Snow2Sand Event: How’ll They’ll Bike From Denver to Los Angeles

Snow2Sand Charity Bike Race Denver

Therapydia Denver is excited to be partnering with NextStep Fitness for their upcoming Snow2Sand event kicking off in Denver on September 3rd. The goal of the charity bike race is to raise funding for healthcare and new facilities for people with paralysis. The team of 10 bikers and friends are doing the Snow2Sand 1,300 mile course in 8 days. Cycling for a that long of a distance in a short period of time requires extreme endurance training and physical preparation. At this point before the race, the team is working on gradually upping their training levels to prepare for what they’ll be facing on the journey. Besides having good mechanics on the ride, they also need to know how to move so they can prevent any sudden injuries.

The Training Regimen

With a few weeks before the race starts, the 10 person team is consistently training about 4 to 6 hours per day! It’s key for the team to balance all the repetitive movements they’re doing in a way so they don’t get injured. The team is being led by retired USMC Sergeant Brendan O’Toole and paralyzed athlete, Mike Murphy. Mike is completing the long race on a recumbent bicycle or handcycle, which means that for him it’s all about arm and shoulder strength. He’s getting in the same hours and preparing his body for the positioning he’ll need to power his bicycle. Overall, the whole team prepares this way: getting in the long hours, perfecting mechanics, and doing interval workouts.

In general, all of that overuse to their muscles puts a lot of strain on their ankles, knees, hamstrings, lower backs, and even the neck. Having strength in the right areas on the ride comes into play when considering how these overuse injuries can occur. For example, bike fit and an aggressive riding position can be at the source of lower back pain from cycling. To combat that, spending time working on core strength helps cyclists sustain the power they need during a ride. The lower back won’t be forced to compensate for the power that should be coming from the muscles around the core. Keeping to good mechanics on the bike also matters. Neck pain on a ride is because the muscles at the base of the skull get fatigued. Without proper positioning and bike fit, this will only aggravate your neck if you have to constantly crane forward. To prevent any issues with the knee, they have to make sure that they’re not diving inward while they cycle. Having to cover 1,300 miles in 8 days means preventing as much strain to your muscles as possible.

Role of Medical Support Team

Along with the team, a group of medical support staff will also be going along on the trek. One of our Therapydia Denver physical therapists, Casey, is part of the medical staff. Their main role is to get them through the journey and help them through any discomfort. Long hours on the bike might result in the medical team seeing a lot of lower back discomfort, quad soreness, and neck pain. They’ll most likely be feeling sore, fatigued, and have painful flare-ups in overused joints and muscles. They’ll use manual therapy and massage techniques to get rid of any muscle restrictions that may have built-up on the ride. Casey may also use dry needling techniques to release tension in overly tight muscles. They’ll also be available for any sudden injuries or accidents that may happen on the road, but hopefully will not. The goal of the medical team is to manage symptoms for everyone on the team. Relieving painful muscle tension and soreness is essential for the team to get through 8 days of constant cycling.

They’re Kicking Off In Denver

The mission of the Snow2Sand Charity Bike Race is to raise awareness for the paralyzed community and give them access to healthcare resources and facilities. The race to Los Angeles kicks off in Denver on September 3rd at 12pm at the Call to Arms Brewing Company. Come by to show your support for the team before the start their brutal journey. We’ll also be at the event with a booth to support the event. We’ll also be doing some complimentary kinesio taping for all attendees! Make sure you take the time to stop by.

Therapydia Denver & NextStep: Racing From Snow2Sand

Snow2Sand Charity Bike Race Denver.

We’re excited to announce that we’re partnering with NextStep Fitness in support of their Snow2Sand Charity Bike Race. The goal of being a sponsor for this event with NextStep is to raise enough funding to provide healthcare resources for people with paralysis. For anyone with paralysis, maintaining a healthy lifestyle isn’t just about keeping fit. It’s also essential for them to ward off any secondary complications. Beyond having the necessary medical care, it’s also key for people with paralysis to have the rehabilitation facilities and equipment that they need.

The Problem With Healthcare For Paralysis

Without the right tools, people with paralysis don’t have or can’t afford the resources they need to lead healthy and injury-free lives. About 6 million people have paralysis in the United States. For people with spinal cord injuries, they can incur up to $800,000 in medical expenses their first year of recovery. The Snow2Sand Charity Bike Race is aimed to spread awareness and raise funding to address the lack of resources and access many people with paralysis face. The team of bikers and medical support crew, led by paralyzed athlete Mike Murphy and retired USMC Sergeant Brendan O’Toole, are biking 1,300 miles in 8 days from Colorado to California.

