News on Management and Chronic Pain Treatment in Jacksonville, FL

Contact us with any questions you have about current or past blog posts from our pain management clinic in Jacksonville, FL. We want to keep our patients better informed about treatments available to them

Diagnosing Chronic Back Pain

doctor examining patient with back pain

Don’t live with chronic back pain any longer. Make an appointment at the Florida Coast Pain and Spine Center today by calling 904.449.7246 or booking online.

Back pain can stem from a wide variety of issues, including injuries, conditions like scoliosis and sciatica, muscle strain, and more. It is the most common pain condition in the United States, and for many Americans, it can be considered chronic. Chronic back pain is defined as back pain lasting more than six months. When you visit Florida Coast Pain and Spine Center to receive treatment for back pain in Jacksonville, FL, we will work with you to diagnose the cause so that we can create an effective treatment plan for you.

Diagnosing Chronic Back Pain

To provide an effective treatment for your back pain, we need first to identify the cause. It can involve a lot of testing to determine what is going on. The first thing we need to do is examine the pain itself. We will need to learn:

  • When the pain started (Was it triggered by an injury or other issue?)
  • Your pain rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst
  • What type of pain you are experiencing (sharp, shooting, burning, etc.)
  • What affects your pain (keep a journal of what worsens your pain and what brings relief)

Once we have established the answers to these questions, we will do a physical exam, which may include feeling along your back for abnormalities and tenderness, as well as muscle sensation and strength training. We may also examine your mobility by asking you to perform certain actions like walking and bending.  Imaging tests may also be necessary depending on your symptoms.

Don’t live with chronic back pain any longer. Make an appointment at the Florida Coast Pain and Spine Center today by calling 904.449.7246 or booking online.

Find Relief from Migraines with Botox

botox for migraines Jacksonville flChronic migraine is a unique condition that can be difficult to treat because it presents differently in each individual. Because of the diversity of this condition, the available treatments are numerous. The problem with this is that you may try a large variety of different therapies with no success. If you do not respond well to traditional pharmacological treatments or behavioral interventions, you may want to consider alternative therapies, like Botox.

What is Botox?

Botox is a toxin called onabotulinumtoxinA, which is produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. You may know it as a popular treatment for facial wrinkles due to its ability to decrease muscle activity in the face. It also blocks the release of nerve-signaling chemicals, which can decrease the activation of pain pathways in the brain. This is the reason that doctors administer Botox for migraines in Jacksonville, FL.

How the Botox Treatment Works

To treat migraines, Botox is injected into seven key muscles located around the eyebrows, the forehead, the side of the skull, the back of the skull, the top and back of the neck, and the upper back. You will receive these injections once every twelve weeks or so for up to six months. Each treatment only takes about 15 minutes, and discomfort is minimal.

If you suffer from chronic migraines and want to know if Botox is right for you, reach out to the Florida Coast Pain and Spine Center at 904.449.7246 today.

How to Manage Chronic Pain with a Healthy Diet

man chopping vegetablesEvery one of us has heard at some point that watching what we eat is important. We know that eating healthy reduces your risk of obesity, diabetes, strokes, heart disease, and much more. What you may not know, however, is that the way you eat can affect your chronic pain. Excess weight puts more pressure on your body, resulting in more pain, but it isn’t that simple. Even thin people who suffer from chronic pain can experience the negative impact of a poor diet.

Inflammation

Inflammation in the body is one of the biggest sources of chronic pain. If your diet is low in fruits and vegetables and high in sugar, fat, and salt, can exacerbate inflammation in the body. If you deal with joint or muscle pain, inflammation is bad news.

What Can You Do?

It can be challenging to cut unhealthy foods from your diet, but there are some small changes you can make. You don’t need to go on a strict diet, but adding fruits and vegetables and making other healthy swaps can go a long way towards managing your pain. It also helps to keep an eye on your sodium intake and drink lots of water.

If you are looking for a solution for your chronic pain, visit our pain management clinic in Jacksonville, FL. Our physicians are ready to provide you with a personalized, multi-faceted solution to your pain when you book your appointment today.

Visceral vs. Somatic Pain

doctorChronic pain comes in many forms, affecting different areas of the body and originating from various sources. One common type is nociceptive pain, which is detected by nociceptors – a specialized type of sensory nerve. Conditions that cause nociceptive pain include headaches, pelvic pain, arthritis, and fibromyalgia. Nociceptive pain can be further broken down into visceral and somatic pain. Let’s take a quick look at the differences between the two.

