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516.593.7990

Back Pain

Benefits of Epidural Steroid Injections for Back Pain

Monday, May 24th, 2021

Epidural Steroid Injections for Back PainCoping with pain is a part of life. Much of the time, pain results from an injury or accident and lasts only a short time. Some pain may come and go but have little effect on your daily activities. However, other kinds of pain are chronic and interfere with your quality of life.

One of the most prevalent areas of the body to experience pain is in the back. Back pain is so commonplace that it is estimated that up to 80% of people will suffer from it in some form during their lifetime. The good news is that even for serious conditions, treatment and relief are available. These interventions come in many modalities, including medication, exercises, and even surgery. Your doctor may even recommend epidural steroid injections for back pain. It is helpful to understand how this works and what the benefits are.

The Effects of Back Pain

Back pain can affect people of all ages, though it is most severe and prevalent in the older population. Back pain can occur anywhere along the spinal column and radiate outwardly to other parts of the body. The pain can feel sharp, throbbing, or burning, depending on the condition. It can cause numbness and tingling. Some people feel weakness. Back pain can originate from or attack discs, muscles, tendons, ligaments, or nerves. The symptoms can range from barely noticeable to excruciating and debilitating.

Back pain is so extensive throughout the population that there are economic consequences. It results in lost time from work, affecting individuals and companies. More than $86 billion is spent annually in the United States to treat back pain. People who become incapacitated and can no longer work may also feel the effects of stress and anxiety. It can also lead to a loss of enjoyment of favorite activities and time with loved ones.

Types of Back Pain

Back pain takes many forms, with numerous conditions accounting for it. Herniated or bulging discs, also known as pinched nerve, are common. This happens when the rubbery cushions between vertebrae begin to push out of their exterior coverings. Pinched nerves can also occur along the back. This often occurs when a muscle puts excessive pressure on a nerve. Other back conditions can include strains, sprains, fractures, arthritis, and osteoporosis.

Understanding Epidural Injections

A doctor may recommend epidural injections for back pain. This treatment is designed to numb the pain and reduce any inflammation causing discomfort or limiting mobility. It is a medication that the doctor will inject with a needle into the back, usually right outside a sac of fluid that has built up near the spinal cord. The steroid, combined with a numbing medication, will decrease swelling and minimize pressure on nerves in the back. Epidural injections are usually performed by interventional pain specialists, orthopedic spine surgeons, neurologists, and physiatrists (PM&R physical medicine and rehabilitation doctors).

More About the Procedure

To prepare for the injection, the patient dresses in a gown and lies on a table face-down. After cleaning the injection site, the doctor will use an X-ray for direction on where to place the needle. This will usually be in the lower part of the back. The process only takes about 30 minutes. There will be some epidural steroid injection recovery time under the doctor’s supervision. Ordinarily, the patient will remain in the office for 15 or 20 minutes until the doctor is satisfied that there will be no adverse effects. Most patients do not feel any pain during the procedure, though there can be some pressure. The patient should remain motionless during the injection. This will ensure that the doctor places the needle in the correct spot.

The Right Candidates

An epidural steroid injection makes sense for someone who is enduring extreme back pain. If you have pain in any area of your back, you may be a good candidate, especially if other interventions have not been effective. It is also worth exploring if your back pain has been consistent or constant for four to six weeks. The injections may be right for you if pain medication has not provided the relief you need.

Living with back pain can hinder your quality of life. It can have both physical and emotional health effects. You should not have to live under these conditions any longer. Speak to your doctor today about getting an epidural steroid injection.

Is Working From Home Taking a Physical Toll on Your Body?

Monday, March 29th, 2021

physical toll on body Remote work makes life incredibly convenient. Workers don’t have to worry about their commute. Employers don’t have to pay as much overhead for utilities. But there are some downsides to working from home.

You may not realize it, but working remotely can take a physical toll on your body. Some of the issues are familiar to anyone who works in an office. But there are also some unique physical risks associated with working from home.

Neck and Back Pain

Anyone who stares at a screen for most of the day is at risk of neck and back pain. Some experts call this tech neck, but that isn’t an official name. To put this in perspective, one survey found that 45% of remote workers started experiencing joint and back pain since switching to working from home. When asked if there is new pain or worsening pain since working from home, the percentage increased to 71%.

The problem comes from how we sit when on screens. Whether it is a computer, tablet, or smartphone, we tend to lean forward. This is incredibly bad for your health. Remember that, on average, adult heads weigh about 11 pounds. When you lean forward, you put all that weight on your neck. Even worse, it is in an unnatural position.

Neck and back pain aren’t the only issues associated with this. You may also feel muscle spasms, headaches, or neck stiffness. If it gets bad enough, the discs in your back or neck may bulge. In the worst-case scenario, they may even rupture.

How to Reduce the Effects

The good news is you can take steps to reduce this type of pain and stiffness.

Start by choosing a desk chair with good lumbar support. Confirm that the chair supports your body weight, so it isn’t left on your spine.

