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Five Yoga Positions that Can Help with Chronic Back Pain

If you’re suffering from chronic back pain, you’re not alone. Each year millions of people experience back pain symptoms ranging from mild to debilitating. The good news is that there are many things you can do to alleviate your pain, from strengthening core muscles to making sure you don’t sit for extended periods. Yoga can be excellent for many people with chronic back pain – check out these five poses that may help.

Downward-Facing Dog

Even if you don’t have much experience with yoga, you probably know this popular pose. Downward dog benefits the entire body – it elongates the spine while strengthening the core, lower back, and hamstrings. It’s easy to get into this pose, too. Get on your hands and knees with your toes tucked under. Then, raise your hips toward the ceiling as you push your heels into the floor. Keep your back and legs straight. Hold for five slow breaths, relaxing into the stretch.

Upward-Facing Dog

From downward dog, the upward dog is a smooth transition. Shift your body forward into a plank position. Point your toes back with the tops of your feet on the floor. Look upward as you keep your knees lifted off the ground. Hold for three slow breaths. This pose opens up the chest and improves the flexibility of your abs and back.

Low Lunge with Back Bend

This pose can stretch and strengthen your entire back. Begin in a low lunge position and slowly deepen the lunge until your back knee is on the floor. Raise your arms up until they are beside your ears and lean back gently. For an extra neck release, place your hands behind your head and interlace your fingers. Hold this pose for three slow breaths.

Seated Forward Fold

Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you and your back straight. Slowly walk your hands down your legs as far as you can. If you can grab your toes, do so – if not, reach as far as you can comfortably. You’ll feel an excellent hamstring stretch even if you rest your hands on your shins. You’ll know where to stop because you’ll feel a gentle stretch – if it feels too intense or painful, back off and hold a more comfortable position. This stretch is great for lengthening the hamstrings and back and helping you relax. Hold for several slow breaths, relaxing into the stretch – you’ll probably find that you can stretch a little farther with each exhale.

Seated Spinal Twist

The seated spinal twist improves both your spine mobility and your posture. Start in a seated position with your left foot crossed over your right leg, knee bent so that your left foot is positioned against the outside of your right knee. Lift your right arm and hook your right elbow on the outside of your right knee. Gently looking over your left shoulder will give you a nice twist/stretch that feels great. Hold for three slow breaths and repeat on the other side.

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Ways to Stay Healthy at the Gym

Ways to Stay Healthy at the Gym

With New Year fast approaching, we’re sure many of you are like us, reflecting on your current health and setting some new fitness goals. But if you’re planning on spending more time in the gym in 2018, our team here at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine encourages you to make injury prevention a key priority.

To that end, we’re sharing a few important tips to keep in mind which can help you get strong and stay healthy come January 1st.

5 Ways to Stay Healthy at the Gym This New Year

1. Get enough sleep.

Staying healthy on your new workout plan starts even before you step foot in the gym. Sleep and rest (including active recovery) are critical periods for muscle repair and regrowth. Truthfully, it’s during these times that you actually get stronger (the workouts themselves just being the necessary stimuli to trigger the changes). Plus, chronically sleep-deprived people tend to accumulate more body fat and are at more risk for injury.

So, sleep in a dark room, go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, and be sure to schedule active recovery days where you just do some low level cardio to get the blood flowing.

2. Warm up properly.

Every workout should be preceded by a 5-10 warm up period. This gets your blood flowing, your connective tissues warm, and your central nervous system primed for exertion.

3. Do accessory work.

Strengthening your small stabilizing muscles around your shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles can improve the stability and strength of these critical joints, thus helping you minimize your chances of getting hurt. Our therapists are happy to give you some helpful ideas to get you started.

4. Mobilize.

Most of us are dealing with some sort of flexibility issue somewhere. Our doctors can help you identify specific movement restrictions within your body and teach you effective ways to gain more mobility.

5. Know yourself.

Don’t let your new found commitment to health get you into trouble. Ease into things. Know the difference between the pain of hard work and the pain of injury. If you do suspect something’s wrong, come visit with one of our physical therapists or pain management doctors. We can offer you effective and non-surgical treatments that have no downtime and will prevent a small problem from turning into a big one.

Kickstart a Healthy Year with Help From Our Ramsey Pain Management Team

Do you have a nagging injury that just won’t go away? Looking for ways to maximize your physical potential, improve your training recovery, or resolve an acute or chronic injury? Talk to our multidisciplinary team here Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine. We’re an area-leader providing best-practice non-surgical orthopedic and rehabilitative care to the community of Ramsey and other Northern New Jersey areas. To schedule an appointment or find out about our comprehensive services, contact us today at (201) 962-9199…and cheers to a happy and healthy New Year!

