Posts Tagged ‘emory orthopaedics and spine center’

When In Doubt, Avoid These Foods To Ease The Pain Of Gout

Gout: Dictionary Close-up. Selective focus and Canon EOS 5D Mark II with MP-E 65mm macro lens. Gout is a medical condition usually characterized by recurrent attacks of acute inflammatory arthritis—a red, tender, hot, swollen joint. gout, podagra, inflammation, arthritis, joint,

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 5 adults in the United States have been diagnosed by a doctor with arthritis. That’s about 52.5 million people who experience joint stiffness, swelling and pain that can make even the most routine activities difficult.

Arthritis is the commonly known condition associated with inflammation of the joints, but there are more than 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions that fall under the umbrella of arthritis. These conditions affect the joints, the tissues surrounding the joint and other connective tissue.

Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis triggered by the crystallization of uric acid within the joints, and is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis in men. Gout can be chronic and last for months, or come on suddenly in the form of a flare-up and last for days.

There are a few non-modifiable risk factors for gout such as sex, age, race and genetics, but other factors, such as lifestyle and diet, can be controlled. If you are prone to gout, your diet and the foods you eat, or do not eat, play a key role in keeping your joints pain-free. Below is a list of foods to avoid if you are trying to prevent gout, or heal from a flare-up.

Purine rich foods including meat, seafood and some vegetables increase the risk of developing gout. Purines are natural substances found in all of the body’s cells, and in almost all foods. As our cells die and recycle themselves, the purines break down into uric acid. When too much uric acid accumulates, uric acid crystals develop and deposit in our tendons, joints, kidneys, and other organs, causing gout.

  • High-purine meats: white meat like chicken or duck is generally better than red mean. Choose beef or pork rather than lamb or turkey
  • High-purine seafood: scallops, herring, tuna, and anchovies
  • High-purine vegetables: asparagus, cauliflower, spinach, and mushrooms

Most of us are familiar with omega-3 fatty acids, which contain anti-inflammatory properties that help in the treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. But omega-6 fatty acids are more commonly found in the foods we eat. While a sufficient amount of omega 6 fatty acid is good, large amounts can be harmful and lead to inflammation. Some foods with omega-6 fatty acids to avoid include safflower, corn, soybean and sunflower seeds.

Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol is not only one way to pack on extra pounds, but a comparison study done between alcoholic and nonalcoholic beer found that the uric acid levels in the blood increased with beer consumption. Not only does beer increase uric-acid level, but beer also makes it more difficult for your body to clear it from your system.

Similar to beer, sugary drinks containing high-fructose corn syrup can increase the amount of uric acid and lactic levels and decreases uric acid elimination. Fructose is also linked to increased risk of diabetes and heart disease, and releases cytokines, which trigger inflammation.

After reading this list, you may be asking yourself, “What can I eat to prevent and control inflammation?” A good rule of principle is moderation.

Some items to consider incorporating into your diet to curb inflammation are non-fat dairy products, which have been shown to lower urate from an anti-inflammatory standpoint. Due to its diuretic features, coffee can also decrease uric acid levels in the body. To prevent dehydration and lower the concentration of uric acid crystals, drink at least six to eight 8-ounce servings of water a day.

About Dr. Olufade

olufade-oluseunOluseun Olufade, MD, is board certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Sports Medicine and Interventional Pain Medicine. He completed fellowship training in both Sports Medicine and Interventional Pain Medicine. During his fellowship training, he was a team physician for Philadelphia Union, a major league soccer (MLS) team, Widener University Football team and Interboro High School Football team. He joined the nationally-ranked Emory Orthopaedic & Spine Center in 2013.

Dr. Olufade employs a comprehensive approach in the treatment of sports-related injuries and spinal disorders by integrating physical therapy, orthotic prescription and minimally invasive procedures. He specializes also in soccer medicine, concussion, tendinopathies, platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections and chronic exertional compartment syndrome. He performs procedures such as fluoroscopic-guided spine injections and ultrasound guided peripheral joint injections. Dr. Olufade individualizes his treatment plans with a focus on functional restoration. He sees patient primarily in our Dunwoody and Johns Creek locations.

