Category Archives: back pain

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Pinched nerves don’t have to be such a “pain in your neck”

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Prevention and treatment can make all the difference

By Grigory Goldberg, MD, FAAOS

Anyone who’s experienced a pinched nerve knows just how “unnerving” it can truly be. The odds are that most of you have dealt with an episode or two, and will more than likely will do so again in the future. After all, you might be surprised to know that a pinched nerve is one of the world’s more common medical maladies.

Sure, they can be short-lived in duration and minor in discomfort. But, they can also be quite lengthy, painful and debilitating, limiting your range of motion and impeding even the simplest of daily activities. It can be excruciating just lifting your head off the morning pillow, looking over your shoulder when backing out of a parking space or even pulling your shirt over your head.

 I would contend, however, that pinched nerves do not have to be such a “pain in the neck.” In fact, there are preventative steps you can take to limit your exposure, and treatment modalities you can follow upon occurrence that can make all the difference in the world.

Pay attention to the warning signs, though they’re hard to miss.

Read the full article here.

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Understanding PSIS


The PSIS, or Posterior Superior Iliac Spine, is one of the three major components of the hip bone. Unlike most other major bones, it is not palpable and is instead recognized by a small dimple directly above the buttock. Patients experiencing severe and chronic lower back pain are often suffering from an injury to the PSIS. This article will provide an overview of the PSIS, an explanation of what it does, and an understanding of possible pain causes and treatments. If you’re suffering from pain in this region, contact a Spine Care NJ specialist to be properly diagnosed and to discuss the benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery today.

What Is The PSIS?

Your Posterior Superior Iliac Spine is one of the three bones that make up the hip. As mentioned above, it is marked by a small dimple directly above the buttock and is responsible for providing an attachment for the posterior sacroiliac ligament, the sacrotuberous ligament, and the thoracolumbar fascia. In a nutshell, the PSIS is the crux of your hip bone and allows for major ligaments to attach to it and connect the rest of the body.

Understanding PSIS Pain

Generally felt directly above the buttocks, the PSIS is responsible for what is referred to as Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction and can leave sufferers in tremendous amounts of pain. Typically, the pain will be felt in one or both buttocks, but can radiate up and down the legs. In most cases, the pain is described as achy and dull and is often worse in the morning and relieved with physical movement.

PSIS Pain Treatment Options

The most common treatment option for PSIS localized pain is a pain-blocking injection. In this procedure, a trained and experienced spine care specialist will use imaging to isolate the pain area before injecting a numbing agent that serves to “block” the pain signals. For most patients, this offers an effective, non-surgical solution to chronic pain in their thighs and buttocks.

Contacting A Spine Care Specialist

If you’ve been experiencing persistent pain in the buttocks or thighs and have not been able to experience relief through over the counter medications or physical movement, contact a specialist at Spine Care NJ today. Our team will review your medical history, perform a thorough physical evaluation, and diagnose the cause of your pain. Once diagnosed, your treatment options will be laid out for you, and we will work with you to find the most minimally invasive treatment solution possible. Call us today to request an appointment.

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Four Tips For A Healthier Spine

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For those living with chronic back pain, visiting specialist after specialist to conquer their spine pain can seem like a daunting proposition. Thankfully, there are a few simple steps you can take from the comfort of your own home to help alleviate spine pain and prevent future episodes of back pain. Rather than proposing radical shifts to your day to day lifestyle, these tips suggest small adjustments to your current habits. Try out these suggestions and see the power a few small changes can have on your overall health. As always, if your back pain persists or worsens, consult Dr. Grigory Goldberg and his team for an evaluation and diagnosis.

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Four Tips For A Healthier Spine:


  • Invest In A Supportive Mattress and Pillow: Night is your spine’s chance to rest. After spending the day supporting your body in physical movement, your spine needs the opportunity to relax. Sadly, too many of us are sleeping on mattresses and pillows that actually require our backs to work to support our bodies while we sleep. When choosing a mattress, opt for personal preference. Consider your preferred sleep position and find a mattress and pillow with a support system that will complement these preferences.


  1. Shoe Shop With Your Spine In Mind: Your shoes have a direct impact on the overall health of your spine. Wearing shoes that lack the support needed to keep your spine and back aligned while you walk, workout, and participate in life’s daily activities will result in chronic and persistent back pain. For severe back pain, consider adding orthotics or inserts to your current shoes for additional support.
  2. Stand Regularly And Mind Your Posture: Spine pain rates have skyrocketed as more and more Americans are taking jobs that keep them sitting in front of a computer all day. Be sure to take regular breaks to stand, stretch your spine, and keep the joints moving and supported. When sitting, mind your posture. Keep your back straight and your head looking directly ahead of you. These simple adjustments keep the spine aligned and prevent chronic back pain.
  3. Indulge Yourself In A Massage: Massages are more than a feel good technique for stress relief. Studies have proven that messages have incredible therapeutic value for chronic pain sufferers. Massages release endorphins — your body’s natural painkiller. By getting regular massages, you are helping keep back pain at bay while reducing your need for pain medication.

