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How to Treat the Pain from Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

Pain… Discomfort… Numbness… Tingling…

If you live with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, you know these symptoms all too well. The continual discomfort you feel in your hands and feet can greatly affect your overall mood, your sleep, and even your quality of life.

Of course there are prescription medications which can help these symptoms, but most research states that these medications only ease the pain by about 30% to 50%. Not to mention they can be expensive, depending on your income and insurance options.

We want to help you learn how to better manage your neuropathy, get real relief now, and even prevent further damage to your nerves in the future. Let’s look at a few options for managing Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy.

Keep Your Blood Sugar Under Control

If you don’t manage your diabetes and your blood glucose levels remain too high, you will begin to experience an increase in nerve damage over time. Since the nerve endings are also connected to your brain and spine, this nerve damage will then cause diabetic neuropathy.

Healthy blood sugar levels have been shown to slow the process and ease the pain of diabetic neuropathy. By keeping your blood sugar in the healthy range (a hemoglobin A1C reading of 7% or lower), you’ll greatly reduce your risk of nerve damage.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

So how can you keep your blood sugar in a good range? Be sure to consult your doctor. Your doctor will help you with a plan to get your levels down into the healthy place by utilizing behaviors like:

  • Eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and whole grains. One that consists of a moderate amount of fish, poultry, nuts, and beans, with little red meat.
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight range.
  • Managing your stress level.
  • Exercising for at least 30 minutes 5 days a week.
  • Taking your blood sugar medication as recommended.

Utilize Pain Scrambler Therapy

If you currently experience peripheral neuropathy caused by diabetes, there are options for decreasing your pain! Calmare Therapy, also known as Scrambler Therapy, is a non-narcotic, non-invasive procedure for the treatment of chronic pain.

This therapy can reduce your pain and need for narcotic pain medication typically by about 80%, while in many cases patients experience complete pain relief.

Pain Scrambler Therapy has been proven as a successful treatment for patients with severe chronic neuropathic pain caused by underlying medical conditions such as diabetes.

How We can Help

At Carolina Pain Scrambler, we treat neuropathic pain and diabetic peripheral neuropathy with the Calmare Pain Scrambler device. This non-invasive technology transmits a “non-pain” signal though disposable electrodes on the surface of the skin. These electrodes deliver the “non-pain” signal to the surface nerve receptors and replace the pain impulse. This scrambles the chronic pain transmission signal so the nerve doesn’t transmit the pain signal but instead transmits the “non-pain” signal. Over time, the nerve forms a new “non-pain” signal pathway that becomes dominant.

If you have any questions about our services, we would be happy to answer them any time! Please give us a call at 864-520-5011.

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Peripheral Neuropathy, Diabetic Neuropathy Treatment, Pain Therapy, Peripheral, Nerve Pain Relief, Carolina Pain Scrambler Center, Greenville South Carolina, Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

Pain Scrambler Therapy As An Alternative to Prescription Medication

While many prescription medications are helpful in reducing pain and discomfort that comes with different types of chronic pain, they often come with other side effects that range from unpleasant to potentially dangerous. If you have been unhappy using prescription medications, Pain Scrambler Therapy may be the perfect alternative for you. This one-of-a-kind treatment for neuropathic pain is highly effective, non-invasive, and FDA cleared.

What Are The Risks of Prescription Pain Medications?

1. Side Effects – Traditional prescription pain management can often consist of replacing the pain with potential mild to severe side effects like dizziness, fatigue, diarrhea, heart issues, nausea, rash, constipation, headache, insomnia, or other more serious conditions. Instead of swapping symptoms for symptoms, there is another path to neuropathic pain relief.

2. Dependency & Addiction – In addition to physical side effects, many people can become dependent upon prescription medicines. This can lead to prescription drug abuse or addiction, something that millions of people have faced and many families have had to suffer from.

3. Financial Cost – Depending on your income and insurance, the cost of constant prescriptions can add up over years and years. If you are planning to be on medications for the rest of your life, considering the financial burden is definitely something to think about.

Why is Pain Scrambler Therapy a Good Alternative?

