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Freeing up Disc Space

Nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy alleviates need for back surgery.

Just like the car, truck or motorcycle that most people use as their primary mode of transportation, boats have a tendency to break down every now
and then. When they do, Betsy Euverard often fields the call from the stranded boater.

Betsy Euverard finally found a remedy for her agonizing back pain at DeLand Chiropractic & Spinal Decompression. In addition, Dave Mixon completed the Ideal Protein® protocol for weight loss.

Betsy Euverard

Betsy, 43, is the primary dispatcher for the boat-towing company that she and her boyfriend operate on St. John’s River. She spends most of her work day on or around the water and a lot of her free time there as well.

About a year ago Betsy, her boyfriend and two other couples set out from Jupiter on a pair of 31-foot Sailfish boats for a long weekend trip to Bimini in the Bahamas. It wasn’t long after they arrived that Betsy wished they’d never left.

The three-plus hour trip across the Atlantic Ocean was especially rough this time, and while it seemed to Betsy at first as if she had made it through the bumpy ride without issue, she soon discovered differently.

“I was sitting in a kind of awkward position most of the way over there, with one foot on a seat and the other on a cooler kind of holding stuff down,” Betsy explains. “It was three hours of just pounding, and I really took a beating.

“I actually felt fine the whole weekend we were there, but then about a month later, I began to feel a great deal of intense pain in my lower back, hip and buttocks, particularly when I sat for long periods of time.”

After a while, Betsy’s pain became prevalent no matter the setting. Within a week, she could no longer sit or stand for even short periods of time without experiencing the excruciating pain, which was so great she couldn’t sleep at night.

Desperate for relief, Betsy first went to a massage therapist. Almost immediately, the massage therapist recommended her to a
chiropractor, who eventually diagnosed Betsy with a herniated lumbar disc that he treated for several weeks to no avail.

Still in constant agonizing pain, Betsy’s frustration peaked when the chiropractor suggested she see a back surgeon, who could not guarantee that it would achieve the desired results but immediately suggested she have back surgery.

“I really did not want to have back surgery, so the surgeon put me on steroids,” Betsy notes. “But the steroids only worked for a few days. Then a friend suggested I go to DeLand Chiropractic and Spinal Decompression because they have a
decompression machine.”

Time to Decompress

Spinal decompression is a drug-free, noninvasive, nonsurgical therapy used to treat bulging, herniated or protruding spinal discs; spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, neuropathy in the arms or legs, and post-surgical neck and/or back pain.

At DeLand Chiropractic & Spinal Decompression, the therapy is delivered through a machine called the DRX9000, which has the capacity to produce 150 pounds of tractioning decompressive force to gently stretch the spine while patients lie on a treatment table.

Betsy Euverard finally found a remedy for her agonizing back pain at DeLand Chiropractic & Spinal Decompression. In addition, Dave Mixon completed the Ideal Protein® protocol for weight loss.

“I can only say
great things about
Dr. Gordon and his staff…
Everyone there is just
awesome.” – Betsy

Through gentle motion, the therapy increases disc space and restores the
nutrients and hydration that allows the discs to heal, explains Jeremy Gordon, DC, clinical director at DeLand Chiropractic & Spinal Decompression.

“We get the patient comfortable on the table, and the DRX9000 creates a very gentle decompressive force on the discs that reduces disc pressure helps pull some of that disc material back inward, which alleviates the pain,” Dr. Gordon educates.

“We can treat cervical and/or lumbar disc injuries with these machines, and after examining her, we determined that the DRX9000 would indeed work best for Betsy.”

A typical course of decompression therapy delivered through the DRX9000 consists of 24 visits across ten weeks. Each visit lasts about an hour, with the first ten
visits designed to determine just how well a patient will actually respond to the therapy.

“We do it five days a week for two weeks, and our goal is to see a fifty percent improvement in function and pain within those first ten visits,”
Dr. Gordon explains. “If we see that improvement, we  continue with the rest of the twenty-four-visit rehabilitation protocol.”

Noticeable Improvement

After her first ten visits, Betsy reported that her pain level had been reduced from a constant nine or ten on a scale of one to ten to a level of five. As a result, Dr. Gordon continued working with her through the rest of the treatment protocol.

Betsy Euverard finally found a remedy for her agonizing back pain at DeLand Chiropractic & Spinal Decompression. In addition, Dave Mixon completed the Ideal Protein® protocol for weight loss.

Spinal decompression therapy rid Betsy of her pain and helped get her back on the water.

“What we do in that case is taper down the frequency of treatments, going from five days a week to three days a week, then to two days a week and then finally to one day a week. By the end we expect the patient’s pain level to be one or less on a scale of ten.”

Betsy completed her therapy in March, at which time she was indeed reporting pain levels of one or less. She said the most notable improvement came during the second half of the treatment schedule, during the last 14 visits.

“Now I’m about ninety-five percent pain free,” Betsy reports. “Dr. Gordon also gave me some exercises to do to help build up my core muscles while I was being treated, and I’ve continued to do them even after the treatments and they’ve really helped me a lot.

“When I first went to see Dr. Gordon, I was scared to death thinking I was going to need surgery, and not knowing whether he was going to be able to fix the problem or not. I was just very anxious about everything.

“But now, I can only say great things about Dr. Gordon and his staff, because I’ve never been anywhere where I have walked away feeling so appreciative of what they do and how nice and kind and caring they are. Everyone there is just awesome.”

Eye Floater Laser

Scott Geller, MD, teaches the technique worldwide.

“Laser treatment of eye floaters is fascinating,” says Scott Geller, MD, a board-certified ophthalmologist with a specialty clinic in Fort Myers. “I look forward to doing this every day. And our reputation has become worldwide with the advent of the internet. We’ve had a steady flow of patients from Europe, Canada, and even Russia, China, Arabia, and Israel.”

