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How Is a Diagnosis of a Cervical Hernial Disc Made?

MRI shown.

Some of the tests a pain management doctor may recommend to evaluate a cervical herniated disc include the following:

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan. This imaging test uses radiofrequency and a magnetic field to detail your spine’s soft tissues. A dye is sometimes used. An MRI can show which disc is damaged and whether there is compression of the nerve. It can also show many abnormalities such as tumors.
  • Computed Tomography (CT) scan. This text uses an beam of X-Ray and a computer to create 2-D images of your spine. A dye may be used. It helps to show if a disc is damaged.
  • Myelogram. Here an X-Ray and a dye are used together. The dye is injected using a spinal tap. The physician can see the dye (it looks white on the X-Ray) to show if there is a herniated disc, if the disc is pinching a nerve, if there are any abscesses or tumors, and if there are  tumors or bone overgrowths.
  • Electromyography & Nerve Conduction Studies (EMG and NCS). Here electrodes, or small needles, and put on your muscles to test the electrical activity of your muscles and nerves. This test helps to detect weak muscles and damage to the nerve.
  • X-Rays. X-Rays are typically used to examine bone damage. They can also show if the vertebrae or too close together, if there are bone spurs, or even if there is arthritis. This test is normally not the first test used to diagnose a herniated disc.

DISCLAIMER

The information contained in this blog is for educational purposes only. This blog does not create a doctor/patient relationship. If you have any pain problems or questions,  please call our office in Langhorne, Bucks County, PA at 215.741.7031.

CONTACT US

Our pain management doctors help patients in Bristol, Langhorne, Levittown, Newtown, Richboro, Doylestown, Philadelphia and many other places in or near Bucks County, Mercer County, and Montgomery County. We can be reached at 215.741.7031

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What Is a Cervical Herniated Disc?

A cervical herniated disc happens when there is a tear in the hard disc wall. The gel-like center then penetrates the wall causing an irritation to your spinal nerves. The pain happens because the spinal nerves become inflamed and swell. Many times, patients experience relief when the herniation begins to shrink. Patients should look to see if their pain gets better in six weeks. If the pain doesn’t reduce in six weeks, then you should seek medication attention

The symptoms of a herniated disc

Common symptoms, include:

  • Pain in the right or left side of the neck
  • Difficulty when turning the neck from side to side or when bending the neck
  • A feeling of numbness or tingling in the fingers and hands
  • Shoulder pain which radiates down the arm
  • Pain near your should blade• Some patients have muscle spasms
  • The biceps, triceps, and hand muscles may feel week

What causes cervical herniated disc?

Getting older is the main cause People in their 30s and 40s tend to develop it the most. This is because as you age, your discs harden and dry out. The disc wall can weaken. A cervical herniated disc can also occur due to an injury or not lifting something the right way. Other negative factors include smoking, genetics, and certain types of work or hobbies.

Disclaimer

The information contained in this blog is for educational purposes only. This blog does not create a doctor/patient relationship.
Before starting any exercise routine, or changing other habits, speak with an experienced pain management doctor.

Contact Us

Please call our office in Langhorne, Bucks County, PA at 215.741.7031. Our pain management physicians help patients in Bristol, Doylestown, Langhorne, Levittown, Newtown, Richboro, Warminster, Philadelphia and many other places in or near Bucks, Mercer, and Montgomery County.

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New Year Suggestions for Pain Management

Spine Health offers the following four recommendations for people with chronic pain to think about in 2019. As with all recommendations, it is best to consult with your physicians first.

 

1. Try some low low-impact aerobic exercise. This type of exercise can reduce joint inflammation and help the muscles become stronger. Plus, this type of exercise helps blood rich in oxygen travel to the parts of the body in pain. The easiest type of exercise, for many people is walking. It helps to walk with someone to keep you going. If walking hurts your knee or other parts of your body, then swimming may be an option.

2. Don’t use electronic media in your media. The priority should be on getting a good night’s rest. Get rid of the smartphone, the laptop, the tablet, and even the TV screen remote. Keep these items out of your reach so you can’t grab them if you wake up in the middle of the night. If you need mental stimulation, try a magazine or a book. The electronic devices are more distracting and harder to turn off than just closing a book.

3. Stay hydrated. Buy a bottle for water and carry it with you. Water can help nutrients get to the right organs and joints and help the discs. Some water bottles now have a “built-in-fruit infuser.” Drinking water is also good because it means drinking less alcohol and less soda.

4. Stop smoking. Nicotine destroys the cells bones need to grow. Addiction to smoking is a tough routine to break. Speak with your general practitioner about the various ways to quit this dangerous and painful habit.

