Shingles (aka herpes zoster) are rashes that occur in any part of the body. This rash often comes up in people aged 50 and over, causing severe pain. Shingles also appear like blisters on the dermatome’s skin area. But, what exactly causes shingles, and how can we best manage them?
What Causes Shingles?
Shingles is a skin disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus. If you had chickenpox or took its vaccine, you might get shingles. That’s because the shingles vaccine contains chickenpox cells.
Chickenpox may disappear over time. But, the virus lingers in the brain and spinal cord tissues. So, the sleeping virus may reappear as shingles after some years.
How Do Shingles Reactivate in the Nervous System?
The shingles virus stays dormant in the nerve tissues. If your immune system grows weaker, the virus reactivates.
As the virus becomes active, it spreads through the spinal cord nerves to the skin. These nerves convey messages of pressure, itching, and pain.
These messages transfer from the spinal cord to the brain. Once the varicella-zoster virus gets to the nerve endings, it shows up as a skin rash.
How Do Shingles Affect the Nerves?
As the virus travels along the nerves, it causes severe pain. This occurs even after the rash disappears. Still, many people may no longer feel the pain after two to four weeks.
Common effects of herpes zoster on the nerves include:
Shingles can inflame your motor nerves, which affects muscle movement. As the condition develops, it weakens the muscles around the rash area. About 1 to 5 percent of people with herpes zoster have muscle weakness.
Pain or Postherpetic Neuralgia
Postherpetic neuralgia is an intense pain that lingers after the rashes heal. This condition occurs in about 18 percent of people with shingles. Postherpetic neuralgia disappears within a year, but some never recover.
Facial Nerve Damage
Shingles can also affect the head nerves. Signs of this condition include:
- Dry eyes
- Ear pain
- Paralysis on one side of the face
- Issues with taste
- Loss of hearing
- Ear blisters
Other Common Symptoms of Shingles
Besides pain, other signs of shingles include:
- Reddish rash
- Sensitivity to brightness
- High response to touch
How to Best Manage Shingles Pain?
Pain from shingles is often intense, but there are things you can do to minimize it. These include:
- Engaging in exercise
- Eating balanced diet
- Regular resting
- Wearing silk or cotton clothing (to reduce irritation)
- Applying ice to the sores
Can Shingles be Treated?
Yes. Vaccination and early treatment can reduce the risk of complications. Failure to treat in time results in postherpetic neuralgia. This condition happens long after the blisters heal.
Getting shingles usually means that your immune system is not in its best condition. A healthy lifestyle like exercise, rest, and balanced diets can help with that.
If you want the best approach to your shingles recovery, fill out this form. Schedule an appointment today so that you can live a pain-free life tomorrow.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain, fatigue, and other symptoms. It’s estimated that one in every fifty people will develop the disorder at some point in their lives. But what exactly is fibromyalgia? And how does it affect your body? Let’s take a look at the science behind this mysterious condition.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia (FM) is a disorder that causes widespread pain throughout the body. The Mayo Clinic describes FM symptoms as “aching, burning or tenderness in your muscles, tendons, and joints”. Fatigue, sleep disturbances, and memory problems are also common. And while most people experience these symptoms on some level, those with FM report that their pain is significantly worse than the reported “average” person.
Although doctors are yet to discover the exact cause of fibromyalgia, most believe it’s likely a combination of physical, psychological, and environmental factors which trigger this disorder. These include genetics (family history), infections, and psychological stress.
The Science Behind Fibromyalgia Symptoms
Once you (or someone close to you) is diagnosed with FM it can be difficult to understand how all of your symptoms can be related. After all, what do “muscle tenderness” and “insomnia” have in common? Well, it turns out there are several physiological factors that could play a role in these seemingly unrelated conditions.
Studies have indicated that a dysfunction of the central nervous system plays an important role in pain perception for those diagnosed with FM. While it’s not known why this occurs, one popular theory suggests that certain systems within the brain “malfunction”, causing them to send out amplified signals of pain to other parts of the body.
As for sleep disturbances, studies have suggested that dysfunction within serotonin may play a role in FM symptoms. Serotonin is thought to influence arousal and sleep, and those diagnosed with this disorder often have low levels of serotonin. While certain drugs are currently being used to boost levels of this neurotransmitter, more research is needed to understand the complex role serotonin plays in this condition.
In addition to these physiological factors, psychological factors often play a significant role in FM symptoms. In fact, it’s estimated that over 95% of those diagnosed with fibromyalgia also suffer from some form of depression or anxiety. And while it’s difficult to determine whether these disorders cause fibromyalgia or vice versa, it’s likely that they interact with one another in a “vicious cycle” of symptoms.
