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Tips for Treating a Herniated Disc from an Expert Manhattan Spinal Surgeon

A herniated disc, sometimes known as a slipped disc or a ruptured disc, occurs when one of the cushioning pads between the vertebrae slips out of place and presses on nerves surrounding the area. While this sounds extremely serious, herniated discs are actually a relatively common spine condition and are usually caused by overuse or trauma to the spine. Here are a few tips for effectively treating a herniated disc so you can go back to being pain-free.

Strengthening Exercises- Keeping your back strong is a good way to keep a herniated disc at bay, as well as to prevent further injuries. Once you’re feeling better, begin doing exercises designed to strengthen and stabilize your lower back muscles. Start off slowly, then increase the duration and level of exercise at regular intervals. Stretching exercises like yoga and Pilates are a good way to build strength and improve flexibility in your spine. Ask your chiropractor for recommendations on the best back-strengthening exercises for you.

Weight Loss- When you are carrying around a few extra pounds (or more!) it makes your back have to work harder to support that extra body weight, which can lead to unnecessary pressure on your spine. With proper diet and exercise, you can lose weight, which will cut down on the heavy lifting you’re always doing. Your spine will thank you!

Massage- Deep-tissue massage is an especially effective way to treat a herniated disc. The large amount of pressure that is used to relieve tension in your muscles also helps to keep muscles from moving at the source of your back pain. Some health insurance plans cover deep-tissue massage as a physical therapy treatment. Contact your health insurance provider for more information on deep-tissue massage therapists who accept your plan.

Hydrotherapy- A fancy name for something that can be as simple as sitting in a whirlpool bath or taking hot showers, hydrotherapy uses water to relax your muscles, which in turn can relieve the pain of a herniated disc. Active hydrotherapy, such as water aerobics, has also proven effective in helping strengthen your body without having to put stress on your herniated disc.

Surgical Treatment- If your herniated disc is causing you chronic or debilitating pain, surgery may be your best option. Your spine surgeon can determine whether surgery is necessary or whether he or she can treat your herniated disc non-surgically through methods such as physical therapy.

Dr. Paul M. Brisson, MD is the leading spine surgeon in Manhattan, with years of dedicated experience specializing in herniated disc treatment. Dr. Brisson is conveniently located in Manhattan, and can help you get your life back on track and manage your back pain effectively. Call Dr. Brisson’s office today at 212-813-3632 to schedule your spinal consultation.

What to Know When Choosing The Best Manhattan Spine Surgeon

For Manhattan residents who are in need of spine surgery, it can be difficult to choose the right spine surgeon who best fits each patient’s individual needs. Whether your surgery is elective or mandatory, you want to know that you are in the most capable hands that Manhattan has to offer. Here are a few things to look for when choosing a spine surgeon in the New York City area.

Ask Questions

If your Google search or insurance provider website has led you to a spine surgeon in your area, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and ask questions. After all, this is spine surgery we’re talking about- you want to know beyond a doubt that you can trust this surgeon to perform the operation successfully and leave your spine in good health following the procedure. Some questions you might want to ask:

“How long have you been in practice?”
“Have you performed this type of surgery before?”
“How many times have you performed this surgery?”
“What is the success rate for this procedure?”

Asking questions might seem awkward at first, but it is important to make sure your surgery will be performed by a reputable, trustworthy doctor with a good deal of experience with the exact type of spine surgery you need.

Check Up on Your Spine Surgeon in Manhattan

Thanks to Google, Yelp, and websites that allow patients to rate their doctors, it is now easier than ever to get information about your spine surgeon, as well as read reviews from past patients. If you spot any potential red flags, you can schedule an appointment with a different surgeon, which will potentially save you a lot of time, money and headaches down the road. Just remember- your surgeon should be there for you during your procedure, with a kind and efficient bedside manner that puts you at ease and a track record for excellence and professionalism.

Be Honest

During your initial phone call or consultation, if there is something about the spine surgeon that you find intimidating, off-putting or just wrong, don’t be afraid to look elsewhere for a doctor who can perform the surgery. It doesn’t have to be any major reason- sometimes personalities just clash! By being honest with yourself and trusting your instincts, you can avoid a number of problems, which can then free your mind up so you can relax and be calm about your upcoming spine procedure.

