Does it seem like you battle chronic neck pain on your right side every single day? Maybe you’ve been to your doctor already and received a prescription for a pain reliever, but still find yourself struggling with chronic pain.
You are not alone.
Chronic neck pain is a common issue that millions of people just like you face every day. The spinal structure, muscles, tissues, and nerves that are present in the neck create a complex system, and when something goes awry, it can lead to a painful experience.
If you haven’t received a diagnosis yet, you’re probably wondering in the back of your mind, “What is it? Why am I experiencing this neck pain all of the time?”
In this article, we are going to share with you five common reasons that people experience chronic neck pain. Due to the complex nature of the human body, this list is by no means exhaustive, but it should give you information on what could be causing your chronic neck pain.
Regardless of the reasons why you are experiencing pain, it’s important to get it checked out by a qualified pain management doctor who can lead you through the proper protocol to get a correct diagnosis and a comprehensive treatment plan.
5 of the top reasons patients experience chronic neck pain on their right side
1 A cervical herniated disc
A cervical herniated disc occurs when the inner core of a disc protrudes out and presses on a nerve root. Herniated discs are most common in adults between the ages of 30-50, but may occur in older or younger patients, as well.
While in some cases a cervical herniated disc is the result of some form of trauma (such as a car accident or sports injury), many times they manifest with seemingly no known cause of origin.
The symptoms associated with a herniated disc vary depending on exactly which disc herniated, but common signs of a cervical herniated disc include:
Pain in the neck (left or right side)
Numbness, tingling, or muscle weakness in the hands and fingers
Trouble turning your neck from side to side
Pain in the shoulder area that radiates down the arm
Each person is different and explains their symptoms differently, as well, so your symptoms may include slight variations of those listed above.
2 Pinched nerve on the right side of the neck
A pinched nerve may not sound like a big deal, but it can be one of the most frustrating (and painful) conditions you will ever have to deal with. In fact, a pinched nerve in the neck, if severe, can render your neck virtually immobile.
In many cases a nerve is pinched because of a herniated disc, but the herniated disc itself is not the problem or source of pain; the pinched nerve is. The type of pain produced by a pinch nerve is called radicular pain or nerve root pain as the pinched nerve may lead to pain in other parts of the body.
The symptoms associated with a pinched nerve are similar to those experienced by someone with a herniated disc, and in many situations, a patient will actually be experiencing both of these problems simultaneously.
If you’re experiencing pain on the right side of your neck that radiates to other parts of your body, a pinched nerve may be the culprit. As always, it’s important to have your neck pain checked out by a pain management doctor in your area who can diagnose and treat your condition.
3 Cervical osteoarthritis (neck arthritis)
Is your neck pain on the right side typically worse in the mornings? Does your neck feel better when it’s warm and sunny outside as opposed to cool and rainy? If so, you may have arthritis in your neck.
Neck arthritis typically occurs in older patients (although this isn’t always the case), and results when the facet joints in the cervical spine degenerate.
Some of the most common symptoms of a person suffering from neck arthritis include:
Pain in the neck area (left or right side)
Pain that radiates between the shoulder blades
Headaches in the back of the head and near the base of the skull
Pain that is worse early in the morning or in cooler, wet weather conditions
These are just a few of the many ways that cervical osteoarthritis can manifest. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is important to visit a pain management clinic near you that has experience dealing with chronic back and neck pain.
4 Cervical degenerative disc disease
A degenerative disc can cause a significant amount of neck pain. It is one of the most common diagnoses given to patients who visit our practice and complain of neck pain.
Many patients visit our pain management clinic complaining of chronic neck pain that flares up from time to time (but isn’t always present), and gets worse when they engage in certain physical activities.
If that sounds like you, here are a few more symptoms you may be experiencing:
Stiff or inflexible neck
Pain that radiates from your neck into your shoulders or triceps
Pain that comes and goes or is worse during certain activities
You get the idea. If you often find yourself complaining of a stiff or sore neck, you could have degenerative disc disease, and thus need to see a pain management doctor who can diagnose your condition and formulate a treatment plan to alleviate the pain.
5 Cysts or tumors
All of the above conditions are the result of injuries sustained to the anatomy of your neck in some way, shape, or form— whether it’s disc degeneration, a bulging disc, or nerve pain.
However, it’s important to understand that, while more rare than any of the above conditions, neck cysts or tumors that have reached a certain size can press on nerves, causing significant pain. While cysts and tumors are not as common as musculoskeletal conditions, it is important to rule them out with an MRI, CT scan, or other imaging test.
So what is the solution?
As you have read, pain on the right side of your neck or in the neck region in general can be caused by a variety of conditions, all of which require a clinical diagnosis in order to be treated properly.
At our pain management clinic, we have doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of painful neck conditions. We have the skills, abilities, and resources to alleviate and, in some cases, even eliminate the neck pain you are experiencing with minimally invasive treatments.
If you’re looking to solve your neck pain issues once and for all, and want to work with doctors who will provide minimally invasive treatment options as a first line of defense before surgery, give our office nearest you a call today or contact us here to schedule your appointment.
You don’t have to go through life with neck pain. We’re here to help, so give our practice nearest you a call today.
If you’re suffering from back pain, you are not alone. And you don’t have to continue to suffer or go through a complicated surgery.
Back pain is one of the most common health problems in the country. Lower back pain is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed work days. Lower back pain occurs at least once in an estimated 75 to 85 percent of adults, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.
Back pain can have a serious impact on your life, interfering with your day-to-day activities and your sleep. But maybe you don’t want surgery. You might be wondering: What treatment options do I have? And are they effective?
At National Pain Institute, we understand pain. Our experts have successfully treated many people for back pain. We know each situation and each person is unique.
Our focus is on treating pain without surgery — and without the use of addictive painkillers as a first option.
We’ll give you an overview of some strategies we might use for treating lower back pain without surgery. But, first, let’s talk about back pain.
Back pain can be painful and debilitating.
Back pain, which can range from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp sensation that leaves the person unable to move, can begin abruptly as a result of an accident or by lifting something heavy. Or it can develop over time due to changes in the spine as we age. A sedentary lifestyle can also lead to low back pain.
The magnitude of this issue is only growing. In 1990, a study ranked the most burdensome conditions in the United States in terms of mortality or poor health as a result of disease and put low back pain in sixth place. Twenty years later, low back pain jumped to third place.
Most back pain is mechanical in nature, meaning it is caused by placing stress and tension on the muscles of the backbone. In the back, there are many possible pain producers including muscles, soft connective tissue, ligaments, joint capsules and cartilage, and blood vessels.
Risk factors for developing lower back pain:
Age. The first attack usually begins between the ages of 30 and 50. Then, back pain becomes more common with age.
Fitness level. As you might expect, back pain is more common in people who are not physically fit. Weak back and abdominal muscles might not be able to properly support the spine. Also, people who only exercise on the weekend after being inactive all week are more likely to suffer painful back injuries.
Pregnancy. Low back pain is often felt by pregnant women, but it usually resolves itself once the baby is born.
Weight gain. If you are overweight, obese, or quickly gaining weight, the weight can put stress on the back and lead to low back pain.
Genetics. Some causes of back pain, such as ankylosing spondylitis (a form of arthritis), can lead to injury and back pain.
Occupational risk factors. Jobs that require heavy lifting, pushing, or pulling can lead to injury and back pain. An inactive desk job may also lead to lower back pain, especially if you have poor posture.
Mental health factors. Some pre-existing mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, can influence how closely a person focuses on their pain. Stress, if not managed properly, can cause muscle tension.
Backpack overload in children. Yes, a child’s backpack can be too heavy, causing back strain and muscle fatigue. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends that a child’s backpack should weigh no more than 15 to 20 percent of a child’s body weight.
Key Takeaway: Lower back pain is a serious and growing problem that affects most adults in America.
Treating back pain
Treatment for lower back pain depends on whether the pain is acute (short term) or chronic (lasting). There is a standard of care for lower back pain, but because this is a multifaceted condition with physical, psychological, genetic, social, and general health components, all back pain cannot be treated the same.
Hot or cold packs. This treatment most likely won’t quickly resolve your low back injury. But local application of heat and ice may help ease the pain, facilitate stretching, and reduce inflammation, allowing for greater mobility for some people. Start with ice packs when the pain starts and then after 48 hours, switch to heat.
Exercise. Although it might seem counterintuitive, you should continue to perform everyday activities and remain active as much as you can tolerate. Studies show that people who remain active and don’t confine themselves to their beds have less pain. Activity keeps blood and nutrients flowing to the affected area. Many sufferers of low back pain feel better after walking. However, more vigorous activities or contact sports are inadvisable while pain is severe. Consumer Reports reported that 58 percent of people with back pain wished they had done more back strengthening exercises.
