Orthopedic Surgery | Sports Medicine | Westwood | Hackensack Orthopedic Services | Westwood | Hackensack Orthopedic Surgeons Westwood | Dr. Michael L. Gross MD | Dr. James C. Natalicchio MD | Dr. Steven Weinfeld MD | Hackensack Specialties Physical Therapy | Sports Rehabilitation | Westwood | Hackensack Patient Information Orthopedic Care | Westwood | Hackensack Orthopedic Services | Westwood | Hackensack The Active Center for Health & Wellness Active Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine - Westwood Office: 390 Old Hook Rd. | Westwood, NJ 07675 | Tel: 201.358.0707
   
 

10 Facts About Bone Health for Women

October 30th, 2014

Your bones play a big role in your overall health. With statistics as high as one in two women over 60 will break a hip this year, it is important more than ever that women take interest in keeping their bones healthy. To follow are 10 facts about bone health for women.

  1. Bones are living things. Although bones serve as the architecture of the human body, they are alive. One set of sells called osetoblasts work to build new bone while another set of cells, osteoclasts are breaking down old bone. This constant activity is why bones can heal after they have been fractured. This activity between the two classes of cells is rapid and begins to slow later in life. The slower bones regrown, the less likely an individual is to successfully heal from a break.
  2. Exercise makes your bones more dense. In women, bone density peaks at age 3 and begins to degenerate from that point forward.
  3. Anorexia, which may cause young women to stop menstruating, causes bone loss.
  4. Bones act as storage units for the body. When a woman is breast feeding, extra calcium is passed on to the child from the mother’s bones. This process happens without ever compromising the mother’s health.
  5. Excessive alcohol use can damage bone-density. In alcoholics, bone loss turns into a condition called osteopenia, which is a precursor for osteoporosis.
  6. Milk is good for your bones, but spinach is better. Leafy greens contain higher levels of calcium.
  7. Calcium supplements are not as effective in aiding bone health as a calcium-fortified diet.
  8. Women over 65 are more likely to fracture a hip related to osteoporosis than they are to develop breast, ovarian or uterine cancers.
  9. Twenty five percent of those who break a hip die within a year.
  10. Vitamin D, the sun vitamin, plays a critical role in keeping bones healthy. Vitamin D improves bones abilities to absorb calcium.

Need More Information on Keeping Your Bones Healthy?

Contact Dr. Michael Gross at Active Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Emerson, Hackensack or Montclair to schedule an appointment today. We can be reached at 1-844-ACTIVE-ORTHO for 24-hour emergency care.

 

Posted in Bone Health | No Comments »

How Can Epidural Injections Help Your Back Pain?

October 6th, 2014

An epidural injection is a type of back pain treatment that uses a combination of corticosteroids and local anesthetic to relieve pain and inflammation. Epidural injections are directed into the epidural space, located around the spinal cord and nerve roots. During an epidural injection, patients lay on an X-ray table with a pillow placed underneath their stomach. The area targeted for treatment is cleaned, and medication is administered to sedate the patient. A needle is inserted into the back, with an X-ray machine producing images to guide the needle to the affected area.

Can epidural injections help your back pain? Take a look below to see if you may be a candidate for this treatment.

  • Epidural injections are highly-beneficial for patients who have back pain that radiates down the lower spine into the legs or hips. The injections can relieve back pain caused by neurological conditions, such as degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, or spinal stenosis.
  • Epidural injections may be recommended if prior conservative treatments, such as medications or physical therapy, have failed to provide you sufficient relief.
  • Epidural injections are generally safe for all patients, although pregnant women are not considered good candidates for the procedure. Potential complications following an epidural injection include severe headaches, dizziness, and infection or bleeding within the spinal area.
  • Epidural injections contain medicine, which works to decrease pressure being placed on the larger nerves around the spine, which decreases back pain and swelling.
  • Epidural injections usually take only 15 to 20 minutes to complete. After the injection, patients should experience significant pain relief.

