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We’re happy to present our latest TV commercial for Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine.
This video features our state-of-the-art medical facility in Ramsey, NJ and gives you a snapshot of our cutting edge diagnostic equipment and the hands-on approach we take with each of our patients.

Unlike other doctor offices, we can diagnose and treat your pain in one facility – so you don’t have to visit multiple doctors and locations to get the care you need. Our unique team approach will get you back to your life faster.

We treat a variety of conditions including neck pain, back injuries, joint pain, headaches and sports injuries – using non-surgical treatments like physical therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, regenerative injections, and more.

So whether you are a hardworking mom, weekend warrior, contractor, construction worker, teacher, policeman, fireman or sanitation worker – don’t let pain slow you down. Let us help you live pain free – without the need for surgery or dangerous pain medications.

To learn more about our pain management solutions, or the conditions we treat, please contact our medical facility in Ramsey, NJ at (201) 962-9199.

We look forward to being your #1 solution for non-surgical pain management!

Pain Management Doctors Ramsey

Fibromyalgia | Common Symptoms, Treatments

Fibromyalgia is a relatively common, yet frequently misunderstood, diagnosis that affects millions of people in the United States. At Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine, our pain management doctors have worked with hundreds of men and women living with fibromyalgia who are simply looking to have a higher quality of life. We’ve seen how frustrating this condition can be, so approach every case with comprehensive and individualized care to find what will work best for each patient.

What Is Fibromyalgia?

Considered a chronic pain disorder, fibromyalgia is believed to be related to a disruption in the way that the central nervous system processes pain–almost as if the volume has been “turned up” on pain signals. There is also evidence to suggest that it’s related to widespread inflammation in the body, as other conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are often co-present.

Fibromyalgia is typically diagnosable through a comprehensive patient history and physical examination, along with the help of certain diagnostic tests to rule out other disorders that may present in a similar fashion.

It’s been estimated that 10 million Americans have fibromyalgia, with women being affected more than men at a rate of 4 to 1. However, it’s important to note that both men and children can be affected, so it’s important to seek help if you’re experiencing any unusual symptoms.

Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Common Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Unlike certain other conditions we treat at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine, symptoms of fibromyalgia can vary significantly from person to person, and will even fluctuate in intensity and type for every individual. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Pain that is felt widespread throughout the body; this includes aching and tender muscles, muscle spasms, joints, chronic headaches, and TMJ (jaw) dysfunction
  • Impaired sleep; people with this condition especially have a hard time falling and staying asleep
  • Cognitive issues, including difficulties with memory and focus (often referred to as “fibro fog”)
  • An overwhelming sense of fatigue
  • A sensation of “heaviness” in the arms
  • Parasthesias (abnormal sensations) including tingling, numbness, and/or “pins and needles” in the arms and legs
  • Digestive problems (including IBS, overactive bladder, and gastrointestinal reflux disease, or GERD)

Such a variability in symptoms can be frustrating for the individual living with fibromyalgia and are often caused by or related to changing factors including stress, mental health, environmental changes (especially extremes of weather), hormonal changes (particularly menstrual changes in women),  and extreme physical exertion and/or physical injury.

Fibromyalgia Treatment from Our Ramsey Pain Doctors

While fibromyalgia currently has no cure, it is manageable. Individuals living with this condition can do their best to control known symptom triggers, such as managing their stress levels and maintaining an appropriate exercise plan and non-inflammatory diet. Our Ramsey pain doctors also offer a multidisciplinary approach to fibromyalgia management that may include:

Our goal of treatment is to reduce the intensity, duration, and frequency of your symptoms while also maximizing your underlying health and function.

Is Your Fibromyalgia Holding You Back? Let Our Ramsey Pain Doctors Get You Moving Again

If you need a second opinion or are simply looking for a more effective way to manage your fibromyalgia symptoms, call or visit Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine today. Our multidisciplinary team is standing by ready to help you reclaim a healthy active lifestyle–no matter what health condition you’re facing. Call (201) 962-9199 to book your appointment.

Physical Therapy Ramsey

Sciatica: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment At Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine

Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine is one of New Jersey’s most comprehensive and advanced pain management facilities. We offer non-surgical orthopedic and therapeutic care to Ramsey and the surrounding Bergen County communities. Back pain and related issues are one of the most common diagnoses our team works with; indeed, research indicates that up to 8 out of 10 of us will experience at least one episode of back pain over the course of our lives.

Throughout their years of clinical practice, Progressive Spine & Sports co-founders Dr. Steven Ferrer and Dr. Kevin McElroy have fielded many questions about one particular health concern known as sciatica. It’s almost a buzz word in the back pain world. Many patients wonder if their symptoms are caused by this disorder, even if they’re not completely sure what the disorder is.

Sciatica: What is it, Exactly?

 

Understanding sciatica requires a bit of understanding about the human spine. In your lower back, you have 2 large nerves which exit on the right and left side of the spinal column. These nerves go on to branch out and provide innervation (sensory and motor) to the right and left leg. These nerves are called sciatic nerves.

Sometimes, one of your sciatic nerves can become impinged or pinched. This can happen due to a variety of factors, including disc herniation, disc bulge, degenerative joint disease, bone spur, or in rare cases a tumor. Another cause of sciatic nerve impingement is a muscle injury known as piriformis syndrome. The piriformis is a muscle in your hip through which the sciatic nerve travels.

Pressure on any nerve can lead to a variety of symptoms. If a sciatic nerve is affected, symptoms can include:

  • Numbness and tingling in the affected leg
  • Pain in the affected leg–often described as burning, shooting, stabbing, or searing
  • Weakness in the affected leg
  • Back pain (though not always!)

It’s important to understand that the phrase “sciatica” doesn’t actually describe a particular health problem itself. Instead, it’s a useful term for describing a syndrome of symptoms that a person may have when the sciatic nerve becomes irritated. Why does this matter? Because determining the exact underlying cause of your sciatica symptoms can help guide treatment. Not everyone with sciatica requires the same treatment. This is true not only because the underlying cause could be different from person to person, but also because symptoms can vary significantly, as well.

Who Gets Sciatica?

 

Certain people may be more at risk for developing sciatica compared to others. This includes anyone with a sedentary job or who sit for long periods of time, people between the ages of 30 and 50, people with diabetes, and people who are overweight.

Non-Surgical Treatment of Sciatica With Our Ramsey Orthopedic & Physical Therapy Team

 

The goal of conservative management of sciatica (and its underlying cause) is to ultimately reduce or eliminate the source of pressure on the sciatic nerve. Once this relief is provided, proper healing and symptom resolution can begin. After determining your underlying diagnosis, our team will be able to customize your treatment plan to maximize your recovery and prevent recurrence. To do this, we may use a combination of non-surgical strategies, including physical therapy, interventional pain injections, myofascial release, acupuncture, and more. We’ll work with you every step of the way to ensure we’re finding solutions that safely and effectively meet your needs.

Wondering if you have sciatica? Tired of struggling with frustrating and debilitating symptoms? Call Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine today at (201) 962-9199 to schedule a consultation.

Exercise and Physical Therapy are effective treatments for neck and back pain

Everything You Need to Know About Neck Pain

Everything You Need to Know About Neck Pain

 

Do you have neck pain? You are not alone. Neck pain is the third most common type of pain in the United States, according to the American Academy of Pain Medicine. If you are like most people, you want to ease your neck pain without painful, complicated, or often risky surgery. Fortunately, nonsurgical orthopedic care can relieve your pain.

Causes and Symptoms of Neck Pain

Many things can cause neck pain, from muscle strain to arthritis. Because your neck is flexible and supports the weight of your head, the joints of your neck are especially vulnerable to injuries and conditions that cause pain and restrict movement. Spending too many hours hunched over a smartphone or computer screen can strain neck muscles. Even minor activities, such as reading in bed, can strain these muscles.

As with your knee joints or other joints in your body, the joints that allow you to move your neck can wear down with age and use. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage protecting the bones of your neck breaks down, and this allows the development of bone spurs that cause pain and affect joint movement.