Always try to avoid leaning forward. Here’s an easy way to think of the position you want to be in. If you fall asleep, your head will lean back, not forward.

Take a few quick breaks (even just a few seconds) to move your shoulders and neck regularly.

Consider getting a footrest as well. Preventing your feet from dangling reduces leg pain. This also adds support to your entire body. The result should be less back strain. 

Wrist Pain and Carpal Tunnel, Especially From Laptops

Wrist pain and potential carpal tunnel or numbness are known issues for people who type a lot. But the fact that many remote workers use laptops makes this even worse.

The issue comes from the small keyboard combined with the low screen. The combination means you are more likely to hunch forward. Additionally, your wrists will not get the support they need.

The other issue with laptops is that they encourage you to work in unusual locations. Sitting in an unsupportive desk chair is bad enough. But working from a bed or couch can even be worse. That is particularly concerning given than in a British survey, 24% of respondents said they are working from their sofas and 17% are working on the floor. This applies to both your posture (your neck and back) and your wrists.

How to Reduce the Effects

You can reduce these effects with a few simple actions. Start by making it a point to sit at a table or desk. Make sure you have a supportive chair as well.

If you can, use a separate mouse and keyboard. These steps help keep your wrists in the ideal neutral position. Set up the screen so it sits level with your eyes. You may need an extra monitor or a laptop stand.

Eye Strain and Blue Light

Eye strain is another issue that is common among office workers but even worse for remote workers. With remote work, you spend more time staring at a screen.

Consider, for example, talking to a coworker. In the office, you could get up, walk to their desk, and speak to them in person. There would be no screens involved. With remote work, this becomes a Slack conversation or video call. Your eyes never leave the computer screen.

Blue light also contributes to eye strain. Your eyes have to work harder when focusing on screens with blue light. Unfortunately, most digital devices emit blue light.

How to Reduce the Effects

There are a few things you can do to reduce eye strain. Start by seeing what you can do to reduce the amount of time you spend staring at a screen. At the very least, look away from the screen for half a minute or so every once in a while.

You can also adjust your computer, so the screen is about 15 or 20 degrees less than horizontal eye level.

To deal with blue light, consider blue-light-filtering glasses. You should also use the 20-20-20 rule. Take a 20-second (or more) break every 20 minutes. During this time, focus your eyes on something 20 feet away.

If you make those changes and still deal with eye strain, consider getting your eyes checked. You may want computer glasses. These can reduce strain even if they have a minimal correction.

Health Risks of Being Sedentary

There are also plenty of health risks associated with being sedentary. Experts have expressed concern about these for years. But those concerns only accounted for an office setting. The risks can increase even more when working remotely.

After all, there is no need to get up for the commute. Even if you drive to work, you will walk to your car to do so. Then, at work in an office, you at least get up a few times. Maybe you’ll collect documents from the printer or get coffee.

All these small movements are less likely at home. To make matters worse, many remote workers find themselves working longer.

That’s problematic because being sedentary can increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes.

How to Reduce the Effects

The best way to overcome this is to get moving. Make it a point to get up and walk around your house regularly. At the very least, take a real lunch break. If you can fit in a quick walk, that’s better. If not, at least you will get up from your desk.

At least once an hour, get up for a few minutes. Do some stretches or walk around your house.

Mental Health Is Also a Concern 

Although not a physical issue, remote work can also be bad for your mental health. This tends to come from working longer hours and having fewer home-work boundaries. That combines with reduced socialization.

What to Do After a Back Injury at Work

Wednesday, February 17th, 2021

back injury at workAccording to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, if you have an injury to your spine, you might need to pay at least a million dollars over your lifetime. A spinal cord injury is one of the possible back injuries that can occur while at work. That means it is best to find out early on the severity of the damage so you can prevent it from getting worse. If you got injured at work, here’s what you should know about back injury and workers’ compensation.

Common Causes of Back Injuries at Work

There are many ways that a work-related lower back injury might occur. Different kinds of injuries could cause different types of pain. That might be permanent or temporary. Acute pain often lasts around three to six weeks before it goes away. It might happen immediately and be severe. Causes of back injuries at work could include incorrect lifting and poor mechanics.

What to Do After a Back Injury at Work

If you injured your back at work, it is recommended to see a doctor experienced in treating injured workers. Make sure that a healthcare professional you are seeing is an NYS Workers’ Compensation Board authorized provider. Only WCB authorized providers can treat injured workers in New York and have the treatment covered by workers comp insurance.

Best Back Pain Treatment Options

You might have researched “back injury at work: what to do.” Sometimes, the pain can get better on its own over a matter of months. However, each body is different, and back pain can be complicated. Many times, the pain will not go away on its own for a while. Some people have persistent pain.

Using over-the-counter medications and heat could reduce your discomfort. Still, it is often best to avoid bed rest since you will not be moving and worsen the pain. Try to maintain your daily activities as much as possible. You might choose to do some light exercise, like walking or stretching. Your doctor may recommend other treatments, like pain management, chiropractic care or physical therapy.