Physical therapy. Physical therapy techniques, such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, traction, mobilization, and chiropractic manipulation can provide temporary relief. Physical therapists can provide education and advice regarding strategies for restoring motion, resuming activities, and preventing de-conditioning. A study published in Spine showed that early treatment by a physical therapist is effective.
Back injections.Spinal injections are typically used for persistent or recurrent low back pain (and occasionally acute pain) following a comprehensive medical evaluation. We have several injections that may be able to provide you with relief, including acupuncture injection therapy, epidural injections, nerve block injections, sacroiliac joint injections, cortisone injections, trigger point injections, and lumbar epidural steroid injections. These injections can take the pain away, in some cases for a long period of time; possibly even permanently.
Spinal cord stimulation. This minimally invasive treatment has been found to be effective for chronic lower back pain. Spinal cord stimulation can be successful for people who have not found pain relief through other methods. After a trial to ensure it works, soft, thin wires with electrical leads on the tips will be placed through a needle near the spinal column. Two small incisions will be made, and an electrical current will be applied to the source of the pain, blocking the brain’s ability to sense pain. According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, spinal cord stimulation can relieve low back pain.
Acupuncture. Some patients find that acupuncture is extremely helpful in minimizing their back pain.
Tai Chi. Tai chi is an ancient Chinese system of meditative movements practiced as exercises. This gentle form of exercise is an effective treatment for low back pain. Each specific flowing movement corresponds with the inhalation or the exhalation of a deep, gentle breath. The coordination of movement and breath is said to free the flow of chi, a life-force energy that, when blocked, can cause stress and illness. According to research published in Arthritis Care & Research, tai chi is able to ease low back pain.
At our pain care clinics we also teach our patients other lifestyle management techniques for pain, such as pain psychology, nutritional counseling, and physical conditioning. This way you can treat your own pain through your healthier lifestyle.
Key Takeaway: While no standard of care exists for treating low back pain, a variety of conservative, multidisciplinary treatments can help people find relief.
Why we don’t recommend pain medications in most cases
At our National Pain Institute pain relief clinics, we don’t prescribe pain medications unless we have to. Pain medications can actually make you and your pain worse.
Many narcotics are addictive, causing health issues down the line. Pain medications, when taken over a long period of time, can increase a person’s sensitivity to pain, making it difficult for the person to find relief from pain.
Also, pain may be a manifestation of an underlying emotional issue, so treating the pain with drugs won’t fix the root problem.
Key Takeaway: Taking powerful pain medications for pain relief is not a good first course of action. These drugs might be addictive and cause further health concerns.
When is it time to see a doctor for your back pain?
Most lower back pain is acute and lasts only a few days or weeks. If you practice self care, it usually resolves on its own without a loss of function. Fifty percent of episodes almost completely resolve within two weeks and 80 percent by six weeks.
If you have back pain that persists longer than four to six weeks or you have recurrent pain, you should seek the assistance of pain experts. Or if low back pain occurs after a recent injury — such as a car accident, a fall, or sports injury — you should call a doctor immediately.
With proper diagnosis and early treatment, you can prevent your pain from becoming chronic. When in our care, our doctors will conduct a full examination and rule out dangerous conditions like infections or cancer.
About 20 percent of people with acute lower back pain develop chronic back pain, with persistent symptoms lasting a year or more. But this does not have to be you.
Key Takeaway: Most lower back pain goes away in two months with self care. But if you have pain longer than this, or you suffer from pain after an injury, you should seek professional help.
National Pain Institute can help treat your lower back pain without surgery
At National Pain Institute, we educate our patients about the favorable history of low back pain, the basic mechanics of the body, and methods to reduce symptoms.
Using a team approach, we develop a specialized treatment plan for each person who comes to one of our pain care centers.
According to research, a balanced approach, which takes into account patient psychosocial factors and incorporates multidisciplinary care, increases the likelihood of success from back pain interventions.
If you come to us when your lower back pain is acute, you will most likely be able to return to normal activity within the first month.
Are you suffering from a sore, weak, or painful elbow that isn’t getting better?
Maybe you think you just have to live with your discomfort. Or you think surgery is the only option. Think again.
You don’t have to live with your discomfort — and you don’t have to opt for surgery to find relief from pain.
At National Pain Institute in Florida (locations in Lake Mary, New Port Richey, Port St. Lucie, Turkey Lake, Lady Lake, and Winter Park) we believe in minimally invasive, non-surgical treatments for treating acute and chronic pain. Our trained doctors take the time to find the root cause of your issue, instead of only treating the symptoms.
We incorporate multiple strategies into every personal treatment plan, and we help you make healthy lifestyle changes for pain management and prevention.
If you have elbow pain, you may have elbow tendonitis, a diagnosis that encompasses both tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow — two common conditions involving elbow overuse.
Before we provide you with some non-surgical treatments for tennis and golfer’s elbow, we’ll give you an overview of these two similar painful problems.
Tennis elbow is a painful condition caused when tendons on the outside of your elbow are overused.
Despite the name, most people diagnosed with tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) don’t play tennis — however, half of all tennis players will suffer from this problem at some point during their careers.
People who are at risk of getting tennis elbow include golfers, baseball players, bowlers, plumbers, painters, carpenters, butchers, and others who overwork their elbows on a regular basis.
This type of pain affects men more than women, is most common between the ages of 30 and 50, and is caused by inflammation of the tendons that join the forearm muscles on the outside of the elbow.
When injury is caused to the muscles and tendon area around the outside of the elbow where they attach to the bone, tennis elbow can result. Usually, the dominant arm is affected, but tennis elbow can occur in the non-dominant arm, as well, or in both arms.
Key Takeaway: Tennis elbow is pain felt on the outside of the elbow. Tennis players aren’t the only people to experience this type of pain. Anyone who repeats the same arm and wrist motions again and again may suffer from this condition.
Golfer’s elbow is a painful condition caused when tendons on the inside of the elbow are overused.
This condition (medial epicondylitis) is similar to tennis elbow but is marked by pain over the bone on the inner side of the elbow. When tendons attached to this bone are overstretched or torn, they become painful and inflamed.
This issue is typically seen in the trailing arm in golf and also in the pull-through strokes of swimming. Baseball pitchers also commonly experience this problem.
Overuse of the flexor muscles of the forearms causes golfer’s elbow. Some things that can cause this type of pain include:
Using the wrong model of golf clubs
Improper technique when swinging or gripping golf clubs
Repetitive motions in sporting activities, such as golf, tennis, pitching, and rowing
Repetitive motions in other activities, such as raking, painting, and using a hammer or screwdriver
Improper lifting, throwing, or hitting
Key Takeaway: Golfer’s elbow is similar to tennis elbow, but is characterized by pain felt on the inside rather than the outside of the elbow. Both are caused by repetitive motions and overuse, and are not only experienced by tennis players and golfers.
What are the signs and symptoms of tennis and golfer’s elbow?
You might have tennis elbow if you experience:
Pain or burning on the outside of your elbow, which may extend into your forearm and wrist.
Weakness on the outside of your elbow.
Weak grip strength.
The symptoms usually develop gradually.
You might have golfer’s elbow if you experience:
Pain and tenderness on the inside of your elbow. The pain may extend along the inner side of your forearm.
Stiffness on your elbow, causing your elbow to hurt when you make a fist.
Weakness in your hands or wrists.
Numbness or tingling that radiates into one or more of your fingers (usually the ring and little fingers).
The pain may appear suddenly or gradually.
Any activity that causes repetitive movement can cause elbow pain, but the activity generally needs to be done for more than an hour a day on many days to cause a problem. A direct blow or sudden extreme action to the elbow may also result in an injury of the tendons.
Tendons are slow to heal, so the symptoms often last for weeks to months. However, very few cases last longer than a year.
Patients with tennis or golfer’s elbow often find simple tasks difficult, such as typing, lifting a cup of coffee, or shaking hands with someone. But if you’re experiencing pain or discomfort, you have options! Keep reading below.
Key Takeaway: When you experience pain, weakness, or numbness around your elbow, you might have tennis or golfer’s elbow.
What treatment options do you have for elbow pain?
To be most effective in treating elbow pain from tennis and golfer’s elbow, a team approach works best.
At our National Pain Institute offices, we don’t believe in surgery and addictive painkillers (narcotics) as a first option for treating pain. We believe in a conservative approach that includes alternative options outside of the traditional medical model.
Also, these elbow pain remedies should lessen your symptoms, but they may not cure your problem.
