• Fitting Exercise into a Busy Lifestyle

    If you’re like most Americans, you could probably do with a little more exercise. The problem for most of us is that we often have trouble fitting it into our schedules. Fortunately, we have a few suggestions for fitting more exercise into your hectic lifestyle.

    • Remember, the early bird gets the…workout. As much as you might hate to hear it, getting up earlier is one of the best ways to squeeze in a workout. Setting your alarm earlier than you need to gives you some wiggle room to fit in a workout before you start your day and lets you cross exercise off your to-do list. For many people, a quick run in the morning will boost the metabolism and make the day better, but if you’re one who prefers an evening workout, that’s ok too. Just shift your evening plans to make sure you stick to your commitment.
    • Make your commute your fitness routine. Can you walk, run, or bike to work? This is a great way to work in your workout, without going out of your way. Don’t have a walkable commute? Get off the bus or subway a few stops earlier, or park far away so that you can squeeze in a little bit of walking. Even a short walk can burn calories, help control your weight, and give you the chance to burn off some steam.
    • Work out while you work. If you get a lunch break, this is the perfect time to fit in some exercise. Hitting the gym or going for a walk is a great way to burn some calories while taking a break from staring at your computer screen. You can also get a workout right at your disk, by sitting on a stability ball or fitting in 12 to 15 reps of exercises like dumbbell curls or ab crunches while you’re working.
    • Make exercise a social outing. Sometimes the people in our lives are a convenient excuse for inactivity, but there’s no reason they should be. Schedule fitness dates with your significant other, whether that’s a weekend hike, a weekly bike ride, or an evening walk every day after work. Single? Rally your friends and work out together! If you’ve got young kids, invest in a jogging stroller or strap on a carrier, then invite another parent to join you for some exercise with kids in tow.
    • Take every opportunity to get a mini-workout. Park far from the mall, take the stairs, clean your house enthusiastically. If you put some energy into the things you do on an everyday basis, you’ll find it easier to stay in shape.
    • Do your couch potato-ing without the couch. Don’t want to give up your binge-watching to make time for the gym? Bring the gym into your television viewing. Clear the space in front of your TV, and you’ll be able to do squats, crunches, jumping jacks, push-ups, and planks during the show. Want to up your game? Put a treadmill or elliptical into your TV room, and get some serious workout time while you veg out.
    • Make a plan and stick to it. However you choose to implement these tips, the most important thing is to have a plan. Pencil exercise into your calendar, prioritizing it as you would anything else of importance. Start slowly and find exercise that you enjoy doing, and keep track of your progress along the way, celebrating your achievements to keep yourself motivated.

    Exercise is important because it helps your body function as it should. At Manhattan Total Health, we specialize in improving your total function through both alternative and traditional methods. Our team of board-certified physiatrists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, physical therapists, and massage therapists uses state of the art techniques, in a spa-like environment, to diminish your pain and restore your body’s functions. To learn how we can help you find your path to wellness, call (917) 720-2689 or contact us through our website.

  • How TMJ Affects You

    How’s your TMJ? Your temporomandibular joints are on either side of your jaw and act as hinges that connect your jawbone to your skull. If you have a TMJ disorder, it can cause pain in both your jaw joint and the muscles that control the movement of your jaw. Sometimes, TMJ problems resolve on their own. When they don’t, they may require the intervention of a medical professional. Here, we’ll answer some common questions about temporomandibular disorders (TMD) and how they can affect you.

