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What is Vertebroplasty

What is Vertebroplasty?

According to John Hopkins University, “vertebroplasty is a procedure in which a special cement is injected into a fractured vertebra — with the goal of relieving your spinal pain and restoring your mobility.” It may be considered if more conservative methods such as bed rest, physical therapy, back braces and other approaches don’t work.  Your doctor may recommend the procedure if you have a fractured vertebra that has led to respiratory problems, deep vein thrombosis, worsening osteoporosis, and other physical and emotional problems.
As with all procedures there are benefits and risks. The medical school states that the risks are minor.

Known risks include

  • Loss of Blood
  • Hemorrhaging
  • Infection
  • Fever
  • Irritation of the nerve root
  • Fractures
  • Leakage of the Cement
  • Increased pain while the cement cures – a rare occurrence.

How the procedure works

Your pain doctor will usually order an X-Ray and conduct an physical and oral exam. He/she may order an MRI, or a CT scan. The doctors will ask you to say all the medications you’re taking including any herbal supplements and over the counter medications. The doctor will want to know if you are taking anything that might make it hard for your blood to clot.

During the vertebroplasty procedure, the physician:

  • Will give you medicine to sedate your or a general anesthesia
  • “Uses a continuous X-ray to guide the needle into the fractured vertebra, with your body protected from the radiation”
  • Injects cement into the vertebra

After the medical procedure, you’ll lie on your back for an hour so the cement can harden. You’ll be observed for another hour or two. Pain relief may be immediate or may take up to three days. The doctor will follow up with you to assess how well the procedure worked.

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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Two prestigious medical hospitals explain the causes of back and neck pain

Common Causes of Neck and Back Pain

According to the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, these are some of the more common causes of neck and back pain. For many patients, there are multiple causes.

  • Trauma due to an accident or other event
  • Infection
  • Excess weight
  • Poor muscle tone quality
  • Sprains and strains
  • Repetitive stress
  • Overuse or strenuous use of the back and neck
  • A tumor, bone spur, or other abnormal growth
  • Vertebrae degeneration
  • Muscle spasm or tension
  • Tears of the ligaments or muscles
  • Smoking
  • A herniated or protruding disc
  • A pinched nerve
  • Osteoporosis
  • Congenital abnormalities of the bones or spine
  • Aortic aneurysm
  • Joint disorders

According to the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, Three of the leading physical causes are:

  • Disc disorders. Discs the “gel-like cushions that rest between the vertebrae (bones in the spine). They help maintain the natural curvature of your spine, and allow your back to flex or bend. And most importantly, discs absorb shock as you walk or run.”A ruptured or herniated disc causes the jelly-like center to leak. This irritates nearby nerves. Many young people develop herniated discs – as well as older people. Older people often have disc problems because their discs dry out. This makes them more rigid and less pliable – creating an increased risk of a herniated disc.
  • Osteoarthritis. This a kind of arthritis that occurs to the wear and tear of old age. Essentially, the cartilage which connect the vertebrae starts to wear away. The discs lose water and narrow – which puts pressure on the joints and causes inflammation. Osteoarthritis often causes back pain.Spine of the neck is often due to condition called spondylosis which occurs when the bones and cartilage of the neck suffer abnormal wear,
  • Spinal stenosis. This is a narrowing of the spine which “puts pressure on the spinal cord or nerves, causing pain, numbness, or cramping.” Aging is a major cause of spinal stenosis. Other causes include arthritis, herniated discs, bone disease, injuries, and tumors.

Disclaimer

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

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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Autumn Gardening Tips to Reduce Pain

Gardening is a wonderful way to feel good about the world. As the colder weather approaches, many people try get in their gardening chores before the winter frosts come in. Autumn is a great time for planting.

