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Text Neck: A Modern Health Concern

Text Neck: A Modern Health Concern

If you’re like us, you probably use your phone a lot.

Also, if you’re like us, you probably aren’t always aware of the posture you assume while using it (or any other tablet, laptop, or digital device).

Hint: chances are, it looks something like this:

  • Head and neck flexed down and forward
  • Upper back rounded
  • Shoulders hunched and internally rotated
  • Elbows bent and tucked in to the sides

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this posture per se, it can cause significant problems when you assume this position for prolonged periods of time, day in and day out.

What is Text Neck? Causes and Top Signs & Symptoms

Text neck is a clinical syndrome caused by excessive smartphone or digital device use, during which time a person is hunched over in the classic “texting” position described above. After hours and hours in that forwardly flexed position, the connective tissues in the head, neck, shoulders, and back can become strained, tense, and irritated.

Of course, reading and other activities can also resemble this position, but people tend to use their phones a lot more and a lot longer, thus contributing to this so-called “modern problem.”

Symptoms of text neck include:

  • Stiff, sore, and tender neck
  • Pain in the neck, which may be described as achy, dull, or even sharp
  • Pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility in the shoulders
  • Muscle spasms and knots in the back
  • Headaches
  • Jaw pain and dysfunction (e.g., clicking or misalignment)

If a nerve in the neck or shoulder area is impinged by repeated exposure to this closed in, flexed forward posture, additional neurological symptoms can develop including numbness, tingling, or even eventually weakness in the arms, hands, or fingers.

Beyond causing real-time problems now, text neck can even increase your risk of chronic health issues including osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, and spinal misalignments.

How to Prevent Text Neck (And How Our Ramsey Pain Management Team Can Help)

Ramsey pain doctors Dr. Steven Ferrer and Dr. Kevin McElroy spend a lot of time educating their patients on ways to improve their body mechanics in order to minimize symptoms of dysfunction, and in recent years discussions about cell phone habits has been an essential part of these conversations.

Here are a few key things to try more often when using your cell phone:

  • Hold your phone at eye level
  • Keep your chin level (not pointed up or down)
  • Relax your shoulders
  • Take frequent breaks

In addition to minding your posture better, you can also alleviate your text neck symptoms by consulting with Dr. Ferrer, Dr. McElroy, or another one of our orthopedic and rehabilitative team members. Our services, which include osteopathic manipulations, physical therapy, electro-acupuncture, and more, can reduce your symptoms as you learn to adopt safer technology habits.

Is Your Neck Bothering You? Our Pain Management in Ramsey Can Help You Get to the Bottom of it

Have you ever thought about how your technology habits are impacting your body? Our multidisciplinary pain management team in Ramsey can help you shed some light on your posture and smart phone use and help you figure out if and how it’s impacting your health. Give Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine a call today at (201) 962-9199, or feel free to contact us via email.

Pain Management Office Ramsey NJ

5 Signs You May Have Arthritis

5 Signs You May Have Arthritis

Arthritis is a broad term used to describe several dozens of conditions causing joint inflammation. At Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine, our Ramsey pain management team works with hundreds of people every year struggling with signs and symptoms of various forms of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout.

Wondering what some of the most common signs and symptoms are? Check out these top 5 below:

1. Painful swollen joints.

Considered a hallmark symptom, joint pain caused by arthritis is often described as dull, achy, and sometimes throbbing. Because inflammation is an essential issue in arthritis, joint pain and tenderness can also present with warmth, redness, and swelling as well.

2. Joint stiffness.

Arthritic joints often experience a significant reduction in range of motion. This may show up as an inability to perform certain functional tasks, such as buttoning shirts, scratching your back, or raising your arms above shoulder height.

3. Joint deformities.

As arthritic joints undergo chronic inflammation and damage, they may begin to develop scar tissue, bony overgrowth, and other degenerative changes. This can result in lumps, bumps, abnormal joint alignments (deviations), or even joint enlargements.

4. Crepitus in the joints.

Crepitus refers to either sounds or sensations (or both) similar to grinding, popping, creaking, cracking, or grating. This can happen when the normal smooth and aligned joint surfaces become disrupted, as in the case of arthritis.

5. Joint pain that is worse in the morning.

Compared to people with healthy joints, a person with arthritis will often require a longer time to warm up and get moving. You may notice that your symptoms, including pain and stiffness, are worse first thing in the morning or after rising from sitting for a long time.

Why See Our Ramsey Pain Management Team If You Have Arthritis

While it can’t always be cured, arthritis can be managed. If you’ve been diagnosed with a form of this condition, know it’s possible for you to live an active and healthy lifestyle! Our Ramsey pain management team, led by Dr. Steven Ferrer and Dr. Kevin McElroy, can offer you a variety or non-surgical services that can be completely custom tailored to meet your unique needs.