Visceral Pain

Visceral pain is picked up by nociceptors in your internal organs. The sensory nerves are not very widespread in your organs, which means you may feel pain further away from its origin, and it tends to be difficult to locate. Visceral pain can be caused by conditions like endometriosis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), cystitis, and prostate pain.

Somatic Pain

Somatic pain is signaled by nociceptors in your soft tissues, muscles, and skin. Sensory nerves are very well distributed in these areas, so it usually easy to detect the source. Tension headaches, pain from joint instability, arthritis, and back pain not caused by nerves are all examples of somatic pain.

Visit Florida Coast Pain for chronic pain treatment in Jacksonville, FL, to receive personalized, compassionate treatment from our skilled physicians.

Ways to Cope with Chronic Pain

woman with migraineMillions of Americans live with chronic pain, and while medical treatments exist, they don’t control all of the symptoms. Chronic pain can make your life feel unbearable. Here are some ways to cope:

Find the Right Treatments
Chronic pain is at its worst when it is poorly controlled. Work with your doctor for treatment plans that can include medications, as well as alternative therapies like massage, acupuncture, and even medical marijuana. There are many treatments chronic pain, so it’s important to find a treatment or combination of treatments that work for your specific pain.

Exercise

Exercise is necessary to maintain your mobility, and keeping your muscles active can actually help alleviate some of your pain symptoms. When it comes to your muscles, it’s either you use them or lose them. Weak muscles are much more vulnerable to pain. Talk to your doctor and create an exercise plan that works for you.

Relaxation

Muscle tension from stress increases the pain you feel. Practicing stress management techniques, such as meditation and yoga, can release your stress and help you to feel less pain. Learning breathing exercises that you can use while you are experiencing discomfort throughout your day can be extremely helpful in relieving painful muscle tension.

Find a Support Group

There are people out there who understand what you are going through – so don’t suffer alone! Find a support group in your local community or online where you can share your experiences with others. Your peers will have tips and tricks for dealing with pain, information on treatments they’ve tried, and be able to provide emotional support.

Seek chronic pain treatment in Jacksonville, FL, at Florida Coast Pain and Spine Center. Call our experienced physicians at 904-449-7246 or book your appointment online.

When to See a Doctor for Back Pain

lower back painBack pain is a very common experience, but everyone experiences it differently. There are a wide variety of issues that can cause back pain, like osteoarthritis, ruptured discs, sciatica, muscle strains, spinal stenosis, scoliosis, injuries, and many more. To get an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment for your pain, you will need to see a doctor.

When to See a Doctor for Back Pain

Many times people experience episodes of back pain that only last a few days or weeks. However, if you are experiencing back pain for the first time, you should go to your doctor for an exam to make sure it is not serious. If you are experiencing the following symptoms, you should get your back checked by a doctor at our spine center in Jacksonville, FL, as soon as possible:

  • Persistent back pain that lasts more than a few days
  • The pain wakes you up at night
  • You have incontinence issues (bladder or bowel control issues)
  • You have signs of infection like fever, chills, and sweats
  • Any unusual symptoms that accompany the pain

Back pain can be managed and even cured with a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. When you are experiencing back pain, contact Florida Coast Pain and Spine Center at 904-449-7246 or book your appointment with our experienced pain physicians online.

golf swing at doral

Back Pain

Second most common reason why adults in the US visit the doctor, it’s the most common type of chronic pain problem. Depending on the duration of symptoms, back pain can be classified as Chronic (more than 6 months) and acute (meaning short term). Conservative measures are usually successful in treating acute pain. These include the use of ice or heat therapy or compresses, physical or massage therapy, short-term rest and over-the-counter pain relievers. If the pain problem fails to respond appropriately to these treatment modalities and progresses to chronic, the pain and spine specialists at Florida Coast Pain and Spine Center can advise a variety of alternative and interventional treatment modalities to achieve long lasting pain relief.

Symptoms:

Vary depending on the underlying conditions. Of course, the most common symptom is pain, but due to patient-to-patient variability, the type and level of pain a patient experiences as well as the duration will differ. The character of the pain could be described differently with descriptors as such as electric shock-like pain, stabbing, sharp pain and dull or achy pain. The duration also could differ between seconds to days. Additionally, patients can present with associated symptoms, which include limb numbness, decrease mobility, decrease strength, muscle spasms and pelvis, hips and back tightness. It is advised to patients suffering from back pain that has lasted more than 3 months to seek care from a specialist, as this type of pain is considered chronic in nature.