While epidural injections do not cure back pain, they are considered highly-effective for temporarily relieving it. If patients experience relief from the injections, they may wish to consider additional injections in the future.

Contact Dr. Michael L. Gross to learn more about back pain treatment

Patients who are suffering from back pain that is not responding to conservative treatments may benefit from an epidural injection. Patients in the Emerson or Hackensack areas of New Jersey who are experiencing back pain and need to be evaluated by an orthopedist, are encouraged to contact Dr. Michael L. Gross today.

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Posted in Back Problems, Degenerative Disc Disease, Spinal Stenosis | No Comments »

Why is Physical Therapy so Important After Orthopedic Surgery?

September 29th, 2014

After orthopedic surgery, it is common to experience pain, swelling, bruising, stiffness, and a limited range of motion. Physical therapy helps to accelerate the healing process and increase circulation to the area that was operated on. Here are a few facts about how physical therapy assists and improves orthopedic surgery outcomes.

  1. Blood circulation. Blood contains cells that help the body heal. Physical therapy exercises help restore and increase blood flow to the area that was operated on. Increased blood flow also helps alleviate swelling, which causes pain. By restoring blood flow, healing occurs at a faster rate.
  2. Strength. Depending on the part of the body that was operated on, it is common to have limbs and joints immobilized following orthopedic surgery. When muscles are immobilized, a weakening and loss of mass occurs, called atrophy. Physical therapy helps rebuild the muscle, helping to prevent further or repeat injury. Strengthening exercises can also improve your overall health.
  3. Range of motion exercises. Stiffness and swelling are part of the healing process following orthopedic surgery. During physical therapy, patients are guided through range of motion exercises that help to break up the swelling in a joint and restore natural motion. Physical therapists will measure your healthy joint’s range of motion and compare the measurements against the joint that was operated on to gauge progress. Increasing range of motion is essential to healing properly and preventing other injuries. A decreased range of motion can shift your body’s natural gait and cause problems elsewhere in the body.
  4. Decrease stress and increase confidence. Suffering from an injury requiring orthopedic surgery can be an extremely stressful and traumatic experience. Physical therapy can help alleviate stress and increase confidence in patients. Physical therapy helps patients set goals for themselves while reestablishing independence and confidence.
  5. Safety. Practicing rehabilitative exercises under the supervision of a physical therapist is important to ensure safety. By improperly performing exercises, patients can cause more harm than good to their healing efforts.

Sports Medicine in Emerson and Hackensack

If you suffered a sports injury and need to be evaluated by an orthopedist, contact us today to schedule your appointment. You can reach our Emerson office at (201) 358-0707 or our Hackensack office at (201) 343-2277. We look forward to hearing from you.

Posted in Post Surgical Care, Sports Medicine | No Comments »

RICE Method for Sports Injuries

June 27th, 2014

Athletes are at a considerable risk for ankle and knee sprains, as well as other soft-tissue injuries. Practicing the RICE method, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation, can help jump-start the healing process in such injuries. Following these steps can even help stop complications from arising, and promote faster healing to get you back in the game. Let’s take a closer look at what exactly this method involves.

Rest

Immediately after getting hurt, make sure you rest and protect the injured area. Stop what you’re doing, and do not try to “play through the pain,”  as this may further complicate your injury. Do not put any pressure or weight on the injured area, and have someone help you safely off the field.

Ice

Icing an injured area directly after getting hurt can stop excessive swelling before it even starts. Never place ice directly onto the skin; always be sure to put a protective layer of cloth between your skin and the ice pack. For 48 hours, ice the injured area for 10-20 minutes, then remove the ice for 20 minutes. Repeat this step as needed for up to 3 days. Call your orthopedist if swelling and pain persists for longer than 3 days.

Compression

Wrapping the injured area with an elastic bandage (such as an ACE™ bandage) can help decrease swelling. Howver it’s important not to wrap too tightly, as the area beneath the injury may swell and pain, numbness, and tingling can increase.

