As one of the foremost experts on back pain and inflammatory conditions of the spine Dr. Borenstein has earned the recognition and praise of the medical community by being named an outstanding specialist in rheumatology in Washingtonian magazine and Best Doctors in America. He is past president of the American College of Rheumatology and author of author of several books on back and arthritis for both physicians and patients.

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Recent questions:

Q. Can playing too many sports cause rheumatic diseases? My son plays a lot of sports and always complains of wrist pain. Can playing too many sports cause rheumatic diseases?

  • In general sports activities will not cause inflammatory arthritis. Sports can cause mechanical issues like ligament and tendon injuries that can cause arthritis years later. For more information about spine arthritis go to the spine for additional information. You can learn more about Rheumatoid Arthritis here.

Q. Should people with rheumatic conditions worry about running out of medicine? I am a 40 year old female. I want to know should people with rheumatic conditions worry about running out of medicine?

In general, an adequate amount of medicines is available. The concern about hydroxychloroquine has been eased with the studies that show the absence of benefit of this drug to prevent and treat COVID-19. A large stockpile of this drug was put aside. It is now available for patients with rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus. Tocelizumab is a drug being used for patients who have severe COVID disease. Despite this use, no shortage of supply of this biologic has been reported. For ongoing information about drug supplies, you may get additional information on website

Q. I have severe pain in my feet joints when I stand. Could it be arthritis?

Q. I have pain in my finger joints when I wake up. Could it be rheumatoid arthritis?

Q. I have been battling back pain for the past 10 years, and I'm 28! I feel like because of this age, I am often turned away for the pain I am experiencing, or getting an appointment can take 6 months. I will provide you with some back story, followed by my question. -S Shaped scoliosis of the thoracic/C-Spine @ T6-C7. -Normal lordosis -Loss of cervical curve -Multiple Subluxations -Gait abnormality -DDD - C/L-Spine -Minor Disc bulge C5-6, C6-7 -L4-5: Mild disk desiccation. Mild broad-based bulging disc and minimal degenerative facet hypertrophy I have been through multiple physical therapy treatments, chiropractic (not helpful), and acupuncture (helpful).

Your history suggests a significant scoliosis with multiple subluxations. I get concerned in these circumstances whether excessive movement (hypermobility syndrome) is playing a role. Under those circumstances a physical therapist can be helpful. A spinal surgeon or rheumatologist may be helpful in monitoring the scoliosis and the exercise routine

Q. I am in chronic, sometimes debilitating pain with flare ups from the base of my skull to my inner hips. I get tingling on my face, as well as to my finger tips occasionally, and have great difficulty with focusing, and memorization. I've blamed my anxiety medication for these two issues, and was then also prescribed Adderall to stay focused at my mentally straining job. I have seen a medial doctor yearly since this began, all with different additions to my diagnoses. The only doctor I have yet to see is a rheumatologist.

A number of your symptoms seem neurologic in origin like tingling in the face. I believe a neurologist may be most helpful in that setting. They can determine if it is more a brain versus a spine problem.

Q. Can RA affect my lower back? I had a discectomy of L5 five months ago but still have an achey back and some muscles spasms in lower back on the opposite side. I also have spinal stenosis.

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Understanding Back Pain