Tips to Avoid a Christmas Tree Fire

Posted on : 12-12-2014 | By : tsimons | In : Emergency, Health Tips, News

stxmco001christmas_tree__fireplace-800x333According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), each year, fire departments respond to an average of 210 structure fires caused by Christmas trees. Carefully decorating Christmas trees can keep your home and loved ones safe. In fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that approximately 15,000 people are treated in emergency rooms every holiday season for injuries related to Christmas trees and holiday decorating.

“The last thing anyone wants in their home is a Christmas tree-related fire and end up in the emergency room hurt,” says Daniel Checco, D.O., emergency medicine physician at the Silver Cross Emergency Care Center in Homer Glen. “Although if they find themselves seriously injured from a burn, seek medical attention immediately.”
Follow these Christmas tree safety tips to keep the holiday season safe for all:

Picking the Tree
•  If you have an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.
•  Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.

Placing the Tree
•  Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 1″ – 2″ from the base of the trunk.
•  Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
•  Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
•  Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.

Lighting the Tree
•  Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
•  Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of LED strands to connect.
•  Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
•  Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

After Christmas
Get rid of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home. Check with your local community to find a recycling program. Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.

Emergency Care Nearby
Even with the utmost caution, Christmas-related injuries can still occur. It is good to know peace of mind is just minutes away at the Silver Cross Emergency Care Center located at 143rd and Bell Rd. in Homer Glen. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the Center is staffed with board certified emergency medicine physicians and nurses.  Located in the same building is the Silver Cross Health Center offering MRI, CT, X-ray, Ultrasound, EKG and laboratory services. A physician’s order is required. To request an appointment for a test, click here or call (815) 300-7076. There are also several primary and specialty physician offices and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross.



Childerguild Raises over $186,000 for Silver Cross at Ball

Posted on : 12-09-2014 | By : tsimons | In : Events, News, Video
Childerguild Members

Childerguild Members

Over 480 friends of Silver Cross Hospital attended the 86th Annual Childerguild Ball November 22 at the Odyssey Country Club and enjoyed wonderful food and dancing. The premier event of the holiday season raised over $186,000 which will be used to support women’s and children’s programs and services at Silver Cross Hospital.

The annual tradition of the Childerguild Ball began in 1928 as a fundraiser for the Obstetrics and Pediatrics departments at Silver Cross Hospital and keeps going strong thanks to the commitment of the members of Childerguild and to the many friends of the hospital who contribute to make this event a great success year after year. This year, Pam Prezek and Gael O’Brienco-chaired the Ball. Their committee included: Robin Hartney, Ellen Moran, Dianne White and Jeanne Quigley.

As a prelude to the dinner, the hospital awarded medals of excellence to two prominent community service and healthcare minded individuals.

ALEXANDER, FREDThis year’s Silver Cross Sehring Medal of Excellence was awarded to infectious disease physician  Fred Alexander, M.D.   Dr. Alexander has diligently served the healthcare community for over 35 years. During his career, Dr Alexander spent much time researching the rapid diagnosis and therapy of respiratory infections. Dr. Alexander and his wife were instrumental in founding the Trinity Christian School where he has served as Chairman of the school’s Board for 20 years. Dr. Alexander has also participated in several international medical mission trips.  During each of these visits, the group spent a week providing medical care in underprivileged areas in Honduras, Bolivia, and Ecuador.

BJGSilver Cross also honored Br. James Gaffney, FSC, with the Sangmeister Medal of Excellence for the many hours he has unselfishly given of his time to improve the quality of education for area residents. For the past 26 years, his vision has transformed the university into a world class educational institution.  Through his leadership, he has elevated Lewis University to be the seventh largest private, not-for-profit university in Illinois. During his tenure, enrollment has tripled to nearly 6,600 students. But what he is most proud of is the opportunity to provide his students a unique college experience that infuses the Catholic and Lasallian Mission into every aspect of University life. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis is a Catholic university in the Lasallian tradition, preparing students to become intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, socially responsible and globally connected.

The Silver Cross Foundation is accepting nominations through Dec. 31, 2014 for the 2015 Silver Cross Medals of Excellence.  For more information, call (815) 300-7105.

The 2015 Childerguild Ball will be held Saturday, November 21 and the location is to be determined.