To truly cure your tennis and golfer’s elbow pain, our professionals work together to determine why you’re experiencing pain. We determine the best ways to treat your symptoms and make sure you correct any poor habits.
Here are seven treatments we might suggest for tennis and golfer’s elbow:
1. Modified rest. If you want to recover properly, you need to limit or avoid activities that aggravate your elbow pain. You don’t want to give your elbow total rest, but you do want to modify your activity to use it less without causing more injury to your tendons.
2. Technique and equipment evaluation. If you participate in a sport, we suggest you get your equipment checked for proper support. Stiffer racquets and looser-strung racquets can often reduce the stress on the forearm. You may also want an expert to evaluate your form to determine basic steps to reduce stress on your injured tissue. Even if you don’t participate in sports, you may need to correct incorrect postures and motions.
3. Ice. Applying ice or a cold pack for 15 minutes, three to four times per day can help. Ice treatment after exercise or movement of the elbow is especially important.
4. Braces. When working properly, a brace, a forearm strap, or support pads can reduce symptoms by resting the muscles and tendons of the elbow.
5. Physical therapy. A trained therapist can give you tips on how to rest your elbow and how to do activities without putting extra strain on your elbow. You can also be taught specific exercises to help strengthen the muscles of your forearm. Additionally, therapists can perform massage or other muscle-stimulating techniques to improve muscle healing.
6. Acupuncture. Research from a study mentioned in Acupuncture Today suggests that acupuncture not only relieves symptoms of tennis elbow, but also appears to resolve the condition completely.
7. Lifestyle management. Our doctors can help you adapt to a healthier lifestyle. We teach our patients which foods are best for an anti-inflammatory lifestyle and how to improve their pain in their daily lives. Our trained doctors practice a holistic approach to pain care, meaning we pay attention to the physical, mental, and emotional health of our patients.
If you notice any symptoms of tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow, it’s best to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Early care will usually be able to prevent pain becoming chronic or the development of a more serious disorder.
Key Takeaway: Some non-surgical treatments for tennis and golfer’s elbow are modified rest, technique and equipment evaluation, ice, braces, physical therapy, acupuncture, and lifestyle management.
National Pain Institute can help treat your pain from tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow.
If you’re experiencing elbow pain or discomfort, our doctors can create a customized plan for you. All you need to do is give us a call, and we’ll help you figure out what’s right for you.
You don’t have to live a life in pain. At National Pain Institute, we get to the bottom of your problem and treat your pain using a team approach and nonsurgical, holistic treatments. If you’re in Florida, contact us today at our location nearest you and let us help you.
When you are in pain, especially when your pain lasts for days without end, medication often seems like the quickest path to relief. And you’re not alone.
Millions of people use over-the-counter and prescription drugs every day, according to the FDA. But could your pain meds be making your pain and your health worse?
The answer in some cases is yes. Even if you use them correctly — and they are easy to misuse — your pain medications might be making you worse.
If you’ve been prescribed addictive narcotics for chronic pain, or you’ve been taking your pain medications to reduce or relieve headaches, sore muscles, arthritis, or other aches and pains longer than a couple of weeks, you should be worried about the negative effects of these meds. Below, we’ll discuss why.
And if you’ve only been taking OTC (over-the-counter) drugs, you may also be at-risk for serious — even life-threatening — side effects.
That’s why, at National Pain Institute, we believe in specialized treatment that doesn’t turn to painkillers as a first option.
Our trained doctors believe pain medications and surgery are not the only options for treating patients in pain.
Only after we try other methods, do we suggest non-invasive surgery or pain medications as the right course of action to help people find relief and be able to live their lives to the fullest.
Key Takeaway: Our Florida pain care centers practice specialized pain management and prevention that does not rely on medication as a first option.
The problem with the American medical care system:
Most doctors today focus on providing relief of symptoms rather than preventing or treating the underlying cause of the problem.
Nearly 7 out of 10 Americans were prescribed at least one drug in 2009, and half were given two or more, according to research from the Mayo Clinic.
Of course, most doctors don’t mean to cause people further pain and issues. But most doctors don’t have adequate education and training about pain medications. Or doctors treating patients for pain may not provide patients with enough information to safely take the drugs on their own.
Many patients falsely believe that pain medications not only reduce pain but also promote healing. But this is simply not true.
In our world today, it is very easy to get pain medications — and in high doses, too. This is quickly becoming a huge problem in our society. For example, the rate of prescription overdoses in NYC has reached epidemic levels.
At National Pain Institute, our doctors are armed with the right information so they can work together to do their best to find the root cause of each patient who chooses one of our Florida pain care centers to help minimize and alleviate acute and chronic pain.
Because, if you think about it, taking a narcotic for pain without treating the root cause is like taking a pill for a toothache without fixing the tooth. The pain might be lessened, but the problem is not going to go away without proper care.
Key Takeaway: The American medical system often only treats symptoms rather than the true cause of the problem. Pain medications are easy to get, but they may not be right for every situation and are easily abused and misused.
For people in chronic pain, painkillers are not the best option.
The negative effects of painkillers decrease natural healing and lead to more deterioration and pain.
Taking opioids for chronic, non-cancer pain increases your risk of death by 72 percent, according to a study in the journal Pain.
And another study shows that overdoses from prescription opioids, such as Vicodin, account for nearly 70 percent of all emergency room visits.
“Opioids are essentially legal heroin,” says Lewis Nelson, who served on an FDA panel to revise the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy associated with prescription drugs.
Most patients who are prescribed narcotics go from moderate levels of pain to severe pain soon after they begin taking their meds. The localized pain then becomes diffused to other parts of the body after a few months of use.
To put it simply, narcotics put the body in a state of breakdown. This doesn’t sound good, and it’s not.
Key Takeaway: When used too much or incorrectly, pain medications have many adverse effects.
Pain medications suppress the immune system.
Short-term and long-term use of pain-killing opioid drugs, such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, fentanyl, codeine, and morphine, block the immune system’s ability to attack viral and bacterial invaders.
Not only that, but opiates are highly addictive and easy to abuse. Chronic opiate abuse can even permanently damage the nervous system.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is hard on the liver, the body’s main detox organ. A compromised liver cannot effectively remove toxins, putting the body at increased risk of illness and disease.
All steroid drugs suppress the immune system, as well.
If complete healing is to happen, the use of narcotics and other chronic pain medication must be stopped.
Key Takeaway: Pain medications suppress the immune system and don’t allow the body to heal itself.
Pain medications can cause damage to the gastrointestinal system.
A study published in the American Gastroenterological Association Journal shows that chronic users of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) have an increased risk of bleeding and visible damage to their small intestines.
One in three people taking NSAIDs regularly suffer from digestive side effects.
The study focused on a class of prescription narcotic painkillers called opioids, which include drugs such as oxycontin and vicodin.
The researchers concluded that most of the risk of depression is driven by the duration of use and not the dose. As people use the drugs for longer periods of time, they have to use higher doses to get the same effects.
Key Takeaway: Regular and increased use of narcotics is linked to depression.
Painkillers are linked to cardiovascular risks.
Drugs that include NSAIDs, as well as anti-inflammatory drugs (COX-2 inhibitors), have been linked to cardiovascular risks.
Researchers at The University of Bern in Switzerland revealed that NSAIDs lead to a two to fourfold increase in the risk of heart attacks, stroke, or cardiovascular death.
Key Takeaway: Taking pain medications may put your heart at risk.
Over-the-counter medications have many other adverse effects.
More than 20 NSAIDs and more than 100 NSAID-containing products exist. Some common ones include aspirin, Motrin®, Advil®, and Celebrex®. Thirteen million Americans take these drugs regularly.
Every year, side effects of NSAIDs cause more than 100,000 hospitalizations and more than 16,000 deaths, according to Consumer Reports. This means more people die each year from NSAID-related complications than from AIDS and cervical cancer in the United States.
Acetaminophen is not an anti-inflammatory, and it eases pain in a different way than NSAIDs, but it has problems, as well.
Acetaminophen can damage the liver, especially if drinking alcohol while taking this type of drug.
Key Takeaway: Even over-the-counter medications have multiple risks associated with regular use.
Some other health issues linked to pain medications:
Pain medications expose women to unique risks, including endocrinopathy, reduced fertility, neonatal risks, as well as a greater risk for cardiac problems, poisoning, and unintentional overdose.
Pain medications are linked to erectile dysfunction in men.
Regular use of an NSAID has been linked to an increase of heart disease.
NSAIDs can be hard on the kidneys and even cause kidney failure.
Long-term use of ibuprofen may damage your joints.
