A male asian doctor examins a male asian patient's lower back as the patient sits up straight on an exam table.

Is a Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant Right for You? 6 Things to Know.

Picking up your dog shouldn’t hurt. Neither should getting out of bed.

Imagine a one-time, minimally-invasive procedure that can give you constant back pain relief for the rest of your life.

That’s what a spinal cord stimulator can do. 

Here are some considerations to give you an idea of whether this back pain treatment may be for you.

1. You understand how this treats back pain.

Spinal cord stimulators treat back pain with electrical impulses believed to block the brain from receiving pain signals.

2. You understand the procedure and the healing process.

A spinal cord stimulator implant procedure is a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure. It involves anesthetic injections and two small incisions (2 to 4 inches long).

The incisions make room to insert the small, thin wire leads and the neurostimulator under the skin.

There may be some discomfort for a few days as the skin heals at the surgical site.

3. Your pain management doctor approves.

Your doctor specialized in pain management will advise for or against spinal cord stimulation.

A trustworthy, qualified doctor would only recommend spinal cord stimulation if it had an excellent chance of success.

If you decide to go forward with the procedure, the doctor will order X-rays, MRIs, and psychiatric tests. Psychiatric disorders can lessen and even negate the benefit of spinal cord stimulation.

4. Your back pain is chronic.

Chronic pain is pain that lasts a minimum of three months. Yours may have already been around a lot longer than that.

A spinal cord stimulator provides pain relief by sending electrical impulses to the pain area.

5. Other methods haven’t worked for you.

You have tried other pain-relieving methods like surgeries, medications, non-invasive treatments, and conservative therapies (yoga, exercise, diet change, etc.).

Nothing has worked or provided enough relief.

6. You suffer from Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS).

Failed Back Surgery Syndrome is when back surgery doesn’t deliver the expected pain relief or creates a new pain problem.

It’s one of the most common conditions patients cite as their main reason for getting spinal cord stimulator implants.

7. You suffer from one or more pain conditions.

Spinal cord stimulation can relieve pain caused by common conditions like arthritis, sciatica, and herniated disc.

It may also be a treatment option for conditions such as:

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) – Burning pain in an arm or leg due to a traumatic injury, surgery, stroke, or heart attack.

Peripheral Neuropathy – Burning pain in the legs or feet due to nerve death.

Angina – Chest pain and shortness of breath.

Arachnoiditis – Painful condition caused when the membrane surrounding the spinal cord swells due to infection, injury, or chronic compression.

Non-Invasive Back Pain Relief in Texas

If you suffer from back pain, our team of board-certified pain specialists can help. We have over a dozen clinics in Texas, including Houston, Dallas, and Irving.

Give us a call at (972) 636-5727, and start down your path to pain relief today!

Young asian woman touching her neck while wincing in pain.

The VERY Painful Pinched Nerve… 7 Ways to Avoid This Common Injury.

Many athletes call them ‘stingers.’ Doctors call them pinched or compressed nerves. 

And they hurt bad. Like giant bee stings. 

The pain usually hits in the neck, in an area known as the brachial plexus, where the nerves extend down into the arms.

Pinched nerves have sudden and gradual causes; they can strike suddenly when lifting a heavy object and gradually develop from poor sitting posture.

 

Here are 7 things you can do to lower your risk of suffering a pinched nerve.

1. Get Enough Sleep

The best way to avoid a pinched nerve is to let your mind and body recover from the day.

When you have more energy to think clearly, you are less likely to make uncoordinated movements that lead to injuries.  

2. Practice Good Sitting Posture

Consistent poor sitting posture can cause pinched nerves. Try to sit so that your neck isn’t bent.

If you work in an office, adjust your monitor so that the top edge is eye level.

3. Stand More. 

Sitting for long periods with bad posture can cause pinched nerves. 

If you work at a table or desk, try adjusting your workstation so that you can work while standing.

4. Practice sound body mechanics.  

It’s easy to strain your neck and back.

Whether you are getting into or out of bed, exercising, or hiking up a mountain, try to make smooth, mechanically sound body movements.

And if you have to move to a new place or help your neighbors move, lift heavy objects with your legs instead of your back. 

5. Don’t play contact sports. 

Many people grow up playing contact sports like soccer, basketball, and American football.

The fitness aspect is good for you, but the contact can lead to pinched nerves and other sports injuries.

And pinched nerves are common injuries in contact sports. If you play contact sports, warm up, stay hydrated, and take breaks. 

