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Postherpetic Neuralgia

Postherpetic Neuralgia

 

Postherpetic neuralgia is a painful condition that affects your nerves and skin. It’s a complication of herpes zoster, commonly called shingles.

Shingles is a painful, blistering skin rash caused by a reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus.

People usually contract this virus in childhood or adolescence as chickenpox. The virus can remain dormant in the body’s nerve cells after childhood and reactivate decades later.

When the pain caused by shingles doesn’t go away after the rash and blisters clear up, the condition is called postherpetic neuralgia.

Postherpetic neuralgia is the most common shingles complication. It occurs when a shingles outbreak damages the nerves.

The damaged nerves can’t send messages from the skin to the brain, and the messages become confused. This results in chronic, severe pain that can last for months.

According to a 2017 review, about 20 percent of people who get shingles also develop postherpetic neuralgia. Additionally, this condition is more likely to occur in people over the age of 50.

What are the symptoms of postherpetic neuralgia?

Shingles typically causes a painful, blistering rash. Postherpetic neuralgia is a complication that only occurs in people who have already had shingles.

Common signs and symptoms of postherpetic neuralgia include:

  • severe pain that continues for more than 1 to 3 months in the same place that the shingles occurred, even after the rash goes away
  • burning sensation on the skin, even from the slightest pressure
  • sensitivity to touch or temperature changes
What are the risk factors for postherpetic neuralgia?

Age is a major risk factor for getting both shingles and postherpetic neuralgia. Risk begins to increase at age 50 and rises exponentially the older you get.

People who have acute pain and severe rash during shingles also have a higher risk for developing postherpetic neuralgia.

People with lowered immunity due to conditions like HIV or Hodgkin’s lymphoma have an increased risk for developing shingles. The risk of shingles is 20 to 100 greater in this group.

How is postherpetic neuralgia diagnosed and treated?

Most of the time, your doctor is able to make a diagnosis of postherpetic neuralgia based on how long you’ve experienced pain following shingles. Tests are unnecessary in confirming a diagnosis.

Treatment for postherpetic neuralgia aims to manage and reduce the pain until the condition goes away.

How can postherpetic neuralgia be prevented?

Two doses of a herpes zoster vaccine called Shingrix reduce the risk of shingles by more than 90 percentTrusted Source. The vaccine also protects against postherpetic neuralgia.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source recommends healthy people ages 50 and up get the Shingrix vaccine.

Postherpetic neuralgia is treatable and preventable. Most cases disappear in 1 to 2 months. In rare cases, it can last longer than a year.

If you’re older than 50, it’s wise to get vaccinated against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia.

If you do develop postherpetic neuralgia, you have many treatment options to manage the pain. Talk with your doctor to find the best treatment for you.

Article Provided By: healthline
Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SCIf you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com

 

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Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal Neuralgia
Trigeminal neuralgia (TN), also known as tic douloureux, is sometimes described as the most excruciating pain known to humanity. The pain typically involves the lower face and jaw, although sometimes it affects the area around the nose and above the eye. This intense, stabbing, electric shock-like pain is caused by irritation of the trigeminal nerve, which sends branches to the forehead, cheek and lower jaw. It usually is limited to one side of the face. The pain can be triggered by an action as routine and minor as brushing your teeth, eating or the wind. Attacks may begin mild and short, but if left untreated, trigeminal neuralgia can progressively worsen.

Although trigeminal neuralgia cannot always be cured, there are treatments available to alleviate the debilitating pain. Normally, anticonvulsive medications are the first treatment choice. Surgery can be an effective option for those who become unresponsive to medications or for those who suffer serious side effects from the medications.
The Trigeminal Nerve
The trigeminal nerve is one set of the cranial nerves in the head. It is the nerve responsible for providing sensation to the face. One trigeminal nerve runs to the right side of the head, while the other runs to the left. Each of these nerves has three distinct branches. “Trigeminal” derives from the Latin word “tria,” which means three, and “geminus,” which means twin. After the trigeminal nerve leaves the brain and travels inside the skull, it divides into three smaller branches, controlling sensations throughout the face:
Ophthalmic Nerve (V1): The first branch controls sensation in a person’s eye, upper eyelid and forehead.
Maxillary Nerve (V2): The second branch controls sensation in the lower eyelid, cheek, nostril, upper lip and upper gum.
Mandibular Nerve (V3): The third branch controls sensations in the jaw, lower lip, lower gum and some of the muscles used for chewing.
Prevalence and Incidence
It is reported that 150,000 people are diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia (TN) every year. While the disorder can occur at any age, it is most common in people over the age of 50. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) notes that TN is twice as common in women than in men. A form of TN is associated with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Causes
There are two types of TN — primary and secondary. The exact cause of TN is still unknown, but the pain associated with it represents an irritation of the nerve. Primary trigeminal neuralgia has been linked to the compression of the nerve, typically in the base of the head where the brain meets the spinal cord. This is usually due to contact between a healthy artery or vein and the trigeminal nerve at the base of the brain. This places pressure on the nerve as it enters the brain and causes the nerve to misfire. Secondary TN is caused by pressure on the nerve from a tumor, MS, a cyst, facial injury or another medical condition that damages the myelin sheaths.
Symptoms
Most patients report that their pain begins spontaneously and seemingly out of nowhere. Other patients say their pain follows a car accident, a blow to the face or dental work. In the cases of dental work, it is more likely that the disorder was already developing and then caused the initial symptoms to be triggered. Pain often is first experienced along the upper or lower jaw, so many patients assume they have a dental abscess. Some patients see their dentists and actually have a root canal performed, which inevitably brings no relief. When the pain persists, patients realize the problem is not dental-related.
The pain of TN is defined as either type 1 (TN1) or type 2 (TN2). TN1 is characterized by intensely sharp, throbbing, sporadic, burning or shock-like pain around the eyes, lips, nose, jaw, forehead and scalp. TN1 can get worse resulting in more pain spells that last longer. TN2 pain often is present as a constant, burning, aching and may also have stabbing less intense than TN1.
TN tends to run in cycles. Patients often suffer long stretches of frequent attacks, followed by weeks, months or even years of little or no pain. The usual pattern, however, is for the attacks to intensify over time with shorter pain-free periods. Some patients suffer less than one attack a day, while others experience a dozen or more every hour. The pain typically begins with a sensation of electrical shocks that culminates in an excruciating stabbing pain within less than 20 seconds. The pain often leaves patients with uncontrollable facial twitching, which is why the disorder is also known as tic douloureux.
Pain can be focused in one spot or it can spread throughout the face. Typically, it is only on one side of the face; however, in rare occasions and sometimes when associated with multiple sclerosis, patients may feel pain in both sides of their face. Pain areas include the cheeks, jaw, teeth, gums, lips, eyes and forehead.
Attacks of TN may be triggered by the following:
Touching the skin lightly
Washing
Shaving
Brushing teeth
Blowing the nose
Drinking hot or cold beverages
Encountering a light breeze
Applying makeup
Smiling
Talking
The symptoms of several pain disorders are similar to those of trigeminal neuralgia. The most common mimicker of TN is trigeminal neuropathic pain (TNP). TNP results from an injury or damage to the trigeminal nerve. TNP pain is generally described as being constant, dull and burning. Attacks of sharp pain can also occur, commonly triggered by touch. Additional mimickers include:
Temporal tendinitis
Ernest syndrome (injury of the stylomandibular ligament
Occipital neuralgia
Cluster headaches/ migraines
Giant cell arteritis
Dental pain
Post-herpetic neuralgia
Glossopharyngeal neuralgia
Sinus infection
Ear infection
Temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ)
Diagnosis
TN can be very difficult to diagnose, because there are no specific diagnostic tests and symptoms are very similar to other facial pain disorders. Therefore, it is important to seek medical care when feeling unusual, sharp pain around the eyes, lips, nose, jaw, forehead and scalp, especially if you have not had dental or other facial surgery recently. The patient should begin by addressing the problem with their primary care physician. They may refer the patient to a specialist later.
Testing

