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How to Reduce Back Pain at Work: What You Need to Know to Work “Smarter”

 As people continue to return to the office and transition from working remotely, our bodies can feel the shift as well – especially our backs. No longer are we a stone’s throw from our couch or kitchen table; we now have larger workplaces to navigate, and with that, comes an increased risk for back pain.

At his state-of-the-art surgical practice, Long Island Neuroscience Specialists, spine surgeon Dr. Sumeer Sathi has found that “avoiding repetitive bending motions” is one of the most important factors that can contribute to a pain-free workday.

“In the office, people can be tasked with carrying boxes or navigating hard-to-reach or heavy items. Lifting these types of objects properly can make all the difference,” Dr. Sathi says.

To avoid injury, Dr. Sathi recommends the following three actions:

  • Bend at the knees
  • Tighten your stomach muscles
  • Then lift the object

Sitting at your desk all day? Being sedentary for long periods of time runs the risk of stiff back muscles. “Stretching can alleviate and prevent back pain by strengthening and loosening muscles. It can also improve posture and reduce stress,” Dr. Sathi points out.

Ah, yes, stress – something we’ve all experienced in the workplace. How many times have we reached for a candy bar in our drawer, or ordered a less-than-healthy takeout option? Making the right lunch choices can be a simple step toward improving back health.

“Many foods, such as berries, salmon, or broccoli – all have anti-inflammatory effects. Drinking green tea and following a Mediterranean diet rich in extra virgin olive oil can also be beneficial,” Dr. Sathi says.

If budget allows and your employer approves, try changing your workspace by investing in a standing desk. Standing desks continue to gain popularity in offices around the country and have been shown to reduce back pain, while lowering your risk of weight gain and increasing blood sugar levels, improving productivity, and much more. “Standing desks are adjustable and user-friendly, allowing you to properly align yourself for maximum comfort while you work,” Dr. Sathi explains. “They will also help you to avoid prolonged sitting and your spine will thank you!”

Are you in need of a consultation? Long Island Neuroscience Specialists provide leading-edge treatments for chronic back pain, spine disorders, and more. Please call 631-475-5511 to make an appointment today.

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Simple Steps Toward Better Back Health

Chronic back pain affects approximately 16 million adults in the United States, limiting their physical activities and negatively impacting their quality of life.

Fortunately, there are helpful solutions that can ease the discomfort of back pain, and also prevent it. 

“By implementing a healthier lifestyle, patients can experience a faster road to recovery,” explains Dr. Sumeer Sathi, a leading New York spine surgeon who operates the successful practice, Long Island Neuroscience Specialists.

  1. Exercise

Incorporating a regular exercise routine helps to keep people on the move, rather than remaining sedentary which can increase stiffness. The best solution may be at your local beach or backyard swimming pool.

“Swimming is a wonderful way to stretch your back and abdominal muscles, and it provides significant relief to people coping with back pain,” Dr. Sathi says.

  1. Nutrition

Dr. Sathi advises patients to follow a diet comprised of anti-inflammatory foods, which have tremendous benefits and can lead to improved back pain for many.

“An anti-inflammatory diet with a good balance of carbs, protein, and fat is a healthier option than inflammatory, processed foods which tend to be high in trans fats and can lead to obesity and other health issues if consumed in large numbers,” Dr. Sathi explains. “Maintaining a healthy weight will put less strain on spine muscles, minimizing the risk for chronic back pain.”

The Mediterranean diet is a sensible option for people looking to consume more anti-inflammatory foods, since it promotes eating plant based proteins, grains, fruits, vegetables, poultry, seafood, dairy, and more. “Vitamins and minerals found in these foods help to foster stronger, healthier bones and muscles in the spine,” Dr. Sathi says.  Examples of anti-inflammatory foods include blueberries, raspberries, grapes, tomatoes, beans, nuts, olive oil, fatty fish (e.g. salmon and tuna), and green leafy vegetables.