Try these four simple tips for spine health and let us know what the results are. Comment on our blog, follow us on social media, and show us how you’re keeping your spine healthy. For recurring pain, call our spine specialists to learn more about minimally invasive spine surgery options. Click here to request an appointment with our team.

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Spine Care Tips for Winter

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The holidays are coming to a close, but there are still several months of winter ahead of us. Stay safe and avoid compromising the safety of your spine with the following fall prevention and spine care tips for the winter.


  1. Take Care While Shoveling Snow: Keeping your property safe is an essential step in preventing winter falls and spine injuries. Although most dread the task of shoveling snow, it is important to take precautions when doing so. Always do some gentle neck and black stretches before you start shoveling and make sure you have the right tool for the job. Choose a shovel that is lightweight with a sharp blade that is appropriate for your height. A shovel that is too long or too short will cause you to bend forward or back to compensate, compromising the health of your spine.
  2. Keep Up Your Exercise Regimen: Strength and balance are your best defense against a winter slip and fall injury. When you are strong and stable, you are less likely to fall and better able to recover balance if you feel yourself starting to slip. Simple exercises like walking and swimming have tremendous benefits to your strength and balance. Yoga and Tai Chi are also effective exercises for fall prevention and classes are offered at many gyms, community centers, and online.
  3. Dress Appropriately for Winter Conditions: Appropriate footwear is imperative to avoiding a winter slip and fall. Select a shoe with a sturdy sole and a deep, thick tread. Additionally, many falls occur due to low temperatures, which can cause the fingers and toes to stiffen, compromising balance. For this reason, it is essential to dress for the weather with thick socks, gloves, a hat, scarf, and a warm coat.

If you have suffered a winter fall or want to learn more about how to protect your spine this season, Dr. Grigory Goldberg can help. Contact our offices today to request an appointment.

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Best Mattresses and Sleeping Positions for Spine and Back Pain

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For most of us, sleep is a restorative process. Our bodies are able to reset themselves, our minds decompress from our day, and we wake feeling physically and emotionally rejuvenated. For those suffering from back pain, whether chronic in nature or the result of recovery from minimally invasive spine surgery, sleep can be downright painful. For those of us with spine and back pain, there are a number of ways we can assist our bodies in making it through the night pain-free.

Best Sleeping Positions for Back Pain Sufferers:

  • Elevate the Knees: Regardless of the condition causing the back pain, most sufferers will benefit greatly from elevating their knees while they sleep. Place a thick pillow under your knees to naturally elevate them without sacrificing comfort.
  • Embrace the Recliner: Taking the idea of elevating your knees one step further, try sleeping in a reclining chair. The combination of elevated knees and supported neck often provides the greatest relief for sufferers of back pain. If you prefer to sleep in a bed, splurge on an adjustable bed to achieve the same relief.
  • Make Like the Babies: Many back pain sufferers, particularly those with Osteoarthritis and Spinal Stenosis, find significant relief from pain when they curl up in the fetal position to sleep. Lay on your side and pull your knees up to your chest. The positioning of the spine in this position has been shown to provide relief for many causes of back pain.

Best Mattresses for Back Pain Sufferers:

  • Firm is Best: For almost all patients, a firmer mattress beats out the softer varieties. In general, firm mattresses provide the spine with the support it needs, holds your position through the night, and supports your weight evenly. The exception to this rule is Bursitis. Those suffering from this condition generally find a softer mattress to be significantly preferable.
  • Full Coverage Support: Your mattress should support each and every curve of your spine. Inquire about the physical makeup of your mattress before purchasing. Ask about coil placement and quantity, mattress padding thickness and any additional support systems installed in the mattress.  

Embrace Latex: Latex mattresses have been shown to be the best for back pain sufferers. This is due to the springy feel of the mattress. The spongy material pushes into the crevices of your back and offers a degree of support that is vital for relief from back pain.

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Title: Simple Tips For Reducing Back Pain While Traveling

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The holidays are a time for making memories with family and friends. Accomplishing this often involves an intense amount of travel. Airlines and railroads report more than double the travel takes place during the months of November and December than during any of the other months of the year. Is your back prepared?