Rubbery discs cushioning the bones of your neck can break down with age; herniated discs can press against nerves to cause pain in your neck. Bone spurs can also press against these nerves to cause pain.

Injuries sustained from a rear-end car collision is a common cause of a particular type of neck pain known as whiplash. This type of collision jerks the head backward then forward in a way that strains soft tissues in your neck.

Symptoms of neck pain depend largely on their cause. General symptoms of neck pain include:

  • Stiffness, soreness and difficulty moving your neck, particularly from side to side
  • Muscle spasms and tightness
  • Pain that gets worse when you hold your head still, such as when you drive a car or work at your computer
  • Sharp pain that may feel like stabbing or stinging, localized on one spot and often on the lower part of the neck
  • General neck soreness that causes achy tenderness
  • Radiating pain, from your neck into your shoulders and arms
  • Trouble gripping or lifting objects, if weakness is present
  • Headaches resulting from irritation or pinched nerve in your neck

Neck pain is usually the result of a minor problem but it can be a symptom of a more serious problem. Seek immediate medical care if your neck pain is the result of a car accident or other severe trauma, or if the pain lasts for several days, or causes tingling, numbness or weakness that radiates down one shoulder, arm or finger.

Treatment Options for Neck Pain

Non-surgical treatments include physical therapy, massage, and the use of various injections. Treatment depends largely on the cause, symptoms and severity of your neck pain. You may benefit from a single treatment type or a personalized treatment plan that includes several treatments.

Physical therapy for neck pain may consist of therapeutic exercise to increase strength and mobility, manual therapy, and various modalities, such as ice, heat, stimulation, ultrasound, kinesiotaping and the use of other instruments.

Massage therapy promotes healing by melting muscle spasms, mobilizing soft tissue, stimulating blood flow, and facilitating lymph drainage. Massage therapy also imparts a calming, positive effect on your brain to improve sleep, optimize your mood and relieve stress.

Steroid injections deliver powerful anti-inflammatory medication directly into the affected area of your neck to reduce pain and inflammation. These injections alleviate your pain, which allows you to participate in therapeutic exercise.

Comprehensive, nonsurgical orthopedic care provides the best possible outcome without surgery. If you have neck pain, make an appointment with Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine. We serve patients living in and around Ramsey, NJ including Bergen County, New York City and beyond.

At Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine, we treat neck pain and inflammation effectively - without invasive surgery

Neck Pain Symptoms, Treatments and Solutions

Neck Pain Symptoms, Treatments and Solutions

 

There’s a reason why “pain in the neck” has become an idiom – the saying hints to just how frustrating a painful neck condition can be! At Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine, home to Bergen County, NJ’s premier non-invasive pain management clinic, we work with hundreds of people just like you who struggle with neck pain, and help them achieve better outcomes that last.

Common Causes of Neck Pain

Every neck is different. That’s why our staff takes the time and attention needed to investigate and identify the underlying cause of your neck pain and other symptoms, which will help us determine the best course of treatment for you.

Common neck pain causes include:

  • Whiplash syndrome (strain and tension on connective tissue in the neck region due to a forceful start/stop injury)
  • Joint subluxation (misalignment of one or several of the vertebral bones)
  • Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal that typically occurs with age)
  • Osteoarthritis (inflammation of the cervical joints)
  • Disc bulge (when the gel-filled disc between your vertebral bones sticks out of place)
  • Disc herniation (when the gel-filling inside the disc leaks out into the surrounding area)
  • Spinal nerve impingement (pressure and pinching on a spinal nerve as it exits the spinal column)
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome (pressure on the neurovascular tissue at the front of your shoulder as they pass between your clavicle and first rib)
  • Muscle strain or ligament sprain (may result from an acute or chronic issue)

Contributing factors to these issues may include anything from auto or sports-related injuries to “text neck,” otherwise known as the poor posture we sustain while utilizing handheld digital devices.

Neck Pain & Associated Symptoms

If you have neck pain, you probably notice other issues, too. This is due to the intricate connection between the connective tissues of your head, neck, shoulders, and upper back – a problem in one area often leads to a problem in another area.

For instance, our patients commonly report neck stiffness, headaches, shoulder pain, increased muscle tension, numbness and/or weakness in one or both arms (especially if a cervical nerve is involved), stiffness, and decreased tolerance to exercise, desk work, and sleep.

How our Ramsey Spine & Sports Medicine Team Treats Neck Pain

When you book an appointment with us for neck pain, our board certified medical team will select from a variety of our diagnostic and treatment options to help you find the best solution to your signs and symptoms of dysfunction. Every treatment plan we offer is completely customizable to fit your specific needs. We’ll “give a nod” to your lifestyle, age, and health history when developing a plan of care for you, which may include:

Struggling with Neck Pain? Our Multidisciplinary Team in Ramsey Can Help

We take “progressive” seriously at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine. That’s why we’re 100% committed to providing our patients with state-of-the-art, evidence-based pain management strategies that hinge on comprehensive and non-invasive services. If your neck pain has been holding you back in life and you’re looking for non-surgical and “whole person” approach to healing, then call our Ramsey spine and sports medicine team today at (201) 962-9199.

Preventing & Treating Back Injuries & Pain at the Gym

Low Back Pain: Diagnosis and Treatment

Low Back Pain: Diagnosis and Treatment

 

Back pain doesn’t have to mean a lifetime of suffering. Most causes of back pain can be treated nonsurgically with excellent results. That’s why we’re happy to present this information – in hopes that it will help you live pain free.


If you struggle with low back pain, you’re in good company. Research suggests that 70-80% of the population will experience at least one episode of low back pain over the course of their lifetime. Plus, it’s been listed as one of the top causes of disability and missed work, and can affect people of all ages – though the majority of people who suffer from low back pain tend to be between the ages of 35 and 55, and men seem to be more likely to develop back pain. Other known risk factors include stress and poor coping skills, depression, obesity, smoking, and poor posture or body mechanics.

Episodes of low back pain can resolve on their own, however if left untreated it’s more likely that back pain will recur or develop into a chronic problem. While some people ultimately require surgery to resolve their symptoms, it’s generally recommended that most should explore conservative treatment options first. At our pain management clinic, we offer a variety of non-surgical options including physical therapy, massage therapy, and injections. Our treatment options have made a significant impact on our patients’ function and quality of life, without exposing them to the added risks inherent with invasive surgical procedures.

Diagnosing Low Back Pain: Top Symptoms & Underlying Causes
Low back pain is not a single disease process. Instead, doctors and researchers think of it more like a syndrome that comes with a broad range of symptoms. These symptoms can vary widely from person to person, but the ones most commonly reported by people who suffer from acute or chronic low back pain include:

  • Pain in the lower back, often described as dull, throbbing, aching, or even sharp with certain movements
  • Lower back stiffness
  • Pain that can radiate down into the buttocks, hips, and one or both legs (often described as dull, searing, burning, or throbbing)
  • Muscle spasms
  • Decreased activity tolerance
  • Difficulty sleeping

In many cases, the exact underlying cause of a person’s low back pain symptoms is not always obvious. Interestingly, this is not necessarily a barrier to healing. Current evidence from physical therapy research suggests that designing a treatment plan based on symptoms rather than diagnosis can significantly improve outcomes and reduce disability. This is especially important for those patients who have inconclusive diagnostic results that don’t paint a clear picture of what’s really going on.