For an alternative path to neuropathic pain relief without the dangerous side effects, a safe and effective option is Calmare Pain Scrambler Therapy. Calmare Therapy, also known as Pain Scrambler Therapy, is becoming much more well-known throughout the United States and Europe because of its amazing results in treating chronic neuropathic pain.

This type of therapy offers pain relief and control without the potentially dangerous side effects of prescription drugs. While the therapy is relatively new and cutting edge, The Calmare Therapy device has successfully treated over 7,000 patients and has become known for its success in treating neuropathic and oncologic pain.

In fact, Scrambler Therapy has been cleared by the FDA in the United States and Europe since 2009, and awareness of this highly effective treatment is growing rapidly. This has been found to be the safest and most effective treatment for neuropathic pain.

Final Thoughts

Our clinic is Calmare Therapy certified and ready to get you the pain free life that you deserve! If you are tired of living with pain day in and day out, if you’re ready to say goodbye to ongoing use of prescription medication, and if you are looking for a safe and effective way to rid yourself of your chronic nerve pain for good, we believe you would be a great candidate for our therapy.

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The Use of Pain Scrambler for Chemotherapy-Induced Pain in Cancer Patients

Cancer is one of the most challenging diseases. It can completely change your life and the treatments can be brutal at times. While Chemotherapy helps fight cancer and bring healing to patients, it also has many side effects, including fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, infections, hair loss, and peripheral neuropathy pain.

Over time, as chemotherapy increases, these side effects also tend to increase. So what can you do to counter these side effects and ease the pain? Calmare “Pain Scrambler” Therapy can ease the pain caused by chemotherapy and other cancer treatments.

How Does It Work

One of the most painful side effects of Chemotherapy is peripheral neuropathy pain, which comes in different forms including tingling, burning sensation, and pain in hands and feet.

Patients who use the Pain Scrambler to combat side effects of chemotherapy have found relief, especially from the pain of peripheral neuropathy pain.

How Long Does It Take to Find Relief

While Carolina Pain Scrambler can begin to deliver pain relief in just one treatment, the best results have shown from cumulative treatments over 10-12 sessions.

Each session lasts about 45 minutes, and the pain-free interval can last up to several months, depending on the severity and cause of initial pain.

Are There Side Effects?

Many cancer patients have found pain relief with Pain Scrambler therapy, with no apparent side effects. What’s more, the Pain Scrambler has reduced the need for many patients to continue taking opioids and other pain medications, further lessening the side effects of those medications. It’s worth noting that reduced pain caused by chemotherapy can even help patients endure their consistent chemotherapy treatments over time.

Final Thoughts

Our goal is to create a better quality of life for patients experiencing nerve pain, including cancer patients! The Pain Scrambler uses electrodes placed on the skin, and reduces pain signals sent to the brain. Continued treatment helps reduce overall pain for chemotherapy patients, and there is no other treatment as effective or safe for peripheral neuropathy pain.

If you or someone you know would like to experience immediate relief from chronic pain, please contact us today.

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What Is Pain Scrambler Therapy?

The unfortunate reality is that many of us have either experienced debilitating & chronic neuropathic pain or know someone who has. It’s not easy to live with and it can greatly affect your overall quality of life.

For those dealing with chronic pain, it can be hard to complete even the most simple day-to-day tasks or even find joy in playing with the grandchildren.

How do you deal with it? Traditional prescription pain management can often consist of replacing the pain with all kinds of potential side effects like diarrhea, dizziness, fatigue, heart issues, nausea, rash, constipation, headache, insomnia. These are just a few of the milder side effects of prescription pills.

Instead of swapping pain for pain, there are alternative paths to neuropathic and oncologic pain relief to consider.

Alternatives to Prescription Pain Management

Since chronic pain varies, there are several treatment options available as alternatives to prescription pain management. It’s important to consider many factors when making this decision, including the cause of pain, location of the pain, and duration of the pain. They are much safer approaches to pain than prescription drugs that also have longer lasting effects overall. Well-known modern alternative treatments include acupuncture, chiropractic care, massage therapy, yoga, and aromatherapy, to name a few.

Acupuncture is known to relieve neck and lower back pain, osteoarthritis, and migraines. While
Chiropractic care can help relieve neck and back pain, headaches, and muscle pain.

