Monthly Archives: February 2016

How Pain Management Specialists Treat Chronic Back Pain and Headaches

Everyone experiences physical discomfort at some point in some part of their body whether it is due to injury, illness, or stress. But when those aches become a constant or a daily part of life, that is a sign of a more serious condition or problem that should be addressed. Two common types of pain are chronic back pain, which is when a patient experiences discomfort in the back for three months or more, and chronic headaches, which is when a patient experiences headaches at least 15 days a month. Over-the-counter medication can sometimes help the symptoms. For long-term relief, patients should seek a pain management specialist.

Chronic back pain is a common reason that people visit pain management specialists. Many times, this soreness is due to an injury that caused damage to the spinal column. Some kinds of spinal column damage include degenerative disc disease, compression fractures, disc herniation, and spinal stenosis. However, many times there is no clear cause of what is hurting the patient. When this happens, it is likely that the nervous system is mistakenly sending a signal of injury even though there is actually no damage at all. This misfiring of signals makes the patient believe there is damage that is not actually present. Pain management specialists who treat patients with chronic back pain will help identify the source of the patient’s discomfort, offer an aggressive care program as an alternative to surgery, or, if surgery is necessary, they will uncover the areas that need surgical treatment and help rehabilitate patients after surgery. This type of treatment is beneficial because, in some cases, specialists are able to help patients to pinpoint the areas that hurt and psychologically address the misfiring of nervous system signals without having to undergo surgery.

Chronic headaches are another reason patients seek pain management treatment. The majority of people who suffer from these kinds of headaches experience either chronic migraines, which can predominantly affect one side of the head and cause a pulsating sensation throughout the head, or tension-type headaches, which are usually felt as a throbbing band across the forehead. These types of headaches can be depressing and debilitating to patients, causing them to be unable to attend work, spend time with others, and to sleep through the night. After many years of searching for a cure, doctors are now able to offer patients Botox injections that can reduce the frequency of agonizing headaches. These injections are normally given in the forehead and in the back of the head. Botox is believed to inhibit the processing systems in the brain that create migraines.

Those who suffer daily from chronic aches and strains now have hope that they can end their discomfort once and for all and enjoy the quality of life they deserve. Thanks to the dedication of hard-working doctors, the lives of patients who endure these torments can be drastically improved.

Time for a Massage: Five Relaxing Types to Try

Tired and overworked muscles need special care. A massage helps to relieve fluid built up in the tissue, relaxing the tense muscles and easing any pain you may have. Additionally, the action helps to encourage your body to produce endorphins, a natural pain reliever. In order to get the best treatment for your sore muscles, you need to know what your therapy options are.

Swedish

One of the most common types of massage is Swedish. This technique uses light and vigorous movements. The therapist will use a combination of five basic strokes: the effleurage, petrissage, tapotement, friction, and shaking. This technique is best used to help reduce pain, improve knee function in patients suffering from osteoarthritis, and reduce joint stiffness. Some patients that suffer from lower back pain experience relief for as long as fifteen weeks.

Stone

The stone technique utilizes smooth stones to apply pressure and heat to the body. The stones can be cold, but more commonly they are water heated. These disks are placed along the back to heat the area and penetrate the muscles, helping them relax. The hot stones can also be coated in oil, which helps the rock slide smoothly over the skin and assists the therapist in delivering various strokes.

Shiatsu

Shiatsu is considered a type of alternative medicine. This technique consists of stretches, strokes, and finger and palm pressure on certain areas of the body. The idea is that the pressure helps the muscles relax, freeing the patient from pain. While it is a popular type of massage, there has been no data to suggest it is effective for any known medical conditions.

Deep Tissue

With deep tissue techniques, the therapist focuses on realigning layers of connective tissue and muscle. If you suffer from chronic aches and pain such as in the lower back or neck, it is a useful solution. The technique works by breaking down adhesions formed in the muscles after an injury or due to chronic tension. In order to break down the adhesions and reach the deep musculature, the muscles must be relaxed. You may feel pain or discomfort at points throughout the procedure.

Prenatal

Expectant mothers often feel discomfort during their pregnancy. Prenatal treatment can help reduce the stress a mother feels during this time. It also helps to increase blood circulation and relieve anxiety or depression caused by hormonal changes. Therapists know the best position for you to lie in during the treatment and will often utilize small pillows to help alleviate strain on your back or hips during the massage. Mothers should be at least in their second trimester before scheduling this type of treatment.

A massage can help relieve tension that is built up in your muscles. Those who suffer from chronic pain can benefit from regular appointments, even if it is only for half an hour. If you are new to this type of therapy, talk to your masseuse before your appointment to see which method would best suit you and your situation.

