Therapy we provide each of our athletes with the dedicated time necessary to assess fully for range of motion, strength, and balance issues. Each evaluation is tailored specifically to that athlete’s sport in order to enhance outcomes following therapy and ensure a quick return to sport or an injury-free season.  Call 732-390-8100 today to schedule. 

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Study Reference: 

Schroeder, Stacia and Gorman, Sharon L. “Decrease Balance and Injury Risk in Adolescent Baseball Pitchers”.  Orthopedic Physical Therapy Practice.Volume 30, number 3 (2018): 156-9. 

What is MANUAL THERAPY?

What is MANUAL THERAPY?

At Mana Physical Therapy, we pride ourselves on being advanced orthopedic practitioners with refined manual therapy skills, but what does that mean for you?  

What is Manual Therapy?

Manual therapy is the use of hands-on techniques to reduce pain and/or restore mobility.  These techniques include mobilizing and manipulating soft-tissues, such as muscles, and bone/joints in order to increase circulation, reduce adhesions, relax muscles or improve range of motion.  All of the above will ultimately help to reduce pain.  

Three Manual Therapy Techniques Commonly Used

Joint mobilizations: This technique involves a physical therapist using his/her hands to help loosen up a joint and improve its range of motion.  Joint movement is not something a patient can achieve on their own and is often effective in helping to alleviate pain related to muscle spasms.  Muscles tend to spasm because a joint has become restricted and until the normal joint motion is restored, the muscles around that area will usually continue to spasm.

Soft Tissue Mobilization/Myofascial Release:  Once joint motion improves, the soft tissues may continue to have tension.  This is when a physical therapist will implement soft tissue mobilization techniques.  These involve movement of the tissue to improve fluid dynamics, decrease myofascial adhesions (scar tissue) and decrease pain/tension in the area. Specifically techniques such as instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization, kneading and dynamic cupping are effective in achieving the above outcomes.  

High velocity-low amplitude thrust techniques:  These techniques involve taking a restricted joint to the end of its available range and thrusting (about ⅛ of an inch) to the end of the joint’s range of motion.  The technique is an aggressive joint mobilization technique but only moves the joint within its normal anatomical limit. It is very effective for stiff joints, when indicates and does not increase pain or damage the joint.   

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Is It Painful? 

Manual therapy is not meant to hurt, but there may be some discomfort felt because your physical therapist will be working on a painful or restricted area.  However, manual therapy is designed to help improve the patient’s symptoms; this is why actively communicating with your physical therapist is crucial to success with manual interventions.  A full assessment of your condition is alway completed before starting any hands-on technique and the techniques are then individualized to fit your specific needs and tolerance.  

How Is This Different Than a Massage? 

Some aspects of manual therapy are very similar to massage, however, manual therapy addresses very specific restrictions in soft tissues and joints. It is a therapeutic treatment performed by a licensed physical therapist who has extensive knowledge of anatomy.  

Can I just Stretch and Exercise?

While both of these are important, exercise and stretching alone cannot target specific areas like manual therapy can.  Exercise is of course a valuable part of physical therapy and research shows that manual therapy combined with exercise is the more effective treatment than either performed in isolation.  

Bottom Line: 

Manual therapy involves hands-on techniques which are tailored to your condition. Manual therapy can address all areas of the body and is extremely effective when combined with therapeutic exercise.  At Mana Physical Therapy we take the time to assess your specific needs and developed an intervention program right for you. If you are experiencing any aches, pains or just have some general questions on how we can help you, give us a call! 

Resources:

Abbott, J.H. et al. Manual therapy, exercise therapy, or both, in addition to usual care, for osteoarthritis of the hip or knee: a randomized controlled trial. 1: clinical effectiveness.  Osteoarthritis and Cartilage.  2013; 21, 4: 525-34.  

Bang M, Deyle G. Comparison of Supervised Exercise with and without Manual Physical Therapy for Patients with Shoulder Impingement Syndrome. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy 2000; 30: 126-137.

Niemisto L, Lahtinen-Suopanki T, Rissanen P, Lindgren K, Sarna S, Hurri H. A Randomized Trial of Combined Manipulation, Stabilizing Exercises, and Physician Consultation Compared to Physician Consultation Alone for Chronic Low Back Pain. Spine 2003; 28: 2185-91.

Why Our Desk Jobs Are The Worst Thing For Us

Why Our Desk Jobs Are The Worst Thing For Us

Why Our Desk Jobs Are The Worst Thing For Us

Most of us out there have been told to sit up straight, don’t slouch.  But not many of us have been told “Don’t sit for so long, get up, move around”, unless of course you’ve been to the clinic and seen me!  

Work-related and more specifically desk-job related musculoskeletal problems are one of the leading causes for work leave/sick days.  So why is this and what can we do about it?  

Sitting for prolonged periods can start to decrease the mobility in our hips and low back.  Sitting keeps our hip flexors shortened (those are the muscles at the front of our hips/legs) which limits the amount of hip extension we are able to achieve (hip extension is bringing the leg backward past the body).  In walking we require 15-30degs of hip extension, if you are unable to achieve the required amount of movement then the back tends to compensate.  This leads to low back pain and even sciatica. Even further, the detriments of sitting are not limited to those who lead a sedentary lifestyle, runners can experience chronic ankle (achilles) or heel/foot pain from decreased hip mobility as a result of prolonged sitting.  

The thing about sitting for 8 hours a day is that no one can maintain proper posture for that long.  People will tend to sacral sit, or slouch/recline in the chair which then switches off our core muscles, further contributing to back and hip issues.  Or people try to overcorrect their posture and sit with a posture that is too erect with an increased arch in their low back. These individuals may also be trying to find stability while sitting by using their bony anatomy for support rather than their muscles.  This again can lead to increased lower back pain and discomfort.  But sitting all day does not only affect our lower backs and hips, it can have a significant impact on our neck and shoulders.  We often sit with a rounded shoulder and forward head posture or slumping.  This weakens the deep stabilizers of the neck and our postural support at the muscles surrounding our shoulders leading to neck pain, shoulder pain and even headaches. 

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So with all this what can we do to fix it?

FIRST: GET UP! Not just at lunch time or the end of the day, get out of your chair frequently and just stand or take a lap around the office.  If you are on the phone a lot, take some calls standing. The more often you extend your hips throughout the day the better off you’ll be.  

SECOND: Look at your desk setup.  Make sure your computer is at eye level.  If you use a laptop, see if you can have a laptop stand and a separate keyboard so that the screen can be at eye level.  Make sure your feet are planted firmly on the ground when you’re sitting and the mouse/keyboard are comfortably within reach.  

THIRD: Sit with a neutral spine.  You want to find the midway point between both increased arch in the back and increased rounding of the back and try to maintain your sitting posture there.  Now this may not be something you are familiar with.  So give us a call!  

If you have are having any aches and pains while working or even after work, give us a call immediately.  Some problems resolve in a few days on their own, but some do not and rather than wait for your problem to become chronic give us a call at Mana Physical Therapy.  We can evaluate your posture, mobility and even give you some pointers on desk setup!

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