Hello! I’m Mitch
Registered Physiotherapist, FCAMPT
Mitch’s Physiotherapy focus revolves around managing and treating the ever prevalent desk jockeys. This population constantly challenges their bodies behind a desk or computer for over 40 hours a week (which is way more than any athlete trains at the gym). Because of this, Mitchell focuses on priming their bodies to sustain long periods in sitting positions and optimizes their postural mechanics to be able to transition from desk work to competitive play without the risk of sprains or strains.
My Approach & Values
Mitch’s philosophy of Physiotherapy spans further than the typical injury mentality. Given his passion for integrative practice, Mitch’s goal is to understand how the site of pain is impacted by the entire body rather than pinpointing a specific area of weakness. Within this perspective, he strives to optimize movement to help clients attain relief on a whole body level and fulfill their performance goals. Mitchell also uses activity-specific strengthening exercises, acupuncture, dry needling, and manual therapy techniques to ensure clients are able to reach their optimal performance ambitions. He further couples these techniques with training in Advanced Manual Therapy, Soft Tissue Release techniques, Functional Stability courses, and Concussion training.
Mitch is the founder and creator of Desk Jockey Physio (www.DeskJockeyPhysio.com) – a website created to empower patients and users to better manage and treat their injuries to achieve their functional goals. This media platform allows patients to gain access to movement assessment videos, targeted exercises, as well as specialized video series to aid in empowering them to take their health and injury prevention in their own hands.
Outside of Desk Jockey Physio, Mitch is also a Co-Owner of an amazing clinical practice in Toronto, Synergy Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation. He also has an interest in on-field sports coverage. Specifically, he has had the unique opportunity to take part in the 2015 Pan Am Games (as a member of the medical team) where he provided on-field injury management services to golf, softball, table tennis, and baseball athletes.
Mitch has also been featured in a variety of publications, and media, including Global News, Women’s Running Magazine.
- Registered Physiotherapist
- FCAMPT (Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Manual and Manipulative Therapy)
- Medical Acupuncture Provider
- Dry Needling Provider
- Member of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association
- Recipient of the Physical Therapy Graduation Prize
- Master of Science in Physical Therapy (Queens
- Honours Bachelors of Science specialization in
Kinesiology and Exercise Science (York University)
- Certificate in Sports Administration (York University)
The Story Behind Desk Jockey Physio
Hi, I’m Mitch. Thanks for stopping by to learn about us. I’m a Physiotherapist practicing in Toronto, Canada. I have a passion for helping people to achieve their functional goals. Desk Jockey Physio started when I got tired of friends asking me about their “insert body part here” pain and decided to do something about it! I decided to do what any normal person would do and started to make videos on all of their questions. I figured if they had these questions, others would too right?
After working for 3 years in the Toronto Financial district with active desk workers, I started to notice specific trends and patterns that I now use to help patients get to the next level – whatever that is to them. Desk Jockey Physio is my home on the internet! It’s where I try to create relevant content for my patients and fellow “movers”.
Simply put, it’s where I try to create value for you.
Soft Tissue Release
Improving and restoring soft tissue mobility - such as muscles and fascia - are crucial to getting you back to doing what you love as quickly as possible. Not only do I work through soft tissues in my practice, but I have also completed extensive post-graduate training in a variety of techniques to ensure the best possible outcome for you.
