215.741.4410 Two Convenient Locations in: Langhorne, PA

Oxford Valley Pain & Spine Center's Blog

Ankylosing Spondylitis

What is Ankylosing Spondylitis?

It is a form of arthritis that affects the spine.

What are the Symptoms?

The symptoms include pain and stiffness from the neck down to the lower back and the buttocks. Patients may stoop because their posture is affected by a rigid spine. A rigid spine occurs because the bones of the spine may fuse together or grow together. The fusion can limit a person’s daily activities and affect their ability to breathe fully. The ligaments and tendons can also be affected. Tendon inflammation can cause additional problems

Fever, loss of appetite, and fatigue can also occur. The heart and lungs may be damaged too.

Who gets Ankylosing Spondylitis?

A small fraction of people get this disorder. Men are affected more often and more severely than women.

What is the cause?

There is no known cause. Genetics is a factor.

How do our Langhorne Pain Management Doctors diagnose the disorder.

We take an oral history

  • We conduct a physical exam.
  • We review your symptoms.
  • We examine your ability to breath fully.
  • We take X-Rays of your back and pelvis.
  • We make take lab tests.

What are the treatments

Our Bucks County Pain Management Office normally recommends

  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen. We may prescribe stronger medications.
  • We may recommend steroid injections.
  • We may suggest other treatments as well

Please call 215.741.4410 if you have any pain management problems.
We see patients from Levittown, Langhorne, Newtown, Doylestown, Norristown, Philadelphia. Trenton and other locations in Bucks, Montgomery, Philadelphia, and Mercer counties


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Benefits of our Private Ambulatory Surgery Center

We have our own Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) where we treat many of our patients. There are a lot of advantages to a private ASC as opposed to one in a hospital. That is why ASCs are becoming more and more popular.

Here are some of the main reasons we like ASCs for our patients:

  • Same day procedures. Patients normally come in and go home on the same day. Many procedures including recovery time take less than an hour.
  • Patients like to recover in the warm comfort of their own home instead of a hospital.
  • There is less chance of an infection in a private ASC than in a hospital setting.
  • Generally, the cost of a private ASC procedure is less than a hospital surgery center. Even with insurance, the copays and deductibles can be less in the ASC.
  • Our doctors review the medical benefit of having a procedure in an ASC. Some of the factors we review are the likelihood of success of the procedure and patient risk factors.
  • Our ASC is convenient for friends and family. They can wait in our office which is easy to get to since we’re right near the Oxford Valley Mall.
  • ASC procedures tend to use a low amount of anesthesia.

If you have any questions about private surgeries, please ask anything that is on your mind.

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Selected Nerve Root Injections (SNRIs)

What are Selected Nerve Root Injections (SNRIs)?

Selected nerve root injections are used by pain management doctors to both diagnose and treat spinal inflammation pain. They help a physician see if a nerve root is the source of the pain by numbing the area that is causing tingling, weakness or discomfort.  If numbness relieves the pain, then medication is injected into the spot to relieve the symptoms and help to treat the problem. The SNRI thus helps the doctor diagnose the source of the pain and also treat the pain.

Understanding nerve roots and the spinal cord.

The spinal cord includes many nerve roots. These nerve roots control feelings and motor signals throughout a person’s body.  The nerve roots extend from the spinal cord into a whole network of nerves. Spinal nerve roots are particularly likely to cause pressure, irritation or other pain problems. Some spinal pain problems are herniated discs, spinal stenosis and sciatica.

How is the procedure done?

The nerve root is numbed through the use of a local anesthetic. A fluoroscope (shown above) is used to guide the corticosteroid anti-inflammatory medicine to the correct spot.

The whole procedure takes about 20 minutes. It is done at our own Ambulatory Surgery Center located near to our pain management office. After the 20 minutes, the patient is observed to make sure there are no immediate complications.

Patients are normally instructed to have someone else drive them home and not to drive for several hours because the numbness can extend to the arms and legs. Patients can normally resume daily activities the next day. It may take a few days for real relief to be noticeable

How often are the procedures done?

1,2 or up to 3 procedures can be done during a six month period. The amount of procedures (1, 2 or 3) depends on each patient’s level of pain relief.

What if the procedure does not work?

Pain management doctors will explore with the patient all other options that may apply. There are often other treatments such as radiofrequency neutoromy that can help.

If you have questions about Selected Nerve Root Injections, please contact us.