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can detect if a tumor or MS is affecting the trigeminal nerve. A high-resolution, thin-slice or three-dimensional MRI can reveal if there is compression caused by a blood vessel. Newer scanning techniques can show if a vessel is pressing on the nerve and may even show the degree of compression. Compression due to veins is not as easily identified on these scans. Tests can help rule out other causes of facial disorders. TN usually is diagnosed based on the description of the symptoms provided by the patient, detailed patient history and clinical evaluation. There are no specific diagnostic tests for TN, so physicians must rely heavily on symptoms and history. Physicians base their diagnosis on the type pain (sudden, quick and shock-like), the location of the pain and things that trigger the pain. Physical and neurological examinations may also be done in which the doctor will touch and examine parts of your face to better understand where the pain is located.
Treatment
Non-Surgical Treatments
There are several effective ways to alleviate the pain, including a variety of medications. Medications are generally started at low doses and increased gradually based on patient’s response to the drug.
Carbamazepine, an anticonvulsant drug, is the most common medication that doctors use to treat TN. In the early stages of the disease, carbamazepine controls pain for most people. When a patient shows no relief from this medication, a physician has cause to doubt whether TN is present. However, the effectiveness of carbamazepine decreases over time. Possible side effects include dizziness, double vision, drowsiness and nausea.
Gabapentin, an anticonvulsant drug, which is most commonly used to treat epilepsy or migraines can also treat TN. Side effects of this drug are minor and include dizziness and/or drowsiness which go away on their own.
Oxcarbazepine, a newer medication, has been used more recently as the first line of treatment. It is structurally related to carbamazepine and may be preferred, because it generally has fewer side effects. Possible side effects include dizziness and double vision.
Other medications include: baclofen, amitriptyline, nortriptyline, pregabalin, phenytoin, valproic acid, clonazepam, sodium valporate, lamotrigine, topiramate, phenytoin and opioids.
There are drawbacks to these medications, other than side effects. Some patients may need relatively high doses to alleviate the pain, and the side effects can become more pronounced at higher doses. Anticonvulsant drugs may lose their effectiveness over time. Some patients may need a higher dose to reduce the pain or a second anticonvulsant, which can lead to adverse drug reactions. Many of these drugs can have a toxic effect on some patients, particularly people with a history of bone marrow suppression and kidney and liver toxicity. These patients must have their blood monitored to ensure their safety.
Surgery
If medications have proven ineffective in treating TN, several surgical procedures may help control the pain. Surgical treatment is divided into two categories: 1) open cranial surgery or 2) lesioning procedures. In general, open surgery is performed for patients found to have pressure on the trigeminal nerve from a nearby blood vessel, which can be diagnosed with imaging of the brain, such as a special MRI. This surgery is thought to take away the underlying problem causing the TN. In contrast, lesioning procedures include interventions that injure the trigeminal nerve on purpose, in order to prevent the nerve from delivering pain to the face. The effects of lesioning may be shorter lasting and in some keys may result in numbness to the face.
Open Surgery
Microvascular decompression involves microsurgical exposure of the trigeminal nerve root, identification of a blood vessel that may be compressing the nerve and gentle movement of the blood vessel away from the point of compression. Decompression may reduce sensitivity and allow the trigeminal nerve to recover and return to a more normal, pain-free condition. While this generally is the most effective surgery, it also is the most invasive, because it requires opening the skull through a craniotomy. There is a small risk of decreased hearing, facial weakness, facial numbness, double vision, stroke or death.
Lesioning Procedures
Percutaneous radiofrequency rhizotomy treats TN through the use of electrocoagulation (heat). It can relieve nerve pain by destroying the part of the nerve that causes pain and suppressing the pain signal to the brain. The surgeon passes a hollow needle through the cheek into the trigeminal nerve. A heating current, which is passed through an electrode, destroys some of the nerve fibers.
Percutaneous balloon compression utilizes a needle that is passed through the cheek to the trigeminal nerve. The neurosurgeon places a balloon in the trigeminal nerve through a catheter. The balloon is inflated where fibers produce pain. The balloon compresses the nerve, injuring the pain-causing fibers, and is then removed.
Percutaneous glycerol rhizotomy utilizes glycerol injected through a needle into the area where the nerve divides into three main branches. The goal is to damage the nerve selectively in order to interfere with the transmission of the pain signals to the brain.
Stereotactic radiosurgery (through such procedures as Gamma Knife, Cyberknife, Linear Accelerator (LINAC) delivers a single highly concentrated dose of ionizing radiation to a small, precise target at the trigeminal nerve root. This treatment is noninvasive and avoids many of the risks and complications of open surgery and other treatments. Over a period of time and as a result of radiation exposure, the slow formation of a lesion in the nerve interrupts transmission of pain signals to the brain.
Overall, the benefits of surgery or lesioning techniques should always be weighed carefully against its risks. Although a large percentage of TN patients report pain relief after procedures, there is no guarantee that they will help every individual.
Neuromodulation
For patients with TNP, another surgical procedure can be done that includes placement of one or more electrodes in the soft tissue near the nerves, under the skull on the covering of the brain and sometimes deeper into the brain, to deliver electrical stimulation to the part of the brain responsible for sensation of the face. In peripheral nerve stimulation, the leads are placed under the skin on branches of the trigeminal nerve. In motor cortex stimulation (MCS), the area which innervates the face is stimulated. In deep brain stimulation (DBS), regions that affect sensation pathways to the face may be stimulated.
How to Prepare for a Neurosurgical Appointment
Write down symptoms. This should include: What the pain feels like (for example, is it sharp, shooting, aching, burning or other), where exactly the pain is located (lower jaw, cheek, eye/forehead), if it is accompanied by other symptoms (headache, numbness, facial spasms), duration of pain (weeks, months, years), pain-free intervals (longest period of time without pain or in between episodes), severity of pain (0=no pain, 10=worst pain)
Note any triggers of pain (e.g. brushing teeth, touching face, cold air)
Make a list of medications and surgeries related to the face pain (prior medications, did they work, were there side effects), current medications (duration and dose)
Write down questions in advance
Understand that the diagnosis and treatment process for TN is not simple. Having realistic expectations can greatly improve overall outcomes.
Follow-up
Patients should follow-up with their primary care providers and specialists regularly to maintain their treatment. Typically, neuromodulation surgical patients are asked to return to the clinic every few months in the year following the surgery. During these visits, they may adjust the stimulation settings and assess the patient’s recovery from surgery. Routinely following-up with a doctor ensures that the care is correct and effective. Patients who undergo any form of neurostimulation surgery will also follow-up with a device representative who will adjust the device settings and parameters as needed alongside their doctors.