Dr. Paul M. Brisson is the leading spine surgeon in Manhattan for a variety of spinal conditions, including Sciatica, herniated disk, and spinal stenosis.

Dr. Brisson has been practicing in the New York City area for over 25 years, and is a certified orthopedic spinal surgeon who has been dubbed “the best back pain doctor in New York City” by his loyal following of patients. Dr. Brisson was highlighted on the cover of New York Magazine’s Best Doctors in New York issue. Dr. Brisson is here to help effectively manage your back pain and get you back to your life as soon as possible!

Call Dr. Brisson’s Manhattan office today to schedule your initial consultation at 212-813-3631 and get ready to see what New York’s best spine surgeon can do for you!

Tips For Managing Back Pain in Manhattan

Suffering from back pain? You’re not alone. An estimated 10.2% of Americans live with chronic lower back pain, according to a 2009 study from the University of North Carolina. Not only that, but it is estimated that 80% of people will experience back pain at some point in their lives. With these statistics, it’s important to know how to effectively manage back pain so it doesn’t end up putting a damper on your everyday activities. Here are some things you can do to keep the pain at bay.


Don’t Stop Moving

Keeping your body moving is essential for back pain recovery. Though it may feel immobilizing, back pain will subside more quickly the more you gently work your muscles. Start out light with low-impact activities like walking, and then once your back pain subsides, keep up the pace with aerobic activities such as swimming and cycling to keep your back muscles in good shape. Just don’t overdo it!


Ice is Nice

The first 24 to 48 hours after a back injury or flare-up of your chronic back pain, chill out with some ice. Apply an ice pack to the affected area of your back for 20 minutes, then take it off for another 20 minutes, repeating until your back pain has decreased. After 48 hours of this, you can switch to heat, but using a heating pad within the first two days of a back injury or chronic back pain flare up can actually worsen the inflammation of the affected spot, slowing recovery.


Get Strong

Once you have recovered from your most recent bout of back pain, start an exercise regimen that will strengthen your abdominal, hip and pelvic muscles, as this will take the pressure off of your spine and provide your back with more support. Developing your back muscles can also help prevent against future back pain episodes by strengthening the areas that support your lower back. Just be careful with your exercise regimen- overdoing it can lead to another back injury.


Stretch it Out

Stretching your back is good for you, and feels amazing! Next time you’re at your desk at work or sitting on the TV, take a break to stretch out your back muscles. Experts recommend standing and stretching slightly backward every 20 minutes or so during a task that has you sitting for long periods of time. Practicing stretching exercises and yoga can also help alleviate the pressure in your back, so brush up on your downward dog!


Posture is Important

Your mother was right- you shouldn’t slouch. Simply making an effort to stand up straight without slumping your shoulders can make a big difference in the amount of back pain you experience. When you slouch, you’re making it harder for your back to support your weight. Maintaining good posture keeps your center of gravity in better balance, allowing your back to do less heavy lifting.


Lift With the Knees

Speaking of heavy lifting, we all know that you shouldn’t bend from the waist to lift heavy objects, but most of us do it anyway. If you need to lift something, make sure to bend from your knees, not your back. Better yet, leave the lifting to someone who doesn’t have chronic back pain or a recent back injury.

By developing healthy habits and modifying a few everyday practices, you can keep your back in better shape, lessening the recurrence of chronic back pain flare-ups. For more serious issues that require spinal surgery, New York orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Paul Brisson is here to help. Dr. Brisson specializes in diagnosing and treating all spine-related issues, including sciatica, herniated disks and spinal stenosis, and offers comprehensive treatment and spinal surgery in the Manhattan area. For New York residents who are suffering from chronic back pain, Dr. Brisson can help you get your life back on track. Call 212-813-3632 for an initial consultation with Dr. Brisson and his team of caring professionals. Make back pain a thing of the past- contact Dr. Paul Brisson today!