OTC pills have side effects including kidney damage, stomach bleeding, ulcers, and an increased risk of heart attack.
Pain medications can make headaches worse.
Taking pain meds for headaches may be okay for a day or two, but taking them for any longer can have unexpected and serious consequences.
Overusing painkillers (whether OTC or prescription) can cause more headaches (called rebound headaches) that return as soon as the medication wears off — often prompting people to take more medicine and to continue the cycle of pain.
The only way to stop the cycle is to stop taking the medication. But doing so isn’t easy. You will suffer some type of withdrawal, such as nausea and extreme fatigue. Full recovery can take months and works best with the consultation of a trained and experienced doctor.
Another major issue of opioid drugs is, the more you take, the more it can increase your sensitivity to pain, so you may not get the relief you need.
Key Takeaway: Taking pain medications for headaches, including migraines, can lead to rebound headaches or the need to use more medicine to find relief.
Chronic pain may be a manifestation of depression, anxiety, trauma, or other emotional issues.
For some people, chronic pain is a reflection of an underlying issue. This is something Dr. Michael Baron, a triple board-certified psychiatrist, believes. His patient’s scores consistently decreased when they went off their painkillers.
“When we manage pain with opioid medications, the person feels better temporarily, but, over time, dependence can set in and both the pain and the underlying depression get worse,” Dr. Baron says. “Only when patients stop taking opiates and receive appropriate treatment for the underlying emotional issues can they truly recover.”
Key Takeaway: Chronic pain may be a reflection of an underlying emotional issue. So, without treating the true problem, the pain will likely not be eliminated.
Our doctors understand that your medications might be making you worse in some cases.
Our doctors at National Pain Institute do not believe that pain medications alone are the proper way to manage and treat pain.
We DO prescribe pain medications on a long-term basis in some cases when other things have failed. This requires close monitoring and regular follow up, as well as attempting to decrease the medications to the lowest level needed to help with pain. Pain medications can sometimes also help institute treatments that would not otherwise be tolerated.
When you have a headache, especially a migraine, you want relief. And it can be very difficult to find the solace you seek. But you’re certainly not alone.
More than 28 million Americans — most of them women — suffer from migraines, according to an estimate by The National Headache Foundation. Migraines have been around for thousands of years, and the ailment is still not well understood.
But here’s the good news: With proper diagnosis, treatment, and prevention strategies, migraine sufferers can reduce the frequency and intensity of their headaches, while learning to manage symptoms to lead normal, functioning lives.
You have to do more than treat the symptoms. You have to understand your problem and what’s causing it. That’s why, at National Pain Institute, we get to the root cause of your pain and figure out exactly what is going wrong with each of our patients.
A migraine is more than just a bad headache.
Migraines wreak havoc on people’s lives, causing them to cancel plans, stay home from work, or become depressed.
If you have intense throbbing or a pulsing sensation on one area of the head, you might have a migraine. Some people may also experience pain on both sides of the head.
These types of headaches are commonly accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and noise. They can last for hours or even up to three days.
About one third of people affected can predict the onset of a migraine because they have an aura, or a group of visual symptoms, about 30 minutes before an attack occurs.
What you may not realize is that migraines are a neurological disorder characterized by recurrent moderate to severe headaches.
During a migraine attack, changes in brain activity produce inflamed blood vessels and nerves around the brain. However, according to the American Medical Association, the exact cause of a migraine is uncertain. There are, however, various theories being studied. Currently, a mixture of environmental and genetic factors are believed to cause migraines.
It’s also known that migraines run in families. Fluctuations in hormone levels, such as menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause may also play a role.
Key Takeaway: A migraine is more than a bad headache. Migraine is actually a disease characterized by recurrent and intense pain usually felt on one side of the head.
It’s important to see a doctor to properly diagnose migraines.
Migraine is a diagnosis of exclusion, so doctors must eliminate other reasons for any symptoms before giving a patient a migraine diagnosis. If your symptoms are bad enough for you to think you may have migraines, you should see an expert to make sure you don’t have some other health concern.
In many migraine sufferers, there is a clear cause or known triggers, but for others there is no reason for attacks that come on randomly.
Without proper treatment, over time your migraine may become a continuous background headache with occasional severe migraine symptoms. You could also develop chronic migraine, which is challenging to treat and more debilitating to sufferers.
Key Takeaway: If you think you may be experiencing migraines, you might be suffering from a different health problem, so it’s important to get a diagnosis from a doctor to get proper treatment and relief.
In fact, your medications probably won’t actually get rid of your migraine, but will only treat the symptoms — and may even make your migraines worse.
When someone takes painkillers on a consistent basis for weeks and months at a time, the situation is not good.
Many over-the-counter drugs and prescription drugs can lead to rebound headaches or medication-overuse headaches (MOH). When you take too much medication — usually more than two days per week — headaches begin to return as soon as the medicine wears off.
You may also develop chronic headaches.
Types of drugs that can cause rebound headaches:
Pain relievers. This includes aspirin, NSAIDs (i.e. ibuprofen), and analgesics (i.e. acetaminophen–Tylenol).
Combination analgesics. These medicines contain some combination of acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine.
Triptans. This class of medicine constricts blood vessels and reduces headache pain.
Narcotics. Narcotics, such as codeine, can be addictive.
Instead of simply prescribing drugs, our doctors follow a multidisciplinary, holistic, non-invasive approach to pain management.
Key Takeaway: Turning to drugs to treat your migraine pain is common, but you may actually be making your situation worse. There is a better way to find relief and prevent your migraines.
You have treatment options — other than medication — to help relieve your migraine pain.
1. Identifying dietary and lifestyle triggers
There are many triggers that can contribute to headaches, and these are different for every person.
Think of it like this: Inside your brain, a control center for migraine receives input from the many triggers contributing to headaches. These triggers stack up, and if your total trigger level rises above your personal limit of tolerance (your migraine threshold), migraine is set into motion. The degree of your headache or other symptoms depends on how high above your threshold your trigger level has climbed.
All forms of migraine can be controlled by keeping your trigger level below your threshold.
Dietary triggers make up a major component of your total trigger load. You can avoid these triggers, but you need to know which foods are triggers for you. Some common food triggers have been identified, but seeing a doctor who understands this issue can better help you identify and avoid your personal triggers.
Some foods that may cause migraine include:
Nuts and peanuts
Some foods that may prevent or treat migraine include:
Coffee (for some people)
Foods rich in magnesium
Foods rich in calcium
Many people also have lifestyle triggers, such as oversleeping, stress, or exposure to bright lights, loud noises, or strong smells.
Keeping a headache diary can be very effective in helping you figure out your personal headache triggers and in helping your doctors figure out the best treatment.
Key Takeaway: Identifying your personal dietary and lifestyle triggers can help reduce your migraine pain.
Acupuncture is one of the main medical treatments in traditional Chinese medicine and has been practiced for thousands of years. Only recently is it becoming more accepted as a treatment for pain and other issues. This treatment releases your body’s own natural painkillers, allowing your body to heal itself.
Acupuncture offers headache relief. The National Institutes of Health recommend acupuncture as a viable treatment for chronic headaches.
Here are some studies to report the success of this remedy:
Acupuncture is more effective than medication in reducing severity and frequency of chronic headaches, according to a comprehensive review of rigorously-executed trials by Duke University Medical Center researchers.
Acupuncture is as effective as, or more effective than, prophylactic drug treatment, and has fewer adverse effects, according to a systematic Cochrane review.
Here’s how it works: A trained practitioner will insert many thin, disposable needles into several areas on your skin at defined points. Yes, needles are used, but the experience is not painful.
The way acupuncture helps prevent and treat migraines is not known. Scientists believe it may have something to do with the release of tiny molecules from nerve endings at the acupuncture sites. These molecules, called neurotransmitters, modulate pain messages going to the part of the brain where pain messages are modulated.
Key Takeaway: Acupuncture is now a scientifically accepted pain treatment. Multiple studies have found it to be more effective than medication, with fewer side effects.
3. Physical therapy
When used to treat migraines, physical therapy works on the muscles and joints in the peripheral nervous system (the portion of the nervous system outside the brain and spinal cord).
Whether or not patients respond to physical therapy depends on how much the muscles and joints are involved in their headaches.
Certain physical therapy techniques, especially used at the beginning of a headache, can help reduce the pain.
Here are some methods that may help you find relief for migraine pain:
Reflexology is a technique that places pressure on specific reflex points on the hands and feet that correspond to areas throughout the body and, thus, stimulates the nervous system to trigger a natural healing response. An exploratory study found 80 percent of patients reported they were helped by reflexology treatments or even cured of their headache problems.
