Dynamic Stretching for Runners

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Dynamic Stretching for Runners

Dynamic Stretching for runners Vs. Passive stretching

If you are preparing for a race, before your warm-up we recommend a pre-race dynamic stretching-for- runners routine. This is not a warmup on its own, but it will prepare you for your warmup and ultimately your race. While passive stretching is a great cool down due to its longer holds and focus on relaxing, dynamic stretching helps prepare your muscles for movement. Dynamic stretching involves making movements with your body that stretch the muscles to their full length or range of motion. Most stretches can be turned into dynamic stretches. This worksheet shows a brief outline of a good dynamic pre-race stretching routine to be used before your warmup or shake out. There is no set number of times a dynamic stretch should be done. Simply repeat the routine until the area is warm and feels good.

Walking quad stretch

Walking quad dynamic stretching for runners
Walking quad stretch

Walking quad stretches are a great traditional runners stretch and mobility warm-up. Start by standing and reaching for your foot behind your back (this can be done with the same side hand or opposite hand) Raise the opposite hand above your head. Hold for a breath then release and step forward and repeat on the other side. You should be able to ‘walk’ and stretch in a nice rhythm.

See a video of the walking quad stretch

Lunge with side stretch and cross-body stretch

This stretch encompasses multiple versions and modifications. In the simplest version, you can try a rocking lunge to stretch your quads and side body. Start by taking a lunge posture as shown in the first image. Raise the arm of the leg extended behind you, over your head, and rock forward. To reach more into the psoas and deeper belly muscles, tilt the raised arm across the body until you feel a stretch and pulse, as shown in the second picture.

More flexible people can try this same stretch as a cross-body lunge as shown in the third image. To make this stretch dynamic, open the arm wide to the side and drop it back down to the mat. Alternatively, you can make this stretch dynamic by turning the lunge into a march, where you alternate the sides of the lunge. This is a great progression dynamic stretching for runners.

Inner thigh/adductor stretching

Adductor stretch

Start by standing with your legs spread apart as if you are doing a jumping jack. Bend forward at the waist and drop your opposite hand to the opposite leg as shown while leaning into the stretch in the inner thigh. Alternate left and right sides until the area is warm and free of discomfort. This should be done in a nice steady rhythm with a pause between movements.

See a video of the dynamic adductor stretch

Walking out the calves

waking out the calves stretch for runners
Down dog calf stretch while walking out the feet

The beginning posture/stretch in this photo is called the downward dog. In general, this posture will passively stretch your calves just by holding the posture. To make this stretch dynamic walk back and forth by picking one foot up and letting the other foot sink deep into a heel stretch, then switch to the other side. This is called walking out the dog or peddling the feet.

In Conclusion about dynamic stretching for runners

Many people/runners operate under the assumption that stretching is a tedious stationary activity but dynamic stretching for runners can be a great addition to a warmup. Many forms of stretching are actually dynamic and can prepare you for a better run. Most passive stretches can be turned into dynamic ones with a few simple tweaks. Building in some dynamic stretching time pre-run can help you improve your body awareness and thereby prevent injury as well as mentally prepare you for the task at hand. If you do not like stretching yourself, you can always book a runner’s massage and stretch with us and we will do it for you 😍.

Four Reasons for Massage in the Winter

Cold and Massage

Why do people feel like they need more self care like massage in the winter?

As I sit here and write this post, we have about a month left of winter which seems far to long after 3 months of cold inside. I am eagerly awaiting spring, but I am also finding that my physical self seems to need a lot more self-care at this point. If my body had a voice it would be demanding a lot of things. It is not just my body either, my mind also seems like it requires a lot more maintenance than it did in September. I find myself often thinking about how amazing it would be to have a massage in these last days of winter. My body aches, I am tired and mentally I am just burnt out. More so than usual this year since we are 2 + years into a pandemic. So I put together this post on four reasons you might need a massage in the winter.

I do not want to sound an alarm about how winter is causing all kinds of problems for you. It is not. How you ‘feel’ is a pretty important part of wellness though, and predictably, I do not feel good. There is a good reason that you might be craving self-care like massage in the winter though

Many people need more rest in the winter, massage can help

As a natural extension of that, you might feel the need to build in rest you are not getting due to our rigid work schedules.  According to a recent American Academy of Sleep Medicine study 34% of U.S. adults say they sleep more during winter. For many, the dark, cold winter months are a time to catch up on sleep.”

Your body might be more sensitve to discomfort in the winter

When it is colder our circulatory system changes. The cold weather causes venous and arterial constriction. Ie, in laymen’s terms your blood flow constricts and pulls close to the body. In addition to the pulling close, the actual blood flow is also shunted to your organs and away from your limbs. While it is not an exact science, this contraction likely puts more pressure on your nervous system, making it a little more sensitive.

Seasonal mood changes lead to craving comfort like massage

Winter and massage

It is fairly well documented that some people’s moods are affected by summer and winter patterns. This is called seasonal affective disorder. It turns out that some people are actually biologically more sensitive to seasonal changes which can, in turn, change mood and behavior. Feeling down or sluggish in the winter months may lead you to choose activities such as self-care, or massage to bolster your mood. This is a real disorder, so if you find that you are struggling you should definitely reach out to a medical professional rather than solely seek massage. Massage can definitely be part of your care program in conjunction with the appropriate medical care though!

