Treat your pain and live a better life…

best-pain-doctor-nycWelcome to my blog about pain. Unfortunately, many people suffer from chronic pain. As a board certified physician in physical medicine and rehabilitation, my specialty is treating these people with both acute and chronic pain.

A majority of my practice is working with patients that are experiencing back and neck pain.

My goal with this blog is to help patients who are experiencing any type of back or neck pain to understand what is causing their pain and discuss options that are available to end their pain. I hope to be able to provide readers with a portal that they can can use to educate themselves and facilitate treatment.

My specialty is my Interventional Spine Skills including cervical and lumbar epidural steroid injections, facet injections, medial branch blocks, Radiofrequency ablation, sympathetic ganglion blocks, spinal cord stimulator trials, sacroiliac joint injection, piriformis muscle block and musculoskeletal joint injection. I also perform many other procedures to alleviate acute and chronic pain.

I hope you enjoy reading my blog as much as I enjoy writing it and observing people from all over the world reading it.

– Matthew Grimm, M.D.


See our Main Site:
www.spine-newyorkcity.com
Blog Posts are Below:



Why Do People Experience Pain Differently?

painIt’s frustrating to be told your pain isn’t that bad. What may actually be occurring is that you may be feeling pain differently from others around you. Sometimes, people are simply more sensitive to pain than others are. While you may be labeled a wimp, in truth, your ability to withstand pain stems from the structure of the brain, something you cannot control at all. Everyone experiences pain differently and once you understand why this is, you may feel better about reaching out for medical help through such situations.

What Determines Pain Sensitivity?

Studies have been conducted to try and pinpoint what causes pain and worsens it in humans. One study found that changes in the sensitivity to pain stem from differences in the amount of grey matter in your brain. Grey matter is a large part of the central nervous system. It is where most your brain’s neuronal cell bodies are located, which is how your brain communicates in regards to what hurts, where it hurts, and why it hurts.

The study found that those people who have less grey matter in their brain had a higher pain intensity rating and therefore were more prone to higher sensitivity than those who had more brain matter. More specifically, those with a larger amount of grey matter in the areas of the brain that control attention and internal thoughts are believed to be a trigger for higher pain levels.

Other studies tell us that people who report higher levels of pain are those that have more brain activity in the areas that control pain. This includes the primary somatosensory cortex, which is where pain sensations are transferred from the body. Additionally, cognitive factors also play a role. For example, those who have past experiences with pain, and different experiences of pain, are likely to have different pain tolerance levels than those that do not.

What Does It Mean to You?

painIf you feel pain, it means you need help. The amount of pain you feel may be very different from what other people feel. More so, you should not judge your pain sensitivity against another person’s when it comes to getting help. Rather, focus on finding the right type of pain management solution for your unique needs. Every situation is very different. When it comes to finding a solution, call the best pain doctor in New York.

 

Contact our New York pain doctor today at 646-862-5555 to discuss your needs and to find out what treatment options may be exactly what you need.

Manage Pain: The Benefit of Improving Flexibility and Aerobic Conditioning 

manage painYou’ve visited your doctor for your pain. Your doctor wants you to improve your flexibility and to incorporate physical therapy into your healing process. Your first thought is simple. How is moving the part of your body or stretching going to stop the pain that you feel every time you move? It may seem like more punishment than treatment, but the science behind this type of treatment is very clear.

For many people, to manage pain, you really need to improve your flexibility and aerobic conditioning. How can this help you?

Improving Flexibility

One of the ways that pain is reduced is by improving your overall flexibility. This is the body’s range of motion or level of movement. While it may make you feel sore initially, this type of treatment can actually help you to gain better movement. In some cases, it can help to strengthen muscles that need it, helping them to support the limitations of other areas of your body. When you hurt, your body naturally finds ways to accomplish things with less pain. Over time, this creates uneven muscle development and that can lead to problems overall. Flexibility therapy can help.

Improving Blood Flow

manage painAerobic conditioning helps in many ways. First, it can help you to get your heart pumping at a stronger and healthier level. Second, it works to burn calories and helps you to maintain a healthy way.

Additionally, even as you start off very slow, you will be improving muscle function and reducing pain feelings with each workout or routine. You are helping nutrient rich oxygen-filled blood to get to all areas of the body, helping to minimize pain and helping nerves to function at the right level.

