215.741.4410 Two Convenient Locations in: Langhorne, PA

Oxford Valley Pain & Spine Center's Blog

The Parts of the Spine-A Short Summary

The spine has three main parts:

  • The cervical spine. This is composed of 7 cervical vertebrae.
  • The thoracic spine. This is composed of 12 thoracic vertebrae.
  • The lumbar spine. This is composed of 5 lumbar vertebrae.Another small part is called the sacrum which is part of the pelvis

The vertebrae are bones.Each vertebrae, in turn, is made of the following parts:

  • The body. This part bears most of the weight. It includes the centrum and a posterior arch (also called a neural arch).
  • The  fibrous discs. These separate the vertebrae from other vertebrae. They are also called intervertebral discs.
  • Two pedicles.
  • Two laminae. These attach the ligaments of the spine.
  • Seven processes. There are two types: The spinous processes. This is the bone humans feel when they run their hands down their back.  The paired transverse processes. These run 90 degrees from the spinous  process. They attach the back muscles
  • Four facet joints – in two pairs. These help give the spine stability.

Disclaimer. This blog does not constitute medical advice.

Please contact us. We see patients in Langhorne, Upper Darby, Norristown, and Philadelphia. You can make an appointment by calling  215.741.7031.
We see patients who live in Bucks County, Montgomery County, Mercer County, and Philadelphia – including Doylestown, Levittown, and Newtown.

Posted in Anatomy | Leave a comment

Spinal Anatomy

The spine has three main parts:

  • The cervical spine. This is composed of 7 cervical vertebrae.
  • The thoracic spine. This is composed of 12 thoracic vertebrae.
  • The lumbar spine. This is composed of 5 lumbar vertebrae.

Another small part is called the sacrum which is part of the pelvis

The vertebrae are bones.Each vertebrae, in turn, is made of the following parts:

  • The body. This part bears most of the weight. It includes the centrum and a posterior arch (also called a neural arch).
  • The  fibrous discs. These separate the vertebrae from other vertebrae. They are also called intervertebral discs.
  • Two pedicles.
  • Two laminae. These attach the ligaments of the spine.
  • Seven processes.  There are two types: The spinous processes. This is the bone humans feel when they run their hands down their back.  The paired transverse processes. These run 90 degrees from the spinous  process. They attach the back muscles
  • Four facet joints – in two pairs. These help give the spine stability.

Disclaimer. This blog does not constitute medical advice.

Please contact us. We see patients in Langhorne, Upper Darby, Norristown, and Philadelphia. You can make an appointment by calling  215.741.7031.

We see patients who live in Bucks County, Montgomery County, Mercer County, and Philadelphia – including Doylestown, Levittown, and Newtown.

Posted in Anatomy | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

What Is Cervical Osteoarthritis?

Cervical osteoarthritis is also called cervical spondylosis. It is a painful medical condition that affects the discs, joints, and bones of the neck. It usually occurs with the wear-and-tear  of old age. As we age, the spinal discs lose fluid and become stiffer. Bones and ligaments get thicker which can cause the interior of the spinal column to narrow. Narrowing may also occur when the discs and cartilage degenerate. Spurs may form on the neck bones.

People over 50 are most likely to develop  cervical osteoarthritis. Anyone with a prior neck injury may be at risk for developing cervical spondylosis. Anyone who works in a job that puts stress on the neck is at risk for this painful condition – people who sit for a long time, for example. Bad posture is another risk factor.

The symptoms of cervical osteoarthritis

Some of the signs of this condition are:

  • A stiff or painful neck
  • Headaches
  • Shoulder or arm pain
  • Not being able to turn your head which can make it difficult to sleep or drive

Rest can help. Most people complain of pain at the start of the day and the end of the day.

According to WebMd, when cervical osteoarthritis puts pressure on the spinal cord, a more painful condition called cervical myelopathy may result. Symptoms of this spinal cord pressure  condition include:

  • Muscle spams
  • Lack of bowel and bladder control
  • Numbness or tingling  in the extremities
  • Difficulty walking
  • Poor reflexes

If the bone spurs press on the nerves too hard, a condition called cervical radiculopathy may result. This condition causes shooting paints in the arms.

Diagnosis and treatment of Cervical Osteoarthritis

As with most ailments, your doctor will  take your  medical history and conduct a physical exam. Imaging tests include a CT scan and an MRI. In severe cases, the physician may  refer you to a neurologist.