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Common Causes of Shoulder Pain

The shoulder is a highly mobile joint which requires the intricate coordination of many joints, bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments in order to work properly, but accidents, poor posture, repetitive trauma, and overuse can easily disrupt it.

Common Causes of Shoulder Pain

Here at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine, our pain management team, led by Dr. Steven Ferrer and Dr. Kevin McElroy, works with people of all ages struggling with shoulder dysfunction. The following are a few of the most common shoulder conditions we see at our clinic:

Arthritis

Joint inflammation and degradation. The most common type, osteoarthritis, is often a result of normal “wear and tear” on a joint, especially if the person has a history of shoulder trauma. Other symptoms including stiffness, joint crepitus, and muscle weakness.

Adhesive Capsulitis

Also known as “frozen shoulder,” this condition occurs when damage and scar tissue cause the capsule of your shoulder to become thick and stiff. Range of motion is severely limited, and pain is also present.

Bursitis

You have small fluid-filled sacs all around your body which lie between tendons and bones; they function as “friction-reducers” and help protect and cushion your joints. Sometimes (and often as a result of minor trauma or repetitive motion) these sacs can become irritated and inflamed, which causes pain and impaired movement.

Impingement

Normally when you raise your arm, there is plenty of room for the muscles and tendons to move through and around the bones within your shoulder. With impingement, the bones rub against these structures, leading to pain and abnormal movement. Over time, impingement of the rotator cuff can lead to bursitis, tendonitis, or even arthritis.

Muscle Strain & Tendonitis

Commonly seen in athletes and physical laborers, the muscle fibers within your rotator cuff muscles can easily become torn or damaged, leading to pain, swelling, weakness, and impaired motion. Chronic inflammation within your biceps tendon can also lead to pain, weakness, and dysfunction.

Our Ramsey Pain Management Team Diagnoses & Treats Shoulder Dysfunction—Here’s How

When you come to see us for help with your shoulder pain, our team will take you through a thorough physical examination using the most advanced technology and evidenced-based tests and procedures. Based on the results of our examination, we’ll be able to diagnose your condition and help you understand what’s causing your pain.

Our treatment plans for shoulder pain are highly customized, and may include:

  • Physical therapy, to improve the strength and mobility of your affected shoulder
  • Osteopathic manipulations, to restore normal joint movement
  • Acupuncture, to trigger tissue healing and relieve pain
  • Interventional pain injections and Botox injections, to reduce pain and swelling and increase your tolerance to therapy and joint manipulations, allowing you to get the maximum benefit out of our other services
  • Stem cell and platelet rich plasma injections to help restore the surface and integrity of your glenohumeral (shoulder) joint surface

Are You Tired of Dealing With A Painful Shoulder?

Don’t let a nagging injury turn into a long-term issue! Call Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine today at (201) 962-9199 to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors or therapists, or to learn more about our non-surgical orthopedic and rehabilitation services. We look forward to helping you!

Physical Therapy for Back Pain

Low Back Pain and the Dangers of Slipping on Ice

Low Back Pain and the Dangers of Slipping on Ice

It’s that time of year to be on the look out for slippery ice patches!

When you lose your balance on an icy or slippery surface, your nervous system triggers an automatic reflex response to prevent you from falling. Part of this response involves a protective tensing up of the postural muscles within your spine and trunk.

This sudden increase in muscle tension can damage spinal muscle fibers and in some cases may lead to misalignments of vertebral joints or disc injuries (herniation or bulge). In this way, you can “pull” your lower back even if you manage to keep yourself from falling.

Of course, the trauma, force, and aberrant movement associated with a true fall may be more than enough to cause an acute muscle strain, as well.

Fall or no fall, a muscle strain or spasm can be quite uncomfortable. Signs and symptoms of a lower back muscle strain include tenderness, stiffness, and pain described as either dull, achy, or occasionally sharp with certain movements. Your tolerance to movement, including shoveling and other winter-related activities, may be low and will ultimately depend on the severity of your muscle strain.

How Our Ramsey Pain Management Team Can Help Your Back Heal

Acute injuries like a fall-related lower back strain may go away on their own. Without seeking professional help, you run the risk of leaving issues unresolved, including joint misalignments and scar tissue formation.