Emory Bone Cancer Patient Story: “I have full motion in my arm again!”

ms k11-27 2msk 11-27It happened so quickly. One day I was working out and noticed a bulge in my left shoulder but I didn’t think much of it, in fact, I thought maybe my muscles were growing! But my concern grew as the lump got larger. I made a random visit to the chiropractor and during the visit he moved my right arm across my body. When he went to move my left arm across my body, it was impossible; motion of my left arm was completely restricted. The chiropractor knew something was not right and referred me to a primary care physician for an X-ray. I was scared and didn’t want to face reality that this inability to move my arm could be something serious. I wasn’t in pain – the ball on my shoulder wasn’t bothering me or affecting my life – but it was critical that I figure out what it was.

On September 5, 2013, the news was broken to me that I had a tumor in my left shoulder. It was on that day that I was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, the most common type of bone cancer. This cancer begins in the bone compared to other cancers that begin somewhere else in the body and spread to bone. Immediately my parents started making calls, knocking on neighbors’ doors and doing research in hopes of finding the best doctor and treatment in the area for my diagnosis. My parents were told that an oncology surgeon, Dr. David Monson at Emory Orthopedics & Spine Center in Atlanta, GA, was the best in the business. That’s when I knew I was going to be in good hands. Dr. Monson’s exceptional reputation was my definition of a rock star surgeon!

The first step in this treatment journey was to make an appointment for an MRI, CT scan and biopsy. Before the tests, my medical oncology team prepped me that chemotherapy and radiation would mostly likely be needed for the next 6 months of my life. Thankfully, the MRI and CT scan showed the cancer had not spread to anywhere else in my body. Then the biopsy results came in and revealed that the bulge was a low grade tumor, which meant no chemotherapy or radiation was needed, rather surgery and physical therapy.

I was informed that the surgery would be to remove six inches of bone from my arm and replace it with a cadaver. I was relieved and extremely grateful that this treatment option wouldn’t turn my whole life upside down, but there were still concerns. I didn’t know if I would ever get back full motion in my arm or be able to get my arm over my head again. I didn’t know if I would look the same after surgery with this “new” arm.

Less than twenty days from the date of my diagnosis, on September 23, 2013, I had surgery. I remained hospitalized for three days following the surgery and then began my healing journey. I couldn’t return to work for four weeks and went through six months of physical therapy. I am incredibly lucky to have a support group of family and friends that surrounded me and picked me up when I was down.  They took care of me and gave me the love and support I needed to get through what could have been a devastating time.  My parents stayed with me overnight while I was in the hospital, I even stayed with my sister and brother in law for a week after surgery and my sister filled the room I stayed in with all of the flowers I received.  I am extremely grateful to have every one of them in my life. The team at Emory made my journey to recovery seamless. I especially loved my physical therapist. Her excitement every session made me excited! She looked at my circumstances as a challenge, but together we pushed through. In fact, because my recovery went so well – something she had never seen with my type of surgery before – she ended up using it as a case study.

Today, my life is mostly back to normal. I have full motion in my left arm again, but my arm is still restricted when it comes to putting weight on it. It is going to take some time for the new bone to fully fuse with my natural bone, so right now I cannot hold more than five pounds with my left hand. I am aware and mindful of the activity and stress I place on my new arm, but I do not want to do anything that could potentially damage it, but thankfully I am able to work out regularly and both my work and social life are as normal as they can be!