  1. Put Down That Cigarette

By now, we all know that smoking is bad for our health. It can cause cancer, lung and heart disease, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to name a few. But did you know that it’s also associated with back pain?

Dr. Sathi explains, “Smoking has a significant contribution to degenerative discs. Coughing associated with smoking can cause an exacerbation of back problems.” 

Studies have shown that people who smoke are also more likely to need spine surgery and that nicotine can be detrimental to bones and spinal tissue. In addition, smoking is frequently associated with a sedentary lifestyle, which can cause back strain and muscle weakness.

“Kicking the habit and making these other important lifestyle changes can play a major role in helping you feel better and improving your overall spine health,” Dr. Sathi says.

Are you experiencing chronic back or neck pain? Long Island Neuroscience Specialists’ outstanding team of physicians provide the latest cutting-edge treatments to help patients achieve a pain-free lifestyle. Please call 631-475-5511 to make an appointment today. 

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LI spine surgeon has many success stories performing artificial disc surgery, which actress Melissa Gilbert recently had

Actress Melissa Gilbert, 56, was recently in the news for opening up about her successful artificial disc surgery.

The former Little House on the Prairie star, who had sustained two herniated discs from two accidents in 2012, had previously had three spinal fusion surgeries. Last year, she found out that the last fusion, which was done in 2016, had failed; the hardware was boring a hole in her C7 vertebra, as she explained in an Instagram post. By the time she had her surgery, she had gotten to the point where she was in near constant pain and had tingling in the fingers of her right hand.

Unlike a spinal fusion procedure, in which two vertebrae are connected using metal plates or rods to allow them to fuse together, artificial disc surgery involves replacing a herniated or degenerated disc in the spine with an artificial one made from plastic and metal. A relatively new procedure, it is an effective and preferable alternative to spinal fusion in some patients.

“In some situations, artificial disc surgery is a better option than spinal fusion,” said Dr. Sumeer Sathi, MD, of Long Island Neuroscience Specialists, who has performed artificial disc surgeries and has many success stories.

As disc replacements are designed to function like the body’s discs, artificial disc surgery may allow greater spine mobility than fusion, which welds bones together. Artificial disc replacement also creates less stress on other spinal bones and has a faster recovery time, since the patient does not have to wait for their bones to fuse.

Dr. Sathi is a neurosurgeon and spine surgeon who is the founding member of Long Island Neuroscience Specialists, a multidisciplinary group of neuro-spine surgeons with locations in East Patchogue and East Setauket. Dr. Sathi, who is a graduate of Harvard Medical School, is also a clinical assistant professor of neurological surgery at Weill-Cornell Medical College in New York.

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Laser Therapy is growing as a fast, effective and noninvasive treatment for pain and inflammation

Laser Therapy is growing in use as a safe, effective and noninvasive treatment for a wide variety of musculoskeletal disorders and injuries and certain neurological conditions.

Long Island Neuroscience Specialists uses MLS (multiwave locked system) Laser Therapy to decrease pain and inflammation for patients suffering from arthritis, bursitis, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, tendon and ligament injuries, carpal tunnel, muscle strains and tears, peripheral neuropathy and other conditions. It can be used alone or before and/or after surgery to reduce healing time.

“Patients like MLS Laser Therapy because it is a simple, painless treatment and they see results rapidly,” said Dr. Meeru Sathi-Welsch, MD, who provides laser therapy at Long Island Neuroscience Specialists. “Each treatment takes about ten minutes, and most patients see marked improvement in pain and swelling after one to three treatments.”

By reducing pain and swelling in degenerative conditions like arthritis, MLS Laser Therapy allows patients to be more physically active, which is very important to the management of these conditions.

In MLS Laser Therapy, light energy is used to stimulate inter-cellular activity to speed the recovery of damaged cells. MLS technology uses dual wavelengths, which produce greater anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects than either could accomplish on their own, while minimizing the risk of thermal damage. The average course includes seven to 10 treatments.