When people come to see us for treatment of a spinal muscle strain, our team uses a variety of non-invasive procedures to help control inflammation, facilitate tissue healing, and restore normal spinal mobility. These services include:

We also can run diagnostic imaging to rule out fractures, disc injuries, and other problems.

Once the acute stage of an injury has passed, our doctors and physical therapists can help you regain necessary strength and stamina within your postural muscles and reduce your risk of recurring symptoms.

Helpful Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Slipping on Ice This Winter

When it comes to accident-related injuries, the only thing better than treatment is prevention. The following tips can help you stay safe no matter how frightful the weather is outside:

  • Always wear sturdy boots when walking outdoors.
  • Shovel your driveway, sidewalks, and outdoor access ways around your home, and be sure to use sand, salt, or other forms of de-icer.
  • Avoid walking over ice whenever possible, and always hold a railing when negotiating outdoor stairs.
  • If you can’t avoid walking on ice, take short and slow steps instead, and consider holding your arms out in a T (as if walking on a balance beam).
  • If you do fall, see if you can fall more “safely” by tucking your chin into your chest, landing on your buttocks, and keeping your arms close to your side (wrists get broken so frequently during slips and trips there’s actually an acronym for the specific mechanism of injury: FOOSH, or fall on an outstretched hand).

Are you prepared to keep your back healthy this winter season? Call our Ramsey pain management team today at (201) 962-9199 to schedule a consultation or to learn more about the services we offer.

5 Back Safety Tips During the Fall & Winter Season

5 Back Safety Tips During the Fall & Winter Season

5 Back Safety Tips During the Fall & Winter Season

The fall and winter months offer tons of leisure and recreational activities. Here are 5 ways to make sure your back stays healthy enough to enjoy them:

1. Use good body mechanics.

What do you need for a successful morning of snow shoveling? Try a good pair of gloves, proper layers, sturdy boots, and good movement mechanics!

Excessive bending, lifting, and twisting can strain your back and put you at risk for injuries like muscle strains, joint subluxations, and disc herniations. Here are a few quick pointers:

  • Warm up first, and take breaks throughout.
  • Push (with a neutral spine) rather than lift as much as possible.
  • Don’t overload your shovel, and walk to where you want to dump the snow (rather than throwing it).
  • Bend with your knees and hips, not your back.
  • Engage your abs.

2. Keep exercising!

Cold weather and less daylight makes it tempting to snuggle up on the couch. But our Ramsey team challenges you to stay active throughout the winter months.

Why? Being sedentary is one of the biggest causes of and risk factors for back pain. Appropriate exercise helps keeps postural muscles strong and enduring, blood flow circulating, and can even bolster your immune system.

Also keep in mind that if you’re participating in more intense seasonal sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and skating, be sure to warm-up well and use properly-fitting equipment.

3. Move with caution.

Black ice, wet snow, and salt and sand can make surfaces more slippery during the fall and winter months. So, use caution when walking around town.

Give yourself extra time to get to places in order to avoid the temptation of running or rushing, wear appropriate footwear, and always use handrails when going up or down stairs to help you avoid an accidental trip and fall. If you’re a runner, you may need to sub the street with the treadmill or switch to some other low impact indoor exercise like spinning, swimming, or stair climbing.

While these few tips may seem like common sense, it’s pretty amazing just how easily we can take for granted our ability to move around in our day-to-day lives! That tiny effort it takes to move with care can really make a difference in your back health.

4. Stay hydrated.

The cold dry air tends to dehydrate our bodies, and we need adequate hydration in order to keep our tissues pliable and healthy. Drink plenty of water throughout the day (at least half your body weight in fluid ounces, and more if you’re highly active).

5. See a professional if your back is bothering you.

Here in Northern New Jersey, our Ramsey orthopedic and physical therapy team at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine is ready for a fun and healthy fall and winter season. If you’ve been dealing with a nagging back injury, or have any concerns about your spinal health as we enter the fall and winter season, now is the perfect time of year to schedule an appointment with one of our Ramsey pain management doctors.

Planning on having a healthy back for the holidays? We are too! Call our Ramsey pain management team at (201) 962-9199 to schedule your initial consultation.