How to Beat Pain Using CST

Many of us diabetics suffer from a variety of pains and medical annoyances such as:

migraines and headaches
stress and tension
chronic (persistent) neck and back pain
disorders of the central nervous system
orthopaedic problems, or problems relating to bones, tendons and ligaments
fibromyalgia, a rheumatic condition that causes pain in the muscles and bones
temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD), pain due to dysfunction of the muscles that move the jaw and the joints that connect the lower jaw to the skull

These conditions are not confined to type 2 diabetics.

The convention medical approach is to use pharmaceutical medicines or surgical intervention to alleviate these conditions.

But these conditions can be relieved in a way that avoids the use of drugs or surgery.

The dural pulse

The dural tube is a membrane surrounding your spinal cord that is filled with cerebral spinal fluid. The fluid moves in a regular rhythm… at 6 to 12 beats per minute… called the dural pulse.

The dural pulse, which was discovered in the 1970s, should have a steady beat like your heartbeat. Its natural rhythm however can be upset by physical injury and emotional stress.

The result can be one or more of the painful and debilitating conditions described above.

To alleviate these conditions, a non-invasive therapy, called craniosacral therapy (CST), was developed by the medical team that first discovered the dural pulse. It seems to be effective.

Craniosacral therapy (CST)

The sacrum is a triangular bone between the two hip bones of the pelvis in the lower back. The cranium is the skull, especially the part that encloses the brain.

The craniosacral system stretches from the skull to the bottom of the spine. It consists of the membranes and spinal fluid surrounding the brain and the spinal cord, as well as the connective tissues and bones attached to these membranes.

In craniosacral therapy (CST), a therapist manipulates the craniosacral system using gentle pressure to stimulate the flow of spinal fluid. The idea is to release restrictions that prevent the spinal fluid flowing freely and so restore the proper functioning of the nervous system.

During a CST session, you lie on your back. The therapist feels around your skull, spine and ribcage looking for places where muscles are stiff and motion is restricted. Then he or she uses very gentle finger pressure to help the muscles around these areas to relax. The experience is said to be pleasant and calming.

There are several 100,000 trained craniosacral therapists practising in North America and Europe and the technique has proved to be safe.

But how effective is craniosacral therapy?

Effectiveness of craniosacral therapy

Clinical studies have shown that CST can be beneficial for persons suffering from chronic pain.

In a study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine in 1999, researchers found CST reduced levels of pain and the need for medication.

In an overview of seven studies published in the same journal in December 2012, researchers found that CST increased the quality of life and sense of wellbeing of patients.

Other studies have shown that CST calms aggressive behaviour in patients with dementia and improves sleep in persons with fibromyalgia.

In a very recent study by German doctors published in September 2015, 27 patients with neck pain who received CST weekly experienced significantly more relief compared to a control group of 27 patients who received other therapies for their neck pain. The relief from pain lasted an average of three months following treatment.

Home treatment

While it would be best to be treated with CST by a fully qualified therapist, should you suffer from chronic pain related to your spine or skull, there is a CST technique you can try at home on your own to reset the rhythm of your craniosacral system.

All you need are two old tennis balls and a pair of fairly thick socks.

First, insert the two tennis balls into one of the socks and push them down to the toe. Tie a knot in the sock so that the two balls are firmly in contact. Then insert the balls and sock into the second sock and tie that tightly also.

Now lie on your bed or on the floor fully stretched out. Place the balls under your head against the curved bone at the bottom of the back of your skull. The weight of your head should rest on the balls.

Breathe deeply and regularly. Make yourself relax. Let your mind’s eye travel from the base of your spine up to the top of your skull. Imagine all the muscles along your spine and back of your head relaxing.

Maintain your position for at least 15 to 20 minutes.

As you calm down you will feel tension releasing from the different parts of your body. You should enter a state of deep relaxation.

Try this the next time you have a headache.

Or if you suffer from chronic pain, do it daily.

Let me know if this technique works for you.

What Are the Benefits of a Therapeutic Massage?

One of the main reasons that people go for massages is that undergoing this treatment has a strong positive effect on mental health. Those who are suffering from anxiety caused by certain stressors in their lives can find this kind of therapy extremely calming and relaxing.

This is achieved in part by combatting the physiological effects of stress, including increased blood pressure and increased heart rate, which are two physical sides effects of anxiety and panic. As massage therapy works to lower both blood pressure and heart rate, this has a knock-on effect on mental well-being, relieving both the body and the mind of tension.

Along with the release of stress, massage services create a feeling of deep relaxation in the body. This deep state of calm is misleading, however, as another physiological benefit of such a therapy is that many people who have received this treatment find themselves full of energy after having a massage.

Certain techniques used by massage therapists can actually energise the body and the mind, which is extremely beneficial for both athletes and those who need to have a great deal of mental concentration at work. This is partially due to the release of anxiety, which can clutter the thoughts and prevent optimal concentration.