“For many patients, MLS Laser Therapy is an effective alternative to surgery or prescription painkillers,” said Dr. Sathi-Welsch.

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Barricaid device can help prevent recurrence of herniated discs in certain patients

Many people suffer from herniated discs, a problem affecting one or more of the soft cushions between the vertebrae of the spine. A herniated disc occurs when some of the softer disc material pushes out through a weakness or hole in the tough outer part. If the herniation is large enough, the disc material can press on the spinal cord or nerves and cause pain in the back and legs as well as numbness or weakness. People who do not get better with conservative treatment may need lumbar discectomy surgery.

While lumbar discectomies are successful for most patients, certain patients are at higher risk for disc re-herniation after surgery. The size of the defect in the disc wall is a significant risk factor for recurrence. According to published studies, patients with defects of 6mm or larger have up to a 25 percent chance of recurring herniation.

Doctors Sumeer Sathi and Steven P. Leon, spine surgeons with Long Island Neuroscience Specialists, have had success with a relatively new implant called a Barricaid annular closing device that is inserted during lumbar discectomy surgery and has proven to be successful in lowering the risk of recurring herniation in certain patients with large defects and/or other risk factors.

The implant, which consists of woven mesh that blocks the defect, is anchored to healthy bone with a titanium component.

“Barricaid is an exciting innovation and a major breakthrough that will improve long-range outcomes for many patients,” Dr. Sathi said.

Dr. Sumeer Sathi is a neurosurgeon and spine surgeon who is the founding member of Long Island Neuroscience Specialists, a multidisciplinary group of neuro-spine surgeons with locations in East Patchogue and East Setauket. Dr. Sathi, who is a graduate of Harvard Medical School, is also a clinical assistant professor of neurological surgery at Weill-Cornell Medical College in New York.

A board-certified neurosurgeon with specialization in spinal surgery, Dr. Steven P. Leon treats spinal tumors, trauma, infections, deformity and degenerative diseases at Long Island Neuroscience Specialists. He completed a spinal surgery fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Neurosurgery, a Neurological Surgery Residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital (Harvard Program) and graduated with honors from Harvard Medical School.

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Intracept Procedure provides an effective, minimally invasive alternative to spinal fusion surgery

Lower back pain affects about 30 million Americans at any given time and is one of the most common reasons for missed work.

When patients with chronic lower back pain do not respond to conservative, non-surgical treatments, they may think that their only hope for improvement is invasive spinal surgery. But for some patients, there is now another option: a minimally invasive procedure known as the Intracept Procedure.

Dr. Sumeer Sathi, M.D. of Long Island Neuroscience Specialists is one of only a handful of doctors in the region offering Intracept, an outpatient procedure that targets the basivertebral nerve. The basivertebral nerve, which is located in the bones of the spine, is often responsible for lower back pain.

With Intracept, the doctor makes a small incision in the lower back, through which a special probe is inserted to deliver radiofrequency energy (heat) to disable the nerve in a process known as basivertebral nerve ablation. The procedure takes less than two hours and recovery is just a couple of days.

The procedure is indicated for many patients who have had lower back pain for six months or more, who have not responded to conservative treatment and who have changes to the spine known as Type 1 or Type 2 Modic changes (which show up on an MRI).

“This procedure offers relief of back pain without major fusion surgery,” said Dr. Sathi. “My patients appear to have excellent results and high satisfaction with the effectiveness of the procedure and how it has filled a need in the marketplace for a minimally invasive procedure to improve back pain.”

Dr. Sathi is a neurosurgeon and spine surgeon who is the founding member of Long Island Neuroscience Specialists, a multidisciplinary group of neuro-spine surgeons with locations in East Patchogue and East Setauket. Dr. Sathi, who is a graduate of Harvard Medical School, is also a clinical assistant professor of neurological surgery at Weill-Cornell Medical College in New York.

For more information, visit longislandneuro.com or call 631-475-5511.