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Rheumatoid Arthritis | Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment Options

Rheumatoid Arthritis | Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment Options

There are hundreds of different types of arthritis, which is a broad term used to describe joint inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis, one of the most common arthritic conditions (along with osteoarthritis and gout), is a type of autoimmune disorder affecting over 1.3 million Americans and an estimated 1% of the global population according to research. Dr. Steven Ferrer and Dr. Kevin McElroy of Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine are leading physicians in the Northern New Jersey area offering comprehensive, customized, and compassionate care for people with RA, using a combination of orthopedic, rehabilitative, and non-surgical pain management techniques.

Causes, Signs & Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Autoimmune diseases occur when the body launches an abnormal immune system response to its own tissue. Other examples of autoimmune disorders include lupus, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, and Chron’s disease.

In the case of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a person’s immune system triggers an antibody attack against its own joint tissue, specifically the synovial fluid that acts as a natural lubricant in certain joints. Hallmark symptoms of RA include chronic inflammation, swelling, stiffness, pain, and deformities of the joints within the wrist, hands, and feet. These symptoms typically affect multiple joints on both the left and right sides of the body. As the disease progresses into its later stages, additional clinical signs and symptoms may include depression, fatigue, low-grade fevers, loss of appetite, weight loss, and general malaise.

Who Gets RA?

People of all ages and ethnicities can get RA (in children, it’s known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis). However, it most commonly affects women (at a rate of 3:1 compared to men) with average age of onset between 30 and 60. It’s diagnosed via a combination of a physical examination, family and personal history assessment, blood tests, and diagnostic imaging that can identify bone density issues and the degree of joint inflammation.

Risk factors for the autoimmune disease include genetics, hormones, environment (e.g., exposure to pollution, chemicals, secondhand smoke, or joint trauma), and lifestyle (specifically, a positive smoking history, which may increase a person’s risk for RA by as much as 2.4%).

How Our Ramsey Pain Management Team Helps People Living with RA

At Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine, our Ramsey pain management team has worked with hundreds of men and women struggling to carry on a typical, pain-free life with RA and other autoimmune and/or chronic health conditions.

Early and routine treatment will generally make the biggest positive impact for the RA sufferer. Here are a few of the services we offer that can help:

  • Physical therapy, to maximize joint range of motion and function, muscle strength, and overall physical activity levels
  • Acupuncture, to reduce pain and promote increased circulation and healing growth factors
  • Lifestyle and nutritional advice to help promote anti-inflammation, smoking cessation, and other healthy habits

Are you or someone you know living with RA? Don’t let your pain hold you back from living the life you want full of the activities you love! Contact Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine in Ramsey, New Jersey at (201) 962-9199 to schedule your initial consultation today.

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Common Falls Sport Injuries Seen in Student Athletes

Fall season is in full swing, which means fall sports season is in full swing, too! If you have student athletes in your house, then you should be aware of the following common injuries that tend to occur this time of year.

Common Falls Sport Injuries Seen in Student Athletes

 

Whether your child plays field hockey, soccer, football, cross-country, or another fall season sport, he or she may be at risk for any of the following conditions:

Whiplash

Commonly seen in football and other full contact sports, whiplash is pain, strain, and tissue damage in the neck caused by a sudden and violent forward/backward movement of the head. Common symptoms include headaches, dizziness, neck and shoulder pain, and neck stiffness.

Concussions and post-concussive syndrome are related issues seen particularly by football players. These are actually mild forms of a brain injury, and can present with some whiplash-like symptoms, like dizziness and headaches, as well as other symptoms including mental fogginess, irritability, and insomnia.

ACL Sprain or Tear

Consistently reported as one of the most common injuries among fall athletes, an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear or sprain is damage to an important stabilizing ligament within the knee. It often happens due to sudden pivoting, turning, and/or jumping. Symptoms include knee pain, swelling, decreased range of motion, and difficulty walking. A person with an ACL sprain or tear may even hear an audible “pop” in their knee during the acute injury. This can often occur with damage to the meniscus (which serve as supportive discs inside the knee joint).

In addition to ACL tears, ligamentous injuries at the ankle are also frequently reported during the fall season.

Shin Splints

Cross-country runners are particularly at risk for this type of injury. Shin splints cause pain and tenderness on the front of the lower leg due to micro-damage of the muscles, tendons, and other connective tissues in that area. It’s often caused by overuse, or a sudden increase in physical activity.

How Our Orthopedic and Non-Surgical Pain Team Can Help Treat & Prevent Fall Sports-Related Injuries

 

In addition to getting quality sleep, recovery, hydration, and nutrition, your child can also minimize his or her risk by seeking preventive care through pre-season sports physicals and skills-specific training.