Who Pays for Treatment After Work-Related Injury?

If you have an injury at work in New York, you will be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. This type of insurance would offer medical benefits and wage replacement if you got injured during your time as an employee.

If you have a back injury at work, it is best to tell the employer immediately. If you experience a more gradual development in the injury, you will need to report it as soon as you realize it happened because of your work. You will then fill out documentation with your employer to file a claim. If the accident is severe and sudden, you might have to wait to fill out this form.

About Us

Serving Long Island, Oceanside, and Valley Stream NY communities and their surrounding areas, Comprehensive Healthcare Group (CHG), is a multi-specialty provider of health & rehabilitation services.

With over 20 years of history of treating injured workers in the Nassau County area, our expanded facility will provide service excellence.

The state-of-the-art healthcare services we provide include:

Schedule Your Appointment Today

If you have an injury, it is best to seek care as soon as possible. That way, you can reduce the chances of it negatively impacting your life. Schedule an appointment today with an experienced auto injury doctor near you. Our services are available from Monday through Friday.

We accept most insurance plans, including workers’ compensation, no-fault insurance. To book your appointment, call our Oceanside, NY office at 516.764.7760 or our Valley Stream, NY office at 516.593.7990.

 

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/back-pain/art-20044526

https://www.oip.com/chronic-back-pain-options-available/

https://perkinslawtalk.com/blog/how-back-injuries-cause-problems-returning-to-work/

Physical Therapy Vs. Surgery for Back Pain, What Is the Best Option?

Wednesday, February 17th, 2021

physical therapy back painAbout 80 percent of the population will have back pain at some point, and it is a common cause of missed days at work. You might wonder what you can do about it and whether surgery or physical therapy is the best option. Keep reading to learn more.

Common Types of Spine and Back Conditions

Many conditions can affect your spine, making you feel that surgery for back pain is the only option. Some disorders can include degenerative issues, herniated discs, arthritis, and scoliosis. Even cancer can cause a range of pain issues.

The condition determines the cause of your pain. Not every reason is known, but issues like inflammation, falls, inherited disorders, and infection can be at fault.

Does Physical Therapy Work for Back Pain?

You might be comparing physical therapy vs. surgery for back pain and thinking which is better. Usually, doctors try to go with the least invasive method. Many people with back pain benefit from stretching. It does not take a lot of time, even though it might be hard to remember to do it, mainly if there is no pain. A physical therapist can help you learn about stretches to do each day to alleviate the pain.

How Physical Therapy Helps Back Pain

Many people find that lower back physical therapy helps alleviate their symptoms. PT treatment modalities can include massage, stretches, traction, electrical stim, and more. Your therapist might recommend doing specific exercises to do at home for 30 to 40 minutes

Even if you have a busy schedule, you can often maintain an exercise routine that includes aerobic conditioning, stretching, and strengthening. These are all forms of physical therapy that work.

When Therapy Doesn't Work

Physical therapy for back pain may not always work. It is a conservative approach to managing pain. If the patient did not see success from PT treatment, pain management procedures and surgery might be the best option for back pain.

If you have a degenerative condition, the initial response is to strengthen your spine's core muscles. But these treatments might not always help get your vertebra back to the correct locations to reduce the spinal nerve pressure. Chiropractic care can also help back pain.

Physical Therapy and other treatments do not always work because they do not address spinal ligaments' issues. These are types of connective tissues that can hold the vertebra in the right locations. Your doctor can help you decide which is best for you.

Closing Thoughts

Every year, 50 percent of working Americans have admitted having back pain symptoms. The good news is you can benefit from physical therapy for back pain. Making an appointment today is the first step.

About Us

Serving Long Island, Oceanside, and Valley Stream NY communities and their surrounding areas, Comprehensive Healthcare Group (CHG), is a multi-specialty provider of health & rehabilitation services.

With over 20 years of excellence in treating patients in the Nassau County area, our expanded facility will provide service excellence.

The state-of-the-art healthcare services we provide include:

Schedule Your Appointment Today

If you have an injury, it is best to seek care as soon as possible. That way, you can reduce the chances of it negatively impacting your life. Schedule an appointment today with an experienced auto injury doctor near you. Our services are available from Monday through Friday.

We accept most insurance plans, including workers' compensation, no-fault insurance. To book your appointment, call our Oceanside, NY office at 516.764.7760 or our Valley Stream, NY office at 516.593.7990.

 

Sources:

https://spinenation.com/treatment/physical-therapy/why-you-should-try-physical-therapy-before-back

https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/news/20150407/physical-therapy-equals-surgery-for-certain-lower-back-pain-study-says

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/physical-therapy-as-good-as-surgery-and-less-risky-for-one-type-of-lower-back-pain-201504097863

https://www.caringmedical.com/prolotherapy-news/why-physical-therapy-and-yoga-did-not-help-your-low-back-pain/