Acupuncture is an amazing tool that Iâ€™m happy to use in my Toronto-based Physiotherapy practice. With acupuncture, weâ€™re able to facilitate the nerves directly and have a huge impact on your recovery. As a Physiotherapist, I completed my acupuncture certification through McMaster University which consisted of many hours of theory, hands-on mentorship, and practice to ensure the best possible implementation and clinical outcomes.Â
Dry Needling Provider
Dry Needling, also known as â€˜IMSâ€™ (Inter-Muscular Stimulation) has been found to be a tremendous tool for improving muscle tightness and joint stiffness. It involves inserting a more commonly known â€˜acupuncture needleâ€™ into a trigger point (i.e. tight area of a muscle). This can be a great help to speeding up the recovery process and ultimately getting you back to doing the things you love.Â
Strength and Conditioning
In the vast majority of orthopedic issues, the strength of our muscles play a huge role. Asides from being an active participant in strength training, personally, ensuring patients have a unique and tailored strength training program specific to them and their condition is crucial. If youâ€™ve gone to see a clinician before, and they have blindly given you 10 reps of 3 sets for any, and everything, this is a problem. Whether your goal is to build strength, improve your posture, run faster, or simply be pain-free walking up the stairs, a program needs to be specific to you.Â
Iâ€™ve gone through extensive post-graduate training in both performing and assessing joint mobilizations and manipulations. This means that if your issue involves a joint, we can get you better faster. Knowing which structure is responsible for any issue is the key to success with your body. An issue can be the result of soft tissue or fascial restriction, nerve-related, or due to a joint involvement. Having the ability to assess and treat the joint thoroughly is crucial.Â
Hands On Care
Our hands are powerful tools in returning you to your full potential. I believe to truly understand your injury and goals, we need to be able to work through any mobility restrictions together. From assessment to treatment, feeling the area of interest is crucial to fully diagnosing and appropriately treating the area. For example, I once had a young patient in Toronto, around 13 years old, with a 2-week history of back pain. He had seen two walk-in clinic Physicians and had been to the Emergency Room (ER) due to the extreme pain - both of which told him to take painkillers and muscle relaxants. Their assessments consisted of a conversation and a diagnosis of mechanical lower back pain.Â
During my assessment, things were not adding up, when I exposed and palpated the area, a large and infected cyst was found. He then returned to the ER, and this was drained and treated appropriately. As it turns out, this was not a â€˜Physiotherapy related injuryâ€™ that I could directly help with, but without a thorough hands-on assessment, the right treatment would not have been uncovered.Â
This is not to say that the previous Physiciansâ€™ did not have the best intentions in mind, but a great learning point in the power and importance of hands-on assessments.Â
I have gone through, and am completing the final stages of, an extensive 5-year orthopedic and manipulative therapy fellowship program (FCAMPT). This training program is completed by only 1% of physiotherapists and has equipped me with extensive knowledge of assessment and treatment options to get you to your goals. This training has taken me from Toronto to London and to Kingston, and I am happy to be able to share it with my patients finally.Â
What does hands on care mean to me? It can be anything from joint mobilizations or manipulations, soft tissue work, manual stretching, or resisted strength training. When it comes to exercise prescription, hands-on cueing can be crucial to you activating the right muscles, the right way, every time!
We spend a lot of time at our desks, in the office, and working from laptops. Because of how much time we spend in these positions, itâ€™s crucial we are doing the right things (and in the best positions possible) to set ourselves up for success. Whether it is setting up an ergonomic workstation for your home office, or your work station, every change can help. From the keyboard or mouse choice to even moving to a standing desk, there is a lot to think about, and Iâ€™m happy to help.Â
Concussion awareness and education is on the rise - and that is a good thing! Thatâ€™s why Iâ€™ve been sure to keep up to date on the most recent research and taken a variety of post-graduate concussion courses. Iâ€™ve worked alongside Neurologists specializing in concussion, and continue to team up with medical teams to ensure the best outcomes for my concussion patients.Â
If you have had a concussion, you know how confusing the recovery time can be. If you haven't, you'll have to trust us; but needless to say, I look forward to helping you through the process from start to finish.
Iâ€™ve spent over 3 years working in the heart of the financial district; so much so that you begin to notice trends with todayâ€™s modern-day office workers and the issues that can arise.Â
When youâ€™re forced to sit at a desk for hours on end, then get into your car (or onto the train) where you sit some more, and when you get home (exhausted from the day) to have a seat on the couch to recharge and reload - those hours add up! People actually sit on average of 12-13 hours a day.Â
I understand how busy life can be both inside and outside of the office, and will do everything I can to build a program around you and your lifestyle. Your physio program should fit into your day, not around it.Â
Iâ€™ve also had the luxury of speaking to a variety of groups on the topic, including Toronto Hydro.