Elevation

While resting, elevate the injured area as often as you can. Elevation is most effective when the area that is injured is kept higher than your heart. This can also help cut down on swelling.

If pain and swelling persist after practicing the RICE method for 2-3 days, a more serious injury may have been sustained. In these cases, it is important to visit an orthopedist and have x-rays taken of the injured area. Fractures and sprains/strains share many similar symptoms, and only a doctor can determine the extent of your injury.

Sports Injury Treatment in Emerson and Hackensack

If you suffered a sports injury and need to be evaluated by an orthopedist, contact us today to schedule your appointment. You can reach our Emerson office at (201) 358-0707 or our Hackensack office at (201) 343-2277. We look forward to hearing from you.

Posted in Injury Prevention, Sports Medicine, Top 10 Ways to Avoid a Sports Injury | No Comments »

What is Degenerative Disc Disease?

May 7th, 2014

Generally speaking, degenerative disc disease refers to the everyday “wear and tear” of the back. It involves the many changes that take place within the discs separating the bone of the back. Disc diseases are very common, and for most patients, treatment will offer the patient a positive outlook.

There are many factors that can contribute to this condition. Some factors include a person’s genetic background, as well as continually placing stress on the discs in the back. The condition is most common at the joints which link the bones of the spine together, known as the facet joints. This condition can cause additional problems, including spinal stenosis (which occurs when the spinal canal becomes narrower), and herniated discs in the back.

So what are the symptoms of this condition? For most patients, severe back pain is the most reported  symptom of disc disease. However, patients with a more severe form of disc disease may experience both back and leg pains. Degenerative disc disease can also result from imbalances within the muscles or the ligaments that surround the spine.

One of the most common ways to treat degenerative disc disease is through physical therapy, which works to correct pain and other issues within the lower back. Patients may also benefit from the use of anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen. In order to treat more severe cases, the patient may need to undergo an injection of steroids to help reduce pain and symptoms. Lifestyle changes (such as quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy weight) may also be necessary. Exercising on a regular basis will also be extremely helpful!

For most patients with degenerative disc disease, surgery will not be necessary. Surgery is only usually considered for those who have been unresponsive to nonsurgical treatments, or those who are experiencing issues with nerve compression.

Degenerative Disc Disease Treatment in Westwood and Hackensack

If you are seeking treatment for back or pelvic pain, or simply would like more information about our practice,  contact us today to schedule your appointment.  You can reach our Westwood office at (201) 358-0707 or our Hackensack office at (201) 343-2277.  We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Posted in Degenerative Disc Disease, Injury Prevention | No Comments »

How PRP Injections Can Help You

May 7th, 2014

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections are used to stimulate the healing of various injuries, especially chronic ligament and tendon sprains/strains that have failed with more conservative treatment. Platelets are rich in connective tissue growth factors, so when a concentrated platelet solution is injected into the injured area, it promotes a natural repair process. After only 1-3 sessions, patients will have a strong chance of permanent recovery. Let’s learn some more about PRP injections and how they are administered below.

5 Interesting Facts about PRP Injections

  1. While platelet rich plasma injections work for a wide variety of injuries, they are most effective for injuries like chronic ligament and tendon sprains  and strains, especially when other treatments have proven ineffective. Injuries in these categories include, but are not limited to, rotator cuff injuries, ankle sprains, shoulder pain, hamstring and hip strains, and tennis or golfer’s elbow.
  2. The injection of the PRP is a bit uncomfortable as the injured area is first anesthetized with lidocaine, and there is some mild pain for a few days following the procedure. Your doctor may prescribe you pain medication, or simply suggest other medications you can take without interfering with the procedure itself.
  3. After the first visit, patients should expect to schedule a follow-up appointment with your doctor in 6-8 weeks. Sometimes you will only need 1 shot, but other cases may require up to 3.
  4. Many patients express that they no longer feel pain after getting this treatment, and studies suggest that PRP injections are estimated to have an 80-85% success rate. Results found are typically permanent, as well.
  5. Along with the injections, your doctor will provide you with additional therapies to help your developing connective tissue grow strong. Exercise and a home-based rehabilitation regimen will be included as part of your treatment.