That said, it’s still worthwhile to identify the underlying cause a person’s low back pain when possible. Common ways to diagnose a low back problem include imaging studies (like an X-ray or MRI), nerve conduction velocity tests, and special tests performed during a physical exam. Results of these tests may identify one or more unique conditions, the most common of which include:

  • Muscle spasm or strain: damage and inflammation to a spinal muscle, often due to trauma or as a compensation of an underlying injury
  • Ligament sprain: damage and inflammation to a spinal ligament, which holds bones together
  • Disc bulge or herniation: misalignment or damage to one or more intervertebral spinal discs
  • Arthritis: degenerative and inflammatory condition affect joints
  • Stenosis: narrowing of spinal canal
  • Sciatica: pinching and inflammation of the sciatic nerve
  • Scoliosis: an abnormal curve of the spine

Non-Surgical Solutions to Acute and Chronic Low Back Pain
Deciding to undergo surgery is a big deal and requires a lot of consideration and input from your medical doctor, your surgeon, yourself, and even your loved ones. Back surgery is generally only recommended if a person’s back pain has not improved after extensive conservative treatment, and if a specific diagnosis is available. Studies also suggest that people who have wide reaching symptoms – like pain extending into their legs – tend to do better after surgery compared to people with symptoms only in their back.
At our clinic, we believe that surgery should generally be considered a last resort, and we offer several non-surgical options for people struggling with low back pain. This includes:

  • Physical Therapy: We have a staff of board-certified physical therapists who offer a variety of therapeutic options. These may include corrective exercises to increase the strength, flexibility, and endurance of your postural muscles; spinal decompression and joint mobilizations to reduce pressure on spinal discs and nerves; modalities like ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and ice to relieve pain and inflammation; and body mechanics and postural re-training to prevent recurrence.
  • Massage Therapy: Our licensed massage therapists promote healing by relaxing muscle spasms, mobilizing soft tissue, and increasing blood flow and lymphatic drainage around the low back. Massage therapy also has a positive and calming effect on the brain, which can promote better sleep, stress relief, and improved mood.
  • Injections: Steroids are a powerful anti-inflammatory medication. When injected into your spine, these steroids can significantly reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation. Not only can this relieve your symptoms, but it can also allow you to participate more with your physical therapy, further maximizing your functional outcomes.

Are You Ready to Take “Back” Your Health?

We are a comprehensive Pain Management and Sports Medicine clinic offering non-surgical solutions to low back pain and other causes of dysfunction for the people of Ramsey, NJ and surrounding communities in Bergen County and NYC. If you or a loved one is struggling with low back pain, call our staff today to request an appointment or to learn more about our services. We look forward to working with you, and helping you live pain free!

At Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine, we can effectively treat your Migraines with Botox

Botox for Migraine Treatment in Ramsey, NJ

Botox for Migraine Treatment in Ramsey, NJ

 

Many people have heard of Botox for its cosmetic applications, but it has also been shown to have a number of benefits for pain conditions. Some of the most dramatic pain-relieving effects from Botox have been shown to occur with chronic migraine headaches.  That’s why we’re happy to present this information – in hopes that it will help you live pain free.


Migraine headaches are a potentially debilitating condition that may include a variety of symptoms – beyond just headaches. There are a number of medications that could potentially relieve some symptoms of migraines, but these medications unfortunately aren’t effective for everyone. This is where Botox comes in.

What are the symptoms of migraines?
Symptoms vary for each patient, but may include:

  • Pain on one or both sides of your head
  • Sensitivity to light, sounds, and sometimes smell and touch
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Lightheadedness
  • Neck stiffness
  • Aura, which may include a number of symptoms, including: seeing bright spots or flashes of light, vision loss, pins and needles in an arm or leg, hearing noises, limb or facial weakness
  • Confusion

What is Botox? How does it work?
Botox (technically called OnabotulinumtoxinA, and also botulinum toxin type A) is actually produced from bacteria called Clostridium botulinum. This drug has the ability to relax muscles, which is one of the major reasons it has been effective for reducing wrinkles. It also has the ability to decrease nerve firing in certain pain pathways, which is one of the major reasons for its effectiveness in migraines. Researchers are also beginning to uncover other ways in which Botox may reduce discomfort for a variety of other painful conditions.

Who can benefit from Botox treatments for migraine headaches?
Specifically, Botox is approved for patients at least 18 years of age who experience migraine episodes for at least 15 days per month and at least 4 hours per episode. However, patients with less frequent migraines may also be candidates for this treatment.

How is the Botox administered?
The treatment requires injections to specified areas with a very small needle. Most people describe the feeling as a tiny pinprick. These injections usually need to be repeated every 12 weeks, for at least 5 treatment sessions, depending on the needs of the patient.

What are the risks of Botox for migraine headaches?
Botox has been shown to be very safe for treatment of migraines. There are almost no irreversible long-term side effects associated with these treatments. Short-term side effects are uncommon, but may include neck pain, eyelid drooping, weakness in injected muscles, or hypertension.

Why get my migraine treatment at Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine?
In addition to having clinicians experienced in performing Botox injections for migraine headaches, we offer a variety of other services that may also reduce your symptoms. Many patients also benefit from massage, acupuncture, and an individual physical therapy program. These services are all available at our multidisciplinary clinic in Ramsey, NJ – call us at 201-962-9199 to schedule a consultation.

At Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine, we specialize in nonsurgical pain management, and migraines are just one of the many conditions we diagnose and treat in our Ramsey, NJ medical center. For more information, please see our full list of our nonsurgical services, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.

We look forward to being your #1 solution for nonsurgical pain treatment.

Acupuncture for Pain Relief Treatment

Dry Needling for Muscular Pain Treatment

Dry Needling for Muscular Pain Treatment

 

Physical therapy shouldn’t just be ice packs and heating pads. At Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine in Ramsey, NJ we offer a variety of state of the art physical therapy techniques. That’s why we’re happy to present this information – in hopes that it will help you live pain free.


Today’s post is all about Dry Needling – one of the unique treatments we use at Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine. Dry Needling is being used more and more by physical therapists to help treat muscular pain and dysfunction – but it is still a relatively new technique which many people have never heard of. So we have put together this information to tell you all about it and how it can help you.

What Is Dry Needling?

Dry Needling, also known as trigger point dry needling or intramuscular manual therapy, is one of the many different manual techniques used by physical therapists to help treat muscular pain and dysfunction.

In general, manual therapy techniques include all of the “hands on” treatment approaches a practitioner may utilize to help you, by influencing the soft tissues (such as muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments) and bony structures of the body. In some of these techniques, the therapist uses his or her hands to deliver the treatment. In others, they may use instruments such as massage tools, pressure bars or belts to help create the desired influence on the painful area.

With Dry Needling, a small filament needle is used as an extension of the therapist’s hands to deliver specific treatment to the area of your body which is causing or contributing to your pain.

We call this technique Dry Needling because there is no medication delivered in the treatment; it is strictly the mechanical action of the needle that creates a therapeutic change in the musculoskeletal system. Other treatments involving needles, such as injections or some types of acupuncture, can deliver some type of medication into the body. Dry Needling does not.

Is Dry Needling the Same as Acupuncture?

Although both techniques involve needles, Dry Needling is not the same as Acupuncture. Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine performed by licensed acupuncturists (like our very own Dr. Ferrer) and is a key component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Like many alternative practices, TCM theory and practice look at the body and its functions very differently from modern, evidence-based medicine.

Dry Needling is a medical treatment which relies on a medical diagnosis from a comprehensive orthopedic and neuromuscular examination to be effective.

What Pain Can Dry Needling Treat?

Dry Needling is one of many tools in our clinical tool box here at Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine. As such, its use and effectiveness are dependent upon a proper and thorough exam to determine if it is the right treatment for you. Dry Needling is most often used to treat pain coming from the soft tissues of the body – something we call myofascial pain.

Myofascial pain is a very common presentation of pain and dysfunction in the musculoskeletal system, often stemming from imbalance, overuse, disuse, atrophy or spasm of muscle and other soft tissues of the body. It is responsible for many visits to doctors, and unfortunately it is often misdiagnosed by physical therapists and other providers across the country. This is because tight bands of muscle within the affected areas can develop something called myofascial trigger points, which may confuse the diagnosis.

