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Balloon Kyphoplasty Can Help Heal Spine Fractures

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, June 29, 2017
Comprehensive Pain Management in Franklin, MA - Kyphoplasty

Kyphoplasty is a procedure used to treat certain fractures in vertebrae, or bones of the spine. The fractures treated by kyphoplasty are compression fractures. These fractures usually occur in bones weakened by osteoporosis (a thinning of the bones). In compression fractures, the main section of bone known as the vertebral body collapses. These fractures are not only painful, but they may put harmful pressure on the nearby nerve roots or on the spinal cord itself.

Non-operative treatments like pain medication, activity modification, and/or bracing can be utilized for these fractures. Vertebral fractures can take about three to six months to fully heal with these measures. However, some patients may continue to have progressive collapse of their vertebrae. Braces are extremely uncomfortable and can affect pulmonary function among other issues and along with medication do not always guarantee healing. Kyphoplasty treats these fractures by making space in the bone that was lost when the bone collapsed, then filling that space with a solid, cement-like mixture. This procedure is an immediate fix with no bracing or medications needed. But a kyphoplasty may not be right for all fractures. Evaluating an individual’s case and determining the best procedure for that patient is imperative. This procedure may be performed under local or general anesthesia.

To perform the kyphoplasty, a thin surgical needle with a balloon inside it is used. The instrument is inserted through the skin and back muscles and into the bone. The balloon is then inflated, which comes out the end of the needle and creates a space in the vertebra as it inflates. This portion of the procedure usually helps the bone regain its normal shape. Next, the filler mixture is injected through the needle and into the balloon. This procedure does not require stitches and usually takes less than an hour.

Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive, office-based procedure that stabilizes the fracture and usually provides immediate pain relief in most patients. For more information on balloon kyphoplasty, contact Comprehensive Pain Management in Franklin, MA.


Epidural Steroid Injections – Franklin, MA

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Franklin Pain Center Epidural Steroid Injection

One of the most commonly performed pain management procedures is the Epidural Steroid Injection or ESI, used to provide pain relief from spine-related conditions, such as pinched nerves or spinal stenosis. It is completely different from the kind of epidural given to treat labor pain for women during childbirth.

Labor and delivery epidurals are performed by an anesthesiologist in the hospital and create numbness and weakness below the waist. No steroid is used, but a strong anesthetic medication is delivered through a catheter, providing pain relief and total lack of feeling. A woman having an L & D epidural will not be able to walk until the numbing medication wears off.

The type of epidural injection used to treat spinal and limb pain is different in several ways. It is performed in a doctor’s office in a procedure room, using special X-ray equipment called a C-Arm. A type of X-ray guidance called fluoroscopy is used, which gives the doctor a real time image of the spine.

The doctor injects anti-inflammatory steroid medication, not numbing medication, and the patient does not have weakness or lack of feeling as a result. To determine the best location for medication to be placed, during your ESI you should be asked about your symptoms, get a physical exam and compare the location of your pain to the MRI or CT scan ordered for you. A small injection of numbing medication is given where the epidural is to be inserted. The needle is placed correctly and a small amount of contrast dye is injected. This dye confirms the optimal placement for the injection. The steroid is injected and the needle is removed. This type of epidural does not produce significant numbness or weakness and the patient can walk immediately after the procedure.

There may be some soreness or bruising at the injection site but the application of ice helps. Patients can also take Tylenol for discomfort. After the epidural steroid injection, you must have someone drive you home because the injection may cause dizziness, which will pass after a few hours. It is recommended that you avoid taking a bath for 24 hours after the injection, but you can shower any time.

All epidural steroid injections carry a small risk for complications, such as infection at the injection site, a puncture of the dura, post-injection headache or an allergic reaction to the contrast dye used. All of these, should they happen, are easily treatable, do not cause paralysis and are not life-threatening if treated.

Pain relief is usually not immediately felt from the steroid, but from the numbing medication that is combined with the steroid. This pain relief is temporary and passes in a few hours. Steroids generate a reduction in inflammation, usually resulting in a decrease in pain. This effect will typically be seen within 3 to 5 days.

Often times, patients report being very nervous about having an ESI. Many incorrectly equate it with the kind of epidural given in Labor & Delivery. Some think that the shot could potentially paralyze them or that some other horrific side effect will happen afterwards. Epidural Steroid Injections are very safe and effective when given by a trained pain management specialist.

For more information epidural injections for pain, contact Comprehensive Pain Management in Franklin, MA.

