Author Archives: Donna Carson

Prospira PainCare Partners with athenahealth to Improve Operational Efficiency and Provide a Unique, High-Quality Patient Experience

WATERTOWN, Mass. & MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.–(Business Wire)–
athenahealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATHN), a leading provider of cloud-based electronic
health record (EHR), practice management, and care coordination services to
medical groups and health systems, today announced that Prospira PainCare has
signed an agreement to standardize on athenahealth`s cloud-based services across
their nationwide network of pain management practices. Prospira PainCare will
deploy athenahealth`s Best in KLAS cloud-based practice management and EHR
services, athenaCollector and athenaClinicals, and cloud-based patient
communication service, athenaCommunicator, to its growing network of pain
management professionals. Prospira PainCare will also utilize health care
business intelligence services from Anodyne Health Partners, Inc., an
athenahealth company.

Prospira PainCare considers “leveraging the cloud” as essential to helping them
grow their network. Prospira PainCare`s aggressive five-year growth plan
requires nimble services and technology that can scale as the organization
expands to become a national leader in pain management care.

“After an intensive search for a technology provider that would truly empower us
to grow at the rate and scale we`re planning, we chose athenahealth for its
unique combination of high-quality cloud-based services that can address the
broad spectrum of financial, operational and clinical challenges we`re facing
today,” said Dr. Barry Karlin, Chairman and CEO, Prospira PainCare. “We are
excited to partner with athenahealth, as we believe it will help us operate more
efficiently and better serve our growing patient population.”

Jonathan Bush, Chairman and CEO of athenahealth, added “Like other innovative
organizations, Prospira has discovered that only a truly cloud-based technology
and services company like athenahealth can meet a high level of demand and offer
unmatched insight into business and patient care services. We are very much
looking forward to supporting Prospira PainCare as they barrel full-speed ahead
towards becoming a national pain management category leader.”

With athenaCollector, Prospira PainCare will gain real-time insight into a broad
range of business activities, including things like claim status, patient
eligibility and payer monitoring.

athenaClinicals will help Prospira PainCare gain more control over its clinical
processes, boosting the efficacy of patient workflows and making its network of
providers as productive as possible when providing high-quality care.

athenaCommunicator will help Prospira PainCare more effectively support its
patients as they navigate the current medical environment, providing greater
patient access and satisfaction through increased communications related to
medical payments, appointment scheduling, reminders, and more.

With health care business intelligence services provided by Anodyne Health
Partners, Prospira PainCare will use a broad suite of athenahealth`s cloud-based
solutions to gain unprecedented visibility into their clinical and financial
operations, as they continue to provide high-quality patient care in an
important and underserved care segment.

For more information on athenahealth`s cloud-based service offerings, please
visit our website,, or follow along on our blog, Twitter
and Facebook.

About athenahealth

athenahealth, Inc. is a leading provider of cloud-based Best in KLAS electronic
health record (EHR), practice management, and care coordination services to
medical groups and health systems. athenahealth`s mission is to be the most
trusted service to medical care givers, helping them do well by doing the right
thing. For more information, please visit or call

About Prospira PainCare

Prospira PainCare, located in Mountain View, California was founded in August
2012. Prospira PainCare partners with world class interventional pain management
physicians and rehabilitation specialists. Prospira affiliated physician
practices provide a comprehensive program in which clinical professionals from a
variety of disciplines work together in an integrated manner to achieve common
treatment goals. Our multidisciplinary approach to pain care is designed to
effectively improve our patients’ quality of life and overall health. Our
professional staff takes pride in offering outstanding patient service and a
full spectrum of care that is personalized for each individual we treat. For
additional information, please visit

Prospira Paincare announces acquisition of Central Florida Pain Management

Leading Pain Management Services Provider Expands Florida market in the Villages and Ocala.

ROSWELL, GA – Prospira PainCare, Inc., the nation’s premier provider of multidisciplinary pain management and restorative healthcare services, today announced the acquisition of Central Florida Pain Management (CFPM), a leading provider of pain management services in the Villages, Florida & Ocala, Florida.

“CFPM is a clinical leader in Central Florida. We believe that a partnership with Prospira will enable CFPM to broaden its continuum of care and further improve outcomes for patients with debilitating acute and chronic pain in the Villages and Ocala areas,” said Bill Brigham, CEO of Prospira Paincare. “We are pleased that CFPM has entrusted us with their practices and believe that the patient community will benefit from this partnership.”

CFPM’s two practice locations, Villages & Ocala, connects with Prospira’s existing Florida locations. CFPM’s centers are run by lead physician Dr. Cesar Euribe, a highly-respected clinician and thought leader in pain management, who will continue to serve patients as part of the Prospira centers of excellence.

The acquisition of CFPM follows the recent acquisitions by Prospira Paincare of Advance Interventional Pain Centers, Pain management and treatment centers in the northeast, southeast and western United States, including The Pain Management Center in southeast New Jersey and Philadelphia, The National Pain Institute located throughout Florida, The Spine Center of Southeast Georgia and The Bay Area Pain & Wellness Center serving the greater San Francisco area.

About Prospira PainCare

Prospira PainCare is the nation’s premier provider of comprehensive, multidisciplinary pain management services. Our business model is based upon building partnerships with industry leading physicians to accelerate the value of each practice through organic growth of the patient base combined with operational efficiencies leading to increased profitability.

Our network of physician partners delivers high quality, individualized pain management services for patients suffering from acute or chronic pain. Prospira PainCare’s commitment to the highest standards of care will enable us to advance innovative therapies that restore the health and quality of life while delivering superior outcomes for our patients.

18 Daily Activities that May Cause Lower Back Pain

We all know that lifting heavy objects and things of that nature can lead to lower back pain issues, but what about your daily habits? Are there any activities that you perform during a typical day that could be causing your lower back pain?

In this article, we’re going to discuss a few things most of us do on a daily basis, or at least a weekly basis, that may lead to back pain (and we don’t even realize it).

1 Driving


Have you ever had a sore lower back after driving for a long distance? If you’ve got a long commute or have a job that requires you to spend an hour or more each day in your vehicle, then your lower back pain could be caused by your posture while driving.

In order to alleviate the stress on your lower back while driving, you need to ensure that you sit up straight, with your back completely against the back of your seat. Oftentimes, drivers will sit in the middle of the seat, which fails to support the lower back, leading to back issues.

You may also want to consider purchasing a driving pillow (there are several companies that make them) that is designed to support your lower back during those long com-mutes.

In addition, many vehicles now come with features designed to help individuals suffering from lower back pain, including seats with side bolstering, heating and ventilation, and more.

2 Sleeping

It’s not uncommon for poor sleep positions to result in lower back pain, especially for stomach sleepers. We find that many of our patients who sleep on their stomachs expe-rience back pain that is at least partially caused by poor positioning of the spine during sleep.

In order to fix the problem, we encourage our patients to either sleep on their back (per-haps with a pillow under their knees), or if the only way they can sleep is on their stom-ach, at least put a pillow underneath the lower abdominal area to allow the spine to maintain its natural curve while sleeping.

If you experience lower back stiffness in the mornings, it may be caused by a poor sleep position, so consider altering your sleep position and monitor your results.

3 Brushing your teeth & shaving


You may chuckle reading this, but there are actually two very real scenarios where you can hurt your lower back while standing over your sink while brushing your teeth or shaving.

For starters, when many people brush their teeth, they are significantly bent over the sink (especially for individuals who are taller). If you maintain this position for 2-3 minutes while brushing, it can lead to problems.

Secondly, most men shave every day or at least a few times per week. When shaving, we often try to get as close to the mirror as we can in order to ensure we don’t miss a stray hair or two.

This can lead to 10 minutes or more of bending our backs forward at a 30 degree angle, putting undo stress on the lower back region.

4 Going for a walk

Walking is good for you and is normally better for back pain than just sitting and resting. However, it’s important that you walk correctly, using the right pace, technique, and on proper terrain.

If you’re experiencing lower back pain, it’s probably a bad idea to go on a demanding hike through the woods. Instead, get a comfortable pair of running shoes with plenty of padding and walk on the sidewalk in your neighborhood or on easy-to-navigate trails.

Walking is a great habit, but just make sure you don’t overdo it.

5 Playing non-contact sports (golf, tennis, etc.)


Even though golf and tennis are not contact sports, they can still cause a significant amount of injury to the lower back area.

For instance, most golfers coil their upper body, while trying to remain relatively quiet with the lower body. This creates tension between the upper and lower body, especially on the trail side (the right side for right-handed golfers, and left side for left-handed players). As such, muscle strain and injuries to the SI joint are common.

The same thing happens in tennis when you are winding up to serve or when you deliv-er a powerful backhand— you unconsciously load power using the muscles in your low-er back, hips, and legs.

It’s quite easy to tweak your back, and it’s no wonder that most great tennis players start to see their skills diminish around the age of 30; it’s a physically demanding sport.

6 Playing with your kids, grandkids, or even the dog

Few things in life rival the joy experienced when playing with your kids, grandkids, or even your furry friend who’s also a member of the family. In fact, we often get caught up in doing what they want to do, and our bodies suffer as a result.