Article Provided By: aans.org
Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SCIf you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com

 

 

 

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Failed Back and Failed Fusion Syndrome

Failed Back and Failed Fusion Syndrome

After any spine surgery, a percentage of patients may still experience pain. This is called failed back or failed fusion syndrome, which is characterized by intractable pain and an inability to return to normal activities. Surgery may be able to fix the condition but not eliminate the pain.

Symptoms
The main symptom is pain following back surgery. Additionally, the patient’s ability to complete activities of daily living may be altered.

Causes and Risk Factors
Smoking
Formation of scar tissue
Recurring or persistent disc disease at adjacent levels
Continued pressure from spinal stenosis
Instability or abnormal movement
Pseudoarthrosis or failure of the fusion
Nerve damage within the nerve, arachnoiditis

Diagnosis
A diagnosis will be based on the patient’s symptoms and medical history.
Additional tests that may be useful include:
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Computed tomography (CT scans)

Treatment
Treatment of these conditions, once they have occurred, will vary depending on the nature of the condition and what caused prior surgery to fail.
Some patients fail to improve even after the best surgical intervention. In spite of careful diagnosis and a successful operation, patients may continue to experience pain or limitations in performing daily activities. This continuation of symptoms is known as “failed back syndrome.” A spinal fusion occurs after the surgeon creates the conditions for the bones of the spine to unite into an immobile block. The union of the fusion mass occurs over time. When the time for healing is extended or the fusion fails to unite, this is a called a “failed fusion” or pseudoarthrosis.

Article Provided By: cedars-sinai
Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SCIf you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com

 

 

 

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How to Approach Allergy Season with Chronic Pain

How to Approach Allergy Season with Chronic Pain

Seasonal allergies are one of the leading causes of chronic illness in the United States, affecting millions every year. However, for people who suffer from other forms of chronic pain such as rheumatoid arthritis, back and muscle pain, or fibromyalgia, seasonal allergies can prove an even bigger challenge to overcome.

