Arthritis

Arthritis Joint Pain

There are two basic types of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis. The common denominator between the two is inflammation of the affected joints that can make daily tasks or activities difficult or painful.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain (RA)

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory autoimmune disease. The body recognizes its own tissue as a foreign invader and essentially attacks itself. Rheumatoid arthritis can appear at any age, but most commonly affects women in their middle age. There are a few characteristics that distinguish rheumatoid arthritis from other forms of arthritis, which are as follows:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, not a condition.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis affects the body symmetrically. If the joints on one hand are affected, the other hand is too.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis can affect other parts of the body as well as joints, such as eyes, heart, and lungs.

A joint is surrounded by a capsule that protects and supports it. The joint capsule is lined with a type of tissue called synovium, which produces synovial fluid that lubricates and nourishes joint tissues. In rheumatoid arthritis, the synovium becomes inflamed, causing warmth, redness, swelling, and pain. As the disease progresses, the inflamed synovium invades and damages the cartilage and bone of the joint. Surrounding muscles, ligaments, and tendons become weakened. Rheumatoid arthritis also can cause more generalized bone loss that may lead to osteoporosis (fragile bones that are prone to fracture). – Courtesy of NIAMS.

As RA progresses, the bones and cartilage in the affected joints can become disfigured over time. People who have RA can experience feelings of hopelessness & depression. While there is no cure, early diagnosis and treatment can help keep the disease in remission.

Osteoarthritis Pain (OA)

Osteoarthritis is caused by the breakdown of cartilage within the joints, which results in pain and swelling in the affected joints and, in some cases, in the adjoining ligaments, tendons and muscles. When the cartilage breakdown occurs over time from wear-and-tear on the joints, it is referred to as “primary osteoarthritis,” but it is important to recognize that primary osteoarthritis is NOT an essential part of the normal aging process. When a joint becomes arthritic sometime after an acute injury, it is referred to as “Secondary OA.” A complication in correctly diagnosing and treating arthritis is that there are so many other medical conditions that share the same symptoms, including biotoxicity, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome or an acute joint or muscle injury.

If properly diagnosed and treated, arthritis doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying an active lifestyle. If you already have tried different medications and treatments with unsuccessful results, don’t give up yet.

The Kaplan Center offers customized, integrated treatment programs, designed to relieve you of your arthritis pain and forestall its degenerative process on your joints. At the Kaplan Center, our physicians have years of experience treating patients with chronic pain conditions, and we completely reject the notion that “you just have to live with it.”

At your first visit, your Kaplan physician will take time exploring the onset of your condition, the specific nature of your symptoms and the overall status of your health. You’ll also be asked about the medications and therapies you’ve tried in the past, and what has and hasn’t worked you. To gather additional information about your condition, specialized diagnostic laboratory testing may be necessary. After reviewing all of the factors contributing to your condition, your physician will spend time talking with you about your diagnosis and working with you to create a customized and multi-dimensional treatment plan that addresses not only your immediate pain but for also any possible underlying or co-existing conditions that may be causing or aggravating your symptoms. Some of the therapies we offer to address arthritis include:

“I began once-a-month PRP treatments in September, and by the time of my vacation in December, I noticed a dramatic improvement in my pain and mobility!” – B.K., Patient

We are here for you, and we want to help.

Our goal is to return you to optimal health as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment please call: 703-532-4892

Back & Neck Pain

Are you suffering from back pain & hoping to avoid surgery?

Frequently, unnecessary and inappropriate surgery is performed in an effort to resolve low-back pain. While there is unquestionably a time and a place for surgery to address low-back pain, current medical research indicates that conservative treatment of low-back pain is often as effective as or even more effective than surgery.1

What is “conservative treatment”? Depending on the individual patient, it can include a range of medical treatments from osteopathic manual manipulation and acupuncture to physical therapy and regenerative injection therapies, such as prolotherapy.

Neck pain affects many individuals throughout the course of a lifetime, and in most cases, the pain is mild and temporary. If you experience a fever accompanying the neck pain, shooting pains throughout the limbs, or numbness or weakness in your arms and hands, seek immediate medical attention. In chronic or severe cases of neck pain, a medical evaluation and treatment plan is necessary to resolve the pain and return you to optimal health.

Chronic neck pain can be caused by a poor posture, neck muscle strains and sprains, trauma, wear-and-tear in the soft tissue surrounding the vertebrae, degenerative disc disease, a herniated disc, fibromyalgia, or arthritis.