A Note From Dr. Monson
Ms. Peterson was fortunate in that her osteosarcoma was low grade and required surgery alone for resection and reconstruction. There was no need for chemotherapy as there is in high grade osteosarcomas. There are only about 50 of these tumor types diagnosed a year in the entire United States. Our goal was to provide Ms. Peterson with as functional a reconstruction as possible and thus we chose to do so with a cadaver bone transplant of the proximal humerus where we could perform a direct rotator cuff repair. Repair of the shaft of the cadaver to the patient’s own remaining humerus bone distally was performed with plates and screws, much like that performed in fracture repair surgery. Reconstruction with an artificial prosthesis is actually an easier procedure technically; however the inability to reestablish reliable rotator cuff function often leads to lesser function of the shoulder. Although no reconstruction option can be declared a permanent solution, the use of the cadaver transplant burns no bridges and keeps options open for Ms. Peterson should she require more surgery in the future. She has excelled with her physical therapy and her full restoration of motion reflects strongly on her will and determination.

About Dr. Monson

monson-david-kDavid Monson, MD, and his partners at Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center have the ONLY multidisciplinary musculoskeletal oncology service in Georgia that serves both children and adults. His focus is on rare tumors, sarcomas of the bone (2,500 cases a year in the U.S.) and soft tissue (10,000 cases a year in the U.S.) as well as other uncommon benign bone and soft tissue tumors. He also treats metastatic disease to the bone from other primary malignancies and often performs complex reconstructive procedures for these disorders not available in the community. The efforts of his practice also extend to complex skeletal reconstructions that may arise from failed orthopaedic procedures performed elsewhere.

He is only one of two fellowship-trained orthopaedic oncologists in the state of Georgia (the other is his partner, Dr. Shervin Oskouei) that concentrates his practice within his subspecialty. He also performs total hip and total knee replacements, specifically more difficult primary replacements or revisions that may require the skills developed within his practice of musculoskeletal oncology.

Best Ways To Recognize And Treat An Ankle Fracture


What is an ankle fracture?

A fracture is a partial or complete break in a bone. An ankle fracture can range from a simple break in one bone, which may cause discomfort but not stop you from walking, to more serious fractures, which damage multiple bones that hold your ankle joint in place and may require surgery or immobilization for some time.

There are three bones that make up the ankle joint:

  • Tibia – shinbone
  • Fibula – smaller bone of the lower leg
  • Talus – a small bone that sits between the heel bone (calcaneus) and the tibia and fibula

Any one of the three bones could break as the result of a fall, twisting, rolling or rotating your ankle, a car accident or some other trauma to the ankle. The more bones that are broken, the more unstable the ankle becomes and the longer the recovery time.

What are the signs and symptoms of a fractured ankle?

Common symptoms of an ankle fracture include:

  • Immediate and severe pain, which can extend from the foot to the knee
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tender to touch
  • Decreased ability to walk or put any weight on the injured foot
  • Deformity or protruding bones

Because a broken ankle can frequently be confused with an ankle sprain, most severe injuries to the ankle should be examined by a musculoskeletal specialist.

What are the treatment options?

First, to prevent further complications, make sure to stay off the injured ankle until you receive medical evaluation from a physician. Other ankle fracture treatments include:

  • Elevate the ankle and apply ice to the injured area to decrease swelling and pain.
  • Rest and make sure to stay off the affected ankle.
  • Depending on the type of the fracture, a splint/cast/boot may be used to stabilize and realign the ankle joint.
  • Some patients may require surgery if the fracture is severe enough.

What is the best way to heal from a fractured ankle?

Healing of an ankle fracture depends on the severity of the injury. To optimize bone healing we advise patients eat a good diet, get enough calcium and vitamin D, and follow treatment instructions from their physician.

Will an ankle fracture heal by itself?

Some ankle fractures will heal without surgical intervention but most require some period of immobilization in boot or brace if treated without surgical intervention.

What should someone with a fractured ankle do to keep relatively fit during the period of immobility?

Patients often worry about their fitness when they are immobilized or unable to put weight on their extremity after an ankle fracture. I recommend my patient at Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center begin upper body exercises as soon as they can resume activity. We also have patients frequently use rolling knee walkers, which allow them to be as mobile as possible while they are healing.