Photo by Jordan Pysz

Scott L. Geller, MD

Dr. Geller can rightly claim to have started this niche area of ophthalmic surgery, with the largest, continuous clinical series, having performed more than 15,000 documented eye floater laser sessions.
“I’m always asked why this useful treatment modality is not more widely available, or why some doctors try it but give it up,’’ Dr. Geller explains. “The answer is simple: there are no courses for training, and there is a lack of proper equipment.”
Dr. Geller was trained directly by the professor who researched laser inside the human eye at the famous University Eye Clinic in Bern, Switzerland.
Dr. Geller adds: “They never thought this would be applicable to eye floaters, but I proved them wrong.”
Dr. Geller uses the Swiss made Lasag laser.
“I have tried others, but there is absolutely no doubt in my mind this is the most versatile and precise instrument,’’ he notes. “In fact, I have two of them, and I fly in the engineers from Switzerland to update and service them yearly.”

A Doctor and an Educator

Dr. Geller has personally trained the most experienced ophthalmologists in the U.S., as well as the top surgeons from Italy and Holland, who have
visited his Florida facility.

Photo by Jordan Pysz

Dr. Geller has performed more than 15,000 documented floater laser sessions.

“I am concerned about colleagues rushing into something new without having a formal preceptorship,’’ Dr. Geller says. “It is easy to push the button, but not so easy to get the optimal result and avoid complications.”
To improve physician education, Dr. Geller gave an hour-long course this year at one of the country’s major ophthalmology associations.
“This was the first course of this quality anywhere in the U.S.,’’ notes Dr. Geller. “And I am going back to Italy, where I was invited to lecture at a major ophthalmology meeting. This is the fourth invitation, and I will also consult and treat patients there, as I have in the past.”
Dr. Geller welcomes other ophthalmologists to come and observe, and to call if they need advice on difficult cases.

Article submitted by Scott Geller, MD.

Lasting Impressions

Commitment to providing expert dental care.

While still living in her native New England more than 30 years ago, Jeanne Miller had a cyst removed from her mouth and lost five good teeth in the process. She later had a partial denture placed in her mouth to take the place of the teeth that were removed.

For more than three decades now, Jeanne has driven 40 miles each way from her home in Titusville to the office of Dr. Leong in Melbourne.

Jeanne has been a loyal patient of Dr. Leong’s for years.

That partial never really sat well with Jeanne, however. The fit was off ever so slightly and over the years, it caused the roof of her mouth to become inflamed and red, which resulted in a lot of pain and discomfort.

“I never felt secure with it,” Jeanne recalls. “Eventually, I started researching dental implants and was intrigued by everything I read about them. After my husband and I moved to Florida in 1986, I started looking for a dentist who placed implants. That’s how I found Dr. Leong.”

Richard Leong, Jr., DDS, is a general and implant dentist who practices comprehensive, full-treatment dentistry, including full mouth reconstruction. When he initially examined Jeanne,
Dr. Leong discovered more than just an ill-fitting partial.

In addition, Dr. Leong learned that Jeanne had developed some gum disease, had several crooked teeth that needed to be straightened and was suffering from temporomandibular joint disease, or TMJ.

“TMJ occurs where the joints connect to the jaw,” Dr. Leong explains. “There was clicking where her upper and lower jaws met. If I did not correct that first, she would have continued to have jaw issues and eventually even gum issues.”

Dr. Leong says that before he could proceed to place the implants that Jeanne wanted, he first had to correct the problem he found with her jaw joint and her crooked teeth because her teeth needed to be in the correct position for the implants to work.

Dr. Leong attacked the problem by first treating Jeanne with dental splints to correct her TMJ and braces to straighten and properly position her teeth. In addition, he treated her gum disease with laser therapy in preparation for the implants.

“The bone had to regrow around those implants, so while that was healing, we did orthodontics on her to get her teeth straight and to help get them into the proper
position,” Dr. Leong reports. “Now, her bite is stable and much more functional.

“Once we had the teeth in the proper position and the gums were healthy, I was able to move forward in determining her probability of receiving dental implants.”

Implant Options

Dental implants are metal anchors implanted in the jawbone to hold replacement teeth. The root sits in the jawbone, below the gumline, and either a crown (for a single tooth) or another dental device such as a denture (for multiple teeth) is attached to it.

Dental implants come in two sizes: standard and mini, the latter of which is a smaller-in-diameter implant that can sometimes be used when a patient no longer has enough bone left to support standard implants.

“If all a patient needs is to get the denture to stay in place, smaller implants are ideal,” Dr. Leong continues. “They are typically for patients who do not need bone grafting done.”

The smaller implants can support single crowns as well as a small bridge or partial denture. There are a lot of uses for these smaller implants if used correctly and if there is a sufficient amount of bone intact.

“When the process is completed with precision, people can retain the denture immediately,” Dr. Leong educates. “They can walk out of an appointment and the denture is securely in place. It’s really amazing.

“But there needs to be adequate bone, healthy gums and a proper bite first. Patients need to have a proper overall environment in their mouth in order for implants to be successful.

“They also need the proper overall attitude about taking care of themselves and their teeth. They can’t just think that they can come in, get implants and never think about those teeth again.

“Furthermore, their medical health needs to be in check. They may have medical conditions that could preclude them from having long-term success with their teeth, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

“Finally, patients need to be committed to follow-up care. Routine cleanings and exams are vital to maintaining the implants, as well as overall oral health. These are an investment, and the patient needs to be invested in it for the long haul.”

Once Jeanne’s teeth were properly aligned and the implants were secure in the jawbone, Dr. Leong placed implant-supported bridges on both the top and bottom of her mouth. Dr. Leong says he also had to repair some of the prior work Jeanne had done over the years.

“It’s common to have to do some repair work over time,” Dr. Leong says. “Nothing lasts forever. Jeanne later developed acid reflux, which damaged some of her teeth. Because of that, I had to redo her lower right bridge.

“Since I first saw her many years ago, Jeanne has been a real trooper and a loyal patient. She’s had substantial work done to her smile, and she’s really come a long way. You name it, she’s had it done.”

Decades of Service

For more than three decades now, Jeanne has driven 40 miles each way from her home in Titusville to the office of Dr. Leong in Melbourne. She wouldn’t have it any other way. Her dedication to Dr. Leong and his practice stems from his commitment to provide top-notch care to his patients.