These types of treatments and therapies have been proven successful in providing pain relief for certain types of pain, but what about chronic neuropathy?

For neuropathic pain relief, the best choice is Calmare Pain Scrambler Therapy, which is becoming much more well-known throughout the United States and Europe because of its amazing results in treating chronic neuropathic pain.

What Is Pain Scrambler Therapy?

The Calmare Scrambler Therapy device, commonly known as a Pain Scrambler, treats nerve pain as an alternative to prescription pain management. The device uses a biophysical approach rather than a more common biochemical approach, treating the root of the pain and providing rapid pain relief.

The Pain Scrambler creates and sends a no-pain signal through multiple surface electrodes placed on the skin. This signal becomes the dominant signal received by the brain, overriding the pain signal and providing extended relief of pain.

Patients experiencing chronic neck and back pain or pain from cancer and chemotherapy, as well as chronic conditions such as diabetic peripheral neuropathy, sciatica, CRPS, and more have been successfully treated with Scrambler Therapy treatments.

Pain Scrambler Therapy is safe and highly effective. Over 80% of patients treated have had extremely reduced pain. Some patients are even permanently pain-free after just 10-12 sessions!

Is This Treatment Safe?

This type of therapy offers pain relief and control without the potentially dangerous side effects of prescription drugs. While the therapy is relatively new and cutting edge, The Calmare Therapy device has successfully treated over 7,000 patients and has become known for its success in treating neuropathic and oncologic pain.

In fact, Scrambler Therapy has been cleared by the FDA in the United States and Europe in 2009, and awareness of this highly effective treatment is growing rapidly. This has been found to be the safest and most effective treatment for neuropathic pain.

What Does The Treatment Plan Consist Of?

The best results of Calmare Scrambler Therapy are often achieved over multiple treatment sessions. While the Carolina Pain Scrambler Center can begin to deliver pain relief in just one treatment, the best results have shown from cumulative treatments over 10-12 sessions.

Each session lasts about 45 minutes, and the pain-free interval can last up to several months, depending on the severity and cause of initial pain.

In between sessions, if the severity of pain was fairly high, periodic booster treatments may be needed. This is especially true for anyone experiencing the recurrence of pain. Over time, after a series of treatments with Calmare Scrambler Therapy, patients typically experience a gradual decrease in overall pain.

Conclusion

If you are tired of living with pain day in and day out, or if you’re ready to say goodbye to ongoing use of prescription medication, and you are looking for a safe and effective way to rid yourself of your chronic nerve pain for good, we believe you would be a great candidate for our therapy.

Calmare Pain Scrambler Therapy has helped many patients be able to get back to truly living.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be living pain-free once again?

We would love to answer any questions you may have about The Pain Scrambler. Contact us today if you’re ready to improve your health and experience a pain-free life!

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Is Your Sciatica Coming From Your Spine or Your SI Joint?

Is Your Sciatica Coming From Your Spine or Your SI Joint?

If you have pain radiating down your leg, you may immediately think: “I have a pinched nerve in my back.” But sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction can also cause pain that radiates down the leg. So, how do you tell the difference?

First, it’s important to understand that sciatica is not a diagnosis: it’s a symptom related to an underlying condition. Sciatica is the sensation of pain, tingling, weakness, and/or numbness in the lower extremities that is typically caused by compression or irritation of a spinal nerve(s) or of the sciatic nerve itself (see diagram). Usually, the nerve compression or irritation occurs in the lumbar spine.

 

The tricky thing is, the real source of the pain might be something else: your SI joint.

Start here to better understand your symptoms and what to do about them:

  • Nerve Compression or Irritation from the Spine Versus Nerve Irritation Related to the SI Joint:
  • SI Joint and Sciatica: Understand the Definitions
  • View Causes of Sciatica
  • Tests that Determine the Source of Your Leg or Lower Back Pain
  • Potential Treatments to Relieve the Pain

Nerve Compression or Irritation from the Spine Versus Nerve Irritation Related to the SI joint:

Even if you’ve determined that you have sciatica, the cause could be nerve irritation or compression in the spine OR you may have an SI joint problem OR a combination of both. The L5 and S1 spinal nerves are located very close to the SI joint, and SI joint dysfunction could result in irritation of those nearby nerves.