Physical behavior changes based on season

Many people actually DO less in the winter. While some of us love the winter and it is an excuse to strap on skis or go for a long hike, some of us just wait for the cold to pass! Poor weather often leads people into doing less physical activity and we naturally look to indoor activities as the weather gets cooler. You might skip the walk to work and instead take the bus to avoid the rain/cold. These sorts of behavior changes can lead us out of our ‘ideal’ mobility and add to our natural aches and pains:)

In conclusion

So if you are feeling like you need a little extra self-care, particularly in the form of massage, do not be alarmed! A lot of people do! Particularly now, in February and March, we see a lot of people coming in for a massage. Sometimes they are turning over a new leaf, training for a marathon, but sometimes they are experiencing some of the effects of the above.

Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage

1 W 34th St
#204,
New York, NY 10001
Phone: 212-600-4808
Email: info@bodymechanicsnyc.com

Do you want a Massage or a Rub?

Massage or a Rub?

We thought it might be a good idea to do a little post on the difference between a massage and a rub. Often these two things are confused, used interchangeably and the general public might not know that there is a difference.

As a massage therapist, there is definitely a difference. We get a little prickly when what we do is considered a ‘rub’. Let’s be clear here, there is nothing wrong with a good rub, but it is not the same as a trained massage. Certain areas of the world actually have ‘rub downs’ culturally. You can go to Thailand and have your feet rubbed daily on the street for a few dollars. I myself enjoyed this immensely when I was staying there for many months.

Before we go any further let’s look at the dictionary definition of the words Rub and Massage. 


Definition of Massage and Rub

Rub: verb (used with object), rubbed, rub·bing.

to subject the surface of (a thing or person) to pressure and friction, as in cleaning, smoothing, polishing, coating, massaging, or soothing:

to rub a table top with wax polish; to rub the entire back area.

to move (something) back and forth or with a rotary motion, as against or along another surface:

to rub the cloth over the glass pane.

Massage: noun

the act or art of treating the body by rubbing, kneading, patting, or the like, to stimulate circulation, increase suppleness, relieve tension, etc.

Slang. attentive or indulgent treatment; pampering:

ego massage.

verb (used with object), mas·saged, mas·sag·ing.

to treat by massage.

Slang. to treat with special care and attention; coddle or pamper:

The store massages its regular customers with gifts and private sales.

Informal.to manipulate, maneuver, or handle skillfully:to massage a bill through the Senate.
to manipulate, organize, or rearrange (data, figures, or the like) to produce a specific result, especially a favorable one:The auditors discovered that the company had massaged the books.


Even by definition alone, we can start to see the difference. The word rub is associated with repetition and non-outcome-based techniques. While the word massage is much more active and implies a system.

What is the difference?

back massage

Frequently a rub is given by someone who has not gone through a specific training process or is licensed, and a massage is associated more with someone who has completed those things. Although that may not always be the case, depending on where you are regionally and what the laws are.

In NYS and many other places the title  ‘Massage Therapist’ is a protected term. In NYS that title can only be used by Massage Therapists and Massage Therapy itself can only be applied by Massage Therapists or by other practitioners who may have a higher designation that allows for massage within it. 

Body rubs, bodywork, or massage (with no therapy in it) are typically listed at places providing the service of some kind of rubdown. This is because they cannot use the title of massage therapy. NYC has some excellent places to get a rub or shiatsu. There is a whole cult following to many of these places, they are so good. 

Are both massages and rubs good for you? 

Heck yes! Both massage and a rub can be important parts of self-care routines. As an example, you might give your body a nice rub with oils nightly to apply cream or relax, or you might massage an area that is overtired or sore after a workout.

Or if someone else is applying the touch for you, a simple rub on the beach or from a partner could go a long way to making you feel better. As could a skilled massage from a massage therapist. 

So how do you know what to pick as a client? 

To be honest there is some discretion here. As mentioned above, massage and rubs do both offer a level of self-care that is extremely important to wellness. There are some things to take into consideration when deciding what kind of practitioner to book. Here are some thoughts to ponder. 

  • Are you seeking touch for a reason?

Depending on what the reason is, you may lean one way or the other. If you need simple stress management and want to pop in for 30 minutes somewhere multiple times a week, a rub might be the right choice for you. If however, you need something quite specific, then you might choose a massage. I have to be honest, we do get a fair bit of traffic from people who have had stiff necks and went and got a ‘rub’ first at their favorite nail salon and it did not go well. 

  • Are you concerned about safety and or have any underlying conditions?

If you have any underlying medical conditions, you probably want to see someone who will do a health care intake as part of the process. Touch can always go wrong so it is best to see someone who has some training.

  • Is cost an issue for you?

Generally, ‘rubs’ tend to be cheaper than ‘massages’ so in a pinch if this is a concern for you try looking at the reviews and find someone well suited to your price range

  • Do you want touch that is directed to you rather than general? 

If you are seeking touch for a specific reason such as training, range of motion or pain, you probably want to see a massage therapist and pick one that has experience in outcome-based treatment. 

  • Insurance

We always want things to go right, but sometimes they do not. I have never had to use mine, but licensed massage therapists carry insurance that backs their services much like other medical practitioners. Additoinally if you are using HSA, FSA or billing through your insurance company, they may require a licenced practioner.

