Health Update: Chronic Pain at Night


Chronic pain at night can become a nightmare for many individuals in East Texas. Unfortunately, poor sleep can make chronic pain worse, leading to the endless cycle of increased pain, less sleep and less sleep, more pain. Because of this, individuals experiencing chronic pain at bedtime must find relief. The Tyler, Texas pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are available to help patients with numerous diagnostic and treatment options.

The Connection between Sleep and Chronic Pain

The negative impacts of pain-related sleep loss in the United States is staggering. Acute and chronic pain is often associated with stress and poor health. Sleep plays a critical role in both health and stress levels. When individuals are not able to achieve a good night’s sleep on a regular basis, the body begins to shut down, pain increases and stress levels rise.

It has been estimated that only 37% of chronic pain sufferers achieve a good night’s sleep, while 45% of individuals with acute pain have good sleep quality.

Tips to Alleviate Chronic Pain at Night

Pain physicians in Tyler, Texas understand the importance of positive sleep quality in order to alleviate a person’s chronic pain level. Here are tips patients are encouraged to follow:



  1. -Only go to sleep when you are beginning to feel tired. A person is not able to will themselves to sleep at night. In fact, trying to force yourself to sleep actually makes matters worse.
  2. -Cool down your bedroom. Try various temperatures between 60-75 degrees to determine the ideal sleeping temperature.
  3. -Ensure your bed, pillows and blankets promote good sleep quality, such as lumbar support from a mattress and neck support from a pillow.
  4. -Increase physical activity each day. Many chronic pain sufferers believe movement will intensify the pain, but in many cases, regular physical activity is linked to less pain and better sleep.
  5. -Start a journal. Write down all of your thoughts before bed. Many individuals lose sleep on a regular basis because they worry about items at bedtime. Write your worries and thoughts down, close the journal and begin to relax.
  6. -Drink herbal tea and other evening beverages. Avoid coffee and other sugary/caffeinated beverages after dinner. If a person is more sensitive to caffeine, they may begin drinking mainly water and tea after lunch.

Tyler, Texas Pain Physicians are Available to Help Chronic Pain Sufferers

The Tyler, Texas pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are available to assist individuals suffering from chronic pain at night that negatively impacts sleep. The physicians overall goal and mission is to help patients overcome pain using the most modern and conservative treatments available today, including:



  1. Spinal decompression
  2. Physical therapy
  3. Injection therapy
  4. Medications, both over-the-counter and prescribed

If you live in the East Texas area and are experiencing troublesome chronic pain at night, please contact the Tyler, Texas pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler today.

 

Health Update: Chronic Pain Management


Chronic pain can be a debilitating health condition for any Tyler, Texas area resident. Everyone feels pain from time to time when they pull a muscle, cut a finger or twist an ankle, but chronic pain is much different. In these cases, the body still experiences pain well after the injury has healed. The pain can last weeks, months or even years. Because ongoing pain has the ability to hinder everyday life, a proper chronic pain management program is critical. The pain doctors at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler have one goal – to help each and every patient overcome pain by utilizing the most modern and conservative pain management techniques available today.

An Overview of Chronic Pain

Pain doctors often define chronic pain as any form of pain that lasts more than 3 months with no injury present. Since the pain is consistent day to day, it can have serious effects on a patient’s life and mental health.

In some cases, chronic pain can begin without any obvious cause, but in many individuals, it begins after an injury or it is associated with a health condition. Some of the top causes include back issues, nerve damage, arthritis, headaches, migraines, fibromyalgia and past injuries or surgeries. Besides the symptom of pain, individuals may also report soreness, stiffness, weakness, fatigue and difficulty sleeping to a pain doctor.

The Importance of Chronic Pain Management

There are a number of treatment options available to patients at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler. As a multidisciplinary chronic pain management practice, the pain doctors develop a program focused on the entire person, not just the pain.

Multidisciplinary pain management programs allow patients the opportunity to become part of the treatment process. With this approach, the individual is able to take an active role in regaining control of their life in spite of the pain. This type of chronic pain management involves a team of medical professionals that utilize a variety of diagnostic tests and pain strategies to better control the pain so patients are able to enjoy daily life once again.

Common team members include pain doctors, nurses, physical therapists and psychologists, as well as the patient and their loved ones. The team is designed to provide a well-balanced approach to treatment.

The pain doctors at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler strive to alleviate pain in all patients, no matter the cause. The chronic pain management options available at the Tyler, Texas office include spinal decompression, physical therapy, injection therapy and in-depth diagnostic testing.



If you live in the Tyler, Texas area and are struggling with ongoing pain, please contact the pain doctors at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler today to discuss our chronic pain management treatment options .

 

Health Update: National Physical Therapy Month


October is National Physical Therapy Month! Physical rehabilitation is one of the best healing methods following an injury, as well as an effective pain management tool. With the opioid epidemic at an all-time high, many healthcare providers are encouraging patients to find a safer alternative to treatment. Physical therapy is an ideal option. The physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are available to help patients in the Tyler, Texas area alleviate pain and increase mobility by offering some of the best physical therapists in the area.

This Year’s Message – ‘Choose Physical Therapy’

National Physical Therapy Month occurs each October and is dedicated to raising awareness of this safe and effective pain management treatment. This year, many physicians are focusing on the option to ‘choose physical therapy’ over opioids and other potentially dangerous medications.

Since 1999, Americans have been prescribed opioids at an increasing rate. Painkillers such as Vicodin, OxyContin and methodone have created a health crisis in the United States with thousands of individuals dying each year from an overdose. Not all cases of prescription opioids are bad. When dosed appropriately, these medications are an appropriate part of medical treatment. However, the risks associated with prescription medications include depression, addiction and withdrawal symptoms when a person stops using.

Because of this, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging physicians to reduce the prescription of opioids and offer safe, natural alternatives like physical rehabilitation.

The Many Benefits of Physical Rehabilitation

Professionally licensed physical therapists are trained to treat patients of all ages and abilities in order to improve motion and mobility while reducing the pain level.
Physical rehabilitation offers many benefits including:

  1. Creates pain-free movement following an injury or chronic health condition
  2. Helps avoid surgery and the long recovery process
  3. Helps avoid opioid and other prescription medication dependence
  4. Improves balance and helps prevent falls
  5. Manages age-related issues such as arthritis and osteoporosis

A customized physical therapy program can help patients return to their prior level of functioning while reducing pain and other bothersome symptoms. Patients who often benefit from physical rehabilitation include victims of automobile accidents and work injuries, athletes with a sports injury and individuals affected by chronic pain, back pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, neuropathic pain, heart disease and head injuries.

To learn more about physical rehabilitation during National Physical Therapy Month, please contact the Tyler, Texas office of Pain Recovery Center of Tyler. Our physical therapy team is available to assist patients and help them return to an active, healthy and pain-free life.

 

Health Update: Workers’ Compensation Doctors in East Texas


Work injuries are quite common in the Tyler, Texas area. Many workers are at risk of injury no matter what sector they are in, ranging from machinery injuries to carpal tunnel syndrome. When an injury occurs, residents of East Texas can depend on the workers’ compensation doctors at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler. The team works directly with employers, attorneys and insurance adjusters on a daily basis, so you can rest assured you are in good hands when it comes to a diagnosis, treatment plan and return to work.

The Most Common Work Injuries

Serious, and often debilitating, work injuries are common with a wide range of injuries that occur across all occupational sectors. In 2015 and 2016, 144 workers in the United States were killed and 621,000 estimated non-fatal injuries were reported in the workplace. These work injuries amounted to 4.5 million lost working days.

In order to keep employees working, employers must maintain a safe work area and allow break times, and employees must be extremely careful around machinery, when performing heavy lifting and other duties essential to their jobs.

Here are the most common work injuries:



  1. Slips, trips and falls from spills, items not properly closed and put away, etc.
  2. Muscle strains from heavy lifting and prolonged bending or squatting
  3. Crashes and collisions in work vehicles, forklifts and other moving machinery
  4. Repetitive strain injuries from poor posture, typing, filing, lifting and performing other work-related movements
  5. Cuts and lacerations from improper protection and equipment usage
  6. Walking into objects while not paying attention or items being unnecessarily moved

When to Contact Workers’ Compensation Doctors

When a worker becomes injured, navigating the medical process can cause stress and discomfort. The first step is to report any injury to an employer. If an injury is not reported at the time of incident, a claim may not be valid. The injured worker must then visit a workers’ compensation doctor for a diagnosis and thorough treatment plan.

The workers’ compensation doctors at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler not only provide a thorough diagnosis and treatment plan, but they also perform a functional capacity evaluation (FCE) test to determine the injured workers ability to fully perform the physical demands of their jobs. The physicians also perform tests to determine the extent of bending, lifting and standing.

Any injured worker in the East Texas area can depend on Pain Recovery Center of Tyler to help them return to work in a timely manner. The workers’ compensation doctors are sensitive and understand the importance of communication between patient and employer.

If you live in the Tyler, Texas area and have experienced an injury at work, please contact the workers’ compensation doctors at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler. The physicians specialize in work injuries and strive to return workers to their jobs as quickly as possible.

 

Health Update: September is Pain Awareness Month


Did you know nearly 100 million individuals in the United States suffer from chronic pain? That is more than those with cancer, heart disease and diabetes combined. Living with pain can hinder everyday life and cause East Texas residents to no longer enjoy work, hobbies, sports or family time. Because of the large number of Americans that struggle with ongoing pain, September has been designated as Pain Awareness Month. The pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are here to share facts on chronic pain, common causes and the importance of pain management.

What is Chronic Pain?

Pain is defined as a warning sensation that indicates a problem within the human body that needs addressed. Pain begins in receptor nerve cells located beneath the skin and in organs throughout the entire body.

Chronic pain is typically characterized as pain that lasts longer than 12 weeks (3 months). Acute pain is a normal sensation that occurs immediately after an injury and subsides as the injury heals, but chronic pain is very different. Chronic pain can last for months, or even years, without an injury present.

Common Causes of Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is the most common cause of long-term disability in the country. Common causes include:

  1. Lower back pain
  2. Arthritis pain
  3. Headaches
  4. Postsurgical pain
  5. Post-trauma pain
  6. Cancer pain
  7. Nerve damage pain
  8. Psychogenic pain (no injury, health condition or nerve damage present)

In certain individuals, chronic pain is present without any prior injury. This pain is often associated with fibromyalgia, endometriosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and TMJ.

The Importance of Pain Management

Pain management is an extremely important portion of the medical field. With millions of Americans struggling with chronic pain each day, pain physicians and their specialized training are critical for diagnosing and treating the pain.

There is no single test that can precisely locate and measure pain. Pain physicians often depend on various diagnostic tests and their patient’s own description of the type, location, severity and timing of chronic pain. When patients define pain as burning, tingling, dull, sharp, constant or off-and-on, pain physicians are better able to narrow down potential causes.

When it comes to chronic pain, the overall goal of treatment is to reduce pain while improving body function. The exact treatment plan is determined by the cause. Common treatments include:



  1. Over-the-counter and prescription medications
  2. Nerve blocks and other pain management injections
  3. Spinal decompression
  4. Electrical stimulation
  5. Physical therapy exercises
  6. Yoga
  7. Psychotherapy

If you live in the East Texas area and are struggling with chronic pain, or would like to help a loved one during Pain Awareness Month, please contact the office of Pain Recovery Center of Tyler today.

 

Health Update: Youth Sports Injuries


A new school year is right around the corner for East Texas students. This means competitive sports will be in full swing. According to the CDC, participation in organized sports continues to rise. Unfortunately, this increase in participation has also led to a rise in youth sports injuries. The pain management doctors at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are available to treat a number of common sports injuries this school year in East Texas youth.

Statistics of Youth Sports Injuries

According to STOP Sports Injuries, a leading online source of information for youth sports injury education and prevention, nearly 30 million children and adolescents in the United States participate in youth sports each year. Many of these young athletes will become injured while competing in school-related sports. Here are some surprising statistics:

  1. More than 3.5 million children under the age of 14 years receive medical treatment each year for a sports injury.
  2. Children between the ages of 5-14 years account for about 40% of all sports injuries treated in a hospital.
  3. High school athletes account for approximately 2 million youth sports injuries each year.
  4. Overuse injuries are responsible for about half of all injuries in middle and high school athletes.
  5. More than half of all youth sports injuries are preventable according to the CDC.

Most Common Youth Sports Injuries

School-related competitive sports provide a number of social and physical benefits, but they also bring the risk of sports injuries. The most commonly diagnosed youth sports injuries include:



  1. - A sprain to a ligament or a strain to a muscle. An ankle sprain is the most common sprain/strain found in young athletes.
  2. - Repetitive motion injuries caused by joint overuse, including tendonitis, stress fractures and bursitis.
  3. - Growth plate injuries- The growth plate is the area of developing tissues located at the end of the long bones in children and adolescents who are still growing. When growth is complete, these growth plates are replaced by solid bone.

Preventing Youth Sports Injuries

Prevention is key when it comes to many youth sports injuries. If your child is involved in sports, it is important to enroll the child in athletic teams that have coaches and staff who are trained in first aid and/or have athletic trainers. The proper sized equipment should always be used at practice and at game time. Make sure your child receives the proper amount of rest and recovery in order to eliminate the risk of overuse injuries.

Treating Youth Sports Injuries with the Help of Pain Management Doctors

If an injury occurs in a young athlete, it is highly recommended they receive medical attention from a pain management doctor immediately. ‘Playing through the pain’ is not a proper approach since the body is still developing and growing in many young athletes. Ignoring a simple injury can often lead to a chronic joint condition.

Treatment for youth sports injuries varies depending on the injury present. Many sports injuries involve soft tissue injuries, such as a sprain or strain, or a simple bone injury that can be easily treated with the RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) method. A pain management doctor is able to provide detailed instructions on the proper RICE method to each patient. In more severe injuries, pain management injections or physical therapy may be necessary to alleviate symptoms while the body heals.



For additional information on preventing and treating youth sports injuries, please contact the East Texas pain management doctors at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler today.

 

Health Update: Shingles


Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a painful skin rash that most commonly occurs in older adults and individuals with weakened immune systems. This health condition causes individuals to experience numerous unwanted symptoms including headaches, itching, pain and blisters. If an individual in the Tyler, Texas area believes they are experiencing shingles, it is best to contact a healthcare provider immediately. The painful symptoms improve with early intervention. The pain management doctors at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are available to assist individuals suffering from this condition at their East Texas practice.

What is Shingles?

Shingles is characterized as a viral infection that causes a painful rash. The health condition is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus responsible for chickenpox. After an individual has chickenpox, usually in their younger years, the virus lies inactive in nerve tissue around the brain and spinal cord. If the virus reactivates in later years, the virus is known as shingles.

A person cannot catch shingles from someone else who has the condition. It is important to note there is a small chance a person with an active shingles rash can spread the virus to another person who has not had chickenpox.

What are Shingles Symptoms?

Shingles typically occurs in older adults over the age of 50 years, as well as individuals with a weakened immune system caused by injury, stress or certain medications.
Shingles occurs in various stages. The first stage is marked by light sensitivity and headaches. Many people also report flu-like symptoms, but with no fever. Later, the condition causes pain, itching or tingling in a certain area. This is the area where a band, strip or small area of rash develops after a few days. The rash will then turn into blisters, followed by the blisters filling with fluid and crusting over. It usually takes 2-4 weeks for the blisters to heal.

Shingles can also cause certain individuals to experience weakness, dizziness and changes in vision.

Pain Management and Treatment for Shingles

It is very important East Texas residents call a physician immediately if they believe they are experiencing the onset of shingles symptoms. The health condition is better treated with almost immediate medical attention.

Shingles is treated with medicines, including antiviral medications and pain medications. Typical medications include Zovirax, Valtrex and Famvir. Antidepressants and anticonvulsants are also commonly prescribed.

Other pain management treatments include Capsaicin cream, numbing agents and corticosteroid injections.

People with shingles can expect the condition to last between 2-6 weeks. In many cases, a person only experiences shingles one time, but it is possible to have the condition flare up more than once.



For additional information on shingles, please contact the Tyler, Texas pain management practice of Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.

 

Health Update: Back Pain During Pregnancy


Many women in the Tyler, Texas area experience back pain during pregnancy, commonly starting in the second half of pregnancy. Lower back pain is a very common complaint in moms-to-be and is typically caused by weight gain, hormonal changes and a growing uterus. The pain doctors at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are available to help expecting mothers in the East Texas area who are experiencing back pain that is hindering their daily activities.