Causes:

Back pain can be due to a number of different conditions, injuries and disease processes. Underlying conditions that can cause back pain include sciatica, degenerative disc disease, degenerative facet joint arthritis, spinal stenosis, arthritis, osteoporosis, and vertebral fractures. Also, direct trauma to the back and overuse injuries are associated with back pain. Always in the differential infection and cancerous tumors are rare possibilities.

Treatment modalities:

Once the cause has been identified an adequate treatment plan can be formulated. Always the treatment should be tailored to the specific patient and individualized. The use of conservative measures in conjunction with alternative and interventional therapies should be considered a priority in the therapeutic plan. The recommendations will vary but may include the use of intervals of rest, ice/hot therapy, pain medications over-the-counter and/or prescription strength in between recommended and indicated interventional pain treatments. The pain and spine specialists at Florida Coast Pain and Spine Center would include as indicated the use of minimally invasive non-surgical procedures including the use of steroid injections, Epidural injections, selective nerve blocks, radiofrequency ablation, nerve stimulation, regenerative therapies and trigger point injections.

Family on Beach

Arthritis (Osteoarthritis + Rheumatoid)

The most common types of arthritis are Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid. The difference is what is causing the inflammation in the joints. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disorder while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition. Both diseases affect the joints causing breakage in the cartilage lining of the joints. Eventually and depending on severity and specific patient factors chronic pain can develop. The pain is due to chronic inflammation or even articular bony surfaces rubbing against each other. Osteoarthritis is most common in patients over 65; however, anyone can be diagnosed with osteoarthritis. There are different types of rheumatoid arthritis, but it may affect patients as young as 40 years old or even younger. These conditions affect the knees, hips, hands, and other joints.

Causes:

In general, Osteoarthritis develops due to normal and natural “wear and tear” of the joints but it can be the result of previous injuries to the affected joint. Additionally, overuse of the joint could also lead to joint decline. Rheumatoid arthritis is not caused by wear and tear. This condition occurs due to an autoimmune disorder in which the body starts to attack the lining that surrounds the joints. Researchers do not know exactly why people develop Rheumatoid arthritis, but it’s believed that there is a genetic component that may make people more susceptible to develop this condition.

Symptoms:

One of the most common complaints is stiffness of the affected joint(s), especially in the morning. Patients may also exhibit limited or decreased range of motion in the involved joint. The stiffness could be accompanied by constant aching pain or pain that flares up throughout the day. The joint may also show warmth and swelling. Due to decrease in range of motion, patients may also experience difficulties completing activities of daily living, such as, writing, grabbing objects, walking, cooking and dressing. Due to progression of symptoms, patient may develop weight gain, muscle weakness, and an increased risk of heart disease due to inactivity and lack of aerobic exercise.

Treatments:

The goal in the treatment is to slow down joint degeneration and to adequately manage the chronic pain associated with these conditions. At this point, there is no cure for osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. We will provide, if indicated, anti-inflammatory medications to reduce the swelling of the joint in order to control the patient’s symptoms. Our specialist physicians also offer joint injections that include nerve blocks, radiofrequency ablation, regenerative therapies and steroid medications targeting the damaged, painful joint. These injections can be repeated if necessary. We will help the patient increase range of motion and strength with the use of a physical therapy protocol or alternative therapies to help relieve pain. In extreme cases, appropriate referral to an orthopedic surgeon would be given to have the joint replaced if the degeneration is severe.

Woman Running on Beach

Pain Medication Management

What started as a well intended effort many decades ago to help patients suffering from chronic pain achieve pain relief, has led to national crisis. We have a situation where unfortunately, a significant amount of patients have been harmed due to the use of opioid pain medications. We have learned that the potential for addiction for opioid medications is higher than what we initially thought. We also learned that despite the patient’s best efforts, they are harmed from either unintentional overdose or from unintended consequences of the use of these medications.

Extensive technological advances in our field today have allowed us to use a number of different options to help patients obtain relief from severe pain. These types of options include but are not limited to coordinated physical therapy, non-opioid medications including medical cannabis, behavioral techniques, minimally invasive procedures and surgery at times when appropriate.  These treatments have allowed us to help patients get relief whereas before these options didn’t exist.

At times, despite our best efforts and the availability of better technologies, potent opioid medications may be needed to assist with patient’s pain relief. We have learned how to safely manage these medications such that we can obtain relief and help patients seek the outcome that they are looking for. A relief that helps them get better, overcome the challenges and really enjoy life again.