  • Length of Time and Scheduling

Rubs are often sold in minutes. You can usually pick a 10, 15, 20, 25 minute period based on exactly what time you have. Massages on the other hand are usually booked in sessions of 60 minutes or 90 minutes. 

Oftentimes (but not always), rubs have a walk-in element whereas massages typically book in advance and require an intake (but not always).

  • Associations/Connotations 

This one gets a little tricky as there are a lot of great places that offer ‘rubs’ or Thai massage that are totally reputable, but some unlicensed massage does include human trafficking and that is something we should all be aware of and keep vigilant about. 

Summing up

owner and massage therapistof Body Mechanics Massage LMT Beret Loncar

Of course, we are partial to massages as we are licensed, massage therapists. We specialize in outcome-based treatment for chronic and occasional problems. We coexist happily with places offering bodywork of other kinds, as what we do is different from what they do, but it may not always be apparent to the layperson when they are trying to decide who to see. 

Regardless of what is right for you, self-care is an important part of your wellness. We do recommend you practice some form of it: be it massage, rubs, walks in the park, yoga, steams or reading. Take care of yourself or let someone else do it for you. And of course, we are always happy to be the ones to do it for you.

Sincerely, your friendly local massage therapist

Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage

1 W 34th St
#204,
New York, NY 10001
Phone: 212-600-4808
Email: info@bodymechanicsnyc.com


Lymphatic massage: What is it and why it won’t make you lose weight?

What is lymphatic massage?

lymphatic system

To start let’s go over what exactly lymphatic massage is. It is a light touch massage modality. It focuses on skin depth manipulation of the epidermis, in an effort to move fluid through the body. Targets include the lymphatic capillaries and the lymph nodes. It is now common to see in spas, esthetics locations, medical offices, and massage clinics. Sessions might start with deep breathing, followed by central node pumping, then peripheral node pumping, and then the skin is lightly pulled rhythmically to stimulate the lymphatic vessels. Frequently you might see it in the medical massage world or spa world.

What are the claims and misconceptions of lymphatic massage?

One of the big misconceptions I see in the lymphatic massage world is that lymphatic massage is great for weight loss, or that it can make you thinner. I hear this both from clients/patients and also I see it in advertising. It is unclear why exactly this claim is knocked around but it likely stems from the idea that this massage somehow ‘cleans you out’ and the fact that many massages actually will plump up the skin a bit due to increased circulation from the tactile input. There is also a tendency in the wellness industry to try to create a problem to fix with a treatment, and this is one of those situations. But I have to tell you, if I could truly slim you down with a rub, I would get paid a lot more. 

This is particularly challenging when clients come in having already booked a session and we have to mediate their expectations. We do have the FAQ on our website, unfortunately, many people obviously book based on their personal understanding, which may be flawed to unethical advertising, and previous providers selling them needed unethical treatment. One of our missions is to help dispel myths with education both for therapists and for patients so we frequently publish content related to education.

What does the research say about it? 

So if it does not thin you down, what does lymphatic massage it do? Well, there is quite a lot of debate not that and the research is rather opaque. Check out this kindly-worded 2009 study that says ‘Manual lymphatic drainage techniques remain a clinical art founded upon hypotheses, theory, and preliminary evidence.’ Or this meta-analysis from 2020 that did not find that lymphatic massage significantly reduced swelling of breast cancer patients. 

One could begin to think that lymphatic massage was never indicated, but before we throw the baby out with the bathwater, lets look at some of the clinical reasons lymphatic massage can be useful to someone who is compromised in some way.

So what does this massage do?

  • Touch seems to be an important part of the human experience. Many people who have some sort of lymphatic compromise, cannot have more traditional kinds of touch. Lymphatic massage provides a safe structure for that. 
  • Stimulating the surface of the skin does cause some blood flow modification, bringing blood closer to the surface, which in turn might have an effect on lymphatics but not necessarily swelling. In general the body seems to like these kinds of dermal changes and they make us feel good. 
  • Lymphatic massage is often performed post surgically to help modulate pain when deeper touch cannot be performed 
  • Lymphatic massage is often performed along side exercise rather than replacing it. In essence feeling better can help you feel better about moving. 
  • Lymphatic massage can put you into a state of rest and digest. 
  • We are treating humans not statistics. 

Who seeks out this kind of massage?

massage on the side of head

Generally, the people seeking out this massage want to feel better. It is not typically a treatment, such as a deep tissue that is about the ‘feeling’ so it is extra important therapists and practitioners are ethical in their marketing and claims. The patient population we see at Body Mechanics is generally post-surgical, post-mastectomy, or has an underlying health condition such as: chronic pain, Lyme disease, M.S, cancer, or lymphedema. We also occasionally see people for general health reasons, but the reason they seek lymphatic massage is in essence, to feel better. 

If you are looking for a lymphatic massage, choose a practitioner who is marketing ethically, who is well trained, and you trust. Your dollar has power. If you love lymphatic massage, there is no reason to stop if you have found out it does not do what you think it does. Enjoying something is a valid form of self-care. If you have questions about lymphatic massage we are happy to answer. You can reach us at info@bodymechanicsnyc.com

Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage

1 W 34th St
#204,
New York, NY 10001
Phone: 212-600-4808
Email: info@bodymechanicsnyc.com

COVID policies for Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage

Covid policies continue to change based on the local ordinance, science, and the current situation. You can check back here for more information or reach out to us at info@bodymechanicsnyc.com

Important Updates

New: While mask guidance has been updated for the city and dropped in some cases, masking continues to be required in health centers like ours. For the safety of our staff in close contact, we ask that all guests are vaccinated as well. (updated 3/5/2022)

The full text can be seen here: New York state mask requirement remains in effect for (1) state-regulated health care settings, nursing homes, and adult care facilities; (2) correctional facilities and detention centers; (3) homeless shelters; (4) domestic violence shelters; and (5) public transit and transportation hubs.