“I’ve had a lot of dental work done over the years, from bridges to crowns and everything in between,” Jeanne says. “Dr. Leong is like a good friend. He’s reliable, and I can talk to him about anything. We’ve developed that trusting relationship over the years.”

In his many years as a dentist, Dr. Leong has implemented many leading-edge advancements in implantology in his own practice. He has also personally developed new techniques.

“Because I teach other dentists how to perform dental implant surgery, I want to use the latest methods, procedures and techniques in our own offices,” he explains. “My office is equipped with all of the latest technology available.

“We are very high-tech, and I want to let everyone know that I do a lot more than just cleanings or fillings. I specialize in comprehensive dentistry. At this point in my career, I really enjoy helping people in different ways.

“For example, I’ve performed many of these implant procedures in Nicaragua, where people line up to have them done because they want so badly to have their teeth stay in their mouths instead of falling out all the time.

“My job is very rewarding, and whether it’s through my mission work or through teaching dentistry or working directly with the patient, I love having something to give back.”

Dr. Leong strives to provide patients with the latest advancements in dental procedures and technology, and patients are quick to notice.

For more than three decades now, Jeanne has driven 40 miles each way from her home in Titusville to the office of Dr. Leong in Melbourne.

Dr. Leong strives to provide patients with the latest advancements in dental procedures and technology.

“In all of the surgeries and procedures I perform, I use the latest techniques to improve healing by decreasing the amount of time it takes for a patient to heal and by minimizing any pain during the recovery period,” he notes.

“I do a lot of research on the most advanced procedures, and I strive to incorporate those advancements into my practice every day.”

All In One Place

Because of the impact he is able to have on his patients’ health and comfort, comprehensive care is a cornerstone philosophy of Dr. Leong’s practice.

“We provide a comprehensive service so that, when patients come into the office, I am able to help them in all areas,” he explains. “As a result, they don’t have to travel to many different places to have their dentistry completed.

“The protocols keep improving, so techniques become faster and better. I specialize in comprehensive dentistry in order to meet the growing and changing needs of my patients. Their needs always come first.”

Jeanne says she is a good example of the commitment to excellent patient care that
Dr. Leong has made. She says her teeth are in the best shape they’ve ever been in, and she is appreciative of Dr. Leong’s expertise.

“He’s the best there is, hands down,” she says. “He’s not just a dentist, he is a true friend.

Target: Nerves

Nonsurgical procedure eliminates knee pain.

After making the annual trek from Iowa to Florida for more than 20 years, Monica* finally gave up her snowbird status and established full-time residency in Vero Beach a few years back. Debilitating knee pain has made her stay here a little less than ideal, however.

Dr. Harold Cordner of Florida Pain Management Associates in Sebastian and Vero Beach treated Monica’s (alias) knee pain with a genicular nerve block and radiofrequency ablation.

“We do the nerve blocks first to make sure they take away enough pain so ablating the genicular nerves will provide long-lasting pain relief.” – Dr. Cordner

“Both knees are affected by osteoarthritis,” she confides. “I experienced terrible knee pain; it was the worst pain I’ve ever felt. It was a burning, aching pain that woke me up at night, and it was constant. On a scale of one to ten, my pain rated a ten on most days.

“The pain limited my activities. My family enjoys flying in our private airplane, and it got to the point where I couldn’t even get into the plane because that requires climbing up onto the wing, and I couldn’t do that anymore because my knees hurt so much.

“I also could no longer walk from my home to the beach, which is one mile to get there and one mile to get back. I knew I had to do something. I couldn’t continue to live that way.”

Over time, Monica was treated with medications, physical therapy and a series of injections into her knees. Eventually, two different orthopedic surgeons told her that because these conservative treatments failed, she should consider total knee replacement surgery.

Monica was distraught until she heard about Harold J. Cordner, MD. Dr. Cordner is board certified in pain management and anesthesiology and practices at Florida Pain Management Associates in Vero Beach and Sebastian. Dr. Cordner, Monica learned, offered the most up-to-date nonsurgical techniques for relieving his patients’ agony, and that gave her hope.

“It piqued my interest right away that Dr. Cordner was an interventional anesthesiologist,” she recalls. “I believed he might actually be able to help me. It was a stroke of luck that he was right here in Vero Beach, so I made an appointment.

“When I walked into the office at Florida Pain Management Associates, I was a patient in severe pain. Dr. Cordner was thoughtful, and he listened to me. He understood immediately what my issues were. He was able to summarize my situation quickly and come up with a treatment plan.”

Two-Phased Treatment

“When I first saw Monica, she was scheduled for arthroscopic surgery on her left knee, and her doctor told her she would probably need a total knee replacement,” reports Dr. Cordner. “She wanted to avoid both procedures. She already had several conservative treatments on both knees, including steroid injections and lubricating fluid injections.

“Initially, we talked about trying conservative measures again, and I placed injections of cortisone into both knees, which gave her relief. However, eight months later, she returned with worsening knee pain, so we discussed alternative procedures.”

The new treatment Dr. Cordner recommended for Monica was a genicular nerve block and radiofrequency ablation. The goal of this treatment is to relieve the pain in her knees by destroying their nerves.

“I was at the end of my rope because nothing else was working and my quality of life had diminished so dramatically,” shares Monica. “I agreed to have Dr. Cordner do the procedure on both of my knees.”

The treatment Dr. Cordner recommended for Monica works directly on the nerves in the knee. Dr. Cordner notes that there are different types of nerves that serve the joints, muscles, ligaments and other tissues of the body.

“There are sensory nerves, which supply sensation and transmit feeling,” he explains. “There are also motor nerves, which control function in the muscles and joints. Then there are mixed motor/sensory nerves, which have a sensory component and a motor component. The genicular nerves are the sensory nerves that supply the knee joint.

“The sensory nerves are the nerves that conduct pain signals, so they can be destroyed without causing any functional loss in the muscles or joints. The genicular nerves in the knee are the targets of the genicular nerve block and radiofrequency ablation.”

The doctor begins this treatment by performing a diagnostic nerve block. During this phase, he injects the genicular nerves with a local anesthetic. If the patient’s pain goes away, he knows those nerves are supplying enough of the painful innervation to the knee. The doctor continues by destroying the genicular nerves with the radiofrequency ablation.