By
Zachary Pottle
Monday, March 1, 2021

As winter begins to subside in many states across America, spring brings about long-awaited warm weather, outdoor activities, and a break from the dreary winter months. However, rising temperatures bring about one of the most notorious markers of spring: seasonal allergies. Cars everywhere begin to don an unmistakable yellow hue. Eyes start to itch, noses start to run, and the novelty of springtime is soon ruined for millions.
Allergy season can be extremely tough for the more than 50 million Americans that experience some type of seasonal allergy each year, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Yet, for people who suffer from chronic pain or illness, allergy season can prove to be an even bigger challenge.
What are seasonal allergies?
Seasonal allergies are most commonly caused by pollen, a powdery substance consisting of pollen grains used to fertilize plants of the same species. Pollen is typically released by trees, grasses, and weeds anywhere from spring into summer and late fall respectively. The light, dry substance is released by the plants and carried by the wind, which makes it almost impossible to avoid; some pine pollen has reportedly traveled up to 1800 miles away from its source tree.
For most, the culprit of their seasonal allergies is grasses and weeds. Thought to be the most common type of allergen across the United States is a weed species named ragweed, which flowers in late August to early September. While ragweed only lives for one single season out of the year, its ability to release over one billion pollen grains, some of which have been reported to travel over 400 miles, proves it to be a fierce allergen.
When is allergy season?
Allergy season can range anywhere from early spring (February to March), to late fall (September to October). The type of pollen being released into the air differs with the seasons, which can be a very important tidbit of knowledge for those who know which type of pollen they are sensitive to. Three major groups of allergens can be attributed to seasonal allergies: trees, grasses, and weeds, each of which peaks at different times of the year.
Trees are among the first to release their pollen each year, starting as early as February, with a peak in pollen counts around April and May. Some of the most common tree pollen allergies are to trees such as birch, ash, cedar, elm, and oak.
Grasses tend to begin their pollination in early spring (March or April typically), and often coincide their peak pollen counts, unfortunately for many, with that of trees, and often carry those high levels into June and July. Popular grass allergens are johnsongrass, ryegrass, orchard grass, and bermudagrass to name a few.
Unfortunately, weeds tend to start their pollination just as grass pollen levels begin to subside. Around the peak of summer, July and August, weed pollen levels begin to rise drastically, and by September they are at their highest. Other weed allergens that prove troublesome for many are pigweed, tumbleweed, and sagebrush.
How do allergies affect people with chronic pain?
The link between allergies and chronic pain or illness is often overlooked. It’s easy to dismiss the two as being related, but they go more hand in hand than many may understand. Allergies are a direct result of the immune system’s accidental response to foreign bodies like pollen that are otherwise harmless. When the immune system combats these allergens, it releases antibodies into the bloodstream, which in turn produces the symptoms of an allergic reaction. For those who suffer from chronic pain or illness, allergies can prove to be challenging, as many of the symptoms are easily confused for one another. Understanding how seasonal allergies can affect chronic pain and illness can be a useful tool in combating allergy season and alleviating unwanted added stress on one’s body.
For those who may suffer from chronic pain related to rheumatoid arthritis or other muscle or joint pain, immune responses to allergies can add unwanted stress to an already strained immune system. Some of the most common symptoms of seasonal allergies are inflammation and joint pain. This “doubling down” of inflammation can often make symptoms feel worse than they otherwise would be, making it hard to determine the root cause.Seasonal allergies also bring with them the addition of symptoms such as coughing and sneezing. These symptoms, whilst easy to attribute to allergies, are extremely challenging for those with chronic pain in their back, neck, and spine. Coughing and sneezing produce violent, quick movements in both the neck and back, which for many may already be a cause of debilitating pain. Coughing can also add to this pain, and in some cases cause it. People with recent injuries to their back, neck, or spine, are at an increased risk of injuries such as herniated disks and muscle strain, which can be triggered by the sudden, abrupt movement of the back.
The added fatigue that can come with seasonal allergies can also be troublesome for those with chronic pain or illness. Symptoms of fibromyalgia can include chronic fatigue and tiredness, the inability to sleep, headaches and migraines, and problems with memory and concentration. All of these symptoms can be worsened with the addition of seasonal allergies, which can cause all of the above symptoms. The addition of any added symptom or ailment can be difficult to overcome for many, especially when one can suffer from more than one type of pollen allergy, which can lead to months of suffering.
What can you do?
While avoiding seasonal allergies can seem impossible, in many cases avoiding any kind of pollen would mean simply staying indoors for months at a time. Still, there are steps one can take to enjoy the outdoors and avoid serious allergic reactions.
Shower After Being Outdoors: This may seem obvious to many, but showering immediately after being outdoors can greatly reduce the amount of pollen that is not only on the body but also in the home. It is also important to wash the clothes that have been outdoors immediately after returning and to refrain from wearing them again until they have been washed.
Regularly Change Air Filters in Home: One of the most effective ways to prevent pollen from entering the house is to change air filters frequently. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that households use a HEPA filter (high-efficiency particulate air) when choosing an air filter replacement. These air filters can prevent 99.97% of all dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and airborne particles and should be changed with regards to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Wash Bedding at Least Once a Week: While showering, washing clothes, and changing air filters can all help reduce pollen in the house, some pollen, especially from plants with stickier pollen like that of the dandelion or other insect-pollinated plants and flowers, can stick to the body and make their way past all of these defenses. Washing bed sheets at least once a week can be a great way to reduce stubborn pollen in the house.
Consult an Allergist: It’s important to understand one’s body and its sensitivity to pollen. Consulting an allergy specialist can be an effective way to combat seasonal allergies, as it can give individuals insight into what specifically is the cause of their allergies. Allergists are typically a good solution for those who may suffer from more severe, recurring seasonal allergies.
Understand Pollen Levels: Finally, it is important to understand that there may be some days in which outdoor activities may not be a reasonable undertaking. Monitor pollen levels in the local area and plan accordingly. Along with local news stations and online sites, there are numerous phone apps dedicated to monitoring pollen levels that will give real-time data in a specific area. On days where pollen levels are forecasted to be high, avoid outdoor activities to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction.

