A woman leaning on a table, struggling with the The Glorification of Opioid Abuse in Popular Culture.

The Glorification of Opioid Abuse in Popular Culture

By Dr. Zwade Marshall, M.D., M.B.A.

“Percocet…Molly, Percocet!” Atlanta native and trap music icon Future repeats this phrase in the chorus of his chart-topping single entitled “Mask Off”. Millions of hip hop fans sing along and dance to the rhythmic beat set to lyrics that highlight one of the nation’s most deadly public health crises. This also contributes to the glorification of opioid abuse in popular culture. Metropolitan Atlanta, as well as rural Georgia, has been plagued by the epidemic of narcotic overdoses stemming from Percocet tablets laced with other potent narcotics like Fentanyl. While Future, Lil Wayne, Jay Z, and many others rhyme about the recreational use of prescription drugs, there are numerous high profile celebrity deaths that drew much-needed attention to the scope of the opioid problem. Whitney Houston, Prince, Amy Winehouse, and Pimp C are just a few whose deaths were implicated by prescription drug overdose.

Does the prevalence of drug references in popular culture drive the demand for opioids for recreational use? Experts have found that the drug references in contemporary music do not contribute to the opioid epidemic in any statistically significant way. Rather, the evidence would suggest that the deceptive marketing efforts of the pharmaceutical industry and irresponsible prescribing physicians bear the majority of the responsibility for the current epidemic.

But while the glorification of opioid use in music is not responsible for increasing dependency, I would argue that it serves to normalize the behavior and makes it more difficult to combat this uniquely American public health crisis. In fact, the United States is the highest consumer of oxycodone and hydrocodone in the world, with the total annual American consumption of 27 million grams of hydrocodone dwarfing the combined consumption of Britain, France, Germany, and Italy. Moreover, the prescription drug crisis implicates another more universal epidemic – illicit drug abuse. According to the CDC, people prescribed and addicted to opioid painkillers are forty times more likely to become heroin addicts than those who do not use opioids.

As policymakers and public health officials enact legislation to curb this scourge and the glorification of opioid abuse in popular culture, we should take heed to words of conscious musician/poets like Chance The Rapper who shared his personal struggle with Xanax and uses his platform and microphone to educate the masses on the ills of chemical dependency.

Obese fat boy enjoy to eat vegatables salad, diet and Healthy food concept, fighting against childhood obesity.

Real Concern for Childhood Obesity

By Dr. Pickens A. Patterson III, M.D.

Childhood obesity now affects 1 in 5 children, according to the CDC. Obesity in children may affect not only the child’s health, but predisposes them to many preventable adult health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and certain forms of cancer. Remarkably, once the body creates fat cells, they remain for life and can only shrink or expand in size, thereby predisposing to obesity.

Many schools have reduced or eliminated recess, playtime, and physical education in their curriculum in an effort to save money. I believe that this will ultimately cost our country more as we raise more unhealthy children into adulthood unless we as parents and a community intervene. We should make certain that our children get 60 minutes of moderate to intense exercise daily, as recommended by the CDC. Moderate exercise includes activities such as a brisk walk or riding a bicycle. More vigorous activities include sports such as basketball, soccer, or hiking a steep hill.

In addition to activity guidelines, we should make certain that our children are getting adequate nutrition at home and at school. Parents should eliminate fast food and processed foods and encourage fruits, vegetables, and non-fried meats. Another aspect of nutrition that is often overlooked is avoiding or minimizing sugary drinks, including many processed juices, and encouraging children to drink water. It is much easier for a child to maintain a healthy diet as an adult if it is established during childhood.

As we go deeper into the school year enter into fall and then winter, activity levels tend to decrease. We have to be intentional about helping our children find daily active opportunities while ensuring they are making wise nutritional choices. Children look up to us, their parents, teachers, and other respected adults, so it’s incumbent upon us to lead by example while encouraging active and healthy lifestyles, which will yield more capable and smarter children!

Rear View Of A Businesswoman Sitting On Fitness Ball Stretching Her Arms, working on her work posture.

How Your Posture at Work Affects Your Health

If you work a desk job, you’ve likely struggled with maintaining a healthy posture throughout the day. When you’re engrossed in your work, you often don’t realize you’ve progressively slouched over your keyboard. In fact, it often takes a pinch of pain in your neck or back to alert you to this issue.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, bad posture is the major culprit behind back problems for over 80% of Americans.

Learn more about how your posture at work affects your health from the experts at Alliance Spine and Pain Centers.

What Effect Does Bad Posture Have?

Aside from overall pain and discomfort, bad posture can lead to multiple health and psychological issues.