“After the block, we monitor the patients and ask them to report how much relief they experience,” educates Dr. Cordner. “We do the nerve blocks first to make sure they take away enough pain so ablating the genicular nerves will provide long-lasting pain relief.

“During ablation, an insulated needle is placed on or adjacent to the target nerve, and radiofrequency waves are sent to the tip of the needle. The needle itself doesn’t heat up. The tissue surrounding it heats up, similar to what a microwave does. If the needle is sitting on top of a nerve, it heats up the nerve, and it dies due to the heat.”

The nerves are not destroyed permanently, however. They grow back, but it generally takes a year or two for that to occur. Ideally, the patient will have pain relief during that time.

Dr. Cordner notes that there are two groups of patients that are good candidates for the genicular nerve block and radiofrequency ablation. The first group consists of patients such as Monica who are told they need knee replacement surgery and either refuse to have the surgery or are not good candidates for it.

“The other group of patients who are good candidates are those who have already had knee replacements and continue to have severe pain in their knees,” observes Dr. Cordner. “The problem is that the patient’s own joint tissue is no longer present. Their new knees are made of metal and plastic implants, which cannot respond to injections and other therapies.

“These patients are often told by their surgeons that the hardware looks fine and nothing more can be done for them. However, their nerves are usually still intact, so the genicular nerve block and radiofrequency ablation can help relieve their pain. This procedure offers hope for these patients.”

Dancing Legs

Dr. Cordner’s treatment gave Monica all that she hoped. Thanks to his procedure, she was able to avoid both the scheduled arthroscopic procedure and potential knee replacement surgery. She’s pleased with her condition since treatment.

“My life changed dramatically because of this procedure,” she marvels. “After two weeks, I was able to walk pain free from my home on the Intracoastal to the beach. And I’m able to get into our private plane and take rides with family members again. Now, my pain level is a zero, when it used to be a ten. I’m ready to dance!

“I’m grateful to Dr. Cordner. I’ve seen several doctors over the years, but he was the one who really had it all together.
Dr. Cordner is the most skilled pain management physician I’ve ever heard of or met.

“I think anyone considering a genicular nerve block and radiofrequency ablation should consult Dr. Cordner at Florida Pain Management Associates,” she adds. “They should get all the facts about the procedure and see how it relates to them. And I encourage them to have a complete evaluation done by Dr. Cordner. I really trust him.”

*Patient’ name withheld at their request.

“Wasting” a Donation

July 2nd, 2018

During Digestive Disease Week in early June, a group of researchers from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada presented the results of their study to a gathering of physicians and researchers in the fields of gastroenterology, endoscopy, gastrointestinal surgery and liver disease. The study results came from a 32-question online survey of about 800 people in the US, Canada and UK.

Graphic from istockphoto.com.

Lead researcher Breanna McSweeney, a medical student at the University of Alberta in Canada, says “As studies come back showing that fecal transplant is beneficial for more conditions, most likely we’re going to need more donations.”

The purpose of the survey was to gauge the respondents’ attitudes toward donating stool samples for fecal transplantation. That’s right, poop donations. But before you laugh, consider how donated stool is used in medicine and how it can help people who’ve failed all other treatments.

Currently, fecal transplants are used to treat Clostridium difficile infections. C difficile is a bad news bacterium that can cause life-threatening diarrhea if its allowed to flourish in the digestive tract. It generally runs wild after people have taken a lot of antibiotics that have killed off all the beneficial bacteria. These “good” bacteria keep the environment in the gut balanced and healthy.

C difficile causes nearly half a million infections and 15,000 deaths in the US each year. In many cases, C difficile infections are resistant to most available antibiotics. This leaves many infected people with no effective treatment. Remarkably, fecal transplantation has been shown to be a lifeline for these otherwise untreatable patients.

During fecal transplantation, doctors take a donated stool sample from a healthy donor and purify it. The purified sample is then used in the sick individual to create colonies of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract. This levels the playing field. One, healthy bowel movement can help up to five people.

Right now, the FDA has approved fecal transplantation only as a last-ditch treatment for C difficile infection, but studies have shown it’s just as effective as antibiotics as a first-line treatment, too. Researchers are currently studying its potential to treat other nasty gut disorders as well, such as irritable bowel disease and ulcerative colitis.

What makes a person agreeable to donating? According to the study results reported in June, the majority of respondents said the opportunity to help others was their primary motivation. The payment for donating helped a little, although the amount is minimal, from $15 to $40 depending on the country and the donation center. The researchers also noted that the majority of those who agreed to become donors were also blood donors. Altruistic at heart, I guess.

There were a couple turn-offs to stool donation, of course. The inconvenience of donating was one. Most centers ask for a donation three times a week for at least two months. Talk about pressure! In some cases, donors have to make their donations at a hospital if their transplant centers aren’t set up to accept them. The ickiness of collecting their own stool was cited as another hindrance to participation.

Becoming a poop donor isn’t as easy as it seems. Potential donors go through a rigorous screening process that includes an exhaustive questionnaire, a thorough clinical evaluation, and intensive stool and blood screening. In the end, nearly 97 percent of applicants are rejected. Apparently, they’re pretty particular about poop. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to find a stool bank and make a deposit!

To find a provider near you, please visit the Fecal Transplant Foundation.

Nonsurgical Vaginal Rejuvenation

An exciting new treatment for vaginal rejuvenation promises to restore what aging and loss of collagen in vaginal tissue can take away. It also helps women experiencing vaginal laxity after childbirth or from the natural aging process.Dr. Deborah A. DeMarta, MD, is now offering treatment with ThermiVa® for vaginal rejuvenation at Institute of Colorectal Health & Wellness.

ThermiVa® procedures revitalize vulvovaginal tissue through the application of gentle radiofrequency energy. Treatments performed in the doctor’s office are painless, with no downtime. They can help resolve the aging process of menopause, including the vaginal dryness and thinning of vaginal walls that can make sexual intimacy less enjoyable or even painful.