Certain head and neck exercises, when done properly, can help alleviate pain.
Key Takeaway: For certain patients, a variety of physical therapy treatments may be able to help or even cure them of their migraine pain.
Biofeedback uses special equipment that monitors physical tension to teach patients how to control the physical processes related to stress.
Biofeedback is able to decrease migraine symptoms significantly; however, it does require motivation from the patient, as you will need to commit to at least 10 to 15 hour-long training sessions and regular practice at home.
Key Takeaway: Biofeedback is able to reduce the symptoms of many migraine sufferers; however, it requires commitment and time from the patient.
5. Injection therapy
Injection therapy may be helpful in reducing pain for some migraine sufferers. After an evaluation, a doctor will administer specific pain medications via injections.
One particular injection that may be helpful in providing people with temporary relief from their migraine pain is a Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block.
SPG blocks involve an injection of a numbing agent through the nostrils (one or both) with a simple applicator.
Key Takeaway: Injection therapy, or using medications injected into the body, can help people find temporary relief from migraine pain.
There are a variety of natural remedies that may be helpful to migraine sufferers. But these should only be tried with the help of a doctor, especially as some of these may interfere with other medications or health issues.
A few supplements that can be used as a migraine treatment include:
Vitamin B2. A Belgian study found that 60 percent of people who took 400 milligrams of this vitamin every day had half of their usual number of migraines.
Feverfew. Feverfew is part of the sunflower family. Studies suggest that taking dried leaf capsules of feverfew every day may reduce the number of migraines in people who have chronic migraines. Feverfew appears to work best on classic migraine associated with sensitivity to light.
Magnesium. Migraine sufferers have been found to have magnesium deficiencies between migraine attacks. Multiple studies have shown that magnesium supplementation may reduce the frequency of migraines for certain patients.
Melatonin. A study in the journal Neurology suggests that migraine sufferers may be able to reduce the frequency and severity of their headaches by using melatonin. Two-thirds of study participants who took melatonin before going to bed every night for three months said the number of migraines they experienced dropped by 50 percent.
Key Takeaway: Natural supplements may be helpful in treating migraine, but it’s important to consult a professional before taking any supplements.
Some suggestions for migraine prevention and treatment include:
Getting enough sleep (eight hours on a regular basis) is extremely important.
Daily exercise, along with aerobic exercise at least three times per week.
Dehydration is a common migraine trigger, so it’s important to stay hydrated every day.
Key Takeaway: Preventing migraines and reducing symptoms is about finding lifestyle management techniques that work for you.
Expert help is usually required to find migraine relief.
To treat and prevent migraine symptoms, a combination of treatments usually works best. But it’s important to seek help from medical doctors specializing in pain care, such as the doctors and professionals at National Pain Institute at multiple locations in Florida (Lake Mary, New Port Richey, Port St. Lucie, Turkey Lake, Lady Lake, and Winter Park).
If you think you might be a migraine sufferer, call us, and we will do our best to find the root cause of your headaches and help you find the relief you’ve been searching for. Dealing with migraines is not an easy process, but we can help. Let us help you.
No one wants to experience pain, especially chronic pain. We understand that. Pain doesn’t have to get in the way of your daily life. Once you know how to treat acute pain before it becomes chronic, you’ll enjoy less painful days.
But how do you treat pain before it becomes chronic? That’s what we are here to talk to you about. In this article, National Pain Institute will talk about acute pain and chronic pain, how acute pain becomes chronic pain, and best of all, 7 ideas to treat acute pain before it turns into a chronic circumstance.
Here at National Pain Institute in Florida, our specialists believe in a multidisciplinary approach, including pain management, neurosurgery, and integrated therapy. We help our patients understand that pain management doesn’t solely involve narcotics and surgery. No, we have better ways to treat pain.
Our model helps patients to prevent and minimize pain before it becomes chronic. Moreover, we help our patients to adapt to a healthier lifestyle to minimize the need for addictive pain medications or intensive surgery.
Now let’s jump right in…
What is acute pain? What is chronic pain?
Acute pain is pain that lasts less than 3-6 months. Or it can be pain that is directly related to tissue damage—in this instance, pain is a symptom of an injury or diseased tissue. Have you ever had a paper cut? Have you ever touched a stove that was really hot? Those are examples of acute pain.
Other examples of events that can cause acute pain include:
There are many ways to describe pain. When at the doctor’s office, he or she will most likely ask you to describe your pain as best as possible. The following adjectives are commonly used to describe acute pain:
Not all types of acute pain will turn into chronic pain. Acute pain typically disappears when the underlying cause of the pain has been successfully treated, or when it has healed. However, it is very important to treat acute pain before it becomes chronic.
So what is chronic pain? Chronic pain is pain that lasts longer than 6 months. There are two types of chronic pain problems—pain due to an identifiable generator (i.e. an injury); or pain without an identifiable generator (i.e. pain that occurs after the injury has healed).
Physical and emotional effects due to chronic pain include:
lack of energy
changes in appetite and diet
lower back pain
neurogenic pain (pain caused by damaged nerves)
psychogenic pain (pain that is not due to past injury, damage, or disease)
fear of re-injury
Chronic pain can disrupt one’s daily life. When someone experiences chronic pain, it is very difficult to enjoy simple activities, let alone staying healthy through routine exercise.
Unfortunately, there is no medical test to measure the level of chronic pain that someone is experiencing. As you may have noticed in your experiences when you’re at the doctor’s office, he or she will tell you to choose one of the following levels of pain: no pain, mild pain, moderate pain, or severe pain. You may have also been asked to choose which facial expression (drawn with a paper and pen) best indicates your pain.
Pain is a subjective matter. It is very unfortunate that some doctors tell patients that chronic pain is “all in your head,” or that “it can’t be that bad.” Our pain management specialists understand chronic pain, so we’d never say that to our patients.
7 ideas to treat acute pain before it becomes chronic
Treatments for chronic and acute pain will differ depending on the underlying cause(s) of the pain. Furthermore, certain pain treatments will work for some people, but not for others. It is very important to be aware of the level of pain you are feeling and discuss this with your doctor. You may need to try different pain management techniques before finding one (or more) that work the best for you.
Here are some ways, including complementary and homeopathic techniques, to treat acute pain so it doesn’t become chronic:
nerve blockers: Local anesthetics can be used to block the group of nerves associated with pain.
non-prescription, non-habit forming drug treatments: Some examples include Aleve, Tylenol, or Motrin.
physical therapy: Some examples of passive physical therapy include hot packs, cold packs, TENS units, and ultrasound. Some examples of active physical therapy include stretching, pain relief exercises, strengthening exercises, and low impact aerobic conditioning.
psychological counseling: Some examples include talk therapy, relaxation training, stress management, and pain coping skills training.
behavior modification techniques: One example of this is cognitive behavioral therapy.
transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): Developed in the late 1960s, this technique uses electricity to help alleviate pain. The low electrical impulses block certain pain receptors so that the brain does not receive the messages that you are in pain. A session is typically 15 minutes, but may require multiple sessions for successful pain relief.
alternative pain management treatments: Some examples may include relaxation, acupuncture, hypnosis, and biofeedback.
It may be necessary to try a few different pain management techniques to determine which is the best for you. Treating acute pain is the goal.
It is not recommend to “tough it out.” Take care of acute pain right away because it can become chronic later down the road. Take pain seriously. Don’t just shrug it off and expect it to go away by itself. Take action.
When does acute pain become chronic pain?
It is not absolutely clear why some people develop chronic pain but others do not. One patient may develop chronic pain, but another patient who has a similar condition will not develop chronic pain. The reasons are still unclear.
As acute pain advances into the chronic phase, the influence of other factors (in addition to tissue damage and injury) come into play. In such cases, the influences must be discussed and studied by your doctor in order to develop an effective pain management plan.
Ways to treat pain if it becomes chronic
If acute pain becomes chronic, your doctor will need to overcome some unique challenges.
It is very important to communicate your pain and symptoms with your doctor. National Pain Institute treats chronic pain by using a multidisciplinary approach.
Your treatment plan can include any of the following techniques:
pain medications (non-addictive)
surgery as a last resort
In order to be truly successful, chronic pain treatment should address the whole person. This includes the treatment of mental health issues, when applicable, such as depression.
The specialists at National Pain Institute in Florida are dedicated to provide a multidisciplinary approach to relieve chronic, acute, and intractable pain. We are trained to determine the underlying root cause of pain and to treat it successfully.
What should you do now?
If you are suffering from acute pain or chronic pain, we can help. The first step is contacting one of our pain clinics located nearest to you. We have several locations in Florida (Lake Mary, New Port Richey, Port St. Lucie, Turkey Lake, Lady Lake, and Winter Park).