Causes of Back Pain During Pregnancy

Expecting mothers can blame their lower back pain on hormonal changes, a growing uterus and other fairly common causes. Back pain during pregnancy usually occurs at the sacroiliac joint, where the pelvis meets the spine.

There are several common causes of lower back pain during pregnancy. Some of the most likely causes include:

  1. Hormone changes- The human body produces a hormone called relaxin during pregnancy. Relaxin is responsible for allowing the ligaments in the pelvic area to relax, as well as the joints to become looser in preparation for the birth process. Relaxin is also responsible for causing the ligaments that support the spine to loosen, often causing lower back pain and instability.

  2. Posture changes- As the baby grows, a woman’s center of gravity shifts. This gradual change causes many pregnant women to adjust their posture and movements without noticing.

  3. Weight gain- A typical pregnancy causes a woman to gain between 25-35 pounds. The spine has to support this increased weight that occurs in a relatively short amount of time. The weight of the growing baby also puts additional pressure on the nerves and blood vessels in the back and pelvis.

  4. Growing uterus- As the uterus grows during pregnancy, it is also responsible for a shift in the center of gravity. It also stretches out and weakens the abdominal muscles, putting additional strain and pressure on the lower back. Muscle separation associated with a growing uterus is also quite common. Two parallel sheets of muscles (the rectal abdominis muscles), running from the rib cage to the pubic bone, may separate along the center seam and cause lower back pain.

Lower Back Pain Treatments for Pregnant Women

It is reported more than 2/3 of women experience back pain during pregnancy, especially lower back pain. The good news is that the pain gradually diminishes in the majority of women following childbirth.

Here are simple ways to eliminate lower back pain during pregnancy:



  1. Use proper posture when sitting, working and sleeping. Ask your healthcare provider the best ways to sleep, sit for an extended period of time and to perform work-related tasks.
  2. Perform regular exercise to increase flexibility and strengthen muscles. Exercise not only keeps weight under control, but it also eases stress placed on the spine.
  3. Heat and cold treatment can be quite effective if utilized correctly. Ask your healthcare provider the most effective ways to use heat and ice compresses.

If a pregnant woman begins to experience severe lower back pain, rhythmic cramping pains or “pins and needles” type of pain, it is very important she contacts her regular healthcare provider or a pain doctor immediately.

For additional resources on lower back pain during pregnancy, please contact the Tyler, Texas pain doctors at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.

 

Health Update: Spinal Stenosis a Common Cause of Lower Back Pain and Neck Pain


Spinal stenosis is a fairly common spine condition that affects approximately 200,000 Americans each year. This common cause of lower back pain and neck pain can become a chronic condition if not diagnosed and treated by a pain physician. Pain Recovery Center of Tyler is available to assist individuals living in the Tyler, Texas area suffering from the numerous symptoms of spinal stenosis.

What is Spinal Stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is defined by the narrowing of the spaces within the spinal canal, which causes pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine. Commonly found in adults over the age of 50 years, the most common cause of this condition is arthritis.

In order to fully understand the condition, it is important to understand the anatomy of the spine. The spine is composed of a series of connected bones, known as vertebrae, and shock-absorbing discs. The vertebrae and discs are responsible for protecting the spinal cord, a critical part of the central nervous system that connects the brain to the body. The spinal cord is found within the canal that is formed by the vertebrae.

Spinal stenosis occurs most often in the neck and lower back and can lead to a number of unwanted and troublesome symptoms. There are a small percentage of individuals who have no symptoms, but the majority of people affected by spinal stenosis experience lower back pain or neck pain, tingling, numbness and muscle weakness. In many cases, the symptoms can worsen over time and lead to a chronic health condition.

Causes of Spinal Stenosis

Many spinal stenosis cases occur when something happens to narrow the open space within the spine. Common causes include:

  1. Osteoarthritis that causes bone spurs to develop
  2. Spinal injuries caused by a car accident or other traumatic event
  3. Herniated discs
  4. Thickened ligaments
  5. Abnormal growths or tumors

How a Pain Physician Diagnoses and Treats Lower Back Pain Associated with Spinal Stenosis

In order to diagnose spinal stenosis as a cause of lower back pain, a pain physician must perform a thorough medical review, physical examination and diagnostic tests. Common diagnostic tests include X-rays, MRIs and CT scans.

Once a diagnosis of spinal stenosis has been reached, a pain management plan will be developed. Treatment options depend on severity of symptoms and stenosis location. Common treatment options include:

  1. Medications
  2. Physical therapy exercises
  3. Steroid injections
  4. Spinal decompression

If conservative, non-surgical measures do not alleviate lower back pain or neck pain and other associated symptoms, a pain physician may recommend a surgeon for a surgical intervention.

For additional details on lower back pain and neck pain causes, or to determine if spinal stenosis is the cause of your pain, please contact the Tyler, Texas pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.

 

Health Update: Understanding Chronic Pain Management


It is estimated approximately 30 million Americans suffer from a form of chronic pain, such as back pain, neck pain, joint pain or headaches. Ongoing pain hinders an individual’s ability to perform everyday activities, participate in physical activities or excel in many work positions, often leading to depression, fatigue and anxiety. All of these factors connect and cause the patient even worse pain and emotional discomfort. Patients struggling with constant, severe pain typically require a multidisciplinary chronic pain management clinic to help ease pain and allow then to get through each day. Pain Recovery Center of Tyler offers two leading pain doctors in Tyler, Texas, both highly experienced at diagnosing and treating all levels of pain.

The Development of Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts longer than three months. This type of pain is often associated with a chronic health condition, nerve damage or injury. The most common causes of chronic pain include osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, a surgery that caused nerve damage and spinal conditions.

Individuals diagnosed with certain medical conditions, such as osteoarthritis, may experience both acute and chronic pain. Acute pain is often present at the time of injury or beginning of the condition, but the progressive damage or disease leads to chronic pain.

Scientists and medical researchers believe that acute pain sensitizes the central nervous system and leads to chronic pain in certain individuals. Many medical professionals state that they do not fully understand how acute pain becomes chronic, but it is believed that an untreated acute injury, such as joint inflammation, can lead to changes in the way the brain and spinal cord regulates pain.

The Importance of Chronic Pain Management

Depression, anxiety, fatigue and sleep difficulties are known to increase physical sensations, worsen the pain level and hinder the body’s ability to function at a normal level. Because of this debilitating combination, a chronic pain management program is essential to almost all patients.

Common Treatments Prescribed by Pain Doctors in Tyler, Texas

The pain doctors in Tyler, Texas at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler believe pain is multifactorial in origin, so it is important for medical professionals to identify each possible cause of pain separately, rather than assume all of the pain is from one disease or injury. Because chronic pain is a complex condition, a multidisciplinary pain management clinic, such as Pain Recovery Center of Tyler, is often recommended since the physicians offer a range of interventions, including medications, nerve blocks, injections, physical therapy and other complementary treatments.

Pain doctors in Tyler, Texas often recommend:

  1. Medications, nerve blocks and injections to alleviate the pain level
  2. A detailed physical therapy program to regain mobility and normal function
  3. Tracking the pain level and its effects so a physician can pinpoint causes and solutions
  4. Improving sleep quality and reducing daily stress

For additional resources on chronic pain management, please contact the office of Pain Recovery Center of Tyler. Our pain doctors in Tyler, Texas are available to assist patients suffering from various causes of chronic pain.

 

Health Update: Back Pain in Children & Teenagers


Back pain in children and teenagers is not as common as with older adults, but it can occur. In many cases, a younger individual will report pain following a traumatic event such as a sports injury, fall or other accident. Carrying a heavy backpack during the school year can also contribute to back pain and discomfort because of the increased stress placed on the spine and its surrounding structures. If a child or adolescent living in the Tyler, Texas area experiences back pain, it is recommended a parent or caregiver contact the pain management physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler for a consultation.

Back Pain in Kids and Teens can be a Serious Health Condition

Children and teenagers are much more resilient and flexible than adults so they do not experience back pain and associated injuries as often. Because back pain in children and teenagers is quite rare, when a younger patient complains of pain, it must be taken seriously by a pain management physician. When pain of any degree is reported, a medical history review and physical examination must take place.

Types of Back Pain Addressed by a Pain Management Physician

The cause of back pain in kids and teens is usually age-dependent.

Younger children typically do not put their spines under the same stress level as older children involved in sports or adults. For the most part, any discomfort in the back area tends to dissolve on its own with rest, not repeating activities that triggered the pain and over-the-counter children’s pain medications.

If back pain becomes chronic in a younger child, there is normally a great concern for a serious health condition, such as a spine infection, spine tumor or an abnormal growth.

Older children involved in athletic activities, as well as teenagers that test their body’s physical limits, are more prone to back pain and injuries. In young athletic patients, pain management physicians often report compression fractures and disc injuries as the cause of back pain. The joints between the vertebral bones can also become injured and cause a stress injury.

Back pain in children and teenagers may become present after specific movements and/or activities. Swimming and gymnastics are two popular sports associated with a higher incidence rate of spondylolysis since it is often caused by spinal overuse.

It is important to note that if back pain is present with changes in coordination or balance, it may be caused by an issue in the spinal cord or brain.

Heavy Backpacks and Back Pain

Heavy backpacks are becoming an issue with school-aged children. Many kids and teens carry a backpack to, from and around school that is full of heavy books, study materials and athletic gear. In cases where backpacks cause extreme pain, it is estimated those packs may equal 20-40% of the child’s own body weight. This large amount of additional weight places a great amount of stress on a child’s spine, leading to pain and overall discomfort.



If you live in Tyler, Texas or surrounding East Texas communities and would like additional information on back pain in children and teenagers, please contact the pain management physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.

 

Health Update: Correct Posture can Alleviate Back Pain


Each May the United States celebrates Posture Month in order to raise awareness on the importance of good posture. Correct posture is a simple way to alleviate back pain and keep the spine healthy. Good posture involves individuals living in the Tyler, Texas area to train the body to stand, walk, sit and lie in positions that keep the spine and supporting structures in line. The pain management doctors at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are available to assist East Texas residents with correct posture, as well as treat patients suffering from acute or chronic back pain.

Why Correct Posture is Important

Posture is defined as the position in which an individual holds the body upright against gravity while sitting, standing or lying down. Correct posture allows the body to experience less strain on the spine and supporting structures during movement or weight-bearing activities.

Proper posture provides numerous benefits to the body, including:



  1. Keeps bones and joints in the correct alignment
  2. Helps fight off osteoarthritis caused by abnormal joint degeneration
  3. Prevents the spine from becoming fixed in incorrect positions
  4. Prevents strain and/or overuse injuries
  5. Prevents muscular pain and back pain

What is considered correct posture? Simply put, correct posture involves keeping each body part in alignment with the surrounding areas so all areas remain supported and balanced. For example, when standing, individuals should be able to draw a straight line beginning at the earlobe, through the shoulder, hip and knee joints, and end at the middle of the ankle joint.

The Connection between Posture and Back Pain

According to PostureMonth.org, posture-related back issues are the number 3 reason for all visits to a physician in this country.

  1. 65 million Americans experience back pain every year
  2. 80% of Americans suffer from back pain at some point
  3. Low back pain is the most common disability in individuals under the age of 45 years

A healthy back has three natural curves:

  1. Cervical curve- An inward or outward curve at the neck
  2. Thoracic curve- An outward or backward curve at the upper back
  3. Lumbar curve- An inward curve at the lower back

Correct posture helps the body maintain these natural curves of the spine. When the body is placed under poor alignment, the natural curves of the spine are no longer maintained, causing back pain from muscle tension and/or pulled muscles in many cases. 

Simple Tips for Improving Posture

Improving posture is relatively easy after an individual determines where they experience incorrect posture. Simple tips for creating correct posture include:

  1. Ergonomic office chairs that provide back support
  2. Getting up, stretching and moving after prolonged time in a sitting position
  3. Sleeping on a firm mattress that does not sag
  4. Following proper lifting techniques
  5. Using lumbar support while driving

For additional resources on correct posture, or to learn more about back pain caused by incorrect spinal alignment, please contact the Tyler, Texas pain management doctors at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.

 

Health Update: May is National Arthritis Awareness Month


Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is often caused by aging joints, an injury or obesity. While the natural aging process or a joint injury may be unpreventable, an individual in the Tyler, Texas area can help avoid the development of osteoarthritis by remaining active and staying at a healthy weight. There is no cure for this common joint condition, so prevention and proper treatment are critical. The pain management physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler would like to share valuable information on osteoarthritis during National Arthritis Awareness Month.

What is Osteoarthritis?

Commonly known as “wear and tear” arthritis, osteoarthritis affects millions of people around the world. The condition is most often found in weight-bearing joints such as the hips, knees and spine, but it can also affect the shoulders, elbows and ankles.

Osteoarthritis is caused by the degeneration of cartilage. Cartilage is the firm, rubbery material that covers the ends of each bone throughout the human body. Its main function is to provide a smooth, pain-free surface for the joints to glide over and against each other. The structure also serves as a shock absorber because it has the ability to change shape when compressed while the body is in motion.

Normal wear and tear, an injury or being overweight places additional stress on the cartilage, and often causes it to break down. As the cartilage degenerates over time, bones begin to rub against each other, leading to joint pain, swelling and decreased range of motion.

Arthritis Facts and Figures during National Arthritis Awareness Month

Each May, the Arthritis Foundation leads the country in ways to overcome arthritis and its effects by providing tools and resources to learn more about the joint condition. Here are some important facts and figures our pain management physicians would like to share during National Arthritis Awareness Month courtesy of the Arthritis Foundation.



  1. Nearly 53 million adults have doctor-diagnosed arthritis; that number is expected to grow to 67 million by 2030.
  2. Arthritis is the nation’s No. 1 cause of disability.
  3. 1/3 of working-age people with arthritis have limitations in their ability to work, the type of work they can do or whether they can work part time or full time.
  4. People with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis –two major kinds of arthritis – miss a combined 172 million workdays every year.
  5. 36% of adults who are obese have arthritis.

How Pain Management Physicians Diagnose and Treat Osteoarthritis

A pain management physician is able to diagnose osteoarthritis by a combination of symptoms, symptom onset, location and pattern of pain, a medical review, a physical examination and diagnostic testing (x-rays and/or MRI).

There is currently no cure for osteoarthritis so getting the proper treatment is very important. The joint condition is usually treated with a combination of exercise, weight loss, heat and cold therapy, physical therapy exercises and pain management injections and medications. If the osteoarthritis is too severe, or if conservative treatment does not alleviate symptoms, a surgical procedure may be the next step of treatment.



For additional resources on osteoarthritis during National Arthritis Awareness Month, please contact the Tyler, Texas pain management clinic of Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.

 

Health Update: An Overview on Neck Pain


Many individuals living in the greater Tyler, Texas area will experience neck pain or stiffness at one point or another. Neck pain is most commonly caused by poor posture or overuse, but it can also be caused by whiplash, a fall or contact sports. The good news is neck pain can typically be relieved in a few days with at-home measures such as rest and over-the-counter medications. In severe cases of prolonged pain, a pain physician may be required to determine the exact cause of discomfort and to provide a pain management plan. The physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are available to diagnose and treat both acute and chronic neck pain.

Causes of Neck Pain

The neck, also known as the cervical spine, is composed of numerous vertebrae that extend from the upper torso to the skull. Cervical discs are located between the vertebrae and are designed to absorb shock when the body is in motion. The complex structure of nerves, bones, muscles and joints allow motion and support of the head. When an injury to any of these structures occurs, individuals often experience neck pain, stiffness and general discomfort.

Neck pain severity ranges from a mild annoyance to a chronic debilitating condition. Neck pain can be sharp or stabbing in one location, cause a stiff neck that hinders movement of the head or cause tenderness and soreness in one general area. More severe cases may cause individuals to experience radiating pain down into the shoulders, arms and fingers, difficulty gripping items or numbness, weakness and tingling that travels to the shoulders, arms or fingers. In more severe cases of neck pain, a pain physician is typically required in order to treat the true cause of discomfort.

Neck pain is often associated with muscle strain and tension. Common examples include poor posture, extended hours of working at a desk, jerking the head during activities and sleeping with the neck in a poor position.