New: All guests must show proof of vaccination and be fully vaccinated as of 1/1/2022 (2 doses of the two-dose regimen or 1 of J and J)

New: Therapists will monitor symptoms and test when appropriate since caseloads are low.

Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage continues to provide safe massage therapy throughout the pandemic by following all the CDC recommended guidelines and more. We are committed to your safety and that of our employees. Here are current COVID-19 policies


General COVID 19 policies

All staff are fully vaccinated. At this time, that means both shots of either a Moderna or Phiser vaccine. Many of our team are also boosted, but this is dependent on the time of their vaccination. ‘Fully Vaccinated’ may soon include the booster as policy.

Clients must show proof of vaccination on their first visit, and we will note this information on your client file. If you have a reason that you cannot be vaccinated, reasonable accommodation will be granted. Please reach out to us by email if this applies to you.

Face coverings must currently be worn in the office at all times. You may use the pillowcase as your face covering for the face-down massage portion.

Please wash your hands or sanitize them upon entering the office to help us reduce cross-contamination.

If you have recently been exposed or feel ill or off, please reschedule. We have a 24 hr cancelation policy, and we expect that you adhere to that, let us know as early as possible in case of emergency.

We ask as this time that you do not bring guests to wait for you in the lobby so that we can reduce the number of people in the office.

Please arrive 5 minutes early to your appointment to do an intake and escort you to an unoccupied room.

Our check-out can be contact-free if you prefer. We take apple pay and tap and pay.


Staff policies

  • Staff are required to be fully vaccinated
  • Staff are required to wear masks at all times during treatment, intake, and in public spaces. In the rare occasion, you see a staff member unmasked, please do not be alarmed this is not due to non-compliance. Our staff still has permission to eat and drink when appropriate.
  • All staff need to test negative for COVID 19 if they call out of work for any reason.
  • All staff must test if returning from travel.
  • Sick staff members may not attend work until symptoms fully resolve or have been cleared by the dept of health.
  • Staff members must wear clean scrubs and wash thoroughly for treatment.
  • TMD massages may be performed with goggles or glasses.

Room Policies

library room with massage table
  • All rooms are cleaned daily and sanitized with CDC level cleaner between guests.
  • All linens including the top blanket are clean and used only for you —many places re-use blankets, this is not acceptable.
  • Each room has a HEPA filter, a window and a heater for you. The filter will always be on but if you would like the window open and it is cold out please ask. We can crack it and turn the heater on.
  • We have central air, but each vent in the room has a HEPA filter on it. The air in your room stays in your room.
  • We have 30 minutes between each appointment for cleaning and airing. Most places have 15.
  • Each room has rubber gloves and extra masks for contamination control.

Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage

1 W 34th St
#204,
New York, NY 10001
Phone: 212-600-4808
Email: info@bodymechanicsnyc.com

Being Effective in the Subacute States of Healing

Intro to treating subacute clients

Hands massaging back

This blog is devoted to something I do a lot of: working in the subacute stage of healing. If you are working with people in pain one of the worst things you can do as a therapist is be ineffective. But how do you be effective when your patient is in a stage of healing where you cannot use deep pressure or move their limbs around? It’s easy to treat low back trigger points when you can apply some pressure, but what about when you can’t?

In massage school, we were taught that working in acute was cautioned, and that you were to use techniques such as lymphatic drainage, and working compensatory muscles (which usually translates to “far away from the injury”) to treat patients. These guidelines are taught with public health in mind, and by no means am I recommending that you simply ignore them, however, after working for years I found that there are many other steps you can take. They don’t break the rules, they just require more of an understanding of how the body and nervous system work. Today we will look at the low back as an example.

Assessment: making a subacute Symptom Picture

First, get your thinking cap on. In your assessment try to separate the injury itself from the symptoms of the injury. Every injury has a symptom picture, however some of the aspects of the injury are more secondary reflexes of the body, used to protect and heal itself. Let’s look at an example:

A client comes in with low back pain, slightly left of the spine at the SI joint. Yesterday, they were lifting an object and turning at the same time, and they felt a click in the left low back and now they cannot move. You are reasonably sure, based on the symptom picture, that they have done something undesirable to the SI joint area, but of course they can’t move to do special testing. Palpating the site reveals there is heat over the joint but no noticeable swelling and the low back is pretty fixed and seems splinted, as do the glutes. Other than the pain, there are no CI’s and they called their doctor and said it was fine to have a treatment.

So where to start? As I see it, the splinting and the actual injury are two separate things. The injury is that the joint has moved unfavorably to the body and it is irritated and cranky. The side effect of this injury is that the body is neurologically saying, “Oh boy, things are really unstable, we had better build some more structure for this guy fast or things might fall apart.” Most of the pain is actually caused by the splinting pulling on the injured joint.

