Welcome to the #LifeCantWait Blog, SPEAR Physical Therapy’s official stream for fitness tips, exercise advice, and healthy lifestyle inspiration. Our articles and features are written by our physical therapists and staff members with your progress in mind. Designed to educate and motivate, SPEAR’s #LifeCantWait Blog exists to share your stories and help you get back to life! Disclaimer
We’re really proud of the team we’ve cultivated and built here at SPEAR. Our teammates are truly aligned with the core mission of the organization and lead their lives with purpose and intent.
Sarah Lloyd, PT, DPT and the Clinical Education Liason at our W 44th St clinic, is a shining example of that purpose. Sarah truly enjoys treating a diverse patient population, with the goal of educating and empowering patients through functional movement. She is dedicated to the pursuits she is passionate about: helping patients get back to life, and spending time playing the sport she loves. Sarah is an active professional lacrosse player and currently plays for the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League for the WPLL Command. The team spent their summer season this year competing at games from Virginia, all the way up to Massachusetts!
Sarah started playing lacrosse at age 8 and has carried a great love for the sport ever since. Her collegiate career began at Princeton University, competing as a varsity lacrosse player and serving as Captain during her senior year. She was later drafted by her current team. “I love it because it lets me play the game at a very high level with the absolute best players in the world, but I can still be a physical therapist during the week!” she shares. Sarah has always been an athlete—her first introduction to physical therapy was actually after injuring her ankle playing soccer in high school! She has spent much of her time working with adolescent and collegiate athletes, as well as athletes training for the NFL combine.
While Sarah has a true passion for lacrosse, she also loves that the WPLL is tied to a mission—the league has a WPLL Futures division, which provides clinics and opportunities for middle school and high school lacrosse players, designed to support the growth of girls and women to excel in life. “One of the best parts of being a part of this league is that we get to help with clinics and mold the future of girls lacrosse moving forward,” Sarah says. “We are able to be role models for younger girls to look up to in our sport, something we ourselves did not have while growing up.”
It’s amazing to see our team members so passionate about helping others, through many different avenues. We believe it’s important to always remember our core values in everything we do—Sarah, keep up that incredible SPEAR-IT!
Watch Manek and Damien’s Full Inspirational Story Below:
Manek Mathur and Damien Mudge are professional squash players, top champions, and the ultimate tag team pair! Considered two of the nation’s top squash players, Damien and Manek are no strangers to pushing their bodies to the limit. The dynamic duo has been receiving physical therapy treatment from our very own Dave Endres, PT, MS—with his expert guidance, these partners have been able to get back to life (and back out on the court) quickly and safely.
Watch as Damien and Manek tell their story!
Full Transcript Below:
Manek Mathur: My name is Manek Mathur. I’m 31 years of age, and I’m a professional squash player.
Damien Mudge: I’m Damian Mudge. I’m 42 and a professional squash player. So Dave Endres, he was actually an assistant squash player at the racket tennis club where Manek works.
Manek Mathur: Dave and SPEAR, the reputation speaks for itself. I think everybody that he’s treated so far speaks very highly of him and always has significant results; and squash communities, are very small and very close knit. And when someone makes such an impact in someone’s life and in someone’s performance, everybody knows about it pretty quick. Dave is one of those guys that has a massive influence on all of us and puts us back on the court a lot quicker.
Damien Mudge: Yeah, I think, as Manek said, Dave’s so proficient and understands the bodies so well that the results that you get are much faster than I think you would normally do.
Manek Mathur: Since he is a squash player, he understands the intensity that the sport requires. He understands how these issues come about, and how to fix them, and how to work with us through them. I think this speaks highly of Dave. I think he such an approachable, friendly individual that when you come and see him for treatment, it starts off as a professional client kind of relationship. But he does such a great job about loosening you as a client to make you feel more comfortable. And like Damien, I think it started off as a very professional relationship with him, and now I can say he’s a very good friend and I just appreciate his input and his advice in my life. Whether I’m in the clinic or not, he’s always guiding me towards certain things that I’m doing with my body and what I can be doing better to enhance my performance.
Damien Mudge: There’s obviously a lot of PT places around, a lot of different clinics around, but the environment which has been created here—it’s obviously a very professional environment, but it’s also a very friendly, very open and very good-feeling environment. Plus they obviously know their work as well.
Manek Mathur: I think coming into a physical therapy clinic, a lot of people are hesitant, a lot of people are nervous. But I think when you look around in here, when you’re getting treatment or even now, everybody’s got a little bit of a smile on their face. And I think that starts from the top and starts from the PTs here. I think everybody has a great energy about themselves and what they do and they clearly have a passion for what they do. That transfers down all the way to the clients, it’s impressive.
Damien Mudge: It’s a pretty impressive thing to be starting a business and having a business going on for two decades and it continually growing as it is. It just sort of shows what kind of business they run here and just the evolution that they’re having with it. I think it’s absolutely fantastic.
