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Over Half of Opioid Prescriptions Given to Adults with Mood Disorders

Almost 10% of the U.S. population suffers from a mood disorder, and 19% of them use prescription opioids. Patients with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder are vulnerable to highs and lows caused by medications that directly influence their moods, are prescribing them to this vulnerable group is a contentious issue. Some physicians suggest opioids as a last port of call for lifting depression, but this off-label effect is so short lived that it has little genuine value. To make matters worse, long-term opioid use frequently causes depression and manic episodes, and psychiatric patients are more likely to abuse their medications, due to the psychological drivers behind addiction.

The Depression/Pain Cycle

The opioid problem is so far ranging that the CDC has called for a new social policy to cure what it refers to as over-prescribing. Psychiatric illness poses a particular challenge to chronic pain patients. Depression can worsen your pain, and pain can worsen your depression and anxiety. There is no question that the toxic cycle needs to be broken, and opioids are far from the only option for doing so.

The reason 51% of opioid scripts are given to mood disorder patients is unclear, but it could be that depression and anxiety change the way people respond to pain. Doctors may also be more sympathetic to this group of patients. In other words, if your psychiatric health places you in this vulnerable demographic, it’s crucial that your pain be treated as proactively as your mood is. Every therapy must not only be assessed according to how effective it is, but also how it influences your psychiatric condition.

Surgery, physiotherapy, non-opioid analgesics, and occupational therapy all have an important role to play in chronic pain management. Pain Stop Clinics take a multi-pronged approach that takes our responsibility to whole patient health seriously.

Do Opioids Lead to Heroin Addiction?

Drug overdoses kill 29,000 Americans a year, with the majority of those deaths being from opiate and heroin abuse. While campaigners like to draw a link between opioid and heroin abuse, no studies have revealed anything beyond correlation. Most heroin abusers have used opioids before because most Americans have used opioids at least once in their lifetimes. By the same token, most heroin users have used soap in the past. This doesn’t mean cleanliness caused their addictions. The DSM, fortunately, provides a better idea of addiction’s cause.

Addiction vs Dependency

The DSM-V separates addiction into two separate diagnoses:

  • Substance dependency, which is a physiological tolerance to a substance without psychiatric involvement.
  • Addictive/Substance abuse disorder, which involves behavior.

The psychopathological model sees mental disorders as the cause of addiction. Saying opioid painkillers lead to heroin addiction is thus like saying razorblades are the cause of self-mutilation.

When Medication Creates Addiction

The circumstances surrounding a patient’s need to take painkillers should be carefully monitored. For example, if they are prescribed painkillers after undergoing a traumatic event, they may be at higher risk for self-medicating, which can lead to addiction.

If you’re taking opiates due to a substance dependency, the odds are excellent that you’ll never pick up heroin. If you have an underlying pathology like substance abuse disorder, your drug of choice is probably “more”—of anything, whether it be heroin or stronger opioids or a bottle of vodka.

It’s critical that opioid users receive the correct diagnosis because a substance abuse disorder requires specialized care. Those who have developed a dependency are generally able to take narcotic medications without abusing them, but those with substance abuse disorders should avoid that entire class of drugs, from benzodiazepines to pseudoephedrine and Oxycodone.

This doesn’t make dependency a pleasant problem. If you’ve developed a tolerance and are suffering from severe rebound pain, you deserve freedom from a toxic cycle that’s likely leaving your body in constant crisis. Besides, long-term side effects can create more health problems down the road. At Pain Stop Clinics, we treat pain with a holistic approach based on each unique patient profile.

Steroid Injections for Back Pain

Back pain is notoriously challenging to treat, but steroid injections could give you weeks of relief without drugs. The risks are rare, but significant, so your physician will try more conservative approaches before recommending them. They’re an invasive option given the sight of the epidural, but if you’re waiting for surgery or are struggling to cope with short-term pain, they may bring much-needed freedom.