If you’re experiencing back pain after physical activities with your friends and family, it may be time to see a pain management doctor at Prospira Pain Care. You don’t want to let lower back pain keep you from enjoying those precious moments.

7 Sitting at your desk all day


In our modern society, we sit at our desks much more often than we should. In fact, many patients who come to see us believe that sitting at their desks all day (for 40 hours or more a week) is contributing to their back pain.

It’s a fact— we live a more sedentary lifestyle now than during any era of history, and we have the back problems to prove it.

One thing the CDC has suggested is to use a standing desk in order to help alleviate chronic pain. These types of desks are designed to help you, not only alleviate back pain at work, but also become more productive.

If you can squash your back pain and get more work done in the process, it might be worth trying. If you think that your sitting habits may be linked to your back pain, Prospi-ra Pain Care offers a wide variety of minimally invasive, integrated therapies that focus on treating pain without using habit-forming medications.

So don’t just “sit” and keep on hurting. Stand up and call us!

8 Smoking

It’s obviously a well known fact that smoking is a very unhealthy habit, but did you know that it can actually contribute to your lower back problems?

While it’s long been suspected that a link between smoking and lower back pain exists, a study published in 2001 shed some light on the issue. Researchers found that risk fac-tors for atherosclerosis (smoking history and hypertension) were associated with lower back pain and lumbar spondylosis.

The bottom line is that smoking doesn’t only have a negative effect on your heart and lungs; it can also be a contributing factor for patients who are suffering from lower back pain.

While quitting smoking certainly isn’t easy, we strongly recommend that you seek pro-fessional treatment to help you overcome your smoking habits.

9 Cleaning and laundry


Think about all of the lifting you do when you clean and do laundry. Shocking, isn’t it? Putting clothes in the washer, taking heavy, wet clothes out of the washer, putting tow-els on high shelves (not to mention the bending required when vacuuming, mopping, and doing other household chores.)— it all adds up to a significant amount of stress and strain on your lower back.

Most people don’t think about it, but these seemingly harmless activities can lead to lower back pain and actually decrease your quality of life.

While you must keep a clean house, if these kinds of chores are causing significant back pain, you want to ask your spouse or significant other to help out more, or even consider hiring a cleaning service to handle the most demanding work required around the house.

10 Mowing the lawn

If you’re using a riding lawn mower, this isn’t such an issue (although you can have the same issues with a riding lawn mower as you do driving a car). However, mowing your lawn with a push power can lead to back problems due to the hunched over posture re-quired to push the mower forward and pull it back.

Again, if mowing the lawn is worsening your back troubles, consider hiring a lawn care service, or if possible, let one of your kids or neighbors handle it.

Keeping a nice and tidy yard is important, but there are other options besides pushing a mower for an hour or more and hurting your back in the process.

11 Pushing a stroller


Listen up moms, dads, and grandparents: pushing a stroller can actually lead to back pain. Think about it— when pushing your young child in a stroller, you assume a posture that is bent slightly forward of center, which can alter the natural curvature of the spine.

It’s actually a similar motion to mowing the lawn, and can lead to excessive stress on the back. Next time you go shopping and have to push a stroller for a prolonged period of time, consider taking turns with your spouse or other person you’re shopping with in order to minimize the stress put on your back by pushing your baby’s stroller all day.

12 Taking the stairs

Taking the stairs is generally considered a healthy habit. However, as they say, “every-thing in moderation.”

Going up and down stairs can place a lot of stress not only on your lower back, but on your knees as well. If you’re using stairs as a way to get more exercise, consider a slower pace, or use them less often.

While you shouldn’t rely on the elevator too much, it can be your friend from time to time.

13 Your diet


Did you know that what you eat and drink could be contributing to your lower back pain? In fact, a recent study found that theramine, an amino acid blend, could possibly have a greater effect in reducing lower back pain than Ibuprofen.

The question is— what foods should you avoid (and what should you eat instead) to minimize your lower back pain?

The science of reducing back pain by changing your diet revolves around eliminating foods that can increase inflammation in the body. Below is a list of foods that you should avoid, or at least only eat in moderation, if you want to decrease your lower back pain:

  • Red meat
  • White bread
  • Pasta
  • Sugary beverages
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol

Of course, knowing what foods to avoid is important, but it’s also vital that you know what inflammation-fighting foods you should be including in your diet. Here are a few of them:

  • Fish such as salmon, tuna, cod, and trout
  • Nuts such as almonds and pecans
  • Green vegetables such as kale and broccoli
  • Fruits such as berries, grapes, oranges, and bananas

The litmus test for eating healthy is really quite simple; focus on fish and chicken for your protein sources, make sure to get your daily intake of vegetables and fruit, and avoid processed foods when possible.

A better diet can decrease inflammation in the lower back region, and help to fight against chronic back pain and stiffness.

14 Carrying groceries or other small bags

Oftentimes it’s the little things in life that give us the most trouble. We all know that lifting heavy objects can put stress on the lower back, but what about the small things that we have to carry every day?

Whether it’s groceries, a heavy purse, a backpack, or anything of that nature, carrying a bag the wrong way can lead to back pain, especially if you are hunched over while car-rying them.

Always be cognizant of what you are carrying. Remember, you don’t have to carry eve-rything from your vehicle to the kitchen counter all in one trip. An extra trip or two could help you reduce the amount of pain you are experiencing.

15 Reading in bed


There’s nothing inherently wrong with reading in bed, but it can lead to back and neck stiffness based on the position you are lying in while reading.

Many of us either sit in a semi-reclined position with our back propped against the headboard or a pillow, which can actually put additional stress on the lower back mus-cles. Laying on your side can also add strain to the spine and muscles in the lower back, causing additional tension.

There’s nothing like reading a book to wind down before getting some shuteye. Howev-er, we recommend that you create a sitting area in your home where you can read with-out putting stress on your back. It’s very difficult to achieve a comfortable position while reading in bed that won’t put additional stress on your back.

16 The wrong exercises

At Prospira Pain Care, we advocate minimally invasive treatments in order to help pa-tients avoid surgery and and over-reliance on prescription pain medications. As part of our treatment algorithm, exercise and physical activity are often recommended.

That being said, it’s important that you are doing exercises that are improving your lower back condition, not exacerbating it. If you’re experiencing lower back pain, it’s probably not a good idea to try and run a marathon or play golf every day, as those activities will likely worsen your symptoms.

Instead, focus on low impact activities, such as walking or riding a bike at a steady pace. While the right exercises can help decrease your lower back pain, the wrong ones can certainly make it worse.

Our doctors at Prospira Pain Care will create a customized pain management plan for you that incorporates just the right amount (and type of) exercise.

17 Drinking energy drinks


Energy drinks are sometimes referred to as “back pain in a bottle,” and for good reason.

These sugary drinks can not only increase inflammation in the lower back muscles, but according to a study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, they may also be a contributing factor in the formation of kidney stones.

If you have a habit of drinking energy drinks and sugary soda on a regular basis, it’s time to trade those beverages in and increase your water intake. Water keeps the body hydrated and fights against both inflammation and the formation of kidney stones— two common causes of lower back pain.

18 No activity

A lack of physical activity can be the worst activity of all. In fact, being sedentary can increase your lower back pain. One of the common misconceptions about managing pain is that you should cease all activity and focus on rest, which usually is not the case.

What we’ve found is that, when patients go on bedrest for more than three days, their pain actually increases or remains constant. While rest is certainly an important compo-nent of the pain management process, you have to manage rest with movements to help decrease the pain you are experiencing in your lower back.

At Prospira Pain Care, our doctors will work with you to create a customized treatment plan that incorporates ideal amounts of rest and exercise so that you can start feeling better and living a happier, healthier life.

? Are you suffering from acute or chronic lower back pain? We can help.


It’s estimated that 90% of people will experience lower back pain at some point during their lives, and the causes can be difficult to diagnose and treat. If you’re tired of living a life consumed by lower back pain, it’s time to seek help from our pain management doc-tors at Prospira Pain Care.

We offer innovative treatments for patients who have suffered with back pain for years, and we’ve even helped those whose regular doctors told them there wasn’t much that could be done.

You don’t have to live your life in pain. With locations in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and more, we are here to help you get your life back. Find our location nearest you and give us a call to schedule your first appointment today!

16 Ways to Reduce Swelling and Inflammation in Your SI Joint

You probably know the feeling all too well— lower back pain. Maybe you’ve just started to experience it or you’ve had problems for a long time. Either way, acute or chronic lower back pain can leave you feeling miserable, struggling day to day just to get through it.

While not always the case, oftentimes lower back pain is caused by swelling and inflammation in the sacroiliac joint, which may be diagnosed as sacroiliac joint dysfunction.

If you’re experiencing lower back pain, we encourage you to make an appointment at one of our pain management and treatment centers. Our doctors and team of medical professionals are here to help alleviate your pain and put you back on the path to a quick recovery without surgery or habit-forming pain medications.

Here are just a few of the treatment methods we use at Prospira Pain Care in order to reduce swelling and inflammation in your SI joint and to help you live a life with less pain. If you’re tired of living in pain, and want to try a different approach to managing your pain, we’re here to serve you.