While there is no single test for fibromyalgia, your doctor will likely perform a variety of tests to rule out other conditions before diagnosing you with this disorder. The process can often be lengthy – it’s not uncommon for a patient to visit their doctor several times and undergo multiple tests before receiving an official diagnosis.
For example, your medical history will likely be considered as well as your symptoms. Along with these questions, your doctor may test reflexes and muscle strength, check your joints for signs of swelling, measure your body temperature and also check blood levels of various hormones.
Treatment of Fibromyalgia
Once fibromyalgia has been diagnosed it can sometimes be challenging to treat. While some individuals find relief with medication and lifestyle changes there is no “cure” for this disorder. However, by understanding the underlying cause of your symptoms, you can identify triggers and make changes to reduce them.
Some lifestyle changes that may help include exercise, stress management, diet changes, and appropriate medication.
Exercise has been shown to decrease fatigue associated with fibromyalgia while also reducing pain. It’s also thought that regular exercise helps combat the impact of depression on your body. Depending on the severity of your condition, you should consult your doctor before engaging in a new exercise routine.
Stress management is another important aspect of fibromyalgia treatment as stress can exacerbate symptoms. While this isn’t always easy, there are several strategies you can use to reduce your stress including relaxation exercises, meditation, and deep breathing.
Diet changes may also help. In some cases, certain foods may worsen symptoms as well as interact with medications you take to relieve fibromyalgia. Common food triggers include wheat, dairy, alcohol, caffeine, and sugar. It’s also important to avoid foods that have been artificially sweetened or that contain red dye #40 – these can cause a wide variety of adverse reactions for those diagnosed with this disorder.
In addition to dietary changes, medications may be prescribed to help combat sleep disturbances and pain. In particular, sleep aids can often help improve the quality of your shut-eye. Medications may also be employed for temporary relief from pain, while antidepressants can decrease symptoms associated with depression or anxiety.
While there’s no cure for fibromyalgia, by taking the appropriate steps to address symptoms, you can improve your quality of life. With the help of your doctor, you’ll be able to identify triggers and craft a plan that can assist you in coping with this chronic condition.
Rotator cuffs are a group of tendons and muscles that allow your shoulder mobility. These cuffs also help in stabilizing your shoulder. Additionally, rotator cuff injuries vary greatly from one another, and the symptoms may also vary.
Some of the most common injuries may include bursitis, rotator cuff strains, and tendinitis. These injuries can range from severe to mild. If you’re an athlete or a sportsperson who uses their rotator cuff quite frequently, then the most likely injury you may get is tendinitis. That’s because overuse of these muscles and tendons can lead to inflammation. Most basketball players, tennis players, and painters fall in this category.
You may experience rotator cuff strain from accidents, falls, and other sudden movements. Typically, most acute injuries involving the shoulder can lead to a partial tear or even a complete one in the tendons. Moreover, overuse can also cause this type of strain.
As for bursitis, this is inflammation in the bursa. These fluid- filled sacs between your bones and tendons can be inflamed for various reasons, including degenerative use.
Can You Treat a Rotator Cuff Tear or Strain at Home?
Home remedies can help you get relief from rotator cuff strain. However, it’s still important to visit your doctor if your symptoms persist for longer than a week. Your physician can help determine the severity of the injury, the type of rotator cuff injury and come up with the right prescriptions for you. The most common solutions are:
- Using over-the-counter medication for pain
- Using an ice pack on the area (hot packs are good too)
- Using a sling to avoid motion on the shoulder and resting it
- Injecting cortisone to reduce inflammation
- Exercising the affected shoulder
You should also note that depending on how bad the injury is, you may need surgery. However, the timing of the surgery will not necessarily affect the outcome.
What Are the Symptoms to Look Out For?
As mentioned before, while some types of rotator cuff injuries are generally characterized by immediate and intense pain, some may take longer to manifest. You may have a tear without even knowing it until it gets worse. Even so, there are tell-tale signs of such injuries. They include:
- Difficulties with moving the affected shoulder due to pain
- Difficulties in sleeping or lying on the affected shoulder
- Trouble reaching the back of your shoulder
- Pain in the area from time to time
- Inability to use full range motion of your shoulder
- Weakness in the shoulder which gets worse over time
Can You Prevent a Rotator Cuff Injury?