Manek Mathur: It speaks very high volumes of the quality of service that is given here at SPEAR. It would be hard to survive for 20 years and constantly keep opening clinics if the practice wasn’t was as good as it is.
Damien Mudge: I think it’s kind of cool to see the evolution of SPEAR, but in particular, the evolution of people involved with squash through SPEAR. Definitely the past five years has probably been an influx of maybe five times the amount of squash people or university club members, or our team members which have come in here, which is pretty cool to see. Most times when we walk in the door we either see each other and other pros, or we see other members of the R&T or the union club. And that’s really quite cool, right? That’s all word-of-mouth stuff and it just makes it just that much more friendly, with familiar faces going on.
Manek Mathur: Yeah, I think the presence that SPEAR and Dave has in the squash community is second-to-none. Right from the pro level to our members. And then recently, SPEAR was the sponsor of the Tournament of Champions, which is pretty incredible to see Dave working with the best current players on the tour right now. And, and even these guys who travel the world and are exposed to the best PTs across the globe, speak so highly of this practice. And all the PTs that have been here, they’re constantly exposed to new technologies to work on certain things. Each one of them was very impressed by SPEAR—I think that’s commendable.
The SPEAR team and the youth tennis players pose for a picture.
On August 21st, SPEAR partnered with ESPN and the United States Tennis Association (USTA) for the organization’s Raise a Racquet charity event, where a group of our talented physical therapists offered an injury prevention screening for youth tennis players. The USTA Foundation has a mission “to bring tennis and education together to change lives”, a purpose that truly aligns with SPEAR’s own values, and why we chose to participate in this event for the 2nd year in a row. The group of eight youth athletes who participated in the screening were star tennis players recognized for their talent and skills. The SPEAR team, comprised of Sarah Lloyd, PT, DPT, Brittany Smith, PT, DPT, BFR, John Schott, PT, DPT, Andrea Bettini, PT, DPT, and Martin del Prado, PT, DPT, CSAC, came ready with equipment, score sheets, and take-home handouts for the players. The SPEAR team’s objective for the screening was to equip the young athletes with actionable exercises they could easily implement in their own training routines to prevent injuries. Sarah Lloyd shared her own personal experiences, noting how valuable the information she’s learned as a PT would have been during her time as a youth lacrosse player (she now plays professionally).
The screening began out on the field, but Mother Nature forced the group inside after some thunderstorms rolled in! Luckily, they were able to reconvene in the gym area. The kids were separated into two groups, with two rotations of 20 minutes each. Five different stations were set up, with a physical therapist at each one to walk the students through each exercise and monitor their movements. The exercises were curated to help test certain functions, like their agility and balance. The therapists also checked for any problem areas or habits that could inhibit their performance, such as ensuring the knees are straight when exercising a lunge. Some of the exercises the kids ran through included drop jumps, a balance anterior reach test, hop tests, and an agility drill. At the end of the screening, the kids were given tailored exercises to continue at home, meant to address the individual issues or areas they needed to work on as determined by our treating PTs.
Martin Del Prado, PT, DPT, CSAC, walks a tennis player through her screening results.
The team gets ready in a huddle to begin the warm-up exercises.
Brittany Smith, PT, DPT, BFR, works with an athlete through one of the exercises.
Tennis players smiling big after a workout and some SPEAR swag!
After the screening, the kids got some well-earned SPEAR gear for all of their hard work. They were also giddy with excitement to meet the Doubles Grand Slam Champion, the Bryan Brothers—many of the children gathered around and were all smiles to huddle for pictures with inspiring athletes! Seeing these rising superstars excited and motivated to work hard and continue progressing is the reason why we do what we do. Our PTs were very happy to offer their training and expertise to these young athletes to help them continue playing the sport they love. We look forward to the next outing out on the court!
We’ve got some exciting news: SPEAR has made the Inc. 5000’s list of the most successful companies in America for the 6th time in a row, a feat only 3% of companies accomplish! Making it to Inc.’s annual list of the fastest-growing private companies is a distinction we are very proud to earn, and one we’ve carried with great honor since our first procurement of the award. The list is nationally considered to be a great indicator of success and growth. Per Inc.’s figures, companies that made the list on average have grown sixfold since 2015!
We are super enthusiastic about this recognition! Our driving factor, the basis of our “why” we do what we do, lies in our people. We are devoted to giving our patients a better quality of life. Since SPEAR’s founding 20 years ago, the soul of everything we do is to help people get back to life—that’s why we’ve adopted it as one of our mottos! And we aim to accomplish that mission, every single day. We commit to and carry out our vision through the heart and soul of SPEAR—our people. The culture of SPEAR is at the center of our values. We call it our SPEAR-IT for a reason! No doubt that the success we’ve seen is due to our team members, who come in day in and day out to prioritize their patients’ needs, and one another’s as well. Our physical therapists work daily to get each patient one step further toward better health. Each clinic staff member, from our care coordinators to our PT techs, work collectively to create an elevated experience for each patient. They also prioritize cultivating a warm, dynamic environment, one that works not only at each individual clinic, but also overall company-wide. It is this support system that keeps the lifeline of SPEAR alive.