VIDEO:  Fred Alexander, MD – Silver Cross Sehring Medal of Excellence

VIDEO:  Br. James Gaffney – Silver Cross Sangmeister Medal of Excellence


Frankfort Fire Chief on the Job after Back Surgery

Posted on : 12-02-2014 | By : tsimons | In : Bone Health, News, Rehabilitation, Silver Cross Neuroscience Institute
Dr. Thomas Hurley, neurosurgeon at Silver Cross Hospital, shows Frankfort Fire Chief Jim Grady where exactly he relieved the pressure on Jim’s herniated disc and spinal cord.

Dr. Thomas Hurley, neurosurgeon at Silver Cross Hospital, shows Frankfort Fire Chief Jim Grady where exactly he relieved the pressure on Jim’s herniated disc and spinal cord.

Jim Grady has spent 38 years as a volunteer and career firefighter.  He has experienced it all—from flashovers to extrications to vehicle, structure, fuel, and large field fires.  But over time, the job had taken a toll on his body to the point where he was in constant pain, specifically in his legs.  Jim suffered lumbar degenerative disc disease and lumbar spinal stenosis—both normal wear-and-tear effects of aging.  He also had a herniated disc. 

“I tried just about everything including spinal injections with very little relief,” said the 61-year-old Frankfort Fire Protection District Chief.  “I finally decided it was time to take the next step and consider a permanent solution to stop the pain once and for all.” 

Jim had a MRI performed at nearby Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox.  After consulting with the fire department’s physician, he took the results and went to see Thomas Hurley, M.D., neurosurgeon with Cadence Physician Group now part of Northwestern Medicine at Silver Cross Hospital. With over 20 years of experience, Dr. Hurley specializes in traumatic spine disorders, fusion, and minimally invasive procedures.  He has been consistently recognized as a “Top Doc” at Silver Cross Hospital for outstanding patient satisfaction and is a past president of the Will-Grundy Medical Society.

“I had heard good things about Dr. Hurley from my doctor and co-workers.  And they were all true,” said the 61-year old.  “He spent nearly two hours with my wife, Bobbi, and I talking through my medical history and explaining the entire surgical process until we felt confident in how everything would go.  My biggest concern was how long it would take to heal. I wanted to get back on my feet as soon as possible.”

“Interestingly, most of Jim’s pain was on the left side of his body, specifically his left leg; however the tests showed that his herniated disc was on the right side of his spine,” said Dr. Hurley.  “I try to spend as much time as possible with my patients gathering the facts so we can rule out all conservative treatments before considering surgery.  In Jim’s case, surgery was really the only option.”

Complex Low Back Surgery with No Complications

On Aug. 4, 2014, Dr. Hurley performed a laminotomy to relieve the pressure on Jim’s spinal cord and to treat his herniated disc.  He followed that with a laminectomy to alleviate Jim’s leg pain caused by the lumbar spinal stenosis. Also known as decompression surgery, the laminectomy enlarged Jim’s spinal canal to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerves by removing the lamina, which is the back part of the vertebra (bone) that covers the spinal canal.  Laminectomy is generally used only when more-conservative treatments such as medication, physical therapy or injections have failed to relieve symptoms.

Dr. Hurley visited Jim frequently during the three days he spent in Silver Cross’ surgical patient care unit, which is ranked in the Top 1% in the nation for patient satisfaction according to Press Ganey.

“Everyone was so friendly from my first office visit, through pre-op, through discharge,” Jim said.  “Dr. Hurley and the entire staff—from the nurses to the (Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross) physical therapists who took good care of me while in the hospital, were extremely helpful, enthusiastic and upbeat.  They made sure that everything was set when I went home and that I had no complications.”

Back to Work with a Positive Outlook

After a short recuperation at home and a few weeks of physical therapy, Jim was able to able to return to some of his administrative duties with the Frankfort Fire Department just 4 weeks after his back surgery.

“I give Jim a lot of credit,” said Dr. Hurley.  “He is proactive when it comes to his health, very active and physically fit, which goes a long way when you are undergoing such a complex procedure.  Plus having a positive attitude always helps in the recovery process. Jim truly is a hero in every sense.”

“It will take some time to rebuild muscle, but overall I am feeling great,” comments Jim.  “Oohrah to Team Silver Cross!” 

For more information on back pain treatment options or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Thomas Hurley, call (815) 723-4387.