How can you be certain what’s causing the pain?

The only way to truly know what’s going on is to see your doctor and describe what you are feeling and experiencing. Your doctor will likely ask many questions, ask you to point to the source of your pain, and perform a physical exam.

 

Sciatic anterior

Here are a few subtle differences that he or she may be looking for:

Sciatica and other symptoms
from Nerve Compression in the Spine
Sciatica and other symptoms
from the SI Joint
  • Pain that starts in the lower back and goes down one leg (the leg pain is usually greater than the low back pain)
  • Lower back pain (below L5) that is off to one side that you can typically point to
  • Pelvis/buttock pain
  • Hip/groin pain
  • Pain, weakness, and/or numbness or a tingling sensation radiating to the calf, foot, or toes along the back of your buttock, thigh, and calf. You may have actual weakness and/or numbness as a result of compressed nerves.
  • Pain can be mild to excruciating; it may feel like an “electric shock”
  • Sensation in lower extremity: pain, numbness, tingling, weakness. Upon exam, patients do not usually have true weakness or numbness.
  • Typically, the pain stays above the knee, but can radiate down the leg to the calf or foot.
  • Severe cases may result in significant leg weakness
  • (Weakness, numbness, and reflex changes are called radiculopathy.)
  • Feeling of pain and leg instability (buckling, giving way) when standing.
  • The leg isn’t actually weak; the leg gives way because of the severe pain you may experience when the SI joint is loaded.
  • Sitting for a long time can make symptoms worse.
  • Pain going from sitting to standing. Unable to sit for long periods of time or sitting or sleeping on one side due to the pain. (Disturbed sitting and sleeping patterns.)
  • Typically felt on one side.
  • Can be on one or both sides, although typically on one side.

It’s rare for someone with sciatica from an SI joint problem to have real numbness, weakness, or reflex changes. This is because there is rarely a physical compression of the nerve. The L5 and/or S1 nerves are irritated (called radiculitis) when they cross near the SI joint, but these nerves are not compressed.

Your radiating leg pain (sciatica) can be from your spine or from your SI joint. However, it is possible to be diagnosed with problems in both areas. That’s why it’s so important to visit your doctor to truly determine what is causing your low back or leg pain.

SI Joint and Sciatica Definitions

Let’s back up a step and make sure we fully understand the definitions of sciatica and SI joint dysfunction.

What Is Sciatica?

Sciatica is a symptom (radiating leg pain) caused by a problem with the spinal nerve(s) or sciatic nerve, such as compression or irritation, which sends signals of pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness. The sciatic nerve is a made up of several nerves from your lower spine; it extends down the back of your leg to the bottom of your foot. You have one on each side. Sometimes, the compression in the spine affects nerves on both the left and right sides of the body.

The sciatic nerve carries nerve signals down to the muscles and sensation signals up to the spinal cord. These signals tell your muscles to move; when these signals are disrupted, this is why you might sometimes feel weakness or buckling in the knee.

What Is SI Joint Dysfunction?

Sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction is caused by trauma or degeneration of the SI joint. The SI joint is where your iliac bone (pelvis) connects to the sacrum (lowest part of the spine above the tailbone).

The SI joint is responsible for transferring the weight from your upper body to your pelvis and legs. Pain caused by SI joint dysfunction can be felt in the lower back or spine, buttocks, pelvis, groin, and sometimes in the legs, which makes it seem like the cause could be nerve compression in the spine.

The L5 and S1 nerves are near the SI joint and studies have shown that SI joint dysfunction can cause pain and other symptoms in the distribution of these nerves.

The SI joint is separate from the sciatic or spinal nerve(s); however, the SI joint can cause sciatica-like symptoms.

Underlying Causes of Sciatica Pain and SI Joint Pain

Oftentimes, it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of pain. Nerve compression in the spine and SI joint dysfunction are two areas that often cause pain running down the back of the leg.