 

If you are facing pain on a daily basis, whether from disease, illness, or chronic conditions, you can get the help you need. When you work with a pain doctor, you are likely to be given a treatment plan that is all encompassing, focusing on all pain causes and treatment options. This type of personalized but all-inclusive treatment can give you the best possible solution and the highest level of pain relief. Every situation is quite different and a customized treatment plan is best.

Contact our New York pain doctor today at 646-862-5555 to discuss your needs and to find out what treatment options may be exactly what you need.

Why Do People Experience Pain Differently?

pain doctorIt’s frustrating to be told your pain isn’t that bad. What may actually be occurring is that you may be feeling pain differently from others around you. Sometimes, people are simply more sensitive to pain than others are. While you may be labeled a wimp, in truth, your ability to withstand pain stems from the structure of the brain, something you cannot control at all. Everyone experiences pain differently and once you understand why this is, you may feel better about reaching out for medical help through such situations.

What Determines Pain Sensitivity?

Studies have been conducted to try and pinpoint what causes pain and worsens it in humans. One study found that changes in the sensitivity to pain stem from differences in the amount of grey matter in your brain. Grey matter is a large part of the central nervous system. It is where most your brain’s neuronal cell bodies are located, which is how your brain communicates in regards to what hurts, where it hurts, and why it hurts.

The study found that those people who have less grey matter in their brain had a higher pain intensity rating and therefore were more prone to higher sensitivity than those who had more brain matter. More specifically, those with a larger amount of grey matter in the areas of the brain that control attention and internal thoughts are believed to be a trigger for higher pain levels.

Other studies tell us that people who report higher levels of pain are those that have more brain activity in the areas that control pain. This includes the primary somatosensory cortex, which is where pain sensations are transferred from the body. Additionally, cognitive factors also play a role. For example, those who have past experiences with pain, and different experiences of pain, are likely to have different pain tolerance levels than those that do not.

What Does It Mean to You?

pain doctorIf you feel pain, it means you need help. The amount of pain you feel may be very different from what other people feel. More so, you should not judge your pain sensitivity against another person’s when it comes to getting help. Rather, focus on finding the right type of pain management solution for your unique needs. Every situation is very different.

When it comes to finding a solution, call the best pain doctor in New York at 646-862-5555.

What Medications Are Being Used to Improve Chronic Pain?

chronic painChronic pain can be one of the most difficult of all types of disease and illness to live with. If you are struggling with pain, you don’t have to. More advanced treatment options are becoming available, including the use of a new type of medication.

Take a closer look at some of the medications being used to improve chronic pain in many people today.

Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs

One of the most common medications used as a first line of treatment for chronic pain is NSAIDs. These are over-the-counter medications, prescription strength products are also available. Generally, this type of medication is ideal for acute types of muscle and bone pain. However, taking them chronically can lead to negative effects o the kidneys, the body’s ability to clot blood, and other concerns.

Antidepressants

One of the latest types of medications used to treat chronic pain is a line of antidepressants. Older antidepressants are often very helpful in controlling pain. They are beneficial because patients can often get pain relief at lower doses with the use of tricyclic antidepressants. They are often taken on an as-needed basis. They treat most types of pain, depending on the severity of the condition.

Anticonvulsants

Anticonvulsants, also known as anti-seizure medications, can work for some types of pain, specifically nerve pain such as shooting pain or a burning feeling. These products can help with minimal side effects in many people, though some can develop weight gain and glaucoma if they are overused. There is the need to carefully monitor liver and kidney health when taking these medications.

Muscle Relaxants

In some situations, the use of muscle relaxants can be beneficial, especially in those who have the same type of pain but not consistently. These products can make people drowsy, but most are safe to use on an as-needed basis.

Which Type of Medication Is Right for You?

Those experiencing chronic pain and discomfort want a solution. That solution may come from one of these types of medications. In some situations, over-the-counter products are effective. In other cases, doctors need to increase the amount and type of medication being taken to improve your day to day pain level.

chronic painEvery situation is very different. For pain medication and treatment, come in to see the best pain doctor in New York. Schedule an appointment with our team today to discuss your needs.

Call us at 646-862-5555 to schedule a consultation.

