215.741.4410 Two Convenient Locations in: Langhorne, PA

Oxford Valley Pain & Spine Center's Blog

Glossary of Pain Management Terms

Here are the definitions for a few common pain management terms. We will post more in subsequent blogs.

  • Acute.  Pain that can be intense but usually lasts for a short period of time, usually shorter than six (6) months. It usually relates to a bodily injury and ends when the injury heals.
  • Acupuncture. A medical technique that uses tiny needles inserted into 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 reduces 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. It includes a loss of joint space and formation of spurs, erosions or cysts in the bone.
  • Cancer Pain. May be acute or intermittent pain. It is often related to tumor recurrence or treatment.
  • Central Nervous System. The brain and the spinal cord.
  • Chronic Pain. Pain that lasts months or years. It may get worse with time.

For questions about any pain issues, please contact our Langhorne pain management office by calling 215.741.4410. We treat Pennsylvania and New Jersey patients – mostly from Bucks County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia, and Mercer County.

 

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Chronic Pain. You are not alone.

Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts more than three (3) months or past the time of normal healing of tissue. Chronic pain can be caused by a medical disease, an injury, inflammation, or unknown causes.

The numbers and percentages of people who experience chronic pain in the United States are staggering. There are a variety of statistics and data that confirm that large numbers of people suffer from chronic pain. Here are just a few of the statistics:

  • National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999-2002). This survey estimated that 14.6% of the population had widespread or localized pain lasting 3 months or more.
  • Centers for Disease Control. According to a survey noted by the CDC for the years 2001-2003, close to 43% of adults suffer from some sort of musculoskeletal pain such as arthritis, rheumatism, chronic neck pain or chronic back pain.
  • National Health Interview Study (2012). This study showed that 11.2 % of people suffer from some sort of daily pain.
  • American Academy of Pain Medicine. According to this organization, 100 million people suffer from chronic pain (Source. Institute of Medicine of the National Academies)
  • National Institute of Health Statistics. Chronic pain sufferers said that back pain was the most common pain (27%). Migraine pain (15%), neck pain (15%) and  other types of pain were also common.Back pain was the leading cause of disability for people under 45.
  • American Pain Foundation. Over 1/2 (51%) of the people with chronic pain felt they had little control over their pain.

If you are experiencing chronic pain, please contact our office. Our doctors are ready to help you diagnose and treat your pain. Our office is in Langhorne, PA. We see patients from Bucks County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia, the Trenton area.

You can call 215.741.4410 to schedule an appointment.

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Tips for Neck Pain

Neck pain can be caused by disc degeneration, spinal stenosis, or arthritis. Sometimes you just wake up one day with a stiff neck. Often neck pain happens over time as the wear and tear on the muscles, ligaments, and tendons mount.

If your neck pain is severe, please contact our office for medical advice. You can reach our Langhorne office by calling 215.741.4110.

Some tips that can help you if you have neck pain are:

1. Choose the right pillow. A good pillow should keep the natural curve of your neck and spine in place. A key factor is what position you use. If you like to lie on your back, then a flat pillow may help.

2. Sleep on your back. Sleeping on your back generally stabilizes the spine the most. Placing small pillows under the arms may help. A wedge pillow may help if you sleep on an incline.

For people who sleep on their side, the pillow should be comfortable. It shouldn’t be too high.

3. If you work with a computer, the monitor should be eye-level. Moving your head up and down while you work puts a lot of strain on the neck. If you work with a laptop, consider connecting the laptop to stand-alone monitor. Laptops users tend to look down which strains the neck.

4. Minimize cell phone use and texting use. Like laptops, looking down is the norm for smartphone use. It’s better to work at eye level

5. Do neck exercises and stretches. A chin tuck exercise or turning the neck left, then right, then up, then down can help

6. Drink plenty of water. Fluids help keep the discs hydrated. Discs are made mostly of water. 8, yes eight, glasses of water each day are recommended. 2 glasses of water with each meal plus 2 others adds up to 8.

7. Minimize the weight you carry and distribute it evenly. Carrying a heavy briefcase or purse can put strain on the neck.

8. Watch your posture. Poor posture is another source of neck pain.

9. Try massages. Our office offers massage to our patients. Massages can lessen irritations to the facet joints.

 

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Workplace Safety Tips

Most companies should have a workplace safety strategy. It is best to review the workplace safety tips that your business has in place.

When companies fail to have plans of fail to enforce their plans, accidents can happen. At Oxford Valley Pain and Spine, our doctors are experienced pain management doctors who help employees who are injured on the job – if their injuries encompass the neck, back, or spine.

Some of the general workplace safety guidelines are as follows:

1. Existence of a well-thought out safety plan. All types of employees should be considered. Employees should have an avenue to point out problems to their supervisors.

2. Training of employees. Workers  should be trained on each element and phase of the safety plan.

3. Companies should study the likely dangers. This can include a thorough walk-through of the work location. It can include examining OSHA guidelines. It can also include researching safety studies for the service or industry involved.

4.  Proper safety equipment. Construction workers should have access to helmets, goggles, and the right clothing. Gloves, ear-muffs, and other equipment may be useful – depending on the types of work.

5. Proper staffing. Too much overtime work can lead to injury because the workers are exhausted. Additional part-time, seasonal, or full-time work can help.

6. Maintenance. Vehicles, heavy machinery, and all the equipment that is used should be regularly inspected.

7. Keep the workplace orderly. Loose objects, insecure railings, shelves that aren’t sturdy – can all cause an accident.

Our job as pain management doctors is to help injured workers manage their pain so they can work or properly diagnose their pain if they are unable to work again. For work safety advise, please speak to a lawyer or your employer. For medical help, please contact us at 215.741.4410. Our office is in Langhorne, PA.

We treat all types of workers. We see patients from Bucks County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia, and New Jersey.

 

 

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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 often

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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