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Back view of fit African American man suffering from backache during workout in gym, wondering about the most common treatment options for back pain.

The Most Common Treatment Options for Back Pain

If you have back pain, it can be an excruciating daily nuisance. You’d do anything to get rid of it, just for a moment of relief.

But what are your options? And which one is best for you? We’ve compiled a list of the most common treatment options for back pain below from the experts at Alliance Spine and Pain Centers.

Best Options for Treating Back Pain

  • Topical pain relievers are an option many find helpful. These creams or ointments that you rub onto the skin of your painful spot can often alleviate pain quickly and effectively.
  • Many doctors will offer prescriptions to help, whether those are pain, relaxer, or anti-depressant focused. With the opioid crisis on the rise in America, fewer doctors are willing to prescribe options like opioids. This decline is for a good reason! It’s good to know this before discussing your treatment options, just in case you were expecting one pill to take care of all of your pain.
  • Cortisone injections are popular for persistent back pain that also travels down the legs. These injections provide relief and numbing directly to the areas that need it the most.
  • Physical therapists have often been enlisted to help exercise the pain away, especially if it’s due to issues like posture or recovering from an accident.
  • For those sufferers who have severe and crippling enough back pain, surgery may be the only viable option.
  • Lifestyle changes can also make a world of a difference. Changing what you eat and the way you exercise might help to change your pain.
  • Some alternative options often can help specific patients, which include:
    • Acupuncture.
    • Massages.
    • Electrical Nerve Stimulation.
    • Laser Therapy.
    • Biofeedback Therapy.

If you have any more questions about the most common treatment options for back pain, Alliance Spine and Pain is here to help. Reach out to any of our pain-alleviating specialists by clicking here or by giving us a call at 770-929-9033.

Woman holding sore joint while running, wondering how does bad weather affects joint pain.

Bad Joints in Certain Weather? What to Do!

When bad weather starts to roll in, it’s common for anyone with joint pain or arthritis to instantly grow worried. Many people know that when rain or cold hits, it can be disastrous for their afflicted joints.

The truth is, doctors and scientists alike have both looked into this claim that bad weather increases joint pain. They have found that this claim is true for many people. So, if the storm clouds start to gather and you feel your knees begin to ache, know that you’re not alone.

If you’re looking for a solution to how bad weather affects joint pain, keep reading below. bad weather affects joint pain

Why Does Bad Weather Affect Joint Pain?

Think about the things that make bad weather what it is. The barometric pressure of the air, the level of humidity or precipitation, and the temperature. Out of that list, it’s hard to pinpoint which exactly is the true cause of joint discomfort. But, it is safe to say all play a part in creating the nasty weather that squeezes the joints, the cartilage inside the bone, and the exposed nerves.

In most cases, many people will complain of joint pain when it’s raining, particularly humid, and if a cold front has come through.

How to Help Joint Pain When the Weather Changes

Keeping the above in mind, here are the things you can do to alleviate any joint pain you may feel:

  • Keep yourself warm. When it gets colder and you start to feel your joints twinge in pain, reach for things that will warm you back up. Options include additional layers of clothing, warm baths, and hot presses.
  • Certain pain medications prescribed by your doctor can help make the pain easier, as can over-the-counter options.
  • Take care of yourself. Eat healthy foods, get exercise, and have plenty of sleep. You’ve heard time and time again how good these habits are for your body. That includes joint discomfort.
  • Paraffin baths are a favorite of many people who have joint problems. This tool melts wax in a small container, allowing you to dip your hands and feet in. The wax hardens on skin and the warmth from the wax absorbs into the joints to warm them up. Speak to your doctor to see if this is a good option for you.
  • Maintain a healthy weight and do low-impact exercises. Both of these options ease the effort your joints go through on a daily basis, including those that are horribly cold and rainy.

If you have any more questions about how bad weather affects joint pain, Alliance Spine and Pain is here to help. Reach out to any of our pain-alleviating specialists by clicking here or by giving us a call at 770-929-9033.

Physiotherapist doing healing treatment on man's back forMedical Conditions That Can Cause Spinal Pain

Medical Conditions That Can Cause Spinal Pain

You’ve heard about bad posture and previous injuries hurting your back. But what about the long list of medical conditions that can also cause spinal pain? The experts at Alliance Spine and Pain know all the well the many reasons someone can find themselves walking through our front doors.

In this blog, we’re breaking down the most common medical conditions that can cause spinal pain.