Dr. Grigory Goldberg, a spine care specialist in New Jersey, urges everyone to spend a few minutes educating themselves on how to reduce or eliminate back pain while traveling. For some, pain might be inevitable. Countless hours in a car or plane, nights of sleeping on a couch, a house full of crazy relatives to run around with — this all can be downright painful for your joints and bones. Check out this quick list of ways to minimize this pain before embarking on your travels this year.

Simple Tips For Reducing Back Pain While Traveling:

  1. Involve Your Spine Care Specialist: Airlines are not known for being the most accommodating of institutions. If you have a pre-existing condition that requires special accommodations while traveling, talk to your spine care health provider today. Often, our team can draft a letter that you can present to the airline before takeoff. This will significantly increase the chances of special instructions being carried out on your behalf.
  2. Schedule With Your Spine In Mind: When booking a flight or train trip, choose a time and day of the week when their plane, bus, or train is known for being less crowded. By opting for a less coveted departure and arrival time, you are increasing the likelihood of your having more personal space during the trip to stretch and spread out.
  3. Support Your Back: Lastly, ask your flight attendants for a couple of extra pillows. Most airlines are more than happy to provide these, and you can use these pillows to give your back additional support during the flight. Place directly behind your tailbone for optimal support.

Incorporate these tips for a less painful traveling experience. Still concerned your back can’t handle the travel? Consult one of our Spine care NJ specialists today to discuss your concerns, devise a plan, and get you connected with family in a pain-free manner.

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Don’t Put Yourself Out: Fall Prevention Tips to Avoid Back Injury

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If you’ve ever been so unlucky to experience back pain, or even worse, throw out your back, you know that recovery time can take days or even weeks.

Lower back pain is often due to injury or trauma to the ligaments and muscles from to quick movements, poor lifting techniques, or falls. Falls are extremely dangerous at any age – but especially for older adults who are more prone to osteoporosis and likely to break a bone.

Falls can happen for a number of reasons, but the most common are tripping or slipping, balance problems, poor vision, illness, side effects of certain medications like blood pressure and heart medications, and drinking alcohol.


Prevention is Key

And there are a number of ways to help avoid slips and falls that everyone should put into practice, regardless of age.

When outdoors, wear shoes that provide good traction; high heels and flip-flops are more prone to making you slip and fall. Walk on grass when sidewalks appear icy or slick and put down salt or sand on icy steps and walkways. Indoors, you can help prevent falls by keeping items off floors, electrical cords out of walkways, and using rugs that have skid-proof back. Other fall-prevention tactics at home include using non-skid bath mats in the tub or shower, making sure all stairwells are lit properly and have hand railings on both sides, and purchasing a cordless phone so that you don’t have to rush to the phone when it rings in the other room.

Another key element to help reduce falls and injury is physical activity. Gentle exercises like water aerobics, yoga, walking, and Pilates help improve balance, core strength, coordination, and flexibility – all great health benefits that reduce the risk of falling. If you’re afraid that exercising might worsen your chances for a fall-related injury, speak with a doctor who can provide advice on low-risk activities. Dr. Grigory Goldberg and his team of experts at Spine Care New Jersey are available to provide suggestions and help you feel more comfortable about what you can do to reduce your risk for falls.

If you’ve recently fallen and have started to experience back pain, we encourage you to request an appointment with our spine care specialists.

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What is Cervical Radiculopathy?

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Cervical Radiculopathy is a common medical diagnosis that can take on a number of forms. Simply put, it’s the pain and neurological symptoms resulting from any irritation of a nerve in the neck, or cervical spine. Many refer to it as a pinched nerve.

Nerves in the neck branch out to the muscles that help your shoulders, arms, hands, and fingers move, function, and let you feel hot, cold, soft, etc. A patient’s symptoms and diagnosis of Cervical Radiculopathy vary widely and depend on the nerve that is affected.


Any type of injury or irritation can trigger Cervical Radiculopathy. A few of the most common causes include herniated discs, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, and arthritis. Cervical Radiculopathy is more common in middle to older aged adults due to natural degenerative changes in the discs of the spine as we age. Young people experience Cervical Radiculopathy most commonly as the result of a sport or other related injury.


The effects of Cervical Radiculopathy can vary, but the most common symptoms include a tingling sensation in the fingers or hand, weakness in the arm, shoulders, or hand, and loss of sensation.


A variety of pain medications can be used to treat Cervical Radiculopathy. Anti-inflammatory medications such as corticosteroids or nonsteroidal medications like ibuprofen are most commonly used. Physical therapy is another alternative. However, if intense compression of the affected nerve starts limiting mobility or causes weakness, surgery might be needed.

Dr. Grigory Goldberg and his team of experts at Spine Care New Jersey are trained in spine health and are available to help ease your symptoms and help get you on the road to recovery.

If you’ve started experiencing Cervical Radiculopathy symptoms, we encourage you to request an appointment with our spine care specialists.