The initial prescription is rest. Other treatments include:

  • Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Referral to a chiropractor
  • Wearing a cervical collar
  • Physical therapy
  • Injections of corticosteroids (with a local anesthetic) into the spinal joints or other spinal locations. These injections are also called epidural steroid injections. Another name is cervical facet joint injection

Cervical osteoarthritis  tens to be chronic but doesn’t necessarily worsen with time. Surgery is a last resort and often can be avoided. Your pain management physician can explain how surgery works and answer your questions.

DISCLAIMER
This blog does not constitute medical advice.

Please contact us

We see patients from Langhorne, Newtown, Doylestown, Bucks County, Montgomery County, Trenton, and Philadelphia. You can make an appointment by calling  215.741.7031.

Posted in cervical osteoarhtris, Neck Pain, Types of Pain | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Causes of Neck Pain

What are the Causes of Neck Pain?

Acute neck pain

Most acute neck pain lasts for a few weeks to a couple of months. Acute pain generally resolves/ends during that time frame. Heat, ice, stretching exercises, and mild pain medications can help comfort the pain patient.

The main cause of acute neck pain is a strain which cause the muscle to stretch and tear. Some reasons neck pain occurs are bad posture, bad sleeping positions, and poor ergonomics. Ergonomics are work conditions. Having your desktop at the wrong level is a primary cause of neck pain.

Chronic neck pain

Chronic neck pain lasts for months, years, or even a lifetime. Chronic neck pain is usually to the wear-and-tear of old age. Some of the causes of chronic pain, according to Spine-Health.com are:

  • Cervical osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis (neck arthritis) affects the neck’s facet joints which can cause pain and stiffness. Neck arthritis can also cause bone spurs which can cause headaches and nerve root pain
  • Degenerative disc disease of the neck. The cervical spinal disc wears down with age. It can cause chronic neck pain.
  • Cervical herniated disc. A leak or bulge can cause inflammation. It can also cause the nearby joints, muscles, and roots to become irritated. It can also cause  neurological pain, and neck stiffness.
  • Cervical foraminal stenosis. This condition is “the narrowing of the space where nerve roots exit the vertebrae.” It can cause numbness, weakness, and pain in the arm, neck, and shoulder.
  • Cervical stenosis with myelopathy. This is a narrowing of the neck’s spinal canal which can cause myelopathy. Myleopathy is  a  nerve condition which can make walking difficult, affect fine motor  skis, an cause sharp pain in the shoulder, hands, and arms.Some of the causes of acute pain can affect or worsen chronic pain. Smoking can also cause neck pain.

Disclaimer

This blog does not constitute medical advice.

Please contact us. We have offices in Newtown, Langhorne, and Philadelphia. You can make an appointment by calling  215.741.7031.

We see patients from Bucks, Philadelphia, Mercer, and Montgomery Counties. We treat patients who live in Levittown, Richboro, Doylestown, Langhorne, Newtown, and the Delaware Valley region

Posted in Neck Pain, Types of Pain, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hot and Cold Therapies

Heat Therapy or Cold Therapy?

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to using heat therapy or cold therapy. Both can help with chronic pain. Some people use heat in one area and cold in another. For some people it depends on their condition. As a general rule, both hot and cold therapies are inexpensive and have minimal risk of side effect.

A few of the pros  and cons of each type of treatment

There’s  no specific rule on when to use one treatment over another. A lot of what works is based on experimenting.

Heat therapy. Heat may help relax stiff joints and muscles. It may help people with fibromyalgia. Heat helps to relax muscles. It can stimulate the flow of blood – thus improving circulation. Heat may also help with your range of motion.

  • Heat treatments should be 30 minutes or less. To much heat can damage the skin and skin tissues.
  • Sources of heat include heating pads, microwavable pads (secured by wraps). Be sure to test them first to make sure they’re not too hot. Many people use warm baths  and hot showers. Some people soak their feet in warm water.
  • Don’t use heat if your joint is already red, hot, and irritated.

Cold Therapy. Cold treatments are generally used to reduce pain and the tenderness of inflammation. Cold treatments usually are less risky than heat treatments though frostbite and other problems can occur. Cod can also reduce joint pain.

  • Cold on backs, shoulders, and hips usually requires 30 minutes or more for any relief. As with heat, it’s good to test how much cold you can tolerate. Some insulation can help.
  • Sources of cold include gel packs and topical creams. Some people make their own but generally gel packs which you can place in the freezer aren’t too expensive. A large ice cube, a bag of frozen vegetables, or even frozen water in a bottle can be used.
  • Don’t use could if your joint is stiff

Topical creams such as BenGay or IcyHot may help but creams are generally less effective than the mentioned and cold treatments.

Disclaimer. This blog does not constitute medical advice.

Please contact us. We have offices in Newtown, Langhorne, and Philadelphia. You can make an appointment by calling  215.741.7031.