  • What is the function of the TMJ? Temporomandibular joints allow the muscles used in chewing to open and close your mouth. They give your jawbone the ability to move in a rotation or hinge motion as well as a gliding motion, allowing you to talk, chew, and yawn.
  • What are the symptoms of a TMJ disorder? TMJ problems can cause headaches, ear pain, blurred vision, difficulty chewing, and even shoulder pain, among other symptoms. If you’ve got TMD, you might experience jaw clicking and popping or jaw pain, stiff, sore jaw muscles, or even a locking of the jaw joint. You might have trouble opening your mouth, your ears may pop, and your teeth may feel sensitive even if you have no dental problems.
  • What causes TMD? TMJ disorders can be caused by injury to or misalignment of the teeth or jaw, teeth grinding or clenching, stress, arthritis, poor posture, and even gum chewing. These things cause problems like disk erosion, cartilage damage, or damage to the joint. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to say why TMD happens. It may be the result of an infection or a birth defect, and cancer can cause TMJ problems. Women of child-bearing age are twice as likely as men to develop TMD.
  • What are some things you can do at home to alleviate the symptoms of TMD? TMJ problems often resolve on their own or are easily remedied through simple self-care practices like exercising to reduce teeth-clenching. You can use anti-inflammatory or pain medicines to alleviate the pain of TMD, and it might also help to eat a diet of soft foods. Avoid chewing gum, hard candy, or other hard or chewy foods, and apply a warm compress to help soothe your symptoms.
  • Can exercise alleviate TMD? Yes! There are a number of exercises you can do to help with TMD, including chin tucks, resisted opening and closing of the mouth, and side to side or forward movement of the jaw.
  • When should you seek medical attention for your TMJ? If the pain or tenderness in your jaw is persistent, or if you can’t open or close your jaw completely, it’s time to see your doctor. A medical professional can help determine the cause of your TMD and offer suggestions for treating it. Treatments include medication, appliances, physical therapy, and in extreme cases, even surgery.
  • Can TMD be prevented? If you’re prone to jaw pain, make sure you’re not chewing on things like pen caps or your fingernails. Avoid taking large bites when you’re eating, and massage the muscles in your jaws, cheeks, and temples to keep them relaxed. Use good posture, sleeping with good neck support and never cradling the phone between your neck and shoulder. If you grind your teeth, talk to your dentist about solutions to the problem.

At Manhattan Total Health, we specialize in improving your total function through both alternative and traditional methods. Our team of board-certified physiatrists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, physical therapists, and massage therapists uses state of the art techniques, in a spa-like environment, to diminish your pain and restore your body’s functions. To learn how we can help you find your path to wellness, call (917) 720-2689 or contact us through our website.

  • Cooling Down after Exercise

    You know the importance of warming up before a workout—it prepares your body for cardiovascular activity by raising your heart rate to increase blood flow to your muscles—but do you take the time to cool down after exercise? Here’s why cooling down is important, and how to add this to the end of your workout routine.

  • Why Cool Down after Exercise?

    Immediately after being physically active, your heart is elevated, your body temperature is higher than usual, and your blood vessels are dilated. If you go from a full sprint to lying down on the ground, you could feel sick or even pass out. This is because venous pooling of blood in the lower extremities after an intense workout causes your blood pressure to drop too rapidly, leaving insufficient blood flow to the brain. The risk of fainting or dizziness is higher for serious athletes whose heart rates slow down faster and whose veins circulate more blood at once.

    A cool-down allows for a gradual recovery of your pre-workout heart rate and blood pressure so your body can ease out of your exercise session. It also helps your muscles return to their optimal length-tension relationships as you transition back to a steady state of rest.

    How to Cool Down after Exercise

    Do your body a favor, and cool down after every workout with these tips:

    • Continue your workout, but at a slower pace and with decreased intensity.
    • Walk around for a few minutes, aiming to keep moving until your heart rate drops below 120 beats per minute.
    • Once you aren’t breathing so heavily anymore, stretch every major muscle group in your body, giving extra attention to the muscles you just finished working out. This helps improve your flexibility and may make you less prone to injury during future workouts.
    • As you stretch, hold each position for 10 to 30 seconds while taking deep breaths. As you start to loosen up, sink a little deeper into the stretch. This shouldn’t be painful, but you should feel tension in the muscles you’re stretching. Avoid bouncing to prevent injury.

    Personal Training & Sports Medicine at Manhattan Total Health

    While one of the primary goals of cooling down after exercise is to prevent injury, you may still experience a strain, sprain, or pulled muscle from working out. If you think you have a sports injury, don’t ignore it—you might make things worse by powering through the pain!

    Instead, seek the care you need at Manhattan Total Health. We offer sports medicine services in New York to help you recover rapidly without pharmaceuticals or surgery. Our alternative approaches to whole-body healing will have you back on track as quickly as possible.