If your back or neck pain is severe, persistent or not responding to treatment, the Kaplan Center is here to help you. Our physicians have years of experience treating patients with neck pain and other chronic pain conditions, and we completely reject the notion that “you just have to live with it.”

At your first visit, your Kaplan physician will take time exploring the onset of your condition, the specific nature of your symptoms and the overall status of your health. You’ll also be asked about the medications and therapies you’ve tried in the past, and what has and hasn’t worked for you. To gather additional information about your condition, specialized diagnostic laboratory testing may be necessary.

After reviewing all of the factors contributing to your condition, your physician will spend time talking with you about your diagnosis and working with you to create a customized and multi-dimensional treatment plan that addresses not only your immediate back or neck pain but also any possible underlying or co-existing conditions that may be causing or aggravating your symptoms.

We offer a multitude of effective non-surgical treatment options, including:

So, before you agree to surgery, we encourage you to explore your options. In some cases, of course, surgery may be your best option. If this occurs, we will coordinate with the other medical providers involved in your case and provide integrated medical care that fully supports your most rapid and complete recovery.

References:

1 Weinstein J et al. Surgical vs. Nonoperative Treatment for Lumbar Disk Herniation: the Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial (SPORT): a Randomized Trial. Journal of American Medicine. 2006 Nov 22; 296(20): 2441.

We are here for you, and we want to help.

Our goal is to return you to optimal health as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment please call: 703-532-4892


Additional Resources:

Consumer Guide: 17 Things to Know Before Choosing a Doctor to Treat Your Chronic Pain

Chronic Joint Pain

Are you suffering with chronic joint pain and hoping to avoid surgery?

If so, you know how debilitating and disheartening it can be. You may have been to several physicians and specialists or even had surgery, just to be disappointed that you’re still in pain.

woman's musculoskeletal system

eraxion © 123RF.com

The problem with chronic joint pain is that it can be caused by a variety of factors or a combination of factors, including normal wear-and-tear, prior injuries, infections, hormonal imbalances, autoimmune disorders, allergic reactions, exposure to environmental toxins, or even an emotional trauma.

At the Kaplan Center, our practitioners have years of experience successfully treating chronic joint pain, and we completely reject the notion that “you just have to live with it.”

What can you expect when you visit the Kaplan Center? First, you will be seen by a physician who is trained in one or more of the following specialties: osteopathic medicine, pain management, family medicine, medical acupuncture and physical medicine and rehabilitation. Given that chronic joint pain has so many causes and contributing factors, this broad range of experience is crucial in accurately evaluating your condition and for ensuring that you receive the specific medical care you need to return you to optimal health.

Second, your first appointment at the Kaplan Center will be at least 60 minutes long. Our physicians need this time to explore the onset of your condition, the specific nature of your pain sensations, and the overall status of your health, including prior injuries, surgeries, use of medications, travel history, exposure to environmental toxins, and social/family history. To gather additional information about your condition, your Kaplan physician may order specialized testing.

After reviewing all of the factors contributing to your particular health situation, your Kaplan physician will spend time talking with you about your diagnosis and working with you to create a customized and multi-dimensional treatment plan that addresses your symptoms and any possible underlying or co-existing conditions that may be causing or aggravating your joint pain.

We offer a multitude of effective treatment options, including:

We are here for you, and we want to help.

Our goal is to return you to optimal health as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment please call: 703-532-4892


Additional Resources:

Consumer Guide: 17 Things to Know Before Choosing a Doctor to Treat Your Chronic Pain

Sciatica

Sciatica is a term used to describe the pain (shooting or burning sensations), weakness, numbness, or tingling along the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the body, which starts in the low back and runs through the buttock and down the back of the leg. These sensations can extend from the origin of the nerve all the way down to the foot or ankle, sometimes even the toes. Sciatic pain worsens with inactivity or extended periods of sitting and is most often caused by a bulging or herniated disc resulting in compression of the nerve. Other possible causes include lumbar stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal), piriformis syndrome, or spondylolisthesis (displacement of the vertebra).

The location and severity of symptoms largely depend on where the sciatic nerve is being compressed.  Low back pain may or may not be present with sciatica and the pain can refer to the back or outer aspect of the thigh.

At the Kaplan Center, our physicians have years of experience treating patients with chronic pain conditions of the spine, and we completely reject the notion that “you just have to live with it.”