6. Do Strength and Flexibility Exercises.

Stretching and strength-building activities like yoga and pilates stretch the nerves in your neck and arms.

This loosens the tension and relieves pressure on your nerves, making pinched nerves less likely.

7. Do physical therapy.

Physical therapy methods like massage and cold laser therapy can prevent and lessen muscle strain and muscle inflammation. 

Pain Management and Treatment at Texas Pain Physicians

Have a pinched nerve or think you may be at risk for a pinched nerve? We have expert pain management doctors who treat them and help you prevent them. 

Give us a call at (972) 636-5727 or book your appointment today!

Lower Back Pain Ruining Your Sleep? 10 Things You Can Do to Sleep Better

It’s miserable waking up bleary-eyed after tossing and turning all night. You can’t afford to go through that again. 

And you don’t have to.

Let’s look at some simple ways to reduce back pain so you can sleep better.

1. Sleep on your side.

This position keeps your spine correctly aligned and your body balanced, which lessens the pressure on the lower back or lumbar. You can put a pillow between your knees to add more support.

2. Use a taller body pillow.

If you are a side sleeper, try using a taller body pillow to help maintain a neutral spine as you sleep. 

3. Put a pillow under your back.

If you are a back sleeper, support your lower back by putting a pillow between your legs or knees. 

4. Put a rolled-up towel around your waist.

This is for back and side sleepers. Wrap a rolled-up bath towel around your waist and tie it in the front. This will help maintain the spine’s natural curve. 

5. Put a large pillow under your lower back and waist and a smaller pillow under your head.

This helps if you sleep on your stomach by keeping your lower back from taking on a U-shape as you sleep. 

6. Lay down and get up safely. 

To lay down, sit down on your bed like you sit down in a chair. Next, ease down to your side or back, supporting yourself with your right or left arm, or both (if sleeping on your back).

To get up from your side, push yourself up with your arms and hands as you swing your legs over the side of the bed. 

To get up from your back or stomach, shift onto your side, then do the above action.

From both positions, always avoid bending forward at the waist and jerking yourself up unsupported.

7. Don’t eat too late. 

Eating meals two hours or less before bedtime can trigger acid reflux and disturbing dreams. Spicy food and dairy are especially risky.

8. Avoid consuming caffeine and alcohol too late.

Try to avoid drinking caffeinated drinks in the afternoon and evening. Too much caffeine too late can make it hard to calm down and get to sleep. 

Also, drinking too much alcohol close to bedtime can interrupt the sleep cycle, robbing you of restorative slow-wave sleep.  

9. Try OTC medications and supplements.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, and topical treatments can reduce back pain and make it easier to sleep.

10. Try some relaxation techniques. 

Deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation can help you relax and sleep better.

Visit the Pain Management Specialists

At Texas Pain Physicians, our doctors have the expertise to manage and treat lower back pain. We can help you make the best decision to handle it so that you start sleeping better.

Feel free to give us a call at (972) 636-5727 or book an appointment online today!

 

Spine Pain

Still in Pain after Spine Surgery? 6 Treatments to Help You Start Feeling Better.

1 in 5 people* will have spine surgery that fails to provide long-term pain relief, regardless of the type of procedure. This number includes minimally invasive spine surgeries.

Back surgery that fails to relieve pain is known as Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBBS).

Whether you are going through normal post-operative pain or FBBS, a conservative, non-surgical approach is the safest way to manage your pain.

Let’s take a look at some treatment options.

1. Cognitive-Behavior Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy involves meeting with a therapist 10 to 20 times. The therapist helps you focus on changing negative thoughts and feelings when you have back pain.

Positive thinking cannot stop the pain, but it can help to manage it.

2. Relaxation Techniques

Worrying about pain can make it worse. Chronic stress causes elevated stress hormones, muscle tension, and inflammation.

Relaxation techniques can lower the number of stress hormones in your body, relax muscles, calm the mind, and promote a sense of well-being.

Practicing relaxation techniques such as four-square breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation, and hypnosis regularly can have long-term, positive results.

3. Transcutaneous Nerve Stimulation

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a therapy that uses a low voltage electrical current to relieve pain.

Doctors have proposed that the therapy relieves pain when nerves block the transmission of pain signals or raise the level of endorphins, the human body’s pain-killing chemical.

4. Pain Medication

Doctors often prescribe pain medication and recommend OTC pain medication to manage post-operative pain and ongoing pain.

