Community Education: “State of the Art Treatment for Back Problems”

Join Timothy VanFleet, MD for a discussion about treatment for back problems, including:

  • Available treatment modalities for lumbar disorders
  • Current lumbar syndromes and causes for pain
  • Symptoms associated with commonly treated back problems
  • Pertinent anatomical causes for pain syndromes

Tuesday, May 23rd
6-7 p.m.

Memorial Center for Learning
and Innovation
2B H.D. Smith Classroom
228 W. Miller St., Springfield

To register visit or call (217)788-3333

OCIF is now Accepting Applications for Annual $20,000 Community Impact Grant

The Orthopedic Center of Illinois Foundation (OCIF) is now accepting applications for a $20,000 community impact grant, awarded each year to a Springfield area non-profit. The grant is funded through proceeds from the Annual OCIF Open: Chip in fore Charity event, scheduled for Monday, September 18, at Illini Country Club.

All Springfield area non-profit organizations are encouraged to apply. Organizations can review the Foundation guidelines and obtain an application by visiting the OCIF website:  Completed applications must be submitted by Friday, June 16, 2017. The winning grantee will be announced July 14, 2017.

OCIF was formed to support projects promoting patient education, continuing medical education, and regional charitable organizations.  Since the inaugural event in 2004, OCIF has granted more than $250,000 to local charities.  Recent beneficiaries of the outing include: Special Olympics of Illinois (2016), ThinkFirst (2015), and Illinois Senior Olympics/Senior Services of Central Illinois (2014).

Spring into Better Health with Midwest Rehab

The weather has changed and now you’re ready to get out of the house. Walking is currently the most commonly reported form of physical activity among U.S. adults and is one of the simplest ways to exercise. It only requires a good pair of shoes, comfortable clothing and desire! Just a few extra steps each day is an easy way to maintain a healthier life. The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity at least five days per week, at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least three days per week, or a combination of the two.

Start off your exercise or walking program slow and easy. For many, this means head out the door, walk for 10 minutes, and walk back. After a week, you’ll be ready to add five minutes to your daily walks. Continue to add five minutes until you are walking 30 minutes per day. When you have walked 30 minutes, you can increase your intensity by increasing your speed.

Checking your heart rate enables you to gauge the difficulty of your walk. You can check your heart rate by manually checking your pulse, or using a heart rate monitor. Most recommendations suggest beginning at 70-75% of your maximum heart rate (See Table 1). Keep in mind the standards of the traditional heart rate formulas do not fit everyone. You can also use the “talk test” to gauge your walking intensity. Talking pace means you have elevated breathing, but you can still carry a conversation. If you have been inactive for a long period of time or have any medical conditions, please consult with your physician before starting a new exercise program.

Remember to watch your posture. Walk tall, hold your head up, tighten your abdominal muscles and buttocks and swing your arms. To help prevent injury, warm up first, walking slowly the first five minutes and end your walk with stretching. When you begin a fitness program, some muscle soreness the day after you exercise or walk is typical. Soreness is expected to go away with regular exercise, although if you experience pain or swelling, contact your doctor or physical therapist.

When picking out shoes, there are specific recommendations depending on the individual’s foot type, though general recommendations are to make sure the shoes fit properly and are comfortable. They should be wide enough for the toes to move freely, the heel should not slip and about a thumb width between your toes and the end of your shoe. Another suggestion is to go shoe shopping at the end of the day or after your walk when your feet might be slightly swollen. Replacing your shoes every 6-9 months or about every 250 miles is recommended to prevent pain or injury.

Staying motivated and developing a habit are the keys to a successful fitness or exercise program. Having a walking partner will help with accountability, and tracking your time and distance can also be beneficial. This can be as simple as using a journal to or as advanced as using one of the new technology products. Fitness apps for smart devices have become very popular and can track your progress, provide walking routes, track your distance and calories burned.

Start your spring off on the right foot and remember if you have questions on beginning a walking or exercise program, the Physical Therapists at Midwest Rehab at OCI can assess your movement, strength and flexibility and develop an exercise program to help you meet your fitness goals. Give us a call at 217.547.9108 to help you get started and truly Spring into Better Health!

Orthopedic Imaging Modalities: X-ray, CT, MRI

By Karolyn Senica, MD

There are multiple orthopedic imaging techniques used to diagnose and evaluate musculoskeletal conditions. These include x-rays, CT scan, and MRI. This article will discuss the various techniques, and briefly, how these images are obtained. It will also describe the advantages and disadvantages of the various modalities and how they are used to evaluate common orthopedic conditions.

X-rays are the most commonly used imaging modality. They were first discovered in 1895, and they were produced with an x-ray machine or tube. Electrons, which are negatively charged subatomic particles, are accelerated and strike a metal target within the tube. This produces an x-ray beam which is projected through the body and onto an image detector. Objects that are more dense, such as bone, absorb more radiation while objects that are less dense, such as soft tissue, absorb less radiation.