How Do Anti-Seizure Medications Treat Pain?

treat painThe use of anti-seizure medications as a treatment option for pain is not a new concept. In fact, it is one of the oldest methods used to treat chronic pain conditions especially in those that have experienced long-term pain or are unable to see relief from other types of pain medications.

The first medications of this type were designed to provide relief from epilepsy. They work to calm the nerves and aid in reducing the symptoms of burning and tingling common with pain. Often times, pain that feels as though it is shooting through the arm, leg, back or other area is also due to nerve damage.

How Does Anti-Seizure Drug Treatment Work?

The use of anti-seizure medications are highly effective in treating pain. However, doctors do not understand fully why this is. The exact mechanism of why this type of medication works is not fully understood, but what it seems to do is to turn off some of the transmissions of pain signals to the brain. When a person experiences pain, such as a burn on the fingertip, nerves transfer this pain signal through the nerve system to the brain. This type of medication tends to calm those sensations, therefore limiting the number, frequency, or intensity of these types of signals moving to the brain.

For some people who have chronic pain, these signals fire too often and sometimes without the need to do so. Overactive transmission of pain signals like this sometimes happen because nerves are damaged. This can happen in many situations including from chemotherapy treatment, herniated disks, fibromyalgia, and shingles.

How Medications Work

treat painAnti-seizure medication works to calm these signals. It works particularly well for some types of conditions including for trigeminal neuralgia, a type of condition that causes painful, searing facial discomfort that feels much like an electric shock.

The treatment with carbamazepine, a type of anti-seizure medication, is highly effective in this type of situation.

What we don’t know is when anti-seizure medication is going to be effective. If you have chronic pain, and have yet to try anti-seizure medications, it may be a helpful treatment to you depending on the cause of your pain and the current condition you are in. There are risks to taking these medications, which is why it is important to work with a trusted pain medication doctor in New York when seeking treatment. Call us to schedule an appointment at 646-862-5555.

Recognizing Chronic Pain’s Mental Impact

chronic painChronic pain is debilitating. It limits your ability to move. You may find that every step hurts. In other cases, you may find it difficult to move your fingers, sit for a long time, or accomplish other types of daily tasks. It is debilitating because you cannot achieve the simple things you used to be able to do.

For many people, chronic pain is not about an injury or disease, but rather a damaged nerve or neuropathy that is otherwise unexplained. In all cases, the physical damage is only one element of the problem.

You Are Suffering Mentally, Too

In every situation, no matter if you have mild to severe chronic pain, one thing becomes clear. Your pain takes a mental toll on you as well. How limiting chronic pain can be to your mental health depends on a number of different factors.

  • Sleepiness and exhaustion: Many people begin to feel the mental limitations when they become severely fatigued. While this can be brought on by physical ailments, it can also be caused by the mental wear and tear. When you are tired, you are less capable of responding in a healthy manner.
  • Anxiety: The development of anxiety in some people is also debilitating. Anxiety occurs when a person knows an outcome is unlikely but is apprehensive and worried about it occurring at an uncontrollable level. Over time, this can limit the individual’s ability to do things he or she once enjoyed and even stops the individual from focusing.
  • Depression: Mental health can also worsen into depression especially for those who are genetically predisposed for it. Depression is life threatening and it can lead to a low quality of life.

chronic painIf you are feeling any of these mental concerns the first step is to seek out treatment from a doctor for your pain. Getting your pain under control through specialized methods can help in most cases.

 

However, most people also need mental health treatment. Mental health care aids in improving the thought patterns and emotions you are feeling by bringing you back to a more logical level. For some, medications are necessary while others benefit from cognitive or talk therapy.

 

Finding a solution for the way you feel is not something you should put off. Turn to a pain specialist like our doctor in New York, to get the answers and treatments you need to finally start feeling better.

Call us at 646.862.5555 to schedule a consultation.

Can Visual Imagery Be Effective for Pain Management?

Many people struggle with pain for reasons simply not easy to control. Often times, pain doesn’t work the way it should. Pain is supposed to be a warning moving from the nerves to the brain signaling a problem for the brain to handle. Sometimes, nerves become damaged and pain signals trigger at the wrong time, when there is no real physical risk, or continuously by not shutting off. In all cases, finding a treatment for this troubled nerve signals isn’t always easy. Pain medications and therapy can help, but for some, imagery can be even more powerful.

What Is Imagery as a Treatment?

