Doctor and smiling senior patient shaking hands in the office before visiting, healthcare and assistance concept

ISPM and CPM Merge to offer the Most Convenient Pain Care!

Interventional Spine and Pain Management and Comprehensive Pain Management have combined to give patients the greatest choice in metro Atlanta for receiving care for their painful conditions. This exciting move will enable us to deliver better care to you by helping us leverage resources and expertise, and will result in improved customer service and outcomes for you and your family members.

The change will be transparent. You will maintain your present doctor and your insurance will still be accepted. You will go to your current office location and will see all of the familiar faces you’ve become accustomed to. Contact phone numbers will stay the same, as will office schedules and hours. The excellent care you have become accustomed to will continue, with improvements to come!

To facilitate the change, you may be required to complete new paperwork so we can register you under the new practice. Please excuse this minor inconvenience that will make you feel like a “new patient” all over again, but know that it is necessary in order to still be able to communicate with and bill your insurance provider for the services we give. Comprehensive Pain Management is now “an ISPM company,” as such, Comprehensive Pain Management patients should expect to receive correspondence from Interventional Spine and Pain Management.

As we work to deliver our best practices from both offices to all of our patients, you will begin to see improvements to your experience and care. Your feedback during this process is welcomed, and as always, your health and well being is our number one concern. We are excited about this union, and as we work to continue to maximize the positives from our combination, know that you will remain our top priority!

Lower back pain. Man holding his back in pain. Medical concept. Close up hands touching back pain. A man problem chronic low back pain, wondering do I have lower back pain.

Do You Have Lower Back Pain?

The lower back, or lumbar spine, is the area of the back between the bottom of the rib cage and the top of the hips. Pain in this region, sometimes also referred to as lumbar or low back pain develops at some point in life for most people. When properly treated, the pain can be alleviated and the symptoms reversed. On-going low back pain, however, can become a chronic and even debilitating condition if it is left unchecked.

Understanding Low Back Pain

While the start of this pain can often be attributed to a particular moment of injury, twisting, or improper lifting; it can also develop over time or even have no apparent cause. People who sit a lot or carry excess abdominal weight can become particularly prone to pain in the lumbar spine. In some cases, a problem with the spine present at birth can lead to lower back pain.

Whatever the reason, the sensation of pain in the lumbar spine depends on alterations of the spinal alignment causing pressure or impingement on nerves. If left untreated,this pain can include permanent damage to the reception and interpretation of pain signals from these effected nerves.

Symptoms 

The experience of lumbar pain can vary substantially from person to person. For some, low back pain is a dull ache over a broad area while for others; the pain is sharp and localized. Sometimes, pain in the lumbar spine is associated with episodic often-debilitating muscle spasms. It can also involve pain, tingling, or numbness in the legs.

Fortunately, the symptoms for most cases are reversible. In some severe conditions, however, the nerves involved cause weakness of the legs or loss of bladder and bowel control. Any low back pain involving these symptoms requires immediate medical attention.

Proper diagnosis of lower back pain is a crucial therapeutic step. Most clinical assessments involve a simple office visit and discussion with a physician. In some cases, particularly if the pain in the lumbar spine has lasted longer than six weeks, the physician may recommend some imaging exams such as X-rays or MRIs.

Treating Low Back Pain

A number of therapy options are available to effectively treat the symptoms and underlying causes. While non-prescription analgesic drugs may help provide short-term pain relief, they should not be used without consultation with a specialist who can provide a complete assessment of the condition and recommend the best therapeutic options.

The specialists at the Alliance Spine and Pain Centers have the expertise to diagnose and treat even the toughest cases of lower back pain. While early treatment is the best option, it’s never too late to improve symptoms and find relief from this pain. Conveniently situated across 15 locations across northern Georgia and the Atlanta Metro Area, the team at the Alliance Spine and Pain Centers are available to make full clinical assessments and explore a range of treatment options. Stop by to stop the pain with Alliance Spine and Pain Centers, where top-quality specialist pain interventions are the standard of care.

An African American female holding her head in pain, wondering if can a stroke cause pain.

Can A Stroke Cause Pain?

While ‘mind over matter’ can help in some situations, central and post-stroke pain is an important exception. Wondering can a stroke cause pain? With a better understanding of the pain signaling process, it becomes clear why many stroke victims require pain management.

Inside the Pain Signaling Process

Most painful experiences are what is known as local pain. This involves a system of connections from the site of bodily injury through the spinal cord to the region of the brain ‘mapped’ to that body site. When chronic or abnormal, local pain may involve neuropathy, abnormal sensations in nerves, as well as spasticity, abnormally stiff or rigid muscles.