Injuries caused by an acute injury cannot easily be prevented as a most result from accidents. However, it’s possible to prevent other forms of injuries by exercising your shoulder frequently to improve its range of motion or simply strengthen it. You can also try taking frequent rest breaks if your occupation involves overusing your shoulder muscles.
Rotator cuff injuries can sometimes lead to excruciating pain. Although home remedies and preventive measures can help ensure you don’t strain your tendons, sometimes surgical intervention is necessary to help correct the tear. For more information, feel free to fill out the form below.
Chronic fatigue syndrome(CFS), also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) or systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID), is a debilitating disorder often characterized by extreme fatigue that is long-lasting. This disorder is complicated in that it can neither go away with rest nor even be explained by an underlying medical condition. In addition, the causes of chronic fatigue syndrome are unknown, although theories are speculating about the possible causes of this disorder.
Having said that, the following is a breakdown to help you understand CFS and the possible treatments.
Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Although fatigue is a common symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome, it is worth noting that the symptoms may vary from one person to another. What’s more, the severity of the symptoms may fluctuate from day to day.
Other symptoms associated with CFS include:
- problems with memory or concentration
- Unexplained muscle or joint pain
- Unrefreshing sleep
- Frequent sore throats
- Tender and swollen lymph nodes in your neck and armpits
- Chronic insomnia
How is CFS Treated?
Despite comprehensive research, the complexity of this disorder has made it difficult to find a specific cure. In addition, people diagnosed with this condition exhibit different symptoms; therefore, different medications and treatment techniques are used to manage the symptoms. As such, before taking further steps, it is imperative to speak to your physician, who can advise you on the proper treatment to undertake.
That said, the following are some treatment options available helpful in managing the disorder and relieving the symptoms:
Some symptoms of CFS can be managed through prescription and over-the-counter drugs. For example:
Pain: can be addressed by taking medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium. If over-the-counter medication doesn’t relieve the pain, your doctor may recommend medications used to treat Fibromyalgia.
Depression: Many people suffering from this disorder exhibit depression as one of the symptoms. This can be dealt with by taking antidepressants that can help relieve pain and, at the same time, reduce stress.
Therapy is another treatment option for people with chronic fatigue syndrome. Putting it briefly, the benefits of therapy are immense as far as CFS is concerned. Therapy typically helps address:
Sleep problems: Your doctor may recommend a suitable sleep routine to the effect that it counters sleep disorders and, at the same time it helps deal with chronic pain.
Worsening conditions: Exercising as a regimen helps counter the debilitating symptoms of CFS and even the worsening conditions. As such, your doctor may advise you on the various exercises to undertake and how you should go about it.
People with CFS often experience a worsening of their symptoms after undertaking either physical or mental activities. This is what is known as Post-External Malaise, and it can last for an extended period.
As such, CFS patients are advised not to do things overtly. Instead, they are required to maintain a balance between activity and rest. This can be achieved by keeping a daily diary of the activities and symptoms to help you stay on track.
Chronic fatigue syndrome can lead to immense pain. Often confused with Fibromyalgia, the disorder can be challenging to point out from the onset. Therefore, patients need to be diagnosed appropriately and ultimately subjected to the proper treatment to manage the symptoms.
Having said that, if you or your loved one suspect that you have chronic fatigue syndrome, it is essential to consult a doctor immediately. In essence, a qualified physician can recommend proper care and treatment.
Contact Progressive Pain Management today to learn more about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and how our team can help with symptoms.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a treatment approach that combines techniques to help people identify and correct faulty patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The goal is to increase function and reduce pain.
A Brief History
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was developed in the mid-1970s by Dr. John Sarno, a clinical professor of rehabilitation medicine at New York University School of Medicine. It is based on his belief that most lower back pain results from unconscious emotional factors, particularly feelings of stress and anxiety in the muscles of the lower back and abdomen.
According to Dr. Sarno, when people unconsciously repress feelings or emotions they often experience physical symptoms in the body as a consequence of the unconscious mind acting to protect them in some way.
He believes that most people who develop lower back pain have repressed anger toward someone else or themselves, which he calls ‘core beliefs’. Core beliefs are often formed in childhood and are the result of unresolved emotional conflicts. The pain creates fear, further suppressing emotions, resulting in a vicious cycle.
Dr. Sarno’s approach focuses on getting patients to become aware of these unconscious emotions and how they affect their physical well-being through persistent pain. He teaches people to reinterpret the pain in a positive way, as a sign that they can now initiate the healing process.