Conditions Treated with Steroid Injections

Back pain isn’t a single diagnosis, but a symptom of a titanic collection of conditions. Epidural injections have proven themselves effective in two conditions: inflammation or nerve damage and spinal stenosis. The former usually affects the lower back and neck, with shooting pain that radiates into the limbs. A herniated disc is frequently the cause. If your spine has narrowed, whether from a herniated disc, misplaced bone spur, or tumor, steroid infections might ease your symptoms, too.

What to Expect from Steroid Injections

Your epidural should be effective for a few weeks. If your first one does its job well, you may be prescribed up to three a year, which means they can’t be a constant source of support. They’re also no substitute if surgery is needed. It’s important to approach this form of treatment from the right angle. Studies haven’t turned up any long term benefits, so they’re largely symptomatic.

Your injection will be given as near as possible to the source of your pain, which is why epidurals are only an option if your condition is highly concentrated to one area. Dispersed pain demands a more general approach.

Cortisone and steroids may be used as anti-inflammatories. Lidocaine or bupivacaine are often included, not only for their anaesthetic powers, but their tendency to flush inflammatory agents out of the area, too.

As always, to determine which treatment might be best for you, work with a caring medical team. If your back pain is affecting your quality of life, contact Pain Stop Clinics for a consultation.

Pain Causes Biochemical Changes

When you feel pain, you want it to be gone. Whether it is leg, knee, back or head pain, it’s all the same in that it hurts and all you want is some relief.

Did you know that the longer you live with chronic pain the worse it can become? You may think you’re treating the pain with over-the-counter medication, but are you treating the condition or just the symptom?

What can happen over time is that your pain will start to cause you to use your body in different ways, favoring one side over another or walking incorrectly to compensate. If you have knee pain, for instance, you may start limping. If it’s sciatic pain, your sleep may be interrupted at night and the way you sit during the day will also be affected. Inevitably, your reliance on medications to alleviate the pain every day will only increase.

Pain, over time, can also cause biochemical changes in your body that tend to keep the pain going. Without special treatment, you may develop chronic pain syndrome. These pain signals, which are triggered by the nervous system, can affect your everyday life.

Researchers now want to look at pain in terms of its inflammation profile, in that all pain is caused by inflammation and inflammatory response. This new approach acknowledges the significant role of the biochemical factors at play that deal with pain, including cytokines, neuropeptides, growth factors and neurotransmitters. Activation of pain receptors, transmission and modulation of pain signals, neuro plasticity, and central sensitization all make up your body’s pain response. Understanding how these components work together allows researchers to think about the biochemical components of pain differently to help you achieve advanced pain management.

Studies have shown that the pain associated with osteoarthritis is more than just a symptom of the disease. Pain signals which originate in the arthritic joints themselves, and the biochemical processing of those signals as they reach the spinal cord are actually made worse, and exacerbate the arthritis.

Today’s advanced pain management has the solution you’re looking for. There are comprehensive pain treatment programs for quick-pain relief and for long-lasting results. There really is no reason any longer to be burdened with chronic pain. No matter what type of pain you are experiencing, there is a treatment for it. There is pain relief for migraine headaches, knee pain, back and neck pain, muscle and joint pain, sciatic nerve pain relief and so much more.

Don’t let your chronic pain get the better of you! There are real solutions to pain. Make an appointment today to discuss at Pain Stop, pain management clinics in Phoenix. Pain professionals will diagnose your specific pain and offer you many options that are quick-relief and long-lasting for what ails you.

Pain doesn’t need to become a damaging part of a disease. It doesn’t need to become worse before it gets better. There are workable solutions to get rid of your pain today.

Trends you need to know about chronic knee pain

Even if you don’t suffer from some type of knee pain, chances are you know someone who does. It is a very common problem for millions of people. Often, chronic knee pain can lead to knee surgery.

Total knee replacement surgery is a big deal. Not only is it a full surgical procedure, but it takes weeks of rehab to get you back on your feet again. Luckily, with newer trends in medicine and physiotherapy for chronic pain relief, surgery is not always necessary.