Imagery is just what it sounds like. It is a type of pain management technique in which an individual uses sound, visual stimulation, or other pictures that help them to move away from the pain and to focus on something else. The goal is to create a visual “thought” in the mind that is relaxing and pleasant to the individual.

pain managementBy focusing on this good thought, it may be possible to move the brain’s focus away from the pain they are feeling and instead allows them to focus on something else, something good and positive. Imagery is often an effective tool for those suffering from chronic pain that is untreated or does not minimize enough even with medication or other pain management techniques. Does it work for you?

Can It Help You?

Visual imagery can help many people, but it does not always work for all patients. It is a good idea to first focus on getting into a relaxing state. Then, focus on an image as clearly as possible in your mind’s eye that is positive and happy. The longer you focus on it, the more your brain moves away from the pain. The longer you do this, the longer the pain may subside. Whether or not it works depends on the individual’s ability to maintain that positive presence as well as how intense the pain is.

pain managementIn many situations, it is possible to see significant improvement by using visual imagery. This treatment option does not require the use of a doctor, however, it can be taught by a specialist to create a more significant improvement. And, it compliments other pain management techniques that may also help you. If you suffer from chronic pain, call our New York doctor for help at 646-862-5555 .

How Do Spinal Cord Stimulators Aid In Pain Relief?

For those people who are suffering from significant pain, finding a treatment option can be difficult to do. Oral medications tend to be the first line of care. Doctors may also use nerve blocks to help minimize the pain and control the function of the nerves that are sending pain signals to the brain. In some cases, these are also ineffective. When that occurs, more advanced treatment options become necessary. The use of implantable systems can be helpful to some people in these chronic pain conditions.

What is Spinal Cord Stimulation?Spinal-Cord-Stimulator

In some situations, the goal of these systems is to interrupt the transmission to the brain. When a nerve feels pain, such as in the fingertips, the nerve sends an electrical impulse to the brain. These tools work to interruption that flow of messages from the spinal cord to the brain. In doing so, it may work to reduce the amount of information the brain has about the pain, thus helping the individual to feel better.
Spinal cord stimulation is a type of pain control method like this. In this method, the device works to provide low levels of electrical current. This current is applied to the dorsal portion of the spinal cord. In doing this, it creates a block to the pain. The pain slows and stops while the stimulation is occurring and the individual feels significant relief.

The spinal cord stimulation device is implanted under the skin during a surgical procedure. This device can sometimes have an internal or external power source, depending on the model selected by the doctor. It is often used in conditions in which the pain is severe and other treatment options are not effective. There are some risks to using this type of device, but for those that receive some level of improvement from pain, it can be well worth it.

Could This Be a Treatment for You?

LowBackPiainEvery individual’s pain is different. The best course of treatment for you is one that is going to help you to find relief and it may take trying a variety of methods to get to that point.

 

Call us at 646-862-5555 and schedule a consultation to meet with Mathew Grimm the best New York pain doctor in the area. Take a few minutes to learn more about your options.

Epidural Steroid Injection for Neck pain

An Epidural Steroid Injection (ESI) is a simple, safe and effective non-surgical treatment that involves the injection of a steroid medication into the Epidural Space of the spine, the portion of the spine with the irritated nerves. The procedure is intended to reduce inflammation and eliminate pain in the Epidural Space. ESI has been used for over 40 years to effectively treat chronic neck pain as well as a variety of other problems along the spine.

How is the Epidural Steroid Injection (ESI) Done?

The most common technique used for Epidural Steroid Injection technique is with X-Ray guidance (fluoroscopy). The injection is performed under local anesthesia. Some patients prefer intravenous sedation. The procedure usually takes about 5-10 minutes. Recovery is a 15-20 minutes before being discharged.

Does the Epidural Steroid Injection (ESI) Hurt?neck pain

A local anesthetic that is injected at the beginning of the procedure may sting, but ESI is a routine procedure that is tolerated extremely well by a wide age range, from teenagers to senior citizens.

How Should I Prepare For An Epidural Steroid Injection?

You should not have anything to eat or drink for at least 8 hours before your scheduled procedure. If you are scheduled to receive sedation during the surgery, someone will need to drive you home.

Please discuss the medications you are taking with your doctor before the procedure. This is particularly important if you are taking medication for high blood pressure, a heart condition or medication that can thin the blood and cause excessive bleeding.

