Designed to educate and motivate, Spear’s #LetsKeepMoving Blog is our official stream of fitness tips, exercise advice, and healthy lifestyle inspiration. Our articles and features are written and produced in direct partnership with our physical and occupational therapists! Disclaimer
Summer is heating up: the world has got its eyes on the 2020 Olympic games starting this month. Our very own CEO and Co-founder, Dan Rootenberg, jetted off to Japan to continue his work with the Israel national baseball team as their official physical therapist!
Team Israel is up against some of the biggest players in the world, with a need to be physically ready to perform at optimal levels for the international sporting event. Holding a true passion for baseball, Dan is excited to be able to help rehab and guide the all-star players. “It’s just about putting these professional athletes in the best position to be successful,” he says of the importance of his role.
Dan has been involved with the team since 2012, during the World Baseball Classic qualifiers. He also offered his attention and rehabilitation skills at the 2017 World Baseball Classic in Seoul, South Korea, helping the players by providing strength and conditioning and physical therapy guidance. “I played in the Israel baseball league, a pro league in Israel in 2007. My first son, Jack, was just born. I went out there and the relationships that I established there, that’s where a lot of this really came from. It started there during that league,” Dan recalls of his time. “The manager of the team, Eric Holtz, was a good friend of mine. Nate Fish [Third Base Coach] was another guy—we all played together. Shlomo [Lipetz], who’s a pitcher here, was a teammate of mine; Peter Kurz, who’s the general manager— his son was a teammate of mine. There’s a lot of personal connections here, and it’s amazing to see how much the sport of baseball has grown.”
SPEAR has been involved in the treatment of Team Israel players in the past as well. “We’ve treated a number of players in our SPEAR facilities; different physical therapists on the team have worked with a lot of these guys,” Dan recalls. “It’s nice to have that continuity because then they come here, I can talk to the therapist that treated them and then have a continuous program for them…it’s helpful to be able to take whatever they’ve been doing in the clinics, pair it with what they have to do on the field and then help them here…really it’s just about putting these professional athletes in the best position to be successful.”
Team Israel is up against some big contenders this summer: the United States, the Dominican Republic, Japan, Mexico, and South Korea. Currently ranked 24th in the world and 7th in Europe, the team is the competition’s endearing underdogs. The full roster consists of 12 pitchers, 3 catchers, 6 infielders, and 3 outfielders. The world’s got their eye on second baseman Ian Kinsler, former MLB all-star, who played for 14 seasons for the Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels, Boston Red Sox, and San Diego Padres. The Summer Olympics are bound to be a hot one! Team Israel’s first match kicks off next Thursday, July 29th, against South Korea.
“Nobody expected us to be in the Olympics,” Dan says. “The fact that we’re there is pretty incredible in and of itself, and we’ve got a lot of a lot of high hopes about coming back with a medal.”
We are so proud and honored to have Dan there representing the field of physical therapy and its vital importance in the competition and the overall health and safety of the athletes.
Here’s a teaser of some awesome content we got on the pipeline, sure to be a home run:
Recent times have called for us to pay more attention to important social causes. One thing that has been highlighted is the lack of diversity and inclusion in the physical therapy and occupational therapy fields. At SPEAR, we are committed to to serving diverse communities, and want to ensure we are doing our part to contribute to a community of clinicians that come from different backgrounds and experiences. We wanted to find an actionable, direct way to help transform the profession—and so we created a fundraiser: our Miles Toward a Movement Virtual 5k Running Event!
Running from June 3rd to June 7th, the virtual marathon was created to help improve diversity within the physical therapy and occupational therapy fields. Runners, joggers and walkers alike had the opportunity to pledge their miles and donate to a good cause, with all proceeds going to the APTA’s Minority Scholarship Fund. This 5k event allowed us an opportunity to support the APTA’s mission to foster the long-term sustainability of the physical & occupational therapy profession by making APTA an inclusive organization that reflects the diversity of the society the profession serves with therapists from various races, backgrounds and experiences.
Race participants got running ready by sporting their shiny digital race badges on their social feeds, and shared their running journey on social media! To say “thank you” for the donations and commitment, we also gifted our runners with cool SPEAR gear, swag, and gifts, including t-shirts, bags, phone clips, and masks!
SPEAR’s Diversity and Inclusion Council, which includes a team of dedicated physical and occupational therapists, also contributed their expertise, knowledge and personal experiences to raise awareness for our cause—you can check out all our videos on our IG TV and Facebook video pages! From warm-up videos to personal life stories, there’s something for everyone!
SPEAR teammates were definitely in the spirit, too: across all our clinics, we hosted a Community Run Day. Each location had a fun time posing for photos together to build excitement for the event, and of course, letting our patients and visitors know how they could help support our cause!
The virtual marathon proved to be a great opportunity to do something collectively as a community, while still maintaining a safe social distance. With everyone’s donations, together we raised over $1,200 for the fund!