Source: Daily Press

Tips To Help You Live with Chronic Pain

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, May 04, 2017
  1. Learn deep breathing or meditation to help you relax.
    Deep breathing and meditation are techniques that help your body relax, which may ease pain. Tension and tightness seep from muscles as they receive a quiet message to relax.
  2. Reduce stress in your life. Stress intensifies chronic pain.
    Negative feelings like depression, anxiety, stress, and anger can increase the body's sensitivity to pain. By learning to take control of stress, you may find some relief from chronic pain. Several techniques can help reduce stress and promote relaxation. Listening to soothing, calming music can lift your mood -- and make living with chronic pain more bearable. There are even specially designed relaxation tapes or CDs for this. Mental imagery relaxation (also called guided imagery) is a form of mental escape that can help you feel peaceful. It involves creating calming, peaceful images in your mind. Progressive muscle relaxation is another technique that promotes relaxation.
  3. Boost chronic pain relief with the natural endorphins from exercise.
    Endorphins are brain chemicals that help improve your mood while also blocking pain signals. Exercise has another pain-reducing effect -- it strengthens muscles, helping prevent re-injury and further pain. Plus, exercise can help keep your weight down, reduce heart disease risk, and control blood sugar levels -- especially important if you have diabetes. Ask your doctor for an exercise routine that is right for you. If you have certain health conditions, like diabetic neuropathy, you will need to be careful about the types of activities you engage in; your doctor can advise you on the best physical activities for you.
  4. Cut back on alcohol, which can worsen sleep problems.
    Pain makes sleep difficult, and alcohol can make sleep problems worse. If you're living with chronic pain, drinking less or no alcohol can improve your quality of life.
  5. Join a support group. Meet others living with chronic pain.
    When you're with people who have chronic pain and understand what you're going through, you feel less alone. You also benefit from their wisdom in coping with the pain.
  6. Don't smoke. It can worsen chronic pain.
    Smoking can worsen painful circulation problems and increase risk of heart disease and cancer.
  7. Track your pain level and activities every day.
    To effectively treat your pain, your doctor needs to know how you've been feeling between visits. Keeping a log or journal of your daily "pain score" will help you track your pain. At the end of each day, note your pain level on the 1 to 10 pain scale. Also, note what activities you did that day. Take this log book to every doctor visit -- to give your doctor a good understanding of how you're living with chronic pain and your physical functioning level.
  8. Get a massage for chronic pain relief.
    Massage can help reduce stress and relieve tension -- and is being used by people living with all sorts of chronic pain, including back and neck pain.
  9. Eat a healthy diet if you're living with chronic pain.
    A well-balanced diet is important in many ways -- aiding your digestive process, reducing heart disease risk, keeping weight under control, and improving blood sugar levels. To eat a low-fat, low-sodium diet, choose from these: fresh fruits and vegetables; cooked dried beans and peas; whole-grain breads and cereals; low-fat cheese, milk, and yogurt; and lean meats.
  10. Find ways to distract yourself from pain so you enjoy life more.
    When you focus on pain, it makes it worse rather than better. Instead, find something you like doing -- an activity that keeps you busy and thinking about things besides your pain. You might not be able to avoid pain, but you can take control of your life.

For chronic pain treatment and management, contact Comprehensive Pain Management in Franklin, MA.

Source: WebMD

Smoking Found to Cause Chronic Lower Back Pain – Franklin, MA

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, April 06, 2017

Smokers with chronic low back pain may find relief once they stop smoking. Studies have cited tobacco to be one of the main reasons of lower back pain. Most smokers with lower back pain are surprised to find out that the cause may be tobacco use. Smoking prevents optimum blood flow to the heart, lungs and the lower back, which causes chronic lower back pain. Research points out that lower back pain is significantly associated with smoking history and hypertension, and development of lumbar spondylosis and high cholesterol.

Globally, 80% of the population experiences back pain at some point in their life at least once, however about 40% experience chronic pain which can last for months. Incorrect posture over prolonged period of time, occupational, social, economic and physical factors can contribute to lower back pain.

It can also be related to a disease but often it is found that lifestyle changes are key to solving lower back pain issues. One main problem is people visiting the doctor after a significant time lapse, which often deteriorates the condition and can even lead to chronic issues like slipped disc. If the symptoms persist or are severe, it is best to go straight to a primary health-care physician so that the doctor can decide whether a specialist consultation is needed.

Moderate exercise is also advised: Anything within reason is good. Over exercising and no exercise is harmful for the body. As we age, our spine and disc undergo a degenerative process making our bodies stiffer and less flexible. To combat the effects of age, exercising and healthy eating is a simple solution.