Hormonal imbalance can cause pelvic floor weakness leading to prolapse or the gradual descent of the urinary bladder, rectum and small intestine from their normal positions before menopause.

Two of the most severe complications of prolapse include urinary incontinence when coughing or sneezing as well as fecal incontinence.

“ThermiVa works by restoring collagen in the vagina, along with restoring tightness, moisture and support,” states Deborah A. DeMarta, MD, at the Institute of Colorectal Health & Wellness. “It can relieve the symptoms that can occur from hormonal imbalance.”

“I’m thrilled to offer women this procedure,” she continues.

Improving Tone and Laxity

Many women may know to expect hot flashes and night sweats during menopause and perimenopause. They may not, however, be aware of how hormonal changes will affect the health of their vagina.

A decline in estrogen contributes to vaginal walls becoming thinner and producing less moisture.  The vaginal canal can also become shorter and less flexible. Results include vaginal dryness that not only makes sexual intimacy uncomfortable but also raises the risk of frequent yeast infections and urinary tract infections that may become recurrent.

Dr. DeMarta is a board-certified colorectal surgeon who also specializes in integrative and anti-aging and aesthetic medicine. The goal of her holistic approach is to help patients achieve optimal wellness and feel their best. She founded the Institute of Colorectal Health & Wellness to offer a comprehensive approach through medical, surgical and aesthetic services that promote health rejuvenation.

To help restore colorectal function, the ThermiVa device gives individuals an additional option for successful treatment of fecal leakage or unsightly perianal hemorrhoid skin tags.

“Fecal incontinence can be treated through dietary modification and physical therapy to strengthen the pelvic floor. However, some women need more than that. Previously, the options were pretty invasive,” notes Dr. DeMarta. “The exciting part about the ThermiVa is that it is much gentler and noninvasive.”

The ThermiVa procedure takes approximately 30 minutes, and feels like a warm massage. A treatment is recommended once a month for three consecutive months.

“No anesthesia is needed,” says Dr. DeMarta. “Patients come in, have the procedure and go home. Due to the non-existence of leakage, a pad is not needed, and normal activities can resume immediately.”

Treatments work on both the internal and external regions of the female pelvic floor. Stimulation occurs through radiofrequency and heat generation to restore collagen in the affected tissues. The formation of collagen helps improve laxity of the vagina and surrounding tissues to the pre-menopausal state.

“Most importantly, ThermiVa treatments improve a woman and her partner’s interest and sexual response that may have diminished through vaginal changes,” notes Dr. DeMarta.

“The ThermiVa is a superior addition to help women and their partners achieve and accomplish enjoyable intercourse,” she adds. “I’m excited to have this option for my patients. It not only results in enjoyable intercourse for couples, but also solves concerns such as laxity, prolapse, leakage, UTIs vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, lack of sexual desire and orgasmic dysfunction.”

Avoid Back Surgery!

Denise Moxon, 65, is a retired registered nurse who stays fit by engaging in a variety of activities that include the challenging horse-riding discipline called dressage, yoga and weight training.

Denise Moxon treated for herniated discs with nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy at St. Augustine Spine Center.

Denise Moxon

Looking after her barn and horses requires physically demanding chores, but that never fazed her. That is until the day her back went out when she was shoveling dirt.

The intense pain started in her lower back and radiated into her right thigh. At first, Denise thought rest would make it go away, so she stopped exercising and riding her horses.

When the pain remained, Denise looked for remedies with two priorities in mind: She wanted to avoid surgery and narcotic pain medications. Over four months, she tried physical therapy, massage, steroid injections and acupuncture.

“I did all of these things just trying to get out of pain and thinking time would take care of it,” she recalls. “But it kept getting worse and worse until I couldn’t even walk my dog for a short distance. Physical therapy did not help, and massage did not help. The acupuncture alleviated the pain, but it wasn’t a cure. I’d be pain free, but then I’d need acupuncture again.

“By the sixth month, I couldn’t tolerate it any longer. I was beginning to believe that surgery was the only thing that could help me.”

Denise consulted a neurosurgeon, who ordered an MRI. The imaging study revealed two herniated discs in her lower spine. She agreed with her physician they needed surgical repair.

Due to the busy surgeon’s schedule, the operation couldn’t be performed for three months. Denise was resolved to suffering until then.

Shortly after scheduling the surgery, however, she learned about Tyler Albrecht, DC, at St. Augustine Spine Center. She was intrigued by a therapy that Dr. Albrecht uses to treat herniated and bulging discs called nonsurgical spinal decompression.

Wanting to learn more, Denise made an appointment to consult with Dr. Albrecht.

Healing Herniated Discs

“When Denise came to us, she was in really bad shape,” states Dr. Albrecht. “She could only walk or stand two minutes before the pain would become severe. She couldn’t do any bending or lifting, and the pain was interrupting her sleep.”

Denise’s herniated discs were causing spinal stenosis, a condition that causes narrowing of the space for the spinal cord. This narrowing puts pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerves, causing pain.

Through his examination of Denise, Dr. Albrecht determined she was a candidate for nonsurgical spinal decompression. The therapy works to restore herniated or bulging discs to a healthier state, thus relieving the pain.

“What I’ve found is that spinal decompression is usually the best treatment for a herniated disc because it helps to reverse the pressure on the disc and allows the disc to heal rather than just trying to cover up the pain with injections or medication,” notes Dr. Albrecht.

Denise Moxon treated for herniated discs with nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy at St. Augustine Spine Center.

Denise is getting back in the saddle now that her back pain is gone.

“Our decompression table does this by gently pulling the two vertebrae on either side of the affected disc, producing a vacuum effect. This allows bulging material and nutrients to be drawn back into the disc over time, allowing it to heal naturally. Advanced technology and computerized load sensors combine to create a gentle, pain-free treatment that avoids the muscle guarding reflex that is commonly triggered with rudimentary traction devices.”

Denise liked how Dr. Albrecht explained the process clearly and comprehensively.

“Dr. Albrecht is very articulate and knowledgeable,’’ she describes. “He’s informative and factual. The result was that I could make the decision on my own about whether to pursue treatment. He didn’t try to make the decision for me, which I appreciate in a doctor.”

