Advances in treating neck and back pain: Interview with Dr. Mark Ignatius

A Picture of Dr. Ignatius

Dr. Mark Ignatius, DO

Orthopedic doctors are often to help treat chronic and severe spinal pain, as the field of orthopedics is dedicated to fixing abnormalities in the bones and muscle, including nerves which transmit pain. Orthopedic doctors who specialize in interventional spine procedures are trained in a myriad of different ways to fight chronic pain that hasn’t responded to surgery or physical therapy.

This is an area of medicine in which new treatment options are constantly being developed. Dr. Mark Ignatius of CPOSM specializes in Interventional Spine Procedures, and in this short interview he discusses how and why he uses three modern, nonsurgical procedures to treat patients with neck and back pain: Read More …

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Making a Difference in Honduras

Operation Rainbow Mobilizes Orthopedic Care for People in Need

Operation Rainbow in Honduras

Dr. Paul in Honduras with Operation Rainbow

People who can’t afford private orthopedic care have very few medical options in Central America. Countries such as Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Haiti do not have enough surgeons, specialist doctors, or basic equipment to meet the needs of children with congenital deformities or traumatic injuries. Without treatment, these patients face a lifetime of pain and poverty and are unable to support themselves nor their families. This is the need that Operation Rainbow, a Bay Area based nonprofit organization, fulfills. The organization mobilizes teams of volunteer surgeons, pediatricians, nurses, anesthesiologists, technicians, and many other volunteers from hospitals and medical clinics throughout the U.S. to undertake the orthopedic surgery missions to poor areas of Latin America and the Caribbean.

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Connecting with what matters: Dr. Rowan Paul and Operation Rainbow

CPOSM Operation Rainbow Photos

Photos taken on Operation Rainbow trips

SAN FRANCISCO (October 2014) — Dr. Rowan Paul is already thinking about what to pack for his next medical mission to Honduras, where he will provide world-class orthopedic care for patients including children with congenital deformities and victims of gang violence- people who would otherwise have no hope for a cure. Dr. Paul volunteers every year with a team of medical and support personnel from Operation Rainbow, a Bay Area-based nonprofit that performs free orthopedic surgeries in developing countries, primarily in Latin America and the Caribbean. The 2014 schedule included missions to Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Haiti.
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Dr. Mark Ignatius – Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Dr. Mark Ignatius, DO

Dr. Mark Ignatius, DO

We would like to introduce our newest physician, Dr. Mark Ignatius.

The primary practice for Dr. Ignatius is physical medicine and rehabilitation, often referred to as PM&R, or simply “physiatry.”  This branch of medicine emphasizes on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disorders that can produce impairment. Rehabilitation physicians are determined to combat any illness or injury that could affect mobility.

Throughout rehabilitation, Dr. Ignatius always has the personalized care of every patient in mind. He clarifies that “in terms of treatment, my goal is to maximize each patient’s own body’s inherent ability to heal itself, coupled with a multitude of additional therapeutic measures.”

Dr. Ignatius specializes in the spine, specifically interventional spine procedures. An interventional spine procedure is a minimally invasive method used to treat some spinal diseases. There are many different options that include radiotheraphy, neurolytic blocks, intrathecal infusions, epidural infusions, and spinal cord stimulation. These practices can be an effective option to treat spinal injuries without surgery.

“As a fellowship-trained interventional physiatrist, I specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of spine and musculoskeletal disorders,” Dr. Ignatius explains. “For patients with spine problems, evaluation by a physiatrist is very beneficial. Most back and neck issues respond well to non-surgical treatments, but that being said, I also collaborate closely with spine surgeons and am able to determine when patients would benefit from surgery versus non-operative treatments.”

For more information on Dr. Ignatius, please visit his page. 

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Interventional Spine Procedures

Diagram of a skeletal system in motion.

Interventional Spine Procedures

Dr. Mark Ignatius specializes in an array of different interventional spine procedures. Interventional spine procedures are implemented to create pain management through a myriad of options.