Treatment of the compensatory muscles

To treat this type of injury, I start by making a plan based on the injury. In this case it’s that swollen hot joint that is being pulled on by glutes, quadratus lumborum, and the psoas/iliacus. Reducing the splinting would help take the tension off the joint, lower the tone of the fascia, and allow fluid movement in the area to boost healing. But all my text books say don’t manually remove splinting by force. So now what?

First I would try and get the tone down by working compensatory muscles. Managing pain is awful; it stresses the body out and often leads to more pain. Getting your client into a relaxed state through working the cervical muscles is a great start. We can do this in prone so that you client does not have to roll over on the table. Focus on getting the shoulders to relax and the scalenes moving. This will signal to the body that its not time to ‘fight or flight’ this should help not just relax the tone, but also  help reduce the pain.

Direct subacute treatment

I’d continue with the treatment by working towards the site of the pain, in this case that is the whole lower back. As we get to the site of the splinting I would have to switch to a much more gentle style of work. Often this is a very gentle and slow, feather light gliding touch over the skin or a light, skin-deep Swedish massage.

While you gently massage, you should be assessing the tone. While working this area, you might notice that although your client is breathing (I hope) the low back and glutes are not moving much. When you watch your client breathe, the chest goes up, but the air stops in the thoracic spine. This is due to the splinting, and while we, as the therapist, should not attempt to remove this manually, the patient can remove it on their own, thereby lowering their own tone, activating the normal muscle pumping and relieving some of their pain.

I want to stress that during this process your job is not to apply pressure in anyway, your hand contact is only enough to palpate the muscle, to cue the client as to where the air should move, and assess the tone. Placing our fingertips on the lateral edge of quadratus lumborum (make sure its the side of the muscle not downward) palpate just deep enough to feel the muscle, your client should feel no pain at your touch. Then ask your client to take a long slow breath. If the air does not move down to where the lower back expands, cue them by saying, “I want you to breath into where my hand is.”

As they breathe in and out, slowly expanding the area, you will likely notice that the tone in the low back falls as does the pain level. This process could take up to five minutes on each quadratus lumborum. This same technique can also be used along the iliac crest (or any area where the client can move air such as the cervical spine) following the line of the top the glutes as the pelvic floor and iliac spine are also affected by breathing. If at any time your client responds with pain, immediately discontinue. For some cases I also put a pillow under the stomach to limit the amount of belly expansion and increase back expansion. Never push the client past where they want to go; at all times they should be in control of this activity.

Analysis and conclusion

Beret Loncar Massage Therapist, Personal Trainer and Yoga TherapistWhat is happening when we do this? A few possibilities exist, actually!

  • In one sense it’s possible we’re not technically doing anything, but the client’s slow, steady breathing stimulates their parasympathetic system, reducing symptoms by proxy.
  • Secondarily, sometimes pain might be signaled due to immobility. By producing the stimulation of movement, the brain could register that the injury is healing and not loosen the tightness around it, giving relief to the client
  • Lastly, your lymph system and some of your circulatory system, is driven by muscle pumping. When you approximate the air flowing into an area, you are also working the fluids like pumping a bellows, which is how the body heals.

I find it extremely helpful to be upfront with subacute clients by managing their expectations. During the intake and consent I will almost always say something along the lines of “it sounds like _____ is happening, but I am not a doctor. We have to treat conservatively until you find out exactly what is going on. We can probably get you more comfortable while you wait however.”

Usually if it was nothing that serious, you have helped them a great deal and the next time you see them it will be to finish up the work that is headed for chronic. If that pain persists , you are confused by a symptom picture or feel unsure in any way, you always refer them out. But by taking these somewhat radical steps and thinking outside the box we have least armed ourselves with an option to treat the client to ease their pain 

Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage

1 W 34th St
#204,
New York, NY 10001
Phone: 212-600-4808
Email: info@bodymechanicsnyc.com

Common Running Injuries and How to Avoid Them During the NYC Marathon

Why Inuries occur at events like the NYC Marathon

NYC Marathon at Marcus Garvey Park
New York Marathon, Marcus Garvey Park

In the coming weeks the Marathon will be upon us and many hundreds of thousands of people are training for it as I type. This is always an exciting time, but today even more so since the NY Marathon was sadly cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. If there is a bright side to that, it’s that many of the participants had an entire year to train for this year’s event. Hopefully that will mean we see less injuries, more record times, more participants and more new runners.

There is no way through this beast of an event other than training hard, consistently and, most importantly, training smart. I hate to say it but there is always the possibility of a runner getting injured due to overtraining, under training, inadequate nutrition, lack of information or being new to running. With these things in mind, we can make informed decisions in our workouts to minimize our chances of getting injured while accomplishing our ultimate goals. Whether that goal is finishing number one or finishing at all, we can get there without hurting ourselves. Below I will list 3 possible injuries that a runner might experience during training or the marathon. These injuries are usually caused by repetitive use.

