Now Relieving Your Pain in Hackensack, Rumson, Belleville and Bronx, NY

Jersey Rehab Spotlight: Robert A. Marini, M.D.

Dr. Marini

Dr. Marini was voted a Top Doc by his peers in 2011 and in 2013 in New Jersey Monthly Magazine.

Dr. Marini’s broad Pain Management background includes proficiency in Electromyography, Rehabilitation Medicine, Acute and Chronic Pain Management and Interventional Pain Management, which involves multiple procedures directed to the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine.

A former Director of Pain Management Services at Columbus Hospital Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey and a Clinical Associate Professor in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Albert Einstein/Montefiore Hospital Medical Center in New York, Dr. Marini is currently an Attending Physician at Clara Mass Medical Center in New Jersey.

Dr. Marini completed his residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Albert Einstein/Montefiore Hospital Medical Center, followed by a Pain Management fellowship at Downstate University. He obtained his Board Certification (Fellow) in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in 1994 and a Subspecialty Certification in Pain Management in 1998.

Dr. Marini's specialities include:

  • Transforaminal epidurals  (cervical, thoracic and lumbar)
  • Interlaminal epidurals
  • Caudal epidurals
  • Selective nerve root blocks
  • Facet and medial branch blocks
  • Radiofrequency neuroablation
  • Sacroiliac injections
  • Joint injections
  • Stellate and sumpathetic blockade
  • IDET
  • Automated percutaneous discectomy
  • Dorsal column stimulator trials
  • BOTOX

Dr. Marini enjoys spending time with his wife and children and travel whenever his busy schedule permits.

Oh My Aching Back! Some helpful tips until you see your doctor

It’s happened to all of us at one time or another: one minute you’re fine and the next, you lift something, turn around quickly, or maybe just cough too hard, and  you can hardly move without feeling excruciating pain. 

Back Strains - we can’t predict them, and we can’t always prevent them, but at least there are some steps you can take to help ease your discomfort until you get to the doctor. 

While lower back pain is common, the symptoms and severity for each patient can be vary greatly. A few simple steps will offer temporary relief until you are able to get to your Pain Management physician’s office.

Rest. Give your body - and back  - a break!  Take a couple of days to rest, giving the injured tissue and nerve roots time to begin to heal. However, more than just a few days may have an adverse effect - resting too long can cause your muscles to become weak and not give proper support to the spine. Also, patients who don’t exercise regularly are more likely to experience prolonged or recurring back pain. Some rest is good; too much rest is not.

Heat/Ice Packs. This can make a big difference in the severity of your discomfort. Ice helps relieve pain by reducing the inflammation, while heat tends to be more soothing to the surrounding  area. A good rule of thumb is to alternate cold with warm every ten to twenty minutes. In some cases, the (temporary) relief is immediate.

Medications: There are many over-the-counter medications to temporarily reduce the painful symptoms of a lower back strain. Oral medications may reduce inflammation - acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), as will some of the topical pain creams which can be applied to the skin and are intended to reduce localized pain. However, careful attention is a critical component to recovery, which is why it is so important to see a pain management professional. Sometimes pain can lead to depression, difficulty sleeping and restriction of exercise - all of which can exacerbate and actually prolong the condition. A pain doctor will work with you to monitor your psychological outlook, improve your physical condition, and work with you to develop a program to help reduce or eliminate pain and reduce the risk of a recurrence.

Is Sitting the New Smoking?

Sitting

If you are one of the millions of people that sit behind a desk, in front of a computer, in meetings or on the couch for several hours a day, you could be doing severe damage to your body and your overall well being.

Mayo Clinic Endocrinologist James Levine, MD., Ph.D. refers to sitting as "the new smoking," comparing the similarities of their detrimental effects on our physical well-being.

Frequent sitting results in stiff, inflexible muscles which store fat instead of turning it into muscle energy. In fact, just one hour of television causes your body to slow it's production of the fat-burning enzymes by 90%! When the metabolism slows down, our bodies gain weight, leading to whole new set of health issues. Plus, all that sitting also causes your body to lose "good " cholesterol, HDL - the one that keeps the "bad" cholesterol in check. Your body also reduces its ability to manage insulin when you sit, which could put you at risk for diabetes.