1 Use ice and heat therapy to relieve pain

You’ve likely heard that baseball pitchers ice their arm after a hard day on the mound, but have you ever thought about why ice is used?

Applying ice or a cold pack to an inflamed area is one of the easiest ways to reduce swelling. It’s been a viable treatment method for years, and works very well for many patients.

It’s important to note, when using ice you should not apply it directly to your skin, as this can result in ice burn. Ideally, you should wrap ice in a towel and apply it to your lower back region.

Heat therapy is designed to increase blood flow to a particular region; in this case the SI joint. When muscles become tense, circulation is often restricted. Heat restores blood flow, which can help reduce the pain signals that are being sent to the brain.

Heat therapy also has a calming, relaxing effect on the body, just like cuddling up next to a fire or drinking a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.

2 Non-habit forming pain medications

We’ve documented in another article how pain medications may actually make you worse, which you can read here.

It’s obvious that no one wants to get addicted to pain medications, but it happens to people from all walks of like every day around the world.

Here are just a few shocking statistics about pain medications:

  • 52 million people in the U.S. over the age of 12 have used prescription drugs non-medically in their lifetime.
  • 6.1 million people have used them non-medically in the past month. The United States makes up about 5 percent of the world’s population and consumes 75 percent of the world’s prescription drugs.
  • In 2010, enough prescription painkillers were prescribed to medicate every American adult every 4 hours, for 1 month.


Those are chilling statistics, and things are only getting worse. While we certainly understand that certain situations require powerful pain medications, our pain management algorithm focuses on limited use of addictive narcotics.

We do not want patients to become dependent on pain medications in order to have a functional, fulfilling life.

In fact, when we discuss using medications as part of a patient’s treatment protocol, we typically start with NSAIDS or acetaminophen, both of which are regularly available, in-expensive, over-the-counter options.

Both of these over-the-counter medications are viable treatment options for reducing inflammation and swelling of the SI joint.

As with any drug you are taking, it is important to discuss specific dosage with your physician. Our doctors at Prospira Pain Care can work with you to provide a treatment plan using non habit-forming medications to meet your needs.

3 Reduce or eliminate foods that lead to inflammation

Wait a minute doc…How in the world will changing my diet help alleviate back pain?

This a question we hear all the time. Patients understand that, to prevent heart disease or diabetes, they need to change their diets, but oftentimes people don’t associate a poor diet with back pain (specifically inflammation in the SI joint).

It really boils down to choosing foods in your diet that are known to decrease levels of inflammation in the body. By decreasing inflammation throughout your body, you’re, by default, going to decrease inflammation in your SI joint, or at least prevent any excess inflammation.

Here are a few foods you may want to include in your diet if you are experiencing pain in your sacroiliac joint:

Olive oil. Olive oil contains omega-9 fatty acids, which helps to reduce inflammation. Consider replacing vegetable oil with olive oil when cooking for an extra dose of inflammation-fighting superfood.

More fish, less red meat. Red meat is higher in cholesterol and salt, both of which are inflammation triggers. On the other hand, fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which helps to combat inflammation in the body. It also typically contains less calories. So next time you cook or go out to eat, opt for the salmon over the steak!

More nuts in your diet. Walnuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, and more are excellent sources of omega-3s (noticing a theme here?). They are comprised of healthy fats, which are an excellent addition to your diet.

When you visit Prospira Pain Care, our nutrition counselors will talk with you about how you can change your diet to reduce swelling and to help combat your SI joint inflammation.

4 Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a minimally-invasive treatment technique designed to decrease pain by promoting the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

While modern medicine has, to an extent, minimized the perception of self healing, our bodies are actually quite remarkable at overcoming obstacles and healing.

Acupuncture promotes this process by stimulating specific acupoints on the body, as identified by a licensed, certified acupuncturist.

Acupuncture treatment begins by laying comfortably on the treatment table while acupoint areas are identified and needles are placed. Typically, patients report little to no pain while the small needles are being placed, and report a feeling of relaxation during and after the procedure.

Typical treatments typically take anywhere from 5-30 minutes, and multiple treatments are usually needed for both acute and chronic SI joint pain.

Whether you are experiencing pain in your lower back or other areas of your body, acupuncture is a minimally-invasive treatment alternative that you may want to try. Our doctors at Prospira Pain Care would love to educate you in more detail on the benefits of acupuncture, and how it may fit into your overall pain management and treatment protocol.

5 Cognitive behavioral therapy, including relaxation techniques

When you’re experiencing significant levels of pain, the last thing you want anyone to tell you is that it’s “just in your head.” Regardless of the reason for your pain, we know that it is very real to you.

For those who are suffering with SI joint pain, cognitive behavioral therapy may be an excellent treatment option. After all, relaxation does a body good. It helps to calm our minds and decrease physical, mental, and emotional stress triggers.

In a nutshell, cognitive behavioral therapy states that physical pain can be successfully managed by controlling the negative thoughts and behaviors that influence the perception of pain.

By talking with a cognitive behavioral therapist and developing coping mechanisms to better understand and manage pain, a higher quality of life can be achieved. At Prospira Pain Care, our therapists can help you better understand why you are in pain, and equip you with the skills you need to cope with pain in a positive manner.

6 SI joint steroid injections

SI joint corticosteroid injections are one of the most popular minimally invasive techniques used to directly decrease inflammation and swelling of the sacroiliac joint.

During this procedure, an anti-inflammatory is injected directly into the joint, which provides pain relief for many patients. If the treatment is successful, it can be repeated eve-ry 3-4 months to help patients manage their pain effectively.

In some cases, an initial SI joint injection followed by a physical therapy regimen is effective at managing pain, and may lessen the need for future injections.

At Prospira Pain Care, we provide these injections to many of our patients as part of our pain treatment algorithm, where we focus on taking patients from a feeling of hopeless-ness to a feeling of hopefulness using minimally-invasive, non-surgical treatment protocols.

7 Stretching with low-impact exercise

When we first see patients, they often think that lying in bed or resting on the couch is the only way to reduce inflammation in the SI joint area.

While rest is certainly an important component of any rehab process, it’s also important that proper stretching and exercise takes place.

With regards to the SI joint, it’s important to stretch the muscles surrounding the joint in order to prevent muscle strain or overuse, which can contribute to increased levels of inflammation in the joint.

At Prospira Pain Care, physical therapy may be a part of your SI joint pain management program. If so, our physical therapists will instruct you on the best exercises and stretching protocols in order to reduce inflammation and get your SI joint back on the road to a successful recovery.

8 TENS therapy and/or spinal cord stimulation

While electrical stimulation may conjure up images of shock therapy on lab rats, nothing could be further from the truth.

Both TENS therapy and spinal cord stimulation have been proven effective to treat pain in the lower back region surrounding the SI joint.

Here’s how these therapies work:

TENS Therapy:

TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. This type of therapy pro-vides a low-voltage current that can help patients experience less pain.

A TENS unit is about the size of a cell phone or pocket radio, and works by hooking up electrodes to the skin in the area where pain is present. This electrical stimulation therapy sends signals to the brain that block pain signals.

A TENS unit has a variety of settings, and our doctors will work with you to determine the ideal settings for your TENS unit so that you get maximum pain relief. The best part is that once you understand how to operate your TENS unit, it’s quite easy and can be used anywhere.

Spinal cord stimulation:

Spinal cord stimulation is similar to TENS therapy in that an electrical signal is used to block or “confuse” pain signals. One of the primary differences between the two is that spinal cord stimulation involves actually implanting a small battery powered device into the body, which emits signals to your spinal column.

Patients usually report a tingling sensation instead of pain, and many patients have re-ported a reduction in SI joint pain due to spinal cord stimulation therapy.

The key takeaway is this: electrical stimulation therapy via a TENS unit or spinal stimulation device can be effective in helping to eliminate pain in the SI joint.

9 Tricyclic anti-depressants (TCAs)

Treating lower back pain with anti-depressants may seem unusual at first, but as you know, SI joint pain can also bring on a variety of emotional issues that must be evaluated and taken seriously.

At Prospira Pain Care, we are focused not just on pain management, but the overall well-being of our patients.

In the case of anti-depressants (specifically TCAs), when certain chemicals are imbalanced in the brain, it can lead to increased levels of pain perception, and the pain is very real.

TCAs increase the levels of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine to calm your body, which for many patients results in a more relaxed feeling, reducing pain and muscle tension in the process.

Using TCAs for treating pain is considered an off-label use, but many patients experience great results. Typically, a lower dosage is required when utilizing TCAs to treat back pain as opposed to depression.

10 Incorporate a daily multivitamin into your routine

Certain vitamins help our bodies in the battle against inflammation, and taking a multi-vitamin with the right inflammation-fighting ingredients is an effective way to reduce or even eliminate inflammation in the body, including the SI joint.

If you’re taking a multivitamin with the goal of reducing joint inflammation and swelling, here are the top vitamins you’ll want to make sure are included in your daily supplement:

Vitamin A:

Vitamin A is an antioxidant commonly found in whole milk, amongst other common foods. Beta-carotene, which is found in many vegetables, is also converted into Vitamin A in the body.