Building Better Better Quality Of Life

NextStep was founded based on the fact that there weren’t many progressive rehabilitation centers for people with paralysis to go to. At the time, there were no centers in California and no centers with locomotor training at all in the United States. Most people with paralysis will have direct rehabilitation for 3 to 6 months with a physical therapist after being injured. Afterwards, they’ll have to continue to manage any secondary complications for the rest of their lives. These include pulmonary and cardiovascular issues such as sudden instances of high blood pressure (autonomic dysreflexia) or blood clots (deep vein thrombosis). Having the resources to keep active to combat the loss of muscle function and atrophy in your body keeps these conditions from developing. NextStep Fitness has made this possible by providing a variety of resources such as specialized adaptive equipment, Locomotor Training, and functional electrical stimulation (FES) cycling.

Support The Biking Team & Crew

A main mission of Therapydia is to have people of all injuries moving better and integrating wellness and activity into their lifestyles. Sponsoring Snow2Sand helps us expand those values into the paralyzed community as well. We’ll also have a member of our team along for the ride to Los Angeles as well. One of our Therapydia Denver physical therapists, Casey, will be a part of the medical support team during the 8 day ride. Let’s help the biking team have the best send-off possible before their 1,300 mile journey!

How To Keep Balanced With Pilates After ACL Surgery

Therapydia Pilates ACL Tear Treament

If you’ve had surgery or suffered a major injury to your ACL, you’ve likely felt immobile as you worked through the recovery process. Your ACL works as a rotational stabilizer for the knee. When you make quick turns or sharp movements, it keeps your knee as stable as possible. Objectives during ACL rehabilitation are to make sure you can fully move your knee through every range of motion. Pilates comes into play as a solution that furthers your ACL recovery. One major component of ACL treatment is to rebuild strength in the muscles that surround your hips and thighs such as your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Pilates doesn’t put too much stress directly on your injured knee but gives you all the tools to increase strength and flexibility.

Reforming The Knee

Therapydia ACL Injury Treatment

Pilates has different exercise options available depending on how much weight you can put on you knee. Working on a reformer, as opposed to a mat or chair, can help you begin doing Pilates moves much earlier. A reformer is a piece of equipment used in Pilates which looks like a bed with springs, a sliding carriage, and resistance bands. If you’ve had ACL surgery, it allows you to stay horizontal and have lighter resistance on your injured knee as equipment guides you to strengthen the muscles around your knee joint. Common movements on the reformer involve footwork and side-lying movements for your injured knee. You’ll begin correcting any muscles that aren’t aligned in your lower body, which will help your knee recover by keeping it stable as you start walking.

Stabilize Your Knee Joint

Once you start being able to bear more weight on your knee, you have the option of doing some Pilates mat work. Since you’re able to move around a bit easier, you’ll work on continuing to increase the range of motion of your knee that may have started on the reformer. Better alignment throughout your spine and pelvis is key. Instead of just focusing on strengthening your injured knee, you’ll be increasing flexibility around your back, core, and hips as well. Without alignment in those areas, you’ll be putting too much force on your injured knee. All pilates exercises are designed to have built-in postural awareness to improve spinal alignment. You might be able to do an exercise like The Saw to not only stretch the hamstrings but also your abdominals and the muscles of your back. These all work together to promote a more stable knee joint.

Therapydia ACL Injury Treatment

• Sit up straight on your bottom
• Extend your legs in front of you, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart
• Stretch your arms out to the side, palms facing forward
• Inhale and twist to the right, keeping your abdominals and hips steady
• Reach the pinky finger of your front hand across the outside of the opposite foot
• Touch your little toe if you can, but move in that general direction if you can’t
• Once you’ve gone as far as you can, inhale and untwist back to sitting position
• Repeat the same movement on your other side

Retraining your injured knee to have the balance you need after an ACL injury is tricky. That’s why another point of focus is on your hips. A move like Swimming builds a lot of much needed strength in your core, glutes, and hamstrings. That way, you’ll be more balanced and put less pressure on your healing ACL.