Here are a few pain precaution tips during this gardening season:

  • Wear warm clothes that keep you warm but that don’t constrict your movements.
  • Start slowly  and warm-up to heavier tasks. Gradual steps help muscles ease into the workload. Doing heavy work  first increases  the odds of straining your muscles.
  • Avoid overreaching and overstretching. Get as close as possible to the things you want to  prune or  work on even if it means getting a little  dirtier. The rights  tools can hep you reach vegetation, flowers, and bushes that you can’t easily reach.
  • Use a utility belt to keep your tools near you. This helps reduce movements to reach for spades and  other equipment
  • When using a rake, keep your torso in line with the rake. When you’re done raking, bend both knees with a straight back to pick up the leaves or other gardening items.
  • Get up once  in a while. It’s not good for joints or muscles to stay in one position for long  stretches of time. Try to move or stretch every 20 minuets or so.
  • Stay hydrated. Even in cooler weather, it helps to drink plenty of liquids.
  • Consider buying the right items to make gardening easier. For example, a gardening trolley can help you move heavier items. Get the kids  to  help move heavy bags.

Disclaimer

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

Our doctors and team help patients in Langhorne, Levittown, Newtown, Bensalem, Doylestown, Philadelphia and many other locations in or near Bucks County. We can be reached at 215.741.7031For those of you who deal with chronic pain, does cold weather worsen your pain?

 

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Rheumatoid Arthritis and Spinal Pain

According to a recent article in Medical News Today, rheumatoid arthritis is a possible contributor to spinal pain and pain in the joints and hips. Rheumatoid arthritis contributes to pain, in part, because it inflames the joints.

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis

Some of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) include neck and back pain. Other symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Swelling of the joints
  • Back stiffness
  • Inability or difficulty moving joints
  • Pain near the base of the skull

Treatments for rheumatoid arthritis and pain

Home treatments

  • Ice packs that are used  within the first two  days of experiencing pain may help. After two days, applying heat to the muscles may be the better option.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications. Over the counter NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) may help. It’s best to check with your doctor before starting any new medications.
  • Stretching. Gentle stretches and trying to stay mobile can help. Many people find water-based stretching and exercise beneficial.
  • Reducing stress. Some ways to reduce stress include meditation, listening to quite music, writing in a journal, and spending time with friends.
  • Lifestyle changes. People with RA and most people generally are healthier if they – quite smoking, lose weight, and eat a healthy diet
  • Massages and physical therapy may also  help

Medical treatments

When home treatments don’t work, anyone with RA pain issues  should see a pain management doctor or other appropriate doctors. The doctors may recommend imaging tests to held determine where the pain is and what may be causing the pain. In some cases, surgical procedures may be an option.

Disclaimer

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

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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Back Pain at Work

According to OSHA  (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), the federal agency that tracks workplace safety, back pain is the second leading cause of workplace injury after hand injuries.

Back injury can include spinal cord damage, pinched nerves, disc damage, fractures, and other serious medical problems. Back pain is usually due to lifting, pulling, carrying, twisting, and other motions. Sometimes one incident can cause the back pain. Other times, back pain accumulates over a period of time.

The spine is made of 24 vertebrae. Between the vertebrae are discs that help the vertebrae move and function properly. When discs are damaged, the vertebrae rub against each other causing pain.

Pain can also be due to muscle damage, pinched nerves, stretched ligaments, and other physical problems.

There are many types of treatment for back pain. The most mild is hot or cold compresses. The most extreme treatment is surgery. Inbetween, your pain management doctors may recommend steroid injections, anti-inflammatory medications, and other treatments.

Disclaimer

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

Workers who suffer back pain should consult with a worker’s compensation attorney for advice on their legal remedies.

Injured workers should feel free to contact our pain management office. We have extensive experience helping injured workers. 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 215.741.4410

 

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Why Understanding Your Pain Can Lead to Better Pain Management Results

A recent New York Times article (July 2018)  discussed how pain education programs for people with chronic pain – are leading to better outcomes. The times article referenced a Journal of the American Medical Association Neurology report on an interesting clinical study.

120 women and men with chronic neck or back pain were divided into two groups.

Group 1. These patients received standard exercises and physical therapy.

Group 2. This group were given what the researchers called  a “Pain neuroscience education.” Patients learned some of the science behind pain including:

  • How nerve fibers send pain to the brain by the spinal cord.
  • What synapses and neurons are.
  • How “pain itself can modify central nervous system functions, producing pain with even the  mildest stimulation.”