Neck pain can also occur after a traumatic event, especially a car accident, fall or sporting collision. Pain often occurs after a traumatic event because the ligaments and muscles of the neck are forced to move outside of their normal range of motion.

Other causes of neck pain include disc degeneration as the body naturally ages, osteoporosis, spinal stenosis, herniated cervical discs, fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.

Treatment of Neck Pain by a Pain Physician

If mild to moderate neck pain persists for more than one week, it is best to contact a pain physician. A physician should also be contacted if pain is associated with weakness, numbness, tingling, radiating pain, a headache, a lump in the neck or nausea and vomiting.

A pain physician determines the correct pain management treatment plan based on the diagnosis. Common neck pain treatments include physical therapy, ice and heat therapy, medications, injection therapy, a neck collar, massage and ergonomic changes.

If you live in the Tyler, Texas area and are experiencing neck pain, please contact the pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.

 

Health Update: Injection Therapy for Pain Relief


Injection therapy is a form of pain relief designed to help alleviate back pain, neck pain and joint pain. The overall goal of injection therapy as part of the pain management process is to alleviate pain enough that patients can comfortably engage in physical therapy exercises and complete daily tasks. The pain doctors at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler specialize in numerous injection therapies and are available to treat individuals living in Greater Tyler, Texas.

Common Pain Causes

Pain is a troublesome sensation triggered by the nervous system in response to an injury to the body or a chronic health condition. Pain affects individuals differently. Some people experience a dull ache, a stabbing pain, shooting pain or a chronic pins-and-needles sensation. Depending on the cause of pain, individuals may experience pain in one specific area or all over the body.

Pain is diagnosed into several different categories depending on the cause. The most common pain causes/categories include:



  1. Acute pain- A rapid pain response to an injury such as a pulled muscle, stretched ligament or burn.
  2. Chronic pain- Long-lasting pain (over three months) that is typically associated with a chronic health condition rather than a sprain or strain.
  3. Cancer pain- Pain that spreads throughout the body from malignancy.
  4. Referred pain- Pain that originates in one area and spreads to other parts of the body.
  5. Visceral pain- Pain caused by an issue with an internal organ.
  6. Neuropathic pain- Pain caused by damage to the nervous system.

Common Injection Therapy Techniques for Pain Relief

Injection therapy is able to provide pain relief to countless individuals suffering from various causes of pain. The most commonly utilized pain management injections include:



  1. Epidural steroid injections- An epidural steroid injection is utilized to place anti-inflammatory medication into the epidural space to decrease inflammation in the nerve roots.
  2. Facet injections- Facet injections are performed by a pain doctor when the facet is the true cause of pain.
  3. Medial branch blocks- Medial branch blocks are designed to provide an anesthetic on the medial branch nerve that feeds out from the facet joint and carries pain signals.
  4. Cortisone and steroid injections- Cortisone and steroid injections are quite common for joint pain relief caused by osteoarthritis, tendonitis, bursitis, gout and muscle injuries.
  5. Trigger point injections- Trigger point injection therapy places an anesthetic, saline or corticosteroid into a patient’s trigger point (a sensitive, sore spot in a muscle).
  6. Genicular nerve blocks- A form of injection therapy designed to alleviate chronic knee pain, typically caused by osteoarthritis. A form of radiofrequency (RF) energy is applied to the genicular nerve to provide knee pain relief.

If you live in Greater Tyler, Texas and would like additional details on injection therapy for pain relief, contact the pain doctors at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.

 

Health Update: Back Pain Relief


Back pain is one of the most common complaints reported by patients at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler. According to Mayo Clinic, 80% of Americans will experience low back pain at one point or another. Even though back pain can be quite uncomfortable and troublesome, it is usually not associated with a serious health condition. No matter the cause of pain, the spine specialists at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are available to diagnose the cause and provide back pain relief treatment options so patients can return to work and normal activities.

An Overview on Back Pain

Back pain is most commonly found in adults between the ages of 35-55 years, even though it can affect individuals at any age. Many spine specialists believe back pain is caused by the way the bones, ligaments and muscles in the spinal region connect and work together.

There are numerous health conditions that cause back pain. Certain patients experience pain that stays in one area, while certain patients experience pain that radiates down to the buttocks and legs. If nerves are affected, a patient may also experience numbness, tingling or weakness associated with the pain.

Back Pain Causes

The back is a sophisticated structure composed of numerous bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles, discs and nerves. If any of these structures become injured from a traumatic event, repetitive movements or the natural aging process, an individual may experience back pain and other troublesome symptoms.

The most common back pain causes include muscle spasms, strained ligaments and strained muscles. These three causes are often associated with improper lifting techniques, lifting an item too heavy or the result of an awkward and abrupt motion.

Everyday activities can also lead to back pain, including poor posture, standing or sitting for extended periods of time, over-stretching, straining the neck forward and muscle tension.

Structural problems located within and around the spine may also cause back pain. Common structural issues include herniated discs, bulging discs, sciatica, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and scoliosis.

Back Pain Relief Provided by Spine Specialists

Spine specialists are able to provide various back pain relief options to patients, with many treatment options involving non-surgical measures. Common non-surgical back pain relief options include physical therapy, DRX9000 spinal decompression, cervical epidural steroid injections, lumbar epidural steroid injections, nerve root blocks and facet block injections.

The overall goal of any back pain relief treatment is to help return patients to a healthy, active and normal lifestyle as quickly as possible. Spine specialists often encourage patients to combine pain management with movement and exercise, over-the-counter medications and massage therapy.

If you live in Greater Tyler, Texas and would like detailed information on back pain relief treatments, please contact the spine specialists at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler today.

 

Health Update: Post-Surgical Pain


Many residents of East Texas undergo surgery each year to relieve chronic pain and other troublesome symptoms associated with an injury or health condition. Nobody likes to hear the words, “You will need surgery,” but a surgical procedure is the best treatment option in certain patients. Even though many surgical procedures are performed to alleviate chronic pain, post-surgical pain is a big concern for many individuals. The pain management specialists at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are available to assist patients in Greater Tyler, Texas who are experiencing post-surgical pain well after rehabilitation efforts, or patients who have developed chronic pain after surgery.

An Overview on Post-Surgical Pain

Post-surgical pain is very common and should be expected after any procedure. The main cause of pain after surgery is the physical cutting of skin. Cutting the skin stimulates nerve fibers that send pain signals to the brain. As the body heals, the pain level typically decreases and eventually stops completely. Pain after surgery may also be caused by a more serious complication such as an infection, a break in the wound or improper healing.

Post-surgical pain may be described as dull, stabbing or sharp. The pain level may intensify with rest, activities or certain movements. Certain patients may even experience radiating pain, or pain that moves from one location to another.

The original surgeon should be contacted immediately if there is an increase in pain, pain cannot be controlled with prescribed medications, pain in the chest develops, any sign of infection develops or if fever, vomiting or bleeding is present. If the surgeon is not able to control pain after surgery, a pain management specialist may be able to help since they are specially trained in the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic pain.

How a Chronic Pain Condition Complicates Post-Surgery Pain Management

Certain pre-existing medical conditions have the possibility of complicating post-surgery pain management efforts. A chronic pain condition is one of the most common conditions that interfere with post-surgical pain.

Patients affected by a chronic pain condition often experience higher pain levels because they are feeling pain that has been present for months or years, as well as pain associated with the surgical procedure. Patients suffering from chronic pain often take medications on a regular basis to help them get through their days. Long-term use of many pain medications can lead to medication tolerance over an extended period of time. This makes post-surgical pain more difficult to manage in many cases.

Many patients suffering from a chronic pain condition often request the surgeon and pain management specialist coordinate before surgery, as well as communicate during the entire rehabilitation process in order to keep the pain level manageable and tolerable.

Many individuals who undergo a surgical procedure have controllable and limited post-surgical pain. If pain after surgery develops into chronic pain, it is best to contact a pain management specialist.

For more resources on post-surgical pain, or to discuss the development of chronic pain after surgery, please contact the Tyler, Texas pain management clinic of Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.

 

Health Update: Ergonomics and Back Pain


Prolonged hours of sitting at a desk or repetitive lifting motions while on the job can cause many residents of Tyler, Texas to experience back pain or neck pain. Slouching in a chair, hunching the shoulders to type, craning the neck to view a computer monitor or paperwork and lifting an item too heavy can all cause aches and pains to develop after a number of 8-hour work days. Many individuals can experience alleviated pain with a simple office redesign or learning proper body mechanics with basic principles of ergonomics. The pain management physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are available to diagnose and treat acute or chronic pain, as well as determine if a patient’s job is the cause of pain.

Workplace Back Injuries

There are basically two types of injuries that cause workers to experience back pain or neck pain while on the job. They include:

  1. Accidental injuries- An unexpected event occurs such as a trip, slip or fall. These accidental injuries can cause the soft tissues and bones around the spine to become jolted and damaged.

  2. Non-accidental injuries- This form of injury occurs as a result of normal activities and requirements for a work-related task. Improper posture, repetitive motions, prolonged activity and fatigue are the leading causes of non-accidental injuries.

Physically demanding jobs and positions that require repetitive movements each day are at a greater risk of both accidental and non-accidental injuries. Common examples include healthcare workers, construction workers and labor intensive positions.

Workers who remain seated at a desk all day are at a higher risk of only non-accidental injuries. Remaining sedentary the majority of the day causes many individuals to experience back pain, neck pain, lower back pain and leg pain.

Work Ergonomics to Reduce Back Pain

Simple changes to an office setup or learning appropriate body mechanics when lifting or bending can help many employees reduce back pain, neck pain and other common aches. Many potentially harmful situations that lead to an injury can be avoided by:

  1. Changing positions frequently- The human body was not designed to stay in one position for an extended period of time, sitting or standing.
  2. Stretch frequently- Jobs that require repetitive motions, such as lifting, can bind the joints. Stretching throughout the day can help alleviate overall discomfort in many workers.
  3. Not lifting loads too heavy without help.
  4. Getting the proper amount of sleep- Fatigue can cause individuals to move and sit awkwardly.

Workers may find back pain relief with simple ergonomic techniques. Follow these ergonomic rules of thumb to help the spine remain healthy.

  1. Maintain the natural curve of the spine when standing
  2. Wear shoes with good support if work requires prolonged standing or hours on the feet
  3. Adopt a user-friendly workstation if the position requires extended periods of sitting
  4. Modify sitting positions to keep the head and neck erect
  5. Take regular stretch and walking breaks

If you live in Greater Tyler, Texas and are experiencing back pain or neck pain after ergonomic changes, please contact the pain management physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.

 

Health Update: Common Sports and Overuse Injuries


Athletes of all levels, from weekend warriors to professional, experience sports-related injuries each day. Many injuries are caused by improper training and body conditioning, while others are caused by too much training and repetitive motions. The pain management physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are available to treat common sports injuries, as well as overuse injuries, in patients living in the greater Tyler, Texas area.

Common Sports Injuries

Many sports injuries are found in “weekend warriors,” or a person who participates in athletic activities only in their spare time. This is because the body is typically not properly trained and conditioned to withstand an entire basketball game or 36-holes of weekend golf after sedentary work weeks. Sports injuries can also affect properly trained active individuals who land awkward from a jump or twist an ankle while running.

The most common sports injuries include:



  1. Ligament sprains
  2. Muscle strains
  3. Tendon injuries
  4. Bone fractures

These acute injuries are commonly caused by a single, traumatic event during sports activity.

Common Overuse Injuries

Unlike a sports injury that occurs from a single event, overuse injuries are caused by repetitive, ongoing stress to the body without allowing proper time to heal. Overuse injuries are more subtle and gradually occur, but can also cause significant pain and discomfort like a sports injury.

Common overuse injuries include:



  1. Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
  2. Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis)
  3. Swimmer’s shoulder (rotator cuff impingement or tendonitis)
  4. Achilles tendonitis
  5. Shin splints
  6. Runner’s knee (patellofemoral syndrome)

Treatment of Sports Injuries and Overuse Injuries

Many sports injuries and overuse injuries can be treated with simple at-home methods, including the RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) method, modified activities, over-the-counter pain medications and anti-inflammatory medications. The key to at-home treatment is to rest the injured area as much as possible so the body has time to properly heal.

If the injury seems too severe, or if at-home treatment does not alleviate pain and discomfort, athletes are encouraged to contact a pain management physician. Physicians often prescribe a detailed physical therapy program in order to stretch and strengthen the injured area, as well as injection therapy, such as cortisone and steroid injections. If traditional pain management treatments also fail, an athlete may be referred to an orthopedic surgeon.

If you live in the greater Tyler, Texas area and would like more resources on common sports injuries and overuse injuries, please contact the pain management physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.

 

Health Update: Fibromyalgia


Fibromyalgia is a long-term disorder that causes chronic pain throughout the body, areas of tenderness and general fatigue. This health condition is often associated with arthritis or other degenerative joint condition, but it is not this form of disorder since it does not cause inflammation to the joints or damage to articular cartilage. The pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler can help patients living in the greater Tyler, Texas area who are suffering from the painful symptoms of fibromyalgia by prescribing a detailed pain management program.

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia, otherwise known as fibromyalgia syndrome, is a chronic disorder that causes a patient to experience general fatigue, areas of tenderness and widespread chronic pain. Because the condition’s symptoms are so subjective and there is not a true cause of the condition, fibromyalgia is often misdiagnosed in the medical field.

Medical researchers and pain physicians continue to study the condition in order to gain a better understanding and acceptance, as well as effective treatment options.

What are Fibromyalgia Symptoms?

Fibromyalgia is commonly associated with trigger points, or areas of tenderness, throughout the body. The pain within these tender areas is often described as a dull, chronic pain. Other common fibromyalgia symptoms include general fatigue, headaches, difficulty sleeping, anxiety and depression. Anxiety and depression often occur in patients after an extended period of chronic pain with no concrete diagnosis or effective treatment plan.

As research continues, the symptoms of fibromyalgia are commonly linked with prior illnesses, family history, physical and/or emotional traumaor ongoing stress.

How is Fibromyalgia Treated?

In order for an effective fibromyalgia treatment to be prescribed, the condition must first be diagnosed. Updated medical guidelines suggest a diagnosis may be reached if a patient experiences widespread, chronic pain for over three months.

A pain physician’s overall goal of fibromyalgia treatment is to manage the patient’s pain level and improve quality of life. Common treatment options include pain medications, antidepressants and anti-seizure medications. Certain patients find chronic pain relief with alternative treatment options, including physical therapy, massage therapy, yoga, regular exercise and simple lifestyle changes.

While there is not a cure for fibromyalgia, sufferers can find relief from the ongoing chronic pain and other troublesome symptoms with the help of a skilled pain physician.



For additional resources on chronic pain associated with fibromyalgia, please contact the Tyler, Texas pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.

 

Health Update: Common Automobile Accident Injuries


An automobile accident can cause a variety of injuries to numerous parts of the body. Throughout East Texas, the most common injuries tend to occur to the neck, back and soft tissues. If you or a loved one becomes injured during a car accident, you are strongly encouraged to contact the Tyler, Texas auto injury doctors at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler. Our pain physicians are highly skilled at diagnosing and treating injuries in a prompt manner so a chronic condition does not develop.

Common Injuries Associated with an Automobile Accident

Automobile accidents are a leading cause of injuries throughout the United States. Injuries associated with a car accident vary from victim to victim, but several injuries are found more often than not. Common injuries include:

Back injuries

The abrupt impact of an automobile accident has the ability to cause a wide number of back injuries, such as fractures, disc injuries, thoracic spine injuries, lumbar spine injuries and muscle sprains and strains. Certain back injuries do not present immediate troublesome symptoms. Symptoms often begin to develop several weeks, or even months, following the accident.

- Much like back injuries caused by an automobile accident, neck injuries typically do not cause an onset of symptoms immediately. Neck injuries range from mild to severe, with the most common injuries including whiplash, muscle strains, disc injuries and cervical radiculopathy.

Soft tissue injuries

Injuries to soft tissues are quite common during an automobile accident. Common injuries include damage to muscles, ligaments, tendons and articular cartilage. Soft tissue injuries can become a chronic condition for car accident victims, often causing chronic pain that needs to be addressed by an auto injury doctor.

Other common injuries associated with an automobile accident include concussions, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones and psychological injuries.