  1. The most obvious negative physical side effect of bad posture while at work is soreness and pain in the back and shoulders. By holding your body in this unnatural position, it puts excess strain and tension on these areas.
  2. Slouching can also affect your pelvis. In particular, those who slouch often have issues with pelvic floor dysfunction, which later leads to urinary retention, pain during intercourse, and constipation.
  3. Similarly, poor posture can severely impact your digestive health. Stomach issues like acid reflux and heartburn can occur when slouched, as it means your abdomen is compressed and cannot do its job properly.
  4. Slouching all day while you work means you’re decreasing your flexibility and limiting your range of motion in your neck and back.
  5. A special kind of headache is caused by poor posture: cervicogenic headaches. They originate from pain in the neck and strain on the joints. If you start to have more headaches at the base of your head, posture could be the culprit.
  6. Bad posture even leaks into your self-confidence. Have you ever heard of power poses? Studies show that performing a power pose for several seconds before having to make a major decision, give a presentation, or do something stressful can increase a person’s level of confidence. When you slouch, you do the opposite of a power pose, meaning your self-esteem could be taking a major hit.

Tips for Improving Bad Posture at Work

After reviewing these negative side effects, you’re likely wondering what you can do to avoid them and improve your posture at work. We’ve got you covered with these tips from our expert medical team.

How Should You Be Sitting?

  • Start off by sitting at the end of your chair and slouch completely. Next, draw yourself up and lean into the curve of your back as far as possible. Then lean forward again just at about 10 degrees. That’s the position you should aim for.
  • A good rule of thumb is to keep your ears in line with your shoulders. Don’t lean too far forward or too far backward.
  • Your bottom should always be touching the back of your chair.
  • Don’t cross your legs. Keep your feet flat on the floor.
  • If possible, avoid sitting in the same position for 30 minutes. Getting up and stretching each half-hour is a great way to keep your posture in check.
  • Distribute your weight evenly at both hips.
  • Your spine shouldn’t be totally straight. Your lower back should be slightly curved as should your neck.
  • Position your work and your desk so that you can sit as close as possible and have your computers tilted up to you.
  • Remember to relax your shoulders from time to time. It’s easier to do this if you have your arms and elbows resting on your desk or chair arms.

Posture Correcting Exercises

If you’re feeling the pain of a bad slouch, try out these exercises to help ease the discomfort:

  • Lift your shoulders up and down.
  • Rotate your head slowly around in a full circle several times and then reverse your direction.
  • Slouch all the way forward so your spine is making a C shape. Do the opposite by sticking your chest out as far as it can go so your spine now has a sharp curve. Alternate and breath through each position.
  • Lift your arms above your head and clasp your hands together. From there, stretch to the left then the right.

If you’re experiencing back or neck paid for any reason, including your posture at work, know there are treatments available to help. Click here to schedule an appointment with Alliance Spine and Pain Centers today and start working towards the pain relief you deserve.

Physician pointing at potential Osteoporosis in a bone in x-rays.

Osteoporosis 101

It’s estimated that about 200 million people worldwide have osteoporosis. This means that about one in three women and one in five men age 50 or above across the globe are at risk of having a bone fracture extremely easy, say while sneezing or running into the wall.

“Osteoporosis is not only painful, but it can also be extremely expensive,” Alliance Spine and Pain Physician Dr. Michael Schaufele stated. “It’s estimated that osteoporosis has caused over two million broken bones and 19 billion dollars in medical costs every year. That number is expected to grow.”

If you’re wondering what osteoporosis is, keep reading below to learn more.

What is Osteoporosis?

The word osteoporosis means “porous bone.” Technically speaking, osteoporosis is a disease that causes the bones in the body to lose density and quality.

Bones are normally filled with porous holes, similar to a honeycomb. When we’re in our 20’s, our bones are the densest, which is also known as peak bone mass. As we continue to age, our bones begin to dissolve their mass. However, in a process called remodeling, new bone formations come in to replace those holes.

Bones with osteoporosis have much larger holes, meaning they have less density and mass on top of having abnormal tissue structure. They also are not able to keep up with making new structures to fill the holes. This means the bones become weak and more likely to break, sometimes from something as small as bumping the corner of a table.

What Are the First Signs of Osteoporosis?

Unfortunately, osteoporosis is a silent disease. There may not be any signs of it until you have your first fracture. However, if an unexpected fractured, height loss, or gradual spine curving takes place, it might be time to speak to your doctor.

There are certain people at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis.

  • Individuals older than 50
  • Women
  • Individuals with low body weight
  • Women who have recently gone through menopause
  • Individuals who smoke
  • Individuals with a family history of osteoporosis

What is the Best Treatment for Osteoporosis?

Once a person has osteoporosis, it’s hard to treat. There are some medications that help with the symptoms, however, the best thing you can do is to take preventative measures before the disease develops.

If you’re worried about your risk, the following tips may help keep your bones happy and healthy:

  • Exercise regularly, especially when it comes to lifting weights. Doing so helps to build the strength in your bones.
  • Make sure to consume enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet. Reach for dairy products, spinach, broccoli, dried beans, salmon, eggs, sardines, orange juice, cereal, and bread.
  • Spend about 10 to 15 minutes in the sun twice a week so your body can use sunlight to make vitamin D naturally.
  • Quit smoking if you are a smoker.
  • Avoid carbonated drinks and alcohol.

If you have additional questions, click here to schedule an appointment with our expert team at Alliance Spine and Pain Centers.