We see patients from Bucks, Philadelphia, Mercer, and Montgomery Counties. We treat patients who live in Levittown, Richboro, Doylestown, Langhorne, Newtown, and the Delaware Valley region

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Pain is More Common Than You Think. More notes from the American Academy of Pain Medicine.

Here are some more interesting facts about pain and pain care in America – According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine:

  • The medical costs of pain care  and the economic cost to lower work productivity were approximately $600 billion in 2010 dollars.
  • Over ½ of patients who are hospitalized felt pain during their  last days.
  • 50 to 75% of people die with moderate to severe pain
  • One in five people have pain or discomfort that makes sleeping difficult several nights a week
  • People who responded to a National Institute of Health Statistics Survey  said they experienced pain in the following numbers
  1. 27% felt back pain
  2. 15% had migraines or severe headaches
  3. 15% had neck pain
  4. 4% had pain or aches in their face
  • Over 26 million between 20 and years-of-age said they experienced frequent back pain
  • People with low back pain are three times more likely to be in poor or fair health than people without low back pain. These people are four times more likely to  have  severe  psychological distress than people without back pain.
  • One-fourth of people over age 19 (approximately 75 million people) said they have chronic pain that lasts more than 24 hours

Disclaimer. This blog does not constitute medical advice.

Please contact us. We have offices in Newtown, Langhorne, and Philadelphia. You can make an appointment by calling  215.741.7031.

We see patients from Bucks, Philadelphia, Mercer, and Montgomery Counties. We treat patients who live in Levittown, Richboro, Doylestown, Langhorne, Newtown, and the Delaware Valley region

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

You’re Not Alone. Notes from the American Academy of Pain Medicine

According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, chronic pain affects more people than cancer, heart disease and diabetes combined.

The AAPM site reported the following numbers of sufferers for various diseases and medical disorders

  • Chronic Pain. 100 million Americans. Institute  of Medicine  of the National Academies
  • Diabetes. 25.8 million Americans. American Diabetes Association
  • Coronary Heart Disease. 16.3 million Americans. American Heart Association
  • Cancer. 11.9 million Americans. American Cancer Society

The AAPM also notes that one in five Americans report that pain makes sleeping difficult a few nights a week.

Data from the National Center for Health Statistics Report

According to data from the above report:

One in four  Americans who are 20 years of age or older has reported pain that  has lasted for more than 24 hours (not  including acute pain). Interestingly, adults 65 and older were the least likely to report pain.

Data from an American Pain Foundation Survey

The AAPM also notes a survey conduction  by the American Pain Foundation (in 2006) which examined slightly over 300 chronic pain sufferers. The report  found that:

  • Over 50% of people felt they had  little or no control over the pain they had
  • 60% said they experienced a severe enough pain daily that affected their quality of life
  • 70 % said they had difficulty concentrating
  • 77% reported feelings of depression
  • 86% reported difficulty sleeping

Data from a Peter. D. Hart Research Associates Survey

A 2003 nationwide survey by a respected research organization found that:

  • 20% of chronic pain sufferers were forced to leave work
  • 17% of chronic pain sufferers were forced to changed jobs
  • 13% of chronic pain sufferers needed help with daily living
  • 13% of chronic pain sufferers  needed to move to a home that was easier to manage

Chronic  pain sufferers saw doctors at the following rates:

  • 63% saw a family doctor
  • 40% saw a specialist – for example, an orthopedists
  • 25% say a chiropractor
  • 15 % saw a pain management doctor

70% of chronic pain sufferers believe pain research and pain management should be a high  priority for the medical community.

57% of chronic  pain sufferers reported a willingness to pay an  extra dollar a week in taxes for pain management research at the federal level

 

Disclaimer
This blog does not constitute medical advice.
We see patients from Bucks, Philadelphia, Mercer, and Montgomery Counties. We treat patients who live in Levittown, Richboro, Doylestown, Langhorne, Newtown, and the Delaware Valley region

Posted in Back pain, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Exercise and Pain Management

Exercise and Pain

It’s natural to think that when you have back or neck pain that exercise will only make your condition worse. That isn’t always true. The right types of exercise can actually help decrease your pain.

Before starting any exercise routine, you should consult with your pain management doctor.

According to Spine Health, a leading resource, exercise can help with your pain in the following ways:

  • Exercise helps to reduce stiffness and increases your mobility
  • Exercise improves your circulation which means spinal discs and other parts of your body get the nutrients they need
  • Exercise releases “endorphins, which can naturally relieve pain and reduce the need for pain medications. Endorphins also help with your emotional state.