Common Delayed Injury Symptoms Treated by an Auto Injury Doctor

Not all automobile accident injuries cause immediate pain and other troublesome symptoms. Certain injuries do not develop until weeks after the accident. Common delayed injury symptoms that must be diagnosed and treated by an auto injury doctor include:

  1. Headaches
  2. Back pain
  3. Neck pain
  4. Tingling, numbness or radiating pain in the arms and legs
  5. Shoulder pain
  6. Muscle stiffness
  7. Abdominal pain and swelling

Visiting with an auto injury doctor immediately following the accident is extremely important. A combination of treatments within the first 6 weeks will help optimize the resolution of many injuries.

For additional resources on injuries associated with an automobile accident, please contact the Tyler, Texas auto injury doctors at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.

 

Health Update: Seniors and Chronic Pain


It is reported approximately 88% of senior citizens experience some form of chronic pain, or pain that lasts more than three months. Seniors are more prone to chronic pain because of joint and muscle wear and tear, a decrease in physical activity and the presence of other medical conditions. The pain specialists at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler, proudly serving the greater Tyler, Texas area, specialize in diagnosing and treating chronic pain in patients of all ages, including seniors. Our multi-modal treatment approach is designed to treat the true cause of pain and return patients to a pain-free and healthy lifestyle.

Common Chronic Pain Types in Senior Citizens

Millions of senior citizens are affected by chronic pain at any given time. The most common types of chronic pain found in seniors include:



  1. Arthritis/joint pain
  2. Ongoing pain from injuries, such as a fracture or soft tissue tear
  3. Repetitive strain/overuse injuries
  4. Pain associated with a medical condition, such as a stroke
  5. Peripheral neuropathy, such as with diabetes

The most effective way to control chronic pain is to stop the problem from occurring. The best way to achieve this is by maintaining a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, a balanced diet and a regular sleep pattern. If an injury or health condition occurs, seniors are strongly encouraged to visit a healthcare professional so the problem can be diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible in order to eliminate the risk of a chronic condition developing.

How a Pain Specialist can Help Seniors Suffering from Chronic Pain

As seniors age it is sometimes impossible to turn back the hands of time and undo health conditions, past injuries and natural degeneration of the body. If chronic pain is present and affects a senior’s daily life, they are encouraged to visit a pain specialist. A pain specialist is trained and experienced at diagnosing and treating the true cause of pain with a multidisciplinary approach.

A pain specialist can help seniors suffering from chronic pain by utilizing a variety of treatment options. Common treatment options include:



  1. Pain medications
  2. Muscle relaxants
  3. Anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs)
  4. Steroid injections
  5. Nerve blocks
  6. Spinal decompression
  7. Physical therapy
  8. Massage therapy

If you are a child or caregiver of a senior citizen, it is important to watch for early warning signs of pain. A senior experiencing chronic pain will often begin rubbing the affected area, restrict movements and display a change in facial expressions. Tracking the location and level of pain on a daily basis is also extremely important. A pain journal is very beneficial in diagnosing the cause of chronic pain in seniors.

If you live in the Tyler, Texas area and are a senior citizen experiencing chronic pain, please contact the practice of Pain Recovery Center of Tyler. Our pain specialists are available to treat the cause of pain and return seniors to a happy and healthy lifestyle.

 

Health Update: Myofascial Pain Syndrome


Myofascial pain syndrome (MFP) is a chronic pain condition marked by inflammation in the body’s soft tissues or muscles. This health condition causes pain in unrelated parts of the body, known as referred pain, because of pressure on trigger points. The pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler specialize in treating chronic pain in Tyler, Texas patients, including those affected by myofascial pain.

What is Myofascial Pain Syndrome?

Myofascial pain syndrome is characterized by inflammation and pain that affects the fascia, the connective tissue that covers the body’s muscles. Many patients experience referred pain, a seemingly unrelated area of pain, because of pressure on sensitive points in the muscles. These sensitive areas are commonly known as trigger points.

The health condition is typically triggered after a muscle has been repetitively contracted over an extended period of time. This is often found in workers and recreational athletes that perform repetitive movements each day. Unlike acute muscle pain, the pain associated with myofascial pain syndrome becomes chronic. This chronic pain condition can also be caused by an injury to intervertebral discs, general fatigue, lack of activity (sling usage) and certain medical conditions such as a heart attack.

What are Myofascial Pain Syndrome Symptoms?

Myofascial pain syndrome symptoms include a tender knot in a muscle (trigger point), deep, aching pain in a muscle, acute pain that worsens into chronic pain and difficulty sleeping. Many patients report increased pain with physical activity and stress.

How is Myofascial Pain Syndrome Diagnosed and Treated?

A pain physician will begin the diagnosis of myofascial pain syndrome by determining the body’s trigger points. When pressure is applied to a specific area of the body and causes pain, it is typically classified as a trigger point. There are four common types of trigger points found in patients affected by this chronic pain condition, including:



  • Active trigger point- an area of extreme tenderness that usually lies within the muscle and is associated with local or regional pain.
  • Latent trigger point- a dormant (inactive) area that has the potential to act like a trigger point.
  • Secondary trigger point-a highly irritable spot in a muscle that can become active due to a trigger point and muscular overload in another muscle.
  • Satellite myofascial point- a highly irritable spot in a muscle that becomes inactive because the muscle is in the region of another trigger point.

Many pain physicians begin treatment of myofascial pain syndrome with a detailed physical therapy program. Various physical therapy techniques are utilized to stretch and cool the trigger point. A combination of physical therapy, massage and trigger point injections may be prescribed in more severe cases. A trigger point injection involves the injection of an anesthesia directly into the muscle’s tender spot.

For additional resources on myofascial pain syndrome, a chronic pain condition, please contact the Tyler, Texas pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.

 

Health Update: Where Lower Back Pain Begins


Back pain is an extremely common health condition reported to affect about 80% of American adults during their lifetime. Most commonly found in the lower back, back pain is one of the main reasons adults miss work, as well as the number one cause of job disability. The pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler, proudly serving the greater Tyler, Texas area, specialize in pain management for lower back pain, either acute or chronic.

About Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is a common health condition found in adults of all ages. It can impact a patient’s life, limit their ability to remain active and cause them to miss unwanted hours at work. Lower back pain is characterized as either acute or chronic. Acute pain is defined as pain that lasts under three months, while chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts over three months. The pain can develop gradually over an extended period of time or occur suddenly after a sudden movement or night of sleep.

Back pain varies for each patient. Some patients report severe pain that diminishes their ability to perform normal activities, while some patients report mild pain that is just a simple inconvenience. Certain patients also report associated symptoms, including extremity weakness, numbness, tingling and radiating pain into the buttocks and legs.

Lumbar Spine Basics

Once patients have a better understanding of the lumbar spine, or the lower back, they are able to understand where lower back pain begins. The lumbar spine consists of five vertebras with discs in between each vertebra. The discs are responsible for providing cushion and allowing the spine to twist and bend during movements. The spine itself protects the sophisticated spinal nerves that travel through a space known as the spinal cord. The nerves branch out from the spinal cord and transmit messages between the brain and muscles. A system of muscles and ligaments surround the spine and provide support and stability to the lower back.

Causes of Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is often caused by improper lifting, lifting an object too heavy, poor posture, a muscle spasm or an awkward movement. The pain can also be caused by a more severe condition such as spinal nerve compression, herniated discs, bulging discs, spinal fractures, spinal arthritis or a failed back surgery.

Pain Management for Lower Back Pain

Pain management for lower back pain begins with a pain physician diagnosing the exact cause of pain. Once the issue is determined, a tailored treatment plan will be prescribed to alleviate pain.

Common treatment options include anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), over-the-counter pain medications, injection therapy, physical therapy and spinal decompression. The pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler take great pride in providing pain management treatment plans for each individual patient suffering from lower back pain.

For additional resources on pain management for lower back pain, please contact the Tyler, Texas pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.

 

Health Update: Chronic Pain Syndrome


In certain patients, biochemical changes occur in the body associated with long-lasting pain. Chronic pain syndrome is a difficult condition for pain physicians to both diagnose and treat since pain signals continue to fire for months, or even years. When this occurs, it is critical patients contact a pain management specialist in order to alleviate the unwanted effects of chronic pain. As a multidisciplinary pain management practice, Pain Recovery Center of Tyler is here to treat patients in the greater Tyler, Texas area suffering from chronic pain syndrome.

What is Chronic Pain Syndrome?

Chronic pain syndrome is responsible for causing neuropathic pain triggered by the nervous system for months or years after the injury or health condition is healed. The condition makes many aspects of life quite difficult for sufferers. Patients suffering from chronic pain, pain lasting a minimum of three months, often experience depression, frustration, anger and anxiety. The combination of these emotions may cause patients to no longer maintain a healthy home life or perform everyday work requirements.

Chronic pain syndrome is believed to be associated with certain health conditions and/or injuries. Pain management specialists often link osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lumbar or cervical fractures, mechanical lower back pain, disc herniation and poor posture with long-term pain.

Pain Management and Chronic Pain Syndrome

Chronic pain syndrome requires a tailored pain management treatment plan of both counseling and medical treatment. At a pain management clinic, such as Pain Recovery Center of Tyler, patients can receive both forms of treatment with a multidisciplinary approach.

A pain management plan will begin with a diagnostic examination that determines the root cause of chronic pain. A pain physician will utilize diagnostic testing, a physical examination and a thorough medical review to gain a better understanding of the syndrome.

A treatment approach will then be prescribed. Each treatment plan for chronic pain syndrome is a tailored approach since no two cases are similar. Common treatment options include over-the-counter pain medications and anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) medications, pain management injections, physical therapy exercises, hot and cold applications, stress management practices and cognitive behavior therapy.

There is no way to prevent chronic pain syndrome, but taking injury precautions and maintaining a healthy lifestyle may reduce the risk.



For more information on chronic pain syndrome, or to determine the correct pain management approach for your chronic pain, please contact the Tyler, Texas office of Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.

 

Health Update: Bone and Joint Health


Bone and Joint Action Week is held every year from October 12-20 to help raise awareness of the many health disorders that affect millions of Americans’ bone health and joint health. It is estimated more than half - 54% - of Americans over the age of 18 years are affected by a musculoskeletal (bone and joint) condition. These conditions include arthritis, back pain, neck pain, spinal deformity and traumatic injuries to the musculoskeletal system. The pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are proud to diagnose and treat bone and joint conditions in patients living in the greater Tyler, Texas area so they can live a pain-free and healthy lifestyle.

Bone and Joint Health Facts

Bone health and joint health are extremely important to patients of all ages. When a musculoskeletal condition or injury is present, a patient will experience pain, loss of mobility and much more. Here are a few bone and joint health facts:



  1. 54% of Americans over the age of 18 years are affected by a bone and joint condition
  2. 33% of these Americans require medical attention for their condition
  3. Musculoskeletal conditions are the most common cause of physical disability and chronic pain
  4. An estimated $874 billion from 2009-2011 was associated with musculoskeletal condition treatments and lost wages
  5. The cost of bone and joint healthcare escalated in 2011 with “Baby Boomers” and is expected to continue for decades

Bone and Joint Health Tips

Joint health and bone health are important to all patients, no matter their age. Injuries to the body’s bones and joints are common, and increase with age in many patients. Here are some great, easy ways to keep bones and joints healthy:



  1. Engage in athletic activities each week to strengthen the muscles around the joints and to keep the body mobile. Many health professionals recommend 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise each week, as well as two or more days of strengthening exercises.
  2. Eat a balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, proteins and calcium-enriched foods.
  3. Get outside and enjoy the sunshine. It is clinically proven Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and phosphate, both helping to protect the bones throughout the human body. By getting fresh air and some sunshine, the body is able to produce additional Vitamin D.

For more resources on bone health and joint health, or to discuss a musculoskeletal condition with one of our pain physicians, please contact the Tyler, Texas office of Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.

 

Health Update: National Physical Therapy Month


Every October, the medical community celebrates National Physical Therapy Month. The entire month of October is used to raise awareness of the numerous benefits of physical therapy and rehabilitation programs, including improvement of motion and mobility and the avoidance of surgery and addictive prescription medications. Pain Recovery Center of Tyler, located in Tyler, Texas, offers an exceptional physical therapy and rehabilitation department designed to relieve chronic pain and restore function in patients.

Benefits of Physical Therapy

Pain physicians often prescribe a detailed physical therapy and rehabilitation program to patients suffering from a work related injury, automobile accident injury, sports injury or home injury. Physical therapists also work with patients suffering from disabling health conditions such as back pain, low back pain, neck pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia and neuropathic pain.

Physical therapy is designed to improve mobility, restore function, relieve chronic pain and prevent or limit a patient’s physical disabilities associated with an injury or disease. Physical therapists strive to regain and restore a patient’s mobility and motion without the use of surgery or prescription medications.

Physical therapy and rehabilitation programs often utilize a combination of massage, muscle stimulation, strengthening exercises, stretching exercises and manipulation of the affected bones and joints.

National Physical Therapy Month Focuses on Physical Therapy for Safe Pain Management

The 2016 campaign for National Physical Therapy Month is focused on physical therapy as a safe and effective pain management treatment instead of addictive opioids.

Since 1999, American patients have been prescribed addictive opioids at an increasing rate to manage chronic pain. Common opioid medications include Vicodin, Opana, Methodone, OxyContin and Perocet. While these prescription medications can relieve pain, many patients become addicted and experience depression, overdoses and withdrawal symptoms when stopping use.

The CDC is encouraging medical professionals to treat the true cause of chronic pain and not just mask it with prescription medications. Physical therapy is considered a safe and effective pain management alternative to opioid use. Physical therapy and rehabilitation programs are highly successful at relieving pain, improving function and increasing overall health and wellness.

For additional resources on physical therapy and rehabilitation programs to alleviate chronic pain, please contact the physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler, proudly serving the greater Tyler, Texas communities.

 

Health Update: Acute Injury vs. Chronic Injury


While exercising and engaging in athletic activities is beneficial to patients, certain patients may experience a sports injury from acute trauma or chronic overuse. Sports injuries are often caused by overuse, poor training practices, not enough training and not warming up and/or stretching before and after sports activities. Although many patients in the Tyler, Texas area experience sports injuries, some of these patients do not understand the difference of an acute injury vs. a chronic injury. The pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are available to diagnose and treat a variety of sports injuries so patients can return to the game.

Acute Injury

An acute injury is classified as a sudden injury caused during a traumatic event, such as a fall while jogging or colliding with another player during football. Some of the most common acute injuries include a strained back, sprained ankle, swollen muscles, fractures and dislocations.

Symptoms of an acute injury often occur immediately following the traumatic event. Common symptoms include:



  1. Sudden pain
  2. Swelling
  3. Weakness
  4. Stiffness
  5. Loss of mobility
  6. Bone or joint visibly out of place
  7. Non-weight bearing

Chronic Injury

A chronic injury, also known as an overuse injury, is caused by overuse and repetitive stress to the body during athletic activities. Chronic injuries occur gradually and often cause milder symptoms compared to acute injuries. Because of the mild symptoms, many patients ignore the signs of injury and continue exercising or competing. Over time, the tendons, ligaments, muscles and/or bones experience further damage and cause more complex injuries.

Common chronic injuries include stress fractures, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, rotator cuff impingement and shin splints. Symptoms of a chronic injury include:



  1. Pain during activities
  2. Dull ache when resting
  3. Stiffness
  4. Swelling
  5. Loss of mobility

Acute Injury vs. Chronic Injury Treatment

It is very important to never play through pain – stop exercising or engaging in sports at the onset of symptoms. Pain physicians often begin treatment of an acute injury and chronic injury in the same manner. Treatment of sports injuries typically include a combination of the RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) method, pain medications, anti-inflammatory medications, pain management injections, modified activities and a detailed physical therapy program. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to reconstruct a torn ligament or reattach a torn tendon from its attachment site.



For additional resources on an acute injury vs. a chronic injury, please contact the Tyler, Texas pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.

 

Health Update: Spinal Decompression to Alleviate Chronic Spine Pain


Many patients who have experienced a spinal injury believe they require surgery to alleviate their spine pain. This is not the case in many patients. Spinal discs have the ability to heal on their own if properly treated by a pain physician. Pain Recovery Center of Tyler, proudly serving the greater Tyler, Texas area, offers the DRX9000™ spinal decompression system designed to decompress the injured joint space and spinal disc in order to alleviate chronic back pain or neck pain.

What to Know About Injured Spinal Discs

Spinal discs are living tissue found within the neck and back area of the human body. When injured from overuse, natural degeneration or a traumatic accident, the discs have the ability to heal without surgery or other invasive treatment options.