Article Provided By: painresource.com
Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SCIf you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com

 

 

 

 

 

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How Pets Can Help Your Chronic Pain Symptoms

How Pets Can Help Your Chronic Pain Symptoms

By Jeanne Faulkner
Reviewed by QualityHealth’s Medical Advisory Board

Pet owners love their companions for a variety of reasons. But can having a pet relieve your chronic pain? In fact, studies have found that, yes, pets can help relieve many of the symptoms associated with chronic pain conditions and help patients live better lives. Here are five ways that pets can help patients with chronic pain:
1. Provide distraction. It’s hard to focus on pain when you’re watching a kitten chase her tail or when a dog is cuddled up next to you. Animals give patients opportunities to enjoy life through simple moments and events, like throwing your dog a ball, playing with your cat or listening to your bird sing. Plus, being a responsible pet owner requires that you feed, water, walk, care for and clean up after your animal, which gives you something to focus on outside of your diagnosis.
2. Increase activity. Even if all you do is walk to the pantry to open a can, owning a pet makes you get up and move. Dogs are particularly effective pets for bumping up your physical activity level because they require walking and demand playful interaction. Cats, on the other hand, are more independent, which might provide a better pet-match for patients with mobility issues.
3. Improve your mood. Studies show that the very act of petting an animal reduces anxiety, symptoms of depression, and stress. Pets provide companionship, opportunities to connect with others and reduce feelings of isolation. What’s more, dogs are effective at sensing and absorbing people’s moods. Often they’re used in hospitals, schools, and other care facilities to provide therapy and personal services. That’s not just a benefit for dog owners, however. Cats, horses, birds, chickens, and other animals can provide companionship and services that help people experience a better sense of wellbeing.
4. Improve your heart health. According to the American Pain Foundation, pet owners who suffer heart attacks have higher one-year survival rates than patients who are not pet owners. Animal owners also have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels, fewer minor health problems such as headaches and injuries, and are able to cope better with stressful life events. Petting a dog has been proven to reduce blood pressure dramatically in some patients.
5. Provide unconditional love. Animals don’t care what you look like, how much you complain, or how exhausted you are. They love you regardless of the circumstances. Through their eyes, you’re perfect. Their inexhaustible patience and ability to stay present in the moment provides their owners valuable lessons in how to be better humans.
Want to Reap the Benefits of Owning a Pet?
Contact a veterinarian and find out what types of pets would work for your home, family and health condition. Visit the Humane Society or local animal shelter and consider adopting an animal that needs you as much as you need him. If owning your own pet doesn’t work for you, contact the Delta Society and find out about pet therapy dogs in your area.

Article Provided By: qualityhealth
Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SCIf you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com

 

 

 

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What And Where Are Dermatomes?

What and where are dermatomes?

Dermatomes are areas of skin that send signals to the brain through the spinal nerves. These signals give rise to sensations involving temperature, pressure, and pain.
The part of a nerve that exits the spinal cord is called the nerve root. Damage to a nerve root can trigger symptoms in the nerve’s corresponding dermatome.
Below, we show the locations of the dermatomes throughout the body. We also describe health conditions that can damage the spinal nerves and affect their dermatomes.

What are they?

A dermatome is an area of skin that sends information to the brain via a single spinal nerve.
Spinal nerves exit the spine in pairs. There are 31 pairs in total, and 30 of these have corresponding dermatomes.
The exception is the C1 spinal nerve, which does not have a corresponding dermatome.
The spinal nerves are classified into five groups, according to the region of the spine from which they exit.
The five groups and their points of exit from the spine are:
Cervical nerves: These exit the neck region and are labeled C1–C8.
Thoracic nerves: These exit the torso region and are labeled T1–T12.
Lumbar nerves: These exit the lower back region and are labeled L1–L5.
Sacral nerves: These exit the base of the spine and are labeled S1–S5.
A coccygeal nerve pair: These exit the tailbone, or coccyx.

Locations of the dermatomes
Each dermatome shares the label of its corresponding spinal nerve.
Some dermatomes overlap to a certain extent, and the precise layout of the dermatomes can vary slightly from one person to the next.
Below, we list the locations of the dermatomes that correspond to the spinal nerves in each group.
Cervical nerves and their dermatomes
C2: the base of the skull, behind the ear
C3: the back of the head and the upper neck
C4: the lower neck and upper shoulders
C5: the upper shoulders and the two collarbones
C6: the upper forearms and the thumbs and index fingers
C7: the upper back, backs of the arms, and middle fingers
C8: the upper back, inner arms, and ring and pinky fingers
Thoracic nerves and their dermatomes
T1: the upper chest and back and upper forearm
T2, T3, and T4: the upper chest and back
T5, T6, and T7: the mid-chest and back
T8 and T9: the upper abdomen and mid-back
T10: the midline of the abdomen and the mid-back
T11 and T12: the lower abdomen and mid-back
Lumbar nerves and their dermatomes
L1: the groin, upper hips, and lower back
L2: the lower back, hips, and tops of the inner thighs
L3: the lower back, inner thighs, and inner legs just below the knees
L4: the backs of the knees, inner sections of the lower legs, and the heels
L5: the tops of the feet and the fronts of the lower legs
Sacral nerves and their dermatomes
S1: the lower back, buttocks, backs of the legs, and outer toes
S2: the buttocks, genitals, backs of the legs, and heels
S3: the buttocks and genitals
S4 and S5: the buttocks
The coccygeal nerves and their dermatome
The dermatome corresponding with the coccygeal nerves is located on the buttocks, in the area directly around the tailbone, or coccyx.

Associated health conditions
Symptoms that occur within a dermatome sometimes indicate damage or disruption to the dermatome’s corresponding nerve. The location of these symptoms can, therefore, help doctors diagnose certain underlying medical conditions.
Some conditions that can affect the nerves and their corresponding dermatomes are:
Shingles
Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a viral infection caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus. This is the same virus that causes chickenpox.
After the body recovers from chickenpox, the virus can lie dormant and eventually reactivate as shingles.
In adults, shingles typically causes a rash to form on the trunk, along one of the thoracic dermatomes. The rash may be preceded by pain, itching, or tingling in the area.
Some other symptoms of shingles can include:
a headache
sensitivity to bright light
a general feeling of being unwell
A person with a weakened immune system may develop a more widespread shingles rash that covers three or more dermatomes. Doctors refer to this as disseminated zoster.
Pinched nerves
A pinched nerve occurs when a nerve root has become compressed by a bone, disc, tendon, or ligament. This compression can occur anywhere along the spine, but it usually occurs in the lower, or lumbar, region.
A pinched nerve can cause pain, tingling, or numbness in its corresponding dermatome. As such, the location of the symptoms can help a doctor identify the affected nerve.