As this year marks 20 years of SPEAR, it’s been an ongoing celebration of growth, success, and life. In our 20th Anniversary Origin Story video, where we chronicled the origins of SPEAR’s story, CEO and Co-founder Dan Rootenberg made an influential point: “the most important responsibility that I have to this company is hiring A-Players.” The most essential component of SPEAR is having people who carry the passion close to their own personal “why”. We’ve been able to help our patients achieve remarkable results because of our team. In an open letter thanking our team members for choosing to be a part of SPEAR, Da
n affirmed: “We are fortunate to have humble, talented, hard-working, caring team members. For that, I am extremely grateful.” Gratitude is the name of the game—we are so thankful for the entire SPEAR team. Without them, we would not be where we are today.
A big thank you to Inc. 5000 for recognizing our dedication and passion. This award is for all of us at SPEAR!
Margarita Piletskaya holds a B.S. degree in Biological Sciences from Hunter College. She is currently a Stony Brook University physical therapy student and is extremely passionate about Pelvic Health rehabilitation. She looks forward to becoming an asset to the orthopedic health care world as a near-future Doctor of Physical Therapy.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse: How PT Can Help You Stay in Sync with Your Body
By Margarita Piletskaya, SBU SPT
What is Pelvic Organ Prolapse? What treatments are used in Pelvic Floor PT?
Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) occurs when pelvic floor muscles (PFM) and ligaments fail to support the pelvic organs resulting in the drop of tissue or an organ from their normal position into vaginal canal. Pelvic organs that can prolapse are the vagina, cervix, uterus, bladder, urethra, and rectum. Pelvic floor physical therapists specialize in diagnosis and treatment of POP. Treatment for POP can include PFM strengthening, biofeedback, manual techniques, deep breathing techniques, posture retraining, and specific strengthening or stretching exercises to help you get rid of pain and discomfort, restore your function, and improve your quality of life.
Symptoms and Grading of POP:
Common symptoms include pelvic pain, discomfort, aching, fullness in the pelvis, pressure that gets worse with standing, coughing, or later in the day and with physical activity or sex. POP presents as bulging of tissue or organs that protrudes to or past the vaginal opening (depending on the grade of POP) that can been felt or seen. Other associated symptoms are urinary incontinence (leakage of urine), urge and frequency (polyuria), waking up in the middle of the night to go use the bathroom (nocturia), difficulties with bowel movement, fecal incontinence, and difficulties using tampons or having gynecological examinations.
Types of POP:
Cystocele: prolapse of the bladder
Rectocele: prolapse of rectum
Urethrocele: prolpapse of the urethra
Uterocele: prolapse of the uterus
Enterocele: prolapse of the intestine
Vaginal vault: vaginal wall prolapse
There are 4 degrees of POP determined by the relative distance of prolapsed organ to the perineum located between vaginal and anal openings:
Grade 0: no prolapse
Grade 1: the most distal part of the prolapsed organ is >1 cm from the hymen/perineum
Grade 2: the most distal part of the prolapsed organ is <1 cm from the hymen/perineum
Grade 3: the most distal part of the prolapse is >1 cm beyond the hymen and everted no more than 2 cm past the hymen/perineum
Grade 4: complete vaginal eversion [affects 3-6% of women
Risk Factors and Causes of POP:
There is an array of genetic and lifestyle factors that could increase the odds of developing a POP, such as:
Family history of prolapse
Ethnicity (increased risks for POP in individuals of white and hispanic descent)
Frequent constipation, pushing and straining for bowel movements
Multiple vaginal childbirths
History of hysterectomy
Physical Therapy for POP:
If it is determined that you have a POP, your PT will design a specialized program for you to address the strength, flexibility, and endurance of your core and pelvic floor muscles. The goal of therapy is to reduce and alleviate symptoms, and prevent exacerbation of the prolapse. Your PT will also give you with strategies so you can independently manage your condition. Studies show that POP can be reduced by one grade with pelvic floor physical therapy. Your PT will also be able to make an appropriate referrals to other health care providers for any concerns outside our scope of practice arise.
Available Surgical Treatment Options:
In some cases, conservative treatment alone is not enough to restore normal function. It may be necessary to consider alternate measures including the use of a pessary or surgical repair. A pessary is a non-permanent device inserted into the vagina that gives additional support to the pelvic organs. Women can choose to use it when they are active and remove it for sleep or sex. Additionally, 300,000 POP surgeries are performed annually in the US. Surgical repair may be done using synthetic mesh or your own body tissue. A board certified surgeon will be qualified to make the decision regarding which is the best option for you.
Most importantly, remember that there is no shame in having POP. If you have any questions regarding this condition or think you may need help to get Back to Life, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Pelvic Health Physical Therapists at SPEAR!