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Lumbar Stenosis Versus Cervical Stenosis

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Stenosis is a medical term used to describe an abnormal narrowing of a bodily passage. When dealing with back health, there are two major areas we see problematic stenosis. One is the lower back, or lumbar; the other is cervical, or up near the neck. While there are cases of congenital spinal stenosis, most spinal stenosis is the result of normal aging. It’s another common condition that’s important to be aware of for a several reasons. First, the risk of developing serious complications as a result of spinal stenosis can be reduced by taking the kind of preventative measures essential to overall spine health, such as regular exercise, proper nutrition, and modifying workplace or lifestyle behaviors that jeopardize spine health. Second, in certain cases, spinal stenosis can pose serious health risks, so it’s crucial to stay alert to signs something dangerous is developing.


Spinal stenosis of either variety generally places more pressure on nerves as it grows more severe. A lucky few may experience no symptoms, but overwhelming spinal stenosis compressed nerves cause uncomfortable sensations such as numbness, weakness, tingling, and/or pain. These symptoms can be similar for lumbar and cervical stenosis patients, although some are more indicative of one form.

Lumbar stenosis compresses the spinal nerve roots in the lower back. This can lead to symptoms associated with sciatica, namely tingling, numbness, etc. that radiates down the lower back through the legs. It can also lead to leg pain that occurs while walking, a symptom that may be alleviated when sitting or leaning forward, as when pushing a supportive device.

Unpleasant though its symptoms may be, lumbar stenosis doesn’t present as much danger overall health as cervical stenosis. Whereas lumbar stenosis compresses the spinal nerve roots, cervical stenosis causes compression of the actual spinal cord–a condition known as myelopathy. Myelopathy can lead to extreme weakness and paralysis. Early signs include loss of fine motor skills, “electric shock” sensations shooting through limbs, and arm pain.

Stenosis can occur in the mid, or thoracic section of the spine, but it’s rare, and much less likely to lead to any serious problems.


Lumbar stenosis is often treatable with a combination of physical therapy, pain medications, and bed rest. Corticosteroid injections may also offer relief in some cases. Myelopathy, which can develop from cervical stenosis, is a significantly more threatening condition, and one which likely merits surgical intervention.
Diagnosing the source of spinal stenosis is an important step in establishing a long term wellness plan. If you’ve started experiencing symptoms of spinal stenosis, we encourage you to request an appointment with our spine care specialists.

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Understanding Discogenic Disease

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If you suffer back pain, the internet can be a convenient tool for exploring potential causes. But sometimes, it can also lead you to diagnosis that sound misleadingly exotic or just downright confusing, but which in reality are common and treatable. Such is the case with discogenic disease, a scary term for a condition which is not really a disease so much as a natural side effect of aging.

   Specifically, discogenic disease refers to the gradual deterioration of the intervertebral discs–something which happens as we age. Unfortunately, this process can have some painful consequences.  Degraded discs are prone to herniation and bulging, which can place pressure on the nerves. Material from inside these disks can leak out and irritate the nerve further, or pieces of the disk can break off and shift into the spinal column. This can lead to reduced mobility along with severe pain.

   The good news is that there are ways to help preserve disc health, lowering the risk of suffering some of those complications of damaged discs. Plus, there are ways to treat discogenic disease injuries. Discogenic disease is, after all, something all aging humans deal with, and one medical professionals have had ample opportunity to study.

   There’s quite a bit of overlap between discogenic disease prevention and best practices for preventing other conditions associated with ageing, like osteoporosis. Make sure to include plenty of bone building calcium (leafy greens, dairy) and vitamin D (sun exposure, oily fish, dairy) in your diet. Consult a medical professional about the potential addition of supplements or medication to promote bone density. Exercise regularly but with attention to form; if possible, try aqua exercises to take some pressure off joints and bones. Maintain a healthy weight. Be smart about what your lug around. Minimize lifestyle and workplace risk factors–if you work at a desk, make sure to take breaks to stand and stretch hourly, and if you perform manual labor, talk to a physician about bracing and/or posture corrective exercises to insure you’re able to protect your back.

   If you’re already dealing with discogenic disease related pain, there are a variety of options. Medication, physical therapy, bracing, and complementary medicine can all help alleviate pain and make for a strong recovery. In rare cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to correct severe, potentially mobility-altering issues.

We encourage you to request an appointment if you believe you are experiencing back issues due to discogenic disease or simply want to make sure you’re on the right track to keep your spine healthy far into retirement. Our New Jersey team brings decades of spine care expertise offers comprehensive support through diagnostics, treatment, and wellness plans designed to help you stay healthy, stay strong, and feel great.

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