Taking Control of Your Health: Prevention & Treatment of Colon Cancer

Posted on : 12-01-2014 | By : tsimons | In : Cancer, colon cancer, Health Tips, News, screening

GAMAGAMI, REZASubmitted by R.A.Gamagami, Colorectal Cancer Specialist

Did you know that colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in men and the third most diagnosed cancer in women? The American Cancer Society recommends regular screenings, beginning at age 50, as the risk of developing colorectal cancer increases with age.  Polyps found and removed early during a colonoscopy screening can prevent the formation of colon cancer. This makes screening one of the most critical ways to prevent and treat colon cancer. Some people are at a higher risk and should be screened earlier, including those with a personal or family history of inflammatory bowel disease, polyps, or ovarian, endometrial or breast cancer. Furthermore, anybody having symptoms such as rectal bleeding or blood in the stool, change in bowel pattern, bloating, weight loss; and/or abdominal pain should undergo a colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer.

260x195_BCS_DidYouKnow_03Additionally, it is important for men and women to be screened earlier who have a family history of colon cancer.  If your mother, grandfather, and sister had colorectal cancer, particularly before age 50, there is a chance that you may get it too. Over the years, researchers have determined that certain colorectal cancers are known to be caused by inherited gene mutations, or abnormalities. These inherited gene mutations are suspected when several generations of a family have colorectal cancer.


In the earliest stages of colorectal cancer, polyps can be removed during a colonoscopy. Early-stage superficial cancers that are not deep can also be removed where the cancer is cut out via the rectum, avoiding the need for cutting through the abdominal wall.

Surgical removal of the area(s) of the colon where tumors are present (“resection”), along with any affected surrounding tissue is the standard initial treatment for potentially curable colorectal cancers (cancers that have not spread beyond the colon or lymph nodes). Here at Silver Cross Hospital, we can do this robotically using the da Vinci® robot. The robot allows the surgeon to easily connect the two ends of the colon after the cancer has been removed with a few tiny incisions, rather than the one long incision used in traditional open colon surgery. Robotic surgery allows most patients to benefit from minimal pain, low blood loss, fast recovery, and a shorter hospital stay with reduced complications.

For advanced cancer, we use drug and radiation therapy in addition to surgery in different combinations and sequences.

Choosing a qualified, experienced surgeon is critical to colon cancer surgical outcomes, and choosing a hospital experienced in these procedures is also paramount.

Colon cancer, while a formidable disease, is a very preventable cancer with the proper use of screening by colonoscopy accompanied by healthy lifestyle choices including a high-fiber, low-fat diet and regular exercise.

Get screened!

If you are interested in being screened for colon cancer, or are seeking treatment for a colon cancer diagnosis, you may schedule an appointment with Dr. Gamagami by calling his office at (815) 717-8730.

Silver Cross Home Health Care Ranks in Top 100 for Seniors

Posted on : 12-01-2014 | By : tsimons | In : News

Home Health image 1Silver Cross Home Health today announced that it has been named a Top Agency of the 2014 HomeCare Elite, a recognition of the top-performing home health agencies in the United States. Now in its ninth year, the HomeCare Elite identifies the top 25% of Medicare-certified agencies and highlights the top 100 and top 500 agencies overall. Winners are ranked by an analysis of publicly available performance measures in quality outcomes, best practice (process measure) implementation, patient experience (Home Health CAHPS®), quality improvement and consistency, and financial performance. In order to be considered, an agency must be Medicare-certified and have data for at least one outcome in Home Health Compare. Out of 9,994 agencies considered, 2,501 are elite.

The award is sponsored by OCS HomeCare by National Research Corporation, the leading provider of home health metrics and analytics, and DecisionHealth, publisher of the most respected independent newsletter in the home health profession, Home Health Line.

“The 2014 HomeCare Elite winners demonstrate a commitment to providing high quality care in their home health communities and we recognize them for their remarkable achievements,” said Mary Oakes, Senior Vice President of Post-Acute at National Research. “We congratulate Silver Cross Hospital on being recognized as a top home care agency.”

Donna Yack, Director of the Continuum of Services and Home Health Care at Silver Cross Hospital credits strong dedication to teamwork and high quality standards with the company’s ability to rank as one of the HomeCare Elite. She said, “Silver Cross is thrilled to be recognized for the eighth year in a row for our quality successes which are a direct result from our dedicated team of Home Health professionals. By continuing to enhance the quality of home healthcare we provide to our patients, we can ensure to deliver the best healthcare experience to our patients in the comfort of their own homes.”

