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Low Back Pain

Low Back Pain
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Dr. Mike Evans is founder of the Health Design Lab at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, an Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Toronto, and a staff physician at St. Michael’s Hospital.

Written and Narrated by Dr. Mike Evans
Executive Producer, Dr. Mike Evans
Illustrations by Liisa Sorsa
Produced, Directed, and Photographed by Nick De Pencier
Editor, David Schmidt
Story/Graphic Facilitator, Disa Kauk
Production Assistant, Chris Niesing
Director of Operations, Mike Heinrich

©2014 Michael Evans and Reframe Health Films Inc.


The Claims Process and a Workers Compensation Doctor in NJ

workers compensation doctor njWorkers compensation doctor NJ is chosen by the insurance provider or the employer. The injured employee is entitled to certain benefits from workers compensation insurance, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. However, the employee should have been injured at the place of work or while carrying out the tasks assigned by the employer.

Benefits of Workers Compensation Insurance

Workers compensation insurance provides various benefits to injured employees, which includes:

  • Consultation or visits from workers compensation doctor NJ
  • Prescriptions
  • Hospital stay
  • Disability benefits for compensating income lost during disabled period
  • Permanent disability benefits that are documented

Claiming Workers Compensation Insurance Benefits

After completing the required process, the insurance carrier of the employer can provide the benefits. However, if the carrier refuses, the employee can file a case in workers compensation court seeking relief. Once relief is granted, the benefits will be given to the employee until workers compensation doctor NJ, clears the employee for resuming work, or until the employee has recovered to the maximum possible extent.


An employee may be denied workers compensation benefits initially, if there is a dispute about the illness or injury being work related. Even if the benefits are given, there can be disputes regarding payment of disability benefits or about the type of medical care provided. If workers compensation doctor NJ is not provided to the injured worker due to entitlement issues, the employee can approach New Jersey Division of Worker’s Compensation, which is an impartial forum that acts like a mediator, and can even make a judicial decision about eligibility of the employee to claim workers compensation benefits.1

The insurance company, employer, or the employee can also request for an informal hearing that is presided over by a judge, for sorting our issues about extent of disability, and medical and temporary benefits. It is always better to hire a personal injury or workers compensation lawyer who is aware of this claims process.

Eligibility for Temporary Disability Benefits

According to workers compensation laws in New Jersey, the injured employee should not be able to work for at least seven days, to be eligible to claim temporary disability benefits. The injury or illness will be checked or diagnosed by the workers compensation doctor NJ, and the benefits will be retroactive from date of injury or onset of illness. Additionally, the days, the employee has missed work due to the injury or illness need not be consecutive.


Pumping Iron for Physical Therapy in NJ

030425-N-4128M-001You may have some preconceptions about physical therapy. You likely have pictures in your mind of holding up your weight while you retrain your legs how to walk – using a support like canes, parallel bars, bands, or something else. However, just going through the necessary motions isn’t all that’s involved in physical therapy. You need to make your muscles strong again. And a great way to do that is by pumping iron.

Weight lifting is a huge part of physical therapy in NJ. When you lose muscle mass because you’ve been out of action due to injury or trauma, lifting weights can help you rebuild that muscle and improve your endurance. That means getting back to action – faster.

Weight lifting is just a piece of physical therapy and and complements the other pieces perfectly. You’ll be completing physical therapy exercises to recover any function you’ve lost and, at the same time, you’ll use weight training to build strength in those muscles that are needed to do that function. The best part of including weight training in your physical therapy treatment plan is that it will reduce the chances of re-injury in the future.

So, when choosing where to receive physical therapy in NJ, include weight lifting as something to consider. Ask potential physical therapists if they include weight training in their treatment plans and what their philosophy towards it is. Make sure that it matches your philosophy. It’s an added piece to a puzzle that can make you stronger, faster, and keep you that way for the long term. Yes, you can return to form with a physical therapy treatment plan that doesn’t include weight training – but why not have it as part of the program?