Our pain management specialists will speak with you about your condition and symptoms to determine the best treatment options for you. So whether you are experiencing acute, chronic, or intractable pain, give us a call today to take advantage of our conservative pain care techniques.
Approximately 60-70% of the population who has diabetes will eventually get diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy. Pretty high number, right? If you are confused about your diagnosis of diabetic peripheral neuropathy, please read on. If you have been recently diagnosed and are looking for treatment options, please read on. This article will discuss peripheral neuropathy facts, treatments, symptoms, and more. We will also spend some time relaying quite a bit of information on spinal cord stimulation (SCS)—a successful treatment option for those with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. We offer this treatment at each of our locations in Florida (Lake Mary, New Port Richey, Port St. Lucie, Turkey Lake, Lady Lake, and Winter Park).
What is Peripheral Neuropathy? How About Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy?
Nerve damage caused by chronic high blood sugar—that is peripheral neuropathy in a nutshell. When it is caused by diabetes, it is called diabetic peripheral neuropathy. It is actually the most common complication for those with diabetes. This condition leads to several miserable symptoms affecting the feet, legs, and/or hands, including loss of sensation, numbness, and/or pain. There are numerous studies which have shown that diabetics can lessen their risk of nerve damage by maintaining a normal blood sugar level.
Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy
There are quite a few symptoms associated with peripheral neuropathy, and they vary from person to person. A lot of patients feel worse at night with their symptoms when compared to daily life. Numbness is actually the most common and the most troubling symptom. This is due to the nerve damage caused by diabetes. Losing the sensation in your hands, legs, feet, or toes is especially concerning to patients. This is due to the fact that those who experience sensation loss are typically the patients who are also most likely to develop ulcers on the feet and end up needing an amputation of a limb. There are certain early-onset symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, including:
Pins and needles
Deep stabbing pain
Cold to the touch
Take note of any of these symptoms and be sure to let your doctor know how you are feeling. As the days go on, you should always take notice to how you feel and let your doctor know about any changes. Such changes include, but are not limited to:
Muscle weakness— If your blood sugar levels remain consistently high, the nerves that tell muscles how to move may get damaged. This is when some patients experience muscle weakness when trying to walk or stand up from a sitting position. Other patients may experience difficulty carrying or grabbing things with the hands. Be sure to discuss muscle weakness with your doctor.
Balance problems— balance problems can occur because of muscle damage. If you find yourself more clumsy, uncoordinated, or unbalanced than usual, be sure to let your doctor know.
Touch sensitivity— Some patients with peripheral neuropathy experience a heightened touch sensitivity. This is similar to a numbness or a tingling sensation in the hands, toes, feet, or legs. If you experience touch sensitivity, tell your doctor.
When patients are diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, he or she often has multiple health problems, as well. This complicates the diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy, especially during the early-onset phase when patients first start experiencing symptoms. Doctors may sometimes confuse neuropathy symptoms with other health problems.
Who Gets Peripheral Neuropathy? What Causes It?
Peripheral neuropathy is a commonly widespread condition affecting everyday folk, as well as those who served in the Armed Forces.
Peripheral Neuropathy and Those With Chronic High Blood Sugar Levels
Those who have chronic high blood sugar levels are more likely to develop neuropathy when compared to healthier individuals. The high blood sugar levels cause damaged nerves in the body’s extremities (hands, feet, legs, toes), as well as other parts of the body.
When the nerves become damaged, messages cannot be effectively sent to the brain and other parts of the body. Because of this, patients may not feel cold, heat, pain, et cetera in the extremities.
Some patients are not even aware of a cut on his or her foot since they cannot feel it. That is why it is very important to always check your extremities for changes, especially your feet. Peripheral neuropathy consequences and symptoms can become life threatening if not taken care of properly. For instance, if an infection cannot heal properly due to poor blood flow, an ulcer could develop, which can lead to amputation or even death. As mentioned in the previous section, you should always take note of your symptoms and discuss them with the doctor. Unfortunately, some patients ignore their symptoms, just assuming that they’re signs of old age, when in reality, they could be symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
Peripheral Neuropathy and Agent Orange Used in The Vietnam War
Approximately 19.5 million gallons of a chemical agent called Agent Orange was used on 4.5 million acres in Vietnam during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1972 (known in the U.S. as Operation Ranch Hand). The chemical called dioxin was contained in the Agent Orange mixture. Out of the 3 million American soldiers who served during the Vietnam War, more than 1.5 million soldiers were directly exposed to Agent Orange (that number does not include the millions of Vietnamese citizens who were exposed and negatively impacted).
Thousands, if not millions, of United States Armed Forces soldiers were exposed to Agent Orange. Today’s Vietnam War veterans unfortunately experience side effects, such as birth defects, cancer, peripheral neuropathy, and many more serious conditions.
Prevention Tips for Neuropathy Sufferers
There are some things patients can do to minimize the risk of developing diabetic peripheral neuropathy, as well as to prevent possible consequences. A few prevention tips:
Schedule consistent appointments with your podiatrist and/or your foot and ankle physician.
Schedule consistent appointments with your primary care doctor and/or endocrinologist. Doing so can help to prevent/treat complications arising from diabetes.
Inspect both of your feet every day. Report any changes (redness, cuts, bruises, etc) to the doctor. When caught early, you could potentially prevent the problem(s) from getting worse.
Wear good-fitting, comfortable shoes. Do not wear shoes that could potentially cause blisters or sores.
Lose weight, if needed.
Keep the blood sugar levels under control.
How is Peripheral Neuropathy Treated? Tried Creams, Lotions, and Medications to Treat Neuropathy, but Nothing Works? What are My Options Now?
There are a few creams and lotions out on the market to help ease neuropathy pain, and to help slow the condition’s progression, as well as to limit the damage. Homeopathic remedies are also available for those who are looking for a natural way to stop the pain. On the other spectrum, several medications are available from your doctor, which can also help to alleviate symptoms. Speaking with your doctor about the symptoms you’re experiencing is the first step to getting the relief you need. It is important that you never ignore your symptoms; in due time, the symptoms can become worse. Keep in mind that some creams, lotions, and medications simply do not work as effectively as you’d like them to. If you’ve tried countless methods to stop neuropathy pain, but nothing has worked so far (or worked very little), call National Pain Institute (locations in Florida). One treatment, called spinal cord stimulation (SCS), can help diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
Spinal Cord Stimulation: What is it?
Spinal cord stimulation is a cutting-edge, successful alternative to relieve chronic neuropathic pain (including diabetic neuropathy), complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), and post-laminectomy syndrome (residual pain experienced after back surgery). Pain relief is made possible through the use of an implanted device, which transmits mild electrical impulses to the spinal cord. This mild stimulation interrupts the feeling of pain; instead of feeling pain, a more pleasing sensation (called paresthesia) is experienced (often described as a pleasant tingling sensation).
In a nutshell, SCS allows patients to control and relieve the pain so it does not disrupt your daily life.
With the use of spinal cord stimulation, many patients can significantly reduce or even eliminate the use of pain medications. This is very important for those who do not want to rely on prescription painkillers on a daily basis, possibly risking painkiller addiction.
Another important fact to point out is that SCS is a reversible therapy, even though it is referred to as “permanent.” This means that if you decide you no longer want to use SCS treatment, the implanted parts can be removed easily.
How Does Spinal Cord Stimulation Work to Relieve Chronic & Acute Neuropathy?
If our physicians determine that SCS may be right for you, a trial period will take place as the first step. The purpose of the trial period is to use a temporary stimulator to further determine if you will experience satisfactory pain relief. The trial period is a good time to find out if you are comfortable with the sensations that are produced from spinal cord stimulation. It is a fairly quick process to get started with the trial. On an outpatient basis in the office, our physician will use a local anesthetic to numb the area before we place one or two leads along the spinal cord. The soft, thin wires attached to the electrical leads are gently placed in the best location, and then connected to a portable, external generator. Once connected properly, the system will produce mild electrical pulses that will reduce your pain. The length of time required for a trial period varies from patient to patient. Our physician will make this determination. It can last anywhere from a few days up to one week. If your trial period is successful, you and the physician can determine if you can benefit from spinal cord stimulation. If you can benefit from SCS, another appointment will be scheduled to place the “permanent” SCS system.
It is very important to note that you, as the patient, is always in control of the SCS system at home, at work, and everywhere else. By using a magnetic remote control, you have the capability to turn the current on and off, as well as to adjust the intensity. And since the SCS system is portable, you can go about living your life as you normally would. These capabilities allow you to make necessary adjustments to relieve diabetic neuropathy pain.