The reason many discs do not heal 100% on their own is due to gravity. Gravity keeps the muscles of the spinal joints holding a certain tone in order to keep the spine upright and in the proper position. Without gravity, the spinal muscles would become weak and dysfunctional, leading to many patients experiencing poor posture.

Even though gravity plays an important role in spinal health, it can also halt healing of an injured spinal disc by causing compression. Compression of the joint space is fine when the spinal discs are completely healthy. When a disc becomes injured, the compression does not allow for healthy healing in certain cases. This is because the compression becomes a constant irritation to the injured disc and does not allow it to heal.

What to Know About Spinal Decompression

Many patients with an injured spinal disc causing chronic spine pain believe back or neck surgery is the only option. It simply is not. The DRX9000™ spinal decompression system achieves decompression of the injured joint space and spinal disc without painful surgery.

Nonsurgical spinal decompression works by gently stretching the spine over an extended period of time, changing the forces and position of the spine. This change takes pressure off the injured spinal disc. As a result, many patients will experience alleviated spine pain associated with their injury. For example, a patient affected by a bulging or herniated disc will often experience relief from retraction of the injured disc. Spinal decompression takes pressure off the nerves and other critical structures in the spine, promoting movement of water, oxygen and nutrient-rich fluids into the injured disc in order to promote healthy healing.

Pain physicians often recommend spinal decompression to alleviate spine pain associated with:



  1. Chronic back pain
  2. Chronic neck pain
  3. Sciatica
  4. Bulging disc
  5. Herniated disc
  6. Degenerative disc disease
  7. Posterior facet syndrome
  8. Failed back surgery

For more resources on the DRX9000™ spinal decompression system, or to determine the cause of your spine pain, please contact the Tyler, Texas pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.

 

Health Update: Facts on Pain and Pain Management


Although pain is a troublesome condition, it can serve many benefits to the human body. Pain allows the body to release chemicals required for healthy healing, is a warning sign of a medical condition and tells us when our body is being pushed past its limits. The pain doctors at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler, proudly serving the greater Tyler, Texas area, specialize in pain management treatments designed to alleviate symptoms associated with a patient’s injury or medical condition and return them to a full recovery.

What to Know About Pain

Feeling pain is the body’s response to a medical condition, a sports injury, a fall or touching a hot object. Pain Recovery Center of Tyler shares several interesting facts on pain and the body’s response.

  1. Pain does not exist until the brain determines it does. Special nerves within the brain known as “pain fibers” direct an output of pain to tissues that may be in danger of an injury or disease. The body uses the pain signals to act as a defense against the injury or health condition.

  2. Pain is not the same in all patients. All patients experience pain differently. Some may experience a paper cut and feel great pain, while others may experience a broken bone with limited pain.

  3. There is no accurate pain tolerance test. At this time, pain doctors have no accurate way to measure or compare pain tolerance from patient to patient.

  4. Certain factors can worsen pain. It is proven stress, anxiety and depression can worsen pain level in many patients. It is important patients try to manage these factors while the body is healing.

  5. Pain may not always be determined by diagnostic tests alone. Diagnostic testing is an exceptional tool for determining the cause of pain but certain results may not always lead to the true cause of pain. Pain doctors are highly trained and experienced to use diagnostic test results as only a portion of the diagnosis.

Common Pain Management Treatments

Pain is usually addressed by first treating the cause of pain, such as starting an antibiotic to fight an infection, casting a fracture or stitching a cut. Pain management treatments then begin to alleviate pain level and help patients recover more comfortably.

Common treatments include anti-inflammatory medications, pain management injections, modified activities, rest, ice/heat and a physical therapy program aimed at alleviating pain and returning patients to normal activities.

It is important to note pain medications, such as narcotics, are never the only pain management treatment. Masking the pain does not allow the body to heal properly. Patients must follow all guidelines when taking pain medications so a happy medium can occur – patients need to feel alleviated pain in order to function throughout the day, but not too much medication where pain is completely masked and patients do not know if the body is healing.

If you are experiencing pain and would like more information on pain management treatments, please contact the pain doctors at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler located in Tyler, Texas.

Health Update: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


We have all experienced some level of fatigue during our lifetime, but certain patients experience extreme fatigue or tiredness that is not alleviated with rest. These patients may be affected by a rare health condition known as chronic fatigue syndrome. Chronic fatigue syndrome can be a debilitating condition, causing patients to experience chronic pain, muscle pain, joint pain, frequent headaches and an unrefreshed feeling after sleep. The pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler in Tyler, Texas are highly experienced at diagnosing and treating a number of chronic pain conditions, including chronic fatigue syndrome.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a complicated health condition characterized by extreme fatigue that is not associated with an underlying medical condition. A patient’s fatigue does not improve with rest, but may worsen with mental and physical activity. Certain physicians link the condition with a viral infection, psychological stress or a combination of factors, such as hypotension, a weakened immune system and hormonal imbalances.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms

Chronic fatigue syndrome is more common in women than men, and most commonly affects adults in their 40s and 50s.
Symptoms vary for each patient depending on the condition’s severity. The hallmark symptom of this health condition is fatigue so severe it interferes with daily activities. Other common symptoms include:

  1. Chronic pain
  2. Muscle pain
  3. Joint pain with no swelling or redness
  4. Frequent headaches
  5. Loss of concentration
  6. Loss of memory
  7. Chronic insomnia
  8. Feeling unrefreshed after any duration of rest/sleep

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Diagnosis

To determine if chronic fatigue syndrome is the cause of a patient’s joint pain, muscle pain or chronic pain, a pain physician must rule out other illnesses or health conditions, such as sleep disorders, mental health disorders, hypothyroidism, anemia and diabetes.

In order to be diagnosed with the condition, a patient must not have an underlying medical condition. Patients must also display unexplained, consistent fatigue over 6 months with at least four of the following symptoms:



  1. Loss of memory or concentration
  2. Sore throat
  3. Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck or armpits
  4. Unexplained muscle pain
  5. Pain that moves from one joint to another without swelling or redness
  6. Headache of a new type, pattern or severity
  7. Unrefreshing sleep
  8. Extreme exhaustion lasting more than 24 hours after physical or mental exercise

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Treatment

At this time, there is no cure for chronic fatigue syndrome. The goal of treatment is to alleviate symptoms. Patients may be prescribed sleeping pills, antidepressants, physical therapy exercises and psychological counseling.

Patients will also be encouraged by a pain physician to create a healthy sleep schedule, reduce stress and keep activity on an even level at home.

For more resources on chronic fatigue syndrome, or to determine if the condition is the cause of your chronic pain, please contact the Tyler, Texas pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.

 

Health Update: Chronic Pain Causes


Chronic pain is reported to affect 100 million Americans. Chronic pain is a complex health condition since it can be caused by a variety of factors, such as a previous injury, a disease or past surgery that caused nerve damage. The pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are highly trained and experienced at treating Tyler, Texas patients with a variety of pain management techniques.

What is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is pain characterized by ongoing or recurrent pain that lasts longer than 3-6 months, the typical healing time for an injury or illness.
Everyone experiences an ache or pain from time to time. The pain sensation is the body’s way to alert a possible injury. As the injury heals, the pain lessens. In cases of chronic pain, the body continues to send the brain pain signals well after the injury has healed. The pain can be dull or sharp, steady or intermittent.

What Causes Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is the most common cause of long-term disability in the country. The health condition is commonly caused by an injury, an underlying health condition or a past surgery that caused nerve damage. Chronic pain caused by an injury is typically associated with a pulled muscle, back sprain or whiplash. A number of underlying health conditions can cause persistent pain, including:

  1. Arthritis
  2. Cancer
  3. Shingles
  4. Fibromyalgia
  5. Endometriosis
  6. Chronic fatigue syndrome

Pain caused by nerve damage, neurogenic pain, is also a relatively common cause of chronic pain.

Chronic Pain Treatment

The main goal of a pain physician is to diagnose the underlying cause of chronic pain, lessen the pain level and return mobility to the patient. A pain physician strives to return patients to normal, daily activities as quickly as possible.

Chronic pain is different for each patient so a pain management treatment plan must be individually created. Medications typically include over-the-counter pain relievers, prescription pain medications and adjuvant analgesics (antidepressants). Nerve blocks, electrical stimulation and physical therapy are also quite effective at relieving persistent pain.

There isn’t a cure for chronic pain, but the health condition can be managed with the help of a pain physician.

For more information on chronic pain causes and pain management treatment options, please contact the Tyler, Texas pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.

 

Health Update: Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow


Summer is here for East Texas and many of our patients will be spending more time outdoors doing the activities they love, such as golfing and playing tennis. Many patients feel that tennis and golf are safe sports, but injuries to major joints can occur. Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow are both considered to be overload tendon injuries, typically caused by repetitive overuse. The Tyler, Texas pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are available to assist patients experiencing discomfort in the elbow area.

What to Know About Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow, otherwise known as lateral epicondylitis, is inflammation of the tendons that join the forearm muscles located on the outside of the elbow. The muscles and tendons located in this area can become damaged from overuse, such as playing tennis.

Recent studies have shown that tennis elbow is caused by damage to the extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB) muscle. This muscle plays an important role in stabilizing the wrist when the elbow is in a straight position. When the ECRB becomes weakened from overuse, tiny tears form in the tendon in the attachment site to the lateral epicondyle, leading to elbow pain, inflammation and weak grip strength.

What to Know About Golfer’s Elbow

Golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is very similar to tennis elbow, but this health condition causes pain on the inside of the elbow where the tendons of the forearm muscle attach to the elbow’s bony bump. Like tennis elbow, the tendons and muscles can become damaged from overuse and lead to troublesome symptoms.

Golfer’s elbow is caused by overuse activities, such as golf, that produce repetitive stress on the flexor pronator mass (FPM).  When this area within the elbow joint experiences constant overuse, extra strain is placed on the FPM and microscopic tears of the tendon occur. The tiny tears lead to pain on the inside of the elbow, swelling and grip weakness.

How to Treat Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow

Both tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow are treated in a similar way. A pain physician will recommend the patient rest the injured elbow until pain is completely diminished. Patients will also be encouraged to ice the affected area, take over-the-counter pain medications and perform simple exercises to stretch and strengthen the tendons and muscles associated with the injured area.
If the elbow pain lingers after at-home treatments, a pain physician may recommend a corticosteroid injection or other pain management injection, as well as professional physical therapy.

For more information on tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow, please contact the pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler located in Tyler, Texas.

 

Health Update: Workplace Injury Prevention


It is estimated approximately 13,000 American workers are injured each day while on the clock and many of these work accidents are preventable. A workplace injury can lead to a number of lost production days which are harmful to both the worker and employer. During National Safety Month, the pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler, located in Tyler, Texas, would like to share workplace injury prevention tips to help keep patients safe while on the job.

Workplace Injury Statistics

The National Safety Council estimates a worker is injured on the job every seven seconds. That is a staggering number. The most common work accidents that keep employees away from the job include:

  1. Sprains, strains and tears
  2. Pain and soreness
  3. Cuts, punctures and lacerations

The top three workplace injury events that result in lost production days include:

  1. Overexertion such as repetitive movements and lifting and lowering
  2. Contact with equipment and other objects
  3. Slips, trips and falls

The majority, if not all, of work accidents are preventable if workplace injury prevention tips are implemented and followed.

Workplace Injury Prevention Tips

Preventing a work accident before it happens can keep workers on the job, keep employers’ production levels high and help protect employers from a lawsuit, accident investigation or equipment repair.

The following workplace injury prevention tips can help create a safe working environment:

  1. Use safe lifting techniques
  2. Wear personal protective equipment
  3. Pay attention to ergonomics
  4. Get up and move throughout the day
  5. Do not take shortcuts
  6. Keep an orderly area, including company vehicle
  7. Reduce workplace stress

What to do if a Work Accident Occurs

If a work accident occurs, workers are strongly encouraged to report the workplace injury to the proper personnel at their workplace. Workers are then encouraged to visit a pain physician, such as Pain Recovery Center of Tyler, so a proper diagnosis and pain management treatment can be prescribed.

Our physicians perform a thorough physical examination on each injured worker to determine the extent of injury. As the injured worker works through their pain management treatment, our team will keep all parties informed on the progress. Before the injured worker can return to the workplace, our physicians will perform a functional capacity evaluation (FCE) to guarantee they are able to perform specific job tasks.

For more resources on workplace injury prevention during National Safety Month, or to discuss a work accident with one of our pain physicians, please contact the Tyler, Texas office of Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.

 

Health Update: Arthritis Awareness Month


May is Arthritis Awareness Month and the ideal time to share valuable information on the health condition that affects approximately 53 million adults and 300,000 children in the United States alone. Many patients are not aware that arthritis is not a single disease, it is a term used to describe joint pain and/or joint disease. The pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler, serving patients in the Tyler, Texas area, are highly trained and experienced at diagnosing and treating the common symptoms of arthritis, including joint pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of motion.

What Causes Arthritis?

The most common form of arthritis, known as osteoarthritis, is a “wear and tear” form of arthritis caused by joint overuse or the natural degeneration process as the body ages. This form of arthritis occurs when the cartilage (the thick, cushioning substance at the ends of each bone) wears down. When cartilage is decreased or no longer present, the bones rub against each other, leading to joint pain and other troublesome symptoms.

Inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, is caused when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the joints within the body. Many physicians believe inflammatory arthritis is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

When to Visit a Pain Physician?

Our pain physicians encourage patients to visit our office at the first signs of prolonged joint pain, stiffness, tenderness or loss of joint motion. There is currently no cure for arthritis, so prompt medical attention is important so further joint damage is delayed or eliminated.

Patients suffering from a form of inflammatory arthritis are considered to have a “window of opportunity” in the eyes of certain medical professionals. This window is during the first two years after the onset of symptoms when there is an enhanced chance of eliminating the risk of joint erosion. Aggressive arthritis treatment options are available to patients diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis.

What are Arthritis Treatment Options?

There are a number of arthritis treatment options that may be recommended by a pain physician to combat joint pain, swelling and stiffness. Many patients will be encouraged to exercise and maintain a healthy weight, both of which can have positive effects on arthritis symptoms.

Pain relievers, anti-inflammatory medications and other prescription medicines may be prescribed to reduce or eliminate joint pain. Other treatment options may be recommended such as pain management injections, physical therapy and professional massage therapy.

For more information on what causes arthritis, or for more resources on arthritis treatment options, please call the pain management office of Pain Recovery Center of Tyler, located in Tyler, Texas.

Health Update: Exercise and Chronic Pain


It may seem hard to believe but exercise and physical activity may be beneficial at alleviating chronic pain. When the human body does not receive adequate amounts of exercise, it becomes out of shape, leading to muscles losing strength and joints becoming stiff. Chronic pain can then become worse since the body is not functioning as it should. Dr. Kenneth Fults and Dr. Janine Islam, pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler located in Tyler, Texas, commonly prescribe exercise and increased physical activity for patients suffering from chronic pain.

What is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is characterized as pain that lasts longer than six months. The pain can be mild to severe, a simple inconvenience to debilitating. The most common causes of chronic pain stem from headaches, joint pain, backaches, an old injury, tendonitis and generalized nerve pain.

The emotional toll of chronic pain can be as devastating as the physical toll. Many chronic pain sufferers experience anxiety, stress, anger and depression. Because of this, it is very important a pain physician diagnoses the cause of pain and begins a pain management treatment immediately.

Can Exercise Help Chronic Pain?

Pain medications and physical therapy are well-known chronic pain treatments, but exercise may be beneficial to certain patients. Our pain physicians commonly prescribe additional physical activity as part of a chronic pain treatment plan. Exercise can help chronic pain sufferers by:

  1. Keeping the joints mobile
  2. Keeping the muscles strong
  3. Keeping the brain sharp
  4. Reducing the chance of obesity

Dr. Fults and Dr. Islam will help each patient select the proper form of exercise based on chronic pain level, location of pain and overall health. Walking, swimming, strength training, yoga and stretching can be effective forms, as well as everyday activities such as gardening, cleaning the house and playing with kids and/or pets.

For additional resources on how exercise can help alleviate chronic pain, please contact the pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler located in Tyler, Texas.