When You Need a New Jersey Orthopedics Specialist

New JerseyIf you live in New Jersey and are considering orthopedics, the first thing that would help you is to have a full and clear understanding of what orthopedics is. Orthopedics refers to the study of the musculoskeletal system. And so, orthopedic doctors specialize in diagnosing and treating pain and conditions associated with the musculoskeletal system.

So, if you have pain in your joints, bones, muscles, nerves, ligaments, or tendons and you live in New Jersey, than a New Jersey orthopedics specialist might be exactly who you need to see – now. Don’t waste time going to your primary doctor first and getting a referral. If you are suffering from any kind of back, joint, or muscle pain (including arthritis), you should go directly to your orthopedic specialist. He can then diagnose your condition and get you on an appropriate treatment plan right away.

Your treatment plan could include exercises and physical therapy to increase strength in your joints and muscles. It could include chiropractic, acupuncture, or both as a natural way to improve your skeletal and muscular health. It could include medication or injections to manage pain. It all depends on how severe your condition is.

If your condition is very severe, it could eventually (or immediately) require surgery. But these are all things your primary care doctor wouldn’t be able to – or at least shouldn’t – tell you definitively. He should direct you to a specialist who is an expert in the area where you’re feeling pain to ensure you begin the correct treatment.

So when do you need a New Jersey orthopedics specialist? Again, as soon as you’re feeling pain in your bones, muscles, or joints – don’t waste time. Go direct – you won’t regret it.


How Back Pain Doctors in New Jersey Work Together

Back Pain New JerseyIf you’re suffering from back pain, you’re probably looking to anyone and anything for advice and pain relief. If you’ve asked your friends and family how they’ve managed their back pain, you’ve probably heard a wide range of opinions – from chiropractic to surgery to acupuncture to physical therapy to medication to injections. The list goes on. And you’ve probably heard positive and negative opinions for each of those options.

If you visit online back pain forums, you’ll likely find the same thing. It’s very confusing. You don’t know which of the back pain doctors in New Jersey you should visit. The good news is, if you make the “wrong” choice initially, meaning the type of professional you chose to visit isn’t able to provide you care, he’ll be able to refer you to a professional who can. In fact, it’s quite normal. Back pain doctors in New Jersey, for the most part (there are always bad apples), work together for your benefit and health. So take some of the pressure off yourself.

If you go to a medical doctor, he may order x-rays of your back and find that your spine is out of line but that there’s no serious medical condition requiring surgery. If that’s the case, he’ll go through non-surgical options with you. Depending on your condition and it’s severity, he may mention medication and steroid injections as options. But, he’ll also refer you to either a chiropractor, physical therapist, or both – if he thinks they could help. They are professionals that can naturally work on your muscles and spine to create better alignment.

Similarly, if you visited a chiropractor first and he saw something very serious on your x-ray that he thought might require medical attention, he’d refer you right away to an appropriate specialist. If a physical therapist notices something abnormal during therapy, she would do the same.

So just go see someone. Back pain doctors in New Jersey are all working together. Whoever, you choose, you’ll be on the path to recovery. Visit for more information.


3 Self Neck Pain Care Strategies to Improve Your Quality of Life

Neck PainIf you have neck pain, you may or may not be ready to seek professional help. Maybe it’s not severe enough, you don’t have time, or you don’t have the money. But you don’t want it to get worse. First, as soon as it’s possible, do go see a professional – whether it be a chiropractor or a physician – just someone who can examine you and look at x-rays. That way, they’ll be able to direct you appropriately and note any risks for more severe injury down the line.

But, in the meantime, there is plenty of neck pain care you can do at home. Here are 3 strategies.

Alternate Heat and Cold

If you’re experiencing pain or soreness in your neck, your muscles or tissue may be inflamed. One of the best ways to reduce inflammation is to alternate between heat and cold. Focus more on the cold though as it’s more effective. Use ice packs for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day – 3 or 4 times a day is a good amount to start with. Some days, alternate cold packs with heat packs (that aren’t too hot) throughout the day. Pay attention to how your neck responds to the heat. If the pain stays the same or worsens after the heat, just stick to the cold.

Lie Down More Often

This is advice anyone could get behind, right? Just lay down. Give your neck a break from holding up that head of yours. It deserves it. And more rest will allow the muscles time to heal.