 

Spine Problems that Can Result in Sciatica

  • A bulging, ruptured, or herniated disc in the spine
  • Central spinal stenosis or when your central spinal canal is constricted
  • Foraminal stenosis, when the openings where the nerves leave the spine become tight
  • Spondylolisthesis (or segmental instability), when one vertebra slips forward in the lower back
  • Facet arthropathy, a wearing down of the cartilage between the facet joints in the back of the spine
  • Injury or infection
  • Nutritional deficiencies and genetic problems (less common)

SI Joint Dysfunction: Potential Causes

  • Trauma to the SI joint from a fall, car accident, or giving birth
  • Degeneration of the SI joint

Both situations can be acute (lasting a couple weeks and resolving on its own) or chronic (lasting a very long time).

People with chronic SI joint dysfunction can suffer with the pain for years before they receive the correct diagnosis and treatment.

If your pain has lasted more than a couple weeks or is impacting your daily life, see a doctor right away.

Sciatic posterior

Testing to Determine the Source of Your Leg or Lower Back Pain

Your doctor will likely ask many questions, such as when the pain started, how long it lasts, and what causes it to get worse or better. Answers to these questions will provide clues to which tests you should get first.

For example, if your pain started after a fall on the buttocks or if it extends to the groin area, that might be a clue that it’s SI-joint-related, and you may require physical examination including provocative tests.

Provocative tests help determine whether the pain is caused by the SI joint. A diagnostic injection can help confirm diagnosis. If you are experiencing true muscle weakness, this could indicate that you have a pinched nerve in the spine. When nerves are compressed/irritated in the spine, patients will frequently have a positive passive straight leg raising test.

Your doctor will also likely rule out potential causes of nerve compression in the spine, such as a bulging disc, with an MRI of the spine and other radiological and laboratory testing.

Sometimes patients are misdiagnosed, like in the case of Keith, who was diagnosed with a pinched nerve in the spine but in reality, had SI joint dysfunction. The pain was coming from his SI joint. See Keith’s Sciatica from SI Joint Pain Story.

Treatments to Relieve the Pain

Conservative therapies to treat sciatica from both the spine or the SI joint may include therapeutic injections of steroids, which may offer temporary relief. For sciatica related to the spine, the injection will be targeted in the lumbar spine at the site of the nerve compression. For sciatica related to SI joint dysfunction, the injection will be targeted in the SI joint.

Treatment of spinal conditions may include medications, physical therapy (including exercises specific for sciatic pain), and in extreme cases, surgery to remove the pressure from the pinched nerve(s) in the spine.

SI joint dysfunction treatments also include medications, physical therapy and other non-surgical treatments, and if non-surgical treatments no longer work, minimally invasive SI joint fusion may be an option.

If you suspect your lower back and leg pain is caused by your sacroiliac joint or your spine, visit your doctor with a list of symptoms, including when the pain started, and what makes it worse. If it turns out you need an SI joint specialist, you can find one in your area here.

 

Article Provided By: SI-Bone.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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Four Types of Sciatic Nerve Pain

Four Types of Sciatic Nerve Pain

By April Mayer
Last Updated On January 25th, 2021

 

Sciatica is a form of radiculopathy—a mild to severe pain caused by the compression or pinching of a spinal nerve root. Sciatica radiates pain down the legs and feet, away from the source, and is a sign of nerve irritation or inflammation. It causes an electric shock sensation and numbness in the legs and feet.

While “sciatica” is often used to describe a sharp pain in the lower back and legs, not all sciatic nerve pain is sciatica. While the symptoms are similar from case-to-case, minor details signal different causes, such as whether your pain begins in your back versus your legs. Knowing the root of the issue is vital to treating sciatic nerve pain, as certain diagnoses require different treatments.

We discuss the most common types of sciatic nerve pain and an overview of what sciatic nerve pain is, its potential causes and risk factors, and various treatment options to give you a stronger understanding of the issue.

Neurogenic

Neurogenic sciatica is when the sciatic nerve is compressed or pinched, leading to pressure along the spine. The symptoms generally include sharp, shooting pain down the legs and weakened legs and feet. While the issue is rooted in the spine, the pain is usually worse in your legs than in your back.

Along with physical pain, neurogenic sciatica causes abnormal neurological changes. Individuals may suffer from a loss of reflexes, sensory issues, muscle weakness, and paresthesia (“pins-and-needles”) due to improper nerve conduction.