Additional information:

Tips to prevent low back problems:

  1. Exercise. Being overweight is a risk for low back pain. Muscles are meant to move, also exercise helps keep your joints fluid. However, be cautious when you exercise, over exercising and incorrect posture can lead to back problems. Be aware of your posture and learn the right techniques to protect your body.
  2. Eat right. Maintain a healthy weight to prevent back and joint issues.
  3. Maintain proper posture. Incorrect posture while sitting in the front of the computer for hours is a major factor for low back pain. Get your office ergonomics right to protect not just your back but also your wrists, neck and shoulders. Avoid using excessive technology such as smart phones, video games and other smart devices that can cause major neck and back strain.
  4. Reduce stress. Relieve stress through exercise and learn to manage stress because it affects the overall functioning of the body.
  5. Sleep sideways.
  6. Quit tobacco. Besides being a risk factor for low back pain, there are so many serious health complications that tobacco causes. It is time to focus on smoking cessation as a means to better health.

For more information on treating back pain, contact Comprehensive Pain Management in Franklin.

Non-Surgical Back Pain Treatment Options – Franklin, MA

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, March 09, 2017

Many are overwhelmed by the number of non-surgical treatments available for back pain and all of the options. Numerous options ranging from traditional to alternative are available, and they all have many variations.

If you want an alternative route, you could start with acupuncture or massage therapy. Realistically, you may need to try several types of treatments, or combination of treatments to find what works best for you.

Don't forget the simple things

Sometimes a few simple changes can make a big difference:

  • Ice application, heat therapy and/or moist heat are easy to do and may provide substantial back pain relief (e.g. during a bout of severe pain, following spine surgery, following pain caused by certain activities).
  • Try standing at your desk instead of sitting all day.
  • A single massage from a skilled massage therapist may alleviate pain from a pulled muscle.
  • Regular stretching exercises and activity modification can also help prevent bouts of pain, and may be learned with the help of your doctor or therapist.

Give injections a try. Injections offer relief for lots of patients, and they can be used to help identify the source of pain. An epidural injection into the spine delivers steroids that can provide lower back pain relief by decreasing inflammation in the painful area.

TENS units are also an option. These electrical devices are used to interfere with the transmission of pain signals sent to the lower back. Lifestyle factors can also play a role. Many lifestyle changes are important in reducing lower back pain, such as quitting smoking, weight loss, activity modification, and improved ergonomics and posture.

Consider coordinated, multi-specialty care

Integrated pain treatment clinics may include physiatrists, chiropractors, pain specialists, physical therapists, and surgeons.

The theory with this approach is that diagnosis/treatment of spinal disorders is often complex and may require expertise across a range of specialists, and that enhanced communication between different specialists will lead to better quality of care.

For more information contact Comprehensive Pain Management in Franklin, MA.


Treatment Plans for Chronic Back Pain Can Include Options in Addition to Medication – Kingston, RI

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, March 02, 2017

People should try non-drug treatment options like massage or stretching in cases of chronic low back pain before choosing treatment with over-the-counter or prescription drugs. Often, drugs and medication have a place in conjunction with other treatment.

If the pain began recently, the guidelines recommend superficial heat, massage, acupuncture or spinal manipulation. If patients wish to take medication, they should talk with doctors about nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, or skeletal muscle relaxants prescribed by a doctor. Acetaminophen and steroids are not recommended for low back pain.

However, for chronic low back pain - defined as pain that's lasted more than 12 weeks according to the American College of Physicians (ACP),- these new guidelines apply to low back pain that does not radiate to other parts of the body like the legs. Patients with low back pain that radiates to other parts of the body need further evaluation.

Low back pain is one of the most common reasons people visit U.S. doctors' offices each year. About a quarter of U.S. adults report low back pain at least one day during a three month period.

Most back pain is self-limited. It's common, will go away given enough time and patients can help themselves initially by trying some heat and stretching or getting help with a pain treatment plan.

The new guidelines are based on a review of studies that looked at the use of drug and non-drug therapies for low back pain. Based on the review, the ACP recommends that people who have been suffering with chronic low back pain (non-radiating) try non-drug therapies such as exercise, acupuncture, mindfulness-based stress reduction, tai chi, yoga, biofeedback, cognitive behavioral therapy or spinal manipulation.

If those methods don't work, other medications, treatments and opioids should be considered, and only prescribed after doctors discuss their risks and benefits with patients.

If you're going to have to use opioids, use them in the smallest dose possible with the least frequency and smallest prescription. The new recommendations are very reasonable.

Anything you can do with these non-pharmaceuticals that can get you moving faster is going to get you better in the end.

Patients should understand that a lot of these non-pharmaceutical treatments can have a lot of success. Consider a pain treatment clinic like Franklin Pain and Wellness Center. Contact Comprehensive Pain Management for more information.