As prescription opioid medication can be addictive, it’s necessary to have skilled pain doctors who can devise safe treatment strategies.

5. Steroid Injections

Many patients experience post-surgery pain from the swelling and inflammation at the surgery site. Steroid injections reduce this swelling and inflammation.

A single steroid injection procedure can provide pain relief for months.

6. Topical Therapies

Topical treatments can provide relief for post-operative surgical pain and ongoing back pain.

Applying dry or moist heat to the surgery site can decrease pain and allow temporary mobility.

Studies show moist heat application penetrates deeper and faster than dry heat, providing more temporary relief and functional movement.

Applying a cold compress or pack to the surgery site can relieve pain by reducing blood flow and inflammation during the initial, most intense healing phase.

 

Back pain relief in Houston, Dallas, and many other locations in Texas.

Perhaps they told you it was because of surgeon error or misdiagnosis.

Whatever the issue was, you are still in pain.

At Texas Pain Physicians, our board-certified pain management doctors are experts in well-established and innovative back pain treatment methods.

Contact us today at (972) 636-5727 to book your appointment.

 

*According to a 2020 study by The Journal of Orthopedic Research

Young Woman With Back Pain

Steroid Injections: A Non-Invasive Treatment for Fast, Extended Back Pain Relief

Living with back pain from injury or wear and tear can be overwhelming. When the pain is severe, and you can’t sleep well and have to start canceling important commitments, relief cannot come soon enough.

Steroid injections are a non-invasive, fast-acting, and extended pain relief solution for back pain.

Relief from Upper Back Pain 

There are many possible reasons for pain in the upper back. Common problems such as bulging or herniated disc and disc degeneration can compress nerve roots and cause local inflammation.

The pain often remains around the nerves in the upper back and neck area. But, depending on the condition, it can travel down into the shoulders, arms, and hands.

Upper back or cervical steroid injections stop this pain by reducing inflammation and coating the nerves.

Relief from Lower Back Pain 

Nerves run from your spinal cord out to your lower back and down your legs. When spinal discs become damaged, they can cause inflammation and irritation of the nerve roots close to the spinal cord.

The pain from this inflammation can radiate from your lower back down into your legs. A lower back or caudal steroid injection can reduce inflammation and relieve the pain.

What can I expect during a steroid injection procedure?

Steroid injections are outpatient treatments. For spinal injections, you will lie on an x-ray table, face down.

Before both the cervical and caudal steroid injections, you may receive a calming intravenous or IV medication. The procedures usually take less than 15 minutes.

Upper Back Injection Procedure:

Patients lay face down. One or two injections are administered to the upper back.

A single injection contains a mixture of anesthetic for immediate pain relief and steroids for long-term pain relief.

When you receive two injections, the first is a smaller needle with a local anesthetic, and the second is a larger needle with the steroid.

Lower Back Injection Procedure:

  • Like the upper back or cervical injection procedure, patients lay face down.
  • They receive one or two injections into the lower back, above the tailbone.

How long does the pain relief last?

Many patients report immediate pain relief. For many, this is due to the anesthetic, which wears off within hours.

It usually takes the steroid two or three days to set in and relieve the pain. For some patients, relief can last for months.

Back Pain Treatment at Texas Pain Physicians

You don’t have to lose any more sleep or cancel any more appointments because of back pain. If you think steroid injection may be the answer, we can meet with you ASAP.

Our physicians are experts in pain management who can help you decide on the best treatment.

Book an appointment online or give us a call at (972) 636-5727 today!

Still Active Over Age 40? 5 Tips to Prevent Injuries and Chronic Pain

As you age, you suffer more injuries, aches, and pains. Staying active helps keep your body strong and injury-free. But if you don’t take steps to do it safely, it can also be a source of injuries and pain.

Below are some tips for avoiding common injuries and chronic pain in five vulnerable areas of the body.

1. Lower Back

Potential Injury: Running, jumping, falling, lifting, crouching, and other physical demands of sports can easily overextend the spine and injure the lower back. Exercises that strengthen the core can prevent lower back pain.

Sitting too much can decondition the abdominal and gluteal muscles, putting added pressure on the spinal column.

Prevention: Carefully performed yoga and abdominal exercises can build up the abs and strengthen the lower back.

Before playing sports, do stretches such as the child’s pose, knee-to-chest, and piriformis to loosen the lower back. Stretching the lower back helps prevent strain.