Illnesses and Diseases That Can Cause Spinal Pain

  • Ankylosing Spondylitis (or Bechterew’s Disease):This is a type of arthritis that directly affects the spine through inflammation and severe pain.
  • Arthritis: Since arthritis, the inflammation of joints, can cause pain and discomfort in all areas of the body, some people’s spine pain comes from this medical disease.
  • Cervical Radiculopathy (or Pinched Nerve): This disease happens when a nerve root in the spine is damaged or even inflamed. It’s a severely painful condition.
  • Degenerative Disc Disease: When the discs between the vertebrae lose their protective cushioning, this disease occurs. It’s a pretty common medical disease as people get older.
  • Endometriosis: Though this disease rarely causes spinal pain, this is a medical condition that happens when the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. Though it doesn’t grow on the spine, the side effects often cause discomfort in that area.
  • Fibromyalgia: A musculoskeletal condition that causes widespread pain, sleep issues, and mood changes, fibromyalgia commonly causes spinal discomfort.
  • Herniated Disc (or Bulging Discs): If a spinal disc manages to push through a crack in the exterior casing, herniated discs happen.
  • Kidney stones: These are known to be painful, so it only makes sense that kidney stones can also cause spinal pain. They are small and hard deposits of calcium that form in the kidney and are then passed through the ureter and the bladder.
  • Osteoarthritis: The most common type of arthritis, this happens when the flexible tissue at the end of a bone breaks down. Since it can happen to any bone, it can certainly happen in the spine.
  • Osteomyelitis: When a bone is infected in the spine, the inflammation that occurs from this often causes spinal pain and discomfort.
  • Scoliosis: This disease causes a sideways curve of the spine, which often leads to discomfort and pain. It’s not clear what causes this, but it’s often a side effect of other diseases like cerebral palsy.
  • Sciatica: The sciatica nerve, which is a nerve that runs along the lower back down to the back of the leg, can often have issues that cause severe back pain. 
  • Spinal Disease: An umbrella term, this describes any sort of medical condition that impacts the spine.
  • Spinal Stenosis: When the spinal canal that contains the nerve roots and spinal cord becomes compressed, it pinches those areas and pain will arise.
  • Spondylolisthesis: One of the lower vertebrae slips during this condition and presses against the bone beneath it.
  • Tumors: Though this is very rare, tumors on the spine can happen. When they appear, they press against all the sensitive materials of the spine.

If you believe you may have any of the above medical conditions that can cause spinal pain, the experts at Alliance Spine and Pain are here to help. Reach out to any of our pain specialists by clicking here or by giving us a call at 770-929-9033.

Young woman pain left shoulder, Ache in human body, office syndrome, health care concept, wondering the common reasons to visit pain specialists.

The Most Common Reasons to Visit Pain Specialists

For most people, when a major injury occurs, the first thing they think to do is visit their primary care physician or, in worst-case scenarios, go to the emergency room. But for those who deal with chronic pain, meaning their pain is a daily occurrence, then a primary care physician may not cut it.

This is where pain specialists, or pain management doctors, come in. These physicians are experts at managing both chronic pain and recovering processes from major accidents. At Alliance Spine and Pain Centers, our team is full of trusted medical professionals who are experts at helping patients to return to normal function and an active lifestyle. Our providers work to correct the cause of chronic pain, not just mask it.

But why might you need to visit our offices? We’re explaining the most common reasons to visit pain specialists below.

Why Do You Visit a Pain Management Doctor?

Here are the common reasons to visit pain specialists:

  • Diagnose chronic pain issues, such as osteoporosis and scoliosis.
  • Develop treatment plans for chronic pain issues, such as radiofrequency neurotomy or superion.
  • Receive surgeries for injuries or pain, such as proactive discogram or percutaneous vertebroplasty.
  • Require prescriptions for medications of pain management, only if absolutely necessary. However, Alliance Spine and Pain Centers is committed to ending the war against opioids through stringent prescription guidelines and effective non-narcotic solutions.
  • Develop a relationship with a physician to prevent future pain from arising.

If you’re struggling with chronic pain or would like to make your first visit to a pain management physician, the experts at Alliance Spine and Pain Centers are here to help. Give us a call at 770-929-9033 or click here to schedule an appointment.

Treating Chronic Pain Without the Risk of Opioid Addiction

A recent USA TODAY article discusses a highly effective alternative to addictive opioids in the treatment of chronic pain. Click the link below for compelling news about the benefits of Spinal Cord Stimulators (SCA) Therapies, including patient stories about how SCS have their lives back.

At Alliance Spine and Pain Centers you will find a staff of professionals that are here to aid you in pain management. Treating chronic pian is not easy and we have alternatives here that may help you out with our regenerative medicine approach. This article that is in the USA Today has yet another way for people to avoid opioid addiction due to dealing with pain on a daily basis, and our goal is to offer the state of the art procedures and more to help cure the problem that some may have to live with for a lifetime.