If you’ve suffered an ankle fracture, seek medical attention from an orthopaedic physician specializing in fractures. The physician will conduct a physical exam, perform appropriate imaging and recommend a treatment plan (non-surgical or surgical) to get your back to your pre-injury functional level safely and as soon as possible. If the injury is severe, please call 911 or visit the nearest hospital emergency room.


About Dr. Bariteau

bariteau-jasonJason Bariteau, MD, grew up in a small town just outside of Albany, New York. After completing his undergraduate degree in Biology at College of Saint Rose, he then pursued his medical degree at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. Following completion of his medical training he developed his surgical skills during his orthopedic surgery residency at Brown University. He then subsequently completed two advanced orthopedics fellowships; the first at Brown University in orthopedic trauma and the second at Baylor Medical Center in Dallas Texas under the tutelage internationally known Foot and Ankle Surgeon James W Brodsky MD. He currently resides in Atlanta, GA with his wife and three children.

Related Resources
Takeaways from Dr. Olufade’s Ankle Sprain Chat

Protect Your Knees at Any Age

knee-painKnee problems are the most common reason people visit an orthopaedic or sports medicine surgeon. May seem like common sense, but if you want healthy knees later in life, start taking care of them now, even if you are young.

The knee is the largest and strongest joint in your body and the major support structure of all your lower extremities. Unfortunately, as people age, knee issues become more common. Possible knee symptoms are aches, stiffness, and swelling and are usually caused by two main factors.

First, as we age, we lose some of the natural cartilage that acts as a cushion between the four bones in your knee joint. Damage to, or wearing down of, the cartilage causes pain and makes it hard to do many everyday activities, such as walking or climbing stairs.

Second, if you play sports, live an active lifestyle, or have suffered a knee injury, it is likely you may experience future or further knee problems as you continue to age.

Obesity has more recently become a major risk factor for knee conditions such as arthritis, not only of the knee, but also the hip and ankle.

Now that we know the major causes of knee problems, what’s a person with aging knees to do? While you can’t stop the aging process, you can follow these key tips to protect your knees.

1. Monitor changes in your knee health and record any signs and symptoms to share with your orthopaedic physician.

Symptoms from the aging process may be knee pain, but swelling is another common indicator. With age and cartilage loss, the body naturally responds by trying to repair itself, so there may be fluid in the knee, which is the body’s way of trying to increase shock absorption and lubrication in the knee.

2. Maintain a healthy weight

Every extra pound you put on places about four 4 extra pounds of pressure on your knees. Getting rid of extra weight may help alleviate knee pain or cure it altogether.

3. Exercise

Living an active lifestyle and incorporating low impact exercise into your routine promotes healthy knees. Make sure you leave enough time to properly warm up and stretch before starting your activity. Strength training uses resistance to build strong muscles and flexibility in the skeletal muscles.

4. Don’t overdo it!

Make sure you do not ignore the ongoing knee pain. If you play sports, consider additional training to learn proper techniques and alignment. When doing squats and lunges, don’t bend your leg beyond a 90-degree angle and make sure your knee stays directly over your foot. If injured, try using the RICE method to relieve immediate pain and reduce swelling: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. And contact your healthcare provider if the pain persists or intensifies.

The team of knee specialists at Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center includes orthopaedic surgeons, non-operative and sports medicine physicians, and trainers. At Emory, we offer the most advanced knee treatments in the Southeast, including anatomic ACL reconstruction, PRP knee therapy, meniscus repair, and more. To schedule an appointment, call 404-778-3350 or complete our online appointment request form.


About Dr. Spero Karas

karas-speroDr. Karas is the Director of the Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Fellowship Program and an Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Emory University. Dr. Karas is an internationally recognized expert in the field for sports medicine, surgery of the shoulder and knee, and arthroscopic surgery. He has been recognized as one of America’s “Top Orthopaedic Doctors” in Men’s Health Magazine and “Top Sports Medicine Specialists for Women” in Women’s Health Magazine. Atlanta Magazine has named him in “Atlanta’s Best Doctors” for the past eight years.