Vitamin B6:

Because the body is constantly ridding itself of Vitamin B6, your body needs to replenish this vitamin daily. Vitamin B6 is plentiful in foods such as fish, turkey, and beef, and has even been shown to increase inflammation leading to joint damage (source:

Vitamin C:

Vitamin C is found in abundance in citrus fruits, and may help to reduce inflammation in the body. This powerful vitamin is an antioxidant that may lower levels of c-reactive protein, which is an inflammatory marker in the body.

Vitamin D:

Vitamin D is abundant in milk, fish, eggs and more. The body also absorbs vitamin D when exposed to sunlight (so working on your tan in moderation is good for you!).

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a number of inflammatory diseases. So while it isn’t conclusive that vitamin D will help you reduce inflammation, it can’t hurt to get a little more vitamin D in your diet.

Vitamin K:

While vitamin K (found in many green vegetables) is famous for helping blood clots, some evidence has suggested that it may reduce inflammation in the body.

While more research is needed on the effect that vitamin K has on the body with regards to inflammation, eating more greens is always a good idea to help you stay healthier.

If you’re looking for a good multivitamin, our doctors at Prospira Pain Care can advise you during your appointment because not all multivitamins are created equal.

11 Take a break from activities that increase inflammation

While it’s important to stay active, sometimes it may be beneficial to take a break from activities that seem to cause inflammation and swelling in and around your SI joint.

Common activities that contribute to SI joint inflammation may include:

  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Softball or Baseball
  • Weightlifting
  • Martial Arts
  • Basketball
  • Cycling
  • Hiking

And more. Basically, any sport or physical activity that puts stress or tension on the lower back region could aggravate your SI joint, leading to inflammation.

We certainly don’t want you to give up your favorite hobbies forever, but a temporary break, complemented by a professional pain management plan from Prospira Pain Care, can help you get back on the playing field, course, court, or arena faster.

12 Platelet rich plasma (PRP)

Does it seem like you’ve tried everything to alleviate the pain and inflammation in your SI joint, but nothing seems to work?

At Prospira Pain Care, we have patients walk into our offices around the country each and every day and tell us, “I’ve tried everything…can you help me?”

We certainly sympathize with these patients, and in many cases ask them a simple question: have you ever tried platelet rich plasma (PRP)?

When other therapies have been tried and haven’t worked, this treatment is often called upon to reduce SI joint pain.

In layman’s terms, here is how the treatment works:

Platelet rich plasma (those containing a higher concentration of platelets that assist with natural healing) are injected into a patient’s SI joint area.

Because the plasma has a higher concentration of platelets, the body receives necessary proteins, cytokines, and other growth factors. The healing process begins with the addition of growth factors and other critical stem cells that permit full healing. PRP strengthens and intensifies this natural healing process.

The result for many patients is simple— less pain and a better quality of life from a simple injection. If you’re interested in trying PRP, we encourage you to contact Prospira Pain Care at our location nearest you.

13 Focus on reducing inflammation in your entire body

While the main point of this article is to reduce pain and swelling of the SI joint, working to reduce inflammation in your entire body can have a positive effect on your lower back pain. After all, a rising tide lifts all boats.

So, what can you do in order to reduce inflammation in the body?

For starters, you can change your diet. We covered the diet in detail earlier, and if you want to reduce inflammation in your entire body, consuming a diet consisting of anti-inflammatory foods is a good way to start.

Secondly, stretching and lower impact exercises, as we discussed earlier, can also de-crease inflammation. Often, muscles in the lower back surrounding the SI joint become inflamed due to lack of elasticity. Stretching can help guard against losing elasticity in the lower back region.

Last but not least, monitoring your vitamin intake to ensure you are getting enough Vitamins A, B6, C, D, and K can help lower inflammation levels throughout the entire body. During your appointment, we can talk about adding a high-quality multivitamin to your daily regimen.

14 Build strength in your lower back with physical therapy

Physical therapy is a common treatment protocol for SI joint pain at Prospira Pain Care. For patients who are suffering with SI joint inflammation, there are a few specific therapies and exercises commonly used to increase strength and flexibility, as well as improve body mechanics to decrease the risk of future SI joint pain.

Here are a few specific physical therapy treatments that are common when dealing with SI joint pain:

Flexibility exercises:

Stretching the muscles around the SI joint consistently can help loosen tight muscles, as well as improve range of motion. For many patients, this leads to less stress when per-forming everyday tasks.

Strengthening exercises:

By strengthening the SI joint and surrounding areas, you’ll be able to reduce the chances for a strain in the area. Muscles that are specifically targeted for strengthening exercises are the lower back, pelvic floor, abs, and buttocks.

Body mechanics:

Many patients put unnecessary strain on their SI joint based on their normal movements. A physical therapist will be able to analyze how you move your body, and train you to make the necessary changes to decrease the stress and tension placed on your SI joint.

15 Topical analgesics (creams, gels, and rubs)

Sometimes putting a cream, gel, or other type of topical analgesic on your lower back can help relieve your SI joint pain. While this treatment is typically used in less severe cases, it’s effective in many patients.

Even though they are all designed to alleviate pain, different ingredients are often used, including:

-Menthol, camphor, and methyl salicylate—these ingredients produce a burning or cooling sensation to give your brain something else to think about besides pain).

-Salicylates are found in some creams, and work best when applied to joints closer to the skin. However, they still may provide relief around the SI joint for some patients.

-Capsaicin is the main ingredient in chili peppers, and as you would suspect, it provides a tingling or burning sensation. It’s one of the most effective ingredients used in topical pain relief products.

Topical creams may work for you and they may not. Even if they provide temporary pain relief, there is likely an underlying issue in or around your SI joint that needs to be addressed.

16 Wearing an SI joint belt

Have you ever seen someone wearing a 6-8 inch-wide belt around their pelvis? If so, it was most likely a sacroiliac belt.

While these belts are not specifically designed to reduce inflammation in the SI joint, they are designed to stabilize the area, providing pain relief for many patients.

At Prospira Pain Care, your pain management doctor may recommend that you try a sacroiliac belt to help reduce your lower back pain.

If you are going to use one of these specialty belts to stabilize your SI joint, it is important that you choose the correct size, and wear it correctly. Our doctors will train you on how to wear the belt, take it on and off correctly, and make any necessary adjustments.

You don’t have to live in a world dominated by lower back pain. We can help you.

You’ve likely heard all of your life that, as you get older, you’re going to have more aches and pains.

Many people accept this as a part of life and are hesitant to seek treatment for the pain they are experiencing.

At Prospira Pain Care, we are here to tell you that you don’t have to live in a world dominated by pain. Pain should not be your first thought when you wake up in the morning, and it shouldn’t be your last thought when you put your head on the pillow at night.

Maybe you’ve seen countless doctors and tried a variety of different things with little or no success. Maybe you think there isn’t any hope for you, and that you’ll just live out the rest of your years with pain consuming nearly every second of your life.

That’s unacceptable to the doctors and team members at Prospira Pain Care.

We’ve helped thousands of patients across the United States get their life back with our highly effective, minimally-invasive pain management procedures that focus on physical, emotional, and psychological healing.

We’re confident that we can do the same for you. So will you pick up the phone and call us today, or fill out the form on our website to schedule your first appointment?

You have nothing to lose, except back pain. Give our location nearest you a call today to get rid of your SI joint pain and inflammation.

7 Non-Surgical Treatments for Tennis and Golfer’s Elbow Pain

Are you suffering from a sore, weak, or painful elbow that isn’t getting better?

Maybe you think you just have to live with your discomfort. Or you think surgery is the only option. Think again.

You don’t have to live with your discomfort — and you don’t have to opt for surgery to find relief from pain.

At Prospira PainCare, we believe in minimally invasive, non-surgical treatments for treating acute and chronic pain. Our trained doctors take the time to find the root cause of your issue, instead of only treating the symptoms.

We incorporate multiple strategies into every personal treatment plan, and we help you make healthy lifestyle changes for pain management and prevention.

If you have elbow pain, you may have elbow tendonitis, a diagnosis that encompasses both tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow — two common conditions involving elbow overuse.

Before we provide you with some non-surgical treatments for tennis and golfer’s elbow, we’ll give you an overview of these two similar painful problems.

Tennis elbow is a painful condition caused when tendons on the outside of your elbow are overused.

Despite the name, most people diagnosed with tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) don’t play tennis — however, half of all tennis players will suffer from this problem at some point during their careers.

People who are at risk of getting tennis elbow include golfers, baseball players, bowlers, plumbers, painters, carpenters, butchers, and others who overwork their elbows on a regular basis.

This type of pain affects men more than women, is most common between the ages of 30 and 50, and is caused by inflammation of the tendons that join the forearm muscles on the outside of the elbow.

When injury is caused to the muscles and tendon area around the outside of the elbow where they attach to the bone, tennis elbow can result. Usually, the dominant arm is affected, but tennis elbow can occur in the non-dominant arm, as well, or in both arms.

Golfer’s Elbow is a painful condition caused when tendons on the inside of the elbow are overused.

This condition (medial epicondylitis) is similar to tennis elbow but is marked by pain over the bone on the inner side of the elbow. When tendons attached to this bone are overstretched or torn, they become painful and inflamed.

