Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New Study Reports Ginger Effective for Muscle Pain Relief

GLENVIEW, IL, Sept. 15, 2010 – Daily doses of raw or heat-treated ginger are effective for relieving muscle pain following strenuous exercise, according to research reported in The Journal of Pain, published by the American Pain Society,

Though a favorite remedy of Chinese medicine practitioners for centuries, ginger has not been studied widely as a pain reliever. Some research, however, has shown that ginger may have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties similar to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. In one study, four to 36 weeks of daily ginger doses (30 to 500 mg.) achieved reductions in knee pain from osteoarthritis.
Researchers from the University of Georgia and Georgia College and State University examined the efficacy of multiple days of ginger doses for relieving experimentally induced muscle pain from 18 eccentric muscle exercises. For the study, student volunteers were tested on 11 consecutive days while taking ginger supplements. Seventy-four students were divided in three groups given either raw ginger, heated ginger or placebo. The authors hypothesized that pain ratings after exercise would be lower in the ginger group compared to placebo subjects.

Results from the subjects’ responses data showed that both raw and heat-treated ginger lowered muscle pain intensity after eccentric exercise by 25 and 23 percent, respectively. Heat treating ginger, therefore, did not increase the analgesic benefit.

About the American Pain Society

Based in Glenview, Ill., the American Pain Society (APS) is a multidisciplinary community that brings together a diverse group of scientists, clinicians and other professionals to increase the knowledge of pain and transform public policy and clinical practice to reduce pain-related suffering. APS was founded in 1978 with 510 charter members. From the outset, the group was conceived as a multidisciplinary organization. APS has enjoyed solid growth since its early days and today has approximately 3,200 members. The Board of Directors includes physicians, nurses, psychologists, basic scientists, pharmacists, policy analysts and others

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Two Causes of Pain: Pinched Nerve vs. Disc Pain

By: Peter F. Ullrich, Jr., MD

In identifying the cause of the patient’s pain, there are two general types of spinal disc problems physicians classify as the cause of the pain:
  • Pinched nerve – When a patient has a symptomatic herniated disc, it is not the disc space itself that hurts, but rather the disc herniation is pinching a nerve in the spine. This produces pain that is called radicular pain or radiculopathy (e.g., nerve root pain) leading to pain that may be referred to other parts of the body, such as from the low back down the leg or from the neck down the arm. Leg pain stemming from a pinched nerve in the lower spine is usually described as sciatica.
  • Disc pain – When a patient has a symptomatic degenerated disc (one that causes low back pain and/or leg pain), it is the disc space itself that is painful and the source of pain. This type of pain is typically called axial pain.
Either of the above two conditions can occur in the neck, upper back or lower back. They tend to be most common in the lower back because the lower back bears the most torque and force on a day to day basis.
It should be kept in mind that all the terms – herniated disc, pinched nerve, bulging disc, slipped disc, ruptured disc, etc.– refer to radiographic findings seen on a CT scan or MRI scan. While these test results are important, they are not as meaningful as the patient's specific symptoms and the doctor's physical exam results are in determining the source of the back pain and then evaluating potential back care and pain treatments.

Friday, September 24, 2010

What Treatments Do Pain Medicine (or Pain Management) Specialists Provide?

Pain medicine (or pain management) specialists provide many diverse treatments including activity modification, medication, diagnostic and therapeutic injections, physical therapy, and alternative types of care such as acupuncture, manipulation, and music or art therapy. Multidisciplinary pain medicine combines two or more treatments to maximize pain control. Treatments include:
  • Restrict activities that increase pain (activity modification)
  • Prescription medication: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, narcotics (opioids), anti-depressants, and anti-seizure drugs. Some anti-depressant and anti-seizure drugs have proven to help manage types of chronic pain.
  • Injection therapy: Injections help to pinpoint the cause of pain, as well as provide pain relief. Therapies include epidural steroid, facet joint, and sacroiliac joint injections; and nerve root, medial branch, peripheral and sympathetic nerve blocks.
  • Physical Therapy: Heat/ice, massage, spinal traction, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), ultrasound, and therapeutic exercise.
  • Pulsed Radiofrequency Neurotomy is a minimally invasive procedure that prevents nerves from sending pain signals to the brain.
  • Rhizotomy uses heated electrodes to turn off pain signals from specific spinal nerves.
  • Spinal Cord Stimulation is an implanted device that produces electrical impulses to block pain perception.
  • Intrathecal Pumps are sometimes called pain pumps. The device is surgically implanted and dispenses measured doses of medication within the spinal canal.
  • Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine, sterile and disposable needles into any of the body's 20 Meridian points or 2,000 acupuncture points. Acupuncture is central to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which includes other holistic therapies.
  • Manipulation is performed by chiropractors, osteopathic doctors (DO), and some physical therapists - although the therapy varies among these professions. Manipulation is the therapeutic application of manual pressure or force to treat a musculoskeletal disorder.
  • Music and art therapy are ways to distract your thoughts away from pain. Besides a creative outlet, these therapies promote relaxation, provide a means for emotional expression, help to reduce stress, increases self-esteem, and are fun.
Pain Management Agreement
Some pain patients require stronger medications to manage pain. These medications are technically called Schedule II drugs and require a special type of prescription. Schedule II drugs (like morphine) are carefully regulated. Because of the addiction potential and other risks associated with taking a Schedule II medication, you may be asked to sign a treatment agreement. The agreement puts into writing important information you and your pain management doctor have agreed to. The terms of the agreement may include using one pharmacy for all prescription medications, how to take care not to lose medication, detailed dosing information, and what do to in case side effects develop. In cases where potent narcotics are prescribed, a pain agreement is simply good medicine!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

And so it begins..

We have worked very long and hard trying to get Republic Spine and Pain open.
Its all coming together and this office, which we know with the leadership of our fellowship trained physicians, our loving staff and comfort friendly facility will be offering Austin Texas a wonderful service.

Opening September 2010

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