A woman getting chemotherapy, wondering Exercises That Reduce Pain from Chemotherapy.

Exercises That Reduce Pain from Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a necessary treatment for those suffering from certain types of cancer. While it can help you to get healthy, chemotherapy has many serious side effects. Some of the worst effects are various aches and pains. While you will want to talk to your doctor or a pain specialist about the best way to deal with this pain, you can do a few things yourself to help matters, too. Consider these five exercises that reduce pain from chemotherapy.

  • Strength Training – Did you know that strength training is an excellent choice for chemotherapy patients? When you think about it, it makes sense. Strength training improves muscle tone and can prevent loss of muscle that occurs while going through strenuous treatment.
  • Yoga or Tai Chi – Both of these forms of exercise are great choices for anyone in a chemo program. The best thing is that either can be started slowly and can improve stretching and balance—both things that may be useful as you’re fighting cancer.
  • Stretching with Bands – Using resistance bands to stretch is a good way to get the benefits of strength training without the risk of heavy lifting. It is easy to adjust your exercises to make sure you aren’t pushing too hard, and you’ll build muscle that can help reduce your overall pain.
  • Swimming – Swimming or water aerobics are great choices for a chemo patient. It is easy to move in the water, and you’ll get exercise without feeling heavy fatigue. Even if you find it hard to move on the ground, you will see that moving in water may not be so bad since the water reduces some of the strain your own weight puts on your joints. In addition, there is less worry about falling or balance issues than there is with exercise on ground.
  • Walk it Off – It seems like walking is a good exercise for nearly anyone—cancer patients are no exception. Get moving by walking, and you may feel a sense of relief. At the very least, regular walking can help you sleep better and give you a boost of endorphins!

As you can see, there are many ways that you can get moving, and hopefully, help reduce aches and pains even when you are undergoing cancer treatment. While these exercises are usually safe if you start slow, make sure you chat about your exercise goals with your doctor before you begin. Our pain management specialists, nurses, and physician assistants work together to make sure that a care plan tailored for your unique needs can be created if you have more questions about exercises that reduce pain from chemotherapy.

Young woman with shoulder pain

Hot vs. Cold: When Should You Use Each to Treat Pain

Should you ice that painful joint or put the heating pad on it? It’s a common question that comes up. Chances are you’ve tried both and gotten a certain amount of relief from each, but they offer different mechanical actions. The truth is either one will off a degree of initial comfort, but there are basic rules that help you decide what form of temperature therapy is right for each type of pain.

When to Use Cold Therapy

Cold treatment reduces inflammation or swelling. If you keep that in mind, then you get a sense of when ice is the best option for your pain. Inflammation occurs after an action, so if you just worked out and your back aches a bit – that is due to inflammation. The connective tissue and joint are swelling from the trauma of your workout.
Ice is also the standard initial treatment for an injury. When you twist your ankle, it swells up. Ice reduces that inflammation to aid in healing.

When to Use Hot Therapy

Heat, on the other hand, tends to loosen things up. Late at night after a long day on your feet, your back and hips might ache – this is when applying heat offers you the best chance of relief. When you feel stiff and sore, you want to consider sitting down with a heating pad and letting that warmth improve your circulation and enhance your range of motion.

Alternating Cold and Heat Treatments

Of course, there are times when you might alternative cold and heat to get pain relief. Let’s go back to that sprained ankle. Ice is part of the initial first aid you apply to a traumatic injury. Once the cold reduces the inflammation, you apply heat to enhance the circulation and aid in healing.

How about that sore back? Just after you exercise, the elements in your lower back will swell. This is a direct result of damage done during your workout. Unfortunately, that damage is a necessary part of strengthening muscle tissue. The trauma that comes from exercise forces the body to tear down that muscle and build it stronger to prevent further injury. Apply cold right away to that injury to reduce the inflammation. Later on in the day, you may feel stiff and achy. That is also a result of your workout, but it is not from inflammation.  You need to apply heat to promote healing of the damaged muscle.

Ultimately, it boils down to “acute” vs. “chronic” pain. You just finished physical therapy and your injured shoulder is swelling from the exercise. You just fell on your wrist or twisted your ankle. These are all acute injuries that benefit from ice. Chronic means it happens all the time. Your back always aches right before bed or your knees always hurt before it rains. Treat this pain with heat.

Women using rollers, wondering Ways to Use a Roller.