Sometimes, however, no amount of preparation can prevent an injury. At Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine, we offer some of Northern New Jersey’s leading diagnostic and treatment services for acute orthopedic injuries using non-surgical and highly effective approaches. We’ve helped hundreds of student athletes recover quickly and completely from their injuries so they can get back to their sport at their fullest potential.

Specific techniques we use to help athletes heal include:

  • Regenerative medicine
  • Neurological and sports rehabilitation
  • Physical therapy
  • Diagnostic imaging

Planning on a Healthy Fall Sports Season? Let Our Ramsey Pain Management Doctors Help

Do you have a student athlete at home who’s struggling with an acute injury? Or, are you simply looking for someone who can help your young athlete avoid a sidelining injury altogether? Our  Ramsey pain management doctors, Dr. Steven Ferrer and Dr. Kevin McElroy, love working with athletes of all ages and abilities. To schedule an initial consultation today, call Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine today at 201-962-9199.

Electromyography in NJ

What Is Electromyography & Nerve Conduction Testing?

What Is Electromyography & Nerve Conduction Testing?

 

At Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine in Ramsey, NJ, we offer some of the leading non-surgical and orthopedic services in our area for people living with acute and chronic pain conditions. Dr. Steven Ferrer and Dr. Kevin McElroy are proud to offer electromyography and nerve conduction testing among many of our advanced diagnostic and therapeutic techniques, and we invite you to read on to learn how such testing works.

About Electromyography & Nerve Conduction Testing With Our Ramsey Pain Doctors

 

When you have suffered from an acute or chronic pain condition, the true extent of the injury may not initially be clear. Even if symptoms are mild, there may be a lot of underlying tissue damage and inflammation going on that could worsen or progress into a bigger problem if not properly addressed. To this end, electromyography and nerve conduction studies can be extremely valuable. Our Ramsey pain doctors utilize EMG and NCS to help identify if and where abnormal activity is present in affected muscles and nerve tissue, as well as how severe and persistent the problem is. EMG and NCS can also be used to track progress over time and how well a person is responding to treatment.

Here’s how it works:

First, a nerve conduction test (or “study”) is performed. To do this, electrical signals are sent from a device to the targeted nerves within the body. These signals can measure how well the nerves are functioning by stimulating them. Then, the EMG portion of the study is performed: this involves a small wire that can effectively measure the amount of activity going on in a muscle either at rest and/or during movement.

What Electromyography & Nerve Conduction Velocity Testing Can Tell Us

 

Both EMG and NCS tell us important information about a person’s involved areas of the musculoskeletal and central nervous systems. They can tell us how fast and how well nerves are transmitting information, and can provide objective data as to the extent of neuromuscular involvement from affected muscle fibers themselves. This can help us get an understanding of the severity, duration, and progression of conditions such as:

  • Nerve impingement (aka radiculopathy)
  • Sciatica
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Neuropathy

Based on the information gleaned from these muscle and nerve studies (conveniently performed in-house at our Ramsey office), our interdisciplinary pain management team can devise customized treatment plans to meet the specific needs of individual patients. Services we may use to restore normal muscle and nerve function may include physical therapy, osteopathic manipulation techniques, and regenerative treatments including stem cell injections and platelet rich plasma injections.

Are you looking for answers about your pain and dysfunction? We offer electromyography and nerve conduction testing along with several other advanced and innovative diagnostic tools at our Northern New Jersey clinic. To schedule an appointment or to learn more about the conditions we treat and services we offer, then call Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine today at (201) 962-9199.

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Why #ChoosePT for Pain Management

Why #ChoosePT for Pain Management

 

If you’re ever in pain, what do you do?

Do you take a few pills, ignore the issue, or consult with a physical therapist? At Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine in Ramsey, New Jersey, we strongly encourage you to choose the latter! Our experienced and highly trained physical therapy team offers plenty of non-invasive and drug-free pain solutions that can help you get back to your activities of daily life as soon as possible with greater ease and comfort.

Why Should I #ChoosePT If I’m In Pain?

 

To combat the harrowing epidemic of opioid drug abuse in the United States, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has recently launched a national campaign called #ChoosePT. This campaign aims to raise awareness about physical therapy as an effective pain management solution instead of or in addition to pain medication. Our Ramsey pain management team, led by Dr. Steven Ferrer and Dr. Kevin McElroy, strongly support this campaign. We’ve seen firsthand just how beneficial physical therapy can be for people suffering from a variety of conditions, including osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, and more.