PRP Injections in Westwood and Hackensack

To learn more about ligament and tendon sprains/strains and how PRP injections can help, contact us today to schedule your consultation. You can reach our Westwood office at (201) 358-0707 or our Hackensack office at (201) 343-2277. We look forward to hearing from you.

Posted in Sports Medicine | No Comments »

Questions Surrounding Epidural Injections

May 7th, 2014

Whenever someone says “epidural,” they almost always think of the shot given to mothers during childbirth. However, “epidural,” actually refers to the space around the spinal chord and nerve roots. An, “epidural,” can also be used in the treatment of extreme back pain and other spinal disorders. Although often referred to by the same name, the epidural used in pregnancy varies from the epidural injection used to help relieve back pain.

  1. What is an Epidural Injection? When many treatments for back pain have failed, sometimes an epidural injection is prescribed to help alleviate pain. The injection consists of a combination of corticosteroids and a mild anesthetic. Corticosteroids are a compound of chemicals that help control inflammation in the spinal column.
  2. What conditions can benefit from Epidural Injections? Epidural injections have a positive impact on the pain associated with neurological conditions that affect nerve roots found in the epidural space. Some specific conditions treated by epidural injections are spinal stenosis, herniated discs, and degenerative disc disorders.
  3. How effective is Epidural Injection Therapy? When used in conjunction with physical therapy to increase mobility and stability and overall health, the injections are considered helpful. However it is estimated that of all patients that receive an epidural injection, only 50% of patients will find it effective. Epidural injections are only recommended after other treatment options have failed to produce results.
  4. What are the risks involved? How badly does it hurt?Epidural injections are considered generally safe, but complications from a mistake in injection site can have extreme complications varying in degree of severity from nerve damage, avascular necrosis, to most extreme instances, paralysis. When choosing epidural injections it is imperative to visit with an orthopedic surgeon who is board certified and has had many years of experience with epidural injections.

Epidural Injections in Westwood and Hackensack

If you are suffering from chronic back pain related to a neurological condition, simply would like more information about what services our practice offers, contact us today to schedule your appointment. You can reach our Westwood office at (201) 358-0707 or our Hackensack office at (201) 343-2277.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

What is a Meniscal Tear?

April 1st, 2014

Your knees are some of the most complicated joints in the entire body. Knees are often prone to injury, especially among patients who participate in sports on a regular basis. One of the most common knee injuries is known as a meniscal tear.

So, what exactly is a meniscal tear? Let’s learn a bit more about this injury and how they can be treated.

First of all, the meniscus is a disk composed of cartilage that acts as a cushion for your knee. Each of your knees have two of these disks, one for the outer knee and another for the inner knee. A meniscus is crucial for keeping the knees steady.

These types of tears often occur when the knee is forcibly twisted, which is typically a result of playing sports.  Since knee cartilage becomes thinner with time, meniscal tears are also common in older people. The most common symptoms of a meniscal tear include swelling or severe knee pain, which will often decrease on its own. Other symptoms may include knee stiffness, as well as difficulties straightening out your knees.

At first, meniscal tears will be treated with conservative methods, including rest, icing the area, or taking over-the-counter medication for pain relief. However, conservative methods may not work for everyone.

Once conservative measures are no longer enough, surgical relief may be necessary. With arthroscopic knee repair or meniscectomy, the part of the meniscus that is torn will likely need to be removed.   However, there are cases in which a surgeon will be able to suture the edges of the meniscus, which will allow them to heal without being removed by surgery.

Whether or not your particular meniscal injury requires surgery, your doctor will work closely with you to ensure you are receiving the best care possible.

Meniscus Surgery in Westwood and Hackensack

If you believe that you are suffering from a meniscal tear, or simply would like more information about what services our practice offers,  contact us today to schedule your appointment.  You can reach our Westwood office at (201) 358-0707 or our Hackensack office at (201) 343-2277.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Posted in Arthroscopic Surgery, Knee Procedures | No Comments »

How Can an Ankle Sprain Be Treated?