    We also have personal trainers on staff to help make your workouts better. We’ll instruct you on proper exercise techniques to reduce instances of injury.

    To learn more about our health and fitness services, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us today.

  • Fitness Tips for the Summer

    Summer is a popular time to focus on health and fitness. After all, the weather is warm, so you can exercise outside. However, the heat is both a blessing and a curse. Follow these fitness tips to stay safe and healthy while working up a sweat this summer.

    • Pace yourself: You might want to achieve your beach body as quickly as possible, but going from sedentary to fully active could be a mistake. Pushing yourself too hard too fast is likely to cause burnout, bringing your fitness journey to a grinding halt. Start slow and listen to your body. Stop immediately if you feel dizzy, faint, or nauseated.
    • Drink more water: Feeling thirsty? Then you’ve waited too long to grab your water bottle. Thirst is the first sign of dehydration, so to keep feelings of fatigue and lightheadedness at bay, drink a glass or two before your workout begins, and then take frequent sips while training outdoors, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
    • Wear sunscreen: Maybe it’s partly cloudy, or you argue that you want to work on your tan. Regardless, you should always wear a 30 SPF sunscreen or higher when spending time in the sun. Remember to reapply every two hours or any time you towel off.
    • Come inside when it gets too hot: The best times to exercise outdoors are before 10 am and after 3 pm when the sun is less intense. If you find yourself outside during the peak sunny hours, stick to shady trails to decrease the chance of heat exhaustion.
    • Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothes: Skintight polyester might seem like the right choice at first, but this isn’t well suited for outdoor exercise. Instead, opt for cotton-blend fabrics with a loose fit. These are breezier than polyester but less absorbent than 100 percent cotton.
    • Leave Fido at home: It’s fun to have your canine companion along for a run, but hot weather and high humidity can easily make dogs overheat, especially if they don’t have access to water. Go jogging with your dog when it’s relatively cool out, but when it really starts to heat up, leave your furry friend at home.
    • Restore your electrolytes: Sweating causes you to lose vital electrolytes, which you can replenish by eating and drinking the right foods after a workout. Save yourself the artificial ingredients and added sugar of sports drinks, and instead turn to coconut water, organic chocolate milk, chia seeds, and fruits and vegetables.
    • Expect a performance dip: If you usually run an eight-minute mile on the treadmill, expect that number to be nine or 10 minutes when running outdoors in the heat. You aren’t regressing—your body simply has to work harder when it’s hot.

    The personal trainers at Manhattan Total Health can help you reach your summer fitness goals! We also offer sports medicine services in New York to help our patients recover from injuries using full-service physical medicine. Contact us today to set an appointment.

  • Difference between Massage and Massage Therapy

    If you believe a massage is a massage, no matter who administers it, you might decide to book a massage at a spa when you would actually benefit more from meeting with a licensed medical massage therapist in New York. Both are viable forms of massage, but they have some major differences. Learn about each one so you can make the right choice for your needs.

  • The Goal of the Massage

    When you book a massage in a spa setting, the goal is to relax and feel pampered. The session might take place in a private, dimly lit room with candles, aromatherapy, and meditative music. The ultimate goal is customer satisfaction and relaxation.

    With massage therapy, there is a medical outcome in mind—to relieve back pain, improve circulation, treat headaches, or ease joint stiffness. You may receive a referral from your doctor, and your health insurance might cover some or all of your visits.

    Massage Techniques

    While all types of massage may feel similar to someone who hasn’t studied it, there are many different techniques used for specific purposes. Spa massage most often incorporates Swedish massage and deep tissue massage. There is nothing wrong with these techniques—in fact, they can be incredibly effective at relieving muscle tension.

    However, with a more clinical focus from a massage therapist, you can gain access to a wide range of other healing modalities, including myofascial release, trigger point therapy, reflexology, and others. A knowledgeable massage therapist will implement the best techniques to treat your condition effectively.

    Training & Credentials

    A basic massage education can be obtained after about 500 hours of training. To work in a spa, a masseur or masseuse must obtain a license and carry liability insurance.