There are a number of non-invasive treatment plans that your doctor can employ to alleviate chronic knee pain. Some of these treatments include:

  • Non-steroidal Injections. Steroids are not always needed to relieve knee pain, believe it or not. The non-steroidal medication is injected into the joint, muscle or around a nerve for total pain relief.
  • Nerve Blocks. Your doctor will pinpoint the exact region where your pain is coming from. Then an epidural steroid injection is used to specifically target your pain area. This is done through the use of an x-ray known as fluoroscopy.
  • Chiropractic Therapy. Another non-surgical solution is using your body and bringing it into proper alignment. Through the use of chiropractic therapy you may find that your knee pain is lessened or gone, now that your body has been restored to a more balanced natural state.
  • Trigger Point Injections. Muscle fibers cause pain. They actually can become muscle knots, due to overwork or an injury. Trigger point injections can reduce inflammation and the pain caused by these muscle knots because they are specifically targeted by your pain management doctors in Mesa. This goes a long way in helping the muscle to heal.
  • Physiotherapy and Therapeutic Exercises. These are at the heart of any pain management program. Your doctor will develop a treatment plan specific to your knee pain. This is to treat the cause of the pain, which in turn will bring about chronic pain relief. Musculoskeletal imbalances are brought into alignment and knee pain can be greatly reduced or eliminated.

Knee pain can be mild to severe, even to the point where getting around is next to impossible. Let your pain management doctors in Mesa evaluate your knee pain situation and put you on the road to total knee health again.

Things You Need to Know If You Suffer From Migraines

Migraine headaches are more than just your typical headache. They are the result of specific changes in the brain, although what causes migraines isn’t fully known. Usually, they consist of a pounding pain in your head, which can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, and eye pain.

There are a number of factors which seem to trigger migraine headaches, such as stress, hormonal changes, certain foods, or even loud noises. Once you are in the grip of a migraine headache all you want is for the pain to go away.

In the past you may have tried any number of remedies in the search for the one that would provide you with the best pain-free condition. Some may have worked for a while, some may never have worked, and others may have seemed to be too far ‘out there’ to bother with. You’ve probably gone through the prescription medication route, OTC meds, massage therapy, stretching, aroma therapy, nerve block shots, supplements, and you may have even tried surgery to bring some relief.

When you talk with your pain management doctors in North Phoenix, you’ll discover how they are using a two-pronged approach to help their patients reduce and even eliminate the pain of migraines. This treatment is not suitable for every individual, but it has been effective for many.

This treatment begins with the MiRx Protocol, which is a non-surgical nerve block technique for relieving pain through targeting a nerve located in the nasal cavity. Pain relief is almost instant and can last for weeks. This protocol is combined with advanced physiotherapy, where physiotherapists and chiropractic professionals work with you to determine the exact causes and location of your migraines. You work with the doctors to identify physical and emotional factors that bring on migraine episodes.

Knowing all there is to know about your specific life factors is key to reducing and eliminating migraines permanently. The success ratio for this two-pronged approach is 90% in qualified candidates.

Migraine headaches are controllable through lifestyle changes and the right treatment program designed for you. Knowing what triggers your pain goes a long way to controlling it and eventually reducing the effects it has on your life. Pain management doctors in North Phoenix can help determine whether or not migraine relief can be achieved by this treatment and therapy.

What Is An Occipital Nerve Block?

Many people who suffer with migraines and other severe headache disorders do so because of pain which originates at the back of the head in the area known as the occipital-cervical region. The occipital nerves are two nerves which run from the crown of the head down to the top portion of the neck.

Pain in the occipital-cervical region can originate in muscles, ligaments, blood vessels, connective tissue, as well as nerves. The pain can be searing, white-hot, debilitating. Anyone who has suffered migraines knows how everything in their life just comes to a stop until the pain subsides.

These days there is a treatment that can bring migraine pain relief. It is known as an occipital nerve block. This is an injection of a steroid or other medication that is injected around the greater and lesser occipital nerves which are located on the back of the head, just above the neck area.

What an occipital nerve block does is to lessen the inflammation and swelling around the occipital nerve. This may reduce pain, reduce inflammation, and lessen the irritation of the nerves. Headaches which occur over the back of the head, typically migraines, can benefit from an occipital nerve block.