Myofascial trigger points are described as hyper-irritable spots within taut bands of the myofascial system and often result in palpable bands and nodules within the muscle fibers. Not only do these spots disrupt the way a muscle normally contracts and stretches, but they can also create pain in the immediate area where they are located or even refer pain to other parts of the body. This pain referral pattern is what makes trigger points and myofascial pain difficult to diagnose. For example, many people complain about having “sciatica” down their leg. The pain you are feeling may look something like this:

Trigger Point Pain Diagram

Many people think their pain is coming from a “pinched” sciatic nerve in their back, which is causing pain to go down their leg. However, pain present down the back of your leg can also be caused by a trigger point or muscular dysfunction in one of your hip muscles, which then refers pain down the leg as pictured above. Only a thorough soft-tissue examination can we reveal if a trigger point is causing or contributing to your pain.

How Does Dry Needling Work?

Once a trigger point has been found, the next step in treatment is to get rid of it! That is where Dry Needling is most effective. By placing a needle directly into the problematic trigger point or surrounding area, we can help to “deactivate” the trigger point and help those fibers return to their normal resting length. This therapeutic physiological reaction that takes place from Dry Needling can be described as a “neuromuscular reset” (like turning your phone off and on again when it’s not working right). It is also referred to as the “needle effect” and its therapeutic effects on the body have been documented for decades in Western Medicine. One of the first articles written about this was published in 1940 by Dr. Karl Lewit, MD, Dsc of the Czech Republic (at the time, Czechoslovakia). In his paper, titled “The Needle Effect”, Dr. Lewit observed that a needle could be used as an extension of treatment in orthopedic dysfunctions.

Once the trigger point has been deactivated, other treatment techniques such as stretching and strengthening exercises, are much more effective. At Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine, we have also observed that the combination of Dry Needling and massage works very well at working out these troublesome trigger points.

Does Dry Needling Hurt?

That is one of the most common question we get asked about this procedure. Most people feel a “dull ache” during the treatment, which is a normal reaction of muscle fibers. But many people don’t feel anything at all! Some people experience a “cramping” feeling when they first have the procedure done – or a quick “pinch” when the needle is first administered. Otherwise, most people report very few adverse reactions from it, but notice a positive change in their symptoms quickly after.

What Can I Expect After Treatment?

After treatment, your muscles may feel sore – like you’ve worked them out, similar to any other exercise. But what we are most interested in is the resulting change in either your pain, range of motion, or strength following Dry Needling.

At Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine, we use a test-treat-test approach to all our treatments. That means that every time you come in, we test you to see where you are in relation to your goals, then we deliver a specific treatment based on our examination, and then we re-test to see if that treatment was effective in creating a positive change in your symptoms. This helps us customize our pain treatment for maximum effectiveness.

What we tend to notice in our clinic is that, after Dry Needling treatment, there is often an immediate decrease in pain in the muscle we have treated and less pain when moving around. Obviously, every person responds to treatment differently, but the majority of people who receive Dry Needling treatment at our clinic report they have less pain after the procedure then when they walked in.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Dry Needling is one of the many different techniques we offer at Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine. When it comes to influencing muscle tone and treating painful muscles and trigger points, there are few techniques that can create such an immediate change in your muscular health. Combined with a thorough examination and a holistic treatment approach, Dry Needling can certainly help you reach your therapy goals. Call us at 201-962-9199 to learn more, or to schedule your consultation.

At Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine, we specialize in nonsurgical pain management, and dry needling is just one of the many techniques we utilize in our Ramsey, NJ physical therapy center. For more information, please see our full list of our nonsurgical services, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.

We look forward to being your #1 solution for nonsurgical pain treatment.

Sports Rehab Physical Therapy for Pain Treatment and Rehabilitation

William Paranto Interviewed by Physical Therapy Software provider, FreePT

William Paranto Interviewed by Physical Therapy Software provider, FreePT

 

William Paranto, Director of Physical Therapy at Expert Interview Series with Physical Therapist William ParantoProgressive Spine & Sports Medicine, was recently interviewed by Physical Therapy Software provider, FreePT as part of their “Expert Interview Series”.

In the interview, William talks about his treatment philosophy, his favorite patient success story, his advice for today’s Physical Therapy students, and more!

We’re very proud to have William featured in this interview, and we hope it gives you a little insight into his work. Please click here to read the full interview, and call us at 201-962-9199 to schedule your Physical Therapy sessions with William at our Ramsey, NJ clinic.

At Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine, we specialize in nonsurgical pain management, and migraines are just one of the many conditions we diagnose and treat in our Ramsey, NJ medical center. For more information, please see our full list of our nonsurgical services, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.

We look forward to being your #1 solution for nonsurgical pain treatment.

NY Mets Pitcher Jacob deGrom's Ulnar Nerve Injury

Athlete Injuries: Jacob deGrom’s Ulnar Nerve

This post is part of our ongoing series to educate fans about the injuries to their favorite athletes and when they might expect them to return to play. If you have questions about your sports injury, call us at 201-962-9199 or learn more about our Sports Medicine or Sports Rehabilitation services in Bergen County, NJ.


 

Mets Pitcher Jacob deGrom’s Ulnar Nerve Injury

 

Jacob deGrom is just one of the Mets electric young pitchers to suffer a significant injury this year. The biggest concern a pitcher has when they experience elbow pain is damage to the ulnar collateral ligament, which would require Tommy John surgery. He avoided that fate, but Jacob deGrom does have an injury to his ulnar nerve, which will require surgery.

What is ulnar nerve entrapment?

Have you ever hit your “funny bone”? It’s obviously not very funny, but that does give you an example of what deGrom is experiencing. When you hit your funny bone, you actually are hitting your ulnar nerve. The nerve passes through a space known as the cubital tunnel along the middle part of the elbow.

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Ulnar nerve entrapment is simply compression of the ulnar nerve, usually within this cubital tunnel. Common causes of this compression is from keeping the elbow bent for long periods of time (e.g. during sleep), leaning on the elbow, and fluid or cysts within the cubital tunnel.

What are the symptoms of ulnar nerve entrapment?

  1. Numbness of the ringer finger and pinky
  2. Tingling of the same fingers
  3. Weakness of hand grip
  4. Wasting or reduction of the hand muscles

How is ulnar nerve entrapment treated?

Avoidance of situations that compress the ulnar nerve is the most important part of treatment. At our Sports Medicine clinic in Ramsey, NJ this is usually accomplished with increased awareness and bracing. Your doctor should tell you to avoid the most common situations that result in compression of the ulnar nerve. For most people, that occurs while driving or using a computer. For people who drive a lot, they should be reminded to not rest the elbow on the door. For those patients who spend a lot of time on the computer, proper ergonomics should be encouraged. That includes keeping your elbows bent to 90 degrees and not resting your arms directly on your elbow.

Ulnar Nerve BraceBracing is usually recommended at night because you are not able to control the position of your arm while sleeping. The brace is simple and comfortable. The brace keeps your elbow fully extended to prevent bending it and causing compression of the ulnar nerve.

 

If these conservative treatments do not work, surgery is usually recommended. Typically there are two options. The first is a cubital tunnel release where the ligament that forms the “roof” of the tunnel is cut. The goal of this procedure is to relieve the pressure of the nerve while leaving it in is natural location. The other surgical treatment option is called an ulnar nerve transposition. This is when the ulnar nerve is moved from its normal anatomic position and placed in front of the cubital tunnel.

With Jacob deGrom, we’ve been told that the ulnar nerve compression is the result of scar tissue that has developed following his Tommy John surgery a number of years ago. Obviously this isn’t a common cause for nerve entrapment in the general population, but the issues are the same. Hopefully the procedure he requires will be less invasive that the ulnar nerve transposition, but any surgical procedure would end his season. Fortunately, the recovery time is significantly less than Tommy John surgery. This will allow him to rehabilitate and return to baseball during spring training.

At Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine, we specialize in physical therapy and nonsurgical pain management, and ulnar nerve entrapment is just one of the many injuries we diagnose and treat in our Ramsey, NJ medical center. For more information, please see our full list of our nonsurgical services, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.