Source: Fox News

Causes and Treatment for Chronic Back Pain – Franklin, MA

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, January 26, 2017

Back pain is very common among adults of all ages, but it doesn’t have to be. Below you will find the most frequent causes and types of back pain, and some tips for treating and preventing it. Back pain is often due to soft tissue injuries in the form of muscle, ligament, and tendon strains. These injuries are often caused by activities that include lifting, twisting or bending, and falling. If your back pain occurs after lifting or bending incorrectly, it can be treated with anti-inflammatory medications or muscle relaxants, though participating in physical therapy can prevent the pain from reoccurring.

Physical therapy works well to treat back pain and has both immediate and long-term benefits. Along with teaching patients to properly stretch affected muscles for relief, physical therapy also helps to build core muscles that are vital for stabilizing your back and supporting your spine. Building these muscles can help prevent future strains and pains in your back.

To further reduce your risk of back injury, exercise regularly with specific emphasis on building core strength. Maintaining a healthy weight to prevent excess strain on your back and avoiding tobacco products are also very important. Those who have jobs that contain a lot of vibration—for example, truck drivers and operators of heavy machinery—are at a higher risk of experiencing back pain and therefore should be sure to take preventative measures.

Those with mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression are also more prone to back pain and should work to prevent injury, as it can lead to a cycle that worsens their psychological symptoms. When people have chronic back problems, there is a large psychological component to it. Being depressed causes pain, and being in pain makes you depressed.

While back pain is exceedingly common—one in every ten people experience at least one instance of severe back pain in their lifetime—it is preventable and treatable. Identifying if you are at a higher risk of suffering a back injury is vital in preventing one from occurring, and simple tips like exercising and strengthening core muscles are an easy way to avoid pain.

For more information on treating and preventing back pain, contact Franklin Pain Center.

New Treatment for Chronic Pain – Franklin, MA

Joseph Coupal - Monday, January 16, 2017

Many suffer from chronic pain. What is it? Chronic pain is pain that lasts more than a few months. Some types can’t be cured. But treatment can help you find relief.

How you treat your chronic pain depends on a few factors:

  • How long the pain has lasted
  • How bad it is
  • What's causing it
  • Where you hurt

Treatments have changed a lot over the years. There are more options than ever.

Doctors may use many options together to help you feel better.

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)

RFA targets the nerves that send pain signals to your brain. Your doctor will use a needle with a tip that heats up. The needle is placed very close to the nerve. The heat zaps it so that it can’t send the pain signal.

The treatment helps with many types of pain, including arthritis and neuropathy. Research shows it can also ease lower back and hip pain. It can also help your knee and neck.

A newer type of it, called “cooled RFA,” may offer more precise relief. Research is underway to see if cooled RFA is more effective than the regular kind.

What are the results?

Studies show that the average pain relief for Radiofrequency Ablation is about 15 months and can last up to two years. These results last much longer than steroid injections. Radiofrequency Ablation can provide patients with greater range of motion, lower the need for pain medication and the procedure itself has a very short recovery time.

For more information from experts in RFA, contact Franklin Pain and Wellness Center.

Happy New Year 2017 from Franklin Pain and Wellness Center

Joseph Coupal - Friday, December 30, 2016

Fraklin Pain and Wellness Center, Franklin, MAA fresh new year has arrived once again. It’s the time to be thankful for everything we have and for everything we have achieved in the past year. But it is also time to start new, start strong, and accomplish everything we want to do this year.

It is also time for us to say “Thank You” for our success last year. If you are an existing associate, we have enjoyed working with you. If we are just embarking on a new relationship with you in 2017, we look forward to the opportunity. We are excited for what we all can achieve in 2017.

The New Year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals. – Melody Beattie

Happy New Year from Franklin Pain and Wellness Center.

Happy Holidays from Franklin Pain and Wellness Center

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Franklin Pain and Wellness Center, Franklin, MAIt is once again "end-of-year" blog post reflection time.  If you are reading this blog post, you care enough about us and our business to invest a minute or two reading here.  That means a lot to us.  The primary reason for this blog is to educate and inform our readers; as an ongoing act of giving thanks for the privilege of earning your continued trust and continued professional partnerships. So we're glad you're here.

We reflect today on the blessings that so many of you bring to both our personal and professional lives. Over the course of 2016, we hope that we have made a difference in many personal and professional lives. This is the true essence and a key measure of professional reward and business success.

It is our sincere wish that all of you bask in the joy of reflection and within the warm confines of family and friends throughout this Holiday season and throughout 2017. Cheers!

Happy Holidays!

-from all of us here at Franklin Pain and Wellness Center.

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