Disclaimer

The information contained in this blog is for educational purposes only. This blog does not create a doctor/patient relationship.

Contact Us

Before starting any exercise routine, or changing other habits, speak with an experienced pain management doctor. Please call our office in Langhorne, Bucks County, PA at 215.741.7031. Our pain management physicians help patients in Bristol, Doylestown, Langhorne, Levittown, Newtown, Richboro, Warminster, Philadelphia and many other places in or near Bucks, Mercer, and Montgomery County.

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Why High Heels Can Hurt Your Lower Back and Hips

According to a recent story in the Huffington Post, wearing high heels hurts more than just your feet. High heels can affect your overall posture. Poor posture, in turn, can cause wear and tear on your spine and joints – which can mean pain and discomfort.

High heels do cause blisters and calluses. Your feet my swell. Other foot problems include bunions, plantar fasciitis, and hammertoes. The pain in your feet can extend up your body to your knees, hips, and back. Wearing high heels can make your calf muscles tight.

Back problems, due to wearing high heels, can be caused due to:

  • Changes in your posture. The discs in your spine act as shock-absorbers. When women wear high heels, their weight is pushed forward. To keep your balance, the upper portion of your body has to move backward. This backward pressure makes the discs work harder. The change in posture can also cause tight hamstrings which can cause back pain.
  • Changes to your anatomy. Extended high heel usage can, over time, cause the calf muscles to become shorter and the tendons to become thicker.

The long-term wearing of high heels, according to the article, can also cause:

  • Spondylolisthesis: This is chance in the position of the vertebra
  • Foraminal stenosis: This condition can squeeze the nerves which can cause pain in the legs and buttocks.
  • Sciatica. This nerve runs from the lumbar spine down the legs. A compression of the sciatic nerve can cause excruciating pain.

There are many possible solutions

The first starts with wearing more comfortable shoes. So, either stop wearing high heels, or begin to reduce the time you wear them. If you need to wear heels, choose shoes with lower heels. Stay away from pointy-toed shoes. Try leather insoles and arch supports. Wear shoes with thicker heels.You can try stretching exercises for your calves, hamstrings, thighs, and leg muscles. Massaging your feet can help. You can even work on increasing the range of motion in your feet and ankles.

If the pain in continuing, please make an appointment with an experienced pain management doctor.

DISCLAIMER

The information contained in this blog is for educational purposes only. This blog does not create a doctor/patient relationship.

CONTACT US

If you have any pain problems or questions,  please call our office in Langhorne, Bucks County, PA at 215.741.7031.
Our pain management doctors help patients in Bristol, Langhorne, Levittown, Newtown, Richboro, Doylestown, Philadelphia and many other places in or near Bucks County, Mercer County, and Montgomery County. We can be reached at 215.741.7031

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Glossary of Pain Management Terms (I-Z)

MRI machine

Hyperalgesia: Increased sensitivity to pain or enhanced intensity of pain sensation.

Inflammation: A reaction of tissues to injury or disease. Symptoms include swelling, redness, heat, and pain.

Joint: The junction of two or more bones. The joint allows for varying degrees of motion between the bones.

Ligament: Fibrous tissue that connects bone to bone at or near a joint. The ligaments provide joint stability. Torn or sprained ligaments can cause pain

Lumbosacral: Relating to or near the small of the back and the back part of the pelvis between the hips.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): A diagnostic procedure that uses magnetic fields, radio waves, and a computer. It may be used to determine the source of pain.

Myelogram: X-ray procedure where a dye is injected into the spinal canal to determine the nerve roots.

Nerve block: The injection of a nerve-numbing substance into a group of nerves.

Neuropathic: A nerve-related condition.

NSAIDs: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These help to reduce inflammation and manage pain. NSAIDs are available over-the-counter and through a prescription.

Palliative care: Palliative care (also known as comfort care) aims to offer relief to chronically or terminally ill people through pain management and symptom management.

Pharmacotherapy: Medication-based therapy

Physical modalities: Physical methods, such as heat, cold, massage or exercise, used to relieve pain.

Prosthesis: An artificial replacement of a body part. The goal of a prosthesis is to mimic natural form and function.

Psychological approaches: Techniques or therapies used instead of or in addition to medication to help you manage your pain. The focus is on the emotional triggers of pain. Examples of this approach include biofeedback, relaxation, stress management and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Rehabilitation: Treatment plan used to help you regain function or relieve pain caused by an injury. Exercise is often a key component.

Tolerance: When the initial dose of a substance loses its effectiveness over time.

Yoga: Complementary medical technique. It exercises the mind and body with meditation, postures, and breathing techniques that can help manage pain Stretching is a key component.