We look forward to being your #1 solution for nonsurgical pain treatment.`

Woman on Exercise Ball doing Physical Therapy for Back Pain Treatment

Physical Therapy for Back Pain

Physical Therapy for Back Pain

 

Back pain doesn’t have to mean a lifetime of suffering. Most causes of back pain can be treated nonsurgically with excellent results. The cornerstone of that treatment is physical therapy.  That’s why we’re happy to present this information – in hopes that it will help you live pain free.


Aside from a few, very rare situations, most back pain can be treated with physical therapy and without surgery or dangerous medications. Physical therapy is not very difficult and offers the potential to reduce pain and get you back to living the life you want.

Physical therapy has a number of goals, the most important of which are

  • Reducing pain
  • Decreasing swelling
  • Improving range of motion
  • Strengthening muscles

These goals are accomplished with two main types of physical therapy; passive and active. Passive physical therapy is when the patient is not doing the work. At our physical therapy clinic in Ramsey, NJ, we utilize passive therapy early in the course of rehab and primarily to reduce pain and swelling. Examples of passive therapy include

  • Heat
  • Ice
  • Ultrasound
  • TENS unit
  • Dry needling

While passive physical therapy does usually result in short term pain improvement, the real benefits of physical therapy come from active therapy. This is when the patient and therapist are working together to help change the structure and function of the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Our physical therapists do a thorough evaluation of every patient to identify what specific limitations are leading to their pain. From their, an individualized physical therapy program is developed. That treatment plan will include stretching and strengthening exercises.

Stretching

  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes
  • Hip flexors
  • Quadriceps
  • Low back muscles
  • Piriformis

Strengthening

  • Abdominals
  • Erector spinae
  • Multifidi
  • Transversus abdominus
  • Glutes

Once a patient is comfortable performing the exercises without the guidance of the physical therapist, they are usually given a home exercise program. By following the home exercise program, the patient is able to maintain the benefits achieved during physical therapy.

These are just a sample of how physical therapy can benefit patients with low back pain. There are many other exercises, stretches and treatments we recommend for our patients who either have or are at risk of developing back pain. To learn more about how to prevent and treat back pain, talk to one of our doctors or physical therapists at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine today by calling (201) 962-9199.

At Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine, we specialize in nonsurgical pain management, and knee pain is just one of the many conditions we diagnose and treat in our Ramsey, NJ medical center. For more information, please see our full list of our nonsurgical services, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.

We look forward to being your #1 solution for nonsurgical pain treatment.

NY Mets Pitcher Matt Harvey Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Athlete Injuries: Matt Harvey’s Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

This post is part of our ongoing series to educate fans about the injuries to their favorite athletes and when they might expect them to return to play. If you have questions about your sports injury, call us at 201-962-9199 or learn more about our Sports Medicine or Sports Rehabilitation services.


 

Mets Pitcher Matt Harvey’s Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

 

When healthy, Matt Harvey has been one of the most electric pitchers in baseball. Unfortunately, he’s had a number of health issues. While most baseball fans are familiar with the Tommy John surgery he had, thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) and its treatment is not nearly as common.

What is a thoracic outlet syndrome?

The thoracic outlet is the space in the lower neck/upper chest that the nerves (brachial plexus) and blood vessels pass through on their way down the arm. The nerves and vessels travel between the scalene muscles, collar bone and first rib.

Thoracic outlet syndrome describes a group of disorders that results in compression of either the nerves or blood vessels in the neck. This can be caused by a number of different conditions including enlarged muscles, an extra “cervical” rib, or an old fracture of the collar bone.

What are the symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome?

  1. Neck, shoulder, or arm pain
  2. Numbness
  3. Tingling
  4. Weakness of the arm or hand

How is thoracic outlet syndrome treated?

For most patients, physical therapy is the mainstay of treatment for TOS. Therapy focuses on improving the range of motion for the muscles in the neck/shoulder and improving posture. For the majority of patients, conservative treatment with physical therapy results in improvement of the symptoms. Most patients, however, are not throwing 95 MPH fastballs.

There are specific situations when surgery is indicated. If the compression of the blood vessels is severe, surgery needs to be performed to maintain blood flow to the arm and prevent blood clots from forming. If the patient starts to notice worsening weakness or the loss of muscle bulk (atrophy) in the arm, surgery is necessary. Surgery typically involves removal of a rib to allow for more space for the nerves and blood vessels.

With Matt Harvey, we don’t have all of his medical information, but he has chosen to proceed with surgery. It’s unlikely that Matt had major compression of the blood vessels or his doctors wouldn’t have offered him conservative treatment with a nerve block. The more likely scenario is that he wasn’t responding to physical therapy and his symptoms were affecting his performance. If he delayed surgery a few months, his recovery would have likely extended in to spring training next year and could have negatively affected 2 seasons.

Whatever the reason is that Matt opted for surgery, the rehabilitation should be less intensive than a pitcher recovering from Tommy John surgery. Assuming there are no set backs, he should be ready for spring training in 2017. The long term picture for Matt Harvey is a little less clear. He’s only 27, but will have had 2 major procedures to his pitching arm in 3 years. It’s hard to predict how a power pitcher will respond to the surgeries.

At Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine, we specialize in physical therapy and nonsurgical pain management, and Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is just one of the many injuries we diagnose and treat in our Ramsey, NJ medical center. For more information, please see our full list of our nonsurgical services, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.

We look forward to being your #1 solution for nonsurgical pain treatment.

Herniated Disc Spine and Nerve Injury

Common Injuries: What is a Herniated Disc?

Common Injuries: What is a Herniated Disc?

 

This post is part of our ongoing series to educate our patients about common injuries and how they can be treated with our nonsurgical techniques. It’s all part of our commitment to helping you live pain free.


Herniated discs affect millions of Americans and is one of the leading causes of low back pain. A disc is the cushion between the bones in the back. Normally there is a tough outer part (the annulus) that keeps the softer inner part (the nuclues) inside. It is very similar to a jelly doughnut where, under normal conditions, the jelly remains inside the doughnut. A disc herniation is when the nucleus (the jelly) pushes through the annulus (the doughnut).

Illustration showing herniated spinal disk

What are the symptoms of a herniated disc?

Symptoms can vary for each patient. Many people have disc herniations without knowing it. Herniated discs can occur anywhere in the spine, but is most common in the low back and can cause any of the following:

  • Neck or back pain
  • Pain radiating to the arm or leg
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty with urinating or having a bowel movement

What causes a herniated disc?

Most disc herniations occur between the ages of 30 and 50. There are two main reasons herniations occur in this age group. The first is that the discs loss some of their water content as a person ages. This causes them to be more susceptible to tearing, which allows for the inside disc material (the nucleus) to herniate. The second reason is that the posterior longitudinal ligament, which is the ligament in the back of the discs that helps to keep the discs intact, begins to generate and makes the discs more likely to herniate.

It is more common to not know exactly when the disc was herniated, but some patients can feel a disc herniated when lifting and twisting or from trauma, like a car accident.

How is a herniated disc diagnosed?

Our pain management doctors in Ramsey, NJ can easily diagnose a herniated disc. You will be asked questions about your pain including when it started, what it feels like, and what makes it better or worse. Your doctor will examine you and will focus on feeling your neck or back while also checking your strength, sensation, and reflexes. The history and physical exam is usually enough to make the diagnosis of a herniated disc, but other testing may some times be required, especially if your pain doesn’t improve with appropriate conservative treatment.

  • X-ray – A herniated disc can not be seen on x-ray, but an x-ray is a valuable tool in helping to assess other causes of pain incluiding a fracture or arthritis.
  • MRI – An MRI is the gold standard for assessing a herniated disc. The detail in an MRI allows your doctor to see which disc is involved and which nerve may be affected.
  • EMG/NCS – Electromyography and nerve conduction studies are examinations of your body’s muscles and nerves. The advantage of this exam is that it assesses the actual function of the nerves that can be affected.