Stretch your neck as far as you can in each direction without feeling pain. Also do this a few times throughout the day to warm up the muscles.

If you do those 3 things at home, you may be able to alleviate some, if not all, of your neck pain – as long as it’s not a more serious condition. Be consistent and reap the benefits. For more information visit


The Top 2 Risks of NJ Spine Fusion Surgery

back pain in NJIf you’re living in New Jersey and you’ve been receiving non-surgical treatment for back pain caused by a herniated disc, you may be wondering if it’ll ever get better. Or, more specifically, you may be wondering, “If it doesn’t get better, will I need surgery?” If it does come down to surgery, one procedure you may go have is spine fusion surgery.

All or part of your damaged disc would be removed during the procedure and replaced with bone. Then, the vertebrae surrounding the new piece of bone will be fused together, using titanium rods. That will stabilize your back and relieve you of some of your pain, if not all of it.

But, what are the risks of this procedure? Knowing the risks shouldn’t scare you away from the procedure. However, it’s good to know what you’re getting into and to have all information necessary to make the best decision for your specific situation. So here are the top 2 risks associated with spine fusion surgery and Laser Spine Surgery NJ.

No Pain Relief

This is probably the biggest risk. You may go through all the time, stress, and danger of spinal surgery – and then not feel any pain relief at all. Even if you have the best doctor and the surgery goes perfectly, this could still happen. The surgery is meant to return your spine back to it’s pre-surgery condition – but the damage to nerves may be too severe for your body to recover from. There is a low probability of this happening but it’s good to know it’s possible going in.

Nerve Damage

This is another big risk but is also rare. If nerves are damaged during the procedure, it could affect things like bladder control and loss of strength in the legs.

The best thing you can do is to be educated about the risks. Now you know two of the major risks. Talk to your doctor and ask about all risks and his experiences with them. You should have a full picture of the possible outcomes before the procedure. Visit for more information regarding Spinal Fusion.


Tips For Giving Flowers To Hospital Patients

flowersHospitals aren’t the cheeriest of places, so when a friend or relative falls ill, it’s nice to be able to send something to show you’re thinking of them. By far the easiest – and perhaps the most uplifting – gift is to send flowers. This is especially true if that friend or relative happens to live abroad. Thanks to the internet, sending flowers internationally is exceptionally easy – so there’s no excuse not to send that retired uncle who lives in Spain a nice bouquet to cheer him up.

Before you rattle off an order for any old bunch of flowers however, there are a few pieces of information you need to decipher first. For one, you might not even be allowed to send flowers to your friend or relative depending on the ward or unit they are in. It is recommended that before sending flowers, you first ring the hospital they are staying in to find out what ward they are in and what their policy is on receiving flowers.

It’s not unusual to find that places such as a burn unit or intensive care ward will not accept flowers at all. Even some new baby units will not allow flowers, so it’s definitely worth checking first. Some hospitals will only allow flowers once a patient has been assigned permanently to a specific ward. If space is short then you might not be able to send flowers until the patient is given a room to themselves.

You also need to take into account what size of flower arrangement you plan to send. It might seem like some grand gesture to send a massive bouquet with loads of ‘get well soon’ balloons attached, but this could be a massive waste of money if there’s limited space and everyone else has the same idea. Instead, it’s recommended that you send a front-facing vase that can be leant against a wall, making it easy to store. It’s also worth noting that a lot of wards are a bit iffy on balloons too if they are made from latex, so best to check the policy on these too.

Once you’ve confirmed that you can send flowers and have identified a suitable type of bouquet, go wild! Try not to focus on the fact that your friend or relative is ill, or you may inadvertently end up sending a sombre bunch of flowers that will completely defeat the point. Instead, choose warm colours like oranges, reds and yellows that will brighten up a room and cheer up the recipient. Finally, finish your flowers off with a distracting message – instead of ‘Get well soon’, focus on messages such as ‘Thinking of you’ as nobody wants a constant reminder that they’re ill. With the right bouquet and accompanying message of support, your friend or relative will be comforted by your thoughtful gesture.