To be clear, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does rightly note that opioids and other medications are indicated in some cases. In particularly, people living with cancer, terminal illnesses, and certain acute conditions may benefit from properly prescribed pain-relieving drugs. However, the potential benefits should always be carefully weighed against the potential risks, and the decision to use medications should never be taken lightly. To this end, consulting with a physical therapist can be a much safer and preferred method of pain management.

Here are a few situations when both the APTA and CDC recommend utilizing physical therapy prior to, instead of, or concurrently with prescription medication:

  • You have chronic pain, or pain lasting 3 months or longer
  • You have a personal or family history of addiction
  • You want the underlying cause of your pain to be addressed, and not to have your pain simply masked
  • You want to learn ways to prevent your pain from coming back

Physical therapy is safe for people of all ages, is backed by evidence-based research and data, and is completely customizable to meet the unique needs of each individual patient.

How Can a Physical Therapist Help Me?

 

There are several scientifically-supported ways that a physical therapist can help you find relief from your pain, including:

  • Manual therapy, which includes joint mobilizations, soft tissue mobilizations, and massage
  • Therapeutic exercises and stretches
  • Body mechanics, ergonomics re-training, and relaxation and breathing techniques
  • Modalities, including electrical stimulation, dry needling, ultrasound, and kinesiotaping

Together, these services decreased pain, accelerated tissue healing, increased circulation, decreased swelling and inflammation, restored function, increased movement efficiency and safety, and increased strength, endurance, and flexibility of the involved connective tissues.

Are you or a family member in need of effective pain relief, but you don’t want to become reliant on medications? Do you want to get to the bottom of your symptoms, and not simply cover the symptoms up? Call (201) 962-9199 today to schedule an appointment with a Ramsey physical therapist here at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine. When you call, be sure to ask about our other services, too. We are confident that our staff can be of service to your whole family—call today!

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Morton’s Neuroma | Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment Options

Morton’s Neuroma

 

If you’ve never heard of Morton’s neuroma, you’re not alone. At Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine in Ramsey, NJ, our interdisciplinary pain management team has helped hundreds of people get back on their feet after struggling with pain and dysfunction caused by this relatively unheard of condition.

What is Morton’s Neuroma?

 

Also known as intermetatarsal neuroma, Morton’s neuroma is the name for a condition in which the nerve tissue located between the third and fourth toes becomes abnormally thick. A neuroma can actually happen anywhere in the body; the Morton’s variety is specific to this location in the ball of the foot.

What Causes This Condition?

 

The thickening and enlarging of nerve tissue which occurs with a neuroma happens in response to increased compression and irritation of the nerve tissue itself. Some of the most common precipitating causes include excessive use of high heeled shoes or any other type of uncomfortable, tight, tapered-toe footwear; foot abnormalities including hammertoes, flat feet, or bunions; and a history of direct foot injury or repetitive injury (often seen with sports such as running).

What are the Signs & Symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma?

 

If you or a loved one has Morton’s neuroma, then you may notice any of the following issues:

  • Pain, burning, numbness, and/or tingling in the ball of the foot
  • The sensation that something is in the ball of your foot
  • The sensation that something is stuck or bunched up in your shoe or sock

Typically, symptoms start slowly. They may only come on if you’re wearing high heels, for instance, or if you’re running. Removing the shoes, stopping the activity, and/or massaging your foot can temporarily relieve the discomfort. However, over time as the compression and inflammation to the nerve tissue between your third and fourth toe continue, the symptoms will typically become worse and/or longer-lasting.

What Treatment Options Exist for Morton’s Neuroma?

 

If you are dealing with recurring foot pain, it’s important to be checked out by a doctor. In the case of Morton’s neuroma, the damage to the nerve tissue can become permanent if the cause of the inflammation and the symptoms are not properly addressed.

At Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine, we’re proud to be among Northern New Jersey’s leading facilities for treating and resolving Morton’s neuroma. Some of our treatment techniques include:

  • Physical therapy, which may include orthotics prescription, therapeutic exercises to strengthen your intrinsic and extrinsic foot muscles, and sports-specific movement training
  • Interventional pain injections that relieve symptoms and help reduce inflammation and swelling
  • Sports medicine rehabilitation, including ultrasound and stem cell injections

Our team will thoroughly examine your foot, get a clear picture of your medical history, and run any necessary diagnostic tests or imaging techniques to help us make an accurate diagnosis and get you on an effective treatment plan as soon as possible.