“HomeCare Elite recognition is a significant acknowledgement. In today’s healthcare ecosystem, it is imperative that our seniors have access to quality home healthcare in order to ensure better patient outcomes and improve overall cost, and therefore, home healthcare continues to remain an integral part of the care continuum. The winners of the HomeCare Elite Award are proving that a heightened focus on clinical outcomes, patient experience, and financial management lead to success,” said Marci Heydt, Product Manager for the post-acute care business group of Decision Health.

Slowing Down a Fast Beating Heart

Posted on : 11-19-2014 | By : tsimons | In : Events, Health Tips, Heart Health, News
Michael Trovato, Jr. came back to visit with the some of folks who staff from Silver who cared for him 6during his heart ablation procedure to treat his Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib). From left to right are Brendan Casey, Manager of Cardiology, Endoscopy, and Interventional Radiology; Cindy Jansen, RT; Sunil Shroff, M.D., internal medicine and cardiovascular disease physician; patient Michael Trovato, Jr.; Peyton Webb, RN; and Bob Dominik, RT.

Michael Trovato, Jr. came back to visit with the some of folks who staff from Silver who cared for him 6during his heart ablation procedure to treat his Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib). From left to right are Brendan Casey, Manager of Cardiology, Endoscopy, and Interventional Radiology; Cindy Jansen, RT; Sunil Shroff, M.D., internal medicine and cardiovascular disease physician; patient Michael Trovato, Jr.; Peyton Webb, RN; and Bob Dominik, RT.

For 59 year-old Michael Trovato, Jr. his life began to dramatically change 13 months ago. His heart began racing, he couldn’t sleep, his energy level was low, and he suffered from severe shortness of breath. Life as he knew it began to stop. “As the months went by, I couldn’t even golf or bowl any more – two hobbies that I avidly have done for years,” said the Tinley Park resident . “My health declined so poorly that I was unable to work 6 months prior to having my heart ablation procedure at Silver Cross Hospital. But now, I’m thrilled to report that I am a new man thanks to the fantastic care I received from Dr. Shroff and the staff at Silver Cross. My heart rate has slowed down, I’m sleeping 6 to 7 hours a night and I’m enjoying an active lifestyle once again.”

Michael’s family practice physician referred him to cardiac electrophysiologist Dr. Sunil Shroff who immediately diagnosed Michael with Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib).

For the over 3 million people in the U.S. who live with A-Fib, every day life is a challenge.  And for Michael Trovato, Jr. everyday life became overwhelming.

“After trying various medications that didn’t offer me any relief, I knew I needed to do something to improve my health,Michael said. “I am so glad to have met such an experienced and knowledgeable doctor as Dr. Shroff who offered me a better solution by performing an ablation of my heart.”

What is Atrial Flutter/Atrial Fibrillation?

Electrical system problems of the heart may make the atria beat faster than normal. “If the atria beats quickly, but still evenly, it is called atrial flutter. If the atria beats very quickly and unevenly, it is called atrial fibrillation, which was what Michael suffered from for over a year,” says Dr. Sunil Shroff, cardiologist at Silver Cross Hospital who specializes in electrophysiology.

With atrial fibrillation, cells in the atria (upper chambers of the heart) send fast, irregular and uncoordinated electrical signals to the ventricles (lower chambers of the heart). These extra signals make the atria beat very quickly and unevenly. As a result, the atria may beat so fast and unevenly that it may quiver instead of contracting fully for each heartbeat.

“If the atria does not contract, it doesn’t move enough blood into the ventricles. This is what leads to symptoms such as dizziness and weakness,” said Dr. Shroff. “So blood that isn’t kept moving can pool and form clots in the atria. These clots can move into other parts of the body and cause serious problems, such as a stroke.”

Common symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation are palpitations (a fluttering, fast heartbeat), weakness or tiredness, shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness, dizziness or lightheadedness, or fainting spells.

What Causes this to Occur?

Hypertension (high blood pressure) and valvular heart disease- especially mitral stenois and mitral insufficiency- increase the risk of atrial fibrillation. Many people (up to 50% of patients) get A-Fib after open-heart surgery. Extreme emotional or physical stress such as severe infections, severe pain, and thyroid problems can trigger A-Fib as well. Some cases have been reported where caffeine (in coffee, tea, sodas) and chocolate (in large amounts) also trigger episodes of A-fib. Also, many times atrial fibrillation has no known precipitating cause.

