Mindfulness Meditation for Spine Surgery Pain

A joint research project between the Department of Neurosurgery and the Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine is evaluating the use of meditation to decrease pain after spine surgery. This particular meditation technique has been shown in clinical trials to reduce patient’s need for pain medication for those with chronic pain, and has been shown to reduce people’s perception of the severity of a painful stimulus. Arthur L. Jenkins, MD, associate professor in the Department of Neurosurgery, and Patricia Bloom, MD, associate professor in the Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, devised a research trial to see if teaching this technique to patients could reduce the amount of pain medicine needed to manage their pain after spine surgery.

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Geri ED Turns 1

This Saturday, February 23rd, marks the 1-year anniversary of the Geriatrics Emergency Department at Mount Sinai. Recognizing that the US population is aging, and that existing emergency departments were too often designed around provider’s needs – rather than that of their older patients – Mount Sinai emergency medicine researcher Ula Hwang was one of the first to describe the compelling need for specialized geriatric emergency care. Transforming that vision into a reality involved years of planning, construction and even specialized programming of our electronic systems.

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Not your typical Emergency Room visit

Philip Abrams didn’t want to go to the Emergency Department.

He’d never felt this way before. What at first seemed like a simple headache just kept getting worse. Though he couldn’t see his regular doctor, the covering doctor suspected sinusitis, and started an antibiotic. When things progressed, he was referred to an ENT specialist, who noted an emerging rash on his nose and forehead, and suspected shingles. He got an anti-viral medication and pain meds, but couldn’t sleep because of the increasing pain.

When his eye started to get involved, his wife persuaded him to go to Mount Sinai’s new geriatric emergency department. “It was the last thing I felt like doing. I felt horrible, I hadn’t eaten anything in the past couple of days, and I didn’t want to move…”

But soon after his arrival, things started looking up. “I wasn’t there more than a few minutes before I was whisked out of that space and ushered to another area where my blood pressure was taken… I was promptly seen, and the physician’s assistant gathered info about me, asked if I had eaten, and promptly brought me a turkey sandwich and drink.”

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