This issue is typically seen in the trailing arm in golf and also in the pull-through strokes of swimming. Baseball pitchers also commonly experience this problem.

Overuse of the flexor muscles of the forearms causes golfer’s elbow. Some things that can cause this type of pain include:

  • Repetitive gripping
  • Using the wrong model of golf clubs
  • Improper technique when swinging or gripping golf clubs

And also:

  • Repetitive motions in sporting activities, such as golf, tennis, pitching, and rowing
  • Repetitive motions in other activities, such as raking, painting, and using a hammer or screwdriver
  • Improper lifting, throwing, or hitting

What are the signs and symptoms of tennis and golfer’s elbow?

You might have tennis elbow if you experience:

  • Pain or burning on the outside of your elbow, which may extend into your forearm and wrist.
  • Weakness on the outside of your elbow.
  • Weak grip strength.

The symptoms usually develop gradually.

You might have golfer’s elbow if you experience:

  • Pain and tenderness on the inside of your elbow. The pain may extend along the inner side of your forearm.
  • Stiffness on your elbow, causing your elbow to hurt when you make a fist.
  • Weakness in your hands or wrists.
  • Numbness or tingling that radiates into one or more of your fingers (usually the ring and little fingers).

The pain may appear suddenly or gradually.

Any activity that causes repetitive movement can cause elbow pain, but the activity generally needs to be done for more than an hour a day on many days to cause a problem. A direct blow or sudden extreme action to the elbow may also result in an injury of the tendons.

Tendons are slow to heal, so the symptoms often last for weeks to months. However, very few cases last longer than a year.

Patients with tennis or golfer’s elbow often find simple tasks difficult, such as typing, lifting a cup of coffee, or shaking hands with someone. But if you’re experiencing pain or discomfort, you have options! Keep reading below.

What treatment options do you have for elbow pain?

To be most effective in treating elbow pain from tennis and golfer’s elbow, a team approach works best.

At our Prospira PainCare offices, we don’t believe in surgery and addictive painkillers (narcotics) as a first option for treating pain. We believe in a conservative approach that includes alternative options outside of the traditional medical model.

Common treatments for these conditions are rest, ice, corticosteroid injections, and NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen.

But numerous health hazards have been linked to NSAIDs, particularly cardiovascular and gastrointestinal risks.

And long-term benefits from corticosteroid injections are not backed by scientific evidence, according to the American Chiropractic Association.

Also, these elbow pain remedies should lessen your symptoms, but they may not cure your problem.

To truly cure your tennis and golfer’s elbow pain, our professionals work together to determine why you’re experiencing pain. We determine the best ways to treat your symptoms and make sure you correct any poor habits.

Here are seven treatments we might suggest for tennis and golfer’s elbow:

1 Modified rest. If you want to recover properly, you need to limit or avoid activities that aggravate your elbow pain. You don’t want to give your elbow total rest, but you do want to modify your activity to use it less without causing more injury to your tendons.

2 Technique and equipment evaluation. If you participate in a sport, we suggest you get your equipment checked for proper support. Stiffer racquets and looser-strung racquets can often reduce the stress on the forearm. You may also want an expert to evaluate your form to determine basic steps to reduce stress on your injured tissue. Even if you don’t participate in sports, you may need to correct incorrect postures and motions.

3 Ice. Applying ice or a cold pack for 15 minutes, three to four times per day can help. Ice treatment after exercise or movement of the elbow is especially important.

4 Braces. When working properly, a brace, a forearm strap, or support pads can reduce symptoms by resting the muscles and tendons of the elbow.

5 Physical therapy. A trained therapist can give you tips on how to rest your elbow and how to do activities without putting extra strain on your elbow. You can also be taught specific exercises to help strengthen the muscles of your forearm. Additionally, therapists can perform massage or other muscle-stimulating techniques to improve muscle healing.

6 Acupuncture. Research from a study mentioned in Acupuncture Today suggests that acupuncture not only relieves symptoms of tennis elbow, but also appears to resolve the condition completely.

7 Lifestyle management. Our doctors can help you adapt to a healthier lifestyle. We teach our patients which foods are best for an anti-inflammatory lifestyle and how to improve their pain in their daily lives. Our trained doctors practice a holistic approach to pain care, meaning we pay attention to the physical, mental, and emotional health of our patients.

If you notice any symptoms of tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow, it’s best to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Early care will usually be able to prevent pain becoming chronic or the development of a more serious disorder.

Prospira PainCare can help treat your pain from tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow.

If you’re experiencing elbow pain or discomfort, our doctors can create a customized plan for you. All you need to do is give us a call, and we’ll help you figure out what’s right for you.

You don’t have to live a life in pain. At Prospira PainCare, we get to the bottom of your problem and treat your pain using a team approach and nonsurgical, holistic treatments. Contact us today at our location nearest you and let us help you.

Why Pain Medications Alone are Almost Never the Best Treatment Protocol

Are Your Pain Medications Making You Worse?

When you are in pain, especially when your pain lasts for days without end, medication often seems like the quickest path to relief. And you’re not alone.

Millions of people use over-the-counter and prescription drugs every day, according to the FDA. But could your pain meds be making your pain and your health worse?

The answer in some cases is yes. Even if you use them correctly — and they are easy to misuse — your pain medications might be making you worse.

If you’ve been prescribed addictive narcotics for chronic pain, or you’ve been taking your pain medications to reduce or relieve headaches, sore muscles, arthritis, or other aches and pains longer than a couple of weeks, you should be worried about the negative effects of these meds. Below, we’ll discuss why.

And if you’ve only been taking OTC (over-the-counter) drugs, you may also be at-risk for serious — even life-threatening — side effects.

That’s why, at Prospira PainCare, we believe in specialized treatment that doesn’t turn to painkillers as a first option.

Our trained doctors believe pain medications and surgery are not the only options for treating patients in pain.

Our conservative approach has worked for many of our patients in the past, and it might work for you.

Only after we try other methods, do we suggest non-invasive surgery or pain medications as the right course of action to help people find relief and be able to live their lives to the fullest.

The problem with the American medical care system:

Most doctors today focus on providing relief of symptoms rather than preventing or treating the underlying cause of the problem.

Nearly 7 out of 10 Americans were prescribed at least one drug in 2009, and half were given two or more, according to research from the Mayo Clinic.

Of course, most doctors don’t mean to cause people further pain and issues. But most doctors don’t have adequate education and training about pain medications. Or doctors treating patients for pain may not provide patients with enough information to safely take the drugs on their own.

Many patients falsely believe that pain medications not only reduce pain but also promote healing. But this is simply not true.

In our world today, it is very easy to get pain medications — and in high doses, too. This is quickly becoming a huge problem in our society. For example, the rate of prescription overdoses in NYC has reached epidemic levels.

At Prospira PainCare, our doctors are armed with the right information so they can work together to do their best to find the root cause of each patient who chooses one of our pain care centers to help minimize and alleviate acute and chronic pain.

Because, if you think about it, taking a narcotic for pain without treating the root cause is like taking a pill for a toothache without fixing the tooth. The pain might be lessened, but the problem is not going to go away without proper care.

For people in chronic pain, painkillers are not the best option.

The negative effects of painkillers decrease natural healing and lead to more deterioration and pain.

Taking opioids for chronic, non-cancer pain increases your risk of death by 72 percent, according to a study in the journal Pain.

And another study shows that overdoses from prescription opioids, such as Vicodin, account for nearly 70 percent of all emergency room visits.

“Opioids are essentially legal heroine,” says Lewis Nelson, who served on an FDA panel to revise the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy associated with prescription drugs.

Most patients who are prescribed narcotics go from moderate levels of pain to severe pain soon after they begin taking their meds. The localized pain then becomes diffused to other parts of the body after a few months of use.

To put it simply, narcotics put the body in a state of breakdown. This doesn’t sound good, and it’s not.

Pain medications suppress the immune system.

Short-term and long-term use of pain-killing opioid drugs, such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, fentanyl, codeine, and morphine, block the immune system’s ability to attack viral and bacterial invaders.

Opiates, especially morphine and heroin, are known to affect immune system function, as well as the neurological system.

Not only that, but opiates are highly addictive and easy to abuse. Chronic opiate abuse can even permanently damage the nervous system.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is hard on the liver, the body’s main detox organ. A compromised liver cannot effectively remove toxins, putting the body at increased risk of illness and disease.

All steroid drugs suppress the immune system, as well.

If complete healing is to happen, the use of narcotics and other chronic pain medication must be stopped.

Pain medications can cause damage to the gastrointestinal system.

A study published in the American Gastroenterological Association Journal shows that chronic users of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) have an increased risk of bleeding and visible damage to their small intestines.

One in three people taking NSAIDs regularly suffer from digestive side effects.

And now, ordinary doses of products that contain acetaminophen (Tylenol) are linked to liver damage.

Acetaminophen overdose (either intentional or unintentional) is the most common cause of acute liver failure in the United States.

Narcotic painkillers are linked to a higher risk for depression.

High doses of powerful narcotic painkillers appear to be linked to a higher risk of depression in patients, according to new research published in the journal Pain.

The study focused on a class of prescription narcotic painkillers called opioids, which include drugs such as oxycontin and vicodin.