Common running injuries

  1. Runner’s Knee (patellofemoral syndrome) – This injury is self explanatory. This is an injury to the knee mainly caused by over-usage. A runner may experience pain on the kneecap or around the knee.
  1. IT Band Syndrome (iliotibial band syndrome) – The IT band is a fascial sheath that runs down the lateral aspect of your thigh that tends to pull in different directions by hypertonic or tight muscles that are connected to it, such as your lateral hamstring and/ or your lateral quadriceps and/ or your TFL (tensor fascia latae). A runner may experience hip or knee pain due to a repeated rubbing or friction to the IT band to the bone, especially around the later aspect of your knee. The pain becomes more pronounced when you bend the knee.
  1. Achilles Tendinitis – Your Achilles tendon is what connects your calf muscle to your heel. We wouldn’t be able to walk without it, let alone run. There are many reasons why a runner may develop Achilles tendinitis but a common one is super tight calves and/ or weak calves that puts stress on the Achilles leading to inflammation of the tendon – hence the name! This can make it very painful to walk, especially if the tendon isn’t warmed up. Athletes who suffer from this injury will notice, upon taking the first few steps after being stationary for a period of time, that it will be extremely painful at first then the pain subsides.

Now I’m going to list prevention strategies a runner should consider before training and before the marathon.

Preventing injury while running

Body Mechanics Sports Therapists Emanuel Gomez headshot
A Sports Massage Therapist and Personal Trainer, Emanuel! Check out his bio .
  1. A proper warm up – There is nothing more valuable than a proper warm up. It’s one of the tenets of injury prevention across the board. Making sure that you get a proper full body warm up will get your body and mind ready for the activity.
  1. Increasing your running volume slowly – This is very important if you want to increase your fitness level properly and safely without hitting a wall. Many inexperienced athletes will try to bite more than they can chew and end up either getting injured or becoming discouraged because they couldn’t handle the load. So, make sure you increase your volume slowly and methodically in order for you to develop your strength and endurance the right way.
  2. Cross training – Many athletes are so dedicated to their craft that they won’t deviate from their primary sport. However, cross training can be very beneficial for improving your overall athleticism for your primary sport. For instance, consider weight lifting for running. Light weight training can strengthen the core, hips, balance and coordination: all things that a runner needs. An amazing tool for injury prevention.

The NYC Marathon is a big deal and historical event, but participating doesn’t mean you need to completely sacrifice your body. Take the precautions I’ve laid out here and find a healing sports massage to minimize your chances of a major injury. Good luck!

athletes back pain Body Mechanics Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage consent Covid covid-19 fascia work health care healthcare home care intra-oral massage manual therapy massage massage NYC massage nyc. running injuries Massage therapist Massage therapy Meddical Massage Myofascia new york new york city nyc nyc massage orthopedics pain pain low back pain pain science posture pregnancy prenatal care prenatal massage Preventative Care relaxation running science based sleep hygiene small buisness Sports massage stretches tendinitis therapist profile tmd tmj training

Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage

1 W 34th St
#204,
New York, NY 10001
Phone: 212-600-4808
Email: info@bodymechanicsnyc.com

Massage Therapy Treatments for Low Back Pain

Introduction to back pain

Low back pain is surprisingly common among all Americans and is one of the foremost reasons we miss work. Based on that it is not surprising that we are always looking for ways to solve, treat, or rid ourselves of nagging back pain. The truth is though, our medical system is not the best at treating it.

I am a massage therapist and I love massage therapy but I will be the first to tell you, the number one recommended treatment for back pain is not massage therapy; it is movement. Let’s first clarify what I mean by “recommended.” When I say that what I mean is supported by research and recommended by experts in back pain. Unfortunately that does not mean that recommendation is actually reaching the people in pain. Our medical system is so saturated with other noise that it’s hard for people navigating within the system to find what is best for them.

When you’re ready to a seek medical Massage Therapy Treatment

I gave a short list of questions to go through in a previous post so here’s a condensed version. If you are coming into Body Mechanics for back pain the first thing you need to know is; it is best to come in 3-5 days after an initial injury. You need to be able to lie comfortably on the table during treatment. Please come in unmedicated as well. It is very important that you can accurately feel what is happening to your body while receiving your massage. If you are coming in for more chronic kinds of back pain, the kind that rears its ugly head every once in a while but that you  are very familiar with, you can come anytime – but you may want to time your visit based on the cycle of this chronic pain.

Low back pain can be nonspecific but even without a diagnosis, we can divide it up into a few subcategories:

  • Back pain that is more related to the hip
  • Back pain that is more sacral
  • Back pain that is more located around the spine
  • Pain that is more muscle spasm related to the area between the hip and the last ribs.

We can get into the individual diagnosis, but it may not matter so much in terms of massage therapy because we are treating symptoms. For example, you may hear that massage therapy is treating any of the following: sacroiliac joint pain, labral tears, bursitis, tendinopathy, disc degeneration, disc herniation, nerve impingement or stenosis.

Saying we are treating a spesific pathogy is slightly off  base. We are more managing your body’s response to its pathology.

Massage Therapy for Back Pain that is hip-dominant or is stemming from labral tear, cam impingement or other hip dysfunction

It is important to note that even though the issue may be in the hip, the pain might be felt in other areas, this is called referred pain

We treat back pain that stems from the hip will in a slightly different way than a back injury. Functionally, this type of pain often appears to create spasm in the glutes, the rotators of the hip and the piriformis. It is essential that a massage address these areas fully. Ideally, and with sufficient time, the hamstrings and the back would also need to be treated.

The area should be thoroughly warmed with massage and/or a heating pad first. Restoring internal and external rotation to the hip through range of motion, active release and mobilizations often significantly helps relieve symptoms. Additionally, as the muscles have a lot of bulk, the glutes need to be treated. I frequently work by creating a lot of slack by putting clients into what I call the “froggy position.” I find it helps to relive the trigger points without causing the patient a lot of undue pain. Depending on the type of injury, relief might be temporary or longer-lasting.