Dr. Karas came to Emory in 2005, after serving as Chief of the Shoulder Service and team physician at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. He currently serves as head team physician and orthopedic surgeon for the Atlanta Falcons, as well as a consulting team physician for Emory University and Georgia Tech athletics. He cares for patients and athletes of all levels: professional, collegiate, scholastic, and recreational.

Experts Reveal New Post-Concussion Treatment Recommendations: Rest Is Not Best

footballEarlier this month, 37 concussion specialists and researchers from around the country met in Pittsburgh to discuss the effectiveness of a common treatment option for concussions. I had the honor of representing Emory Healthcare and participating in this game-changing conference.

The goal of the two-day conference, which was held at University of Pittsburg Medical Center (UPMC), was to get the word out that concussions are treatable injuries and should no longer be treated with strict rest alone. There were several consensus statements on the issue that were debated in detail, and ultimately agreed/disagreed upon.

After much conversation, my fellow concussion experts and I came to the conclusion that despite popular belief, prolonged rest, a common treatment recommendation for concussions, does not aid in the recovery from a concussion and can actually worsen it. This conclusion is somewhat controversial because prolonged rest is a worldwide treatment method used by almost every person following a concussion. A major takeaway from this group was agreement that concussions are treatable and under the appropriate care an athlete should recover from the injury and excel at his or her highest performance levels.

Attention to traumatic brain injuries has increased over the past few years mainly due to an increase in sports-related injuries, especially from football. Athletes in the United States suffer around 300,000 concussions every year, but many mild concussions go undiagnosed and unreported so the number is even higher. Each concussion is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all way to treat them. Symptoms are not always visible, making it hard to definitively know when it’s safe for an athlete to return to play.

Because concussions are unique to each patient, assembling clinical profiles with common symptoms and treatments is key to the future development of concussion research and therapies. Active rehabilitation of concussions includes managing overall activity, subthreshold cognitive and physical activity, and focused therapy. Depending on the clinical profile with which a person suffering a concussion best aligns, the treatment plan may include certain specialized therapies, periods of rest, or cognitive exercise.

While this agreement did not produce immediate treatment protocols or guidelines, our hope is that the conference will spark more research on the subject. Over the next few months, the other physicians and I will compile our findings to be published in a medical journal, which will generate additional papers. As these papers are shared publicly, I am confident we will begin to move the ball forward regarding current and future concussion research and care.

We are proud that Emory Healthcare is recognized as a leading concussion program, as evidenced by our role during this national conference, and because of the amazing opportunity it will afford us to play an active role in changing the way concussions are treated for generations to come.

About Dr. Pombo

pombo-matMathew Pombo, MD, joined the Emory Orthopaedic Surgery faculty as a highly regarded orthopaedic surgeon, speaker, author and researcher who specializes in getting patients with injuries back to an active lifestyle. His professional interests include anatomic single- and double-bundle ACL reconstruction, rotator cuff tears, shoulder instability, meniscal/cartilage injury and repair, joint preservation in the aging athlete, and minimally invasive joint replacement surgery of the knee and shoulder.

Dr. Pombo has conducted extensive scientific research, published multiple journal articles, written several book chapters, and has presented at both national and international meetings on topics related to sports medicine, concussions, and orthopaedic surgery. He has been instrumental in bringing awareness to sports-related concussions and the new Georgia “Return to Play” Act and is one of the top regarded experts in the area for the treatment of concussions. He currently serves as the Director of the Emory Sports Concussion Program.

Dr. Pombo, his wife, and two boys, Eli and Henry, live in Johns Creek, GA. Dr. Pombo enjoys spending time with his family during his days off. Many of his patients also enjoy watching him succeed in his second career as a professional race car driver where he can be found driving at race tracks across North America.