Iâ€™ve worked with runners from across the Greater Toronto Area, and have spoken at over 8 running rooms in the city and to well over 50 groups. From classic foot and knee pain to lower back pain to shoulder and headache issues, all these issues can arise due to your running schedule and training protocol.Â
Running is fun, but being injured is not. Thatâ€™s why I think itâ€™s crucial to ensure that the mechanics and fundamentals are in place to ensure the best possible outcomes. Just because you have knee pain, does not mean you have an issue with your knee - often times there is much more involved, and it is crucial to get to the bottom of it.Â
A radicular injury is one that refers down toward an extremity from the spine. This can be down into the leg (often referred to as sciatica), or into the shoulder, arm or hand. Many common conditions can be radicular in nature, for example, carpal tunnel syndrome, and even tennis elbow.Â
Iâ€™ve spent countless years training within an orthopedic fellowship, focused on our spine, nerves and treatment. Iâ€™ve also had the luxury of working alongside several skilled Sports Medicine and Physical Rehabilitative Medicine (Physiatry) Doctors in Toronto, where weâ€™ve worked together to achieve the best possible treatment outcomes and protocols.
As a Desk Jockey, radiculopathy is often par the course, it is something I see regularly and look forward to helping you with. Â
The Temporomandibular Joint, also known as the TMJ can wreak havoc on those that suffer from issues in this region. I was fortunate enough to spend two years working alongside an Oral Surgeon in Toronto, treating the majority of his cases before any surgical procedure. I look forward to helping treat your TMJ in Toronto and East York.Â
This is an area of the body that can be tied to posture, stress, anxiety and of course imbalance. A thorough assessment is key to not just the TMJ, but also the spine, surrounding muscles, and lifestyle.
I Work With Active Office Workers Who Want To Feel And Move Better
"I visited Synergy when I reinjured my knee, years after an ACL repair. It takes a special team to motivate someone through recovery at 7:30AM on weekdays, and Mitch was incredible to work with. He was knowledgeable, took the time to explain my recovery path and made the process fun. The clinic is well-located and the team is awesome. I’m back to running and couldn’t be more grateful. Highly recommended!"
"I sought the help of Synergy Sports by referral from my personal trainer after experiencing lots of pain in the back of my shoulder. Working with Mitchell was a great experience - he is personable, professional and attentive! He immediately figured out what the issue was (my ribs had shifted out of place) and how to alleviate it. Right in time for Xmas, it was back in place and I was pain free! Since then, I've visited Mitchell for some other physio needs as well. It's not particularly close for me but I'd venture out there again. Appreciate the friendly receptionist too!"
"I have been seeing two (affiliated) Toronto physiotherapists intermittently for several years, for lower back problems that began in childhood. In January, 2019, I broke my left foot and right ankle, with subsequent surgery and three months in as many hospitals. I initially planned that, upon release, I would return to my regular physiotherapists, but their clinic was fully booked. Rather than wait, I went instead to see Mitch Starkman of Synergy Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation. (He had been recommended to my son by our family doctor.) This was the lucky part of my accident. Mitch is remarkably skilled. He has six years of university (RPT, MScPT, HBSc [KIN], Cert Sport Ad); no assistant, and provides hands-on treatment. I am stunned by how much he has accomplished, as have I, in only two weeks. And he not only has my feet to work on, but also my back and hip, which have been compromised because of my accident. Mitch is incredibly skilled; professional, and has comprehensively answered all of my questions. What I love too, is how warm he is. Always pleasant and optimistic, he makes me feel as if one day I’ll not only walk skilfully again, but with enough effort I just might fly. So seldom in life do we come across people who are able to fulfill all of their promises and who at the same time provide honest answers. I am so grateful to have found someone I have complete faith in. If this review seems long, it is because I cannot recommend Mitch highly enough."
"Mitch is a fantastic physiotherapist and self-described "physio nerd" whose passion for learning and sharing his wealth of knowledge with patients is unrivaled. I saw Mitch for around three months after trying everything else and he was able to relieve the neural pain shooting down my arm. His genuine concern for your well-being definitely puts him above other health care providers that I had recently seen. I wholeheartedly recommend Mitch!"
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