• Lay on your stomach with your legs together in parallel
• Keep your arms stretched straight overhead and the tip of the nose to the mat
• Pull in your abdominals so you lift your belly away from the floor
• At the same time, keep your tailbone moving down towards the mat
• Reach out and extend your arms and legs in opposite directions
• Focus on getting length in your spine so your head moves up off the mat
• Continue to reach your arms and legs out as you alternate sides
• Pump them up and down in small pulses

Staying Balanced

After ACL surgery, what you need from your body is better strength and balance. Using Pilates to develop strength in your back, core, and hips will give your body the alignment it needs. That way, you’ll develop your body’s sense of balance which was thrown off after your ACL injury. You’ll be able to use Pilates to focus on specific weaknesses and retrain imbalanced muscles that may have contributed to your injury. Having musculoskeletal issues in your body will delay recovery and continue to strain your knee. Pilates allows you to maintain control, balance, and coordination in your healing knee. Talk to your physical therapist to see if Pilates is an activity you can do to complement your ACL rehabilitation.

How Pilates Can Relieve Lower Back Pain

If you have lower back pain, you know that many different types of treatment approaches exist. These include stretching, functional training, postural exercises, hot and cold therapy, and general exercise. How does Pilates fit into the spectrum of lower back treatment options? By combining some of the most important aspects of what it takes to relieve lower back pain. General lower back pain is difficult to diagnose—many different musculoskeletal imbalances could be contributing to your pain. In general, Pilates routines are an effective way to obtain strength, balance, and flexibility throughout your body. They work to specifically relieve lower back pain by targeting the core muscle groups that support the spine.

Better Alignment For A Healthy Back

The structure of the back is designed to act as a support for nearly every move the body makes. Keeping the back pain free involves focusing on the stabilizing muscles that surround your spine in the lower back. Not only that, it’s also key to strengthen the abdominals and obliques around your core. All of these muscles support the alignment of the spine’s natural curvature. Studies have shown that Pilates is more effective than minimal physical exercise interventions in reducing chronic lower back pain. Lower back pain is usually caused by abnormal pulling and tightness of muscles in the area. This happens when muscles in the back compensate for stabilizing muscles that are weak, which could be the ones in your core. By strengthening and mobilizing the muscles that keep your back aligned, you’ll correct the imbalances that may be causing your lower back pain. A simple move to engage your lower abdominals might include The Single-Leg Stretch:

Therapydia Pilates Lower Back Pain Treatment

• Begin on your back with your knees bent into your chest and shins parallel to the floor
• While exhaling, pull your abs in as you curl your head and shoulders up
• Continue until you reach the tips of your shoulder blades
• Extend 1 leg straight to a 45 degree angle
• As you do so, place both hands on the opposite shin
• Place the outside hand near the ankle, inside hand near the knee
• Focus on engaging your core as you switch your legs
• Extend your opposite leg straight and pull the opposite knee into your hands

Extend To Your Neck & Hips

Therapydia Pilates Lower Back Pain Treatment

Certain Pilates movements also focus on getting your hips and neck muscles aligned with the rest of your spine. Your pelvic and neck areas are extensions of your core. Without alignment and stabilization extending up and down into those parts of your body, you’re going to keep having issues in your back. Beneficial movements for your neck and shoulders might include what are called Scapular Isolations:

• Lie on your back with your knees bent
• Reach your hands with your palms facing in straight up towards the ceiling
• Keeping your head down, inhale and reach your shoulders off the mat
• As you do this, focus on stretching upwards

Exercises for the muscles in the neck and shoulders work to increase their range of motion while also strengthening the muscles in your upper and middle back. With lower back issues, increasing strength and flexibility in your hips and glutes also plays a big role in treating pain. Pilates movements such as The Bridge Roll-Up help to strengthen the glutes and core stabilizers while also improving hip extension:

Therapydia Pilates Lower Back Pain Treatment

• Start by lying on the floor with your knees bent and arms at your sides
• Widen across the chest and slowly raise your pelvis and lower back off of the floor
• As you do this, inhale and focus on pulling in towards your belly
• Pause for a bit as you maintain that bridge with your hips and lower back
• Slowly lower your bottom back towards the ground

By keeping your glutes and pelvic muscles activated, you’ll be taking that extra pressure off of your lower back.

Relieve Stress On Your Spine

Therapydia Lower Back Pain Treatment

Pain in your lower back isn’t usually caused by just issues in your back. Pilates strengthens those weaker muscles that stabilize your spine to relieve lower back pain. If you go into Pilates with lower back pain, you may be able to see a decrease in pain and symptoms within 4 to 5 sessions. If you have any conditions that affect the spine such as scoliosis, sciatica, or any nerve impingement consult with your doctor or physical therapist to see which specific Pilates movements would be the most beneficial for your rehabilitation. Almost everyone who goes into a Pilates program with lower back pain would be able to benefit. Athletes have begun to use Pilates as a way to maintain or improve core stability and control for better performance. Even if you sit at a desk all day and feel some tightness in your lower back, working on spinal alignment could offer you the relief you need.