Related Resources
Warning Signs of Concussions Not Always Visible
Concussions and Female Athletes
How to Recover Fully and Quickly from a Concussion
Takeaways from Dr. Mautner’s Concussion Chat

Extending Nationally-ranked Orthopaedics, Sports and Spine Care

MSKmapRecently, Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital was recognized nationally as a top hospital in the country for orthopaedics*, but did you know that we have more than one location? In fact, Emory offers comprehensive orthopaedic, sports medicine and spine care at multiple locations across Atlanta:

Clinic Locations:
★ Atlanta (also has an outpatient surgery center)
★ Dunwoody (also has an outpatient surgery center)
★ Johns Creek
★ Sugarloaf
★ Tucker

Hospital Locations:

  • Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital
  • Emory University Hospital Midtown
  • Emory Johns Creek Hospital

Physical Therapy Locations:

  • Atlanta (3 different locations)
  • Dunwoody
  • Johns Creek
  • Sugarloaf
  • Tucker

Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital is Georgia’s first and only hospital designated primarily to spine and joint replacement surgery. Each of our orthopaedic physicians has received years of specific training to specialize in his or her area of expertise and all use progressive treatment approaches, many of them pioneered right here at Emory and taught around with world. Surgical procedures and other treatments that are rarely performed at other hospitals are routinely performed at Emory Orthopaedics, Sports & Spine.

In additional to expanding our geographic reach over the last few years, Emory Orthopaedics, Sports & Spine has continuously reinvested resources and funding back into its existing facilities to improve research, technology and care delivery models, ensuring that the patient and family experience is unmatched. This commitment to delivering supreme care has resulted in our patients consistently giving us some of the highest patient satisfaction scores in the country**.

To see an Emory orthopaedic, sports medicine or spine specialist at one of our convenient locations, call 404-778-3350 today. Appointments for surgical second opinions or acute sports injuries are available within 48 hours.

*Ranked by U.S. News & World Report

** Ranked by Press Ganey


Related Resources:
Orthopaedics at Emory Healthcare

What is Orthopedic Trauma?

ambulanceOrthopedic trauma is a severe injury to part of the musculoskeletal system, and often the result of a sudden accident requiring immediate medical attention. While not all orthopedic trauma is life-threatening, it is life altering. Therefore, your choice of doctors is extremely important.

Orthopedic trauma physicians are unique in that they specialize in complex injuries to bones, joints and soft tissues (like muscles, tendons and ligaments) throughout the entire body. Many orthopaedic specialists specialize in just one body part. Others may provide more general care but won’t treat more acute fractures, which are physically more difficult to fix. Orthopedic trauma physicians, however, receive training in the field of orthopaedic surgery with a special focus on the treatment of fractured bones and joint realignment to promote the safe recovery and return of functionality to injured body parts. So, they often treat patients with multiple broken bones, compound fractures and fractures near a joint (like a hip or knee).

Orthopaedic trauma surgeons are able to follow patients through all stages of recovery and enlist the help of other specialists, if needed, to treat complex cases. By maintaining open communication with all providers, they are able to ensure each patient receives the care needed to resume a full and active lifestyle.

Regardless of where a traumatic injury has been treated initially, patients can see an orthopedic trauma surgeon at Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center in our Atlanta or Johns Creek locations. Our surgeons are happy to give second opinions, provide specialty care for complex and multi-system fractures, or even perform post traumatic joint reconstruction. And, as part of the Emory Healthcare family of providers, our surgeons have access to all of the most advanced equipment, treatments and services offered by Emory.

About Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center

At the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center, our orthopedic trauma team understands just how life-altering a traumatic event, like a car accident or major fall, can be. So, we work hard to help patients recover from their physical injuries as fully as possible. We know that recovery isn’t complete after emergency surgery, therefore we provide follow-up care, respond to complications, and refer patients to other specialists when necessary in order to achieve the best possible outcomes.

