Tag Archive for: pain treatment

Orthopedist examining patients back

Treatment Spotlight: Radiofrequency Nerve Ablation

Persistent pain in the back, neck, or joints is frustrating at best. At worst, it can interfere with your daily routine, making everyday tasks like standing, sitting, bending, and walking painful and exhausting. If you’ve tried home remedies and non-invasive treatments, but they’ve done little to alleviate your discomfort, radiofrequency nerve ablation could be right for you. Here’s everything you need to know before scheduling a consultation.

What Is Radiofrequency Nerve Ablation?

Also called radiofrequency neurotomy, radiofrequency nerve ablation (RFA) is a technique typically performed by pain management specialists with the goal of addressing chronic pain in the back, neck, hip, or knee. RFA is widely recommended by doctors for pain that:

  • Is localized to the back, neck, hip or knee and does not radiate
  • Intensifies while lifting or twisting
  • Feels better while lying down
  • Occurs on one or both sides of the back

In general, RFA helps patients with persistent pain caused by the degeneration of joints, usually from arthritis.

How Does RFA Work?

RFA uses heat generated by radio waves to disrupt the pain signals in the spinal nerves. Typically, the treatment will be performed while the patient is awake but mildly sedated, and will involve the following steps:

  • The injection area is numbed to minimize discomfort when the needle is inserted.
  • Under x-ray guidance, the doctor inserts a needle to the appropriate nerve branch. 
  • After the needle has been placed, an active electrode is inserted through the needle to emit a controlled electrical current. This will stimulate the nerve and may briefly create some discomfort, but allows the physician to confirm that they’ve targeted the proper treatment area.
  • Upon confirming the target nerve, the physician will use an ablation method (pulsed, water-cooled, or traditional radiofrequency) to create a heat lesion, which prevents the nerve from sending pain signals to the brain. If needed, the process will be repeated on other nerves.

The process takes 30 minutes, and patients can typically return home the same day. Common side effects include temporary discomfort at the injection site and numbness of the skin.

Most patients experience relief within one to three weeks after the treatment. During recovery, patients should allow their pain levels to guide their activities. Physical therapy may be advised to help patients regain strength and mobility if their pain has limited their activity range for some time.

Who’s a Good Candidate for Radiofrequency Nerve Ablation?

Although RFA isn’t considered a permanent fix for back or neck pain, it can provide lasting relief for anyone who wants to avoid or delay full back surgery but has had little success with other treatment options, such as physical therapy or lifestyle adjustments. It may be right for you if you’re experiencing chronic back or neck pain, or pain in the sacroiliac joint near the base of the spine and hip bones. Some patients experience pain relief that lasts years, and the treatment is considered a safe, well-tolerated treatment with few complications. Most people find that pain levels are much improved after the treatment.

If previous attempts to alleviate your back pain have done little to bring relief, turn to Alliance Spine & Pain. We understand the frustration of ongoing discomfort and offer state-of-the-art treatments delivered by experienced pain management specialists to help you feel like yourself again. To schedule an appointment, call (770) 929-9033 or reach out to us online.

Closeup of female doctor in labcoat and stethoscope holding digital tablet, reading patient report. Hands holding medical report, discussing Provocative Discography.

Why You Might Need Provocative Discography

When you’re dealing with constant and debilitating back pain, you’ll do anything to find relief as quickly as possible. However, determining the source for your back pain can be difficult if there is a long list of potential causes. It can take time and several doctor visits to discover the reason for your discomfort.

Provocative discography is a diagnostic procedure your physician might suggest to determine the root of the problem. To learn about this process and why you might need it, read more below from the experts at Alliance Spine and Pain Centers.

What is Provocative Discography?

Lumbar provocative discography, also called discography or discogram, helps your physician discover the source of your back pain. It identifies the disc or discs in the spine that appear abnormal and are painful. Then, your doctor can determine if surgery or another type of pain management is needed to help relieve your back pain.

How Does a Provocative Discography Work?

This procedure requires you to rate your pain during the procedure, so you will not be sleeping during it. Here are the common steps for a provocative discography.

  • Numbing medicine is applied to decrease the amount of pain felt during this procedure.
  • A discogram needle enters the body and into the center of the disc.
  • Then, a contrast dye is injected.
  • The doctor will ask you to rate your pain and whether it corresponds with your normal area of pain.
  • Next, a CT scan or an X-ray is used to see how the dye spreads.
  • If the dye spreads outside of the disc and it reproduces your pain, it could be the source of your pain.

Why You Might Need It

This procedure gives doctors an inside look at the quality of your spinal discs. The ones with the most wear and tear and reproduce your pain indicate the potential source of your back pain.