When to Seek Treatment for Sciatica

If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night with shooting pain down one hip, or if you experience pain, tingling or numbness in your leg with no explanation, you may be one of the millions of Americans affected by sciatica. While sciatica is not a diagnosis in and of itself, it can be a symptom of an underlying cause, such as spinal stenosis, a herniated disc, or degenerative disc disease. Dr. Paul Brisson, Manhattan’s premier orthopaedic surgeon, can help find the cause of your sciatica and provide effective treatment so you can get past the pain and get on with your life.

What Causes Sciatica?

Sciatica can range from mild discomfort to severe, debilitating pain. Characteristics of sciatica include constant, shooting pain that is only in one leg or on one side of the buttocks, which gets worse when sitting. The leg pain sometimes presents itself as tingling and numbness, and radiates down the affected leg into the foot and toes. This pain and tingling is caused by the sciatic nerve, which runs down the leg from the lower back, through the buttock, When you have an underlying spinal issue, the sciatic nerve can become irritated or compressed, causing the symptoms of sciatica. Women who are pregnant or have recently given birth are prone to sciatica, as are overweight or obese individuals; however, sciatica can affect anyone at a given time, and be an indicator of more severe spine problems including a herniated or compressed disc, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, piriformis syndrome, lumbar spinal stenosis, isthmic spondylolisthesis, and degenerative disc disease.

Treatment for Sciatica

When sciatica strikes, some at-home treatments such as alternating ice and heat at 20-minute intervals can help sufferers find relief. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil or Motrin can also help alleviate the sciatic pain. However, if pain persists, you should schedule a visit with an orthopaedic specialist. Your orthopaedist can properly examine your spine and help find the root cause of your sciatica. While spinal surgery may be recommended to treat lumbar disc herniation or spinal stenosis, other non-surgical methods of treatment, including physical therapy, may be administered first. If you do opt for spinal surgery, keep in mind that approximately 90% of orthopaedic surgery patients report total sciatic pain relief following their procedure.

If your sciatica has gotten to the point where your sleep, normal daily activities, and overall quality of life has been adversely affected and at-home treatments are ineffective, it may be time to seek professional treatment. For residents of Manhattan and surrounding areas, Dr. Paul Brisson is the preferred choice for orthopaedic surgery and treatment. Dr. Brisson has years of experience in accurately and effectively diagnosing and treating a variety of back problems which cause sciatica, and will help you get to the root of your sciatic pain so you can get your life back on track. For your initial consultation appointment, call Dr. Paul Brisson’s office at 212-813-3632 today, and get ready to say goodbye to sciatica!

Back Bone Spurs & Treatment

back bone spursSpinal degeneration can leave you with daily aches and pains in your back that make everyday activity difficult. Treating uncomfortable backbone spurs may help you regain your active lifestyle.

Bone Spurs

Also known as osteophytes, backbone spurs are growths of excess bone that develop on your spine. Despite their name, they are smooth, and sometimes they don’t cause any pain at all.

But, whether or not backbone spurs are causing discomfort, they are a sign of spinal degeneration. Osteophytes are often found in people age 60 and up. They are commonly associated with osteoarthritis.

Nonsurgical Treatments

While some bone spurs are asymptomatic, other patients find that they exert uncomfortable pressure. When bone spurs cause pain, burning, tingling, or numbness, it’s time to consult a specialist. Initial treatment for bone spurs is almost always noninvasive.


Nonsurgical recommendations for treating bone spurs often include:

  • The use of pain medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Physical therapy to increase strength and encourage a more erect posture, reducing the pressure caused by backbone spurs
  • A more restful lifestyle
  • Steroid injections for pain relief injections up to three times a year

Surgical Treatments

If medication, lifestyle changes, and physical therapy are not enough to relieve your bone spur symptoms, the next step may be surgery. The most common surgical procedure for removing bone spurs is a laminectomy. In this surgery, the spinal canal is made larger by removing part of your vertebrae.

To find out more about bone spur treatment, contact Dr. Paul Brisson for a comprehensive evaluation of your options. He may be able to treat you with noninvasive procedures, but if surgery is required, you can trust that you will be in skilled hands. You are in good hands with the top spine surgeon in Manhattan.

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