The doctor then diagnoses and treats the underlying cause of the pinched nerve and recommends ways to relieve the symptoms.
Traumatic injury
A traumatic injury to the nerves may result from an accident or surgery.
The severity of symptoms can help doctors determine the extent of the nerve injury.

Summary
Dermatomes are areas of skin, each of which is connected to a single spinal nerve. Together, these areas create a surface map of the body.
Dysfunction or damage to a spinal nerve can trigger symptoms in the corresponding dermatome. Nerves damage or dysfunction may result from infection, compression, or traumatic injury.
Doctors can sometimes use the severity of symptoms in a dermatome to determine the extent and location of nerve damage. They then work to diagnose and treat the underlying cause of the damage.

Article Provided By: medicalnewstoday

Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SCIf you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com

 

 

 

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How To Cope With Chronic Neuropathic Pain

How to Cope With Chronic Neuropathic Pain
By Erica Jacques
Medically reviewed by Grant Hughes, MD on November 03, 2019

Chronic pain can have crippling effects on your body. This can especially be true when that diagnosis is chronic nerve pain, which is notoriously difficult to treat. However, chronic nerve pain doesn’t have to take away your quality of life. Today, there are many medications and treatments available to help you get your pain under control. But if you still find it difficult to cope with your chronic nerve pain, there are a few simple things you can try.

Seek Out Peers
Peers not only understand your situation, but they can also share their own coping mechanisms with you. Sometimes, a peer can give you an idea that you never considered. At the very least, they can be someone to whom you can vent your feelings.

Keep a Pain Journal
A pain journal is a safe place for you to talk about your pain, especially if you aren’t comfortable sharing those feelings with another person. Sometimes venting your frustrations on paper is enough to make you feel better. You can also document details about your pain in your journal, which can help you recognize trends that increase and/or decrease pain sensations.

Practice Relaxation
For some people, the tension that results from excessive stress can intensify pain sensations. Of course, living stress-free is next to impossible. Learning to relax, however, can help decrease some of that day-to-day tension, which is not only good for your body but also for your mental well-being. Try listening to some peaceful music, soaking in a warm bath or taking a nice stroll.

Maintain Regular Doctor’s Visits
If you’ve had chronic nerve pain for a while, you may feel frustrated. Sometimes all of the coping mechanisms in the world aren’t enough. It’s always a good idea to keep up with your doctor visits in order to keep your treatments current.

Seek Help If You Feel Depressed
The effects of day-to-day pain can leave people more vulnerable to depression. It’s normal to feel sad from time to time. However, if you notice trends of increased feelings of sadness, or if you start to feel hopelessness, it might be time to seek out a psychiatric consultation. You can talk to your doctor for advice on finding a qualified mental health practitioner.

Article Provided By: verywellhealth
Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SCIf you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com

 

 

 

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What’s Causing My Lower Back and Leg Pain?

What’s Causing My Lower Back and Leg Pain?

Back pain is a common ailment and the leading cause of job-related disability. It can equally affect men and women, ranging in intensity from a mild ache lasting a few days to intense, chronic pain lasting for weeks at a time.
Though often caused by muscle strain and normal wear and tear of the body, back pain may also be a symptom of more serious conditions. In some cases, back pain can extend to other areas of the body, specifically to your legs.
Other symptoms associated with back and leg pain include:
burning sensations
tingling
being sore to the touch
limited mobility
Here are some causes of lower back and leg pain.
Sciatica
Often the result of a herniated disk, sciatica is a form of pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve. Your sciatic nerve extends from your lower back, through your hips and butt, and down your legs. If you experience sciatica pain, it will typically occur on one side of your body.
Common symptoms associated with sciatica include:
pain radiating from your lower spine down the back of your leg
sharp jolts of pain in the affected areas
burning sensations
muscle weakness
numbness
trouble controlling your bladder or bowels
Self-care, exercise, and proper posture can usually improve sciatica symptoms. If your condition doesn’t improve, your doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants or anti-inflammatories to reduce pain and discomfort.
In some cases, your doctor may inject steroids into the area surrounding your sciatic nerve to alleviate pain. If your sciatic pain begins to cause weakness or affects your quality of life, surgery may be the best treatment. Always consult with your doctor before pursuing treatment options.

Lumbar herniated disk
A lumbar herniated disk is a ruptured disk in your lower back. It occurs when the nucleus or “jelly” is pushed out of your spinal disk through a tear. The ruptured disk puts pressure on a spinal nerve that can cause severe pain, numbness, and sometimes weakness.
Other symptoms associated with a lumbar herniated disk include:
persistent back pain worsened by standing, coughing, or sneezing
back spasms
decreased reflexes at the knee or ankle
leg muscle weakness
numbness in leg and foot
spinal cord compression
Treatments vary depending on the severity of the damage. In minor cases, doctors may recommend rest, pain medication, and, sometimes, acupuncture. If symptoms don’t improve within a few weeks, your doctor may recommend physical therapy or surgery.

Piriformis syndrome
The piriformis is a flat, band-like muscle found in your glutes near the top of your hip joint. The piriformis helps to stabilize your hip joint, and lifts and rotates your thigh away from your body.
Piriformis syndrome is a neurological disorder that occurs when your piriformis muscle compresses your sciatic nerve.
Common symptoms associated with piriformis syndrome include:
pain extending to your lower leg
tingling
numbness in your buttocks
Treatment involves pain relief and avoiding pain triggers such as certain sitting positions and strenuous physical activities.
Your doctor may recommend rest, hot and cold treatments, and physical therapy to increase your mobility. Surgery is a last resort, but may be required in severe circumstances.