How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Works
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy takes place in six to eight weekly sessions, each lasting an hour. The first session is about education and explaining how pain might develop. The remaining sessions are spent discussing memories in the patient’s life that may be linked to the pain, identifying repressed emotions, and working out strategies to deal with them.
The interactive sessions aim to help patients become aware of patterns that can trigger their pain, such as poor time management or expectations set too high by family members. They also explore how a patient’s thoughts and emotions affect the sensations in the lower back. A key part of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is becoming aware of ‘early warning signs’ so they can be acted upon before pain becomes a problem.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Lower Back Pain focuses on the mind-body connection and how emotions affect physical health, partially through stress hormones such as cortisol, which have been linked to chronic pain.
The Approach’s Value
In some cases, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Lower Back Pain permanently reduces or eliminates pain. In one study, 78% of people with chronic lower back pain reported that treatment was successful and they were able to return to work.
A review of research found that the approach was effective for chronic lower back pain, but not acute low back pain. In addition to treatment sessions, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Lower Back Pain encourages people with lower back pain to keep a daily diary. This helps them become more aware of their thoughts and behavior patterns that may be contributing to or exacerbating the pain.
When to Seek Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Lower Back Pain
People who meet the following criteria would likely benefit from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Lower Back Pain:
- Have experienced pain in their lower back at least once a day for the previous three months.
- Have been unable to take medication or engage in physical therapy because it hasn’t worked for them in the past.
- Do not have a severe, progressive illness that could be causing their lower back pain.
Patients with the most severe pain and functional disabilities may need additional medication, acupuncture, and physical therapy.
Chronic lower back pain is a prevalent and costly condition. People with chronic lower back pain must receive effective treatment that focuses on self-management or self-care measures.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Lower Back Pain may be an effective intervention for this group of people. Still, the approach works best when both patient and therapist are committed to participating in all sessions without exceptions.
If you suffer from chronic back pain and want to learn more about this approach, contact Progressive Pain Management to discuss your treatment options.
Pain affects every aspect of your life, and normal daily activities are challenging when living with chronic pain. From the amount of sleep you get to the thoughts you have, pain can negatively affect your quality of life.
Your day-to-day activities are crucial in managing your pain and maintaining a healthier life. Positive changes to your routine and lifestyle are excellent ways to reduce pain and improve your mood.
Simple changes and additions to your daily life can make managing your pain easy.
How to Manage Chronic Pain at Home
Deep Breathing or Meditation
Practicing relaxation skills such as breathing exercises, visual imagery, meditation, and mindfulness are some techniques that can help you center yourself and take your focus off the pain you experience.
Stress and Pain go hand-in-hand. When you are stressed, your body may react in different ways – such as tensing muscles – which can increase your pain. This can be prevented by reducing and managing your stress.
Stress can have a negative impact on your relationships, work ethic, eating habits, and mood. Keep a list of what stresses you out and consider how it affects your life. Once you have a list of stressors, think of ways you can minimize them or eliminate the triggers. For example, if you get stressed and feel rushed during the work week, brainstorm ways you can make the week easier by incorporating things like meal prep, picking out your outfit the night before, or other ways to make the week go more smoothly.
If you struggle from pain, exercise may provide the relief you are looking for. Cardio exercises use large muscle groups and raise your heartrate, which releases endorphins – you body’s natural painkillers. Exercising for 30-45 minutes of low-intensity aerobic exercise is recommended and can help relieve pain.
Talking with your doctor before starting any new exercise program is important.
Get More Sleep
It is no secret that pain can interfere with a good night’s sleep. You may have issues falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night. Medications can cause sleep issues, too. If your pain medication causes drowsiness and fatigue, you may be more inclined to sleep during the day instead of at night. Getting a proper amount of sleep at night is important to how your body copes with pain and how your body boosts your energy levels.
Here are some ways to sleep better:
- Practice Relaxation: Write in a journal, listen to soothing music, or practice deep breathing techniques to help prepare your body for restful sleep.
- Set a Schedule: Routine sleeping can help you get better sleep. Go to bed at the same time and set an alarm for the same time each day.
- Be Mindful of What You Eat and Drink: Caffeine and alcohol can affect sleep patterns, as well as heavy meals. If you need a snack before bed, try almond butter on toast, crackers and cheese, or nuts and fruit.
Managing your pain at home is achievable when you have the support of a comprehensive care physician. Get the help you need from the team at Progressive Pain Management by filling out the form below.
Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) has emerged as a transformative approach to managing chronic pain conditions that have proved resistant to traditional therapies. This article delves into the groundbreaking field of SCS, shedding light on its mechanisms, applications, and potential to revolutionize pain management.
Chronic pain conditions represent a significant healthcare challenge, affecting millions of individuals worldwide. When conventional treatments fail, spinal cord stimulation (SCS) offers a promising alternative. This innovative approach has shown considerable efficacy in managing refractory chronic pain conditions, providing relief and improving the quality of life for many patients.
Understanding Spinal Cord Stimulation
SCS involves the delivery of low-level electrical pulses to the spinal cord, interfering with the transmission of pain signals to the brain. This process effectively ‘masks’ pain signals, replacing them with a tingling sensation known as paresthesia.
The Evolution of Spinal Cord Stimulation
The concept of SCS can be traced back to the 1960s, with the introduction of the Gate Control Theory of pain by Melzack and Wall. This theory proposed that non-painful input closes the ‘gates’ to painful input, preventing pain sensation from traveling to the central nervous system. This theory laid the foundation for the development of SCS.
Mechanism of Action
SCS works by modulating the pain signals at the spinal level, before they reach the brain. The electrical pulses delivered by the stimulator compete with the pain signals, effectively ‘drowning them out’ and preventing them from reaching the brain.
Applications of SCS
SCS has been successfully employed in managing various chronic pain conditions, such as:
- Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS)
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
- Ischemic and coronary artery disease
Benefits of SCS
SCS offers numerous advantages over traditional pain management therapies. These include:
- Effectiveness: SCS has shown considerable efficacy in reducing pain intensity and improving the quality of life for patients with refractory chronic pain conditions.
- Customizability: The stimulation parameters can be adjusted to meet the individual needs of each patient, ensuring optimal pain relief.
- Cost-effectiveness: Despite the high initial cost, SCS can be a cost-effective solution in the long run, especially when compared with other long-term therapies.
Challenges and Limitations
While SCS offers numerous benefits, it is not without its limitations. These include the invasive nature of the procedure, potential for complications, and the requirement for ongoing management and adjustment of the stimulator settings.
Advancements in Spinal Cord Stimulation Technology
Over the years, significant advancements have been made in SCS technology. Modern devices are more sophisticated and reliable, offering improved pain relief and fewer complications.
The Future of Spinal Cord Stimulation
The field of SCS is evolving rapidly, with ongoing research and development paving the way for more effective and safer solutions for chronic pain management.
In conclusion, SCS represents a revolutionary approach to chronic pain management. By modulating pain signals at the spinal level, SCS offers a promising alternative for patients who have not found relief through conventional therapies. As research and technology continue to advance, the future of SCS looks promising, offering hope for millions of individuals living with chronic pain. Talk to the professionals at Progressive Pain Management to learn more about spinal cord stimulation therapy and if this treatment is effective for your chronic pain. Fill out the form below to get started.
Migraines aren’t just a typical headache. Chronic migraines can wreak havoc on a person’s life. If you’ve experienced these extreme episodes, you know they are very painful and can have someone disabled for very long periods of time. Chronic migraines are a very real challenge, but thankfully, some things can be done to treat them.
What is a migraine, and what causes it?
A migraine is a type of headache characterized by recurrent attacks of moderate to severe head pain that is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light or sound.
Migraine headaches are believed to be caused by the dilation and contraction of blood vessels around the brain.
Migraines can be caused by factors such as dehydration, stress, or withdrawal from caffeine.
Medical experts are still unsure of the exact causes, but the consensus is a temporary abnormal brain function and misfiring of nerves.
Medical Treatment Options for Severe and Chronic Migraines
The two most common treatments for severe and chronic migraine are Botox and nerve blocks.
Botox is a procedure where injections of purified botulinum toxin are made into the muscle tissue of the forehead to reduce the muscle contractions in this region, which can lead to headaches.
Nerve blocks work by injecting pain medication (such as anesthetic or cortisone) around certain nerves in the neck, head, or face.
Holistic remedies include treatments such as acupuncture and biofeedback.
For more information on medications, remedies, and medical treatments, click here.
What Medicines are Available for treatment?
Anti-seizure medicines, along with beta-blockers and anti-depressants, are all within the realm of choices doctors go to to find treatments for their patient’s pain. Some aren’t advisable for pregnant women, or women who are attempting pregnancy, so keep that in mind!
How can Chronic Migraines be Prevented?
Depending on why they occur, chronic migraines can sometimes be prevented by certain lifestyle changes, such as drinking more water, working out, and eating better. But, sometimes, the causes are more complex than that, and prevention requires medical intervention. Those preventative measures can come in many forms, such as Botox, Calcium blockers, and certain supplements.