Please call our office at 215.741.4410 to discuss your pain management issues. Our office is located near the Oxford Valley Mall at 370 Middletown Boulevard, Suite 508. We see patients from Bucks, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Mercer and other counties. Our patients come from Langhorne, Levittown, Norristown, Philadelphia, Trenton, Bensalem and many other locations.

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Factors That Can Cause Back Pain

Acute or chronic back pain is one of the main reasons patients see pain management doctors. There are many parts of the body and the anatomy that can contribute to back pain. These parts include the spine, bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, nerves and blood-vessels.

Back can be acute. This means it was caused by some trauma such as a workplace accident or a car accident. A slip and fall or just wrenching your back when you carry something heavy can cause acute back pain. Most acute back pain is in the lower back.

Back pain can also be chronic. Chronic pain means the pain lasts for several months or longer. Age and wear and tear are key contributors to chronic pain.

Some of the causes of back pain that are in control of the patient include:

  • Poor posture
  • Sitting at the computer too long.
  • Standing for too long.
  • Being overweight.
  • Smoking.

Other causes of back pain that usually occur over time and need medical treatment  include:

  • Arthritis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Osteoporosis/Osteoarthritis

A major cause of back pain is a narrowing of the spinal canal. The narrowing can cause inflammation and pain. There are many reasons the spinal canal (and nerves) can be affected. This include:

  • Back Strain. This is due to stretching of the tendon muscles or muscle damage.
  • Back Sprain. This is due to a stretching of the ligaments or ligament damage.
  • Compression fracture. A compression fracture occurs when the vertebra collapse. The collapse can be due to a trauma or a gradual weakening of the vertebra. Patients with osteoporosis or osteoarthritis are susceptible.
  • Disc degeneration. Here, the soft discs tend to wear down. Most people suffer some disc degeneration with age.
  • Disc herniation.  Herniated discs occur when there is a tear in the outer, fibrous ring of an intervertebral disc. This can cause the soft portion of the disc to bulge out beyond the rings. Age is a key factor in disc herniation.
  • Sciatica. This is pain in the lower back which radiates through the buttocks and into the legs.
  • Spinal stenosis. This condition is an abnormal narrowing (stenosis) of the spinal canal that can occur in any region of the spine. The narrowing can cause nerve damage. Symptoms include pain, numbness, and a loss of motor control


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Managing Neck Pain

Tips for Managing Neck Pain

  • Sitting. Use good posture. Sit straight – don’t slouch. Your back should be able to feel the back of the chair. If your head is too forward, you’re probably not sitting correctly. Be sure to stand up and walk about at regular intervals. Stretch your neck muscles occasionally.
  • Computer work. The monitor should be set so the top of the screen is at eye level and your fingers aren’t too close to the monitor.
  • Car seats. The seats should be upright and support both your neck and lower back. If you’re driving, your arms should be slightly flexed.
  • Pillows. Use a firm pillow that supports your neck. You might even try a cervical pillow. Try not to sleep on your stomach.
  • Relaxation exercises can help.
  • Try a massage.
  • Try neck exercises too.


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Weight Loss and Back Pain

Back Pain and Weight Loss

As the Holidays approach, it’s easy to put on the pounds. Unfortunately, excess weight is one of the leading contributors to back pain. For most people, exercise and weight loss are two of the best ways to help reduce low back pain.

The dangers of extra weight. Extra weight affects:

  • Low Back Pain
  • Muscle Strain
  • Joint Pain
  • The Discs
  • Osteoarthritis

People with extra weight can also develop sciatica or a pinched nerve.

Ways to lose weight

There are some key ways to lose weight. For many the difficulty is keeping the weight off once they lose the weight.

  • Nutrition and a healthy diet is one key to losing weight. Most nutritionists will advise you that a balanced diet is key so that you get the right nutrients. Eating the right foods such as fiber can also make you less hungry than if you eat fried foods and foods with lots of sugar.
  • Exercise can help too. Patients with extra weight should not assume that they cannot exercise. For starters, patients should consult with their doctor about an exercise program. Patients who cannot walk or perform any strenuous cardiac exercise can try programs like soft yoga. In addition to losing helping to lose weight, exercise helps the spine and the discs in the spine.


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Back Pain and Walking

Lower Back Pain and Walking

Walking can be a good way to help patients with low back pain. As with any exercise, the first step is to ask your doctor what exercises work best for your situation.