How is a herniated disc treated?

Most patients improve with conservative treatment and very few require surgery. Medications that have been proven to be effective include anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants. The most important aspect of treatment for a herniated disc is physical therapy. The initial focus of physical therapy is on pain relief. Once that is accomplished, the patient will progress to working on range of motion and strengthening the core muscles in the low back, hips, and abdomen.

If conservative treatment does not result in improvement in your pain, an epidural injection may be recommended. Epidural injections deliver potent anti-inflammatory medication directly to the site of the disc herniation and irritated nerve. These injections are done with live spinal imaging to help guide the needle safely to the site of the disc herniation.

At Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine, we specialize in nonsurgical pain management, and a herniated disc is just one of the many injuries we diagnose and treat in our Ramsey, NJ medical center. For more information, please see our full list of our nonsurgical services, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.

We look forward to being your #1 solution for nonsurgical pain treatment.

NBA Player Stephen Curry Sprains Knee Slipping on Wet Spot on Basketball Court

Athlete Injuries: Stephen Curry’s Knee Sprain

This post is part of our ongoing series to educate fans about the injuries to their favorite athletes and when they might expect them to return to play. If you have questions about your sports injury, call us at 201-962-9199 or learn more about our Sports Medicine or Sports Rehabilitation services.


 

NBA Point Guard Stephen Curry’s Knee Sprain Injury

 

Any time the reigning MVP (and likely 2016 MVP) suffers multiple injuries in the first round of the playoffs, there is going to be concern. How much should we worry about Steph Curry’s knee sprain?

What is a knee sprain?

Deciphering media reports is often the most difficult part of determining what actually happened to an athlete and when you can expect them to return. A “knee sprain” can mean a lot of different things and recovery time varies immensely. Simply put, a sprain is an injury to a ligament, which is a band of tissue that connects two bones together. This differs from a strain, which is an injury to a muscle or the part of the muscle that connects to a bone, the tendon.

Specifically in the knee, there are 4 ligaments that can be sprained, the anterior cruciate (ACL), the posterior cruciate (PCL), the medial collateral (MCL), and the lateral collateral ligaments (LCL). The ACL and PCL are ligaments deep within the knee that prevent the thigh bone and the lower leg bone from sliding forward and backward. The MCL is on the inside portion of the knee, while the LCL is on the outside.

Anterior view of knee joint anatomy; AMuscsk_20140311_v3_001 SOURCE: AMuscsk_20140311_v3_001_Layers.psd; AMuscsk_20130821_v1_012_Layers.psd MOD from print image

The MCL is the most commonly injured ligament of the knee and is usually damaged by a blow to the outer part of the knee causing the knee to move inward.

Aside from knowing which ligament is involved, the grade of the sprain is a critical piece of information. The media often doesn’t understand this and we rarely get all of the necessary information. If they presented an injury as a grade 2 sprain, you would be less concerned than if they said the athlete had a partial tear of his MCL, right? Well, it’s the same thing. Here is the grading system:

Grade 1 – The ligament is mildly damaged after being stretched more than it should be. There are no tears and the knee joint remains stable.
Grade 2 – The ligament is stretched further resulting in partial tearing of the tissue.
Grade 3 – This is a complete tear of the ligament. Obviously, the worst case scenario with instability of the knee.

Fortunately, for Steph, we’ve been told he has a grade 1 strain of his MCL and that he’ll be reevaluated in 2 weeks. Generally, that is a fair timetable for an elite athlete to return to play following a grade 1 MCL strain. The complicating factor in this situation is the status of his right ankle. Steph seemed to be moving well before his knee injury, so an additional 2 weeks of rest should allow his ankle to fully heal. If, however, he has any lingering ankle or knee pain when he returns, he is at higher risk for another soft tissue injury if he has to change the way he runs or jumps.

The bottom line is that assuming the Warriors can finish off the Rockets, Steph should return early in the next round of the playoffs.

At Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine, we specialize in Physical Therapy and nonsurgical pain management, and a sprained knee is just one of the many injuries we diagnose and treat in our Ramsey, NJ medical center. For more information, please see our full list of our nonsurgical services, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.

We look forward to being your #1 solution for nonsurgical pain treatment.

Tips and Advice to Prevent Knee Pain and Injuries

How to Prevent Knee Pain

How to Prevent Knee Pain

 

Prevention is the most important alternative to pain management. Learning how to prevent common injuries, and taking the time to stretch appropriately can save you from years of dealing with pain. That’s why we’re happy to present this information – in hopes that it will help you live pain free.


Knee pain is a common symptom with many causes. The most common cause of knee pain is arthritis, but there are a variety of other causes such as muscle pulls, ligament damage, and injuries to the cartilage. Treatment for knee pain depends on the underlying cause and can include medication, physical therapy, injections, and surgery. Prevention, however, is the best way to avoid developing pain in the first place.

The best ways to prevent knee pain are:

  • Weight loss
  • Exercise
  • Proper footwear
  • Improving your posture

Weight loss

Losing weight isn’t easy, but it can have a major impact on preventing and even relieving knee pain. Studies have shown that a 10 pound weight loss results in 20% less knee pain.

Exercise

Exercise is important for weight loss, but there are specific exercises you should do if you have knee pain. The goals of the exercises are to improve the strength and increase the flexibility of the muscles around the knee. These exercises can be done in 5-10 minutes and require no equipment.

  • Butterfly stretch – Sit with your knees bent and the bottoms of your feet pressed together in front of your body. Hold your feet with your hands and lean your body forward. Hold the position for 30 seconds. Try to prevent your knees for raising too high off the ground
  • Hip flexor stretch – Stand like you are about to start running with one front in front of the other and both feet facing forward. Keep your body straight up and tighten your stomach muscles. Keep your front knee bent and you back leg straight while you lean forward lean forward. You should feel the stretch in the front of the back leg. Hold the position for 30 seconds
  • Step ups – Stand at the bottom of a flight of stairs and step up on to the first step with your right leg. Lift your body weight off the ground without putting your left leg on to the step. Put the left leg back down on to the ground and then step off the step with the right leg. Do this 15 times with one leg then repeat with the other leg. If a step is too easy try a stable stool or exercise bench. For safety reasons, don’t try this in the middle of a staircase.
  • Straight leg lifts – Lay on your back with your legs straight out. Keeping your knee straight, lift one leg off the floor. Repeat that 15 times on one leg then switch to the other leg.
  • Hamstring curls – Lay on your stomach with your arms and head in a comfortable position. Start with both legs straight. Bend one knee and bring your heel to your buttock for 15 reps. Repeat with the other leg.

Footwear

Proper footwear is important during exercise, but is often overlooked in everyday life. Supportive shoes help to keep the entire leg in proper alignment and reduce stress to the knee. High heels move your body weight forward, which causes the muscles in your knees to work harder to keep your knees in the right place.

Posture

Incorrect posture can cause the same issues as wearing the wrong footwear. If you lean forward your weight moves out in front of your knees causing them to work harder. Keep your head, neck and shoulders back so your body is in a straight line.

These are just a sample of the most beneficial ways to prevent development or worsening of knee pain. There are many other exercises, stretches and treatments we recommend for our patients who either have or are at risk of developing knee pain. To learn more about how to prevent and treat knee pain, talk to one of our doctors or physical therapists at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine today by calling (201) 962-9199.

At Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine, we specialize in nonsurgical pain management, and knee pain is just one of the many conditions we diagnose and treat in our Ramsey, NJ medical center. For more information, please see our full list of our nonsurgical services, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.

We look forward to being your #1 solution for nonsurgical pain treatment.

Common Injuries Whiplash Neck Pain from Car Accident

Common Injuries: What is Whiplash?

Common Injuries: What is Whiplash?

 

This post is part of our ongoing series to educate our patients about common sports injuries and how they can be treated with our nonsurgical techniques. It’s all part of our commitment to helping you live pain free.