There are, of course, many physical benefits to this kind of treatment, in addition to the lowering of blood pressure and the decreasing of the heart rate. One of these is that massage can actually help with a large range of illnesses, ranging from sports injuries to diseases such as cancer.

In the latter case, studies have shown that regular massage can increase the number of cancer-fighting cells in the body by stimulating the lymph system in the body. For people who are battling other illnesses, boosting the lymph system via bodywork or massage services may also be very beneficial.

Bodywork can also help with very specific injuries, such as muscle strains or even post-surgery scar tissues, with the therapist in question often using very focused and specialised techniques to promote healing in a particular area of the body.

For muscles that have simply been exercised too much, this kind of treatment can also be very effective, relaxing the muscles in a way which is not possible otherwise. This can in turn prevent cramping and pain which would otherwise arise from these overworked areas of the body.

This type of physical therapy can also help with pain relief, including a wide range of different painful bodily symptoms such as headaches, back pain and chronic illness. Not only can the therapist in question use special techniques to relax muscles and relieve pain, but the treatment itself releases natural pain-killing endorphins.

There are many different massage techniques used by therapists around the world, and all of them can bring significant physical and psychological benefits to people with various complaints. As well as helping the body relax and releasing all kinds of stress and anxiety, this treatment can encourage healing and significantly relieve pain.

Different types of massage therapy may be more suitable for a certain ailment than others, so it is strongly advised to seek the expert advice of an experienced massage therapist before choosing a specific treatment for your condition.

Kinetic Massage Works is a therapeutic bodywork and massage service based in Houston, Texas. Their massage therapy treatment is an integration of different bodywork modalities based on each client’s needs in order to provide the best results to alleviate pain and discomfort. Kinetic Massage Works does not base its pricing on modality, meaning clients never pay extra for services such as deep tissue, or aromatherapy. Established in 2013, the team at Kinetic Massage Works combines a decade of experience working in the therapeutic massage sector, with a focus on deep tissue, sports, trigger point, and reflexology. Kinetic Massage Works offers a range of single session and membership services, all including an initial consultation and complimentary aromatherapy.

Why Would A Pain Clinic Need To Do Urine Testing

Today, there are many people living with chronic pain across the country. They seek help from their family doctors and they are often referred to a pain clinic.

A pain clinic will perform random and scheduled UDTs on their patients for a number of reasons. A UDT (Urine drug testing) is a tool that is useful in pain management which can provide the staff valuable information that will help them in diagnosing a patient’s status and make decisions in their care and treatment.

A UDT also provides confirmation that the patient is adhering and in compliance to the agreed treatment plan. The staff is able to diagnose if a patient has relapsed or is misusing drugs early on in treatment as well as throughout their treatment. A UDT can also be used as an advocate for the patient in regards to any third-party interests such as job searches or parole violations.

To evaluate if the patient is in compliance with the agreed upon a treatment plan, the pain clinic staff will look for the indications that prescribed medications are present in the patient’s urine. This is considered evidence that the patient is following the prescribed medication plan or if they are using any drugs that is not on the plan. Either way, it necessitates a counseling session with the patient which may include one or more members of the facility’s staff.

Lab Errors and Incorrect Data

It is also important that the staff recognize the possibility of the lab having errors from the UDT reading which may create misleading data. There are other factors that create a misleading read on UDT’s as well such as the patient’s diet, stress factors or other medical conditions that have not been discovered. If the patient has an unexpected negative reading on their UDT, it can be due to running out of their prescribed medication as well. Even taking basic aspirin for a headache can create a false reading on UDTs.

With all these things in consideration, the results of a UDT alone should not be totally relied upon by a pain clinic staff for proof of a patient and possible drug diversion. They are not the only way to determine a patient’s addiction, pseudoaddiction, or any use of an opioid for the purpose of nonpain incidents aka chemical coping.

When a person enters a facility, the staff should explain the purpose of UDTs that are performed during their initial evaluation. The patient should understand that a UDT will enhance their relationship with the staff and provide documentation that they are adhering to the treatment plan that has been established by the pain clinic staff. It will also provide documentation how the patient is responding to the treatment plan.

In a pain management clinic setting, any presence of an unprescribed medication or illicit drug does not necessarily refute the legitimacy of pain complaints by a patient, but it could suggest a possible coexisting or simultaneous disorder like and addiction or drug abuse. It does become necessary for an assessment to be done of the patient so that a determination can be done if there is more than one disorder to be treated. The UDT will help the pain clinic staff to determine if this is the issue and how to proceed from there.

Overall, the main goal of a doctor sending their patients to a pain clinic is to get the patient back to a normal way of life, including shopping taking their children to a park or playground as well as returning to work.