Referred

Referred sciatica is not a true form of sciatica, but mirrors the pain and symptoms. Rather than being a spinal issue, referred sciatica is pain related to a muscle or joint problem. Referred pain is one of the main reasons why a diagnosis for sciatica is vital, as it may need further evaluation treatment beyond home remedies.

As opposed to shooting pains, people with referred sciatica may feel dull and achy and their pain may be worse in their back than in their legs. Referred pain also does not cause abnormal neurological changes, either, such as worsened reflexes, sensory issues, or tingling.

Alternating Sciatica

Sciatica typically only affects one leg as the sciatic nerve is only pinched on one side of the body. However, alternating sciatica affects both legs successively. It may be a result of degenerative issues in the sacroiliac joint, the joint connecting the spine to the hips, or sacroiliac arthritis.

Bilateral Sciatica

Bilateral sciatica is when both ends of the sciatic nerve are pinched. This results in pain and symptoms occurring in both legs and buttocks at once. It’s a rarer form of sciatica, and the pain in one leg can be worse than in the other. Bilateral sciatica may be the result of multiple herniated discs or disc degeneration.

Sources of Sciatic Pain

There are 33 individual bones in your spine known as vertebrae. Each vertebra is divided into regions and classified according to the number of vertebra per region. The vertebrae are then labeled by a number and letter based on their placement, such as C1 for the first vertebra in the cervical spine. There are five regions of the spine: cervical, thoracic, lumbar spine, sacrum, and coccyx.

The most common regions associated with sciatica are the lumbar spine and sacrum, and the source of your sciatic pain slightly alters your symptoms.

L4 Nerve Root

Irritation to the L4 nerve root causes pain to the hips, thighs, inner knees, calf, and foot. Thigh and hips muscles may feel weak, and calves numb. When sciatica is in the L4 level, a person may be unable to flex their foot or walk on their heels, and they may have a reduced knee-jerk reflex.

L5 Nerve Root

Individuals with sciatica from the L5 nerve root typically experience pain in the buttocks, outer, thigh, and leg, as well as difficulty flexing their ankle or lifting their big toe. Sciatica from the L5 level might also cause numbness, mainly on the top of the foot and between the big toe and second toe.

S1 Nerve Root

Sciatica from the S1 nerve root is also known as classic sciatica as it’s most commonly rooted in the sacrum. Sciatica from the S1 level specifically causes pain and weakness in the buttocks, back of the calf, and outside of the foot. Individuals with sciatica from the S1 level may have numbness or tingling in their third, fourth, and fifth toes, and have difficulty walking on their tiptoes or raising their heels off of the ground. Individuals may also find they have a weakened ankle-jerk reflex.

Duration of Sciatic Pain

Sciatica and sciatic pain are categorized based on how long the symptoms and pain have occurred. The duration of your pain may be a signifier for the necessary treatment options you need.

Acute Sciatica

Acute sciatica lasts between a few days to a few weeks. Typically, it does not require medical attention from a doctor, and home remedies are usually enough to treat the pain. However, acute sciatica can be severe during the brief period of time it is present.

Chronic Sciatica

Chronic sciatica is characterized by symptoms lasting longer than 12 weeks. It’s often less severe than acute pain, but it may not respond well to self-management nor does it pass on its own. Chronic sciatica may require surgical or non-surgical treatment to improve.

Common Causes of Sciatic Pain

Sciatic pain is a result of different conditions or diseases aggravating the sciatic nerve. Not all the conditions listed are guaranteed to cause sciatic pain, but sciatic pain is a frequent symptom.

Herniated or Bulging Discs

Herniated or bulging discs occur when the spongy discs between your spinal vertebrae are compressed and bulge out of place. They can occur at any age, but become more common as you grow older or if you have degenerative disc disease, a condition where the discs lose fluid and wear down. Herniated discs are most common in the lumbar spine and near the sciatic nerve, so they can cause sciatic pain.

Bone Spurs

Bone spurs are small bone growths appearing near joints and are increasingly common with age. Bone spurs are the result of joint damage and linked to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and degenerative joint disease. After an injury or damage has occurred, your body attempts to heal the area by growing extra bone.

Typically, bone spurs cause no symptoms at all, though depending on where they’ve developed, a growth can compress your sciatic nerve and lead to pain.