How Long Does the Procedure Take?
The procedure performed for the first phase, referred to as the trial phase, typically takes approximately 30-45 minutes. This appointment is followed by a short period of recovery so we can observe the patient. The second phase, when we implant the long-term device, typically takes approximately 2 hours. A surgeon will implant the device in an outpatient surgical setting.
Is Spinal Cord Stimulation Effective? Does SCS Actually Work to Relieve Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy?
With spinal cord stimulation treatment, you can expect a decrease in the severity of chronic pain so it is more manageable. The degree of pain relief will vary from patient to patient, however. Current studies have shown that 85-90% of those who received SCS treatment reported a 50-70% reduction in overall pain. This has allowed them to enjoy their time with family and friends at a significantly higher level of satisfaction. Also based on current and past studies, we know that pain reduction can positively impact your mental outlook, improve quality of life, and reduce stress. Several more clinical studies are currently underway to further determine the effectiveness of spinal cord stimulation.
Diagnosed With Diabetic Neuropathy? What To Do Now?
Have you been recently diagnosed with diabetic peripheral neuropathy? Are you wondering which types of treatments are available to help with the pain? Or are you someone who was diagnosed years ago and has tried creams and medications without success?
Whichever situation you find yourself in when it comes to diabetic neuropathy pain, call us if you want relief. One of our knowledgeable physicians will evaluate your symptoms and health history to determine if spinal cord stimulation is right for you.
All you need to do at this point, if you haven’t already, is call one of our Florida offices to schedule a consultation appointment (we have offices in Ft. Pierce, Lake Mary, New Port Richey, Port St. Lucie, Turkey Lake, Lady Lake, and Winter Park).
That is the first step to learning more about your options. We look forward to meeting you and to helping you experience a lifestyle with less pain.
When you have pain that persists for longer than six months, and when it interrupts your relationships and daily life — you want relief. Our pain management experts understand how you feel and can help treat your chronic pain using a variety of treatments in a holistic and lasting way.
Living with continual discomfort is not the answer! And you shouldn’t have to risk open surgery and cause injury to your body.
We help patients in Lake Mary, New Port Richey, Port St. Lucie, Turkey Lake, Lady Lake, and Winter Park and the surrounding areas using minimally invasive treatments, meaning we keep the number of surgical incisions at a minimum — making the process much easier on your body and more comfortable for you.
We want the smallest possible damage to your body. But, most of all, we want you to feel good and be able to live your life as normal.
Our medical experts and professionals at National Pain Institute are highly trained and experienced to provide everything from psychological rehabilitation to physical conditioning, stress reduction, yoga, art therapy, and other proven techniques to reduce pain and improve your lifestyle.
Our innovative, multidisciplinary approach to pain management incorporates interventional care and lifestyle management. We truly believe that recovery from chronic pain can only be successful when qualified medical experts apply a diverse set of pain treatments and management techniques.
Chronic pain is serious and disrupts your life
We understand that chronic pain is not a simple matter. The impact on your life is far reaching and creeps into every corner of your existence, affecting family, friends, your job, and all aspects of life.
Even worse, if not diagnosed and treated properly, chronic pain can lead to severe emotional and mental distress. Don’t let this happen to you!
Chronic pain requires specialized and experienced care
We understand the full impact of the pain you are feeling and know that a unique treatment plan needs to be created just for you.
What happens when you come to us?
Our team will evaluate and assess your current state of health by thoroughly reviewing your pain, symptoms, and conditions, as well as your medical history, medications, diet, and your mental and emotional responses to pain. We look at the whole picture.
Then, we develop a plan customized to your specific needs to minimize suffering and give back your life. Our emphasis is on understanding and determining the root cause of your pain symptoms, so we can truly understand and get rid of the pain.
Our services and programs can help chronic pain
Our state-of-the-art therapies have achieved successful outcomes for many patients. Imagine a decreased duration of your pain, better sleep, an increase in daily activity, increased comfort, and a restored quality of life. These changes could be in your future. All you need to do is reach out to National Pain Institute and let us help you.Our pain care center provides the following minimally invasive, state-of-the-art medical treatments:
● Nerve blocks
● Medial branch blocks
● Ganglion impar blocks
● Stellate ganglion blocks
● Facet injections
● Epidural injections
● Intra-articular injections
● Intrathecal pumps
● Spinal cord simulators
● Diagnostic discography
● Intrathecal pump implants
● Intravenous therapy
● Lumbar transforaminal
● Radiofrequency ablations
● Lumbar sympathetic block
● Radiofrequency neurotomy
We also offer:
● Tai Chi
● Art therapy
● Life coaching
● Stress therapy
● Pain psychology
● Physical therapy
● Occupational therapy
● Vocational counseling
● Cognitive behavioral therapy
● Nutritional and wellness coaching
Let National Pain Institute get you back to a happier life with less pain
Why Do I Hurt? 11 Ways We Help to Alleviate or Prevent Your Neck & Back Pain
You’re here because pain is a part of your life. Maybe you had a bad accident, or maybe one day you were just going for a walk around the neighborhood and felt a sharp, stabbing, or even dull pain come over you.
Maybe you have pain in your back, neck, or other regions and have absolutely no idea how it started.
At National Pain Institute, we understand pain. We understand that pain can manifest itself in many ways due to a variety of conditions. We also understand that each person is unique, and thus pain management has to be unique for each and every one of our patients.
If you’re suffering from any form of acute or chronic pain, and are looking for a way to alleviate or eliminate your pain altogether, you owe it to yourself to keep reading.
Millions of people suffering from pain feel it is a hopeless situation, but the reality is this couldn’t be further from the truth. Get the facts and be better equipped to conquer your pain.
1 Pain Medications Can Actually Make You Worse (pain treatment should not always equal narcotics)
While this statement may seem like it should be on the cover of The National Enquirer® magazine you see when standing in the checkout line at the grocery store, in this case it’s absolutely true.Sure the statement has shock value and many patients don’t like it, but it is the truth.
Many doctors are what we call “pill happy.” In essence, in order to get a patient out of their office as quickly as possible, they write a prescription for a powerful pain killer. The problem is that many narcotics are habit forming, opening up the possibility for an entirely different set of issues for a person to deal with in the future.
For many patients, when narcotics are taken over a period of time, it increases their sensitivity to pain, making it nearly impossible for patients to get the relief they are seeking. This can have a negative effect on mood and sleep patterns, which can in turn increase pain levels.
Last but not least, in many situations pain can actually be an outward manifestation of something else that a person is experiencing. For instance, if a person is going through a particular traumatic or stressful time, then pain could be the result of depression, anxiety, or other underlying issues. This means that treating pain with habit-forming narcotics is not a reliable treatment plan to fix the root problem.
The bottom line: If you are suffering from chronic or acute pain, and think that popping a few pills is going to make it go away, think again. You may get temporary relief, but it will come at a high cost to your overall health and well-being.
2 Complicated, Even Dangerous Surgeries aren’t Necessary in Many Cases
It seems like we all know someone who has recently had back or neck surgery, or who is about to undergo some type of surgical treatment due to pain. In some cases, surgery is absolutely necessary and can help people get the relief they need.
On the other hand, did you know that a study conducted at Oregon Health and Science University examined Medicare patient records from 2002 and 2007, and found that in just a 5-year span there were 15 TIMES more complex back surgeries performed in 2007 as opposed to just 5 years earlier?
While complex back surgeries are on the rise, there is little, if any, scientific evidence to support the “surgery first” medical paradigm in which we currently live (the more complex the surgery, the greater likelihood of complications).
We are not writing this to bash treating pain using surgical measures, but we do feel in many cases of chronic back, neck, and other pain, surgical procedures are overused and can be avoided altogether.
At National Pain Institute in Florida (with locations in Lake Mary, New Port Richey, Port St. Lucie, Turkey Lake, Lady Lake, and Winter Park), we understand that many patients want to avoid surgery when possible; it is typically a last resort that very few people actually look forward to. This is why we use a variety of minimally invasive, integrated therapies that can decrease pain, improve musculoskeletal function, and get you back on the right path.
3 The Importance of Lifestyle Management in Pain Management (Our Algorithm)
As you’re driving down the road, cream-filled donut in hand trying to drink your Grande-sized latte without spilling it, have you ever seen a person running and thought to yourself, “What an over-achiever!”?
Maybe you admire them, envy them, or even hate them…but you do notice their healthy lifestyle.
At National Pain Institute, we believe it is important for our patients to understand just how important your lifestyle really is when it comes to managing your pain.