Hands massaging the low back
Body Mechanic Licensed Massage Therapist treating hip-dominant pain

Using Massage Therapy Treatment to treat Back Pain that is from Acute injury

If you are coming in for an acute injury treatment is far different. Ideally you would be coming in after you have a diagnosis, and you are out of the initial stages of healing (again, we recommend 3-5 days after injury.) There must be no open wounds, active infection or swelling. That being said, if you are too uncomfortable for massage in the area that is directly affected, there is a fair bit of research that indicates that working with one area of the body can affect another. Check out this research on stretching the hamstrings affecting neck’s range of motion.

Essentially, a massage therapist who is skilled is going to be able to get you more comfortable while you heal. They’ll do this by working on another body part and by just generally relaxing the nervous system. 

Massage for acute areas of pain must be gentle, and focus on relieving discomfort rather than gaining function. Heat or ice may be applied to the back depending on what feels better. Soft strokes such as effleurage, scooping, and techniques that lift the surface of the skin like cupping, might all be utilized. As the massage expands towards the periphery, the strokes can become deeper. If movement is in the therapist’s scope of practice, breathing and tense and relax exercises can all help to signal to the body that it is time for the area that is affected to relax and un-brace. 

Addressing chronic back pain with Massage Therapy Treatment

Massage for back pain that is from a chronic injury is where massage therapy really excels. It is generally safe to use a wide variety of depth, massage strokes and movement. The hips, low back, glutes, and mid-back can all be treated safely and effectively. Ideally, due to their size and potential to create tension in the back, the glutes and rotators are treated first with both movement and massage. Then the therapist would move on to treat the erector muscles along the spine and quadratus lumborum (the deepest abdominal muscle) with stripping and trigger point therapy.

Since therapists have the option to choose from many massage therapy modalities, the best techniques to use are the ones that 1) The patient enjoys, and 2) Are most effective for the situation. Some people naturally respond better to movement, tense and relax, stroking, trigger point or fascia work. Here good listening skills both with the hands and the ears are very useful in deciding how to proceed.

Sacroiliac joint issues and Massage Therapy Treatments

Massage therapy for SI joint issues has a very different plan than other massage therapy plans. The SI joints are small joints to the left and right sides of the sacrum. They have very little movement, and in fact over time, the movement reduces, but they cause a great deal of pain for many people. Since the pain is radiating from a bony area that often feels inflamed and pinched, many people feel relief through ice application to the joint.

Additionally, since it is a joint, we can relieve the tension on it by making sure the muscles around it are relaxed. Treating the quadratus lumborum and the glutes (specifically the cute medius) seem to provide the most relief. Massage and stretching can be applied to these areas to provide the sensation of even pressure across the joint, which helps to relieve the pain.

Summing up

Beret Loncar Massage Therapist, Personal Trainer and Yoga Therapist

There are many different kinds of low back pain and they can present in different ways. While movement is the best way to address it, I think I’ve pointed out some specific and effective ways Massage Therapy can be used to help people in pain. Provided the therapist pays close attention to what kind of massage techniques are safe. Based on where the issues are stemming from and listening closely to the patient’s body and preferences, massage therapy can be a helpful treatment. If you would like to talk to us about what treatment options are right for you, you can reach out to us, send an email at info@BodymechanicsNYC.com!

athletes back pain Body Mechanics Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage consent Covid covid-19 fascia work health care healthcare home care intra-oral massage manual therapy massage massage NYC massage nyc. running injuries Massage therapist Massage therapy Meddical Massage Myofascia new york new york city nyc nyc massage orthopedics pain pain low back pain pain science posture pregnancy prenatal care prenatal massage Preventative Care relaxation running science based sleep hygiene small buisness Sports massage stretches tendinitis therapist profile tmd tmj training

Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage

1 W 34th St
#204,
New York, NY 10001
Phone: 212-600-4808
Email: info@bodymechanicsnyc.com

Sports Massage Therapist Profile – Tommy

Tommy isn’t a new face at all, in fact he’s been a part of the Body Mechanics team for over 4 years! He’s treated hundreds of clients, many of whom trust him to maintain their health on a regular basis, but we still wanted to dig in and find some tidbits about Tommy that no one would know. Here’s what we learned!

What’s your history with sports? Do you compete? Train? Maybe just watch?

Tommy – From the ages of 4 – 10, I practiced Martial Arts. As I got older I gave up on Martial Arts to focus on playing football, baseball & lacrosse during high school. After high school, I became fascinated with bodybuilding. I had abs for the first time in my life! But…I still couldn’t lift my own body weight in a pull-up.

My goal became to be able to do 10 perfect pull-ups which lead me down the rabbit hole of bodyweight training. Before the pandemic I had just started practicing Jiu Jitsu and really enjoyed it. I would love to go back when I feel it is safe to do so.

Can you share one experience, as someone who knows their body and is active, that has greatly impacted your massage

Tommy Over the past few years I have overused my body so much. I have developed and sometimes gotten rid of many of the same symptoms my clients complain of. I’m currently dealing with a chronic pain in my shoulder. It isn’t so bad that it affects my work but I have to be mindful of not letting it rest.

What is your best uh oh story? A time you really messed something up with your body.