Arachnoiditis
The arachnoid is a membrane that protects spinal cord nerves. Inflammation or irritation of the arachnoid can cause the pain disorder arachnoiditis. In many cases, people who have arachnoiditis experience pain in the lower back and legs, as it affects the nerves in those areas.
The more common symptom of this condition is a stinging, burning pain. Other symptoms associated with arachnoiditis include:
tingling or numbness, specifically in the legs
“skin-crawling” sensations
muscle cramps
twitching
bowel or bladder dysfunction
Though there’s no complete cure for arachnoiditis, treatments focus on pain management. Your doctor may prescribe pain medication or recommend physiotherapy and exercise. Surgery isn’t recommended for this condition because it can increase the risk of scar tissue formation.

Radiating back and leg pain are often symptoms of more serious medical conditions. While in some cases pain may improve within a few days, some conditions can cause debilitating pain for weeks at a time.
If you begin to experience regular, daily pain or worsening symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. Discuss treatment options with your doctor to ensure the best quality of life.

Article Provided By: healthline

 

Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SCIf you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com

 

 

 

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Nerve Pain Symptoms, Causes and Treatment Options

Nerve Pain Symptoms, Causes and Treatment Options
Reviewed By Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD on 1/26/2021

 

What Nerve Pain Feels Like
The perception of pain varies with everyone; terms such as stabbing, prickling, burning, tingling, and other descriptions have been used. Nerve pain, also called “neuropathic pain,” is difficult to live with. But for most people, nerve pain can be reduced.

Understanding Nerve Pain
Nerve pain is usually due to damaged nerves that send false signals that result in chronic pain. Also, the signals may not function to register the pain associated with an injury normally. In a case like this, the person may lack a pain response indicating injury (for example, someone who has diabetes with neuropathy in the feet may not register a foot injury when it occurs).

Nerve Pain Triggers
Some develop unusual triggers that make them overly sensitive to certain conditions. This may be caused by heightened sensitivity (hypersensitivity) of the nerves to stimulation. For example, nerve sensitivity to touch can cause pain in some people with herpes zoster; they can’t tolerate clothing or sheets touching the infected area. Other nerve damage can result in painful body positions during standing or sitting.

Loss of Feeling
Not all nerve damage results in pain. Loss of feeling or numbness may occur. Although it may not be painful, the numbness usually results in decreased sensitivity of the sense of touch that can interfere with dexterity in the hands. This can make activities like typing, shoe-tying, or playing a musical instrument difficult.

Nerve Pain and Sleep
Some nerve pain is worse at night, causing difficulty sleeping. This loss of sleep can cause additional health problems so people with this type of nerve pain need to discuss the problem with their doctor to receive early treatment.

Losing Balance
Numbness or reduction/loss of the sense of touch can be dangerous because it affects balance and muscle strength. This may require braces, canes, or walkers to prevent falls.

Unseen Injuries
Although some nerve damage may cause numbness instead of pain, this can still be harmful. Numbness may mask damage to traumatized extremities like the feet. People with this type of nerve damage can benefit from regularly examining their extremities for possible overlooked injuries.

Nerve Pain Progression
Nerve pain is often progressive, especially if the root cause (for example, diabetes) is not treated. The usual progression of nerve pain is that it begins far away from the brain and spinal cord (hands and feet) and spreads backwards (retrograde) towards the arms and legs. With appropriate treatment, the progression may be halted and, in some cases, reversed.

Assessing Your Pain
Your doctor is your partner in controlling nerve pain. By answering all questions asked (pain type, duration, and how it has changed your lifestyle), you help your doctor to determine the cause of the pain and how to treat it.

Conditions That Cause Nerve Pain
Although some people develop nerve pain for no known reason, many others develop it because of a certain health problem such as diabetes, shingles, or cancer. Treating such conditions can indirectly reduce or stop the pain. However, it’s also possible to treat the pain accompanying these conditions while undergoing treatment for the causative conditions themselves.

OTC Treatments for Nerve Pain
Over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers drugs are often the first medicines used to reduce or stop nerve pain. The components may include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or acetaminophen. Some OTCs may be incorporated into creams, gels, ointments, oils, or sprays that are applied to the skin overlying the painful area.

Prescription Drugs for Nerve Pain
There are many different prescription drugs that may help to reduce nerve pain. They range from powerful painkillers to drugs that were originally used for depression or seizures but can also reduce nerve pain. However, some of these prescription drugs may be addictive, so you and your doctor need to find a treatment plan that works for you without causing you additional problems.

Natural Treatments for Nerve Pain
Some people with nerve pain respond to other treatments known as complementary, natural, or alternative treatments. For example, acupuncture may help some, while dietary supplements (such as vitamin B-12) may help others. However, you and your doctor should discuss the use of these treatments and supplements to be sure they don’t interfere with other medical therapies.

 

Article Provided By: onhealth
Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SCIf you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com

 

 

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What to Know About a Pinched Nerve in the Arm

What to know about a pinched nerve in the arm

The term “pinched nerve” is not a true medical term. Nonetheless, people often use it to describe an injury that results from compression, constriction, or stretching of a nerve or set of nerves.
This article outlines the symptoms and causes of a pinched nerve in the arm.

People may experience pain in the arm, wrist, or hand, depending on the affected nerve.
A pinched nerve in the arm can cause a range of symptoms.
Some possible symptoms that a person may experience include:
radiating pain from the site of the pinched nerve
tingling, numbness, or a loss of sensation in the arm
muscle weakness in the arm
Symptoms also vary, depending on the nerve affected.
There are three main nerves that run through the arm, past the elbow and wrist, and down to the hand.
They are:
The median nerve: This nerve runs down the center of a person’s arm.
The ulnar nerve: This nerve extends along the outer edge of the arm, in line with the little finger. It becomes aggravated when a person hits their “funny bone.”
The radial nerve: This nerve extends along the inside of the arm, in line with the thumb.