This type of injection is easy to administer, and takes just a few minutes. There may be slight pain from the needle being injected deep into the muscle region, but there is a local anesthetic which will numb the area. There is no sedation needed.

When you come into Pain stop clinics for an occipital nerve block treatment, you can sit or lay down for the procedure. Antiseptic solution is used to clean the area where the injection will go, and then it is given. A local anesthetic within the injection will lessen any pain you have been feeling right away.

Your pain may not be gone immediately. Once the local anesthetic wears off, it may take a few days for you to notice a more lasting pain relief. Usually though, once the injection has been administered, you should rest a bit and take it easy for the entire day. You can drive and do everything else with ease.

Occipital nerve blocks are an effective treatment, given as pain management in Mesa, AZ. If needed, injections are done about one week apart. If you don’t respond well to the first injection, you can benefit from a second injection. Usually not more than three injections in a six-month period are recommended.

If you suffer with head and neck pain, consult with a pain management professional at Pain Stop Clinics today.

Best Treatments For Sciatic Nerve Pain

Did you know that the sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in your body? It begins in your lower back and runs down through the entirety of your leg. If you’ve ever experienced sciatic nerve pain, you know it can be excruciating. The pain starts in your back and shoots down your leg. Typically, it affects only one side of your body, but you can have pain in both legs.

With sciatic nerve pain, there is cause to wonder what is behind the pain? Sciatica is a symptom of something gone wrong. There is compression of the sciatic nerve and until you have it diagnosed, it will continue to flare up.

Often times, when you are suffering with sciatica, you find it difficult to sit, stand or even lay down. A sensation of pins and needles is very common. Sharp pains which seem to travel the length of your leg can affect your daily life. You may have difficulty with your bowels or bladder, and sleeping may seem impossible.

There are treatments for sciatica which can be very effective. Most are non-surgical, but if needed, there are surgical procedures that should bring you sciatic nerve pain relief. A pain management expert in Phoenix can help determine the best sciatic nerve pain relief solution for you.

Among treatments for sciatica are:

•Heat/Ice – for flare-ups, this can be very effective. Some people prefer ice, some heat. Apply to the affected areas for 20 minute intervals.
•Pain Medications – Ibuprofen, naproxen, or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be taken. Oral steroids can also be used.
•Trigger Point Injections – if the pain is severe enough, medication is injected directly into the pain areas. This is a very effective but temporary solution to sciatic pain. It works well, but may not work for everyone, depending on the severity of your compressed sciatic nerve.
•Chiropractic Manipulation – is based on bringing the entire body into alignment, hence minimizing or eliminating pain. Chiropractic adjustments have a #1 goal of re-aligning the spine, so that natural healing can begin to take place.
•Massage Therapy – a licensed therapist will work one-on-one with you to apply muscle/trigger point work on affected areas to bring you relief from sciatic nerve pain.
•Physiotherapy/Therapeutic Exercises – because sciatica will heal itself over time with or without treatment, a good exercise regimen is recommended to keep the pain away permanently.

If the sciatic nerve is damaged or compressed to the point where none of the non-surgical treatments are effective, then surgery may be required.

If you’re experiencing acute or chronic sciatic nerve pain and need a pain management doctor to accurately diagnose and effectively treat your pain,contact us to get started.

hip-joint-pain

Nonsurgical Treatments for Hip Joint Pain

The hip is the joint that connects the leg to the pelvis. When any type of damage occurs to the joint, such as trauma or osteoarthritis, pain can arise in the hip and surrounding area. Joint injections are a simple and safe outpatient procedure often recommended for patients suffering from this type of pain, to improve both comfort and diagnosis.

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How Much Exercise is Too Much?

concluding that the fitness level and overall health is extraordinarily high. However, in June 2013, the European Heart Journal published a study that concluded that the rule of moderation applies to physical fitness and exercise. The results found that when the body is pushed to extreme limits too fast and for too long it could have a negative affect. This is a good reminder of how important it is to ease into an exercise program and monitor exertion levels.

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