2. Kneecap (meniscus)

Potential injury: As people age, injured and achy knees resulting from wear and tear on the meniscus, the main ligament in the knee located under the kneecap, is more common.

Age-related tissue degeneration, such as cartilage breakdown resulting from fluid loss, increases the risk of meniscus strains and tears.

Prevention: Weight-bearing exercises using technically-sound exercise form strengthens the knee area and decrease the risk of injury.

3. Rotator Cuff

Potential injury: The most injury-prone area in the shoulder is the group of muscles and tendons known as the rotator cuff.

Rotator cuff tendonitis is common. It occurs when the muscles and tendons of the rotator cuff become inflamed from overuse.

Though not as common, rotator cuff tears are more severe injuries than tendonitis and may require surgery to repair.

Prevention: Stretching exercises with and without resistance bands help to add flexibility and strength. Weight-bearing exercises build muscle but also come with injury risk.

Practicing correct form and having sufficient recovery time between training sessions lowers injury risk.

4. Hamstring

Potential injury: The dreaded pulled and torn hamstring. Aging weekend and seasonal athletes know all about it.

Preventing it: Taking time to warm up and stretch the legs and hamstrings before participating in sports will reduce the risk of hamstring pulls and tears.

Strength training exercises like squats and lunges performed with correct form and plenty of rest in-between training sessions will also help prevent injury.

5. Elbow

Potential injury: Tennis elbow, or elbow tendinitis, is characterized by burning pain in the elbow joint and weakened grip strength. It’s a common condition that affects non-tennis players, too.

Performing any repetitive motion long enough, such as throwing a football, propelling forward with ski polls, or using a computer mouse, can cause it.

Prevention: Avoid making repetitive hand and arm movements, if possible. To relieve strain on the shoulder muscles, use the elbow and forearm tendons whenever possible.

 

Texas Pain Physicians Treatment

Are you an injured, 40+ weekend or seasonal athlete?

Whether it’s sore knees, achy tennis elbow, or a torn meniscus, our board-certified pain management doctors will work out a treatment plan tailored to you.

Give us a call at (972) 636-5727 or book an appointment online today!

6 Non-Surgical Remedies for Back Pain

“Oh!” you gasp as your feet touch the floor and you reach for the chirping alarm. You wonder whether your back pain is here to stay.

According to the American Chiropractic Association, back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide.

Good news! There are lots of effective home treatments for back pain.

1. Use topical treatments.

If you have severe back pain accompanied by inflammation, apply an ice pack or cold compress to help reduce inflammation.

A warm or hot compress can also relieve pain by loosening up muscles.

2. Use OTC medications.

Here are some common over-the-counter medications that can provide temporary pain relief:

  • Muscle relaxants
  • Tylenol (acetaminophen) and aspirin
  • Ibuprofen and naproxen (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
  • Topical pain relief products (ointments, sprays, gels, creams)

3. Do some stretching and exercise.

To recover from back pain, you need to move and do some exercise.

Try to do low-impact physical activities such as walking, biking, and swimming.

For severe back pain, light exercise and gentle stretching such as light yoga or chair yoga can help gradually restore normal movement and extension without causing too much discomfort.

For chronic (non-severe) back pain, exercises that strengthen the core can reduce pain over time. 

4. Try therapeutics.

Therapeutic methods can lessen and eliminate back pain. Patients report positive results from massages, chiropractic alignment, bioelectric therapy, and acupuncture.

5. Eat a healthier diet.

Inflammation is a common cause of chronic pain. A diet high in processed foods, simple carbohydrates, and refined sugar can cause and worsen inflammation.

Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole foods can decrease inflammation. Whole foods are foods that have been processed as little as possible and contain no additives or substances.

6. Try sleep hygiene and sleep aids.

Getting enough sleep lowers stress, allows the body to heal faster, and increases pain tolerance.

Practice good sleep hygiene by going to bed at the same time every night and avoiding exposure to screens that emit blue light.

Try to stop watching TV and using cell phones and computers at least an hour before bedtime.

Sleep aid supplements like melatonin and magnesium may help induce sleep.

7. Try some stress relief methods.

Stress can contribute to chronic back pain. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and meditation may help relieve stress.

Back Pain Treatment at Texas Pain Physicians

You don’t need to settle for a back pain-filled life a day longer. Texas Pain Physicians has board-certified doctors specialized in pain management who can help you discover the right treatments for you.

Give us a call at (972) 636-5727 or schedule an appointment online today!