Do you believe your foot pain is related to Morton’s neuroma? Are you looking for effective, non-surgical, and affordable treatment options that can get you the pain relief you’ve been looking for? Call Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine today to schedule a consultation with one of our pain management doctors, Dr. Steven Ferrer or Dr. Kevin McElroy.

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Back to School Back Health Safety Tips for Kids

Back to School Back Health Safety Tips for Kids

 

Another school year is upon us here in Northern New Jersey, and if your family is anything like all of ours, then we know your kids don’t have the time to struggle with pain and stiffness related to a back injury. That’s why our team here at Progressive Spine & Sports Rehabilitation, led by Ramsey pain doctors Dr. Steven Ferrer and Dr. Kevin McElroy, wants to stress the importance of back safety for your school-aged children.

Help Your Child Go “Back” to School With These 5 Tips for Better Spine Health

 

Backpacks that are too heavy, improperly loaded, or improperly carried can frequently lead to both short-term and long-term complications for young kids, adolescents, and teens. In fact, it’s been estimated that as many as 14,000 children are treated every year in the United States due to pain and injury related to backpack use.

So, to help your child avoid muscle strains, joint irritation, and other injuries that may limit their ability to participate in academics and athletics, be sure to go over the following back safety tips together:

1. Buy your child a backpack that has wide padded straps.

Wider and softer straps put less strain on a child’s shoulders, since they are designed to help distribute weight more evenly.

2. Encourage your kid to use both straps.

Is it still considered “cool” to sling one strap over your shoulder? We’re not really sure, but we recommend that your kid uses both, as this can prevent asymmetrical strain on the spine. Be sure to adjust the straps snugly so the bag doesn’t hang more than 4 inches below the waist.

We also don’t recommend roller bags, as this can also lead to unnecessary strain on your child’s back and shoulders.

3. Teach your kid how to load a backpack correctly.

Heavier items should go on the bottom so they are closer to your child’s center of gravity (this minimizes the relative load on the spine). A child should also use individualized compartments for quick and easy access to smaller items.

4. Keep the bags light.

According to organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Occupational Therapy Association, a child’s backpack should never exceed 10-15% of his or her bodyweight. So, as an example, an 85 pound child should not be expected to carry a bag weighing more than 12.75 pounds.

If necessary, talk to your child’s teachers about being able to leave heavy books at school or at home, or photocopying the necessary pages, instead of having to tote text books back and forth every day.

5. Get your kids involved in sports they love.

Sitting all day during class can be as problematic for a child’s back health as lugging around a super heavy backpack. So, encourage your child to participate in a sport they’re interested in.

Is your child complaining of a sore back? In addition to consulting with your pediatrician, consider scheduling an appointment with our team here at Progressive Spine & Sports Rehabilitation in Ramsey, NJ. We are proud to be Northern New Jersey’s premier facility for nonsurgical orthopedic and therapy services that are good for the whole family. Call (201) 962-9199 to schedule a consultation today!

pain management doctors nj

Achilles Tendonitis: Common Causes, Factors, & Treatment Options

Your Achilles tendon is a thick, strong band of connective tissue that attaches your calf muscle to the heel bone (calcaneus). You can feel it when you run your fingers along the lowest part of your leg, just behind the ankle. This tendon is responsible for helping control the movement and stability of your ankle joint and is involved in many dynamic activities including jumping, running, and pivoting.

When it Might be Achilles Tendonitis

Any time you see a word ending in “-itis,” you can safely assume that something is inflamed and irritated. With Achilles tendonitis, inflammation of the tendon leads to symptoms including:

  • Pain in the tendon, heel, and lower leg that is worse with activity and first thing in the morning
  • Stiffness in the tendon and ankle joint
  • Swelling and thickening of the tendon

Keep in mind that if the tendon becomes thicker, this does not necessarily mean it is becoming stronger. This thickening often occurs as a result of scar tissue formation, which is notably less elastic and pliable compared to normal tendon tissue. As a result, your ankle can become even more stiff and weak over time, especially if the condition isn’t managed appropriately.

Common Causes & Risk Factors for Achilles Tendonitis

Unlike certain sports injuries that tend to be caused by a frank trauma or a specific precipitating event, Achilles tendonitis tends to develop over time as a result of repetitive stress and strain. The “too much, too soon” blunder that many of us fall prey to is often a major cause. Additional causes or risk factors for developing Achilles tendonitis may include:

  • Bone spurs (visible on digital X-rays), or spots of excess bone growth from the calcaneus that can rub against and irritate the tendon
  • Shortened calf muscles and/or inflexible ankles
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Poor, unsupportive footwear
  • Improper sports technique

Treatment Options for Achilles Tendonitis

In the early stages of Achilles tendonitis, the main goals are to reduce swelling, pain, and inflammation. It’s also important to prevent additional tissue damage. Our team of Ramsey pain management clinicians and therapists achieve these goals through services including regenerative medicine, electrical stimulation, cryotherapy, and acupuncture. We’ll also provide thorough screens of your posture and movement mechanics to help identify any issues that may be contributing to your injury.

During the sub-acute stages of a recovery, our goal shifts to maximizing joint range of motion and increase the strength and stability of your ankle. Physical therapy exercises and osteopathic manipulations are very useful for this, as are other services.

Has Your Lower Leg & Heel Been Sore Lately? It Could be Achilles Tendonitis! Call Our Ramsey Pain Management Doctors Today

If you’ve been diagnosed with Achilles tendonitis, our team here at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine can help you get back on your feet. Our comprehensive selection of nonsurgical orthopedic and therapeutic solutions have helped thousands of people from Ramsey and surrounding Northern New Jersey communities recover from their injuries. To schedule an appointment with one of our Ramsey pain management doctors, Dr. Steven Ferrer or Dr. Kevin McElroy, or if you’d like to learn more about our nonsurgical pain management services, then call us today at (201) 962-9199.

Treatment for Golfer's Elbow

Golfer’s Elbow & Tennis Elbow

Our Ramsey pain management doctors, Dr. Steven Ferrer and Dr. Kevin McElroy, have seen many of their patients affected by elbow pain. Epicondylitis, or inflammation of the muscles and tendons that attach to the elbow, is often the underlying cause. You may know this condition as 1 of its 2 varieties, golfer’s elbow or tennis elbow–both of which respond positively to the variety of services we offer at our facility.

Golfer’s Elbow vs. Tennis Elbow: Similarities & Differences

Epicondylitis is a relatively common health condition, especially among working adults in their 40s and 50s. It’s typically caused by excessive physical load or overuse, including repetitive arm movements which are commonly seen during certain athletic and occupational activities. According to research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, epicondylitis is more likely to occur in people who smoke and/or who are obese.

There are 2 specific types of epicondylitis, lateral and medial:

  • Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis): pain presents on the outer elbow and may radiate down the forearm; the main muscle and tendon involved is called the extensor carpi radialis brevis
  • Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis): pain presents on the inner elbow and may also radiate down to the forearm or wrist; the main muscle and tendon involved is called the flexor carpi radialis

Of course, you don’t have to play tennis or golf in order to be afflicted with either of these injuries, however the nicknames are apt since these activities are often precipitating factors. In both cases, the elbow pain typically presents gradually. Both conditions may lead to weakness in grip strength and a decreased tolerance to perform certain upper extremity tasks such as holding a racquet or golf club, typing, turning a door knob, etc. Typically, a person’s dominant arm will be affected, although either or even both arms may be involved.

Elbow Pain Ramsey NJ

How Our Ramsey Pain Management Team Treats Golfer’s Elbow & Tennis Elbow

Since the majority of golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow are caused by some sort of overuse, one of our main tasks when treating this type of elbow pain is to identify the causative movements and figure out how to modify or avoid them in order to reduce further damage. This may include taking a break from your sport of choice or adjusting your occupational body mechanics and work tasks. We also need to initiate tissue healing as soon as possible. Not only will this help relieve your elbow pain and reduce inflammation, but it will also minimize the risk of recurring symptoms.

  • Our physical therapy team can help by providing therapeutic exercises to promote tissue healing and increased circulation, along with soft tissue mobilizations to relax painful muscles
  • Our Ramsey doctors can also prescribe various pain management modalities including acupuncture, electrical stimulation, and pain relief injections to provide fast and effective pain relief
  • Osteopathic manipulations that improve the alignment of your spine may also help reduce strain and tension on the nervous system which could be contributing to/exacerbating your symptoms

No matter what your unique presentation is, our team will work thoroughly to develop the most appropriate treatment plan to manage your elbow pain effectively. Is your elbow pain holding you back? Come experience the difference in care at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine, serving Ramsey and surrounding New Jersey communities. To book an appointment, call (201) 962-9199 today.

 

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.

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!

Knee Pain Specialists

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.

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.