What Should I Expect After The Epidural Steroid Injection (ESI)?

Some patients notice reduction in your pain for the first 1-2 hours after the injection. This is due to local anesthetic injected with the steroid. When it wears off, your pain will return similar to what it was before the procedure. Pain relief with ESI generally happens in 3-5 days, but some patients experience pain relief before then. Diabetic patients need to pay careful attention for a rise in blood sugar during the first few days after an epidural steroid injection.

Following discharge home, you should get rest and relaxation. If you have minor pain at the injection site, apply an ice pack to reduce swelling and discomfort.

Neck-pain-Olympic-Hot-Tub-CompanyHow Many Epidural Steroid Injections (ESIs) Will I Need?

The number of injections needed depend on your response to each individual injection. If you have no pain following one injection, you will probably not need additional injections. If you don’t experience pain relief after two injections, an alternative treatment may be recommended for your neck pain.

Side Effects or Complications of Epidural Steroid Injection (ESI)

Some patients notice a mild increase or worsening of their pain. This is usually temporary and disappears for after a day or two. Most patients experience positive results, but some can have minor side effects:

Nausea

Bleeding

Infection

Itching

Rash

Spinal headache

Flushing and sweating

If you have questions about any of your symptoms, contact your doctor or seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Can Epidural Steroid Injections (ESIs) Be Repeated If My Pain Returns?

Epidural Steroid Injections (ESIs) help relieve pain for approximately half of the patients treated. This ESI can definitely be repeated if it was helpful for your pain in the past, with a usual wait for at least 4-6 months after your last injection.

Contact us today at 646-862-5555 to schedule an appointment with the best neck Pain doctor in NYC for Epidural Steroid Injections to treat your neck pain.

 

Epidural Injections for Back Pain: Good or Bad?

Epidural Steroid Injections (ESIs) are commonly used for treating pain in lower back and sciatica. They have been used since the 1950s and have become an important part of non-surgical pain management for back pain and sciatica. For many patients, the injections are enough to relieve the pain. But as in any pain management treatment, there are pros and cons to epidural injections.

How epidural injectionsLong Does an Epidural Injection Last?

The effect of an epidural injection can range from temporary or can last from a week to even a year. For patient with an acute episode of back pain or leg pain, an epidural injection can provide immediate pain relief. Typically, three injections are used on a patient who finds relief with the first shot. Most pain doctors require 4-6 months between each injection.

Epidural Injections Focus on the Pain

With painkillers and steroids, the relief is not easily focused. With Epidural Steroid Injections, the exact area is targeted. Patients know right away if the injection is working.

Epidural Injections Flush out Chemicals

Back pain is mostly caused by chemical inflammation, which also leads to swelling in the affected area. Epidural Steroid Injections flush out the harmful chemicals like inflammatory proteins,, while significantly relieving the pain and swelling.

What Is the Success Rate of Epidural Steroid Injections?

The success rates of the epidural injections are always dependent on a patient’s condition and the level of pain they have. The benefits provided by Epidural Steroid Injections are substantial. When properly done using x-ray or fluoroscopic guidance, over 50% of patients suffering from back pain reported pain relief.

Risks Associated With Epidural Steroid Injections

There is a certain amount of risk involved with all medical procedures and lumbar epidural is no exception. But, the risks associated with ESIs are uncommon, but they must be mentioned so individuals are aware of them before and after an Epidural Steroid Injectionprocedure:

  • Nerve Damagepain doctor epidural injections for back pain 4
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Dural Puncture

What Are The Side Effects Associated With Epidural Steroid Injections?

As in any medical procedures, there can be side effects dependent on the patient’s age, health and other medical conditions. Side effects from Epidural Steroid Injections are rare, but they can include:

  • Increase in localized pain.
  • Headaches that go away after 24 hours.
  • Flushing of the face.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Fever on the night the injection
  • Anxiety.
  • A high level of blood sugar.
  • Stomach ulcers.

In the end, only a patient can decide if Epidural Steroid Injections are the best option for relieving back pain. Contact us today at 646-862-5555 to learn more about ESIs and to schedule an appointment with the best back pain doctor in NYC.

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Matthew Grimm, M.D.

West Side:
343 West 58th Street
Suite 11
New York, NY 10019

East Side:
160 E 56th St
11th Floor
New York, NY 10022

646-862-5555