    Qualifying to work as a massage therapist in a clinical setting requires additional education in pathology and kinesiology. Additional credentialing and continuing education hours are also needed.

    Follow-Up

    When you receive periodic massages on vacation or for your birthday, you don’t expect any follow-up recommendations from your masseur or masseuse. You just want to treat yourself to a relaxing massage, lower your stress level, and feel pampered for a day.

    However, if you’re visiting a massage therapist for ongoing treatment, you expect to receive follow-up advice and arrange your next visit to assess your progress at that time. Your treatments occur at regular intervals and may be paired with chiropractic care, physical therapy, or other rehab services designed to improve your body’s overall function.

    Massage Therapy in New York

    If you’re just looking to relax with an occasional massage, and you don’t have any underlying pain or discomfort, a spa massage could be right for you. However, if you want massage therapy services that target your trouble areas with thoughtful techniques from a clinical professional, choose medical massage at Manhattan Total Health in New York. Our massage therapists can administer therapeutic treatments in a skillful, practiced manner.

    To learn more, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us today.

  • What to Expect from Your First Personal Training Session

    If you’re looking for a way to hold yourself more accountable for your fitness goals, working with a personal trainer might be right for you. These licensed professionals have in-depth knowledge of how the human body works and what you must do to reach your desired level of conditioning. With their guidance, you’ll be less likely to plateau, continually advancing to the next level of muscle gain or weight loss, depending on your goals.

    Ready to get started? Here’s a breakdown of what to expect from your first personal training session.

    Fill out Paperwork

    Be prepared to share your contact information, medical history, and current fitness level. Your complete honesty is important to ensure your trainer has all the needed information to help you get the most from your workouts. For the personal trainer’s protection, you may also need to fill out a waiver of liability, informed consent form, and contract.

    Assess Your Starting Fitness Level

    This may involve taking measurements across your body and recording your starting weight. You might feel self-conscious, but this is a vital step to help you track how far you have come when you look back a few months from now. You may also undergo a postural assessment, movement analysis, flexibility test, blood pressure reading, and cardio test to give the personal trainer a thorough baseline from which to measure your progress.

    Design Your Fitness Program

    Now comes the fun part! Tell your trainer your fitness goals to begin shaping a program that’s right for you. Try to have a few specific ideas in mind.

    For instance, you may want to lose 10 pounds, gain five pounds of muscle, lose three inches on your waistline, or lower your body fat percentage by two points. You might also want to master a new skill, such as doing 10 pull-ups or 20 push-ups, touching your toes, or running a mile in under 10 minutes. Or maybe you’re training for an event, such as a marathon, and you could use extra help to prepare. These are the kinds of things your personal trainer will customize your fitness program around.

    Discuss Nutrition

    To see rapid results from your workouts, you must put equal emphasis on your diet. Your personal trainer can point you in the direction of foods that will fuel your workouts, help you feel energized, and keep you healthy.

    Ask Questions

    If your trainer invites you to ask questions, feel free to bring up things such as, “How should I exercise on the days we don’t train together?” and “What’s a realistic pace for seeing results?” Once you start working out, ask, “How’s my form?” and “Where should I be feeling this exercise?” By following your trainer’s advice and having reasonable expectations, your relationship will get off to a good start.

    If you’re ready to feel your best with the help of a personal trainer in New York, please contact Manhattan Total Health and request your first personal training session today!

  • What Are the Risk Factors for Fibromyalgia?

    Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes chronic pain and fatigue. The condition is not well understood, but a growing body of research hints at the potential causes. If you have fibromyalgia, there is not a single treatment plant that works for everyone, so you will need to use trial and error to find the best fit for your needs. Many people benefit from a mix of treatments, including acupuncture, massage therapy, and chiropractic care. Could you be at risk of developing fibromyalgia? These are some of the potential risk factors, so you can be vigilant about the symptoms.

  • Family History of Fibromyalgia

    Fibromyalgia tends to run in families, so if you have a close relative who has been diagnosed, you have a chance of developing it as well. Although the exact mechanism is not yet clear, there is a chance that you could inherit genes that make you more sensitive to pain or more prone to other things, like depression, that are often associated with fibromyalgia. If you have a family history of the condition, be sure to let your doctor know, so he or she can monitor you for potential signs.

    Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

    Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, seemed to be linked to fibromyalgia, though doctors are not sure of the exact connection. PTSD may cause a change in the way people respond to pain, or it may be a trigger for the onset of fibromyalgia. People who have suffered through emotional or physical abuse are also more likely to get fibromyalgia, even if they haven’t been diagnosed with PTSD.

    Other Health Conditions

    If you have another chronic disease or infection, then your chances of developing fibromyalgia are increased. Painful conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, are especially associated with fibromyalgia, and it can sometimes be difficult for sufferers to tell them apart.

    For more information about managing the pain of fibromyalgia without medications, call Manhattan Total Health. We offer a variety of services, including massage therapy and physical therapy in New York, NY. Make an appointment for a consultation by dialing (917) 636-4723.

  • What Are the Benefits of Good Posture?

    You were probably told over and over again in your childhood to stand up straight, but the reasons that good posture are important go far beyond just looking lively. As any chiropractor will tell you, the root of many health problems is the spine, and a healthy spine starts with good posture.

    Watch this video to learn more about the benefits of good posture. Being mindful of your posture will help you avoid chronic lower back pain, neck pain, and a wide range of systemic problems that can occur from spinal misalignments.

    If you’re not sure if your spine is healthy, visit a chiropractor at Manhattan Total Health. To make an appointment for chiropractic care in New York, NY, call (917) 636-4723.

  • Is Deep Tissue Massage Right for You?

    Deep tissue massage is different from other types of massage you may have experienced, such as Swedish massage. It uses a firm amount of pressure in order to reach deep muscle tissue and fascia. It can be very helpful for chronic pain, but it isn’t the right treatment for everyone. Your massage therapist will help you determine if it is the right technique for you.

  • During a deep tissue massage, your massage therapist will start out with light pressure and then gradually increase the intensity as your muscles warm up. It can be uncomfortable, especially when your therapist reaches areas that have scar tissue, but it shouldn’t be painful. It is normal to feel sore after a deep tissue massage, as if you’ve had an intense workout. This kind of massage is safe for most people, but it is not the right technique for everyone’s treatment goals, so discuss you needs with your massage therapist.

    For massage therapy in New York, NY, choose Manhattan Total Health. You can make an appointment by calling (917) 636-4723.

  • How to Talk about Chronic Pain with Your Doctor

    Dealing with chronic pain can be overwhelming. Part of the distress many patients have is feeling like their doctors do not truly understand their symptoms. Pain is subjective, and people have different levels of tolerance to different painful sensations, but conveying how you’re feeling to your doctor accurately will help him or her find the best treatments for you, from physical therapy to medical massage. When you see a doctor for your chronic pain, try these techniques for discussing your symptoms.

    Be Specific About the Sensations

    It isn’t enough to tell your doctor that you are in pain and where it hurts. Being specific about the kinds of pain you’re feeling will help your doctor decide what kinds of treatments can help you. For example, do you have burning, tingling pain or aching, throbbing pain? These symptoms suggest different conditions to your doctor, and they tend to respond to different kinds of treatment. If you’re experiencing different kinds of pain, go through each of your symptoms and when they occur to help your doctor get a complete picture.

    Talk About the Effects

    It is helpful to tell your doctor about the ways that your pain is affecting your life. What activities do you have to avoid now? Have you had to change the way you work or miss out on things that were important to you because you’re in too much pain? Are you dealing with depression or anxiety that is associated with your pain? This information will give your doctor some insight into how pain is controlling your life, so he or she can decide how aggressive your treatment should be.

    Explain the Things That You’ve Tried

    You can save time and frustration by telling your doctor the things you have tried to manage pain. By knowing what has provided some relief and what hasn’t, your doctor can make more informed decisions about how to move forward in treating your chronic pain.

    Manhattan Total Health offers a range of services to help people with chronic pain find symptom relief without medication, from medical massage and acupuncture to physical therapy and much more. Make an appointment with a physical therapist in New York NY or one of our other providers by calling (917) 636-4723.