Spinal Stenosis

The spinal canal is the spinal cord’s pathway down the back. With spinal stenosis, the spinal canal becomes narrower, placing pressure on the spinal cord. There are two types of spinal stenosis: lumbar and cervical stenosis. Cervical spinal stenosis affects the neck, while lumbar spinal stenosis affects the lower back and may cause sciatica.

Lumbar spinal stenosis can be the result of arthritis, spinal degeneration with age, tumors, or cysts.

Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis is a condition where one vertebra in the spine slips over the one below it, particularly in the lumbar spine region. The condition is typically a result of disc degeneration, arthritis, certain cancers, and certain surgeries.

Stress fractures are another common cause of spondylolisthesis, especially in young people and athletes, though they can happen to anybody. Repeated stress to the vertebra,  injuries from motor vehicle accidents, or heavy lifting, can cause the vertebrae to fracture, leading to spondylolisthesis and sciatica.

Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis syndrome is a neuromuscular disorder where the piriformis muscle (located where the femur and pelvis meet) compresses the sciatic nerve, resulting in spasms and pain in the buttocks and legs.

While the pain mimics sciatic pain, with tingling and numbness from the leg to the foot, it’s not sciatica since it’s not caused by spinal issues. Instead, it’s a referred pain beginning from the buttocks as opposed to the lower back.

Risk Factors

Sciatic Nerve Pain

Roughly 40 percent of people experience sciatica at some point in time, and while it’s most common for people 40 to 50 years old, it can happen at any age.

  • Pre-existing spinal condition(s): Conditions such as degenerative disc disease or spinal stenosis, while they may not initially trigger sciatic pain, can eventually progress and cause sciatica.
  • Diabetes: As a diabetic, your body becomes more vulnerable to nerve damage, increasing the possibility of sciatic nerve damage and sciatica.
  • A sedentary lifestyle: Sitting for long periods of time, such as at work or school, can weaken your muscles and cause them to become stiff over time. A weak back and core puts pressure on your lumbar spine and leaves you at risk for sciatica.
  • Heavy lifting: Heavy lifting such as at work, at the gym, or when gardening, can strain your back and lead to lower back issues, especially if you have improper form. When lifting heavy objects, carry the brunt of the weight with your legs as opposed to your back.
  • Age: As you age, your spinal discs and tissues wear down, leaving you at risk for herniated discs. You also are more prone to physical health conditions, such as spinal stenosis or arthritis, resulting in sciatic pain.
  • Weight: If you are overweight or obese, the extra weight in your midsection puts pressure and stress on your spine, leading to back strains and sciatica.

How to Treat Sciatic Pain

In some instances, simple home remedies are enough to ease and treat mild-to-moderate sciatic pain. However, if your sciatic pain is chronic or severe, receiving medical attention is the best step to take for proper treatment. Nearly all treatments—with a doctor or otherwise—are nonsurgical.

Massage Therapy

Massages improve blood circulation, relax muscles, reduce muscle tightness, and release endorphins, all of which are natural pain-relievers and can ease irritation. You can self-massage at home or visit a massage therapist for treatment.

Topical Treatments

A simple way to reduce this pain is to use topical treatments such as analgesic (pain-relief) ointments or hot and cold therapies. They provide temporary relief for localized pain and can be used throughout the day as needed.

For hot and cold therapies, use ice packs (wrapped in a towel to prevent ice burns), heat pads, or hot towels for twenty-minute intervals. Hot and cold ointments are another simple treatment and can be used on the go if needed.

Exercise

Physical activity can strengthen your back and core muscles and relieve pressure on your lower spine. Stretching and light aerobic exercises increase your body’s flexibility and potentially alleviate symptoms. However, avoid strenuous or heavy exercises and be sure your form is correct at all times so as not to worsen your pain.

Medications

While medications don’t directly treat sciatica, they can relieve pain temporarily and make daily activities easier. You can use over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or aspirin, or your doctor might prescribe muscle relaxants, antidepressants, or higher doses of anti-inflammatory drugs. For more severe pain, your doctor may inject corticosteroids or epidural steroid injections in your lumbar spine to relieve inflammation for one to two months.