Learn More

Come learn more about A-Fib and the latest treatment options available such as ablation of the heart at a free lecture hosted by Silver Cross Hospital and Dr. Shroff. Slowing Down A Fast Beating Heart will be held Wednesday, December 10 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Silver Cross Hospital Conference Center, Pavilion A, 1890 Silver Cross Blvd, New Lenox. Register to attend online or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).

Don’t Blow-Off Your Annual Mammogram!

Posted on : 11-03-2014 | By : tsimons | In : breast cancer, Cancer, Interview, Mammography, News
Barbara Shoemaker, senior occupational therapist and certified lymphedema therapist from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross Hospital;  Anne McCall, M.D., radiation oncologist from the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center at Silver Cross Hospital; breast cancer patient and Frankfort resident Theresa Orowick;  Brooke Phillips, M.D., medical oncologist/hematologist from the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center at Silver Cross Hospital, and Kelly Rippon, R.N., oncology nurse.

Barbara Shoemaker, senior occupational therapist and certified lymphedema therapist from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross Hospital; Anne McCall, M.D., radiation oncologist from the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center at Silver Cross Hospital; breast cancer patient and Frankfort resident Theresa Orowick; Brooke Phillips, M.D., medical oncologist/hematologist from the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center at Silver Cross Hospital, and Kelly Rippon, R.N., oncology nurse.

Since Theresa Orowick was 34-years-old, she was getting annual mammograms due to a history of trauma to her left breast. As time went by, she developed a false sense of security that she was fine and stopped getting mammograms. Then at age 46, she found a lump in her left breast that was diagnosed in an advanced stage of breast cancer.

“Once it was confirmed that I had breast cancer, I was so upset with myself for not continuing to get my annual mammograms,” said the Frankfort resident. “All I kept thinking was if I would have stayed vigilant and not blown-off getting my annual mammogram that maybe my breast cancer wouldn’t be in such an advanced stage.”

Fortunately, Orowick is now 13 months cancer-free, but her advice to other women is simple. “Take care of yourself and get your annual mammogram because early detection can save your life as well as help you avoid more extensive treatments if diagnosed,” states Orowick.

Once diagnosed, Orowick’s physician referred her to Dr. Brooke Phillips, medical oncologist at the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center at Silver Cross.

“Theresa’s care plan consisted of chemotherapy initially then bi-lateral mastectomy surgery, followed up with radiation and then breast reconstruction surgery,” said Brooke Phillips, M.D., “She now takes tamoxifen to prevent any cancer reoccurrence and gets monthly injections to avoid osteoporosis. We are thrilled with her outcomes and admire her passion to motivate other women to continue to get their annual mammograms.”

Orowick also saw Dr. Anne McCall, a specialist in the use of radiation therapy to treat breast cancer.

“By coming to the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center at Silver Cross, patients have access to the same advanced technology that is offered at the University of Chicago Medicine at Hyde Park in downtown Chicago,” said Dr. McCall, M.D. “We are fortunate to have highly trained and experienced radiation therapists working at Silver Cross who truly make Theresa’s and all our patients’ treatment so successful.”

After her final surgery, Orowick had several weeks of lymphedema therapy at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) at Silver Cross Hospital. “Theresa’s case was complex since she had an advanced stage of breast cancer and underwent both breast removal and reconstruction surgeries,” said Barbara Shoemaker, senior occupational therapist and certified lymphedema therapist with RIC at Silver Cross Hospital. “Theresa’s treatment sessions focused on education regarding lymphedema precautions, as well as massage and stretching exercises to decrease tissue tightness and improve the mobility of her arms.”

“All of the staff at both the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center at Silver Cross and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross Hospital was great,” said Orowick. “I had a fabulous experience! I received such thoughtful care from all of them. And because both facilities were so close to my home, my mom was able to drive me to my treatments and therapy sessions, which was less stressful than driving downtown.”

Recently diagnosed with Breast Cancer?

Silver Cross Hospital is making it easier to get advice from breast cancer experts on the next steps to take with a convenient, one-stop experience called the Multidisciplinary Breast Conference. This team meets in the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center at Silver Cross Hospital for a Breast Conference every Tuesday morning. At the Conference, physician specialists representing general surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology, radiology, plastic surgery and pathology reviews radiological images and pathology slides on state-of-the-art equipment and develops a consensus recommendation. The team documents the recommendations and a certified breast nurse navigator provides the recommendation to the patient’s doctor within 24 hours. Patients who could benefit from the Multidisciplinary Breast Conference at Silver Cross should contact their primary care physician to be referred to the Breast Conference.