The researchers concluded that most of the risk of depression is driven by the duration of use and not the dose. As people use the drugs for longer periods of time, they have to use higher doses to get the same effects.

Painkillers are linked to cardiovascular risks.

Drugs that include NSAIDs, as well as anti-inflammatory drugs (COX-2 inhibitors), have been linked to cardiovascular risks.

Researchers at The University of Bern in Switzerland revealed that NSAIDs lead to a two to fourfold increase in the risk of heart attacks, stroke, or cardiovascular death.

Over-the-counter medications have many other adverse effects.

More than 20 NSAIDs and more than 100 NSAID-containing products exist. Some common ones include aspirin, Motrin®, Advil®, and Celebrex®. Thirteen million Americans take these drugs regularly.

Every year, side effects of NSAIDs cause more than 100,000 hospitalizations and more than 16,000 deaths, according to Consumer Reports. This means more people die each year from NSAID-related complications than from AIDS and cervical cancer in the United States.

Acetaminophen is not an anti-inflammatory, and it eases pain in a different way than NSAIDs, but it has problems, as well.

Acetaminophen can damage the liver, especially if drinking alcohol while taking this type of drug.

Some other health issues linked to pain medications:

  • Pain medications expose women to unique risks, including endocrinopathy, reduced fertility, neonatal risks, as well as a greater risk for cardiac problems, poisoning, and unintentional overdose.
  • Pain medications are linked to erectile dysfunction in men.
  • Regular use of an NSAID has been linked to an increase of heart disease.
  • NSAIDs can be hard on the kidneys and even cause kidney failure.
  • Long-term use of ibuprofen may damage your joints.
  • OTC pills have side effects including kidney damage, stomach bleeding, ulcers, and an increased risk of heart attack.

Pain medications can make headaches worse.

Taking pain meds for headaches may be okay for a day or two, but taking them for any longer can have unexpected and serious consequences.

Overusing painkillers (whether OTC or prescription) can cause more headaches (called rebound headaches) that return as soon as the medication wears off — often prompting people to take more medicine and to continue the cycle of pain.

The only way to stop the cycle is to stop taking the medication. But doing so isn’t easy. You will suffer some type of withdrawal, such as nausea and extreme fatigue. Full recovery can take months and works best with the consultation of a trained and experienced doctor.

Another major issue of opioid drugs is, the more you take, the more it can increase your sensitivity to pain, so you may not get the relief you need.

Chronic pain may be a manifestation of depression, anxiety, trauma, or other emotional issues.

For some people, chronic pain is a reflection of an underlying issue. This is something Dr. Michael Baron, a triple board-certified psychiatrist, believes. His patient’s scores consistently decreased when they went off their painkillers.

“When we manage pain with opioid medications, the person feels better temporarily, but, over time, dependence can set in and both the pain and the underlying depression get worse,” Dr. Baron says. “Only when patients stop taking opiates and receive appropriate treatment for the underlying emotional issues can they truly recover.”

Our doctors understand that your medications might be making you worse in some cases.

Our doctors at Prospira PainCare do not believe that pain medications alone are the proper way to manage and treat pain.

We DO prescribe pain medications on a long-term basis in some cases when other things have failed. This requires close monitoring and regular follow up, as well as attempting to decrease the medications to the lowest level needed to help with pain. Pain medications can sometimes also help institute treatments that would not otherwise be tolerated.

Instead of choosing medication as a first option, our doctors at our pain care clinics use a multidisciplinary, holistic, and minimally-invasive approach to pain management.

If you have been taking pain medications regularly, call us today to schedule a consultation with our experienced doctors.

You don’t have to live with your pain, and you don’t have to take pain medications for life! We can help you find a better solution.

Lower Back Pain Treatment Without Surgery: 7 Conservative Options that May Work for You

If you’re suffering from back pain, you are not alone. And you don’t have to continue to suffer or go through a complicated surgery.

Back pain is one of the most common health problems in the country. Lower back pain is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed work days. Lower back pain occurs at least once in an estimated 75 to 85 percent of adults, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.

Back pain can have a serious impact on your life, interfering with your day-to-day activities and your sleep. But maybe you don’t want surgery. You might be wondering: What treatment options do I have? And are they effective?

At Prospira PainCare, we understand pain. Our experts have successfully treated many people for back pain. We know each situation and each person is unique.

Our focus is on treating pain without surgery — and without the use of addictive painkillers as a first option.

We’ll give you an overview of some strategies we might use for treating lower back pain without surgery. But, first, let’s talk about back pain.

Back pain can be painful and debilitating.

Back pain, which can range from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp sensation that leaves the person unable to move, can begin abruptly as a result of an accident or by lifting something heavy. Or it can develop over time due to changes in the spine as we age. A sedentary lifestyle can also lead to low back pain.

The magnitude of this issue is only growing. In 1990, a study ranked the most burdensome conditions in the United States in terms of mortality or poor health as a result of disease and put low back pain in sixth place. Twenty years later, low back pain jumped to third place.

Most back pain is mechanical in nature, meaning it is caused by placing stress and tension on the muscles of the backbone. In the back, there are many possible pain producers including muscles, soft connective tissue, ligaments, joint capsules and cartilage, and blood vessels.

Risk factors for developing lower back pain:

  • Age. The first attack usually begins between the ages of 30 and 50. Then, back pain becomes more common with age.
  • Fitness level. As you might expect, back pain is more common in people who are not physically fit. Weak back and abdominal muscles might not be able to properly support the spine. Also, people who only exercise on the weekend after being inactive all week are more likely to suffer painful back injuries.
  • Pregnancy. Low back pain is often felt by pregnant women, but it usually resolves itself once the baby is born.
  • Weight gain. If you are overweight, obese, or quickly gaining weight, the weight can put stress on the back and lead to low back pain.
  • Genetics. Some causes of back pain, such as ankylosing spondylitis (a form of arthritis), can lead to injury and back pain.
  • Occupational risk factors. Jobs that require heavy lifting, pushing, or pulling can lead to injury and back pain. An inactive desk job may also lead to lower back pain, especially if you have poor posture.
  • Mental health factors. Some pre-existing mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, can influence how closely a person focuses on their pain. Stress, if not managed properly, can cause muscle tension.
  • Backpack overload in children. Yes, a child’s backpack can be too heavy, causing back strain and muscle fatigue. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends that a child’s backpack should weigh no more than 15 to 20 percent of a child’s body weight.

Treating back pain

Treatment for lower back pain depends on whether the pain is acute (short term) or chronic (lasting). There is a standard of care for lower back pain, but because this is a multifaceted condition with physical, psychological, genetic, social, and general health components, all back pain cannot be treated the same.

Here are some conservative pain treatments that may help you:

  • Hot or cold packs. This treatment most likely won’t quickly resolve your low back injury. But local application of heat and ice may help ease the pain, facilitate stretching, and reduce inflammation, allowing for greater mobility for some people. Start with ice packs when the pain starts and then after 48 hours, switch to heat.
  • Exercise. Although it might seem counterintuitive, you should continue to perform everyday activities and remain active as much as you can tolerate. Studies show that people who remain active and don’t confine themselves to their beds have less pain. Activity keeps blood and nutrients flowing to the affected area. Many sufferers of low back pain feel better after walking. However, more vigorous activities or contact sports are inadvisable while pain is severe. Consumer Reports reported that 58 percent of people with back pain wished they had done more back strengthening exercises.
  • Physical therapy. Physical therapy techniques, such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, traction, mobilization, and chiropractic manipulation can provide temporary relief. Physical therapists can provide education and advice regarding strategies for restoring motion, resuming activities, and preventing de-conditioning. A study published in Spine showed that early treatment by a physical therapist is effective.
  • Back injections. Spinal injections are typically used for persistent or recurrent low back pain (and occasionally acute pain) following a comprehensive medical evaluation. We have several injections that may be able to provide you with relief, including acupuncture injection therapy, epidural injections, nerve block injections, sacroiliac joint injections, cortisone injections, trigger point injections, and lumbar epidural steroid injections. These injections can take the pain away, in some cases for a long period of time; possibly even permanently.
  • Spinal cord stimulation. This minimally invasive treatment has been found to be effective for chronic lower back pain. Spinal cord stimulation can be successful for people who have not found pain relief through other methods. After a trial to ensure it works, soft, thin wires with electrical leads on the tips will be placed through a needle near the spinal column. Two small incisions will be made, and an electrical current will be applied to the source of the pain, blocking the brain’s ability to sense pain. According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, spinal cord stimulation can relieve low back pain.
  • Acupuncture. Some patients find that acupuncture is extremely helpful in minimizing their back pain.
  • Tai Chi. Tai chi is an ancient Chinese system of meditative movements practiced as exercises. This gentle form of exercise is an effective treatment for low back pain. Each specific flowing movement corresponds with the inhalation or the exhalation of a deep, gentle breath. The coordination of movement and breath is said to free the flow of chi, a life-force energy that, when blocked, can cause stress and illness. According to research published in Arthritis Care & Research, tai chi is able to ease low back pain.