  • Diagnostic imaging can help us confirm a diagnosis in certain cases
  • Regenerative treatments include platelet rich plasma and stem cell injections can rejuvenate damaged joint surfaces
  • Physical therapy can improve the strength and range of motion of your affected joints

These and other services can help you stay on top of your pain without having to become reliant on pain medications nor overly sedentary. If anything, safe and regular exercise is one of the key components to minimizing arthritic pain. We’re happy to provide practical advice on everything from sleep management to physical activity to posture!

Are you currently living with arthritis or wondering if you’re showing early warning signs? Come for a consultation with one of our team members here at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine. From diagnostic imaging to acupuncture and more, our cutting edge services are here to help you! Contact us today by calling 201 962 9199.

Spinal Osteoarthritis

Living with Spinal Osteoarthritis

Living with Spinal Osteoarthritis

Arthritis is a general term for joint inflammation and damage. It actually refers to over 100 different conditions, however is typically used to describe the most common form, osteoarthritis, also known as OA.

Like other types of arthritis, OA can affect just about any joint in the body, including spinal joints, with the neck and lower back being the most frequently affected spinal regions. This is a chronic condition associated with intra-articular (inside-the-joint) tissue breakdown. Normally, our joints contain cartilage and fluid to lubricate and cushion the joint; in OA, the cartilage wears down over time, leading to a painful bone-on-bone situation and narrowed joint space. This irritation can trigger the development of bony outgrowths, known as bone spurs, which may impinge on nearby nerves. For this reason, many people with OA also experience pain, numbness, and/or weakness in one or several limbs.

What Does Spinal Osteoarthritis Feel Like?

A person with spinal osteoarthritis (OA) will typically complain of stiffness and pain in their affected joints. This pain is typically described as achy, and is often worse first thing in the morning or immediately upon standing after sitting for a while (this is a common issue for people with sedentary jobs).

Who Gets Spinal Osteoarthritis?

Anyone can get spinal OA, but it’s more likely to occur in older people, or people with a history of joint trauma.

How Can The Team At Progressive Spine & Sports Help Me Live with My Spinal Osteoarthritis?

We have “spine” in our name for a reason! The team at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine, led by Ramsey pain management doctors Dr. Kevin McElroy and Dr. Steven Ferrer, have extensive training and clinical experience working with spinal conditions. We find this area of the body not only fascinating to us as healthcare practitioners, but also essential to health for virtually anyone who walks through our clinic doors.

An accurate diagnosis is key for ensuring optimally streamlined treatment. Using advanced  diagnostic imaging and other tests and measures, our team can rule out other similar conditions (such as ankylosing spondylitis or rheumatoid arthritis) and confirm both the presence and severity of OA. Based on the results of our initial evaluation, we can implement individualized treatment which focuses on addressing the essential elements of an OA condition: joint stiffness, joint swelling, pain, and reduced functional activity tolerance.

Here are a few examples of what we can do for you or your loved one living with spinal OA:

  • Osteopathic manipulations, which can improve the alignment and mobility of affected joints
  • Regenerative treatments, including stem cell and platelet rich plasma injections, which can improve the health and integrity of affected joints
  • Physical therapy, which can help strengthen the muscles and tendons surrounding and supporting affected joints

Are you looking for a second opinion about your spinal osteoarthritis? Wondering if OA is what’s causing your neck or lower back discomfort and dysfunction? Don’t guess: find out and get help. To schedule an appointment or to learn about our non-surgical orthopedic and rehabilitative services, call Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine today at (201) 962-9199. We are proud to be Northern New Jersey’s leaders in comprehensive pain management. We invite you to experience the difference with our Ramsey team.

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Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome Diagnosis & Treatment in Ramsey NJ

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome Diagnosis & Treatment in Ramsey NJ

Alternatively known as “runner’s knee,” “jumper’s knee,” or “patellar overload syndrome,” patellofemoral pain syndrome is a condition we see a lot of around here at our Ramsey NJ comprehensive pain management practice. While it can be painful and debilitating, this condition is treatable and typically responds well to conservative management.

What is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome? How Will I Know I Have It?

Patellofemoral pain syndrome (knee and kneecap pain) is often caused by vigorous exercise, such as during sports training or physically-demanding work activities. These activities may lead to repeated stress on the knee and knee cap, resulting in pain and inflammation. Other causes and risk factors may include patella malalignment (often due to hip, knee, and/or ankle alignment problems) and abnormal tightness and/or weakness of the quadriceps and other hip and leg muscles.

Symptoms  include:

  • Anterior knee pain while squatting, climbing stairs, running, and jumping
  • Knee pain after prolonged sitting
  • Knee pain that comes on or worsens after a recent change in activity level
  • Audible popping or crackling noises in your knee joint during movement

Who Gets Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome?

Women, especially younger women, are far more likely to be affected by patellofemoral pain syndrome. It’s common in athletes who participate in high impact athletic activities. However, patellofemoral pain syndrome can also happen in men as well as non-athletes.