Damage that occurs within the brain or spinal cord can reverse the direction and nature of pain perception. It can cause a body site to spontaneously feel pain because the area of the brain mapped to that location has been injured and misfires. Also, damage to the thalamus or parietal lobes, the areas where sensations of heat, cold, and touch are processed; can cause all stimuli to become painful. This can be an important component of what is referred to as an ascentral post-stroke pain (CPSP) syndrome.

Characteristics of Post-Stroke Pain

Up to one-half of people who suffer strokes will experience post-stroke pain. Of these, about one in ten people will have features of CPSP syndrome. Patients who have hemorrhagic strokes are at greatest risk of central pain symptoms.

The frequency and intensity of post-stroke pain can vary from intermittent abnormal sensations to constant pain. Abnormal sensations may include a feeling of burning, tingling or ‘pins-and-needles’ that occur spontaneously or as a response to normal stimuli. Another abnormal sensation that can accompany post-stroke pain is hyperalgesia, an abnormally heightened perception of pain. This can cause previously painless stimuli to cause pain. Emotional stress, cold, and movement can worsen the symptoms of post-stroke pain.

The Impact of Post-Stroke Pain

Pain from any source can significantly impact the quality of life. Post-stroke pain may appear immediately following a stroke but often occurs weeks, months, or years later. Whereas physical and occupational therapy often comprises of an important part of stroke recovery, post-stroke pain can inhibit movement and rehabilitation. Untreated pain slows recovery and can lead to the weakening of the muscles in affected areas. Pain, along with decreased recovery capacity, are important risks for emotional distress and depression.

Treatment Options for Post-Stroke Pain

The first step toward improvement from post-stroke pain is an in-depth understanding of the nature of the problem. At Alliance Spine and Pain Centers, a thorough assessment to elucidate the central from the peripheral pain symptoms allows these pain management professionals to provide customized and targeted pain treatment. Individualized pain management plans may include pharmacological as well as interventional treatments that are tailored over time. With 15 locations in neighborhoods throughout Georgia and the Atlanta metro area, the specialists at Alliance Spine and Pain Centers are available to help on the road to recovery from post-stroke pain. We have locations in Augusta, Austell, Canton, Carrollton, College Park, Conyers, Covington, Dallas, Dawsonville, Decatur, Douglasville, Lawrenceville, Lithonia, Piedmont, and Roswell, Georgia. Give is a call today at (770) 929-9033 if you have any more questions about can a stroke cause pain.

A man holding his neck in pain, Understanding chronic pain. .

Understanding Chronic Pain

Intended as a warning sign of physical injury, pain that lasts too long can become a disease of its own. Chronic pain is a condition in which pain has occurred for three months or longer and often long after the initial injury has healed. Understanding chronic pain is an important step toward finding the proper treatment for this life-changing and potentially debilitating health condition.

The Pain Signaling Process

The nervous system is comprised of the peripheral nervous system, the nerves that run throughout the body, and the central nervous system, the spinal cord, and brain. Stimuli are anything that triggers transmissions through the nervous system, such as a hot stove, soft animal, or sharp needle. Sensations such as pain are normally perceived after stimuli in the periphery triggers a transmission that is relayed through the spine to the brain where it is interpreted as heat, cold, pain, etc.

Reflexes, which use similar nerve transmission pathways, are often interpreted at the level of the spinal cord. The shorter distance between the site of stimuli and the location of interpretation allows quicker responses to potentially dangerous situations.

Chronic Pain: Pathological Pain Signaling

Long-term pain transmissions can lead to alterations in the pain signaling process. The brain becomes so accustomed to recognizing the presence of painful stimuli from a particular location that the brain’s neural pathways are re-shaped to facilitate the transmission of this signal. Eventually, the pain signaling process related to a particular body site is so well established that it no longer requires stimuli: the brain senses pain even after the stimuli have been removed. In addition, the reflexes and other sensations that utilize the same signaling pathways can also be altered. This concept of re-wired neural pathways is essential to the understanding of appropriate treatments for pain that has become chronic.

Pain Management

Many pain-relieving medications are effective because they reduce the extent to which stimuli can trigger a peripheral nerve. This usually means alleviating swelling and inflammation at the site of the injury. When pain has become chronic, however, the altered pain processing requires treatment that targets the brain as the site of pain relief.
Until recently, few treatments were available to appropriately manage unremitting pain. Opioid medications were once a mainstay for the treatment of pain that has become chronic. While these drugs are essential for short-term and strong pain management, they can carry unwanted side effects and are not the most appropriate option for long-term pain management. New classes of drugs, as well as targeted drug delivery techniques, provide more options for delivering long-term pain treatments right where they are needed and with fewer side effects.