Whiplash is a commonly used term, but it is not often well understood. The most common cause of a whiplash injury is a motor vehicle accident, usually cause by a rear end collision. Whiplash, however, is not just limited to car accidents and can be caused by any form of trauma to the neck.

What are the symptoms of Whiplash?

Symptoms vary for each patient, but typically include:

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

What causes Whiplash?

As we mentioned, whiplash is most commonly caused by a rear end collision. This causes a persons’s head to rapidly move backward and forward. This can result in injuries to the soft tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments) and to the small joints in the neck. In addition to car accidents, contact sports or physical assault can lead to similar injuries.

How is Whiplash diagnosed?

A whiplash injury can usually be diagnosed in our pain management office in Ramsey, NJ. The most important part of your visit will be a history and physical exam. This will allow our doctors to develop a good understanding of what cause your injury and what symptoms you’re feeling. The physical exam will be used to thoroughly check your neck, including where it is tender, how much motion you have, and what motions cause pain.

A patient who has sustained a high force trauma, like those of a motor vehicle accident, will require an x-ray to rule out any other cause of your pain. Less commonly, an MRI or nerve test (EMG) may be needed to more closely evaluate your spine.

How is Whiplash treated?

Initial treatment is rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications. Rest should only be considered for the first 24 to 48 hours. Beyond that, resting your neck will prolong your pain. The mainstay of treatment for whiplash is physical therapy. The focus of therapy is on pain reduction, controlling muscle spasm, and improving range of motion to the neck.

Other conservative treatment options available in our physical therapy clinic in Ramsey, NJ include acupuncture and massage. Combining these modalities with a customized physical therapy program leads to better outcomes including lower pain scores and faster recovery.

Injections, including nerve blocks and trigger point injections (in to the muscles), are also options for treating whiplash injuries that do not respond to conservative treatment.

At Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine, we specialize in nonsurgical pain management, and whiplash is just one of the many injuries we diagnose and treat in our Ramsey, NJ medical center. For more information, please see our full list of our nonsurgical services, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.

We look forward to being your #1 solution for nonsurgical pain treatment.

Treatment for Tennis Elbow and Joint Pain

Common Injuries: What is Tennis Elbow?

Common Injuries: What is Tennis Elbow?

 

This post is part of our ongoing series to educate our patients about common sports injuries and how they can be treated with our nonsurgical techniques. It’s all part of our commitment to helping you live pain free.


Tennis Elbow (also known as lateral epicondylitis) is an “overuse” injury that causes pain on the outside of the elbow, and it’s commonly seen in patients 30 – 60 years old. While this condition is typically associated with tennis, it is certainly not limited to that sport. In fact, in our Ramsey office, we see more patients develop Tennis Elbow as a result of exercise, DIY projects, baseball and (believe it or not) gardening.

What are the symptoms of Tennis Elbow?

Symptoms vary for each patient, but typically include:

  • Pain or discomfort along the outside of the elbow
  • Pain or difficulty with gripping objects
  • Pain when twisting your forearm (for example, turning a doorknob)
  • Swelling or inflammation at the outside of the elbow

What causes Tennis Elbow?

Tennis Elbow can have many different multiple causes (both sports related and not), but the one consistent factor is overuse (doing the same or similar motions repeatedly). For tennis players, the injury is caused by repeatedly hitting tennis balls with the same stroke (most commonly with a backhand stroke). Over time, this puts repeated stress on the muscles that attach to the outside of the elbow, causing pain and discomfort.

Importantly though, this condition can be caused by many other activities – especially those with repetitive elbow, arm and wrist movements. That’s why many of the patients we treat for Tennis Elbow pain management are gardeners, landscapers, contractors, carpenters, house cleaners and construction workers.

How is Tennis Elbow diagnosed?

Tennis Elbow is a relatively easy condition to diagnose, thanks to our specialized staff and state-of-the-art medical office in Ramsey, NJ. We’ll start with a discussion about your pain and symptoms, and then one of our trained and certified physicians will examine your arm. Usually, that is all that’s needed to identify your condition, though sometimes a diagnostic Ultrasound may be recommended to confirm the diagnosis. Thankfully, an Ultrasound is painless, uses no radiation, and is performed right in our Ramsey office – no need for a referral or follow up visit!

In rare cases, we might recommend an X-Ray or MRI to rule out other causes of elbow pain, but we’ll be sure to carefully evaluate and explain all your options.

How is Tennis Elbow treated?

Would you believe that the treatment for Tennis Elbow usually begins with rice? It’s true! But not just any rice – we’re talking about RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).

(R)esting the elbow to allow the tendons to heal.
( I)ce should be applied 20 minutes every hour to help bring down swelling and reduce pain.
(C)ompression can be done with an elastic bandage or an over-the-counter strap.
(E)levation of the arm also helps to reduce swelling.

Further treatment options include anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, and injections. These treatment options vary for each patient, and our specialized sports medicine physicians will discuss and determine the most effective and least invasive treatment for your situation.

If physical therapy is recommended, we’ll start by focusing on pain reduction. As your pain improves, we’ll introduce customized exercises that stretch and strengthen the affected muscles.

If necessary, we offer several different injections to treat Tennis Elbow. Most commonly, we’ll use a cortisone injection to help with the pain and inflammation, but we also offer an exciting advancement in the treatment of Tennis Elbow: regenerative medicine.

One example of our regenerative treatments is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections – which involves using the healing and growth factors from your own blood and injecting them into the damaged tendon. We’re very excited about this technique, as it has shown tremendous success in treating Tennis Elbow. Beyond PRP Injections, we have other regenerative medicine treatments including Stem Cell or Amniotic Cell Injections that have a remarkable effect on the healing of damaged tissue.

All of the above treatments are performed in our state-of-the-art medical facility in Ramsey, NJ – so there’s no need for multiple referrals or physicians. In fact, no other medical facility in Bergen County offers everything we do!

At Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine, we specialize in nonsurgical pain management, and Tennis Elbow is just one of the many injuries we diagnose and treat in our Ramsey, NJ medical center. For more information, please see our full list of our nonsurgical services, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.

We look forward to being your #1 solution for nonsurgical pain treatment.

Preventing and Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

How to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

How to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

 

Prevention is the most important alternative to pain management. Learning how to prevent common injuries, and taking the time to stretch appropriately can save you from years of dealing with pain. That’s why we’re happy to present this information – in hopes that it will help you live pain free.


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition of the wrist causing pain and discomfort, as a result of compression of the wrist nerve. The main symptom of Carpal Tunnel includes numbness – usually in the ring finger, index finger or the thumb, although this numbness can sometimes extend to other parts of the hand or even to the forearm. Numbness most often occurs at night, and may be accompanied by pain and inflammation.

There are many predisposing factors that may increase your risk of developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, including diabetes, obesity, pregnancy, and hypothyroidism. Several occupational causes exist, including jobs that involve heavy use of the hands and arms like heavy manual work, work with vibrating tools, and highly repetitive tasks – especially when performed in cold weather.

Fortunately, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be prevented fairly easily and effectively. Taking regular breaks while working at a computer or workstation is the most important preventative measure. We often recommend that our patients schedule recurring alerts and reminders in their smartphones to keep them on a schedule of taking breaks to stretch and move around. Alternatively, many smartphone apps are designed for this purpose and even include stretching videos and tutorials.

Another preventative measure we recommend to our patients involves assessing your workstation and making changes or modifications where necessary. For example, a wrist rest for your keyboard or mouse, or an angled platform for your laptop can help position your wrist correctly to avoid uncomfortable cramping and long term damage.

If you feel you are at risk of developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or if you are exhibiting any of the symptoms, we recommend you contact us or call (201) 962-9199 to book an appointment at our medical facility in Ramsey, NJ where we’ll be able to diagnose your condition and create a customized pain management solution including physical therapy, and other nonsurgical treatments – all performed on site.

Below we have outlined some basic stretching and isometric exercise techniques that may help to both prevent and ease the symptoms and flare ups from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. As with all exercises and stretching, be sure to introduce these techniques slowly and carefully.