Chiropractic or Physical Therapy

Your doctor might refer you to a chiropractor or physical therapist for physical rehabilitation.

With a physical therapist, you learn techniques and exercises to strengthen your back and core, improve your posture, and how to avoid aggravating your sciatic nerve. Your physical therapist makes a home exercise routine for you to follow to reduce symptoms.

Chiropractors have an excellent understanding of the body’s musculoskeletal system and how to manipulate it to ease any pain. They complete different treatments to take the pressure off your sciatic nerve, including massage, hot and cold therapy, and spinal adjustments.

Surgery

It’s rare for sciatica patients to need surgery and is typically the final step if other nonsurgical treatment options have not shown improvement. If you have severe pain lasting beyond 6 to 12 weeks or you are debilitated by your pain, your doctor may suggest surgery.

The most common surgeries to treat sciatic pain are microdiscectomy, laminectomy, a spinal fusion, or disc replacement, and the surgery you are referred to is based on your diagnosis.

FAQs

When is sciatic pain a medical emergency?

Sciatic pain is rarely an emergency, but if your sciatic pain is paired with incontinence, fever, loss of appetite, worsening numbness and tingling, swollen legs or lower back, or it began after an accident, seek immediate medical care.

What causes sciatica to flare up?

Some potential triggers for sciatica flare-ups include:

  • Stress and anxiety: Sciatica can be exacerbated by anxious thoughts as, when stressed, the brain deprives the nerves of needed oxygen and can result in weakness and tingling in the legs.
  • Wallet sciatica: Wallet sciatica is a term used to describe sciatica aggravated by sitting on your wallet, keys, or cellphone. When an item is in your back pocket, it directly presses up against the sciatica nerve and causes a flare-up.
  • High heels: When wearing high heels, your center of gravity shifts and stretches your hamstring and sciatic nerve. Walking on your toes, as you do in heels, might also irritate your sciatica.
  • Poor posture: Having poor posture when sitting or standing puts stress on your lower back and spine, resulting in a flare-up.
  • Tight clothing: Some clothing may be just tight enough to press against your sciatic nerve and trigger your sciatica pain.

Why is sciatica so painful at night?

Sciatica pain can be aggravated when lying down, making it difficult to sleep and find a comfortable position. In some instances, sciatic pain can be severe to the point of waking you up at night. Adjusting your sleep position, as well as using a supportive mattress, can ease your pain.

Side sleeping may place pressure directly onto the nerve roots and tilt your hips out of alignment with your spine. It’s best to lay on your unaffected side and use a pillow between your knees to keep your spine aligned and prevent pain.

Lying on your back emphasizes the lumbar spine’s curve, potentially pinching the sciatic nerve’s roots and causing pain. Elevate your legs using a pillow under your knees or an adjustable base to reduce the pressure and relieve your symptoms.

Stomach sleeping can overextend your lower back and irritate your sciatica, so it’s best to try a different sleeping position. However, if it’s too difficult to switch positions, temporarily use a pillow under your hips to protect your back.

Can sciatica be caused by a bad mattress?

While it’s unlikely a bad mattress is the cause of your sciatica, your mattress can definitely worsen pain if it’s unsupportive. Older mattresses tend to be rather unsupportive and lumpy, but even new mattresses can aggravate your sciatica if they’re not suited for your sleeping position.

It’s best to use a high-quality mattress built for your sleeping position and body weight to keep your spine aligned and minimize your pain as much as possible.

Should I push through sciatic pain?

If you’re experiencing any sciatic pain while exercising or completing any daily activities, don’t ignore it. Instead, take a few minutes to rest and allow your pain to pass. However, if your sciatic pain makes it difficult to complete daily activities as normal, speak with your doctor for treatment options.

Conclusion

If you’re experiencing sciatic nerve pain, it’s best to get diagnosed and figure out what type of sciatic pain it truly is, as it can be a sign of a larger underlying condition. Although what you’re experiencing may feel like sciatica, it can be caused by an unrelated issue such as piriformis syndrome. In order to protect your body and prevent worsening the issue, always get a doctor’s opinion if you are unsure.

 

This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.

 

Article Provided By: amerisleep

Photo by Joseph Chan on Unsplash
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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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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