Along with learning about pain management science, patients were given different movement routines that focused on “functionality rather than pain relief, and trying to continue exercising despite the pain.”

The study took place over a three-month time period. That patients were then re-examined after six months and after 12 months.

The findings

The study found that the second Group, the education group, had higher thresholds of pain, reduced disability, and better physical and mental health.

The study, according to the  “lead author, Anneleen Malfliet, a doctoral candidate at the Free University of Brussels,” indicates that learning about pain and asking questions helps achieve better results than just worrying about your pain. Activity and movement are generally more helpful than just resting and hoping the pain will go away.

Disclaimer

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

For medical help, please phone us at 215.741.7031 to schedule a consultation. We see clients from Langhorne, Levittown, Newtown, Richboro, Bensalem, Doylestown, and across Bucks County. We also see patients from appointment. We see clients in Bucks, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Mercer, and neighboring counties. Our office is in Langhorne, PA

 

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Definitions of Different Types of Doctors

People in pain often treat with different types of doctors. Some of the physicians they may treat are a:

Pain Management Doctor. According  to the American Society of Regional and Pain Medicine – “A pain management specialist is a physician with special training in evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of all different types of pain. Pain is actually a wide spectrum of disorders including acute pain, chronic pain and cancer pain and sometimes a combination of these. Pain can also arise for many different reasons such as surgery, injury, nerve damage, and metabolic problems such as diabetes. Occasionally, pain can even be the problem all by itself, without any obvious cause at all.”
“The best way to be referred to a pain management specialist is through your primary care physician. Most pain physicians work closely with their patients’ primary care physicians to insure good communication, which in turn helps provide the optimum treatment for their patients. Patients are also often referred by specialists who deal with different types of pain problems. Back surgeons, neurologists, cancer doctors, as well as other specialists usually work regularly with a pain physician and can refer you to one.”

https://www.asra.com/page/44/the-specialty-of-chronic-pain-management

Neurosurgeon. “A neurosurgeon is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of disorders of the central and peripheral nervous system including congenital anomalies, trauma, tumors, vascular disorders, infections of the brain or spine, stroke, or degenerative diseases of the spine.”

https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/highland/departments-centers/neurosurgery/what-is-a-neurosurgeon.aspx

Orthopedist. “An orthopaedic surgeon is a physician devoted to the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and rehabilitation of injuries, disorders and diseases of the body’s musculoskeletal system. This system includes bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves and tendons. While orthopaedic surgeons are familiar with all aspects of the musculoskeletal system, many orthopaedists specialize in certain areas, such as the foot and ankle, hand, shoulder and elbow, spine, hip or knee. Orthopaedic surgeons may also choose to focus on specific fields like pediatrics, trauma, reconstructive surgery, oncology (bone tumors) or sports medicine.”

https://www7.aaos.org/member/directory/definition.htm

Physical Therapist. “Physical therapists can teach patients how to prevent or manage their condition so that they will achieve long-term health benefits. PTs examine each individual and develop a plan, using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. In addition, PTs work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.”

http://www.apta.org/AboutPTs/

Vocational Therapist. “Vocational rehabilitation counselors help individuals deal with the career-related effects of physical and mental disabilities, which may have resulted from accidents, illnesses, injuries, birth defects or disease. These professionals train clients to search and apply for jobs. They also support those who have lost their jobs or who are dealing with job stress or other issues. In creating a rehabilitation program, they may confer with other professionals assisting in the client’s care, including doctors, family members, occupational therapists, teachers and psychologists.”

https://learn.org/articles/What_is_a_Vocational_Rehabilitation_Counselor.html

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.

We see patients from Bucks, Mercer, Montgomery,  and  Philadelphia Counties. We treat patients in the Delaware Valley including Levittown, Newtown, Langhorne, Doylestown, Southampton, Trenton, Richboro, and nearby locations

 

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What is Cauda Equina Syndrome

A recent article in Spine-Health discussed an emergency medical condition called cauda equina syndrome. The condition normally requires “urgent surgical intervention.”

If the condition is not treated quickly, patients can suffer:

  • Paralysis
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Problems walking
  • Other neurological or physical difficulties

Cauda equina syndrome may mature in weeks or months – but it also develop suddenly.

