Pain Management

Live Healthier and Lower Your Risk for Heart Disease

  • Posted Jan 29, 2019
  • hchadmin

Did you know that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States?

February is American Heart Month and Holy Cross Hospital would like to encourage you to care for yourself, and your loved ones, by reminding you of the importance of preventive care. 

The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD), according to the CDC. The great news is that you can greatly reduce your risk for CAD through lifestyle changes and preventive care, including embracing a healthier spirit.

To keep your heart healthy, the American Heart Association recommends the following:
•    Maintain a healthy weight
•    Quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke
•    Control your cholesterol levels and blood pressure
•    Drink alcohol only in moderation
•    Get regular exercise and eat healthier
•    Ask your doctor about taking aspirin every day (if you are a man over the age of 45, or a woman past menopause)
•    Manage stress

While controlling physical risk factors is obviously a great way to help prevent any condition, so is maintaining a healthier spirit. For example:
•    Remain optimistic. Research shows that happiness and a positive attitude are associated with lower rates of disease.
•    Control stress. Stress relievers like deep breathing and muscle relaxation exercises, as well as keeping a journal, can be helpful in controlling the impact stress has on your body.
•    Do everything in moderation. Don’t try to do too much at one time – make sure to have time for proper nutrition, sleep, work and play.
•    Create a network. Maintaining a close circle of family and friends can provide you with emotional support when you need it.

Lastly, getting annual physicals and tests from your doctor is key in sustaining your health and preventing heart disease. Having a primary care physician (PCP) who can coordinate your care is vital to your good health. A PCP typically specializes in family medicine, internal medicine or general practice.
If you don’t have a PCP, finding one is easy! Just visit your insurance carrier’s website, look for the “find a doctor” area and follow the instructions.

As your trusted health partner for life, Holy Cross Hospital is committed to helping you Live Your Whole Life by nurturing well-being through body, mind and spirit.

Research trial for chronic pain of the upper extremities open

  • Posted Nov 29, 2016
  • hchadmin

research trial image

A multi-center, prospective, clinical trial of the Senza® Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) system in the treatment of chronic pain of the upper extremities

Have you experienced arm or hand pain from any one of the following conditions?

  • Cervical fusion surgery
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Brachial plexus stretch/avulsion injury
  • Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) or Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD)?


  • Do not have a drug pump or active implantable device including pacemaker 
  • Average pain at least 5 out of 10  

For more information, please call: (954) 489-4578

Paul Wu, MD 

Stimrouter for shoulder pain in stroke patients

  • Posted Jun 21, 2016
  • hchadmin

You may not know this, but individuals who suffer from stroke commonly see the muscles surrounding their shoulder become weaker and weaker and their shoulder gradually dislocates from the socket.

When this happens, it is extremely painful, and the patient -- because of the stroke -- often lacks the ability to express the pain because they've been rendered mute by the stroke itself.

Additionally it is not uncommon for the stroke itself to damage the pain-sensing system which results in a magnification of an already extremely painful syndrome!

The Stimrouter is a small, thin wire that is implanted with a needle in the shoulder next to the axillary nerve. It is then tunneled to the surface just underneath the skin where, on the outside of the arm, a tiny patch is placed to transmit electrical signals down to the nerve for two reasons: 1) to activate the deltoid muscle, which then relocates the humorous bone into the shoulder joint stopping the dislocation, and 2) to actually block the signal of pain that is transmitted to the brain from the shoulder itself.

The appropriate candidate, first and formemost, is any stroke patient who has shoulder pain. Additionally, the Stimrouter has also been approved for stimulation of any nerve in the trunk or extremities for any nerve-related pain. Click here for a patient testimonial. 

While the shoulder pain isn't necessarily associated with nerve damage in the shoulder, it is associated with the the nerve damage in the brain itself and the consequence is an extremely painful syndrome called shoulder hand syndrome. 

Regarding sciatic nerve pain, the Stimrouter is not the best tool in the bag for these issues, but there are many other types of implantable devices for sciatic pain that work extremely well.  Many of those are standard spinal cord stimulator devices, but also dorsal root ganglion stimulator devices and many others.  
When patients ask how they can relieve the shoulder pain after a stroke, we have been having great difficulty for many years treating this problem.  Usually we brace the shoulder or put the shoulder into a sling, but this very poorly treats the underlying problem. And that is why the Stimrouter is such a revolutionary concept and product.

Shoulder pain from other causes such as labral tears and rotator cuff tears and arthritis are probably still best served by an orthopedic surgeon.
However, as technology advances, if we can get better and better at blocking pain, we may be able to treat shoulder pain itself without surgery in the future.

W. Porter McRoberts, MD
Interventional Spine and Pain Medicine  


Gain Control Over Back Pain

  • Posted Jul 08, 2014
  • Shannon Hastings, MSPT

Photo from Web MDChances are either you or someone close to you has experienced back pain.  Most people will tell you how debilitating it can be and have sought treatment to help reduce their pain.  Treatments can range from conventional medications, physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic care, and can sometimes require surgery.  Most patients opt for the least invasive method to treat their condition.

Physical therapists are board certified medical professionals that utilize exercise and equipment to help patients regain or improve their physical abilities.  Physical therapy can help you improve your mobility and strength, while reducing your pain to enable you to return to your active lifestyle.  The key to successful therapy requires an extensive evaluation to identify each client’s specific problems.  Once indentified, it is imperative to customize a program specific to a patient’s needs to accurately treat their diagnosis. Our job is not only to help you regain your function, but also to educate you about the specific condition you may be dealing with to better serve you moving forward in your own treatment.

The McKenzie method is an indepth assessment of the spine to develop treatment and preventative strategies for patients with spinal pain.  By identifying certain motions that can reduce or eliminate pain, it enables patients to gain control over their specific issue.  This method focuses on self treatment through exercise and stretching, which empowers the patient by enabling them to be an active participant in recovery.  It can be effective in reducing the recurrence of future episodes of pain and ultimately decreasing the length of treatment time needed with physical therapy.

Physical therapists utilize a variety of treatment options to combat back and neck pain including exercise, manual therapy, joint mobilizations, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and traction.

Physical therapy can be utilized for a variety of spinal conditions including, but not limited to: spinal stenosis, scoliosis, sciatica, cervical or lumbar radiculopathy, spondylolisthesis, degenerative disk disease, degenerative joint disease, and arthritis.  It is also commonly prescribed following whiplash injuries from motor vehicle accidents and after spinal surgery.

If you are looking to regain your active lifestyle and would like to try physical therapy to help understand and manage your back or neck pain, speak with your medical doctor to discuss if physical therapy is the right treatment for your condition.

Shannon Hastings, MSPT, is a staff physical therapist at Holy Cross Hospital's outpatient physical therapy clinic in the Rio Vista neighborhood of Fort Lauderdale, FL (1309 S. Federal Hwy.) and may be reached at 954-267-6819.

About Holy Cross Hospital

Holy Cross Hospital is a nonprofit, Catholic hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, dedicated to innovative, high quality and compassionate care. For nearly six decades, Holy Cross has continuously expanded its services to provide leading-edge care for their patients in Florida and for those from elsewhere in the United States. Holy Cross also offers an International Services program to ensure that patients from outside the U.S. receive the care they need.

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