Since sciatic pain is a symptom of an underlying medical condition, determining the root cause of the pain is the only way to begin the healing process. At your first visit, your Kaplan physician will take time exploring the history of your condition, the specific characteristics of your symptoms and the overall status of your health. You’ll also be asked about the medications and therapies you’ve tried in the past, and what has and hasn’t worked for you. To gather additional information about your condition, specialized diagnostic laboratory and/or radiographic testing may be necessary.

After reviewing all of the factors contributing to your condition, your physician will spend time talking with you about your diagnosis and working with you to create a customized and multi-dimensional treatment plan that addresses not only your immediate pain but also any possible underlying or co-existing conditions that may be causing or aggravating your symptoms.

We offer a multitude of effective treatment options, including:

Current research shows that patients with sciatica respond well to conservative, non-invasive treatment, however, in some cases additional treatment may be the best option.

We are here for you, and we want to help.

Our goal is to return you to optimal health as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment please call: 703-532-4892

Sjögren’s Syndrome

Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder whose main symptoms are dryness of the mouth and eyes. It most commonly affects people over the age of 40, 90% of whom are women. Other symptoms include joint pain, swollen salivary glands, dry skin, vaginal dryness, persistent dry cough, and prolonged fatigue.

These symptoms overlap with those associated with a number of other medical conditions, including chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and multiple sclerosis. Furthermore, individuals who suffer from Sjögren’s syndrome often are diagnosed with another immune-system disorder, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. Consequently, Sjogren’s often can be overlooked or misdiagnosed. In fact, the average time between the onset of symptoms and receiving a diagnosis is nearly seven years.

Unfortunately, if left untreated, Sjögren’s can undermine the proper functioning of your lungs, liver, kidneys, and nerves.

At the Kaplan Center, our physicians have years of experience diagnosing and treating patients with chronic conditions like Sjögren’s.

At your first visit, your Kaplan physician will take time exploring the onset of your condition, the specific nature of your symptoms and the overall status of your health. You’ll also be asked about the medications and therapies you’ve tried in the past, and what has and hasn’t worked for you. To gather additional information about your condition, specialized diagnostic laboratory testing may be necessary.

After reviewing all of the factors contributing to your condition, your physician will spend time talking with you about your diagnosis and working with you to create a customized and multi-dimensional treatment plan that addresses not only your immediate pain but also any possible underlying or co-existing conditions that may be causing or aggravating your symptoms.

Currently, there is no cure for Sjögren’s syndrome, but the Kaplan Center offers treatments that can alleviate its symptoms so you can maintain a good quality of life:

We are here for you, and we want to help.

Our goal is to return you to optimal health as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment please call: 703-532-4892


Additional Resources:

Website: Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation
Article: What Venus William’s Sjögren’s Syndrome Diagnosis Means for Her Health

Coccydynia

Coccydynia, coccyx pain, and tailbone pain are all names for a very painful condition that causes persistent pain at the bottom of your spine or coccyx. Coccydynia can occur following a fall, childbirth, repetitive strain or surgery. In some rare cases, the pain may be caused by a tumor or infection. Whatever the proximate cause, the result is that the injured or unstable coccyx becomes chronically inflamed. The condition is more common in women than men because the female pelvis is broader and rotated in a way that puts more pressure on the coccyx when sitting; therefore, women are at a greater risk of injury.

The most common symptom of coccydynia is pain at the bottom of your spine that is aggravated when sitting down. You may also experience sensitivity to pressure applied to that area, extreme pain when rising from sitting to standing, pain during sexual intercourse, pain during bowel movements, or increased pain during menstruation or when constipated.

At the Kaplan Center, our physicians have years of experience treating patients with chronic pain conditions such as coccydynia, and we completely reject the notion that “you just have to live with it.”

At your first visit, your Kaplan physician will take time exploring the onset of your condition, the specific nature of your symptoms and the overall status of your health. You’ll also be asked about the medications and therapies you’ve tried in the past, and what has and hasn’t worked for you. To gather additional information about your condition, specialized diagnostic laboratory testing may be necessary.

After reviewing all of the factors contributing to your condition, your physician will spend time talking with you about your diagnosis and working with you to create a customized and multi-dimensional treatment plan that addresses not only your immediate pain but also any possible underlying or co-existing conditions that may be causing or aggravating your symptoms.