TommyWhen I first started Jiu Jitsu I had a sparring session where I was put into a choke hold and restraint. I was trying to escape a move and twisted my torso really hard, which my opponent squeezed his legs and arms around me even harder. I bruised my rib and had to work through that pain for a month!

If you could try any sport/or amazing physical activity what would it be?

TommyGymnastics, Olympic Lifting, & MMA

How did you get into sports massage? 

TommyI was going to school for acupuncture. My teacher at the time was an acupuncturist and a massage therapist. She suggested I get licensed in massage therapy first. I fell in love with massage therapy and completely lost my interest in becoming an Acupuncturist.

Are there any athletes you would love to work on? 

Tommy – I enjoy working on all athletes. None specifically!

What sets your sports massage apart from anyone else?

Tommy – My ability to understand my clients experience as my own. Since I have had and still get some of the issues my clients come in with I tailor my techniques using educated, experienced empathy.

What are your favorite kinds of people to treat and why?

Tommy – Anyone who needs my help! I like to teach people to help themselves after I treat them. People think they have to do big expensive things to feel better but there is a lot of knowledge out there that can teach people to help themselves. I guide everyone I can to that info.

Who is your favorite person who works in pain science? (doctor, personality on youtube or insta, website?) 

Tommy – One of our own therapists at Body Mechanics, Matt Danzinger. Sometimes the big people in the field are less reachable and sometimes even unpractical. Matt and I work in the exact same environment. Our interpretations of an issue come from a similar starting point, as opposed to where maybe a physical therapist or chiropractor would need to approach something. Even if we disagree on something we are speaking the same language. Our conversations and analysis have facilitated my growth at a much faster rate then my other work environments.

Are there any oddball facts we do not know about you that we should? 

Tommy – When I was younger, I used to believe Coffee was a scam! Hahaha! How could that smelly brown liquid make you stay awake?

Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage

1 W 34th St
#204,
New York, NY 10001
Phone: 212-600-4808
Email: info@bodymechanicsnyc.com

Medical Massage Therapist Profile – Erika

We welcome Medical Massage Therapist Erika to the Body Mechanics team! She gave us some insights into her life, passions and hobbies. Take a read to get to know her a little better!

What is your clinical/career background and what drew you to medical massage?

Before becoming an LMT I worked with physical therapists and chiropractors. The work I assisted them with was mostly trigger point and myofascial release. 

What drew me to medical massage was being able to see a client progress and become healthier and stronger as I work with them. I love setting a goal with someone, focusing and forming a plan of attack with them, seeing them work harder and finally achieving that goal.

LMT Medical Massage Therpist at Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage
Medical Massage Therapist Erika Rossell

How long have you been practicing medical massage?

2 years. This is a new career path for me but I take it very seriously. All of my jobs as an adult have been a way for me to make someone’s life better, but  before now I did as an entertainer. I brought joy and brightness to them. Now I can help people by healing them with my own hands.

Can you share one experience that has greatly impacted your massage?

I treated a first time client who had been finding no comfort for her low back pain. She was mentally groggy from the heavy amount of  prescribed pain medication she needed to function, tried physical therapy, acupuncture, and reiki. None had brought her relief. She started to book after one session on a bi weekly basis and told me that massages with me were the only treatment that brought her any relief. I was so grateful to be able to help her.

What is your best “Uh-oh!” story? A time you really messed something up with your body, that helped inform your medical massage technique.

My Uh-oh story isn’t actually about my own mistake! One time I went to get a massage and the person I saw performed traction on my finger a little too hard and it was hurting for 2 weeks after! That experience reminded me that you really have to be proactive and check in with a client. It also made me understand how important it  is to grasp and respect the limits of the body

What are your favorite kinds of people to work on and why?

People that have a genuine interest in learning about their body and healing it through their own effort. I love people who are as eager to learn about their body as I was when I started to go to school for medical massage. People who are engaged and want to learn how they can help themselves and want to know why I chose the style of work I did. I love the conversation when people are interested in learning more and getting stronger.

If you could try any sport or attend a special event what would it be?

 Don’t know so much about history but I would love to work on some top ranking champion surfers!

Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage Erika Rossell
Erika breathing fire

Are there any oddball facts we do not know about you that you’d like to share?

Plenty! I’m a retired dancer. I’m also a retired circus performer. I know how to eat and breathe fire. I know how to swallow a sharp sword. I surfed when I was a kid growing up in Florida. Bonus fact: my mother is a Florida LMT going on 36 years. 🙂

What sets your medical massage apart from anyone else?

I become invested in how that client feels. I care deeply about their pain. I’m a newer massage therapist but I’m highly experienced in pain and recovery being an injury sufferer and a retired dancer. I understand how restricting and inhibiting injury can be to somebody’s everyday life and I work my hardest to find the problem and get them past it.

athletes back pain Body Mechanics Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage consent Covid covid-19 fascia work health care healthcare home care intra-oral massage manual therapy massage massage NYC massage nyc. running injuries Massage therapist Massage therapy Meddical Massage Myofascia new york new york city nyc nyc massage orthopedics pain pain low back pain pain science posture pregnancy prenatal care prenatal massage Preventative Care relaxation running science based sleep hygiene small buisness Sports massage stretches tendinitis therapist profile tmd tmj training

Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage

1 W 34th St
#204,
New York, NY 10001
Phone: 212-600-4808
Email: info@bodymechanicsnyc.com