Denise began a seven-week treatment regimen with three sessions of spinal decompression each week. In addition, she was treated with a combination of other modalities that are part of the disc rehabilitation program at St. Augustine Spine Center. They included manual therapy, chiropractic care, ice, electrical stimulation and laser therapy to help speed the healing process.

A Full Recovery

The therapy sessions were pleasant experiences, Denise relates.

Denise Moxon treated for herniated discs with nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy at St. Augustine Spine Center.

Denise is getting back in the saddle now that her back pain is gone

“The atmosphere in Dr. Albrecht’s office is lovely and peaceful,” she says. “And the decompression treatments were very comfortable and easy to do. They’re pain free. You can watch videos while you’re lying on the decompression table, which I did a lot, and it’s restful.”

Halfway through her treatment program, Denise discovered how much spinal decompression was helping. She went to a boat show with her husband and was stunned to realize that walking didn’t hurt anymore.

“We were walking around and after about forty-five minutes, I stopped and said, Art, I have no pain,” remembers Denise. “Before, I would go places, even though it hurt to walk, because I’m an active person. I would walk, hurt, sit; walk, hurt, sit.

“At the boat show, it suddenly dawned on me that I had been walking for forty-five minutes and hadn’t needed to sit down because I wasn’t hurting.”

Before her first visit with Dr. Albrecht, Denise says her average pain level was six on a scale of one to ten. By the end of treatment, she says, it had dropped to zero.

Dr. Albrecht uses another feedback measure, the Low Back Pain and Disability Index, to gauge results. The questionnaire focuses on how much back pain interferes with daily activities.

“When we started out, Denise was at sixty-six percent on how much the pain was disabling her,” states Dr. Albrecht. “When we finished, she was down to zero percent – she experienced a full recovery.”

“It was a long road because I tried so many things. I’m really pleased with my treatment by Dr. Albrecht. It’s pretty impressive.” -Denise

Denise is slowly working her way back into horse-riding shape. And before she resumes yoga and weight training, she is following a regimen of stretching and strengthening her core.

“I’m not trotting or cantering on my horse at this time, but slowly we’ll get there,” she says. “I was in pretty darn good shape for my age before that [injury] occurred, and I’m going to make sure I am again before I resume all my activities.”

Once she felt certain that spinal decompression had given her long-lasting relief, Denise canceled her surgery date. Ultimately, she succeeded in finding a treatment that took away her severe back pain without surgery or drugs.

“It was a long road because I tried so many things,” she relates. “I’m really pleased with my treatment by Dr. Albrecht. It’s pretty impressive.”

A Message About Men’s Health

June 3rd, 2018

This blog may be about men’s health, but women need to read it, too. Women have to encourage the men in their lives to pay more attention to their health. June is Men’s Health Month, and it’s the perfect time to review a few of the biggest health issues men face.Message About Men’s Health

Since forever, women have lived longer than men. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that on average, women today live more than five years longer than men, and that gap is getting wider. Men have higher rates of death in most of the top ten causes of death. They also tend to have higher rates of complications from many disorders.

According to a report from the World Health Organization, men have higher death and complication rates for conditions like coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer. Yet, many of the risk factors for those diseases that have increased in the past few years aren’t male-specific and are preventable. These include increases in smoking, alcohol consumption, sedentary lifestyles and obesity.

According to WHO, there’re other factors that can contribute to a poorer life expectancy for men. For instance, men generally have greater exposure to occupational hazards such as physical or chemical hazards. They tend to engage more often in behaviors involving risk-taking, they’re less likely to see a doctor when they’re sick, and when they do, they’re less likely to fully report their symptoms.

A board member of the Men’s Health Network notes that certain conditions common in men, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, have no detectable symptoms. Many cancers also have few detectable symptoms in their early, most treatable, stages, so health care monitoring is crucial.

That’s where women can come in. We can help our men be aware of screenings, adopt healthy eating habits and promote exercise by setting an example and doing it with them. We can also encourage them to see the doctor when they complain of not feeling well or show signs of illness. They’re protecting the family by staying healthy.

So, what are the big health issues facing men? I read a couple of articles that listed the Top 10 or Top 5 Men’s Health Issues, but I’m going to condense the list to three big ones. You can read more at these three sites:

Still high on the list is cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association tells us that one in three men have some form of cardiovascular disease. It’s the leading cause of death for men in the US, responsible for one of every four male deaths. Another condition that’s common in men and can contribute to cardiovascular disease is high blood pressure, which slowly damages the heart and blood vessels over time. These disorders can be controlled if detected early.

Here’s one you might not have thought of but is a growing problem. It’s skin cancer. Men 50 and older are at high risk for developing skin cancer, more than twice as likely as women. The reason is because men have generally had more sun exposure and tend to have fewer visits to the doctor for skin checks. More men than women die of melanoma, a lethal form of skin cancer. Regular skin checks can catch skin cancer in its early stages.

Diabetes is a problem in itself, and it can result in a whole bunch of other problems. It can lead to erectile dysfunction and lower testosterone levels. Low testosterone also decreases a man’s muscle mass and energy level. Low blood glucose can cause depression and anxiety, as well as damage to the nerves and kidneys and lead to heart disease, liver disease, stroke and vision issues. Routine blood work can monitor blood glucose levels and detect pre-diabetes.

Men face many more health issues that affect them not just physically, but mentally as well. This month, encourage the men in your life to take advantage of screenings, get regular physicals, lead a healthy lifestyle and see the doctor when necessary. Help them take control of their health and live longer.

Skip the Surgery

Nonsurgical therapy relieves back pain using vacuum effect.

Still a snowbird at 84, Jean Potter lives in Bradenton from October to June, then returns to her native Oceanport, New Jersey to spend the summer months on the Jersey Shore. Nothing holds her back, but a nagging problem with her knees recently turned into a battle with her back that stopped her cold.

Dr. Craig S. Aderholdt of Back Pain Institute of West Florida in Bradenton and Sarasota treated Jean Potter for low back pain with VAX-D® therapy.

“For many patients with painful back conditions such as Jean’s, I recommend VAX-D therapy,” acknowledges
Dr. Aderholdt.

