Imagine cycling, running or playing golf every day. One morning, you wake up and a nagging injury gets painful enough that it starts to inhibit basic movements. You go to the doctor hoping for a solution, but instead, they tell you that you have to stop doing what you were doing – forever. How would you feel? Would you accept their advice? Or seek out another opinion?
If you chose the latter, allow us to introduce Dr. Bhakti Patel. Dr. Patel is a Doctor of Chiropractic who treats athletes – from amateurs to pros – for everything from complex tears to biomechanical imbalances. She’s registered with the Motion Palpation Institute and the Running Clinic, and certified in Active Release Technique, the gold standard for soft tissue injuries and decreased range of motion. She also incorporates manual therapies, customized exercises and stretches, as well as Neurofunctional Acupuncture to decrease pain and break up scar tissue or myofascial restrictions.
Too much medical jargon? In plain speak, her patients usually come to her complaining of shoulder pain, knee pain, sciatica, neck pain or lower back pain. Patients range from NFL players, to Olympic runners, to CrossFitters and everything in between. Her end goal is to educate patients on their condition so they can understand how to get better and how to avoid similar injuries in the future.
Traditionally, musculoskeletal injuries are ignored because people think they will “go away”. Those who do seek out a doctor are treated with drugs, ice/heat, and/or told to rest.
Patient: “Doc, it hurts when I do this.”
Doctor: “Don’t do that.”
Verbatim or not, this is basically what the patient hears. And it isn’t a viable solution for athletes or anyone who wants to be active. Luckily, more and more doctors are prescribing physical therapy and chiropractic nowadays. That’s where Dr. Bhakti Patel comes in. She tries to explain to patients what their condition really is and how to treat or manage it while still maintaining an active lifestyle.
Let’s go back to some of the techniques she uses. Active Release Technique (ART) works for repetitive strain disorders such as neck and shoulder pain from constant computer use, elbow pain in baseball pitchers, lifters, golfers and tennis players, as well as knee or hip pain in runners. As a muscle or joint experiences microtrauma, tension builds up and cell recovery is compromised as blood circulation decreases. ART is designed to increase circulation and pain-free tissue range of motion. Dr. Patel sometimes combines ART with dry needling and neurofunctional acupuncture to penetrate deeper and target underlying or smaller tissues.
Stretches and functional exercises are equally effective. Recently, Dr. Patel treated a lifter with a torn labrum in his right shoulder. After surgery, the patient lost strength and range of motion. Lifting and reaching overhead, including everyday activities like getting dressed, had become a problem. Using painless exercises, joint-specific stretches and manual therapies, Dr. Patel helped the patient gain full range of motion in a matter of weeks. She also educated him on joint function and injury prevention so that he was back in the gym and lifting again soon thereafter.
How Dr. Bhakti Patel treats her patients is a reflection of her personal beliefs. She believes wellness comes from physical and chemical balance – if you move good you feel good, and if you feel good you move good. Newton’s First Law of Motion is a philosophy she comes back to again and again: a body in motion stays in motion. A body at rest stays at rest. It’s also something she applies to her own life.
When she’s not treating patients, Dr. Patel stays active with high intensity interval training, Olympic lifting, and self-defense. She tries to change up her workout routine often, incorporating everything from Kung Fu and kickboxing, to resistance bands and simple steady-state cardio. She loves going to the beach, experiencing new things and doing anything that makes her feel good.
If you’re struggling with an injury of your own, Dr. Bhakti Patel recommends listening to your body, but not if it means compromising your overall well-being. If you know you can get help, get help. You can also keep an eye out for educational articles from Dr. Patel on our blog. Over the next few months, she’ll be sharing tips and information on a range of common ailments.