Disclaimer:

The information contained in this blog is for educational purposes only. This blog does not create a doctor/patient relationship. If you have any pain problems or questions,  please call our office in Langhorne, Bucks County, PA at 215.741.7031.

Contact us

Our pain management doctors help patients in Bristol, Langhorne, Levittown, Newtown, Richboro, Doylestown, Philadelphia and many other places in or near Bucks County, Mercer County, and Montgomery County. We can be reached at 215.741.7031

 

 

 

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Glossary of Pain Management Terms (A-F)

  • Acute: Pain that can be intense but usually lasts for a short period of time, usually shorter than six months. It usually relates to a bodily injury and ends  when the injury heals.
  • Acupuncture – medical technique that uses  tiny needles inserted in the skin at certain points along the body to help manage pain, produce anesthesia or promote therapy
  • Analgesic: A medication or treatment that  manages or relieves pain.
  • Arthritis: A generic term that describes over 100 different conditions; a disorder of a joint where two bones meet, creating swelling,  redness, warmth or tenderness. Includes loss of joint space and formation of spurs,  erosions or cysts in the bone.
  • Cancer Pain: May be acute, chronic or intermittent pain – often related to tumor recurrence or treatment
  • Central nervous system: The brain and spinal cord.
  • Chronic: Pain that lasts months or years. It may get worse with time.
  • Complementary Medicine: Treatment that falls outside the standard medical approaches. Complementary medicine techniques for pain may include acupuncture, chiropractic care, herbs and yoga.
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan: Diagnostic procedure that uses computers and X-ray technology.
  • Cryotherapy: Therapeutic use of cold to  decrease discomfort, reduce swelling or break a muscle spasm.
  • Conservative management: An approach to treating pain that uses physical therapy, medication and injections instead of surgery
  • Fibromyalgia: Chronic disorder that causes pain and stiffness throughout the body including muscle pain, fatigue, and often depression

We’ll have definitions soon.

Disclaimer:

The information contained in this blog is for educational purposes only. Please make an appointment so we can formally review your medical condition. This blog does not create a doctor/patient relationship. If you’re experiencing pain, please phone our Langhorne, PA office at 215.741.7031.

Contact us

Our pain management doctors and team help patients in Langhorne, Newtown, Richboro, Doylestown, Philadelphia and many other locations in or near Bucks County, Mercer County, and Bucks County. We can be reached at 215.741.7031

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Pain Management Acronyms and Abbreviations

Here are a few common acronyms that are used by pain management professionals

AE. Adverse effect

BDS- Bone density scan

CAM. Complementary and alternative medicine

CPM. Chronic pain management

CT. Computer Aided Tomography

DC. Doctor of Chiropractic

EMG.  Electromyography

ESI. Epidural Steroid Injection

FI. Facet Injection

FJ. Facet Joint

HRQOL. Health-related quality of life

IM. Intramuscular

IV. Intravenous

mg. Milligrams

MRI.Magnetic Resonance Imaging

NB. Nerve block

NS. Neurostimulation

NSAIDS. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

nRCT. Nonrandomized controlled trial

OT. Occupational Therapy

PM. Pain management

PT. Physical Therapy

PRP. Platelet Rich Plasma.

RFA. Radio Frequency Ablation

RSD. Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

RX. Prescription Only

TENS. Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation

US. ultrasound

Disclaimer

The information is for educational purposes only. Please make an appointment so we can formally review your medical condition.

Contact us

Please call our office if you are having any back, neck, or spinal pain or discomfort.Our husband and wife medical team helps patients in Langhorne, Levittown, Newtown, Bensalem, Doylestown, Philadelphia and many other locations in or near Bucks County. We can be reached at 215.741.7031

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The Advantages of Exercise for Back Pain

Spine Health recently wrote about some of the ways exercise can help with back pain. According to Spine Health, some of the advantages of exercise include:

  • By make the muscles that support one’s spine stronger, that removes “pressure from the spinal discs and facet joints.”
  • Exercise helps improve a person’s ability to move
  • Exercise can reduce stiffness
  • Better circulation (a byproduct of exercise) helps essential nutrients get to your spinal discs
  • Exercise releases the chemicals, called endorphins, which help with pain relief. If enough endorphins are releases, there’s less need for medications. Endorphins also help with some of the emotional downsides of chronic pain – such as mood swings and depression.
  • Exercise helps make the pain feel less severe

Before starting any exercises routine, the patient should first consult with his/her pain management physician. Some of the issues the physician will review are:

  • Explaining your current diagnosis and assessing how severe your pain level is
  • Reviewing ways to relive the pain
  • Reviewing how much exercise you should strive for and the quality of that exercise

Patients should understand that an exercise program requires an ability and desire to stick to the program over time. Patients should stop and consult with their doctor if the pain worsens. If exercise is improving the pain, than an exercise routine should continue.