One typical supplement used to prevent migraines is magnesium. Magnesium interacts with the chemicals in the brain and can stop a migraine before it happens. For more information on using magnesium to treat chronic migraines, click here.
What will Happen During an Appointment to Find Treatment?
A specialist will sit with you and ask a range of questions surrounding your family history, genetics, and lifestyle. If further testing is needed, an MRI or CT scan may be needed, and then from there, treatment will be decided based on input from yourself and your doctor.
Migraines don’t have to take over your life; you don’t have to wait out the pain. Take control of your pain management and contact Progressive Pain Management to gather more information on how we can help you on your journey to a pain-free life!
Do you or a loved one experience chronic pain, limited mobility, and decreased quality of life even after undergoing back surgery? If so, there may be a condition called Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS) at play. FBSS is a common complication for people who have undergone various types of spine surgery for various spinal disorders.
While this difficult-to-treat syndrome typically occurs after lumbar spine surgery, it can also occur in the cervical and thoracic regions as well. Read on as we analyze the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment approaches available for patients affected by FBSS to help clarify this frustrating condition.
fWhat is Failed Back Surgery Syndrome?
Failed back surgery syndrome occurs when patients experience persistent pain after undergoing spinal surgery. This pain can range from mild to severe and can be located in the same area where the pre-existing pain was before the surgery or even in an entirely new area. It is estimated that between 7% and 27% of all spinal surgeries result in failed back surgery syndrome.
Symptoms of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome
The symptoms of FBSS can vary widely, depending on the severity and location of the pain. Commonly reported symptoms include:
- Persistent back or leg pain
- Limited mobility or difficulty walking
- Numbness in the feet or legs
- Problems with bladder or bowel control
What Causes FBSS?
Failed back surgery syndrome can occur due to a variety of reasons, including scar tissue formation around the surgical site, nerve damage caused by the surgery itself, or undiagnosed underlying conditions that were not addressed during the original operation. Whatever the cause may be, it is essential to know that there are treatment options available to help manage your symptoms and reduce your pain.
Diagnosing Failed Back Surgery Syndrome
To diagnose FBSS, your doctor will ask about the history of your back pain and take a physical examination to assess any spinal instability. They may also use imaging studies such as an x-ray, CAT scan, or MRI to get an idea of what is going on in the spine. Other tests, such as an electromyogram (EMG) or nerve conduction study, may be done to measure how well your nerves are working.
Treatment Options for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome
There are several treatment options available for those suffering from FBSS, including:
- Physical Therapy – Physical therapy is often recommended as one of the first steps in treating FBSS. It focuses on strengthening weak muscles, increasing flexibility, improving posture, and teaching proper body mechanics to help reduce pain levels over time.
- Medication – Your doctor may prescribe pain medications as part of your treatment plan for FBSS, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), muscle relaxants, or opioid medications such as oxycodone or hydrocodone. Your doctor will determine which medication(s) best suits your individual needs.
- Psychological Therapy – Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is beneficial in treating chronic pain conditions such as FBSS. CBT helps patients develop healthy coping skills to deal with their pain more effectively and learn how to better manage stress levels.
- Spinal Cord Stimulation – Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) involves using electrical signals delivered through implanted electrodes placed near nerves within the spinal cord that have been identified as being involved with the patient’s chronic pain condition. SCS works by blocking or decreasing nerve signals associated with pain from reaching the brain.
- Alternative Treatments: In addition to traditional treatments such as medications and physical therapy, alternative treatments may be useful in treating FBSS symptoms. These include acupuncture, chiropractic care, yoga/meditation techniques, biofeedback training (a technique used to teach the body how to control its responses), and hypnosis techniques (which may help patients learn how to better cope with their chronic pain). While these alternative treatments cannot completely cure FBSS, they may provide additional relief when combined with traditional treatments like medications or physical therapy.
Get the Help you Need!
Failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) is a very real phenomenon that can happen to anyone who has had spine surgery. FBSS often leads to chronic pain and can be extremely difficult to manage. If you or someone you love is struggling with FBSS, know that help is available. At Progressive Pain Management, we specialize in treating patients with FBSS and other complex cases of chronic pain.
We offer a wide range of treatments, from medication management to interventional procedures, and our team will work with you to create a customized treatment plan that fits your needs. Please fill out the form below to contact us today to learn more about how we can help you find relief from your chronic pain.