Treatment & Prevention for Patellofemoral Knee Pain

Our patients who come to our Northern New Jersey pain clinic for help with their knee pain appreciate our approach to care. We don’t believe in simply covering up pain with medications, nor trying to “fix” symptoms without addressing the underlying causes of the problem. That’s why our plan of care for patellofemoral pain syndrome, whether for you or your loved one, will be thorough and comprehensive.

First, we’ll need to confirm a diagnosis and rule out other potential problems including quadriceps and patellar tendonitis, Osgood-Schlatter disease, or a degenerative condition known as chondromalacia patella. We rely on our physical examination techniques, diagnostic testing, and patient history taking to help us pinpoint the exact cause of your dysfunction.

Next, our multidisciplinary team will implement a customized treatment plan—all available right here under one roof! Some of the most effective treatments we can use include:

  • Physical therapy, with emphasis on stretching and strengthening your quadriceps and other key leg, hip, and trunk muscles
  • Acupuncture and percutaneous electroneuro stimulation for drug-free pain relief
  • Osteopathic manipulations and other non-surgical orthopedics, to relieve pain and improve joint range of motion and alignment

Lastly, we’ll educate you on ways to prevent your knee pain from coming back. This may include extending and customizing your pre-activity warm up, maintaining a home exercise program, wearing appropriately supportive shoes, and maintaining a healthy body weight.

Is your knee pain keeping you back from the sports and activities you love? Call our advanced orthopedic and rehabilitation team today, led by Dr. Steven Ferrer and Dr. Kevin McElroy. We’re proud to be among Northern New Jersey’s leaders in innovative, non-surgical, and comprehensive pain management, and we’re confident that we can help you and your loved ones, as well. To schedule your initial consultation or to learn more about the services we offer at our state-of-the-art facility, call Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine now at (201) 962-9199.

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Ulnar Nerve Compression | Symptoms & Treatment Options

Ulnar Nerve Compression

At Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine, serving Ramsey and other Northern New Jersey communities, we’ve helped hundreds of patients recover from a wide variety of upper extremity health problems, including a lesser-known condition called ulnar nerve compression (or entrapment).

 

Origin, Anatomy & Function of the Ulnar Nerve

 

Have you ever hit your “funny bone”? If so, then you already know how to locate your ulnar nerve—that is, at least one part of it.

Your ulnar nerve begins from the C8-T1 nerve roots in your lower neck. These nerve roots join together and then pass through your shoulder as part of the brachial plexus (a large highway of nerves).

The ulnar nerve then travels behind your elbow and branches off to provide motor and sensory function of the lower arm and part of the hand.

Symptoms of Ulnar Nerve Compression

 

Your ulnar nerve can become compressed anywhere along its path from the spine to the arm by virtually any misplaced or injured structure, including spinal disc, bone, ligament, tendon, or muscle (when entrapment occurs at the elbow, this is known specifically as cubital tunnel syndrome).

Symptoms of ulnar nerve compression include:

  • Pain and tenderness on the inside of the elbow
  • Pain that worsens after prolonged bending of the elbow
  • Pain, numbness, and tingling in the inside of the forearm, pinkie finger, and adjacent half of the ring finger
  • Intermittent pain or numbness and tingling brought on by sustained bending of the elbow over a long period of time

If compression of the ulnar nerve becomes more chronic, additional symptoms may develop including weakening and muscle wasting in the hand, difficulty holding or grasping objects, and an inward bend to the fingers (a deformity known as the “ulnar claw”).

How Ulnar Nerve Compression Occurs—and How Our Ramsey Pain Doctors Can Help

 

Our approach to healing an ulnar nerve compression begins with identifying where the compression is occurring and what’s causing it. In addition to a thorough physical examination and patient history evaluation, we use diagnostic tools such as electromyography, nerve conduction tests, ultrasound, and even digital X-ray imaging to help us pinpoint both the source and cause of your nerve compression. This highly accurate information helps us guide our treatment and allows us to educate you about what’s causing your symptoms.

Once the location and cause of your ulnar nerve compression has been identified, we’ll utilize a variety of treatment options that are fully customized to meet your needs. Our ultimate goal is to relieve pressure on the nerve, initiate tissue healing, and prevent the compression from happening again in the future.

For instance:

  • If your nerve compression is caused by a tight muscle, we may use Botox injections to help relax the muscle and relieve pressure in that area
  • Osteopathic manipulations can help realign the spinal bones if a disruption in normal alignment is impinging on the ulnar nerve roots
  • Physical therapy offers everything from manual therapy (like soft tissue massage and nerve flossing) to therapeutic exercises that can improve the strength and endurance of affected musculature in the arm and trunk

These, and other services, have helped our patients tremendously–and we’re confident that they can help you, too!

Have you been diagnosed with ulnar nerve compression? Let our team at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine guide your healing, starting today! Call (201) 962-9199 now to schedule an appointment with our Ramsey pain doctors, Dr. Ferrer and Dr. McElroy.