“I had bad knees and was favoring one side when I walked,” Jean describes. “I had lubricant injections in my knees, which worked well. The only thing was, as soon as I started walking correctly again, I began to experience a great deal of pain in my back.

“My doctor determined that I had probably started walking to one side because I had deteriorating discs in my spine and that now that I was walking normally again, the discs were hitting each other.

“Deteriorating discs are something that can happen with pressure and over time, the doctor told me. By walking to one side the way I was, I was actually taking some of the pressure off those discs, which alleviated me of any potential pain.”

Now that Jean was walking straighter, there was nothing easing the pressure of the damaged discs rubbing against one another. This situation also irritated the spinal nerves in the area. These conditions led to not only intense pain but disability.

“The pain was excruciating and was there night and day, and it kept me from doing just about everything, because anything I did caused severe pain,” relates Jean. “On a scale of one to ten, my pain level was consistently at a nine.

“The pain affected my life a lot. I like to golf but with my back the way it was, I couldn’t play. I’d been doing yoga with people in our community, but I had to give that up as well. My partner and I stopped going to social events because I just wasn’t up for it. I felt terrible.”

Jean continued suffering with the pain, but above all else, she wanted to avoid surgery. Then she heard about a unique, nonsurgical treatment offered by Dr. Craig S. Aderholdt at Back Pain Institute of West Florida. The treatment is VAX-D® therapy, and Jean was intrigued by what she heard. She called and made an appointment.

“For many patients with painful back conditions such as Jean’s, I recommend VAX-D therapy,” acknowledges Dr. Aderholdt, who is one of the few doctors in the country who offers this patented, FDA-approved medical decompression technique for alleviating the pressure on the discs of the spine.

“When Dr. Aderholdt was talking to me and my partner, my partner said, He knows what he’s talking about,” remembers Jean. “Then Dr. Aderholdt looked at me and said, I can help you. That’s when I decided to get the treatment.”

Different and Better

While VAX-D is a medical decompression technique, Dr. Aderholdt stresses it is not a traction device. It works differently and achieves significantly better results.

“Chiropractic adjustments alone can actually relieve the pain for many patients,” he observes. “For select people with sciatica or herniated, bulging or degenerated discs, however, VAX-D treatment has proven extremely effective.”

During treatment, the patient relaxes on a comfortable, computer-controlled table, secured with a pelvic belt or patented cervical collar, depending on the area to be treated. Carefully specified tension and pressure changes guide the use of VAX-D, allowing the therapist to focus decompression at the exact level of spinal dysfunction.Dr. Craig S. Aderholdt of Back Pain Institute of West Florida in Bradenton and Sarasota treated Jean Potter for low back pain with VAX-D® therapy.

Because it’s computerized, the VAX-D system enables the table to make subtle but targeted movements, which create a powerful vacuum within the disc space. This vacuum gently draws the disc back to its proper orientation, which pulls nutrient-rich spinal fluid into the disc and stimulates repair cells that effectively mend the disc.

“Nothing else can create such a powerful vacuum,” explains Dr. Aderholdt. “That is what makes VAX-D such a valuable tool for pain relief. There are imitators, but the vacuum effect is the most powerful one known. It doesn’t allow the muscles to contract like other machines might. In fact, VAX-D is the only nonsurgical treatment that has been clinically proven to reduce disc pressure to negative levels.”

“The treatment itself is interesting,” states Jean. “You get on the table, and it stretches you out. Fifteen times it pulls you up, then down. I think I grew a little. The treatment doesn’t hurt, but I felt it. Then they put me on a warm hydrotherapy treatment for fifteen minutes to relax me, and that was marvelous.”

Over the years, VAX-D treatment has developed a long track record of many satisfied patients, asserts Dr. Aderholdt. Long-term studies have shown that VAX-D is effective in more than 88 percent of patients who go through the treatment.

“I consider VAX-D one of the most effective nonsurgical medical treatments for low back pain and sciatica today,” he adds. “This revolutionary technology is one more tool I can offer my patients as we work toward relieving pain and maintaining the health of the lumbar and cervical spine.”

From Nine to Zero

Jean reports that she started to feel better after about eight VAX-D treatments. She was amazed by the decreases in her pain level, which before therapy was consistently hovering near the top of the scale.

Dr. Craig S. Aderholdt of Back Pain Institute of West Florida in Bradenton and Sarasota treated Jean Potter for low back pain with VAX-D® therapy.

Jean is on course for a return to the links.

“As I was doing the treatments, my pain level went down to a six, then a five,” she notes. “When it got down to a two, I thought, This is really working. Eventually, the pain was gone. My pain level now is zero.”

Even though Jean’s pain has been relieved, Dr. Aderholdt is returning her to activity slowly. Jean and her partner have gone to several social events, which they hadn’t been doing because of Jean’s back condition. However, she’s still restricted from other, more physical activities.

“Dr. Aderholdt says my spine is still not totally stable, but it’s almost there,” reports Jean. “I’m not playing golf yet, and I’m waiting for the day I can. But golfing can be bad for your back, so it’ll probably be the last thing I go back to doing.

“I haven’t tried yoga yet, either. Dr. Aderholdt wants me to wait and just do the exercises he gave me for now. I’m going to stick with what he suggests because the treatment he recommended worked for me, and I trust him.”

Jean trusts the staff at Back Pain Institute of West Florida as well. She finds them friendly and accommodating. She says they’re willing to do anything to make her visits to the institute pleasant and comfortable.

“The staff is great,” she confirms. “They always do everything for me with no problem, and they’re very nice about it. I’ve recommended Dr. Aderholdt and Back Pain Institute of West Florida many times. They’re very, very good.

“As for me, I just know I didn’t want surgery. I didn’t want to go through that at eighty-four. Then I found Dr. Aderholdt and his VAX-D treatment, and it worked. I have no pain. What more do you want?”

Dynamic Duo

Class IV deep tissue laser and HIVAMAT 200 deep oscillation therapy relieve lower back and leg pain.