Our bodies have a wonderful ability to heal themselves when we take care of them! Here are a few things we tell our patients they need to do in order to effectively manage their lifestyle, which in turn can reduce inflammation and help to minimize the pain symptoms you are experiencing:
Be active. The most common objection we get when patients hear this is “I can’t! Don’t you see I’m in serious pain?” Look, we are not asking you to go for a sprint in the park or a 20-mile bike ride. We are simply asking you to be as active as you can be because studies have shown that 3 days of “resting” at a time does very little to alleviate pain. In fact, if you don’t make an effort to become more active, your pain can actually get worse.
Lose weight. If you have episodes of acute pain, or your pain is chronic, you should evaluate your weight, and determine if losing weight is necessary to better manage your pain. By eating healthy foods, following a reasonable diet, and doing the amount of exercise you are physically able to do, you will feel better, and might just get rid of some of those nagging pains.
Stop smoking. Smoking is bad for many reasons besides damaging your lungs. In fact, according to a recent study conducted by Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern, smoking can interfere with a brain circuit associated with pain, which in turn can make smokers more prone to developing chronic back pain.
The benefits of improving your lifestyle with proper nutrition and exercises are limitless, and may just help keep your chronic pain from rearing its ugly head.
4 What Does Conservative, Minimally-Invasive Pain Care Look Like?
You may be thinking, “OK, so if you treat pain without addictive medications or surgery, what do you actually do?”That’s a great question, and one that we would be happy to answer. Our pain management algorithm revolves around a variety of integrated therapies that are all designed to help you feel your best.
Here are a few of the specific types of treatment you may experience at National Pain Institute:
Injections (SI Joint, Nerve Block, Facet Block, Epidural and More)
Spinal Cord Stimulation (for treating diabetic neuropathy as well as a variety of other issues causing chronic back pain)
And much more. We often combine treatments for patients based on their individual needs in order to produce desired outcomes. Regardless of which treatment(s) you receive, the goal is the same: to reduce your pain and help you feel better!
To learn more about the treatments we offer, we encourage you to find our location nearest you, and give us a call to discuss which pain management options are available to you.
5 Catching it Early: Treating Acute Pain Before it Becomes Chronic (Chronification)
One of the most common things we consistently hear from our patients is, “I wish I had done this sooner.” When said, they wish they had started seeing us when the pain was still in the acute stage before it became chronic.
In the pain management field, there is a concept known as chronification, which is the notion that in order to develop chronic pain, a person must experience episodes of acute pain leading to their chronic pain.
The reason this is important is very simple. If we are able to see patients when they are experiencing acute or sub-acute pain, we are able to provide aggressive treatment that improves their odds of not developing chronic pain.
So the moral of the story is this: if you are experiencing episodes of acute neck and/or back pain, and think this issue is going to magically go away on its own, think again. The earlier you seek minimally-invasive, integrated treatment for your pain, the higher the likelihood that it can be successfully managed moving forward.
However, if you are experiencing chronic pain, there is hope for successful treatment and managing symptoms. So don’t delay your treatment any longer!
6 Treating Pain with Non-Addictive Medications
When you think of pain management, or keeping your pain “in check,” what is the first thing that comes to your mind?
For many people, they associate pain management with being on medication, which is not always the best treatment for pain. Sure, painkillers can knock out excruciating pain in the short term, but at what cost over the long haul?
Perhaps the most harmful side effect of powerful narcotics is that a person can easily develop a dependence, which can quickly escalate to an addiction.
In fact, there is currently a narcotics epidemic in the United States with 3 out of 4 overdoses being linked to some form of habit-forming pain medications, according to the CDC.
In addition to this shocking statistic, approximately 14,800 people died in 2008 due to prescription medication overdose, which is more deaths than heroin and cocaine overdoses combined.
In order to help stop this crisis, National Pain Institute is committed to treating pain without addictive medications when possible. Unless it is medically necessary to be on these medications, we prefer to treat pain using a variety of integrated therapies that pose little risk to your long-term health and wellness.
7 Using Safe, Effective Injections to Alleviate Neck & Back Pain
A few injections we typically offer to patients are:
SI Joint Injections
Facet Block Injections
Nerve Block Injections
And much more.
These varieties of back pain injections are typically used to give patients relief from major issues that cause back pain, which are spinal stenosis, radiculopathy, SI joint pain, and more.
If you are suffering from back pain due to one of these conditions, or even if you aren’t sure exactly why you are hurting, we encourage you to contact us in order to schedule your appointment. Our back pain specialists can work with you to find out if one of the back pain injections is right for you, or if another course of treatment would be appropriate.
8 Offering Alternatives to Complex Spine Surgery (Spinal Cord Stimulation & More)
Instead of having complex spinal surgery that could have you out of work for months, how would you like to have a small device that sends an electric current to your spine and manage your pain that way?
Sounds much better than surgery, doesn’t it?
At National Pain Institute, we offer spinal cord stimulation (also referred to as neurostimulation or electrical stimulation) to patients, and it has been a success.
Spinal cord stimulation was first approved by the FDA in 1989, and it works by emitting an electric current at the source of the pain, which then blocks the brain’s ability to sense the pain.
In essence, spinal cord stimulation controls your brain by not allowing it to feel pain caused by your spinal cord issues.
There are many conditions where spinal cord stimulation can help a patient manage pain associated with back problems. Here are a few of them:
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Failed Back Surgeries
And much more. Regardless of why your back is hurting, spinal cord stimulation is a minimally-invasive treatment option with a 60-75% success rate, making it an ideal solution for patients who do not want to be put on painkillers, and certainly do not want to have spinal surgery if it can be avoided.
If you are interested in learning what spinal cord stimulation can do, please call our office nearest you to get more information, or to schedule an appointment.
9 A Special Note for Diabetic Neuropathy Sufferers on Spinal Cord Stimulation
Are you tired of the pain caused by your diabetic peripheral neuropathy? Has pharmaceutical treatment failed to give you the pain relief you are so desperately looking for?As we touched on above, spinal cord stimulation is a treatment that is an ideal solution for many patients suffering from diabetic neuropathy.
Unfortunately, it is estimated that more than 15 million people in the United States suffer from this issue, yet many of them are unaware that spinal cord stimulation is an available treatment.
10 The Role of Mood: How Psychotherapy & Relaxation Techniques Can Play a Role in Your Pain Treatment Plan
It’s easy to blame your pain on something physical. If your back hurts, something must be physically wrong with your spine, right?
What we’ve found at National Pain Institute is this may not always be the case. In fact, how you feel can have a significant impact on the levels of acute and chronic pain you experience on a daily basis.
In fact, there are numerous studies to suggest that a link between mood, depression, and chronic pain exists for many patients.
So the question is: how do we fix the issue?
In the past 20 years, people are becoming more open minded to the roll that mood can play in someone’s overall health and well-being.
By using carefully designed relaxation techniques and psychotherapy treatments, we are able to help patients mentally cope with depression, anxiety, and other issues that could be having a negative effect on their mood, and thus triggering acute or chronic pain episodes.
If your mood is causing you to experience chronic pain, it doesn’t mean you are crazy, and it certainly doesn’t mean that it is “all in your head.” Anxiety and depression can manifest in a variety of physical ailments, and at National Pain Institute we are dedicated to helping patients overcome these obstacles and effectively manage their pain.
11 In-Office Physical Therapy: Get Moving Again!
At National Pain Institute, we don’t just want to help manage your pain, we want to get you moving again with effective physical therapy treatment at one of our offices.
You’ve likely had physical therapy yourself or know someone who has, but the question we get from some of our patients is, “Why is physical therapy so important?” In fact, many patients think that moving too much will make their pain worse.
Based on our experience, we know that patients who are afraid to move (a condition known as kinesiophobia) do not do as well recovering from surgery.
At National Pain Institute, we offer a variety of physical therapy treatments as part of a comprehensive plan to effectively treat and manage your pain. Whether you have recently had surgery or are seeking physical therapy in order to avoid surgery, we can help.
So, What is Your Next Step? Let Us Show You Pain Management That Really Works!
By now, you’re aware at just how different we are from the average pain management clinics you see on highway billboards. In fact, we aren’t the last place you should go for pain treatment…we are the first!
At National Pain Institute, our goal is to improve the lives of our patients with minimally invasive pain care.
Simply put, your pain is our purpose, and making you feel better is our passion. By helping you cultivate a lifestyle and treatment plan focused on getting results, we can help you alleviate, or in some cases, eliminate the pain.
Welcome to National Pain Institute and welcome to a better way of pain management. We look forward to helping you get your life back. Contact us today at one of our locations in Florida!