The special care and treatment required for these unique pain conditions make choosing the right health care provider essential for managing pain that has become chronic. Alliance Spine and Pain Centers are proud to provide a variety of long-term pain management options at its 15 locations around the Atlanta metro area. Trust Alliance Spine and Pain Centers to provide lasting relief from long-lasting pain conditions.

Man holding his neck in pain in front of the computer, wondering Is Your Chronic Pain Causing You to Look Older?

Is Your Chronic Pain Causing You to Look Older?

Chronic pain is a life-changing health condition that can impact every aspect of daily life. As the time and attention demanded by unrelenting pain increases, there can be less and less time for attention to other details. If you’re wondering is your chronic pain causing you to look older, this can have both direct and indirect effects on the appearance and can even contribute to a type of premature aging.

Reflections on Appearance

Even if true beauty is more than skin deep, overall personal appearance can provide insight on the state of physical and emotional well-being. Time devoted to good nutrition, regular exercise, and other basic self-care activities that support long-term health is often apparent in outward appearance.

Chronic pain can disrupt or disable many of the basic health maintenance activities that contribute to a sense of wellness and vitality. As these factors tend to decrease slowly over the lifetime, anyone with less capacity for health-supporting self-care activities can take on an appearance generally associated with premature aging. Recognition of such a change in appearance can become a vicious cycle for those suffering from chronic pain: looking older can further diminish emotional well-being and further discourage health-promoting activities.

In addition to the way in which chronic pain reduces the time for routine self-care, this condition can also alter the appearance by reducing the capacity to move, smile, and laugh as those without a chronic pain condition. As a result, people suffering from unremitting pain can simply appear frailer and infirmed in comparison to their peers at the same age.

A Friend in the Fight Against Chronic Pain

Alliance Spine and Pain Centers understands the myriad ways in which chronic pain affects quality of life. Whether it is decreased mobility or premature aging that is most distressing for a patient, Alliance Spine and Pain Centers aims to alleviate any and all direct and indirect consequences of the condition in the lives of chronic pain patients.

Find out today how the team at Alliance Spine and Pain Centers can provide a customized chronic pain treatment plan if you’re wondering is your chronic pain causing you to look older. With 15 convenient locations throughout the Atlanta metro area and also in Augusta, GA, pain relief is just around the corner.

Woman suffering whiplash after bad cars pile up, knowing When the Pain is Bad Try Focusing on Other Things.

When the Pain is Bad, Try Focusing on Other Things

The mind is a powerful tool that can act to both increase or alleviate pain. By employing subtle shifts in focus, bad pain and overall quality of life can be significantly improved. To make the most of the power of the mind in pain management, the team at Alliance Spine and Pain Centers recommend when the pain is bad try focusing on other things.

Stay Positive

Positive thinking is a powerful and integral part of effective pain management. Although often underestimated, studies have shown that staying positive provides a significant reduction in pain levels. The difficulty of managing chronic pain can lead to an accumulation of negative thoughts, particularly about one’s self. A focus on what has been lost may overwhelm thoughts of what remains possible. Consider using a journal to externalize your thoughts and attempt to explore a positive approach to what remains despite the pain. Try writing about improvements in previously bad pain levels or mobility, even if they are small or temporary, in order to train the attention toward these positive aspects of life.

Manage Stress

The body’s reaction to stressful situations releases many of the same biochemical mediators that are involved in creating the sensation of pain. Therefore, it is vital to combat the vicious cycle in which pain causes stress that causes more pain. Seek to identify and address any sources of stress that can be mitigated. Simply eating and sleeping better can work wonders to help keep stress at bay. Consider using additional stress management techniques like yoga or tai chi to help regularly release physical and emotional stress.

Keep Active

While bad pain can significantly hinder some activities, remaining active is essential to the physical and emotional management of bad pain. Aim for gentle physical activities that also provide a change of scenery, like a walk or a swim, in order to provide a temporary distraction brought about by such new stimuli. Consider walking with friends or family so that conversation can provide an additional distraction. The soothing effects of staying active can be felt both physically and emotionally.

Stay Connected

Feeling as if friends and family struggle to understand the significance of bad pain is a very common dilemma. Sometimes finding other sufferers of bad pain conditions can help reduce a sense of isolation that can accompany this condition. Finding someone else who has experience with painful conditions can remove some of the pressure to have friends and family understand more profoundly. Such connectivity with others suffering from chronic or other bad pain conditions provides a kind of distraction from the particulars of one’s own condition and can alleviate some strain on other social connections.

While social connections are essential, so is a supportive pain management team. Chronic and bad pain conditions should not be ignored and requires the support of experts in these often complex conditions. Explore the additional medical options such as when the pain is bad try focusing on other things provided by Alliance Spine and Pain Centers. With 13 locations in the Atlanta metro area, pain relief is just around the corner.