A proper pain reduction exercise workout should include stretching and strength exercises. Your workout should also focus on aerobic exercises to improve your heart health.

Spine-health suggests you keep the following in mind when choosing a back pain exercise routine:

  • The whole body should be targeted – not just the back.
  • You should have doctor or health professional review you medical situation before you start any program
  • You should know how severe your pain issues are
  • You should discuss with the professional how often and how long you should exercise
  • You should be aware how much pain you can reasonably endure

Factors to consider when stretching. Stretching:

  • Helps reduce muscle tension
  • Improves your range
  • Reduces the risk of a disability
  • Should be pain free
  • Be done on a flat surface
  • Exercises normally require repetition and holding the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds
  • Should be done one side of the body at a time

Yoga is a good exercise program that emphasizes stretching. We offer yoga programs for our patients that are geared towards people with pain.

The benefits of exercise aren’t always immediate. It can take a while to see results

The spine-health link has examples of specific exercises. You can also work with an experienced physical therapist who will guide you through your exercise routine.

Disclaimer

This blog does not constitute medical advice.

We see patients from Bucks, Philadelphia, Mercer, and Montgomery Counties. We treat patients who live in Levittown, Richboro, Doylestown, Langhorne, Newtown, and the Delaware Valley region

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Managing Pain for Valentine’s Day

Help for Managing Pain on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate the loved ones in your life. For people who are in chronic pain, enjoying the day can present problems. Here are a few suggestions for honoring those you live while still managing your pain.

  • Swap the chocolate for something nutritious like a bouquet of fresh fruit. Sugary syrup contributes to inflammation. Inflammation contributes to pain. Select lots of bright colorful fruits including strawberries and cherries. Fruits with antioxidants like blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and cherries are good for your health. Strawberries and cherries are especially nice because of their bright red color.
  • Give the gift of a day at our beauty spa, Kaaya Medical Spa. Our spa offers a full range of treatments to make a woman (or man) look and feel great:Body Contouring•Botox Injections• Dermal Fillers• Eyelash Extensions• Herbal Body Wrap• HydrafacialTM• Hypnotherapy• Kybella• Laser Hair Removal• Medical Facials• Meditation• SculpSure• Skin Tightening• Therapeutic and• Cosmetic Acupuncture• Threading• Venus Freeze• Weight Loss
  • Try dinner in one of the wonderful restaurants in Langhorne or Newtown.
  • Conversation and a nice time with a spouse or partner is a wonderful way to reduce stress and focus on the good things in your life. Connect with parents, children, and all the people in your life you care for.
  • Listen to local music or attend a live event. Our area has numerous theaters and music venues where you can listen, in an comfortable seat, to entertainers near you. We hope you can manage enough to enjoy people and getting out of the house

If you pain is too severe for you to enjoy Valentine’s Day, we understand. Please contact our office by calling 215.741.7031 to schedule an appointment. Our aim is to reduce and control your pain so you can get back to focusing on what’s really important in your life.

Disclaimer. This blog does not constitute medical advice.

We see patients from Bucks, Philadelphia, Mercer, and Montgomery Counties. We treat patients who live in Levittown, Richboro, Doylestown, Langhorne, Newtown, and the Delaware Valley region

 

Posted in Chronic Pain, Pain Management | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Foods to Eat and to Avoid – to Reduce Inflammation

Diet and Nutrition Suggestions for Controlling Inflammation

Inflammation causes your nervous system to trigger pain. The right diet can help reduce inflammation – and, in turn, reduce chronic pain.

There are two parts to an anti-inflammation healthy diet. The first part is staying away from  the bad foods. The second part is eating the right  foods.

The bad foods to avoid

  • Sugar and artificial sweeteners
  • Caffeine
  • Gluten
  • Yeast
  • Carbohydrates (think pasta and breads)
  • Red meat
  • Dairy products
  • Tobacco
  • Alcohol
  • Processed foods
  • Fast foods
  • Some vegetables such as tomatoes and potatoes increase inflammation

The good foods to eat

  • Dark leafy greens
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Omega-3 oils
  • Walnuts and flaxseeds
  • Salmon  and deep sea fishes. These foods have omega-3 fatty acids which can reduce joint inflammation• Cherries
  • Acai berries
  • Blueberries
  • Ginger spice
  • Turmeric spic
  • Edamame beans
  • Flaxseeds

Disclaimer. This  blog does not constitute medical advice.

If you are having  any pain problems, please call our Langhorne, PA office at 215.741.7031.

We see patients from Bucks, Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Mercer Counties.

Posted in Chronic Pain, Nutrition | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment