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Knee Pain Specialists Ramsey NJ

Knee Arthritis

Our Ramsey Pain Management Doctors Offer Comprehensive Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis


Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation within an affected joint. There are actually several types of arthritis, with osteoarthritis being the most common. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health around 27 million people in the United States are currently living with this disease.

Any joint in the body can be affected by osteoarthritis, however the knee joint is the most frequently affected. A person with this condition experiences progressive degeneration of the cartilage within their knee. Normally, cartilage protects the ends of bones and allows for pain-free and normal range of motion. If this tissue begins to degrade and breakdown, you’re left with bone rubbing on bone–ouch!

At Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine, serving Ramsey, NJ and surrounding communities, our pain management doctors, Dr. Steven Ferrer and Dr. Kevin McElroy, along with their multidisciplinary staff, work together to provide effective, long-lasting, and affordable solutions for symptom relief from this common degenerative condition. Wondering if this could be the cause of your knee pain? Keep reading to learn more.

Top Causes of Knee Osteoarthritis

Knee osteoarthritis should not be considered a “normal” part of aging. While it’s true that it typically affects people over the age of 65, the simple “wear and tear” often associated with growing older is not always the main factor.

For example, having a history of a knee injury tends to increase your risk of developing knee osteoarthritis. Having a physically demanding job can also increase this risk. Additional factors, many of which are preventable through lifestyle changes, include smoking, genetics, bone/skeletal deformities, and being overweight.

Common Signs & Symptoms of Knee Osteoarthritis

You may have osteoarthritis of the knee if you notice any of the following signs or symptoms:

  • Knee pain while walking, climbing stairs, and standing up
  • Joint tenderness, swelling, warmth, or redness
  • Joint instability
  • A feeling of grating or grinding within the joint (called crepitus)
  • Bone spurs and joint space narrowing/irregularity (as seen on X-ray imaging)

You may also have weakness of the muscles around your knee, abnormal lower leg alignment, difficulty kneeling or getting off the floor, and even an increase in pain with rainy weather. The diagnosis is typically confirmed through a combination of physical examination results, patient history, and diagnostic imaging tests.

Multidisciplinary Pain Management for Your Knee Osteoarthritis at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine

Here at our Ramsey NJ pain management clinic, we know that no two pairs of knees are the same. If you come to see us for help managing your knee osteoarthritis, you can expect to be provided with an individualized treatment plan that will be adjusted as necessary to meet your needs.

A few of the non-surgical treatment options we provide that have helped our clients in the past include:

If you do elect to have surgery, such as a total knee replacement, then our team can still support you in your post-operative phase to ensure your recovery goes as smoothly as possible.

Has your painful knee been holding you back from getting the most out of life? Let our pain management team here at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine help you move with greater ease and less pain. To schedule an initial consultation, call us now at (201) 962-9199.

Shoulder Pain Doctor Near Me

Shoulder Bursitis

Our Multidisciplinary Pain Management Team in Ramsey NJ Proudly Treats Shoulder Bursitis


Shoulder bursitis is a common pain condition diagnosed and treated by our Ramsey pain doctor team, Dr. Steven Ferrer and Dr. Kevin McElroy. If you have shoulder pain, keep reading to learn more about this condition and how our multidisciplinary pain management team may be able to help you.

What Is Shoulder Bursitis?

A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that helps reduce friction in areas where muscles and tendons slide over bones and other spaces around a joint. You have several of these in and around your shoulder joints.

Consider the following symptoms:

  • You have shoulder pain that came on gradually over the course of weeks or months.
  • You have shoulder pain that is felt on the outside of your joint or may even radiate down toward your elbow or wrist.
  • Your shoulder pain worsens when you perform overhead activities, like washing your hair, putting things away on a shelf, or screwing in a light bulb. It particularly hurts in what’s called a “painful arc,” or during the middle part of the motion of moving your arm out and up like a T.
  • Your shoulder hurts less when your arm is by your side.
  • Your shoulder hurts more when you lie on it.

If you are exhibiting any of these symptoms, you could be suffering from a case of shoulder bursitis.

As with any physical condition ending in “-itis,” shoulder bursitis is hallmarked by inflammation of one of the bursas near this joint (typically the subacromial bursa, which is located under the bone on the top of your shoulder).

Such inflammation can be caused by multiple factors, including repetitive motion and overuse, direct trauma, or a disruption in the normal alignment of the shoulder joint (called impingement). Other conditions, including rotator cuff strains and biceps tendonitis, may also lead to an irritation of your shoulder bursa.

How Is Shoulder Bursitis Diagnosed?

The only way to know for sure what’s causing your shoulder dysfunction is to consult with a healthcare professional. Drs. Ferrer and McElroy, along with their physical therapy staff, can determine if your shoulder pain is caused by bursitis based on a combination of diagnostic imaging studies (such as MRI or ultrasound), physical tests, and a patient history interview. We’ll ask you about your pain and evaluate how your shoulder responds to our special tests.

Once we have confirmed a diagnosis of shoulder bursitis, we’ll be able to work with you to determine the most appropriate course of treatment.

What Are My Treatment Options for Shoulder Bursitis?

Treating shoulder bursitis focuses on reducing inflammation, eliminating the factors that are contributing to such inflammation (including posture, muscle imbalances, and poor body mechanics), and healing the bursa and other injured tissues in the shoulder area. To do this, our staff utilizes comprehensive therapies including:

Wondering if Your Shoulder Pain Could be Caused by Bursitis? Call Our Ramsey Pain Doctors Today For The Right Diagnosis & Treatment

Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine is proud to be Northern New Jersey’s most advanced and comprehensive facility for pain management services. If you’re struggling with shoulder pain or any other type of acute or chronic condition, then call our Ramsey pain doctors, Dr. Ferrer and Dr. McElroy, to schedule a consultation. Our number is 201 962 9199 and our office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

We look forward to serving you!

Physical Therapy Rehab North Jersey

Spinal Stenosis Diagnosis, Evaluation & Treatment with Our Ramsey Pain Doctors

Diagnosis & Treatment of Spinal Stenosis at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine in Ramsey, NJ


With decades of combined clinical experience behind them, Ramsey pain doctors Dr. Kevin McElroy and Dr. Steven Ferrer have worked with hundreds of men and women struggling with dysfunction related to spinal stenosis. If you have recently been diagnosed with this condition or are simply wondering what’s causing your pain, then we invite you to visit Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine for answers–and help.

Spinal Stenosis Diagnosis, Evaluation & Treatment with Our Ramsey Pain Doctors

What is Spinal Stenosis & How is it Diagnosed?


Spinal stenosis is a progressive condition that causes a narrowing of the spinal canal and/or spaces between the vertebral bones through which the spinal cord and spinal nerves travel. As this space narrows, nervous tissue can become pinched, leading to a variety of symptoms discussed subsequently.


Spinal stenosis can be diagnosed based on a comprehensive physical examination, patient history, and diagnostic imaging. It’s typically caused by degenerative changes in the spine such as arthritis or degenerative disc disease, but in rarer cases may be caused by factors such as trauma, tumors, and certain bone or connective tissue diseases.

What are the Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis?


Everyone who comes to see us for help with spinal stenosis tends to present with slight variations in their symptom presentation. The exact signs and symptoms will depend on what’s causing the stenosis, which nerves (if any) are being impinged upon, and how severe the degree of stenosis is.

That said, common symptoms include:

  • Back stiffness
  • Back pain
  • Pain, weakness, and/or numbness in an arm or leg

With stenosis, a person’s back pain and other symptoms may improve if a person bends forwards or walks around a little bit.

In extremely rare cases of severe stenosis, the distal part of a person’s spinal cord may become so compressed that a person experiences symptoms such as incontinence, saddle anesthesia (numbness in the groin and perianal area), and/or sexual dysfunction. This is called cauda equina syndrome and is considered a medical emergency. If you notice any of these symptoms, then call 911 right away.

Interventional Pain Relief Spine Injection

If I Have Spinal Stenosis, What Kind of Treatment Options are Available to Me?


At our pain management clinic in Ramsey, NJ you’re more than just your diagnosis. Whether you come to us for help from spinal stenosis or any of the many other conditions we treat, we’re confident that we can devise a custom-tailored treatment plan to meet your unique needs and address your individual challenges.

When it comes to spinal stenosis, typical treatments may include:

The goals of treatment is to reduce pressure on compressed nerves, maximize spinal mobility and spinal joint space, reduce symptoms, and maximize function. We’ll adjust our treatment as necessary to meet your changing needs and help you get back to your normal active lifestyle. In the rare cases where surgery may be indicated, our team can help connect you with the right providers to meet your needs.


Have You Been Diagnosed with Spinal Stenosis or Need a Second Opinion? Call Our Ramsey Pain Doctors To Reclaim Your Spinal Health Today


Dr. Ferrer and Dr. McElroy, along with the rest of their multidisciplinary team, are committed to helping every one of their patients maximize their quality of life through effective symptom management and prevention of recurring problems. To schedule an initial consultation or to learn more about our pain management services, then call Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine today at 201 962 9199.


Spinal Cord Stimulation Ramsey NJ

Spinal Cord Stimulation

Our Multidisciplinary Ramsey Pain Management Team is Proud to Offer Spinal Cord Stimulation for Long-Term Sufferers of Neck & Back Pain

Ramsey pain doctors Dr. Kevin McElroy and Dr. Steven Ferrer, along with the rest of their multidisciplinary pain team, are constantly looking for the most effective and innovative strategies to relieve acute and chronic health conditions like back pain. Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is one strategy that has grown in popularity in recent years. While not for everybody, SCS can be effective for many people who are tired of living with debilitating back pain. Read on to learn more about this procedure and if it’s right for you.

What is Spinal Cord Stimulation?

Also known as neurostimulation, spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is a process that modifies or blocks noxious (painful) signals transmitted by the nervous system, minimizing or even preventing the sensation of pain. This non-medicinal, pain-relieving effect is achieved by a small electrical device, which is implanted near the spine. Much like a pacemaker, the SCS device elicits mild electrical impulses; in this case, these impulses are used to keep pain signals from reaching the brain (conversely, the impulses from a pacemaker are used to regulate a person’s heart beat). The strength, type, and frequency of these electrical impulses can be controlled and adjusted via a handheld device, reflecting the fact that a person’s pain levels may fluctuate at various times.

The SCS procedure is reversible; a person can always opt to have the device removed without causing permanent changes to the spine or nervous system. Research has shown that spinal cord stimulation has also helped people reduce their use of pain medications including opioids, which are known to have a host of adverse effects.

Who is Spinal Cord Stimulation For?

SCS shouldn’t be considered a first treatment option, but it can help provide effective neck and/or back pain relief for people who have failed to respond positively to other techniques, including physical therapy, chiropractic care, interventional pain injections, and/or back surgery. Spinal cord stimulation has also been used effectively for people who have chronic pain related to complex regional pain syndrome, peripheral neuropathy, and arachnoiditis (inflammation of the protective tissues, called the meninges, that cover the spinal cord and nerves).

Spinal cord stimulation should not be used in certain people, including people who already has a demand-type cardiac pacemaker, people with psychiatric conditions (such as severe depression) that may be influencing pain, and people with certain infections, untreated bleeding disorders, and untreated drug/opioid addictions.

Is it Safe?

Spinal cord stimulation is a minimally invasive procedure and has little to no side effects compared to other pain management strategies. Complications and/or malfunctioning of the device may occur, however the risk of this is considered minimal. Overall, research suggests that spinal cord stimulation is a safe and effective procedure, one that is performed for around 14,000 people or more every year.

Wondering if Spinal Cord Stimulation Can Help You? Call Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine Today for More Information

Bergen County physicians Dr. McElroy and Dr. Ferrer believe that spinal cord stimulation can be a great option for certain patients struggling with back pain who may not be seeing the results they want from other pain management strategies. To learn more about this technique or to hear about our other multidisciplinary pain relief options including nonsurgical orthopedics and physical therapy, call Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine of Ramsey, NJ 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.


Pain Management Doctors Ramsey

Diagnosis and Treatment of Whiplash at Our Ramsey Pain Management Clinic

One of the most common conditions that we evaluate and treat at our Ramsey pain management clinic is a syndrome known as whiplash. In fact, it’s been estimated that as many as 2 million people or more experience this condition every year in the United States alone. Dr. Steven Ferrer and Dr. Kevin McElroy, along with the rest of their team at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine, understand that finding fast and effective relief from your pain is important to you. That’s why we’ve dedicated our practice to providing our patients with a variety of comprehensive and multi-modal pain management strategies to help you recover from a whiplash injury as soon as possible.

Causes & Symptoms of Whiplash

When your body suddenly stops moving–such as during a car accident–your head tends to snap forward and backward. This rapid flexion and extension of your neck can lead to significant strain and damage to the structures within and around your cervical spine, including muscles, ligaments, nerves, and the discs between your spinal bones. When such damage occurs, a person can be said to have whiplash syndrome.

Whiplash syndrome can present with a variety of issues. The chief signs and symptoms include:

  • Pain and tenderness in the neck and shoulders
  • Neck stiffness
  • Muscle spasms and/or tightness in the neck, shoulders, and upper back
  • Numbness and tingling in the arms, hands, and/or fingers
  • Headaches
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Difficulty sleeping

While whiplash is usually associated with car accidents, there are actual several other ways that a person can sustain such an injury, including slips, trips, falls, and work- or sports-related accidents. You may be more at risk for developing whiplash if you’re older, since your neck may be less flexible and less strong therefore not able to withstand such a force. People with a history of neck and back problems, including arthritis, may also be more at risk for developing whiplash.

How Our Ramsey Doctors Help People Recover From Their Whiplash Symptoms

It’s important to realize that even minor fender benders involving speeds as slow as 10 miles per hour can lead to a whiplash injury. Equally important is the fact that signs and symptoms of a whiplash injury often don’t present until days, weeks, and sometimes months following the traumatic event. This is because it can take some time for pain-masking stress hormones released during trauma (like cortisol) to return to their normal resting levels.

For this reason, our Ramsey pain management team always advises you or your loved ones to seek professional help following a car accident or similar event, even if you feel “fine.” Without a thorough examination and diagnostic imaging, you’ll never know for sure if you have an underlying injury brewing, which, if left untreated, could easily progress from a minor to a major problem.

Here are a few of the pain management services we provide to our patients with whiplash syndrome:

When managing whiplash, our overall goal is to control inflammation, prevent further tissue damage, provide pain relief, restore normal motion, and prevent recurring or chronic symptoms from developing. These treatment objectives are provided via a fully individualized plan of care that can meet the unique needs of each patient.

Is Your Whiplash Proving to be a Big Pain in the Neck? Visit Our Ramsey Pain Management Doctors for Help

Do you believe that your dysfunction is related to whiplash? If so, we encourage you to call Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine to schedule an appointment with one of our pain management doctors, Dr. Ferrer or Dr. McElroy. Our entire team is dedicated to helping you Call us now at (201) 962-9199.

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.

Physical Therapy Exercises

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.

Neck Pain Specialists rasmsey NJ

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!

Migraine Treatment Ramsey NJ

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 Ramsey NJ

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.


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 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.

Ulnar Nerve Treatment

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.`

Physical Therapy Rehab North Jersey

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.


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


  • 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.

Knee Pain Specialists Ramsey New Jersey

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.

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 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.


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.


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.