215.741.4410 Two Convenient Locations in: Langhorne, PA

Oxford Valley Pain & Spine Center's Blog

Common Types of Workplace Accidents

Many people who come to see us have injuries that are work related. Some of the more common types of pain issues that people have due to work are:

  • Overexertion. Damage to muscles, joints, the neck and back often occur because of overexertion at work. Constant pushing, pulling, lifting, and carrying of objects can lead to a lot of physical stress which can cause acute and chronic pain
  • A slip or fall on some surface. Workers have to concentrate on doing their job tasks. This means they don’t look at wet floors, uneven surfaces, or other problems that can cause them to fall and hurt themselves.
  • Falls from heights. Construction workers who work on roofs, ladders, and stairways can fall and seriously hurt themselves
  • Striking an object or being struck by an object. Merchandise or inventory can fall from a shelf or some height. Items that move such as forklifts or items that are being transported can hit another person without warning.
  • Vehicle accidents. Many workers are injured while they are driving or a passenger in a car, truck, or other work vehicle
  • Compressed by machinery. Many work tools and equipment can pin a worker against a wall or surface causing severe pain.
  • Repetitive stress injuries. Just doing the same task over and over again cause damage to muscles and joints

If you have any pain due to work, an accident at work, or for any other reason – our doctors are here to help. We handle pain issues for people injured in Langhorne, Levittown, Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Bucks County, and parts of New Jersey.

 

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Accidents at Work. The numbers show they happen all too ofen

Workplace injuries and the pain those injuries cause are all too common. According to workerscompensation.com, the following statistics show how bad the problem is

  • Over four million (4,000,000) workers have a workplace injury or suffer a workplace illness in the US – each year
  • About half of those workers, two million, need to lose time from work and need medical care
  • Healthcare workers who lift, move, and even carry patients suffer a large amount of these injuries
  • Construction work is the most dangerous type of work
  • One in 20 workers are hurt each year
  • Most workplace accidents could have been prevented
  • Midsize companies (50-249) have the most injuries

In the next few blogs, we will talk about practical tips for avoiding workplace injuries, common types of injuries, and the pain treatments for those injuries

For help with any workplace accidents, please contact our Langhorne office. Our doctors are ready to assist you. Our phone number is 215.741.4410 We are in Bucks County, not too far away from Philadelphia, Montgomery County and Trenton

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Chronic Pain and Insomnia

Chronic pain is generally defined as pain that lasts more than several months.  Many patients with chronic pain also suffer depression because they worry about how they can cope with or manage their pain. Another side effect of chronic pain is lack of sleep or insomnia. The physical pain makes it difficult to sleep because the patient can’t find a comfortable position. The depression or worry about the pain makes it hard to sleep because patients stay up at night worrying about their pain.

The lack of sleep, in turn, worsens the pain because the patient doesn’t get enough rest. Proper rest is needed to feel healthy. Rest allows the patient to have the energy needed to cope with the pain and enjoy the day.

More pain yields less sleep. Less sleep yields more pain. It’s a vicious cycle. Worse, even when you get to sleep, the chronic pain means you wake up in the middle of the night more often than a person who doesn’t have pain issues.

Two ways to reverse the pain/insomnia cycle

1. Exercise is actually one way to reverse the cycle. It’s hard because you don’t have much energy. Still, exercise helps patients sleep better and awaken less because they are more tired. Exercise can also help reduce your weight. Excess weight also contributes to pain.

At our Langhorne Bucks County office, our pain management doctors recommend yoga as one form of exercise. It stretches the muscles with very little stress. There are soft yoga programs designed just for people with pain.

Massages can also help reduce stress on the muscles.

2. Meditation and Hypnotherapy. These techniques, which our Oxford Valley Pain and Spine Center also offers, helps reduce the emotional worry about the pain and any depression.

If you have any pain management questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call our office. You can reach us at 215.741.4410

 

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Diagnostic Tests for Disc Damage

CT Scan equipment

Oral histories and physical examinations help pain management doctors begin to evaluate the general causes of disc damage in a patient. Diagnostic tests can also help identify the cause of the pain and also the source of the pain. Common diagnostic tests our Langhorne and Bucks County pain management doctors use are:

  • Computerized Tomography. Commonly called CTs, these tests created a computerized image/graphic of cross sections of the spine
  • Magnetic Resonance Image. Commonly called MRIs, these tests give the pain management doctor the ability to asses damage to spinal nerves and parts of the anatomy. Doctors can also view disc alignment issues.
  • Discogram. This test also helps the physician find the source of the pain. The test is done by injection of a radiographic dye into the disc area that the doctor thinks is causing the pain. The aim is to recreate the pain the patient is experiencing to see if the pain matches the patient’s complaints. If the pain is the same as the patient complaints, then the doctor knows the source of the pain.

For more questions about disc problems, diagnostic tests, and any pain management issues – please call our office for an appointment at 215.741.4410

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Disc Problems – The Physical Exam

How do Pain Management Doctors Diagnose Disc Problems?

There are three main steps – an oral history, the physical examination, and diagnostic tests.

The oral history consists of the doctor asking the patient questions about the patient’s current symptoms and current medications. The doctor will also ask about the patient’s prior medical history including any prior diagnosis, prior surgeries, and prior treatments. Physicians also ask about the patient’s family history.

The physical examination varies from patient to patient depending on the answers to the oral history questions. Generally, pain management doctors perform the following tests:

  • Nerve Examination. The doctor uses a reflex hammer on various parts of the arms and legs. A lack of response often indicates a nerve root problem
  • Muscle strength. The patient will view the muscles to look for physical evidence of a problem such as atrophy of the muscle. He/she may also conduct nerve related tests to help locate the pain.
  • Functional tests. The doctor will ask the patient to perform certain tests such as standing, sitting, raising or straightening a leg – to determine where the pain is and the severity of the pain. The answers can help indicate if the pain is due to degenerative disc disease, a pinched nerve or other problems.

Diagnostic tests for disc problems will be covered in the next blog.

 

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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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