Causes
There are many nerves in a person’s arm. The cause of a pinched nerve depends on which nerve is compressed, constricted, or stretched.
Read on for an outline of some possible causes of a pinched nerve in the arm.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
The carpal tunnel is a passageway of ligaments, tendons, and bones that extend from the wrist to the hand.
The median nerve passes through the carpal tunnel and provides sensation to the thumb, ring, and middle finger. It also provides sensation to the inner edge of the ring finger.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that results from long-term or chronic compression of the median nerve within the carpal tunnel. It is a common cause of symptoms of a pinched nerve in the arm.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can result from injury to the wrist, or as a result of frequent and repetitive hand and wrist motions.
Some possible symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include:
Sensations of numbness, tingling, or burning that mainly affect the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers.
Pain or tingling that may radiate up the forearm toward the shoulder.
Weakness or poor motor control of the affected hand.
Many people report that moving or shaking their hands can provide temporary symptom relief.
Cubital tunnel syndrome
The cubital tunnel is a passageway of bones, muscles, and ligaments that extends from the elbow joint, down through the forearm.
The ulnar nerve passes through the cubital tunnel, innervating the little finger, the outer edge of the ring finger, and the outer edge of the palm.
Cubital tunnel syndrome is the medical term for chronic compression of the ulnar nerve within the cubital tunnel.
This condition may cause the following symptoms:
numbness or tingling in the ring or little finger, especially when the elbow is bent
aching pain on the inside of the elbow
hand pain
weak grip
The following factors can increase a person’s risk of developing cubital tunnel syndrome:
previous elbow dislocation or fracture
bone spurs or arthritis of the elbow
swelling of the elbow joint
cysts near the elbow joint
Repetitive or prolonged activities that require a person to bend or flex their elbow also increase the risk of cubital tunnel syndrome.
Radial tunnel syndrome
The radial tunnel is a passageway of bone and muscle that runs along the upper part of the forearm.
The radial nerve runs through the radial tunnel. It enables the movement of the wrists and fingers and provides sensation to the skin on the forearm and back of the hand.
Radial tunnel syndrome is the medical term for compression of the radial nerve within the radial tunnel. In some people, the nerve slides back and forth within the tunnel, causing intermittent irritation.
People who have radial tunnel syndrome typically experience pain in the forearm, just below the elbow.
The pain may worsen with the following activities:
extending the elbow
turning the forearm
flexing the wrist

Diagnosis
When working to diagnose a pinched nerve in the arm, a doctor will ask about a person’s symptoms and medical history. The doctor may also order one of the following diagnostic tests:
X-rays: These imaging tests can help to identify bone spurs or other bone-related issues that may be compressing a nerve within the arm.
CT scans or MRI scans: These imaging tests can help to identify whether nerve compression is the result of damage to soft tissues, such as a bulging or herniated disk.
Electromyography (EMG): This test records electrical activity within muscle tissues. A doctor can combine EMG results with nerve conduction studies to find out whether nerve damage is causing a person’s symptoms or compression of a nerve root in the spine.

Treatment
The treatment for a pinched nerve in the arm depends partly on the cause of the condition, and the frequency and severity of a person’s symptoms.
Some potential treatment options are:
Medication: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can help reduce swelling around the nerve. This may help to alleviate irritation.
Rest: Wherever possible, a person should rest the arm to reduce further irritation of the affected nerve.
Brace or splints: A brace or splint can help keep the arm in a position that reduces compression or irritation of the affected nerve. This can help to alleviate symptoms or prevent them from recurring.
Surgery: If nonsurgical treatments do not resolve the symptoms of a pinched nerve in the arm, a doctor may recommend surgical options. There are a few surgical procedures that will relieve pressure on a pinched nerve in the arm, and these vary depending on which nerve is affected.

Stretches and exercises
A person should seek the advice of a doctor before undertaking any stretches or exercises for a pinched nerve. Performing these activities incorrectly can cause further damage to the nerve.
A doctor will recommend appropriate stretches and exercises dependent on:
the cause of the pinched nerve
the type and severity of symptoms
the context in which they occur

Management
The following tips can help a person to manage the symptoms of a pinched nerve:
avoiding spending too long in one position
sleeping so as not to put pressure on the nerve
avoiding leaning on elbows or resting an arm on an open window while driving
taking regular breaks from repetitive hand movements, such as when typing, playing video games, or knitting
gently stretching the arms and wrists during breaks from repetitive hand activities
When to see a doctor
A pinched nerve will usually heal by itself without medical treatment. However, a person should see a doctor if their symptoms persist for more than a couple of days, despite rest and appropriate home treatment.
A person should seek emergency medical treatment if they experience either of the following:
sudden and unexpected weakness in an arm, which may be a sign of stroke
sudden pain in the left arm, which may indicate a heart attack
A person who thinks they may be having a stroke or heart attack should phone 911 right away. Prompt treatment of either condition reduces the risk of complications or death.

Summary
A pinched nerve is a nerve that has become compressed by its surrounding tissues. Compression of a nerve in the arm may cause uncomfortable and painful sensations in the arm, wrist, or hand.
A pinched nerve will usually resolve without medical intervention. However, a person should see a doctor if their symptoms persist beyond a couple of days.
A doctor may recommend medical imaging tests to help diagnose the cause of a pinched nerve. Treatment may involve rest, medications, and the use of a brace or splint. In some cases, a doctor may recommend surgery to release pressure on the nerve.

Article Provided By: medicalnewstoday
Carolina Pain Scrambler Logo, Chronic Pain, Greenville, SCIf you would like to discuss what Carolina Pain Scrambler do to help relieve your chronic pain symptoms or receive more information on our treatment process, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-520-5011 or you can email us at info@carolinapainscrambler.com

 

 

 

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