Learn more about the conditions and treatments our Emory orthopaedic trauma surgeons provide. To make an appointment to see an Emory orthopaedic trauma surgeon, please call 404-778-3350.

Using Heat and Cold to Treat Injury

back-painIt’s hard to get through life without straining a muscle, spraining a ligament, or wrenching your back. When something hurts, ice and heat are often the go-to solutions, and using temperature therapy to complement medications and self-care can be very effective. But while both heat and cold can help reduce pain, it can be confusing to decide which is more appropriate depending on the injury. Our tips below give you the facts on when to use (and not use) heat and cold therapies.

When to Use Cold Therapy

Cold is best for acute pain caused by recent tissue damage is used when the injury is recent, red, inflamed, or sensitive. The inflammatory process is a healthy, normal, natural process that also can be incredibly painful. Here are some examples of common acute injuries:

  • Ankle sprain
  • Muscle or joint sprain
  • Red, hot or swollen body part
  • Acute pain after intense exercise
  • Inflammatory arthritis flare ups

When you sprain something, you damage blood vessels causing swelling to occur. Applying something cold causes the blood vessels to constrict, reducing the swelling and limiting bruising. Cold therapy can also help relieve any inflammation or pain that occurs after exercise, which is a form of acute inflammation. However, unlike heat, you should apply ice after going for a run to reduce post-exercise inflammation.

Tips for Applying Cold

  • Cold should only be applied locally and should never be used for more than 20 minutes at a time.
  • Apply cold immediately after injury or intense, high-impact exercise.
  • Always wrap ice packs in a towel before applying to an affected area.
  • Do not use ice in areas where you have circulation problems.

When to Use Heat Therapy

While ice is used to treat acute pain, heat therapy is typically used for chronic pain or conditions. Unlike cold therapy’s ability to constrict blood vessels, heat allows for our blood vessels to expand and our muscles to relax. That’s why overworked muscles respond best to heat. Heat stimulates blood flow, relaxes spasms, and soothes sore muscles. Some common chronic conditions that heat is used to treat are:

  • Muscle pain or soreness
  • Arthritis
  • Stiff joints

Tips for Applying Heat

  • Unlike cold therapy, heat should be applied before exercising. Applying heat after exercise can aggravate existing pain.
  • Protect yourself from direct contact with heating devices. Wrapping heat sources in a folded towel can help prevent burns.
  • Stay hydrated during heat therapy.
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to heating sources.

Low Level Heat

If you find that heat helps ease your pain, try a continuous low-level heat wrap, available at most drugstores. You can wear a heat wrap for up to 8 hours, even while you sleep.

What to Avoid

Heat can make inflammation worse, and ice can make muscle tension and spasms worse, so be careful. Just like anything else, don’t overdo it! It’s normal for your skin to be a little pink after using cold and heat therapies, but if you start to notice any major skin irritation like hives, blisters or swelling, you should call your doctor. Otherwise, use whatever works for you depending on your condition. Both ice and heat can be very effective if used correctly!

About Emory Sports Medicine Center

At the Emory Sports Medicine Center, our experts specialize in advanced procedures to treat and repair a wide range of sports related injuries. Recently recognized as one of the nation’s TOP 50 orthopaedics programs, Emory Orthopaedics, Sports and Spine has 6 convenient locations across metro Atlanta, as well as 6 physical therapy locations. Click to learn more >>

About Dr. Mines

mines-brandonDr. Brandon Mines is board certified in both family practice and sports medicine. He has focused his clinical interest on sports injuries and conditions of the shoulder, elbow, wrist/hand, knee, foot and ankle. He is head team physician for the Women’s National Basketball Association’s (WNBA) Atlanta Dream, Decatur High School and a team physician for NFL’s Atlanta Falcons. He is also a rotational physician for United States soccer teams.

