In this unprecedented time of carefully re-entering a world of face masks and social distancing after months of sheltering in place, many of us are feeling a bit like bears after hibernation, some of us eager to get going, others tired from too much resting. The world is different than it was and some of us are feeling not only the emotional and physical stress of living during the COVID-19 outbreak, but the musculoskeletal effects of near seclusion.
Those who are suffering back, neck, hip, knee, or shoulder pain brought on by recent activity (or inactivity), as well as those who were already uncomfortable before the pandemic, will need professional help to get back into the swing of “normal” life. Whether you are experiencing stiffness, numbness, restricted range of motion, deep aches or sharp pain, the talented doctors of Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine can help. We, too, are coming out of hibernation, restarting our actual office appointments in keeping with CDC guidelines to provide our patients with every possible protection.
You should be aware that although our offices are now open for business, we continue to recommend that our most vulnerable patients, those who are older or dealing with co-morbidities, make telemedicine appointments. Patients who have had these safe visits with our team during the past few months have been happy with the results and found us to be our usual responsive selves.
Too Much or Too Little Exercise Can Cause Trouble
Reactions to being at home have been quite variable. While some people have been happy to veg out during this enforced vacation, others have been energized by this time off to exercise more than they usually do. Of course, not all of us were in similar situations to begin with.
First responders and essential workers have been working harder than ever at much higher levels of stress; some were quarantined in hotels or dormitories, afraid to expose their loved ones to the virus. Others were at home, unemployed and facing serious economic worries. Still, others were working from home spending more hours at the computer than ever before, or trying to work at home while tending to their children.
Whatever your situation has been, it may have resulted in new aches and pains or made existing joint pain worse by:
- Sitting at the computer for long periods without sufficient breaks for stretching
- Trying to work at the computer while holding and balancing a baby or toddler
- Spending much too much time lounging and reading or binge-watching TV
- Engaging in spurts of strenuous activity interspersed with long periods of inactivity
- Overdoing exercise, or exercising without necessary preparatory stretches
- Doing tasks involving heavy lifting or extended reaching while reorganizing, painting, assembling furniture or working on other home projects
Whether you have been over-exerting yourself, spending too much time in one position, or simply not moving enough during these months given over to COVID-19, now is the time to get back into shape to maintain your health and strengthen your sense of well-being.
How the Talented Professionals at Long Island Spine Can Help
A consultation with our highly skilled doctors will quickly put your problem in perspective. We have a proven track record of successful diagnosis and nonsurgical intervention that provides rapid relief and gets you on the path to prevent future episodes of back pain.
As physiatrists, our medical focus is on pain management and restoration of function. We will teach you how to use your own body to heal itself through proper exercise and avoidance of awkward movement. Our goal is to assist you in learning to move in ways that will improve your flexibility and ease.
Accurate Diagnosis Is the First Step
At Long Island Spine, we are cautious. We want to make certain we know what is causing your pain before we try to eliminate it. We will be able to diagnose the precise location of the problem, even if your pain is radiating or referred, by using cutting-edge diagnostic methods, including:
- X-rays, CT, MRI
- Electromyography (EMG)
- Nerve conduction studies
- Diagnostic ultrasound
- Ultrasound- or fluoroscopic-guided injections to pinpoint your pain’s origin
We are well aware that nothing takes the place of a comprehensive physical exam. Our hands are extremely well-schooled in the art of palpation and we will be able to make the necessary distinction between “good pain,” the result of using new muscles to strengthen them and “bad pain” which indicates damage.
Nonsurgical Methods That Work To Alleviate Pain
We are not only well-trained medical doctors; we are compassionate human beings. We never lose sight of the fact that our priority is healing. After diagnosing your problem, we will discuss your best options for pain relief which may include:
- Spinal epidural injections guided by fluoroscopy
- Ultrasound-guided musculoskeletal and trigger point injections to reduce inflammation and relieve pain
- Acupuncture to reduce pain and inflammation and to promote healing
- PEMF (pulsed electromagnetic field) technology
- Specialized physical therapy
- Gel injections to lubricate the joint with hyaluronic acid (to date only used on the knee)
- PRP (platelet rich plasma) therapy to accelerate healing
More important than prescribing painkillers, ice packs, or elevation of the affected area may be our recommendation of activity modification. We will instruct you in ways to move that will prevent your injury from worsening, and keep you from hurting yourself again. We are dedicated to getting you back to yourself after the quarantine period, and to keeping you strong for whatever the future brings.