Some of the Benefits of Walking

Walking helps make your bones and muscles stronger. This includes the bones and muscles in your legs, hips, torso and feet. Walking can also help your posture, range of motion and your flexibility. Walking is also good for your circulation and your heart. It provides nourishment to the spine and nutrients to tissue

General Tips for Walkers

  • Walking is less severe than other exercises like running.
  • Anyone who walks should do some simple stretching exercises before they start walking. Stretch the arms, neck, legs, hamstrings and arms.
  • If walking does cause pain, then some alternatives to consider are swimming, yoga or using a stationary bike.
  • Walk on good flat surfaces. Do not walk where the ground is un-level. Hills can aggravate your pain.
  • Use proper walking shows. Bad shoes can cause strain on your back.

How to Walk

  • You should be able to talk to people or hold a conversation when you walk. If you cannot, then you are probably walking too fast.
  • Start slowly. Try five minutes first and then, if you do not experience pain, build up to 30 minutes. Try to walk a few times a week.
  • Do not lean forward when you walk. Walk upright.
  • It is OK to swing your arms when you walk.


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Back Pain and Sleeping

Back Pain, Neck Pain and Sleeping

We use our back and neck continually throughout the day. The pain from a bad back or neck con occur while we’re standing, sitting, walking, working at the computer or a desk, driving or doing any daily task. Someimes ,the pain is cause by these daily activities. Other times, these activities can worsen existing chornic pain.

Here are a few suggestions for handling some of these actions to help minimize your back. We’ll start with sleeping.

  • Get a good night’s sleep. A proper amount of sleep is necessary for managing the day even if you have no pain. For people with pain, a good night’s rest is essential.
  • Try to sleep with your legs stretched out instead of being curled up. The spine is more properly aligned when you’re not curled up.
  • Make sure you use a firm pillow to give your neck the support it needs.
  • Sometimes, inserting a pillow between your knees or under your knees can help you sleep.
  • A firm mattress is also necessary for back support.
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Reasons to See Pain Management Doctors

Please Consider Calling a Pain Management Doctor for Chronic Pain if:

  • You have pain that has been ongoing for several months without knowing the reason for the pain
  • You cannot sleep due to your pain
  • You have an injury that still has not healed
  • You have an illness that has not gotten better…
  • You are suffering from depression or are sad because you cannot enjoy life or do simple tasks
  • Your range of motion is severely limited

Types of Doctors Who Might Help with your Pain

  • A Pain Management Specialist. This is a doctor, like ourselves, who specialize in treating people with people. Because there are many different health care providers who can help, it is important to see a pain management doctor who offers comprehensive care and has working relationships with these other health care providers. We work with all of the following doctors.
  • A Family Doctor…
  • A Psychiatrist, psychologist or licensed mental health professional
  • A Physical Therapist. Pain management doctors may recommend a therapist who can help with education and exercises
  • A Neurologist. This is a doctor who is trained to treat problems of the nervous system, the brain and the spinal cord.
  • An Anesthesiologist. This doctor knows techniques and medicines that can block pain.
  • An Orthopedist. This doctor works on bones, muscles and joints
  • A Rheumatologist. This doctors treats joint problems and auto-immune diseases
  • A Chiropractor is someone who treats alignment problems of the bones and muscles
  • Additional health care providers. Our office also works with people trained in meditation, hypnotherapy, yoga and zumba and others.

You can reach us at 215-741-4410

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Managing Low Back Pain

Close to 4 out of every 5 people will experience low back. After the flu, it is the main reason people lose time from work.

Low back pain is different that leg pain which effects the buttocks and leg. Pain that radiates to the leg is know as sciatica. Radiculopathy is another leg pain condition. Lower extremity pain is usually caused by nerve compression due to problems with the spinal canal. Causes can include an effected disc (a ruptured disc or a herniated disc), spinal stenosis or bone spurs. Spondylolisthesis is another cause of lower back pain and leg pain. It happens when nerve roots become compressed because of a slipped vertebral bone.

Low back pain can also happen due to muscle or ligament strain or sprain. Inflammation of the spine joints can cause low back pain. So too can disc degeneration. Osteoporosis, tumors and infections can also cause low back pain.

Our pain management doctors will work to determine the cause of the pain by:

  • Asking the patient oral questions:
  • Working to find out the path of the pain from beginning point to end point.
  • Determining what kind of pain the patient has – shooting, throbbing, burning, or other type.
  • We often have the patient undergo imaging tests of the spine to determine the cause. Sometimes, we determine the cause through injections.

If you have any type of back pain, or know someone with back pain, please contact our office for an appointment by calling 215.741.4410. We’re located near the Oxford Valley Mall. We will work to find the cause of your pain and to treat it so you can stop suffering and start living.

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