Dr. Mines enjoys giving talks and lectures regarding the prevention of sports injuries. In fact, as an active member of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and the American Society for Sports Medicine, Dr. Mines has attended and presented at various national conferences. Through the years, he has helped all levels of athletes return to the top of their game.

Takeaways from Dr. Boden’s Spine Surgery Chat

Thanks to everyone who joined us Tuesday, August 25, for our live online chat on “When Should You Consider Spine Surgery?” hosted by Scott Boden, MD, director of the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center.

If you have been told you need spine surgery, it is important to make sure you have the proper information before electing to have spine surgery. The good news is that less than 10% of patients who experience back or neck problems are actually candidates for surgery.

See all of Dr. Boden’s answers by checking out the chat transcript! Below are a few highlights from the chat:

Question: I have disc degeneration at all lumbar levels, can surgery be performed, if not, what else can be done to relieve pain?



Dr. Boden: When there is disc degeneration at all levels and the primary symptom is back pain (and not radiating leg pain), we would typically not suggest surgery. You would have to come in to see a spine specialist to fully address your pain and specific situation, though.


Question: If less than 10% of patients who experience back or neck problems are candidates for surgery, why is that?



Dr. Boden: The majority of back or neck problems will resolve with time or non-operative treatments such as physical therapy or medications. Only a very small percentage will require or benefit from surgery.


Question: Could you walk us through a general sequence of determining whether or not a patient should consider surgery following a disc herniation, PT and epidural steroid injections? Having a hard time sorting out the difference between patience to allow healing and delaying and inevitable surgery now 2 years post injury.



Dr. Boden: In general, a disc herniation might need surgery if the primary symptom is radiating leg pain rather than just low back pain.



The majority of disc herniations – over 90% – resolve on their own within three months. During that time steroid injections, physical therapy and medications can be tried to help relieve pain while the body heals the disc.

If the leg pain persists longer than 3 months than the ideal surgical window is between 3 and 6 months after the leg pain started. You can still get acceptable results after 2 years, but the likelihood of success is slightly smaller.

Watch as Dr. Boden shares more insight into when it’s time to consider back surgery in this Fox5 Atlanta news feature. (Note: this news segment contains advertisements and external links which are not endorsed, administered or controlled by Emory Healthcare.)

At the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center, our team of highly-trained spine specialists work together to diagnose and treat cervical spine and lumbar spine conditions ranging from herniated discs to more complex problems such as spinal tumors and scoliosis.

To make an appointment with an Emory spine specialist, call 404-778-3350 or complete our online appointment request form >>



National Recognition for Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center

boden-scottIn the May 2015 issue of Spine magazine, a special review section highlights the 100 most frequently cited research papers on lumbar (lower back) spine surgery.

After reviewing more than 16,500 papers that matched the search criteria, the research team compiling the data determined 322 papers that were cited at least 100 times.

One of the top three most frequently cited authors was Scott D. Boden, MD, director of Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center.

“This [review] identifies those individuals whose contributions to the ever-growing body of knowledge have provided guidance and suggestions for further investigation,” says Samuel K. Cho, MD. Cho and his colleagues from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, performed the review.

Earlier this year, Dr. Boden was recognized in the highly regarded medical publication Becker’s Spine Review as one of the top 55 spine surgeons on the forefront of biologics & stem cell. Dr. Boden’s selection into this prestigious group was because of his work and research on spine fusion, spinal disorders and bone regeneration.

So what does this mean for patients? Dr. Boden, along with his highly-trained colleagues, are often recognized nationally and internationally for being on the forefront of research. The information discovered during research is communicated through research papers and publications and used to:

  • perfect and deliver outstanding patient care.
  • educate other physicians around the world.
  • train the next generations of surgeons and physicians.

Congratulations to Dr. Boden and all our physicians and staff at Emory Orthopaedics, Sports & Spine for your tireless effort in delivering leading patient care.

To see an Emory orthopaedic, sports or spine specialist, complete our online appointment form or call 404-778-3350.