Therapy Helps Court Reporter to Walk & Work Pain-Free after Multiple Surgeries

Posted on : 11-03-2014 | By : tsimons | In : Aches & Pains, Bone Health, Interview, News, Rehabilitation, screening
Elizabeth LaFollette can now walk pain-free with the help of therapy she received from Bryniarski, physical therapist with the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross Hospital in Homer Glen.

Elizabeth LaFollette can now walk pain-free with the help of therapy she received from Bryniarski, physical therapist with the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross Hospital in Homer Glen.

For over 14 years, Lockport resident Elizabeth “Liz” LaFollette suffered from severe back pain. She had multiple surgeries and was doing well until last September when she started experiencing foot pain. By December she was unable to walk. It was determined that Liz suffered from a failed Lumbar fusion surgery  and SI (Sacroiliac) Joint Dysfunction which was causing pressure on her sciatic nerve leading to severe left leg pain, weakness and gait instability.  After enduring yet another surgery, Liz was depressed because she was not able to work for eight months and was facing months of physical therapy.

“My therapist, Rich, gave me the hope that I desperately needed,” Liz said. “If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have my life back.  He saved my health and my career.”

Dr. Anthony Rinella performed a revision surgery to correct a failed spine fusion to alleviate her painHe then referred her to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) at Silver Cross Hospital in Homer Glen for physical therapy. RIC has been ranked the #1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1991. The same specialized care that has earned RIC its pre-eminent reputation is available at four Silver Cross locations in Homer Glen, New Lenox, West Joliet and at the Hospital.

“Since Liz’s condition was unique, I knew she would receive high quality therapy at RIC,” said Dr. Rinella, board certified spine specialist with the Illinois Spine & Scoliosis.

When Liz’s physical therapy started in March, she was doubtful that she would ever work again. However, through the encouragement and tools she received from her therapist, Rich Bryniarski, she conquered her fears and was working and walking pain-free by August.

“At 41 years old, even after four surgeries, I was not ready to be considered disabled for the rest of my life.  Rich was as invested as I was in getting me to work again,” said Liz. “Through his vast knowledge, he showed me how to do exercises that would relieve my pain.”

Key to Success: Personalized Treatment Plan

Liz believes the specialized treatment plan that Rich designed specifically for her was the key to her success.

“Not only did Rich teach me stretch exercises to do at home, he taught me how to align my SI joint and condition my body so my back won’t take the hit from all the pressure from my body movements,” she said. “Rich also goes the extra mile to help his patients. He actually had me bring my court reporting machine to therapy to simulate my work day, so he knew what my body was going to experience daily. He customized my exercises so I could do them throughout my work day.”

“Liz’s case was more challenging than a regular fusion case due to the fact that it was a revision of a previous spinal fusion. This had caused her to be in a great deal of pain for a long time,” Rich said.   “Her spine was unstable prior to her surgery, so she couldn’t exercise. Fortunately, with the specialized therapy and equipment we offer here at RIC in Silver Cross’ Homer Glen facility, we were able to arrive at a functional level that allowed her to move pain-free at home and at work. Part of her success is contributed to that fact that Liz was an excellent patient. She always followed through with her home exercises and practiced what was taught to her.”

Seamless Care

“By coming to Silver Cross, patients have access to specialized care plans similar to those that are offered at RIC’s downtown Chicago location,” said Valerie Paluszak, Manager of Outpatient Rehabilitation for The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross Hospital. “We are fortunate to have such highly trained and experienced physical, occupational, and speech therapists working at Silver Cross who truly make patients’ treatment successful enabling them to thrive so they can return to their daily routines.”

For more information about RIC at Silver Cross or to schedule a free low back screening at the Homer Glen facility located at 143rd St. and Bell Road, call (815) 300-6288.

Get “Hip” on New Ways to Stop Hip Pain

Posted on : 10-28-2014 | By : tsimons | In : Aches & Pains, Events, Health Tips, News

hip painAre you tired of enduring another day of hip pain? Whether the origin of your pain is arthritis or a degenerative illness, help is available for you to suffer no longer. To understand the causes and treatments of hip pain, Silver Cross Hospital is offering a free program Nov. 18.