 

Health Update: Spinal Arthritis


Millions of Americans suffer from arthritis, including spinal arthritis. Spinal arthritis generally occurs in the facet joints and causes back pain and discomfort. The pain may radiate along affected nerves to other parts of the body, including the buttocks or thighs, in some patients. If you live in the Tyler, Texas area and suffer from spinal arthritis, contact the pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler to discuss your pain management needs.

What are Facet Joints?

Facet joints, otherwise known as vertebral joints, connect the vertebrae together and are located in the back (posterior) portion of the spine. These joints provide movement in the spine, such as bending and twisting. As the spine naturally ages or is put under repetitive stress, the facet joints thicken and harden, commonly leading to spinal arthritis.

The most common form of spinal arthritis is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is characterized by the gradual degeneration of cartilage on the articular surface of the joints.

Who is at Risk of Developing Spinal Arthritis?

Any patient can experience spinal arthritis, but it is most commonly found in patients with certain criteria, including:

  1. Age- typically over 50 years of age
  2. Gender- women are at a higher risk
  3. Obese or over-weight
  4. Spinal overuse from sports or work-related movements
  5. Spinal injury
  6. Genetics
  7. Smoking

What are Spinal Arthritis Symptoms?

Spinal arthritis symptoms include neck and back pain, loss of motion, swollen joints and numbness. Some patients may experience a grating sensation in advanced cases, caused by bone rubbing against bone and/or bone spurs.

What are Spinal Arthritis Treatment Options?

The first step in treating spinal arthritis is checking with a pain physician to receive a diagnosis and discuss treatment options tailored to your individual needs.

Spinal arthritis treatment options include heat/cold therapy, rest, low-impact exercises, anti-inflammatory medications and corticosteroid injections. Physical therapy may also be prescribed to strengthen and stretch the spine’s surrounding structures. Spinal decompression may be recommended by a pain physician if traditional treatments do not alleviate the back pain and discomfort. Spinal decompression has been proven to be highly effective at alleviating neck and back pain without the use of surgery.


For more resources on spinal arthritis, or to learn more about pain management options, contact the pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler, proudly serving the greater Tyler, Texas area.

Health Update: Meralgia Paresthetica


Meralgia paresthetica is a health condition marked by burning thigh pain. The thigh pain is typically caused by the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (LCFN) being compressed from weight gain, obesity, pregnancy or wearing clothing too tight. Located in Tyler, Texas, Pain Recovery Center of Tyler offers a variety of pain management treatments administered by our pain physicians to alleviate the bothersome symptoms of meralgia paresthetica.

What is Meralgia Paresthetica?

Meralgia paresthetica is a condition characterized by tingling, burning thigh pain, as well as numbness in the outer thigh. The condition is caused by compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (LCFN) that supplies sensation to the thigh’s skin surface. The LCFN is a sensory nerve only so it does not contribute to muscle movement in the thigh.

Patients suffering from meralgia paresthetica commonly experience a trapped LCFN under the inguinal ligament. The inguinal ligament runs along the groin from the abdomen to the upper thigh. The compression can be caused by tight clothing, weight gain, obesity, pregnancy or scar tissue from a past injury or surgery around the inguinal ligament.

What are Meralgia Paresthetica Symptoms?

 Symptoms of meralgia paresthetica include:

  1. Burning thigh pain
  2. Tingling and numbness in the same area
  3. Aching in the groin area
  4. Pain spreading across the buttocks

How is Meralgia Paresthetica Treated?

A pain physician must first diagnose meralgia paresthetica in order to prescribe the proper pain management treatment. To reach a diagnosis, a physician will perform a thorough medical review and physical examination. During the physical examination, the physician will check for sensory differences between the affected leg and the healthy leg, apply pressure on the LCFN to reproduce the burning thigh pain and perform X-rays or other diagnostic tests, such as a nerve block or electromyography.

Treatment for meralgia paresthetica varies based on the cause and severity of burning thigh pain. Treatment frequently consists of a combination of treatment options, including:

  1. Losing weight
  2. Wearing looser clothing
  3. Pain medications
  4. Corticosteroid injections

Surgery is rarely necessary to alleviate symptoms associated with this condition.

For more information on meralgia paresthetica, or for additional resources on pain management for burning thigh pain, contact the Tyler, Texas pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.

Health Update: Coccydynia


Coccydynia is a pain condition characterized by inflammation of the tailbone, known as the coccyx. This health condition is typically caused by injury, and tailbone pain is intensified when a patient is sitting. The Tyler, Texas pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are highly trained and experienced at diagnosing and treating a variety of pain conditions, such as coccydynia.

What is Coccydynia?

Coccydynia is inflammation of the tailbone (coccyx) and is associated with pain and tenderness between the buttocks at the tip of the tailbone. The coccyx is located at the very bottom of the spine.

Sciatica, sacroiliitis, a tailbone fracture and pilonidal cysts can all mimic tailbone pain associated with coccydynia. Injuries to the tailbone or pelvic bones typically cause inflammation and pain in the tailbone area.

How is Coccydynia Diagnosed?

Coccydynia has a history of being poorly understood by pain physicians and other health professionals. In many cases, a diagnosis of the cause of this condition will identify the underlying cause of tailbone pain and inflammation, such as a fall on the tailbone or childbirth.

In order to diagnose coccydynia, a pain physician will review a patient’s medical history and perform a thorough physical examination with a focus on the tailbone area. A physician will test for local tenderness and any possible masses or tumors during the examination. X-rays and an MRI scan may also be performed to rule out any tumors, broken bones or other trauma to the tailbone or pelvic bones.

How is Coccydynia Treated?

Treatment for tailbone pain is typically non-invasive. Pain physicians typically begin treatment by utilizing a combination of conservative measures, such as:

  1. Anti-inflammatory medications
  2. Pain medications and/or injections
  3. Utilizing a well-padded seat or custom pillow when sitting
  4. Applying heat and/or ice
  5. Avoiding sitting for an extended period of time
  6. Physical therapy exercises

Many patients suffering from coccydynia experience alleviated symptoms after using non-invasive, conservative measures.

If you are suffering from tailbone pain, or would like more resources on coccydynia, please contact Pain Recovery Center of Tyler’s pain physicians in Tyler, Texas.

Health Update: Arachnoiditis


Arachnoiditis is a rare pain condition caused by inflammation of the arachnoid, one of the membranes that protect and surround the spinal cord nerves. Patients suffering from this condition commonly experience severe, burning back pain and neurological problems. The Tyler, Texas pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are available to help diagnose and treat patients with a variety of pain management treatment plans.

What is Arachnoiditis?

Arachnoiditis is characterized as inflammation of one of the membranes that protect and surround the nerves of the spinal cord, called the arachnoid. The arachnoid can become irritated and inflamed from direct injury to the spine, a bacterial or viral infection, chronic compression of spinal nerves or spinal surgery complications. Inflammation to the arachnoid may cause scar tissue (adhesions) to form, leading to the spinal nerves “sticking” together.

What are Arachnoiditis Symptoms?

The hallmark sign of arachnoiditis is back pain, commonly located in the area where the spinal nerves connect the legs and lower back. Patients may also experience weakness, numbness or tingling in the legs, muscle cramps, severe shooting pain or the feeling of something crawling on the skin.

How is Arachnoiditis Diagnosed?

A pain physician typically uses an MRI scan or CAT scan to diagnose arachnoiditis. An EMG (electromyogram) is also used in many cases to assess the severity of damage to the nerve roots. An EMG uses electrical impulses to check nerve function.

How is Arachnoiditis Treated?

Arachnoiditis is a difficult condition to both diagnose and treat. Treatment for the condition is similar to other chronic pain conditions. Pain physicians will focus on a pain management treatment plan that alleviates pain and improves symptoms so patients can enjoy everyday life.

Many physicians recommend a combination of pain management, exercise, physiotherapy and psychotherapy to provide pain relief.


For more information on the condition arachnoiditis, or for additional resources on pain management treatment plans for this condition, please contact the Tyler, Texas pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.

 

Health Update: Piriformis Syndrome


Piriformis syndrome, a fairly uncommon disorder, is a health condition caused by the piriformis muscle compressing the sciatic nerve, leading to pain, tingling and numbness in the buttocks area. The piriformis muscle is located near the top of the hip joint in the buttocks and is responsible for stabilizing the hip joint, as well as lifting and rotating the thigh away from the body. The pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are highly trained and experienced at treating a wide range of conditions in Tyler, Texas patients, including piriformis syndrome.

What is Piriformis Syndrome?

The piriformis muscle is a flat, band-like muscle located in the buttocks. It enables the body to maintain balance, walk and shift weight from one foot to the other. The sciatic nerve passes alongside or goes under the piriformis muscle, travels the length of the leg and branches off into smaller nerves in the foot.

The sciatic nerve can become compressed if spasms of the piriformis muscle occur, typically from repetitive overuse or sports activities.

What are Piriformis Syndrome Symptoms?

Symptoms of piriformis syndrome typically include pain, numbness and tingling in the buttocks area. The pain can become severe in certain patients and radiate down the leg, the length of the sciatic nerve (otherwise known as sciatica). Pain caused by the piriformis muscle compressing the sciatic nerve can be brought on by sitting for an extended period of time or climbing stairs.

How is Piriformis Syndrome Treated?

In order to determine the proper pain management treatment, a pain physician must begin with a diagnosis. At this time, there is not a diagnostic test that provides a concrete diagnosis of piriformis syndrome. The diagnosis is reached by discussing the patient’s symptoms and a thorough physical examination. MRIs are commonly used to rule out other conditions such as a herniated or bulging disc.

Treatment initially begins with rest, ice, heat and avoiding positions that trigger pain. Other common pain management treatments include physical therapy, medications and injections. Surgery is rarely needed and is only recommended if conservative measures fail.

Piriformis syndrome is commonly caused by overuse of the piriformis muscle and sports activities. Pain physicians recommend proper form when patients are running, climbing stairs or engaging in other activities that involve the muscle. It is also beneficial for patients to stretch, warm up and keep good posture during exercising to help prevent the condition.

For more resources on piriformis syndrome, please contact the pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler located in Tyler, Texas.

Health Update: Sacroiliitis


The sacroiliac joints are located where the pelvis and lower spine connect. These joints can become inflamed, leading to a health condition called sacroiliitis. Sacroiliitis is a term used to define any inflammation in the sacroiliac joints and is most often found as an inflammatory condition of the spinal cord, such as osteoarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and Crohn’s disease. If you are experiencing pain in your lower back, groin or buttocks, contact the Tyler, Texas pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler to determine if you are suffering from sacroiliitis and to develop a pain management treatment plan.

What are Sacroiliitis Causes and Symptoms?

The sacroiliac joints are located where the lower spine and pelvis connect and act as shock absorbers for the spine. When these joints become inflamed from an infection, arthritis, pregnancy or spinal injury, patients may experience low back pain, groin pain and/or radiating pain from the buttocks to the thigh.
Pain associated with sacroiliitis can be aggravated by certain activities, including:



  1. Running
  2. Prolonged sitting
  3. Bearing more weight on one leg
  4. Climbing stairs
  5. Taking long strides

How do Pain Physicians Diagnose Sacroiliitis?

Sacroiliitis can be a difficult condition to diagnose since there are a number of conditions linked to low back pain. In order to diagnose sacroiliitis, a pain physician will perform a thorough medical review and physical examination. During the exam, the physician will gently press on the patient’s sacroiliac joints to determine if pain is present in that particular area. Patients may also undergo a series of X-rays or an MRI scan to determine if any damage to the surrounding joints, muscles or tissue is present. In many cases, a physician may recommend a diagnostic block. If a patient experiences a positive response to pain, a physician may conclude the diagnosis and determine the proper pain management treatment.

How do Pain Physicians Treat Sacroiliitis?

Fortunately for patients suffering from sacroiliitis, there is a wide range of non-surgical treatment options available to alleviate pain. Many patients find a combination of two or more treatments can be effective in managing sacroiliitis symptoms.

Sacroiliitis treatment options include:


  1. Rest
  2. Changing sleep position
  3. Heat/ice
  4. Pain relievers
  5. Muscle relaxants
  6. Physical therapy
  7. Sacroiliac joint injections
  8. Electrical stimulation

If non-surgical measures do not alleviate pain associated with sacroiliitis, a pain physician may recommend a joint fusion surgical treatment.

To learn more about sacroiliitis, or for more resources on pain management treatment, contact the pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler, located in Tyler, Texas

 

Health Update: Frozen Shoulder


Frozen shoulder, otherwise known as adhesive capsulitis, is a common health condition marked by shoulder pain and stiffness. Many cases of frozen shoulder begin gradually, worsen over time and then resolve. The pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler, located in Tyler, Texas, offer a number of pain management treatments for patients suffering from frozen shoulder, including pain management and physical therapy.

What is Frozen Shoulder?

It is reported frozen shoulder affects approximately 2% of the population and occurs in more women than men. Commonly seen in patients aged 40-60 years, frozen shoulder can cause a great deal of pain and limited range of motion.

The shoulder is a ball and socket joint composed of three bones, ligaments, tendons, a shoulder capsule and a number of other structures. In frozen shoulder cases, the shoulder capsule thickens and becomes tight. As this occurs, adhesions (stiff bands of tissue) develop, leading to the inability to move the shoulder joint.

What are the Three Stages of Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder occurs in three stages:

  1. Freezing: Patients experience increased shoulder pain and loss of motion, typically from 6 weeks to 9 months.
  2. Frozen: Patients experience alleviated pain but the stiffness and loss of motion remains, typically during the 4-6 month mark patients find it difficult to perform everyday motions.
  3. Thawing: Patients experience less pain and increased range of motion, typically from 6 months to 2 years.

The causes of frozen shoulder are not fully understood by pain physicians. Diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and shoulder immobilization after a fracture or surgery have been linked to this health condition.

What are Frozen Shoulder Treatments?

In order to diagnose frozen shoulder, a physician must perform a complete medical review and physical examination. During the examination, the patient’s affected shoulder will be moved in various directions to determine pain level and areas of limited movement. X-rays, an MRI scan and other diagnostic tests may also be performed to examine the shoulder joint in more detail and confirm a diagnosis.

The focus of frozen shoulder treatment is pain management and physical therapy to restore strength and mobility to the affected shoulder. Anti-inflammatory medications and steroid injections may be recommended by a pain physician to alleviate shoulder pain and inflammation. Physical therapy may also be recommended to restore motion and strength, both in a professional setting and at home. Surgery may be necessary in severe cases where the painful symptoms are not alleviated by conservative measures.


For more information on frozen shoulder and pain management options, contact the Tyler, Texas pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.

 

Health Update: Physical Therapy Benefits


If you suffer from chronic pain or another health condition, physical therapy may be a good pain management treatment. Physical therapy offers many benefits, including making an individual stronger and more mobile. The pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler, located in Tyler, Texas, offer physical therapy and rehabilitation services to chronic pain sufferers, as well as patients suffering from another health condition.

Physical Therapy Benefits for Chronic Pain

Physical therapy is a common pain management treatment used to diagnose and treat many different health conditions, including chronic pain. It is well-known to return many patients to their prior level of physical ability and alleviate chronic pain if performed correctly.

In a physical therapy session, a patient may perform a number of different items, including:



  1. Walking or riding a stationary bike to warm up the body
  2. Use physical therapy machines or other equipment to strengthen the muscles and surrounding soft tissues in the affected area
  3. Stretch specific areas of the body
  4. Perform pain relief exercises as recommended by a pain physician or physical therapist

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), massage and other pain relieving treatments may also be used in certain patients.

Physical Therapy Benefits for other Health Conditions

Physical therapy is not used in only chronic pain sufferers. This treatment option is widely used for other health conditions, such as:



  1. Prevention and/or recovery from a sports injury
  2. Recovery after an automobile accident, work-related injury or other related trauma
  3. Avoid surgery for a neck, back, knee or other orthopedic condition by easing pain and discomfort
  4. Improve overall mobility by stretching and strengthening areas of the body that are hindering walking, standing or moving
  5. Improve balance and coordination in order to reduce falls
  6. Manage age-related and degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis by keeping the body mobile

Physical therapy is a safe and effective way to improve mobility, relieve chronic pain and restore function in many patients. When performed correctly, the pain management treatment can help restore, maintain and promote a patient’s overall health.

Physical therapists work closely with his/her patients so the treatment plan is designed for each individual case. Some patients have been known to develop an ongoing relationship with the physical therapist to maintain a high level of overall health and fitness.