For the better part of the three years he spent serving in the US Army, Robert Phelan was stationed at Arlington National Cemetery. While there, he was regularly assigned the duty of guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Robert Phelan and Joseph Parsolano received relief for lower back and leg pain from deep tissue laser therapy and electronic massage therapy at Regional Rehab.

The treatments have Robert playing golf again.

Serving as a Sentinel at the Tomb of the Unknowns is one of the military’s highest honors. It is also one of the most specific, each walk across the front of the tomb requiring precisely 21 steps to signify a 21-gun salute.

Now 81, Robert could not have made that brief walk a few months ago. Simple wear and tear had left him with so much hip and back pain that he could not walk across the room without the aid of a walker. Sometimes, he even needed a wheelchair.

“I used to be very active,” explains Robert, who spent most of his working years as a student aid at the University of Pennsylvania and St. John’s University. “Even after I stopped working for the schools, I still played a lot of golf and was active in real estate.”

Robert’s hip and back pain brought an end to his active lifestyle a few years ago. When the problem persisted, Robert sought help from the Veterans Administration, which eventually referred him to Regional Rehab in Spring Hill.

That’s where he met Charles Donley, PT, who soon discovered Robert was suffering from severe intervertebral disc disorders and multi-degenerative changes in the lumbar spine. Charles then recommended treating Robert with a combination of deep tissue laser therapy and electrical stimulation.

Two for One

“We are the only clinic in the country using two specific devices at once to decrease inflammation, promote healing and decrease pain,” Charles explains. “It’s a very unique approach.”

The first of the two devices is the Class IV deep tissue laser. It uses wavelengths of light (red and near-infrared) to stimulate the body’s natural ability to heal cells by causing the release of nitric oxide, which Charles says acts like a “snowplow on a winter’s street.”

“The nitric oxide that is bound up inside the swollen cell is now loose on the streets, and what the laser does is clear the pathways to allow the waste to be removed from that cell and for nutrients and water to come in,” Charles explains.

The second device is the HIVAMAT® 200, providing deep oscillation therapy. It creates gentle impulses that relax muscles and penetrates all tissue layers to remove from the cells all the inflammatory byproducts that cause pain but are not part of the cell’s natural makeup.

Each laser treatment takes about ten minutes, while each HIVAMAT 200 treatment takes about 20 minutes. With stretching and exercise, each therapy session generally lasts about 60 minutes, and Charles usually recommends two to three sessions per week.

Most patients begin to notice improvement within four to six sessions, Charles informs, and that was the case with Robert, who says he graduated to a cane from a walker after just three sessions and got rid of the cane shortly after that.

“I only use the cane now if I’m going to do a lot of walking, and that’s just for security purposes,” Robert reports. “I’m even thinking about pulling out my old seven-iron, going out to a driving range and getting my golf swing back in the groove.”

Treated Like Family

Much like Robert, Joseph Parsolano, 73, is getting back in the groove, too. Thanks to the care he received at Regional Rehab, he is once again working in his flower garden and building street rods out of old cars such as the 1967 AMC Ambassador he recently found.

Robert Phelan and Joseph Parsolano received relief for lower back and leg pain from deep tissue laser therapy and electronic massage therapy at Regional Rehab.

Joseph feels strong enough to climb back under the hood of his classic car.

Joseph wasn’t involved in either of those activities nine months ago. He wasn’t accompanying his girlfriend on trips to the grocery store the way he had in the past either, all because of the severe pain he was experiencing in his left hip and back.

The pain was a slow-developing byproduct of an accident Joseph was involved in at the age of 34, when he fell off a ladder and dropped three stories into a deep well while working as a commercial painter.

The fall ended Joseph’s commercial painting career and led to ten surgeries to repair his left knee. The surgeries changed the way Joseph walked and, over time, those changes led to the pain he began to experience in his leg and back.

“At first, it was just in the morning after I would get up that I had the pain,” Joseph recalls. “Then, after a while, it would go away, so I really didn’t pay any attention to it. Then all of a sudden, it started coming on more and more.

“It got to a point where I was having trouble getting up out of a chair, and I couldn’t sit for very long. I couldn’t stand for long either. I couldn’t even walk to the mailbox. My girlfriend finally said to me, You can’t stay like this.”

Joseph’s previous experience with therapy at a different clinic did not clear up the issue. Neither did the medication he was prescribed to mask the pain. It wasn’t until after his primary care physician recommended he visit Regional Rehab that Joseph began to get some relief.

“The first thing they noticed was that I wasn’t picking up my leg properly when I walked, so they had me fitted for a brace that lifted my leg for me,” Joseph remembers. “That was a big help. But I still had the pain. That’s when they started using the laser on me.”

Charles treated Joseph with the same dual approach he used on Robert, combining the laser therapy with the HIVAMAT 200 treatments. At Regional Rehab, Charles never stops at simply treating a patient’s symptoms.

“Our goal, as these men would tell you, is to develop not just a patient, but a family member for life,” Charles explains. “That really is our philosophy, and the first step in that process is to listen to them.

“For doctors, sometimes they’re seeing so many people that they’re not always able to really spend as much time with them as they would like to or be able to listen to their whole story. But we’re going to see somebody for ten or twelve visits, so we get the opportunity to develop a deeper relationship.

“With Joseph, here was a gentleman who could not get any sleep because of his pain. He was saying, ‘If I could just get one day of relief, it would be great’. He went from being in pain and barely walking to having erect posture and a big grin on his face.”

That grin, Joseph confirms, appeared on the day he had his first laser treatment. A skeptic of the process before he arrived at Regional Rehab, he walked out of the facility that first day feeling like a new man.

“I felt a let up in the pain right away and then after the third or fourth visit, oh my God, I had no more pain,” Joseph reveals. “I just got better and better with each appointment, which I really could not believe.

“When I first went in there, I didn’t think anybody could do anything to help me. But they did everything they said they would. They could not have handled me any better. Right now, I feel like I could climb a mountain.”

Robert says he would climb a mountain, if necessary, to get to Regional Rehab.

“I just can’t recommend them highly enough,” he raves. “They were tremendous, the whole staff. They don’t just treat the ailment; they treat the whole patient. Charles and everyone are so caring about their patients. It’s just a fabulous place.”

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