Join Dr. Tom Antkowiak and Dr. Rajeev Puri, orthopedic surgeons with Oak Orthopedics, to learn the latest treatment plans for hip pain and degenerative hip conditions including hip arthroscopy and minimally invasive anterior total hip replacement. This free program will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Silver Cross Hospital Conference Center, 1890 Silver Cross Blvd., New Lenox. Register to attend online or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).

The hip joint is designed to withstand repetitive motion and a reasonable amount of wear and tear. This ball-and-socket joint fits together in a way that allows for seamless movement. Whenever you use the hip, a cushion of cartilage prevents friction as the hip moves in its socket.

“Over time and with age, the cartilage in the hip can wear out,” said Tom Antkowiak, M.D., orthopedic surgeon. “As the cartilage continues to wear we are often left with bone on bone arthritis which slows patients down and leads to increased pain. If caught early, we are often able to use minimally invasive techniques to slow the progression of arthritis and get patients back to the activities they love.”

Symptoms of Hip Pain

Depending on the source that’s causing hip pain, you might feel discomfort in the following areas: buttocks, thigh, outside of the hip joint, deep groin or the back.

Get medical attention right away if:

  • The hip pain came on suddenly.
  • A fall or other injury triggered the hip pain.
  • Your hip looks deformed or is bleeding.
  • You experienced a painful popping in the hip.
  • The pain is intense.
  • You can’t put any weight on your hip.

Relieve the Pain

If your hip pain is caused by a muscle or tendon strain, or osteoarthritis, you can usually relieve it with an over-the-counter pain medication or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug.

Another way to relieve hip pain is by holding ice to the area for about 15 minutes a few times a day.

If you have arthritis, exercising the hip joint with low-impact exercises, stretching, and resistance training can reduce pain and improve joint mobility. For example, swimming is a good non-impact exercise for arthritis.

When osteoarthritis becomes so severe that the pain is intense or the hip joint looses motion, a total hip replacement (arthroplasty) may be a consideration.

“An accurate diagnosis is vital in deciding the appropriate treatment for hip pain. For this reason, it is imperative to see an orthopedic specialist who is specially trained to evaluate such conditions,” said Rajeev Puri, M.D., orthopedic surgeon.


Find Relief for Cervical Spinal Stenosis

Posted on : 10-27-2014 | By : tsimons | In : Aches & Pains, Bone Health, Events, Health Tips, News

Cervical-Stenosis (1)Have you been suffering for years from a nagging pain in either your neck, shoulders or legs? You may be suffering from a condition known as cervical spinal stenosis. To help understand the causes and treatments of this type of pain, Silver Cross Hospital is offering a free program on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014.

Join Dr. Thomas Hurley, neurosurgeon, for a discussion on minimally invasive treatments available for cervical spinal stenosis—a common problem in people over age 50. This free lecture – Cervical Spinal Stenosis - will be held in the Silver Cross Hospital Conference Center, 1890 Silver Cross Blvd., Pavilion A, New Lenox at 6:30 p.m. Register to attend online or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).

“Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal causing pressure on the spinal cord and/or nerves,” said Dr.  Hurley. These changes might create minor aches in some patients, although in more severe cases, the pain can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. So to avoid the pain from getting worse, patients need to seek medical attention.”

Symptoms of Cervical Spinal Stenosis

Many people older than 50 years of age have some narrowing of the spinal canal but do not have symptoms. Cervical spinal stenosis does not cause symptoms unless the spinal cord or nerves becomes squeezed. Symptoms usually develop slowly over a long period of time and may include:

  • Stiffness, pain, numbness, or weakness in the neck, shoulders, legs, arms, or hands.
  • Balance and coordination problems, such as shuffling or tripping while walking.
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control (incontinence).

How is Spinal Stenosis Treated?

Spinal stenosis can be treated several ways. Treatment options include:

Changes in posture. People with spinal stenosis may find that flexing the spine by leaning forward while walking relieves their symptoms.

Medications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen may help relieve symptoms.

Surgery. If other treatments do not ease the pain, surgery may be recommended to relieve the pressure on affected nerves.

“The best way to develop a treatment plan is to diagnose the severity of Spinal Stenosis. With so many innovative treatments available today, patients can learn the best options with a physician visit,” says Dr. Hurley.