Unfortunately, the problems of extended sitting don't stop there. Sitting for hours at a time trains muscles to adapt to that body position. Leg muscles may shorten, resulting in aches and pains, as well as balance issues.
Sitting also weakens your bones. Since our bones support our weight, we need to stand regularly to prevent them from becoming brittle and weak.

If you have to sit for extended periods of time, check your posture. Slouching - which we all tend to do - can cause headaches, neck aches and back problems. Sit up straight, Align your shoulders over your hips, and your hips over your knees, feet firmly on the floor. Keep your joints at 90° angles.

What can you do to help stay healthy?

  • Every 30-60 minutes, stand up. Walk around your desk, walk to the coffee machine, to the rest room, to the nearby window.
  • Stretch or move in place. March, jump, touch your toes, reach for the ceiling.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
  • WALK - even just for 15 minutes a day. You can do it at lunch.
  • Isometric exercises - Try movements requiring a little pressure on your bones and muscles: chair leg extensions, hand presses, side bends, etc. It helps to build them up and keep you flexible.
  • Stop on your way home - go to the gym, track or walk the mall.
  • Walk when you talk - get up when you're talking on the phone and walk down the hallway, around your desk, into the warehouse.

These simple solutions may actually have a profound effect on your quality of life and may help prevent more serious health complications down the road.

Pain Management: Everyone's needs are different

Pain Management

Pain Management is a specialty dedicated to the reduction of pain through a multi-disciplinary approach. Treatment is "patient-centric" and varies from case to case. Our goal is to Evaluate, Rehabilitate and Treat people in pain.

The methodology we use to treat pain varies greatly. There are many factors involved: Is the pain neuropathic in nature? Is it caused by tissue degeneration? Is it a result of an accident or surgical procedure?

Chronic pain - a persistent, increasing pain - can be difficult to treat and control. The first step in finding out its origin. We rely heavily on MRIs and other radiological testing, in addition to performing our own EMG (Electromyography) tests and NCS tests (Nerve Conduction Study) for more definitive diagnoses.

Treatment options for chronic pain patients may include several modalities, including injections, physical therapy, chiropractic therapy, lifestyle changes and exercise. It is important for the patient to take an active role in his/her treatment plan, since feedback is crucial to the design of an effective treatment program.

In some cases, chronic pain cannot be completely eliminated, but pain management will definitely bring significant relief.

For patients who have suffer with post-surgical pain, or pain associated with an illness such as cancer or cancer treatment, pain management can make the difference in the performance of daily activities. By treating the pain, we can improve mobility, resulting in a more active lifestyle, which is the primary complaint we hear from our patients and the reason they have come to our practice.

Pain Management provides relief for many conditions that patients may not ordinarily expect:

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Myofascial pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Migraine Headaches
  • Whiplash
  • Tendonitis
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Golf Elbow

...plus a host of other ailments that we don't always associate with a pain management physician.

If those aches and pains are interfering with your everyday life or if you find yourself limiting your activity due to pain, it's time to visit a Pain Management doctor.

About Those Knees...

Our knees bear the brunt of the weight of our bodies. They help get us to where we are going, whether it be upstairs, downstairs or just walking straight ahead. When pain sets in, it can be crippling. Knowing what might be causing the pain is crucial to the proper treatment of it.

Although arthritis is probably the most common cause of knee pain, there are many other reasons for this common complaint. To properly treat the pain, it is important to accurately diagnose the cause of it.  

For example, ligament injuries - Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL); Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL), and Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) commonly occur during athletic activities and cause discomfort and instability.

  • Cartilage injuries or meniscal tears are seen in both younger and older patients and are extremely painful.
  • Patellar Tendonitis is most commonly the patellar tendon, the large tendon over the front of the knee.
  • Chondromalacia Patella causes knee pain under the knee cap and is a result of softening cartilage. We usually see this condition in patients 15-35 years old.
  • Bursitis is common in people who spend a lot of time kneeling - gardeners, carpet layers, etc.
  • Baker's cyst is swelling in the back of the joint. This is usually a sign of another problem, such as a meniscus tear.

There are dozens more causes of knee pain, but these are the most common that our patients present. If you or a loved one is experiencing knee pain, the most important thing you can do is see your doctor immediately. The cause of your pain will almost always become more exacerbated, causing increased discomfort – a "wait and see" attitude can be truly detrimental and should not be an option for you.

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