Images can be detected with analog (x-ray film) or digital systems directly on the computer. OCI uses digital radiography. Some advantages of digital radiography include: immediate availability of images, enhancement of images such as magnification, contrast, and taking direct measurements for templating. This system also leads to fewer retakes of x-rays and often times, a decreased radiation dose to the patient. It also offers storage of images on the computer without having to store volumes of x-ray films.
Besides being the most common imaging modality, x-rays are relatively inexpensive. X-rays can be used to diagnose fractures and dislocations, and also to assess fracture healing. Tumors and infections can also be identified on plain x-rays. One of the most common conditions we use x-rays for is to diagnosis arthritis and to assess its severity. They can also be used to assess alignment of total joint arthroplasties and to check for any evidence of loosening. Orthopedic hardware such as plates, screws, and rods can also be visualized on x-ray. We can then determine if there is any malalignment, breakage, or loosening. X-rays can also be used in the spine to evaluate for arthritis, degenerative disc disease, and curvature or scoliosis. Real-time imaging or fluoroscopy can also be used to perform injections and aspirations of joints.

Some disadvantages of x-rays are radiation exposure. X-rays are avoided in pregnancy unless absolutely necessary. X-rays are not helpful for identifying soft tissue injuries to ligaments, tendons, or muscle.

CT scans or computed tomography uses x-ray beams to take multiple slices of an object. These multiple images are reassembled to generate an image and can even be reconstructed on the computer to make a 3- dimensional image. Multiple images do improve resolution and provide soft tissue imaging as well. There is no magnification associated with CT scanning. Some disadvantages of CT scanning include increased radiation exposure and artifact noted on the images around metal orthopedic hardware or total joint prostheses. CT scans in Orthopedics are used to evaluate complex fractures of the knee, pelvis, wrist, etc., for surgical planning. They can sometimes detect occult fractures which are not visible on plain x-rays or fractures that are sometimes hard to identify on plain film such as those involving the pelvis or sternoclavicular joint. They can be used with contrast dye to identify problems in the shoulder (rotator cuff tear) or knee (meniscal tear) in patients who are unable to have an MRI scan. CT scans can also be used as guidance to perform a bone biopsy.

MRI or magnetic resonance imaging involves using a tube surrounded by a giant circular magnet to obtain images. Our bodies are composed mostly of water, H2O, which contains hydrogen atoms. A strong magnetic field is sent through our bodies and changes the orientation of these hydrogen atoms. When they relax to their baseline state, there is energy released. This is picked up by a scanner and a computer to produce images. MRI scanning provides excellent imaging of soft tissues including tendons, ligaments, menisci, and muscle. It also can be used to evaluate the bone marrow. Since it uses a large magnet for production of images, there is no radiation exposure.

The MRI at OCI is a short bore magnet measuring only 4 feet in length. The opening of the bore measures 2.3 feet in diameter with almost 1 foot of free space between the patient’s head and the magnet. The short bore design reduces feelings of claustrophobia, and the magnet allows more than 60 percent of exams to be completed with the patient’s head outside the bore. The strength of the magnet is 1.5 Tesla which produces superior image quality. The image quality is markedly better than on a conventional open MRI. MRI scans are used to determine ligament, tendon, or cartilage injuries in joints. They are used in the spine to detect disc herniations or degeneration, nerve root impingement or stenosis, and facet arthritis.

MRI scans can detect changes in the bone marrow that are seen in fractures, bone bruises, infections, or stress reactions. They can be used to identify bone and soft tissue tumors. MRI scans can also be performed with contrast (gadolinium) injected into the shoulder or hip joint to detect labral tears. Before having an MRI scan, patients are screened for any metal implants in their bodies. The strong magnet can cause electrical devices such as pacemakers and metal pumps to malfunction. Metal foreign bodies near the eye or brain could potentially move causing blindness or brain injury. Metallic orthopedic hardware and total joint prostheses attached to the bone are stable and can be imaged. All metal, such as jewelry, earrings, piercings, watches, hearing aids, cell phones, etc. are removed from your body prior to entering the scanning room. Disadvantages of MRI scanning include poor image quality related to patient motion artifact. Patients need to remain very still during the scan. This is sometimes difficult given the time required for scanning and because of claustrophobia. Patients are often given some Valium an hour prior to the exam to help with relaxation. Also, artifact from metallic hardware and prostheses can reduce image quality. MRI scanning is not approved during pregnancy.

March Employee of the Month- Nicole L.

The physicians and staff are proud to announce Nicole L. has been named employee of the month for March 2017.

Nicole joined OCI in 2014.

Nicole was nominated by multiple co-workers, who said, “Nicole is always willing to help anyone, she always has a smile on her face and a great attitude. She is wonderful to work with and is sweet to patients.”

Congratulations Nicole!