If you would like more resources on physical therapy benefits for chronic pain and other health conditions, contact the Tyler, Texas pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.

 

Health Update: Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)


Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome, is a fairly uncommon chronic pain condition that typically affects a limb, such as an arm, leg, hand or foot. CRPS is believed to be caused by damage to the central nervous and peripheral nervous systems. The pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler, located in Tyler, Texas, offer a variety of pain management treatments for patients suffering from a chronic pain condition.

What is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) commonly develops after an injury, surgery, stroke or heart attack. It is believed the chronic pain is caused by damage or a malfunction in the peripheral and central nervous systems. The central nervous system is composed of the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral system involves nerve signaling from the spinal cord and brain to the rest of the body.

The cause of CRPS is not clearly understood by pain physicians and the medical community. This chronic pain condition is most common in adults aged 20-35 years, and affects women in more cases than men.

What are Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Symptoms?

Complex regional pain syndrome symptoms vary in length and severity among patients. A common symptom of CRPS is intense, chronic pain that worsens over time. In many cases, the pain may seem out of proportion if caused by an injury. For example, if an injury is sustained to the toe, the entire leg may be affected by chronic pain and other troublesome symptoms. Other complex regional pain syndrome symptoms include:

  1. Burning pain
  2. Swelling and stiffness in the affected joint
  3. Skin changes, such as skin color and temperature
  4. Changes in nail and hair growth

What are Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Treatments?

In order to diagnosis complex regional pain syndrome, a pain physician will perform a careful physical examination and review a patient’s medical history. Certain diagnostic tests may be performed to confirm the diagnosis, such as X-rays, MRI scans, bone scans and sympathetic nervous system tests.

At this time, there is not a cure for CRPS. A pain physician will prescribe a pain management treatment plan tailored for each patient. Common complex regional pain syndrome treatments include:


  1. Pain medications
  2. Nerve blocks
  3. Steroid injections
  4. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
  5. Physical therapy
  6. Psychotherapy

For more resources on the chronic pain condition complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), please contact the pain management practice of Pain Recovery Center of Tyler, located in Tyler, Texas.


Health Update: Osteoarthritis


Osteoarthritis, or “wear and tear” arthritis, is the most common joint condition, affecting millions of Americans. Most commonly found in the joints of the hands, knees, hips and spine, osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of the bones diminish over time, leading to joint pain from bone rubbing against bone. Located in Tyler, Texas, the pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler can help alleviate joint pain caused by osteoarthritis with a thorough pain management treatment plan.

Who Experiences Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis can occur in patients at any age, but the condition is typically found in patients 65 years and older. Older patients tend to experience this joint condition more frequently because of the extended break down of cartilage.

It is estimated that one in two adults will develop knee osteoarthritis during their life, one in four will develop hip osteoarthritis and one in 12 will develop hand osteoarthritis.

What are Osteoarthritis Symptoms?

Normal joints are covered with a firm, rubbery material called cartilage at the end of each bone. Cartilage is responsible for providing a smooth, pain-free gliding surface between the bones while the joint is in motion. When the cartilage begins to break down from normal wear and tear, an injury or a genetic condition, patients commonly experience joint pain and other troublesome conditions, including joint tenderness and swelling, loss of range of motion and a grating sensation when the joint is in motion.

Osteoarthritis often worsens over time, leading to the breakdown of bone and the development of bone spurs. Because of this, it is important to manage osteoarthritis symptoms.

What are Osteoarthritis Treatments?

In order to manage osteoarthritis symptoms, such as joint pain, a pain physician must conduct a thorough physical examination to diagnose the condition. During the examination, a physician will examine the affected joint for swelling, tenderness and range of motion. X-rays and an MRI may also be performed to confirm the diagnosis.

There is currently no cure for osteoarthritis. In order to alleviate joint pain associated with the joint condition, a pain physician will develop a pain management treatment plan to manage the symptoms. A treatment plan commonly includes weight management, increased physical activity, stretching exercises and the use of pain and anti-inflammatory medications.

For more resources on joint pain caused by osteoarthritis, please contact the pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler. Our Tyler, Texas team specializes in a number of pain management treatments

 

Health Update: Peripheral Neuropathy


One of the most common causes of chronic pain is a condition called peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy occurs when the nerves in the peripheral nervous system malfunction because they are destroyed or damaged, leading to chronic pain commonly located in the arms and legs. The pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler, located in Tyler, Texas, offer a number of pain management treatments to aid patients who suffer from arm and leg pain caused by nerve damage.

What is Peripheral Neuropathy?

The peripheral nervous system is responsible for connecting the spinal cord and brain nerves to the rest of the human body, including the legs, arms, feet, hands and internal organs. This system of nerves delivers signals about physical sensations to the brain. When these nerves malfunction because of an injury, illness, infection or inherited health condition, a pain signal may be sent to the brain when nothing is physically harming the patient.

What Causes Peripheral Neuropathy?

Diabetes accounts for the majority of nerve damage causing arm and leg pain. It is estimated that approximately 60 percent of diabetics have some level of nerve damage. Other common conditions that lead to peripheral neuropathy include kidney disorders, hypothyroidism and certain vitamin deficiencies.

Nerve damage caused by an automobile accident, fall or a fracture in the body can also lead to chronic arm and leg pain. Infections that affect the peripheral nervous system and can lead to nerve damage include herpes simplex, varicella-zoster, Lyme disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

What are Peripheral Neuropathy Symptoms?

Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include:
  1. Arm and leg pain
  2. Tingling or numbness in the hands and feet
  3. Heavy, weak feeling in the arms and legs
  4. Stabbing, sharp pain

How is Peripheral Neuropathy Treated?

In order to correctly treat arm and leg pain caused by peripheral neuropathy, a pain physician must properly diagnose the condition. A physician will begin with a thorough medical review and physical examination to examine the nerve damage symptoms. Blood tests, a CT, an MRI or an electromyography may also be performed to confirm the diagnosis.

Peripheral neuropathy is typically treated with a combination of pain medications, nerve blocks and transcutaneous electronic nerve stimulation (TENS).

If you would like more resources on arm and leg pain caused by nerve damage, contact the Tyler, Texas pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler. Our physicians have extensive knowledge in treating peripheral neuropathy with a combination of pain management treatments.

Health Update: Facet Syndrome


Millions of Americans suffer from facet syndrome, a condition responsible for chronic back pain or neck pain. Facet syndrome is commonly associated with the natural aging process, but it can also be seen in younger patients from an injury or overuse. The pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are highly experienced at alleviating back or neck pain in Tyler, Texas patients with a variety of pain management treatments.

What is Facet Syndrome?

The spine functions as a three-joint structure, two facet joints located in the back and a large disc located in the front. These complex structures provide stability and support while the body moves. The facet joints experience constant movement and can become worn with time and repetitive overuse. When the facet joints become worn and inflamed, a patient may experience back pain or neck pain, soreness and stiffness.

Prolonged sitting, standing or inactivity can worsen the pain level. Many patients experience an elevated pain level in the morning and notice an improvement throughout the day while the body is in motion.

What Causes Facet Syndrome?

Facet syndrome can be caused by a variety of items, such as a back or neck injury, abnormal postures that overload the facet joints and surrounding structures and normal deterioration from aging. Patients may also experience back pain or neck pain associated with facet syndrome if they are overweight/obese, have a family history of the condition or overuse the facet joints during work or sports activities.

What are the Treatment Options for Facet Syndrome?

In order to properly treat facet syndrome, a pain physician must complete a thorough physical examination and medical history review to reach a diagnosis. A series of X-rays, an MRI scan or other diagnostic tests may be needed to confirm the diagnosis of facet syndrome.

A pain physician may recommend a variety of pain management treatments to alleviate back pain or neck pain, including facet joint injections, medial branch blocks or radiofrequency neurotomy. Physical therapy and the use of anti-inflammatory medications may also be recommended to alleviate the pain associated with facet syndrome.

If you suffer from back pain or neck pain caused by facet syndrome, please contact Pain Recovery Center of Tyler located in Tyler, Texas. Our pain physicians can recommend a pain management treatment plan designed specifically for each patient.

 

Health Update: Tendonitis and Bursitis


Tendonitis and bursitis are classified as the breakdown of the soft tissue surrounding the bones and muscles in the human body. Both conditions cause pain, swelling and inflammation, and often involve the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee and ankle. The pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler offer a number of pain management treatments to help alleviate the symptoms of tendonitis and bursitis in our Tyler, Texas patients.

What are Tendonitis and Bursitis?

Tendons are structures located in the body where a muscle narrows down to attach to a bone. This cord-like structure transmits the pull of the muscle to the bone to produce movement when a patient is walking, running, throwing and completing everyday activities. Tendonitis is the degeneration of these tendons commonly caused by overuse and repetitive stress on the tendons.

The bursa is a small sac that acts like a cushion between moving body parts, such as bones, tendons and muscles. When a tendon is pulling around a bone, a healthy bursa prevents it from becoming stressed and damaged. When the bursa becomes inflamed, bursitis occurs and causes pain, swelling and overall discomfort in the affected area.

How are Tendonitis and Bursitis Prevented?

Preventing tendonitis and bursitis is fairly easy in many patients. Patients should always warm up and stretch before exercise, properly train for a new athletic activity, engage in athletic activity on a regular basis, learn and maintain proper body posture and avoid staying in one position for an extended period of time.

How are Tendonitis and Bursitis Treated?

The first step to treating tendonitis and bursitis is to visit a pain physician for a physical examination and medical review. During the consultation, a physician will ask various questions about the location of pain, type of pain, patient’s activity level and patient’s everyday lifestyle. The majority of patients will not need diagnostic tests such as X-rays or an MRI scan at the beginning of treatment.

The cause of tendonitis and bursitis will be the basis of any pain management treatment. If the condition is caused by overuse, a physician will recommend anti-inflammatory medications, rest and activity modification. If the condition is work-related, a patient will be introduced to proper ergonomics.

The majority of patients experience alleviated pain and discomfort with a combination of rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs). If a patient cannot take NSAIDs, a corticosteroid injection may be recommended by a pain physician. If traditional treatments do not provide pain relief, physical therapy and/or surgery may be considered.

If you or a loved one suffers from the symptoms of tendonitis and bursitis and would like more information on pain management treatments, contact the Tyler, Texas pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.

Health Update: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome


Carpal tunnel syndrome is quite common and is caused by a pinched nerve in the wrist. When the nerve becomes pinched, patients will experience numbness, tingling and pain in the hand. The pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler can help Tyler, Texas patients manage carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms with one of our many pain management treatments.

What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

The carpal tunnel is a narrow, tunnel-like structure located in the hand that is formed by wrist (carpal) bones and a strong band of connective tissue and protects the median nerve. The median nerve controls the sensation in the index finger, long fingers and the palm side of the thumb, as well as muscle control around the base of the thumb.

Patients suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms when the tissues surrounding the wrist tendons put pressure on the median nerve. Pressure on the median nerve can be caused by repetitive hand and wrist movements, age, hormonal changes and heredity factors. Medical professionals also believe that diabetes, a thyroid gland imbalance and rheumatoid arthritis may contribute to swelling of the wrist tendons, leading to pressure on the median nerve.

What are the Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is marked by pain, tingling and hand numbness, as well as an electric shock-like feeling in the long fingers, index finger and thumb. Typically, these symptoms begin gradually with no specific hand or finger injury present. At the beginning, patients may notice the pain coming and going, but over time the pain becomes more constant.

How is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treated?

Before a pain management physician can create a treatment plan, a physical examination must take place to check for muscle weakness around the base of the thumb, test for feeling in the fingers and test for numbness and tingling by moving the hand and wrist and/or applying pressure to the median nerve.

If carpal tunnel syndrome is present, a pain management treatment plan will be created. Most cases of this condition can be treated with non-operative measures if diagnosed and treated in a timely manner. A pain physician may recommend changes in activity, the use of a splint or brace, anti-inflammatory medications or steroid injections.

The pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are here to assist Tyler, Texas patients with the troublesome symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. Please contact a member of our team to schedule a pain management consultation.

Health Update: Failed Back Surgery Syndrome


Back surgery is a big step for any patient suffering from chronic back pain and discomfort. When a patient undergoes back surgery and the procedure does not correct the condition or alleviate pain, failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) is present. Approximately 40 percent of patients experience FBSS following the surgical procedure, and the continued symptoms can be devastating. The pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are here to assist Tyler, Texas patients with pain management techniques following a failed back surgery.

What are the Causes and Symptoms of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome?

Failed back surgery syndrome is a generalized term used in the medical field to describe back pain that starts or continues after a surgical procedure. Some of the most common causes for a failed back surgery include:
  1. Improper surgical procedure selected
  2. Technical error during surgery
  3. Scar tissue formation
  4. Nerve damage
  5. Recurrent disc herniation following surgery
  6. Postoperative rehabilitation not followed correctly

When back surgery does not correct the original condition or causes more severe issues, it is important for a patient to contact a pain physician at the onset of symptoms. Failed back surgery syndrome symptoms include:

  1. Continued or chronic back pain
  2. Limited mobility
  3. Pain in the extremities
  4. New spine condition
  5. Dependence on pain medication

What are the Treatment Options for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome?

Patients who experience failed back surgery syndrome must have a thorough medical review and physical examination performed before a pain physician can determine a treatment plan. A physician will take the original condition, original back surgery performed and current symptoms into consideration.

When properly diagnosed, most symptoms of failed back surgery syndrome can be managed by pain management techniques, including:

  1. Epidural steroid injections
  2. Facet joint injections
  3. Radiofrequency Neurotomy
  4. Spinal decompression
  5. Physical therapy

If you live in the Tyler, Texas area and experience chronic back pain following back surgery, contact the office of Pain Recovery Center of Tyler. Our pain physicians can help alleviate the troublesome symptoms of failed back surgery syndrome.

 

Health Update: Disc Abnormalities


Nearly all individuals will show some signs of wear and tear on the spinal discs as they age. Degenerative disc disease, a bulging disc or a herniated disc commonly cause back pain, weakness and loss of motion. The pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler in Tyler, Texas are highly trained and experienced at alleviating back pain associated with disc abnormalities.

Back Anatomy

The spine is composed of 33 individual bones that stack up on top of one another. The spine is kept in alignment by a system of ligaments and muscles. Sensitive nerves compose the remainder of the spine.

The vertebra, 33 individual bones, interlock with each other and play a critical part in keeping the body aligned and functioning properly. Each vertebra is separated and cushioned by an intervertebral disc. The discs are responsible for keeping the bones separated and eliminating rubbing or other contact. Each disc is filled with a gel-filled center, referred to as the nucleus.

As the body ages, the discs lose the ability to reabsorb fluid, leading to the discs becoming flatter and more brittle. With the discs aging and the body constantly in motion, disc abnormalities can occur such as degenerative disc disease, a herniated disc or a bulging disc.

Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease is a term used by pain physicians to describe normal changes in the disc as a patient ages. The loss of fluid and tiny tears or cracks in the outer layer of the disc can cause osteoarthritis, a herniated disc or a bulging disc. All of these conditions commonly apply pressure on the nerves and spinal cord, leading to back pain.

Bulging Disc

A bulging disc occurs when the gel-filled nucleus presses outward on the weakened disc wall, leading to the disc bulging outward. A bulging disc, or slipped disc, can press against or irritate the nerve causing back pain, spasms, numbness and radiating pain into the leg. Some patients may not be aware of the bulging disc since pain is not always present.

Herniated Disc

A herniated disc occurs when a crack in the tough outer layer of cartilage allows a portion of the nucleus to protrude out of the disc. The herniation puts direct pressure on the nerve, leading to weakness, numbness, tingling and arm or leg pain. Also referred to as a ruptured disc, a herniated disc is less common than a bulging disc.

The pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler offer over 15 modern and conservative pain management treatments, including spinal decompression, injection therapy and physical therapy, to address back pain caused by common disc abnormalities. Contact our Tyler, Texas e today for a consultation with our team.

 

Health Update: Whiplash


Whiplash is a common injury that occurs during a rear-end automobile accident, sports injury or other traumatic event. Whiplash is often ignored or mistreated as a neck strain or neck sprain due to a lack of understanding of the health condition. The pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are experienced in diagnosing and treating whiplash symptoms in Tyler, Texas patients.

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a soft tissue injury to the neck characterized by a number of symptoms experienced from sudden extension and flexion of the neck, such as in an automobile accident. Injury to the intervertebral joints, discs, cervical muscles, nerve roots and ligaments are common and lead to a wide range of whiplash symptoms.