We offer a multitude of effective treatment options, including:

We are here for you, and we want to help.

Our goal is to return you to optimal health as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment please call: 703-532-4892


Additional Resources:

Medical Acupuncture at the Kaplan Center.
Article: Coccydynia Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine

Chronic Post-Surgical Pain (CPSP)

Chronic post-surgical pain (CPSP) is one of the most common complications of surgery. It is estimated that 10-50 percent of individuals who have undergone an operation experience pain that persists after the expected healing period.1

There is no known cause for CPSP, but several factors are known to increase an individual’s risk of suffering chronic, post-operative pain. These include genetic factors, the age and sex of the patient, the presence of preoperative, chronic pain, neurophysiological factors, nerve and muscle damage that occurs during surgery, post-operative complications, and acute pain in the early post-operative period.2

Coping with post-surgical pain can be challenging, especially when you undergo surgery expecting it to alleviate, not exacerbate a medical problem. When patients continue to experience debilitating pain post-surgery, they may feel hopeless, frustrated, and angry. In some patients, these feelings can even lead to depression.

Surgery to repair a femoral hernia had left me in chronic pain. I suffered from fatigue and such debilitating low-back pain that made even walking almost unbearably painful.” Read more… 

At the Kaplan Center our physicians have years of experience treating patients with chronic pain conditions, and we completely reject the notion that “you just have to live with it.”
At your first visit, your Kaplan physician will take time exploring the onset of your condition, the specific nature of your symptoms and the overall status of your health. You’ll also be asked about the medications and therapies you’ve tried in the past, and what has and hasn’t worked for you. To gather additional information about your condition, specialized diagnostic laboratory testing may be necessary.

After reviewing all of the factors contributing to your condition, your physician will spend time talking with you about your diagnosis and working with you to create a customized and multi-dimensional treatment plan that addresses not only your immediate pain, but also any possible underlying or co-existing conditions that may be causing or aggravating your symptoms.

We offer a multitude of effective treatment options, including:

We are here for you, and we want to help.

Our goal is to return you to optimal health as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment please call: 703-532-4892

1 //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16698416 Persistent postsurgical pain: risk factors and prevention.2 //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20798959 Predictors of chronic pain following surgery. What do we know?.

 


Additional Resources:

Medical Acupuncture at the Kaplan Center.
Publication: What is Biofeedback? By Medline Plus, a service of the US Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health

Sleep Disorders

Sleep deprivation caused by insufficient sleep or poor quality sleep impairs the body’s immune system, physical reflexes, emotional stability, and cognitive functions. It also can lead to increased muscle, joint, and nerve pain.

There are a wide variety of sleep disorders. Some are caused by physical problems, such as an airway obstruction that leads to sleep apnea, or when chronic pain or indigestion/reflux interrupts sleep. Sleep problems also can occur as a side effect of taking certain medications or supplements.

Often emotional difficulties, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety are associated with sleep issues. In many, if not most cases, patients will discover that several factors are contributing to their sleep disturbance — including anxiety about not getting enough sleep!

Some commonly diagnosed sleep disorders include:

  • Insomnia – Inability to fall asleep within 15-20 minutes.
  • Dyssomnia – Frequent awakenings throughout the night and/or early-morning awakenings.
  • Restless Leg Syndrome – When lying in bed, unpleasant “crawling” sensations in the legs that create an irresistible and sleep-disruptive urge to move one’s legs.
  • Sleepwalking – Walking or engaging in other activities while sleeping.
  • Sleep Apnea – Obstruction of airway during sleep, causing breathing irregularities that interrupt and interfere with sleep. Sufferers are at higher risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Snoring may be a sign or symptom of sleep apnea, so it’s something you should mention to your doctor.

So, how do you improve the quality of your sleep? Identifying if you have a sleep disorder is the first step. Your initial medical evaluation at the Kaplan Center will include a comprehensive assessment of your sleep history, the specific nature of your symptoms and the overall status of your health. You’ll also be asked about the medications and therapies you’ve tried in the past, and what has and hasn’t worked for you.

Our physicians understand the relationship between sleep disorders and pain, and they have experience prescribing the newer medications that can help restore delta-wave sleep. Finally, they also have expertise using a variety of alternative approaches to you help to improve your sleep, including:

Your Kaplan physician will work with you to create a customized, multi-dimensional treatment plan that addresses the root causes of your sleep disorder as well as any possible underlying or co-existing conditions.