“Many of these procedures are fluoroscopically image-guided, including epidural injections, facet injections, nerve blocks, nerve ablations, soft tissue and joint injections, as well as neuromodulation (i.e. spinal cord stimulation)” Dr. Ignatius describes. “Many patients with back or neck pain benefit from these minimally invasive treatments, and I take great care in weighing both the benefits and the risks of any treatment.”

An interventional spine procedure is when the medication, in combination with steroids and local anesthetics are introduced into the body through injection at the site of pain. The medication then blocks pain impulses, stabilizes irritated nerves, and lessens inflammation. The anesthetic administers a quick numbing of the pain, and the medication allows for healing, so that the pain will subside.

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Dr. Chan was Fantastic Before and After the Surgery

The following testimonial for Dr. Keith Chan appeared on Yelp San Francisco dated July 2014.

“This is my second post to add some other info about this association. I came from Livermore, CA. to have this surgery and I would do it again if I need any other surgery in the near future. Dr. Chan was just fantastic before and after the surgery… calling me after I came home same day and office visit. So, if anyone needs to have some kind of out patient surgeries contact this group they are fantastic and awesome.

Thank you again, CPOSM.
Philip”

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Most hip-replacement patients feel natural in long run

Dr. Christopher Cox “Both hip and knee replacements are done to reduce pain and improve function. But in hip replacements, we truly do expect that most will feel natural in the long run. It’s not uncommon for patients to forget which hip was done. Sometimes people will be more physically active than even their surgeon wants. A patient of mine once called me to care for his torn Achilles tendon when he got hurt in a local basketball league. Sports involving jumping and twisting, although possible, are still not recommended. While patients can’t control disease progression, they can maximize recovery by being as fit as possible before surgery.”

Please read the full article by Dr. Christopher Cox as posted in SFGate on July 1, 2014:  Most hip-replacement patients feel natural in long run

 

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Staying in Shape with Day Hikes

Hiking the Bitterroot Mountain RangeSo many sports require serious investments in equipment and demand complex travel arrangements.  In  contrast to these equipment intensive sports, the sport of the day – hiking only requires a pair of strong hiking boots, a backpack and good supply of fresh water. The reward of a great hike is the view across the mountains and a sense of peace.

Hiking is a fantastic low impact way to get your heart rate up, engage your muscles, burn calories and get outside into the fresh air. Whether planning a quick jaunt on your lunch break or an extended day hike, hiking is an excellent way to stay in shape, keep your joints limber and your leg and core muscles strong.

Trekking poles help maintain your balance, lengthen your stride and maintain an efficient pace and help preserve your joints, especially on the downhill. According to The Journal of Sports Medicine, trekking poles have been shown to reduce the compressive force on the knees by up to 25%, for those of us with problematic knees or ankles.

Proper footwear is essential for a comfortable, enjoyable hike. Hiking shoes and socks should fit well, be comfortable and be adequately broken in, to avoid developing friction blisters.

Note: photo was taken by Brett Sibley on top of a peak in the Bitterroot Mountain Range along the Idaho Montana border.

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Health Benefits of Yoga

Yoga at the Taj MahalAt the center of the Taj Mahal, the “Tank of Abundance” stretches out in perfect symmetry towards the tomb and reflects the image of the mausoleum. In this photo, Brett Sibley stands in a yoga “standing bow” pose at the perfect center of the north/south axis of the reflecting pool.

 You don’t need to fly around the world to participate in the day-to-day benefits of yoga. Simple yoga stretching helps improve flexibility, increases blood-flow to muscles and contributes to increased range of motion in joints. Yoga stretching can enable your muscles to work more effectively due to increased range of motion of the joints and may decrease your risk of injury. Yoga may help reduce the stress of traveling long distances especially on plane rides, as a traveler often has the option to get up and stretch to avoid problems such as blood clots, aggravating lumbar back pain and sciatica.

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