March 4th, 2014

Ankle sprains are extremely common, and typically occur following a sudden, twisting motion of the foot. These injuries sometimes occur during sporting events, though simply taking an awkward step can result in your ankle moving the wrong way!

Ankle sprains cause the stretching or tearing of ligaments located within the ankle joint.  The most common side-effects on sprained ankles include swelling, discoloration, an inability to move the ankle properly, and severe pain within the ankle area. Sprained ankles must be diagnosed by an experienced orthopedist, following a thorough examination and evaluation of symptoms. Some cases may also require x-rays to be taken. Depending on its severity, an ankle sprain can take up to 6 weeks to heal completely.  Let’s take a look at some common treatments for these sprains.

  1. Supportive braces. Wearing protective braces or compression garments, especially those with a built-in air cushion, will provide great support and comfort to an injured ankle.
  2. Rest. Many patients feel that walking with a sprained ankle is simply too painful, so walking with crutches may be helpful when you absolutely must walk.  It is quite important to rest your ankle periodically.
  3. Ice. Following an ankle injury, a patient often experiences a great deal of swelling and discomfort. Placing ice packs on the ankle can help decrease swelling, especially in the first few days after the injury.
  4. Anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs include over-the-counter pain relievers, such as Advil or Motrin. These drugs work to decrease a patient’s pain, as well as any inflammation that has occurred.
  5. Rehabilitation. Rehabilitation following a sprained ankle will usually include exercises to restore strength and stability to the ankle. Your doctor and physical therapist will work with you to establish an effective treatment plan that will make your sprained ankle as good as new.

Orthopedic Surgeon in Westwood and Hackensack

If you have any questions about how to treat ankle sprains, contact us today to schedule a consultation. You can reach our Westwood office at (201) 358-0707 or our Hackensack office at (201) 343-2277. We look forward to serving you!

 

Posted in Bone Health, Injury Prevention, Knee Procedures | No Comments »

Tips for Exercise During the Winter Months

February 3rd, 2014

Exercising during the winter months is not always easy. Colder temperatures, along with environmental factors such as ice and snow, can easily wreak havoc on an exercise routine. However, being active even during the rough winter months is extremely beneficial. Nevertheless, extreme caution should always be taken when you work out in cold temperatures.

Let’s take a look at some tips that will keep you healthy (and safe) during your winter workout.

Top Ways to Exercise Safely During the Winter:

  1. Warm-up Inside. Before you head out into the cold to exercise, do some warmup exercises indoors. Not warming up prior to exercising means that your body will be ill-prepared for what you are about to do, which can often result in sports injuries. So, remember to warm-up so your body is conditioned for your workout!
  2. Dress Properly. During the winter, it is important to wear layers. However, you do not want to wear clothing that will leave you feeling overheated. Instead, wear a snug, yet breathable, shirt as a base layer. This shirt should be made out of a synthetic fabric, which will help absorb any moisture.  As a middle layer, wear a fleece or wool top that will provide insulation to your body. The thickness of this middle layer will depend on how intense your exercise routine is. Finally, for an outer layer, wear a jacket that resists wind, but is still breathable. A jacket made of nylon is a good option, and don’t forget to wear your hat and gloves!
  3. Keep your body hydrated. Most people believe that dehydration is only something to worry about during the summer months. However, dehydration can also be a major problem during the winter months, especially when people exercise while wearing heavy layers. Becoming dehydrated puts you at an increased risk for fatigue, which may eventually result in an injury. Maintaining a healthy diet is also necessary during the winter months.

Orthopedic Surgeon in Westwood and Hackensack

If you have any questions about how to prevent exercise-related injuries during the winter, contact us today to schedule a consultation. You can reach our Westwood office at (201) 358-0707 or our Hackensack office at (201) 343-2277. We look forward to serving you!

Posted in Sports Medicine | No Comments »

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