The headshots of the four doctors who won 2019 Atlanta Magazine Top Docs: Drs. David Gale, Allen Hord, David Rosenfeld, and Michael Schaufele.

Four Physicians Receive Top Doctors Honors in Atlanta

Four physicians from Alliance Spine and Pain Centers —the largest interventional pain management company in the Southeast— rank among metro Atlanta’s Top Doctors in Atlanta magazine’s July issue. More than half of the physicians in the publication’s pain medicine category come from this one practice.

Those physicians are: Drs. David Gale, Allen Hord, David Rosenfeld, and Michael Schaufele. All of these doctors have appeared on the Top Doctors list in previous years.

Atlanta magazine uses a database of top doctors compiled by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., an established healthcare research company based in New York, to assist in its annual effort. This year the publication honors 860 physicians. Doctors are nominated for consideration through both a nationwide survey and a peer nomination process open to licensed physicians in Carroll, Cherokee, Clayton, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Hall, Henry, and Rockdale counties. Castle Connolly’s physician-led team of researchers then select the Top Doctors through a rigorous screening process that includes an evaluation of educational and professional experience.

Stephen Rosenbaum, CEO of Alliance Spine and Pain Centers, said he is honored to have several of the company’s specialists recognized as Top Doctors.

“A quality professional is key to best help with any type of pain. Our medical staff consists of the highest quality physicians who continue to lead the industry with solutions for patients’ pain,” said Rosenbaum.

Dr. David Gale practices at the Marietta location. Dr. Gale received his medical degree at Ohio State University. He completed his residency at Wilford Hall Medical Center Residency and fellowship at University of Texas, San Antonio. Dr. Gale is board certified in both anesthesiology and pain medicine, and he has an ABA subspecialty certificate in pain management. He belongs to the following professional organizations: American Society of Anesthesiologists; American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians; Georgia Society of Anesthesiologists; Georgia Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (president); International Spine Intervention Society; and North American Spine Society. Dr. Gale is a previous Top Doctor honoree.

Dr. Allen H. Hord practices at the Atlanta location. He has 30 years of pain management experience in the Atlanta area. Dr. Hord is a pioneer in the interventional pain management field – recognized by peers and patients as a chronic pain expert, educator, researcher, administrator, and philanthropist. He’s an expert in treatments including epidural injections, facet and medial branch blocks, radiofrequency ablation, sympathetic blocks, and spinal cord stimulation. He’s board certified in anesthesiology and was one of the first doctors in the U.S. to become board certified in pain medicine. Dr. Hord was Alliance Spine and Pain Centers’ chief medical officer from 2013-2018, and he’s currently medical director for the practice. His philanthropy includes serving a decade on the board of directors of Flying Doctors America, organizing medical missions in Asia, South America, and Haiti. Since 2010, Dr. Hord has been recognized annually as a Top Doctor.

Dr. David J. Rosenfeld practices at the Atlanta location. He has 25 years of expertise and innovation in pain management. He is recognized as a pioneer in Georgia for interventional pain procedures. He received his medical degree from Ochsner Medical Foundation in New Orleans, La. Dr. Rosenfeld is fellowship trained, and board certified in both anesthesiology and pain medicine. He has published several studies on pain medicine and anesthesiology. Dr. Rosenfeld belongs to the following associations: American Society of Anesthesiologists; American Academy of Pain Medicine; and American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians. Since 2010, Dr. Rosenfeld has been recognized annually as a Top Doctor.

Dr. Michael K. Schaufele practices at the Marietta location. He has more than 25 years of comprehensive and progressive pain management expertise. Dr. Schaufele combines cutting edge pain management treatments with more traditional non-surgical procedures and rehabilitative care. His specialties include regenerative medicine, particularly PRP, A2M, and BMAC. He received his medical degree at the University of Frankfurt Medical School in Frankfurt, Germany. He completed fellowships at Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass. and the Spine Center Munich Harlaching in Germany. His association memberships include: American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; International Spine Intervention Society; American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians; and the Interventional Orthopedics Foundation Awards. Since 2012, Dr. Schaufele has been recognized annually as a Top Doctor.

If you want to work with an Atlanta Top Doc, appointments can be made by calling 770-929-9033.

Welcome Dr. Ali Kassamali photo in a graphic.

Alliance Spine and Pain Centers Welcomes Dr. Ali Kassamali

Dr. Ali Kassamali received his undergraduate degree from Emory University, graduating with a BA in both Economics and Psychology. For the next several years, he traveled the country before earning his post-baccalaureate at New York University. Dr. Kassamali attended medical school at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, where he remained for both his residency in Anesthesiology and fellowship in Interventional Pain Management. He specializes in neuromodulation, including both spinal cord stimulation as well as peripheral nerve stimulation.

Dr. Kassamali will be joining Alliance Spine and Pain in August and will be taking over Dr. Thomas Hurd’s practice in Marietta.  Dr. Kassamali will also continue servicing South Atlanta and will be treating patients in the Camp Creek area. Please contact a Referral Coordinator at 770.929.9033 to schedule your new patient appointment today.