At our pain care clinics we also teach our patients other lifestyle management techniques for pain, such as pain psychology, nutritional counseling, and physical conditioning. This way you can treat your own pain through your healthier lifestyle.

Why we don’t recommend pain medications in most cases

At our Prospira PainCare pain relief clinics, we don’t prescribe pain medications unless we have to. Pain medications can actually make you and your pain worse.

Many narcotics are addictive, causing health issues down the line. Pain medications, when taken over a long period of time, can increase a person’s sensitivity to pain, making it difficult for the person to find relief from pain.

Also, pain may be a manifestation of an underlying emotional issue, so treating the pain with drugs won’t fix the root problem.

When is it time to see a doctor for your back pain?

Most lower back pain is acute and lasts only a few days or weeks. If you practice self care, it usually resolves on its own without a loss of function. Fifty percent of episodes almost completely resolve within two weeks and 80 percent by six weeks.

If you have back pain that persists longer than four to six weeks or you have recurrent pain, you should seek the assistance of pain experts. Or if low back pain occurs after a recent injury — such as a car accident, a fall, or sports injury — you should call a doctor immediately.

With proper diagnosis and early treatment, you can prevent your pain from becoming chronic. When in our care, our doctors will conduct a full examination and rule out dangerous conditions like infections or cancer.

About 20 percent of people with acute lower back pain develop chronic back pain, with persistent symptoms lasting a year or more. But this does not have to be you.

Prospira PainCare can help treat your lower back pain without surgery

At Prospira PainCare, we educate our patients about the favorable history of low back pain, the basic mechanics of the body, and methods to reduce symptoms.

Using a team approach, we develop a specialized treatment plan for each person who comes to one of our pain care centers.

According to research, a balanced approach, which takes into account patient psychosocial factors and incorporates multidisciplinary care, increases the likelihood of success from back pain interventions.

If you come to us when your lower back pain is acute, you will most likely be able to return to normal activity within the first month.

Call us to make an appointment at one of our pain care centers.

Acute Pain Management Techniques: 7 Ideas for Treating Pain Before it Becomes Chronic

No one wants to experience pain, especially chronic pain. We understand that. Pain doesn’t have to get in the way of your daily life. Once you know how to treat acute pain before it becomes chronic, you’ll enjoy less painful days.

But how do you treat pain before it becomes chronic? That’s what we are here to talk to you about. In this article, Prospira PainCare will talk about acute pain and chronic pain, how acute pain becomes chronic pain, and best of all, 7 ideas to treat acute pain before it turns into a chronic circumstance.

Here at Prospira PainCare, our specialists believe in a multidisciplinary approach, including pain management, neurosurgery, and integrated therapy. We help our patients understand that pain management doesn’t solely involve narcotics and surgery. No, we have better ways to treat pain.

Our model helps patients to prevent and minimize pain before it becomes chronic. Moreover, we help our patients to adapt to a healthier lifestyle to minimize the need for addictive pain medications or intensive surgery.

Now let’s jump right in…

What is acute pain? What is chronic pain?

Acute Pain

Acute pain is pain that lasts less than 3-6 months. Or it can be pain that is directly related to tissue damage—in this instance, pain is a symptom of an injury or diseased tissue. Have you ever had a paper cut? Have you ever touched a stove that was really hot? Those are examples of acute pain.

Other examples of events that can cause acute pain include:

  • burns
  • cuts
  • labor pains
  • childbirth
  • dental work
  • broken bones
  • surgery

There are many ways to describe pain. When at the doctor’s office, he or she will most likely ask you to describe your pain as best as possible. The following adjectives are commonly used to describe acute pain:

  • throbbing
  • stabbing
  • aching
  • burning
  • tingly
  • hot
  • sharp
  • stinging
  • cramping
  • dull
  • numb

Not all types of acute pain will turn into chronic pain. Acute pain typically disappears when the underlying cause of the pain has been successfully treated, or when it has healed. However, it is very important to treat acute pain before it becomes chronic.

Chronic Pain

So what is chronic pain? Chronic pain is pain that lasts longer than 6 months. There are two types of chronic pain problems—pain due to an identifiable generator (i.e. an injury); or pain without an identifiable generator (i.e. pain that occurs after the injury has healed).

Physical and emotional effects due to chronic pain include:

  • limited mobility
  • lack of energy
  • changes in appetite and diet
  • tense muscles
  • headaches
  • cancer pain
  • arthritis pain
  • lower back pain
  • neurogenic pain (pain caused by damaged nerves)
  • psychogenic pain (pain that is not due to past injury, damage, or disease)
  • anxiety
  • anger
  • fear of re-injury
  • depression

Chronic pain can disrupt one’s daily life. When someone experiences chronic pain, it is very difficult to enjoy simple activities, let alone staying healthy through routine exercise.

Unfortunately, there is no medical test to measure the level of chronic pain that someone is experiencing. As you may have noticed in your experiences when you’re at the doctor’s office, he or she will tell you to choose one of the following levels of pain: no pain, mild pain, moderate pain, or severe pain. You may have also been asked to choose which facial expression (drawn with a paper and pen) best indicates your pain.

Pain is a subjective matter. It is very unfortunate that some doctors tell patients that chronic pain is “all in your head,” or that “it can’t be that bad.” Our pain management specialists understand chronic pain, so we’d never say that to our patients.

7 ideas to treat acute pain before it becomes chronic

Treatments for chronic and acute pain will differ depending on the underlying cause(s) of the pain. Furthermore, certain pain treatments will work for some people, but not for others. It is very important to be aware of the level of pain you are feeling and discuss this with your doctor. You may need to try different pain management techniques before finding one (or more) that work the best for you.

Here are some ways, including complementary and homeopathic techniques, to treat acute pain so it doesn’t become chronic:
1 nerve blockers: Local anesthetics can be used to block the group of nerves associated with pain.

2 non-prescription, non-habit forming drug treatments: Some examples include Aleve, Tylenol, or Motrin.

3 physical therapy: Some examples of passive physical therapy include hot packs, cold packs, TENS units, and ultrasound. Some examples of active physical therapy include stretching, pain relief exercises, strengthening exercises, and low impact aerobic conditioning.

4 psychological counseling: Some examples include talk therapy, relaxation training, stress management, and pain coping skills training.

5 behavior modification techniques: One example of this is cognitive behavioral therapy.

5 transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): Developed in the late 1960s, this technique uses electricity to help alleviate pain. The low electrical impulses block certain pain receptors so that the brain does not receive the messages that you are in pain. A session is typically 15 minutes, but may require multiple sessions for successful pain relief.

6 alternative pain management treatments: Some examples may include relaxation, acupuncture, hypnosis, and biofeedback.

It may be necessary to try a few different pain management techniques to determine which is the best for you. Treating acute pain is the goal.

It is not recommend to “tough it out.” Take care of acute pain right away because it can become chronic later down the road. Take pain seriously. Don’t just shrug it off and expect it to go away by itself. Take action.

When does acute pain become chronic pain?

It is not absolutely clear why some people develop chronic pain but others do not. One patient may develop chronic pain, but another patient who has a similar condition will not develop chronic pain. The reasons are still unclear.

As acute pain advances into the chronic phase, the influence of other factors (in addition to tissue damage and injury) come into play. In such cases, the influences must be discussed and studied by your doctor in order to develop an effective pain management plan.

Ways to treat pain if it becomes chronic

If acute pain becomes chronic, your doctor will need to overcome some unique challenges.

It is very important to communicate your pain and symptoms with your doctor. Prospira PainCare treat chronic pain by using a multidisciplinary approach.

Your treatment plan can include any of the following techniques:

  • physical therapy
  • chiropractic care
  • pain medications (non-addictive)
  • injections
  • surgery as a last resort

In order to be truly successful, chronic pain should address the whole person. This includes the treatment of mental health issues, when applicable, such as depression.

The specialists at Prospira PainCare are dedicated to provide a multidisciplinary approach to relieve chronic, acute, and intractable pain. We are trained to determine the underlying root cause of pain and to treat it successfully.

What should you do now?

If you are suffering from acute pain or chronic pain, we can help. The first step is contacting one of our pain clinics located nearest to you.

Our pain management specialists will speak with you about your condition and symptoms to determine the best treatment options for you. So whether you are experiencing acute, chronic, or intractable pain, give us a call today to take advantage of our conservative pain care techniques.

Spinal Cord Stimulation Treatment for Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

Approximately 60-70% of the population who has diabetes will eventually get diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy. Pretty high number, right? If you are confused about your diagnosis of diabetic peripheral neuropathy, please read on. If you have been recently diagnosed and are looking for treatment options, please read on. This article will discuss peripheral neuropathy facts, treatments, symptoms, and more. We will also spend some time relaying quite a bit of information on spinal cord stimulation (SCS)—a successful treatment option for those with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. We offer this treatment at each of our locations.

What is Peripheral Neuropathy? How About Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy?

Nerve damage caused by chronic high blood sugar—that is peripheral neuropathy in a nutshell. When it is caused by diabetes, it is called diabetic peripheral neuropathy. It is actually the most common complication for those with diabetes. This condition leads to several miserable symptoms affecting the feet, legs, and/or hands, including loss of sensation, numbness, and/or pain. There are numerous studies which have shown that diabetics can lessen their risk of nerve damage by maintaining a normal blood sugar level.

Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy

There are quite a few symptoms associated with peripheral neuropathy, and they vary from person to person. A lot of patients feel worse at night with their symptoms when compared to daily life. Numbness is actually the most common and the most troubling symptom. This is due to the nerve damage caused by diabetes. Losing the sensation in your hands, legs, feet, or toes is especially concerning to patients. This is due to the fact that those who experience sensation loss are typically the patients who are also most likely to develop ulcers on the feet and end up needing an amputation of a limb. There are certain early-onset symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, including:

  • Prickling
  • Tingling
  • Pins and needles
  • Numbness
  • Deep stabbing pain
  • Sharp pain
  • Pinching
  • Cold to the touch
  • Burning sensation
  • Cramping

Take note of any of these symptoms and be sure to let your doctor know how you are feeling. As the days go on, you should always take notice to how you feel and let your doctor know about any changes. Such changes include, but are not limited to:

  • Muscle weakness— If your blood sugar levels remain consistently high, the nerves that tell muscles how to move may get damaged. This is when some patients experience muscle weakness when trying to walk or stand up from a sitting position. Other patients may experience difficulty carrying or grabbing things with the hands. Be sure to discuss muscle weakness with your doctor.
  • Balance problems— balance problems can occur because of muscle damage. If you find yourself more clumsy, uncoordinated, or unbalanced than usual, be sure to let your doctor know.
  • Touch sensitivity— Some patients with peripheral neuropathy experience a heightened touch sensitivity. This is similar to a numbness or a tingling sensation in the hands, toes, feet, or legs. If you experience touch sensitivity, tell your doctor.

When patients are diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, he or she often has multiple health problems, as well. This complicates the diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy, especially during the early-onset phase when patients first start experiencing symptoms. Doctors may sometimes confuse neuropathy symptoms with other health problems.

Who Gets Peripheral Neuropathy? What Causes It?

Peripheral neuropathy is a commonly widespread condition affecting everyday folk, as well as those who served in the Armed Forces.

Peripheral Neuropathy and Those With Chronic High Blood Sugar Levels

Those who have chronic high blood sugar levels are more likely to develop neuropathy when compared to healthier individuals. The high blood sugar levels cause damaged nerves in the body’s extremities (hands, feet, legs, toes), as well as other parts of the body.

When the nerves become damaged, messages cannot be effectively sent to the brain and other parts of the body. Because of this, patients may not feel cold, heat, pain, et cetera in the extremities.

Some patients are not even aware of a cut on his or her foot since they cannot feel it. That is why it is very important to always check your extremities for changes, especially your feet. Peripheral neuropathy consequences and symptoms can become life threatening if not taken care of properly.

For instance, if an infection cannot heal properly due to poor blood flow, an ulcer could develop, which can lead to amputation or even death. As mentioned in the previous section, you should always take note of your symptoms and discuss them with the doctor. Unfortunately, some patients ignore their symptoms, just assuming that they’re signs of old age, when in reality, they could be symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

Peripheral Neuropathy and Agent Orange Used in The Vietnam War

Approximately 19.5 million gallons of a chemical agent called Agent Orange was used on 4.5 million acres in Vietnam during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1972 (known in the U.S. as Operation Ranch Hand). The chemical called dioxin was contained in the Agent Orange mixture. Out of the 3 million American soldiers who served during the Vietnam War, more than 1.5 million soldiers were directly exposed to Agent Orange (that number does not include the millions of Vietnamese citizens who were exposed and negatively impacted).

Thousands, if not millions, of United States Armed Forces soldiers were exposed to Agent Orange. Today’s Vietnam War veterans unfortunately experience side effects, such as birth defects, cancer, peripheral neuropathy, and many more serious conditions.

Prevention Tips for Neuropathy Sufferers

There are some things patients can do to minimize the risk of developing diabetic peripheral neuropathy, as well as to prevent possible consequences. A few prevention tips:

  • Schedule consistent appointments with your podiatrist and/or your foot and ankle physician.
  • Schedule consistent appointments with your primary care doctor and/or endocrinologist. Doing so can help to prevent/treat complications arising from diabetes.
  • Inspect both of your feet every day. Report any changes (redness, cuts, bruises, etc) to the doctor. When caught early, you could potentially prevent the problem(s) from getting worse.
  • Wear good-fitting, comfortable shoes. Do not wear shoes that could potentially cause blisters or sores.
  • Lose weight, if needed.
  • Keep the blood sugar levels under control.

How is Peripheral Neuropathy Treated? Tried Creams, Lotions, and Medications to Treat Neuropathy, but Nothing Works? What are My Options Now?


There are a few creams and lotions out on the market to help ease neuropathy pain, and to help slow the condition’s progression, as well as to limit the damage. Homeopathic remedies are also available for those who are looking for a natural way to stop the pain. On the other spectrum, several medications are available from your doctor, which can also help to alleviate symptoms.

Speaking with your doctor about the symptoms you’re experiencing is the first step to getting the relief you need. It is important that you never ignore your symptoms; in due time, the symptoms can become worse. Keep in mind that some creams, lotions, and medications simply do not work as effectively as you’d like them to.

If you’ve tried countless methods to stop neuropathy pain, but nothing has worked so far (or worked very little), call Prospira PainCare. One treatment, called spinal cord stimulation (SCS), can help diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

Spinal Cord Stimulation: What is it?


Spinal cord stimulation is a cutting-edge, successful alternative to relieve chronic neuropathic pain (including diabetic neuropathy), complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), and post-laminectomy syndrome (residual pain experienced after back surgery).

Pain relief is made possible through the use of an implanted device, which transmits mild electrical impulses to the spinal cord. This mild stimulation interrupts the feeling of pain; instead of feeling pain, a more pleasing sensation (called paresthesia) is experienced (often described as a pleasant tingling sensation).

In a nutshell, SCS allows patients to control and relieve the pain so it does not disrupt your daily life.
  • With the use of spinal cord stimulation, many patients can significantly reduce or even eliminate the use of pain medications. This is very important for those who do not want to rely on prescription painkillers on a daily basis, possibly risking painkiller addiction.
  • Another important fact to point out is that SCS is a reversible therapy, even though it is referred to as “permanent.” This means that if you decide you no longer want to use SCS treatment, the implanted parts can be removed easily.

How Does Spinal Cord Stimulation Work to Relieve Chronic & Acute Neuropathy?

If our physicians determine that SCS may be right for you, a trial period will take place as the first step. The purpose of the trial period is to use a temporary stimulator to further determine if you will experience satisfactory pain relief. The trial period is a good time to find out if you are comfortable with the sensations that are produced from spinal cord stimulation. It is a fairly quick process to get started with the trial.

On an outpatient basis in the office, our physician will use a local anesthetic to numb the area before we place one or two leads along the spinal cord. The soft, thin wires attached to the electrical leads are gently placed in the best location, and then connected to a portable, external generator. Once connected properly, the system will produce mild electrical pulses that will reduce your pain.

The length of time required for a trial period varies from patient to patient. Our physician will make this determination. It can last anywhere from a few days up to one week. If your trial period is successful, you and the physician can determine if you can benefit from spinal cord stimulation. If you can benefit from SCS, another appointment will be scheduled to place the “permanent” SCS system.

It is very important to note that you, as the patient, is always in control of the SCS system at home, at work, and everywhere else. By using a magnetic remote control, you have the capability to turn the current on and off, as well as to adjust the intensity. And since the SCS system is portable, you can go about living your life as you normally would. These capabilities allow you to make necessary adjustments to relieve diabetic neuropathy pain.

How Long Does the Procedure Take?

The procedure performed for the first phase, referred to as the trial phase, typically takes approximately 30-45 minutes. This appointment is followed by a short period of recovery so we can observe the patient. The second phase, when we implant the long-term device, typically takes approximately 2 hours. A surgeon will implant the device in an outpatient surgical setting.

Is Spinal Cord Stimulation Effective? Does SCS Actually Work to Relieve Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy?

With spinal cord stimulation treatment, you can expect a decrease in the severity of chronic pain so it is more manageable. The degree of pain relief will vary from patient to patient, however. Current studies have shown that 85-90% of those who received SCS treatment reported a 50-70% reduction in overall pain. This has allowed them to enjoy their time with family and friends at a significantly higher level of satisfaction. Also based on current and past studies, we know that pain reduction can positively impact your mental outlook, improve quality of life, and reduce stress. Several more clinical studies are currently underway to further determine the effectiveness of spinal cord stimulation.

Diagnosed With Diabetic Neuropathy? What To Do Now?


Have you been recently diagnosed with diabetic peripheral neuropathy? Are you wondering which types of treatments are available to help with the pain? Or are you someone who was diagnosed years ago and has tried creams and medications without success? Whichever situation you find yourself in when it comes to diabetic neuropathy pain, call us if you want relief. One of our knowledgeable physicians will evaluate your symptoms and health history to determine if spinal cord stimulation is right for you. All you need to do at this point, if you haven’t already, is call one of our offices to schedule a consultation appointment. That is the first step to learning more about your options. We look forward to meeting you and to helping you experience a lifestyle with less pain.