We are so excited to have created such an awesome impactful event that benefits a cause bigger than just running. We would like to thank everyone who donated, shared, and participated. We appreciate the contribution of your time and energy to such an important cause. As always, we will continue to look for ways to continue elevating our community and finding ways to create a more diverse, inclusive environment for all!
With the onset of the pandemic, life changes and everything else going on, it’s safe to say many people have been feeling stressed. People are constantly looking for ways to get rid of worry, which can also manifest as tension in the body. Enter: massage guns. A popular trend, massage gun ads, videos and informational posts have been sprouting up all over the internet. The question is: do they actually work? Our very own Ashley Rozek, PT, DPT, CSCS, and Clinical Director of our Grand Central – 3rd Ave clinic, and Donald Zerio, PT, DPT, TPI LII, is here to help bring some truth to light, recently contributing her knowledge to a CNN article exploring this very topic!
While massage therapy often noted to be very beneficial for recovery, it’s not always an accessible option for all. Especially during the middle of the pandemic, where social distancing was necessary, many people turned to other options to be able to alleviate those tight knots and pains in their muscles. Naturally, handheld massage guns became a easy solution.
Donald says these popular massage guns work just like a foam roller: “They do work in the same sense that foam rolling works. It is another method of soft tissue mobilization that provides the benefit of loosening up tight muscle tissue, which provides a feeling of relief and provides a short-term improvement in flexibility.” Donald also points out that you can easily injure yourself with a massage gun if not used correctly, which can worsen your situation. His advice? Talk to your PT! “We tell our patients to bring in their massage guns to a physical therapist so we can demonstrate how to use the different percussion heads and vary the depth and speed for specific muscle groups.”
While Ashley also believes these massage guns are good for recovery and pre-workout, she stresses: “it is important to come see a physical therapist and learn how to safely and correctly use the gun on your body so you can effectively use it at home.” It’s always best to get professional advice from a physical therapist to ensure you’re occupying the right tool for your specific needs.
Of all the things to worry about during a pandemic, wearing a mask shouldn’t be one of them. Found to be an easy way to help stop the spread, it is an essential component in our ongoing combat to eradicate the virus. Unfortunately, some people are experiencing issues with everyday mask wear: recent studies have found a correlation between masks and neck pain. In Marisa Dellatto’s article for The New York Post, “Wearing your mask wrong can cause neck pain,” she interviewed our very own Ninia Agustin, PT, DPT and Clinical Director of our Times Square – Center for the Performing Arts clinic, to get her clinical insight.
According to Marisa’s research, “The American Chiropractic Association has observed a connection between people spending long periods of the day in masks, and increases in jaw pain, neck stiffness, eye tension, upper back pain and headaches.” The correlation comes from masks, specifically ones that don’t fit well, causing people to shift their bodies and hold onto stiff positions in order to be able to see—some masks have been reported to get in the way of one’s field of vision, hence the irregular body contortions and sudden need to hold muscles in an uncomfortable manner.
Ninia agrees that though masks may not be a direct cause, they can definitely be a contributing factor: “Impediment of the peripheral vision is a real thing…I can’t just look down with my eyes; I have to look down with my head and neck.” Doing this often, say, when reading text messages with your neck out of alignment for a good period of time, will cause pain in that area.
Seeing as masks are still required by law in most places, there needs to be a resolution found while wearing them. A good first step is to find a mask that fits you well. “The CDC advises that good-fitting masks will not have gaps on the sides of the face or the nose, and will have ear loops that allow the mask to sit comfortably close to the face. The ACA said that it shouldn’t drastically impede your field of vision, either,” writes Marisa. Her recommendation? “Test out a few different masks and look side to side and around to make sure you can see, noting if you’re changing your body position to compensate.”
Ninia recommends moving around as much as possible to combat the pain: “The more you move your neck, the better off you’re going to be. Posture isn’t static, it’s dynamic. Whenever you’re working or on the phone, be mindful of moving every hour, minimum.” Quick neck stretches, shoulder rolls, and a side neck stretch will also help alleviate discomfort. “Put your arm behind you. Take your other arm, wrap it around your head and gently pull toward one side,” Ninia advises.
Another coronavirus-related issue that could be causing neck pain? An improper desk set up. Sitting at a desk for long periods of time could cause stain. Setting up your desk is optimal for prolonged sessions. (Psst: we got you covered—check out our Ergonomics webinar for information on how to get your work station properly set up!)
If all else fails and your discomfort/pain persists, you’re experiencing numbness or tingling, or severe headaches, Ninia recommends visiting a doctor or a physical therapist ASAP.
The new year is here, and so are many new year resolution goals! Statista.com reports that of all US participants who said they were making one or several new year resolutions, 44 percent wanted to exercise more. We’re making it even easier for you by providing you ways to work out at home! Christopher Churchill, PT, DPT, CSCS, physical therapist at our Murray Hill location, created this easy-to-follow guide to help you out. You don’t need fancy equipment to exercise, just grab some household items and get to work!