We are here for you, and we want to help.

Our goal is to return you to optimal health as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment please call: 703-532-4892


Additional Resources:

Epworth Sleepiness Scale – Do You Have Sleep Apnea? Take this short quiz to find out.
Article: Downshift Your Day and Get Set for Restful Sleep
Website: Sleep Apnea Information Page, The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

Muscle Pain

Muscle pain affects most individuals at some point in their lives; often it is caused by physical activity that results in muscle strain or sprain. Chronic, widespread muscle pain or “myofascial pain syndrome” may be a symptom of an underlying or co-existing medical condition such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis or arthritis.

When muscle pain is chronic, it is critically important to receive an accurate and complete diagnosis to determine what is causing your discomfort, so it can be addressed appropriately.

At the Kaplan Center our physicians have years of experience treating patients with chronic pain conditions, and we completely reject the notion that “you just have to live with it.” Whether you are searching for a diagnosis for your muscle pain or have already been diagnosed, but have yet to find a long-lasting and effective treatment, the Kaplan Center can help.

At your first visit, your Kaplan physician will take time exploring the onset of your condition, the specific nature of your symptoms and the overall status of your health. You’ll also be asked about the medications and therapies you’ve tried in the past, and what has and hasn’t worked for you. To gather additional information about your condition, specialized diagnostic laboratory testing may be necessary.

After reviewing all of the factors contributing to your condition, your physician will spend time talking with you about your diagnosis and working with you to create a customized and multi-dimensional treatment plan that addresses not only your immediate pain, but also any possible underlying or co-existing conditions that may be causing or aggravating your symptoms.

We offer a multitude of effective treatment options, including:

We are here for you, and we want to help.

Our goal is to return you to optimal health as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment please call: 703-532-4892


Additional Resources:

Downloadable Consumer Guide: 17 Things to Know Before Choosing a Doctor to Treat Your Chronic Pain, by Dr. Gary Kaplan
Evaluating Your Musculoskeletal System at the Kaplan Center.

Heavy Metal Toxicity

Heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, mercury, cadmium, iron, and aluminum occur naturally in the environment, and very limited exposure typically does not cause disease or harm to humans. Long-term exposure to low levels of heavy metals, however, can result in an accumulation of these toxins in your body. We use the term “biotoxicity” to refer to the build-up of toxins in your body tissues that cause digestive problems and joint pain, and we use the word “neurotoxicity” when these toxins affect your nervous system and cause neurological disorders, including headaches, sleep disturbances, depression, and cognitive difficulties.

We can be exposed to heavy metals through the inhalation of air pollutants and through the consumption of food, drink and other consumer products such as household and personal care products that have been contaminated.

The painful symptoms of heavy metal toxicity are similar to the symptoms of a variety of other medical conditions. These conditions include fibromyalgia, migraine or chronic headaches, depression, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic Lyme Disease, chronic sinusitis and asthma that is unresponsive to conventional therapy. Biotoxicity symptoms also can mimic those of certain autoimmune diseases, such as psoriatic arthritis, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and rheumatoid arthritis.

The problem is, if an underlying cause of your pain or illness is heavy metal toxicity and your treatment plan does not include a detoxification regimen, your overall recovery is very likely to be incomplete and far slower than it needs to be.

At the Kaplan Center, our physicians have years of experience treating patients with heavy metal toxicity, and we completely reject the notion that “you just have to live with it.”

At your first visit, your Kaplan physician will take time exploring the onset of your condition, the specific nature of your symptoms and the overall status of your health. You’ll also be asked about the medications and therapies you’ve tried in the past, and what has and hasn’t worked for you. To gather additional information about your condition, specialized diagnostic laboratory testing may be necessary.

After reviewing all of the factors contributing to your condition, your physician will spend time talking with you about your diagnosis and working with you to create a customized and multi-dimensional treatment plan that addresses not only your immediate pain but also any possible underlying or co-existing conditions that may be causing or aggravating your symptoms. Many patients find that addressing the toxicity disorder has alleviated or resolved their longstanding medical problems.

We offer a multitude of effective treatment options, including:

We are here for you, and we want to help.

Our goal is to return you to optimal health as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment please call: 703-532-4892


Additional Resources:

Research study: Managing Radiation Therapy Side Effects with Complementary Medicine
Publication: Toxic Metals By the Occupational Safety & Health Administration