However, the efficacy of provocative discography in determining the source of back pain is still controversial within the scientific community. Sometimes, dye spreading past the disc doesn’t match your normal pain.

Because of this discussion, it’s best to consult with your pain physician beforehand to determine if provocative discography is the best procedure to identify your pain.

If you have any more questions about why you might need provocative discography, Alliance Spine and Pain Centers is here to help. Reach out to any of our back-strengthening specialists or give us a call at 770-929-9033.

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.

Physiotherapist doing healing treatment on man's back for medical 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.

Tired woman rubbing sore neck due to fibromyalgia pain.

Tips for Handling Fibromyalgia

If you’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you probably have a lot of questions. First of all, what is fibromyalgia anyway? Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal condition that causes widespread muscle and joint pain peppered with fatigue. In addition, pain and fatigue can lead to depression and isolation if it is not handled carefully. That’s why a good pain relief program is important.

If you suffer from fibromyalgia, there are numerous things you can do on your own to help control pain and make it more manageable. Here are five ways to help reduce fibromyalgia pain:

  • Reduce Your Stress Level – While it may not be possible to remove all stressors from your life, anything you can do to take stress down a level or two will help. This may mean letting go of obligations, adjusting your work schedule, or asking someone you know and trust for help. It is well worth the effort if it keeps you feeling better inside and out.
  • Make Modifications to Your Work – Can you work from home a couple of days a week? Would sitting in a different type of chair help with pain? Would a different position lead to less stress? Think about all the hours you spend at work each week, and you’ll see how important it is to ensure your workplace doesn’t lead to more pain or emotional distress.
  • Learn to Say No – When you have fibromyalgia, you need to put time into your own wellness and you don’t need to take on too much. Learning how to say “no” when friends, family members, or co-workers ask you to take on more than you are comfortable with becomes key.
  • Get Regular Exercise – It may seem difficult to get out there and work out, but even the smallest amount of exercise can have a significant impact on how you feel. A short walk just a couple of times a week may help you feel better and strengthen your body to fight the condition.
  • Reduce Caffeine – Caffeine is a chemical that can make your body feel stressed. It may be hard to give up that daily coffee or your favorite soda, but reducing your intake is an easy way to help you feel better today AND tomorrow.

If you are suffering from fibromyalgia or another issue that causes you ongoing pain, reach out to us at Alliance Spine and Pain Centers. We would love to help you find the relief you need AND deserve. 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.

The word “PAIN” in puzzle pieces, highlighting post-surgical pain treatment.

Post-Surgical Pain Treatment

After any type of surgery, pain is to be expected. The amount of pain that you have and its duration often depends on the type of surgery, your age, and the evasiveness of the procedure. However, there are many ways to cope with post-surgical pain treatment to make your recovery time more pleasant.

Begin By Asking Questions

Before your surgery, your doctor will be able to tell you what kind of pain you will experience and approximately how long it will last. Once you have this discussion, your doctor can consult with you about a pain-management plan. This may include medications, massages, and other ways to relieve pain that allow you to rest and recuperate more effectively.

Taking Pain Medication

One of the most effective ways to manage pain after surgery is to take your prescribed pain medication as ordered by your doctor. Many patients make the mistake of waiting until they feel pain before taking their medication. However, by waiting until you are in pain, you will have to suffer through it until your medication begins to work. That’s why it is recommended to stay ahead of the pain and to take the medication on a set schedule. Be sure that you understand exactly how often to take your medication and to keep track of what time you have taken it.

Anxiety After Surgery

Developing depression or anxiety after surgery is a common occurrence. This can make it harder to become active after your surgery and slow your recovery. Depression and anxiety can also worsen your pain. If you need treatment for these conditions, speak to your doctor and find out about medications that are available to you. These can also help lessen your post-surgical pain in many cases.

Physical Therapy

After some types of surgery, physical therapy may be helpful. This can lessen pain over time and help the healing and strengthening process. If your pain and/or stiffness persist, ask your doctor whether physical therapy could help you to heal and to feel better.

Stay In Contact With Your Doctor

If your pain persists after your doctor’s estimate, call your doctor. If you have pain after the healing should have been completed, there may be another issue that is causing it. There is no reason to go through pain alone and without help from your doctor. Keep your doctor informed about how you are recovering and about your level of pain.

At Alliance Spine and Pain Centers, we are proud to take a comprehensive and highly progressive approach to healing and pain management that allows us to treat each patient’s pain effectively. To learn more about methods for post-surgical pain treatment, give us a call at 770.929.9033 or schedule a pain management consultation.

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 22 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.