Generally, patients are more likely to stick to an exercise program if they like the program. Many patients find walking pleasurable because the prettiness of the surroundings distracts them from the work of exercise.

 

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Regenerative Medicine for Knee Pain – Part Two

Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cell therapy is another regenerative medicine therapy that is being used to manage pain. There are two types of stem cells – embryonic and adult stem cells. Embryonic cells are taken from human embryos. Adult stem cells have restorative abilities. Unlike embryonic stem cells which can be used to treat many times of medical problems, adult stem cells are used for more specific problems such as damage to the brain, bone marrow, skeletal muscles and a few other parts of the human anatomy.

The use of embryonic cells is relatively controversial. The use of adult stem cells, which use your own cells (not someone else’s) is generally not controversial.

Stem cell therapy essentially uses a concentrated amount of stem cells to tissue that is damaged. This increases the likely ability of the stem cells to repair or regenerate health tissue. It is being used in different medical fields including orthopedics and neuromuscular disorders.

Orthopedics and stem cell therapy

A particular type of stem cells (called stroma cells) can help regenerate fat, bone, and cartilage. These cells are currently being used to treat muscle, ligament, and tendon damage. Stroma cells are also being used to help treat arthritis of the knee and hip.Stem cell therapy is a non-surgical procedure. A doctor extracts the stroma cells from  bone marrow located around your hip. A centrifuge is then used to concentrate the cells. The cells are then injected not the area of the body that is in pain – sometimes with the help of an ultrasound machine.

The procedure can be done in an ambulatory setting. It normally takes about one hour.Patients can normally return to work within one day though they will be advised to avoid physical labor for about two weeks.

Patients normally are told Not to take NSAIDS for a while because these medications can hinder the healing process.While the procedure doesn’t require surgery and uses your own cells, there are no guarantees. The use of stem cell therapy is still be researched for its effectiveness. Patients should review the risks of complications with their physician. Patients should also review whether insurance will or will not cover the procedure.

Disclaimer

The information is for educational purposes only. Please make an appointment so we can formally review your medical condition.

Contact Us

Please call our office if you are having any back, neck, or spinal pain or discomfort.
Our husband and wife medical team helps patients in Langhorne, Levittown, Newtown, Bensalem, Doylestown, Philadelphia and many other locations in or near Bucks County. We can be reached at 215.741.7031

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Regenerative Medicine for Knee Pain – Part One

Regenerative Medicine for Knee Pain – Part One

PRP Therapy

There are several new approaches to treating a wide variety of pain issues including pain in the knee. Two of the most promising approaches are platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and Stem Cell Therapy.

Some famous athletes like tennis player Rafael Nadal have used PRP for their injured knees. As with many pain treatments, a comprehensive approach with includes physical therapy, diet, and other treatments is important.An array of treatment options are available for our patients, depending upon the condition, which includes:

PRP therapy

Your blood contains sever ingredients. The red liquid part is the plasma. The other key ingredients are red cells, white cells, and platelets. The platelets, in addition to helping your blood to clot, also have proteins which help injuries heal. These proteins are also known as “growth factors.”The PRP process essentially enriches the plasma with higher concentrations of these growth factors. A specific proves is used to achieve this enriched state. The good news is that the enrichment process uses your own blood. It doesn’t’ rely on someone else’s blood.The key steps are:

  • Blood is drawn from the patient
  • The platelets are separated out and their concentration is increased. The process used to increase the platelet level is called centrifugation.
  • The site where you are experiencing pain is treated with the increased platelet/platelet combination.
  • Injection. The solution is injected, usually with a local anesthetic, into the part of the body this is hurting. It may time a month or so before the patient feels better
  • Surgery, If surgery is needed to treat a patient’s pain, then the PRP solution may be used to  help improve the healing process.

PRP therapy is being used for a variety of acute and chronic pain problems. It does seem to help with tendon, muscle, and ligament damage injuries. Research is still being done to determine the effectiveness of PRP treatments. The evidence for the effectiveness in PRP for fractures is limited compared to the promise it may help with tendon, muscle, and ligament damage.

Disclaimer

The information is for educational purposes only. Please make an appointment so we can formally review your medical condition.

Call us

Please call our office if you are having any back, neck, or spinal pain or discomfort.
Our husband and wife medical team helps patients in Langhorne, Levittown, Newtown, Bensalem, Doylestown, Philadelphia and many other locations in or near Bucks County. We can be reached at 215.741.7031

PRP does appear to have minimal risks. The likelihood of problems due to infections and tissue damage appear to be similar to the risks associated with cortisone injections.

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