  • Symptoms of sudden onset include “severe low back pain and significant loss of bladder and bowel function.”
  • Symptoms of gradual onset include some loss of bladder or bowel function. The patient may suffer pain in the lower back, muscle weakness and/or numbness, and incontinence (both the bladder and bowel). Patients also develop sciatica in one or both legs.

Patients with sciatica or back pain may develop cauda equina syndrome. Others may develop the condition without any sciatica or back pain.

Cauda equina is Latin for “horse’s tail.” The name is used because the nerves at the end of the spine visually resemble a horse’s tail as they extend from the spinal cord, through the lumbar spine and over the sacrum, and down the back of each leg.”

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.

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Medial Branch Block

What Are Medial Branch Blocks?

A medial branch block procedure is mainly diagnostic. If the procedure works (it gives the patient relief from pain) that it lets the doctor know what region caused the pain. It may let the doctor also know if the patient can benefit from any other pain procedures such as a radiofrequency neurotomy.

Medial Nerves

Each facet joint is connected to two medial nerves. The nerves are carriers of pain signals. The medial nerves can also control some muscles in the neck and back. Medial nerves are located in different parts of the spine including:  The neck: Cervical medial branch nerves are located in a bony groove in the neckThoracic medial branch nerves are located over a bone in the mid-back or upper backLumbosacral medial branch nerves are found in a bony groove in the low back.

How the Procedure is Performed

The doctor will use an X-Ray machine called a fluoroscopy to help guide the needle injections to the right spot of the body.  The procedure is an out-patient procedure which takes about 30 minutes. The patient will lie down on a  medical table. An anesthetic will be used along with the injection for each medial nerve. Contrast dyes are used to make sure the medicine goes to the   medial branch nerves.

The patient will be given another 20 to 30 minutes to recover from the procedure. The doctor will do some quick tests to see how well the procedure worked.

Risks

Risks are low. Complications are infrequent. Some of the risks include an allergic reaction to the X-Ray contract solution, bleeding and infection. Worsening of pain symptoms, discomfort where at the injection site are also possible. Nerve or spinal cord damage or  paralysis are rare but possible.

Results

Patients normally experience some relief within the first six hours after the procedure. Patients who do experience relief within this time frame may be eligible for radiofrequency neurotomy

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.

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How Staying Active May Help with Neck Pain Management

Exercise helps the neck in three different ways.

A recent article in Spine-Health suggests that exercise can help with pain management. The first step though is to review your pain doctor whether you should participate in an exercise program. Some pain conditions create complications when people exercise.

  1. Exercise helps the neck muscles, according to the article. Exercise includes walking, swimming, biking, yoga, doing household chores, and even gardening. These activities help the neck muscles stay strong. They also help maintain neck flexibility. Different activities help put the “neck through a wide range of motions.” When you don’t move, the muscles get weaker. They also get tighter. Weak and tight neck muscles make the neck more likely to suffer sprains and strains.
  2. Exercise helps circulate the blood. Aerobic exercise (as opposed to exercise that focuses on strength) helps you breathe better. It’s also good for the heart because it increases your heart rate during exercise. Exercise helps the blood move to the neck and upper back. This movement is good for your general mobility and also helps the muscles relax. When you finish your exercise, the brain releases endorphins which can help with some types of pain. People who exercise generally have better moods and more energy. Doctors generally recommend people exercise about 5 times weekly – about 30 minutes each session
  3. Exercise is good for your posture. It may not seem like a lot – but bending forward “just 15 degrees,” nearly doubles the pressure on your cervical spine. Bad posture negatively affects the joints, soft tissues, and muscles of the neck – which increases pain. Exercise and activity helps with good posture. As with all exercise programs, overdoing exercise can reverse the advantages of exercising. You’re allowed to take breaks. You shouldn’t cram five days of activity into the weekend.

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.

We see patients from Bucks, Montgomery, Mercer, and  Philadelphia Counties. We treat patients in the Delaware Valley including Levittown, Doylestown, Newtown, Southampton, Trenton, Buckingham and Richboro.

 

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