5 Ways to Use a Roller for Muscle Relaxation and Better Sleep

Stress and fatigue can cause painfully tight muscles. Trigger points, the points where the muscles are contracted the tightest, won’t go away unless they are released. If not released, this can cause ongoing pain as well as terrible bouts of insomnia. One way to release a trigger point is to use a roller. Here are five ways to use a roller to relax muscles and sleep better.

The Upper and Middle Back

While lying on the floor, place the roller beneath the shoulder blades. Move the hands under the head, supporting the neck. Roll back and forth on the roller, allowing it to ease the sore back muscles.

The Neck 

While lying on the floor, put the roller under the neck. With the roller acting as support, move the head horizontally back and forth to release the painful muscles in the neck.

The Shoulders

While kneeling, place the roller in front of the body. Put hands on the roller and move the whole upper body forward, keeping knees in place. This position can release pain in the shoulder and upper back area.

The Hamstrings

Sit with the right leg extended and resting on the foam roller. Raise the body up using the arms (keep arms positioned just behind the body for support). Roll the leg, from bottom to the knee area, to release pain and tension. Repeat on other side.

The Thighs

With body facing the ground, use the arms as support while resting the thighs on the foam roller. Lift gently upwards, making a pulling motion with arms and core muscles. This motion will bring direct contact with sore thigh muscles and will help address pain in this area effectively.

Better sleep is often a challenge for many people, but the simple fact is that improved sleep may begin with feeling better physically. The exercises listed above will allow you to soothe those painful areas so that you can finally get a peaceful night of rest.

If your pain persists, Alliance Spine and Pain Centers is here to help! Call for a consultation today at 770-590-1078 or click here to schedule an appointment.

Woman holding her knee in pain, wondering about knee pain.

Treating Knee Pain

Virtually everyone experiences different levels of pain at various points throughout their lives. It can manifest in the form of a strained muscle group, back pain, a stress-related headache, or an injury stemming from an automobile accident or work. For some people, the pain can be chronic and sometimes quite debilitating.

Causes of Knee Pain

Knee pain is a common complaint that’s often experienced by people of all ages including adults, children, and seniors. Knee pain is one of the most frequent complaints the doctors at Alliance Spine and Pain Centers hear. Their physicians and staff have been specially trained diagnose and treat knee pain no matter what the cause might have been.

This specific kind of pain can show up immediately following an injury, or could appear as a symptom of an ongoing medical condition. The level of discomfort the individual feels primarily depends on the cause of their pain, their overall physical condition prior to feeling pain, and the general area of the affected knee.

Often, when knee pain arises in older people, it could be a side effect or symptom of another key health problem that may or may not impact the bones and joints. But, this isn’t always the case. For some elderly people, the pain may be caused by a generally weakened bone structure that tends to occur throughout the natural aging process.

Levels of Knee Pain

Pain is the number one reason why people seek medical treatment. Acute pain can easily develop into unbearable chronic pain, which is then harder to treat. Several commercially available and commonly prescribed pain relief medications can decrease symptoms commonly associated with certain conditions such as nerve and muscle pain, back pain, arthritis, migraine headaches, and fibromyalgia, but they can additionally lead to many unwanted side effects as well including dizziness, drowsiness, or upset stomach. The physicians at Alliance Spine and Pain Centers  have found compounded prescriptions are very effective in reducing pain for specific areas of pain such as the knee.

The Pharmacy Compounding Solution

Constantly dealing with chronic pain or the many side effects of traditional pain medication can be avoided through pharmacy compounding. It provides patients with alternative, customized solutions for pain medication and relief. Compounding is essentially both the science and art of preparing personalized medications for patients and offers priceless benefits for anyone that deals with acute pain on a daily basis.

Special Formulations

Some people dealing with chronic pain are put on various medications in order to effectively tackle certain symptoms linked to their disorder. On several occasions though, multiple medications can often be combined into just one topical preparation, giving the patient much more convenience and simplicity.

Various Strengths

Medications may not always provide the correct strength of dosage for every patient since everyone has different symptoms, pain tolerance, and vary in physical size. However, by compounding, the pharmacist together with the prescriber can customize their dosage according to how much they actually need in addition to finding the form of dosage that will best suit the needs of the patient.

Alliance Spine and Pain Centers’ physicians often prescribe compound drugs for their patients. They have 15 locations that serve the Atlanta Metro area including Austell, Canton, Carrollton, College Park, Conyers, Covington, Dallas, Dawsonville, Decatur, Douglasville, Lawrenceville, Lithonia, Piedmont, Roswell, and Sandy Springs. Pharmacy compounding may be able to enhance a person’s quality of life by giving them relief from pain with less medication and possibly fewer side effects overall.

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.