What are Whiplash Symptoms?

Common whiplash symptoms usually develop within 24 hours of the accident or trauma. These symptoms include:

  1. Neck pain
  2. Neck stiffness
  3. Neck loss of motion
  4. Headaches
  5. Fatigue
  6. Dizziness
  7. Tingling or numbness in the arms

In certain patients, more complex symptoms may occur such as memory loss, nervousness, irritability, depression and sleep disturbances.
Whiplash symptoms can range from a few days to a prolonged, continuous onset of chronic pain and other discomfort.

How is Whiplash Diagnosed and Treated?

If a patient experiences an automobile accident, sports injury or other trauma and develops the hallmark whiplash symptoms, it is critical to contact a pain physician immediately. Prognosis is good for whiplash, but the condition must be treated as quickly as possible to rule out other tissue damage or underlying health condition.

A pain physician will diagnose whiplash by a series of questions, a physical examination and diagnostic testing. Questions about the event and symptoms will be discussed in great detail. A thorough physical examination will be performed to test pain level, range of motion and tenderness. X-rays and an MRI may also be used to rule out other injuries and to confirm the diagnosis.

The treatment of whiplash depends on whiplash symptoms. A pain physician may recommend a combination of rest, ice/heat, pain medications, muscle relaxants, injections and a cervical collar. Range of motion exercises and a physical therapy program may also be prescribed to increase range of motion and decrease inflammation and pain.

The pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are skilled and experienced in treating whiplash symptoms and returning patients to a pain free lifestyle following an accident or other traumatic event. Contact us today if you would like to discuss whiplash in more detail.

 

Health Update: Knee Osteoarthritis and Chronic Knee Pain


The knee is the largest and strongest joint in the body but it is still prone to knee arthritis, including knee osteoarthritis. This disorder can cause chronic knee pain, swelling and stiffness. The pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are proud to offer Tyler, Texas patients an innovative nonsurgical procedure, Genicular Neurotomy, or genicular nerve block.

What is Knee Osteoarthritis?


Knee osteoarthritis is the most common form of knee arthritis. This condition is a degenerative, “wear and tear” type of arthritis that typically occurs in adults 50 years of age and older.

With knee osteoarthritis, the cartilage in the knee joint wears away over time. As this happens, the cartilage becomes frayed and rough, and the protective space between the bone decreases. With the protective space limited, bone rubs on bone, and can lead to painful bone spurs.

Knee osteoarthritis can make it hard to do many everyday activities because of the chronic knee pain, swelling and stiffness. Tyler, Texas patients can now experience alleviated pain with Genicular Neurotomy, or genicular nerve block.

What is Genicular Neurotomy?


When chronic knee pain and knee osteoarthritis cannot be managed with conventional pain management treatments such as rest, ice and medication, a Genicular Neurotomy may be the solution for some patients.

A genicular nerve block is a minimally invasive, nonsurgical pain management treatment designed to help alleviate pain associated with osteoarthritis knee pain and chronic knee pain. Genicular Neurotomy involves no steroid or medicated injection. The procedure uses Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) to stun the painful nerves and prevent pain signals from reaching the brain.

The procedure is performed in two stages:



  1. 1. Diagnostic genicular nerve block- a small amount of local anesthetic is placed on the genicular nerves. If the knee pain is diminished, patients will move on to stage 2.
  2. 2. Genicular nerve ablation- a RF ablation of the genicular nerves is performed.

After the procedure, patients can expect to have restored function and alleviated chronic knee pain within a short amount of time.

If you suffer from knee osteoarthritis or chronic knee pain and want more information on Genicular Neurotomy, genicular nerve block, please contact the pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler in Tyler, Texas.

Health Update: Sciatica


Individuals who experience pain in the lower back or hip that radiates to the back of the thigh and leg may be experiencing sciatica. The term “sciatica” describes this particular symptom of leg pain. If you experience radiating or burning leg pain, contact the pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler in Tyler, Texas to determine if the pain is associated with sciatica.

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is not a medical diagnosis in and of itself. It is a symptom of an underlying health condition such as a herniated disc, spinal stenosis or spondylolisthesis. The pain may feel like a bad leg cramp, or it may be a shooting pain that makes sitting or standing impossible.

The pain of sciatica may appear suddenly or it may develop gradually. The pain may even last for weeks before it disappears. Individuals may also experience:

  1. Increased pain after a sneeze, cough or movement
  2. Constant pain in only one side of the buttock or leg
  3. Weakness, numbness or difficulty moving the leg or foot
  4. A sharp pain that makes it difficult to stand
  5. A burning, tingling or searing leg pain, not a dull ache

What Causes Sciatica?

Sciatica is commonly associated with the “wear and tear” aging process of the spine. It is also associated with any sudden pressure on the discs that cushion the vertebra of the lower spine.

The most common causes of sciatica include:
  1. A herniated disc
  2. Degenerative disc disease
  3. Spinal stenosis
  4. Spondylolisthesis
  5. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
  6. Piriformis syndrome

How is Sciatica Treated?

The goal of treatment is to decrease pain and increase mobility with the help of pain physicians. Treatment options include pain medicine and anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, spinal injections and surgery, if all other conservative measures have failed.

Sciatica cannot be prevented in all cases. It can be prevented in some cases by protecting the back by exercising, following good posture guidelines, following good lifting techniques and avoiding sitting for long periods of time.

The pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are here to help Tyler, Texas individuals suffering from sciatica. Contact us today if you would like more information on this topic.

 

Health Update: Joint and Muscle Pain


Joint pain and muscle pain can be troublesome issues for many East Texas individuals. The causes can range from a simple muscle strain to arthritis to fibromyalgia. If you experience joint pain or muscle pain that cannot be treated at home, it is time to call the pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler in Tyler, Texas.

What Causes Joint Pain?

Joint pain can be caused by an injury to the ligaments, bursae or tendons surrounding any joint in the body. The pain can also be a symptom of a health condition such as arthritis or fibromyalgia.

Signs and symptoms of joint pain include:
  1. Joint redness
  2. Joint swelling
  3. Locking of the joint
  4. Joint stiffness
  5. Joint weakness

Many cases of joint pain can be treated at home by taking nonprescription anti-inflammatory medicine, taking a warm bath and stretching frequently. An individual may need to see a pain physician if the pain persists for several days, the joint appears deformed or if the joint is completely immobile.

What Causes Muscle Pain?

 Muscle pain is extremely common and most individuals will experience this discomfort at some point. This pain can be felt almost anywhere in the body since every part is made up of muscle tissue.

Common causes of muscle pain include:

  1. Overuse of the muscle
  2. Injury to the muscle during physical activity
  3. Fibromyalgia
  4. Injections
  5. Lupus

Muscle pain typically responds well to self-care at home. Individuals can ease the pain by resting that particular area of the body, taking a nonprescription pain killer and applying ice to the affected area. A pain physician should be contacted if the pain persists for several days, severe pain occurs or if the muscle pain is accompanied by redness or swelling.

The pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler are ready to help Tyler, Texas patients with joint pain and muscle pain. If you would like more information or to would like to discuss your condition, please contact a member of our team.

 

Health Update: Back Pain


Did you know back pain is one of the most common reasons people miss work? Did you know it is a leading cause of disability in the United States and worldwide? If you suffer from back pain, you do not have to live your life in pain. The physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler in Tyler, Texas can help with our pain management treatment options.

What Causes Back Pain?

Back pain is found more commonly in adults aged 35-55 years, even though it can affect individuals at any age. It can affect Tyler, Texas patients suddenly (acute) or over an extended amount of time (chronic). It often develops because of these items:

  1. Muscle strain or muscle sprain
  2. Muscle tension
  3. Lifting, bending or twisting incorrectly
  4. Arthritis
  5. Bulging or ruptured discs
  6. Osteoporosis

Signs and symptoms include:

  1. Pain
  2. Pain radiating down a leg
  3. Muscle ache
  4. Limited range or motion or flexibility

Pain Management Options for Back Pain

If your back pain doesn’t improve with rest, ice and other at-home treatments, it is time to visit Pain Recovery Center of Tyler to discuss your pain management treatment options.
At our e in Tyler, Texas, patients can expect the most modern and conservative approach to pain. Our pain management treatment options include:

  1. Spinal decompression using the DRX9000™ machine
  2. Injections such as trigger point injections and epidural steroid injections
  3. Diagnostics such as digital X-rays and digital fluoroscopy
  4. Physical therapy techniques

With a wide variety of treatment options, you do not have to suffer from pain. Let our pain management physicians help get you back to doing what you love.
If you suffer from back pain and want to learn more about pain management treatment options, contact Pain Recovery Center of Tyler in Tyler, Texas.

Health Update: Low Back Pain


Is Sitting BAD for My Back?


A major manufacturer of workstations reports that 86% of work computer users have to sit all day, and when they do rise from sitting, more than half (56%) use food as the excuse to get up and move. In addition to sitting at work, for meals, and commuting to/from work, 36% sit another one to two hours watching TV, 10% sit one to two hours for gaming, 25% sit one to two hours for reading/lounging, and 29% use their home computer for one to two hours. In summary, the average American sits for thirteen hours a day and sleep for eight hours. That's a total of 21 hours a day off their feet!

The manufacturer's survey also notes 93% of work computer users don’t know what “Sitting Disease” is but 74% believe that sitting too much can lead to an early death. “Sitting Disease” represents the ill-effects of an overly sedentary lifestyle and includes conditions like “metabolic syndrome” (obesity and diabetes), which is rapidly becoming more prevalent, especially in the young – even in adolescence and teenagers! Recently, the American Medical Association (AMA) adopted a policy encouraging employers, employees, and others to sit less citing the many risks associated with sitting including (but not limited to): diabetes, cancer, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. Standing is SO MUCH BETTER as it burns more calories than sitting, tones muscles, improves posture, increases blood flow, reduces blood sugar, and improves metabolism. Standing is frequently overlooked as “an exercise” and it’s both simple and easy to do!

So, what about the low back and sitting? You guessed it – sitting is hard on the back! The pressure inside of our disks, those “shock absorbers” that lie between each vertebra in our spine (22 disks in total) is higher when we sit compared with simply standing or lying down. It's estimated that when we lay down, the pressure on our disks is the lowest at 25mm. When lying on one side, it increases to 75mm, standing increases disk pressure to 100mm, and bending over from standing pushes disk pressure to 220mm. When we sit with good posture, our disk pressure may reach 140mm but that can increase to 190mm with poor posture. To help relieve the pressure on our disks, experts recommend: 1) Getting up periodically and standing; 2) Sitting back in your chair and avoiding slouched positions; 3) Placing a lumbar roll (about the size of your forearm) behind the low back and chair/car seat; and 4) Changing your position frequently when sitting.

 Because certain low back conditions “favor” one position over another, these “rules” may need modification. For example, most herniated disk patients prefer low back extension while bending over or slouching hurts. In those with lumbar sprain/strains, bending forwards usually feels good and extension hurts. Modifying your position to the one that is most comfortable is perhaps the best advice.

 

Health Update: Headaches / Neck Pain


The Great Challenge: Adjustments vs. Acupuncture vs. NSAIDs!


Wouldn’t it be nice if we could assess three common types of treatment for neck and back pain to determine which is the most effective? Here is a look at three studies that compared three popular forms of care for chronic spinal pain to determine the short-term and more importantly, the LONG-TERM benefits of manipulation, acupuncture, and non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, like Advil).

The FIRST published study included a pilot group of 77 patients complaining of chronic spinal pain (neck, mid-back, or low-back pain). These patients were separated into one of the three treatment groups and received either NSAIDs, acupuncture, or manipulation. Patients received care for four weeks with outcome measures (questionnaires) used to assess changes in pain and disability. After a 30-day time frame, only patients who received manipulation (CM) reached a level of statistically significant improvement, supporting CM to offer the best SHORT-TERM BENEFITS for those with chronic back/neck pain.

The SECOND study included 115 patients, again randomized, to receive either one of the same three treatments, but this time the outcome data was gathered two, five, and nine weeks after the start of treatment. Again, those who received manipulation (CM) experienced the best overall improvement at nine weeks.
The THIRD study involved follow-up from the same patient group from the SECOND study two years later. Once again, participants completed outcome assessments that measure pain and disability. This time, the results showed that only patients in the manipulation group maintained long-term improvements in pain and disability.

There have been other studies looking at the efficacy and benefits of SMT (spinal manipulative therapy) both in comparison with other forms of care (as presented here) as well as with different conditions or diagnoses. Perhaps the most exciting results were published in 2008 by the International Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010 Task Force on Neck Pain. They divided patients into four groups (Group 1: Neck pain with little to no interference with activities of daily living – ADLs; Group 2: Neck pain that limits ADLs; Group 3: Neck pain with radiculopathy or radiating arm pain from a pinched nerve; Group 4: Neck pain with serious pathology such as cancer, fracture, infection, and/or systemic disease.) The researchers concluded that care was highly recommended especially in Grades 1 and 2 (which includes the majority of neck pain sufferers). Interestingly, many multidisciplinary physician groups now incorporate care as part of their “team” approach, which also offer pain management in the form of medications, injections, PT, and when necessary, surgery. They have seen the value of spinal manipulation for neck pain and often seek out because it’s safe, beneficial, and cost effective!

Health Update: Fibromyalgia


The “TOP 10” FACTS of Fibromyalgia!


What are the ten most important attributes of fibromyalgia (FM)? Let’s take a look!


  1. FM definition
    :
    It’s characterized by widespread muscular pain and tenderness (in all four of the body’s quadrants) that’s NOT caused by inflammation or joint damage.

  2. FM can be primary or secondary
    :
    Secondary FM is caused by something else (often after trauma) in association with another disorder like rheumatoid arthritis (RA), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, and more. Primary FM has no known association with another condition.

  3. FM is OFTEN chronic
    :
    Because FM is diagnosed by EXCLUDING other conditions, it’s often left undiagnosed for years! To further complicate this, when a person has a diagnosed condition such as Lyme disease, RA, etc., those conditions get all the attention and FM is left undiagnosed. In fact, the National Fibromyalgia Association reports that it takes about an average of five years to get an accurate diagnosis of FM!

  4. Sleep & Chronic Fatigue
    :
    A reported 90% of FM patients suffer from severe fatigue or a sleep disorder. Non-restorative sleep contributes significantly to fatigue and poor cognitive function, and is a hallmark of FM making it an important problem to address in treatment.

  5. FM Symptoms are many
    :
    Headache, IBS, memory problems, TMD (jaw pain), pelvic pain, noise-light-temperature sensitivities, restless leg syndrome (RLS), depression, and anxiety are ALL associated issues with FM (more reasons for a delayed diagnosis and treatment challenges)!

  6. FM includes both physical and psychological aspects
    :
    One study of 307 FM patients followed over an eleven-year time frame found that 33% had severe physical and psychological problems, another 1/3 had mild issues with both, and the last third had only mild physical symptoms.

  7. FM is HIGHLY VARIABLE
    :
    With the widespread pain, variable disability rates, variable physical and psychological aspects (see #6 above), and symptom/condition variability (see #5 above), a treatment approach to manage FM must be individualized! There is no “recipe” for managing FM!

  8. FM Tests
    :
    There are none! Diagnosing FM relies on the patient’s history of widespread pain and associated disabilities more than the physical exam, blood tests, and x-rays which are used to help “rule-out” other disorders.

  9. FM Treatment
    :
    The “best” management strategies for FM include a multi-disciplinary “team” of providers including primary care (medications), (manual therapy, nutrition, exercise training), clinical psychology (depression/anxiety management), and other forms of treatment such as massage therapy, acupuncture, and meditation / relaxation therapy. Programs that are individualized work the best! The patient MUST BE an active participant who is willing to do the work!

  10. “Stats” about FM
    :
    First of all, it’s common! It affects women more than men, and about 2-4% of the population overall. What is left out of the stats is the intensity of symptoms, how well each patient responds to the different management strategies, and the patient’s coping skills with this chronic, sometimes totally disabling condition (see #6 above). Other “facts” about FM include: increased “substance P” (a chemical that increases nerve sensitivity), decreased blood flow to the thalamus (brain), hormone imbalances, low levels of serotonin and tryptophan, and abnormal cytokine function….and more!

REMEMBER as stated in #9, the “team” approach yields the BEST RESULTS!