Basic Finger Stretch

Place your hand firmly on a flat surface and gently press for a few seconds in order to stretch your fingers.

Isometric Hand Exercise

One example of an isometric exercise for reducing and preventing symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is to clench your fist tightly for a few seconds, then release your fingers and fan them out.

Prayer Stretch

Start with your palms facing each other, pressed together in front of your chest, and slowly lower your hands down towards your waist. With this stretch you should feel a slight pull under your forearms. Take care not to overextend your wrists.

Wrist Stretcher Flex

The wrist stretcher flex is performed by extending one arm in front of you with your palm up, and then carefully bending your wrist down, so your fingers point towards the floor. Use your other hand to gently push on your hand, bending your wrist until you begin to feel a stretch in your forearm. Repeat with your other arm.

Wrist Extensor Stretch

For this stretch, begin with one arm extended out in front of you with your palm down, and carefully bend your wrist upward, so your fingers point towards the ceiling. Use your other hand to gently pull on your hand, so that you begin to feel a stretch in your forearm. Repeat with your other arm.

This is just a sample of the preventative stretches, and there are many other exercises, stretches and treatments we recommend for our patients who either have or are at risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. To learn more about how to prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, talk to one of our doctors or physical therapists at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine today by calling (201) 962-9199.

At Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine, we specialize in nonsurgical pain management, and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is just one of the many conditions we diagnose and treat in our Ramsey, NJ medical center. For more information, please see our full list of our nonsurgical services, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.

We look forward to being your #1 solution for nonsurgical pain treatment.

Preventing & Treating Back Injuries & Pain at the Gym

How to Avoid Back Injuries at the Gym

How to Avoid Back Injuries at the Gym

 

Prevention is the most important alternative to pain management. Learning how to prevent back injuries, and taking the time to perfect your form can save you from years of dealing with pain. That’s why we’re happy to present this information – in hopes that it will help you live pain free.


Exercise is an important part of your weekly routine – for the sake of your overall health and wellbeing – but nobody wants to put themselves at risk of long term pain and discomfort. Developing a back injury at the gym may prevent you from achieving your fitness goals, and worse, it could make day-to-day activities uncomfortable and painful. Fortunately back pain doesn’t have to be part of the program – that’s why it’s important to take the right precautions and preventative measures when working out.

Some of the most common back injuries for people who lift weights are targeted in the lumbar region and the lower spine, and these injuries can lead to serious problems – especially if left untreated. Sooner is always better when it comes to back and spine injuries, so if you are experiencing back pain, we recommend you contact us or call (201) 962-9199 to book an appointment at our medical facility in Ramsey, NJ where we’ll be able to diagnose and treat your condition – without the use of surgery.

The Importance of Staying Healthy

One of the most important things you can do to avoid back injuries at the gym is to maintain a healthy weight. Having extra weight on your spine may cause the discs to bulge and eventually become damaged. Reducing the weight that is supported by your spine will reduce the wear and tear on the disc and prevent future pain and discomfort.

Another health concern comes from cigarette use, which can alter the chemical structure of your intervertebral discs, leaving them vulnerable to rapid dehydration. As a result, these discs can become brittle, which increases the risk of tearing. For this and many other reasons, you should try your best to stop smoking.

Start at the Core

Another way to reduce the risk of back injury at the gym is to develop a strong “core” region. Your core is a collection of muscles that starts with your midsection, but it extends beyond just your abs – including muscles like obliques, rectus, transversus, and psoas muscles in the abdomen, along with back muscles such as the quadratus lumborum and paraspinals. A strong core is essential for a healthy, pain-free back because these muscles work together to provide support for your spine and skull.

Choose Your Routine Carefully

Some gym exercises can be more punishing on your body than others, and some should be limited or avoided altogether (without the assistance of a certified personal trainer). For example, Military Presses and Weight Assisted Lunges should be largely avoided, as they can compress the spine from the head area.

Overexerting yourself with too many reps or too much weight can lead to pain and discomfort, so always be sure to know your limits and work with a friend or spotter to keep you safe. It’s also important to make sure that you are maintaining the correct form and performing your exercises the correct way. When in doubt, ask. For example, one of our back specialists at our Ramsey, NJ facility will be able to show you the right way to exercise for your particular goals.

Don’t Ignore It

It is important to understand that back pain can be an indication of a more serious injury, when pain starts to manifest you should take note of your symptoms and see a specialist. Your instinct might be to fight through the pain and discomfort, but you may be setting yourself up for serious problems in the future – it’s not worth the risk!

To learn more about avoiding back injuries at the gym, and what you can do to eliminate back pain, talk to one of our doctors or physical therapists at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine today by calling (201) 962-9199.

At Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine, we specialize in nonsurgical pain management, and back pain and spine injuries are just a few of the many conditions we diagnose and treat in our Ramsey, NJ medical center. For more information, please see our full list of our nonsurgical services, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.

We look forward to being your #1 solution for nonsurgical pain treatment.

Tips for Exercising Workouts at Home Without Pain or Injury

Tips for Exercising at Home

Tips for Exercising at Home

 

Numerous studies have confirmed the benefits of incorporating exercise into your daily routine. Working out for just 20 – 45 minutes each day can lead to tremendous improvements in your health, wellbeing and weight loss. But that doesn’t mean you need a gym membership to reap these benefits – there are many ways that you can maximise your potential to exercise in your own home.

Below are some tips and motivations to keep you on the right track!

Be consistent

An important attribute to a successful exercise regime is consistency. No exercise program in the world will work if you don’t do it consistently. This also helps you to stay focused on the mind-set of exercising, reducing the risk of giving up or procrastinating.

Follow an effective exercise regime

The top three suggestions by The American Council on Exercise are strength training, interval training, and increased cardio/aerobic exercise. Creating a healthy balance of these activities, is an important part of following an effective regime. If you’re just starting, or if you are looking for suggestions of what kinds of exercise to work into your routine, one of our doctors or sports medicine specialists in our Ramsey, NJ medical facility will be able to demonstrate the exercises that are best for you and your goals.

Set realistic goals

Don’t worry if you can’t run a marathon from the get go. Make a decision to start small and work your way up. Consider starting with a 15 minute walk each day (stretch first!), and then add time, distance, and intensity from there.

Use the buddy system

Working out with a friend who also wants to take part in exercise will motivate you to achieve your goals. This technique means you can encourage each other and strengthen your relationship at the same time.

Find an plan that fits within your life

Make sure that your exercise regime fits around your everyday life, without being too inconvenient or complicated. For example, this may be as simple as fitting in some simple floor exercises before you leave for work in a morning, or adding in some leg lifts while you brush your teeth.

Stay positive

It is important to stay happy in order to maintain your motivation. This can be achieved by participating in activities that you enjoy, and avoiding those that you don’t. For example, if you hate weights, you might want to try elastic bands. If the treadmill doesn’t suit you, you might want to try an elliptical or rowing machine to stay in shape.

Keep track of your body clock

To maximise the benefits you get from your workouts, try to exercise at the time of day when you have the most energy. If you are a morning person, consider scheduling your exercise in the AM. This type of activity will mean you achieve the most out of the effort you put in.

Ask a professional

When you are first getting started, consider seeking the advice of a professional. A physical therapist or a specialist in sports medicine can help you perfect your exercise form, and they can tell you what types of exercises will help you get the most out of your workout. Because of our team approach, we have both kinds of specialists (and more!) under one roof.

Get inspired

Fitness is a state of mind. Stay focused and inspired by watching videos, reading stories and blogs about people who have been successful in their exercise regime. Inspiration to succeed is everywhere!

Be patient

There will inevitably be ups and downs as part of your exercise routine, but remember to stay patient. It may take time before you start to achieve solid results, but your patience and persistence will be well worth it.

We hope you found these tips helpful. To learn more about how to effectively exercise at home, talk to one of our medical specialists at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine today by calling (201) 962-9199.