Our Pain Management Blog

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Are You a Candidate for Trigger Point Injections?

If you suffer from any form of chronic pain, it’s important to understand all the treatment options available to you. Although not every procedure will be the right choice to help to alleviate your pain, it’s definitely worth discussing the alternatives with your health care provider and pain management specialist to determine which procedures might be effective in alleviating or managing your chronic pain.

One alternative treatment that is becoming increasing popular is the trigger point injection, or TPI. This procedure is commonly used to treat painful knots around muscles that develop whenever muscles fail to relax. These knots, or trigger points, can affect surrounding nerves which in turn can result in pain in other areas of the body or “referred pain.”

The process involves a pain management specialist injecting a tiny needle containing a local anesthetic into a patient’s trigger point. The procedure takes very little time – usually just a few minutes – and the results can be dramatic. Often, the pain is immediately relieved, and the results can be long-term with follow-up treatment. At Interventional Pain Associates, we treat many patients using this procedure which you can read more about on our website.

When TPI is Most Effective

Trigger point injections are most effective in alleviating the following:
• Chronic pain in the neck, arms, legs and lower back
• Chronic pain due to fibromyalgia
• Chronic pain due to tension headaches

TPI might also be effective in combating other chronic pain conditions. For more information, and to determine if trigger point injections may help to alleviate your pain, talk to your doctor or pain management specialist.

Resource: AAFP

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Are Fruit Flies the Key to Curing Chronic Pain?

It was recently reported in a journal called Nature that scientists have made a tremendous discovery in a species of fruit flies.

While this might not seem a momentous piece of information, for the average person living with chronic pain it could be just that. It was found that a protein existing in both humans and flies can be produced is different variations by the flying species in order to serve different purposes.

For flies the protein, known as TRPA1, is used to sense heat in the first variation, and used to recognize toxic chemicals in the second. The same protein is produced in humans, but is used for a different purpose all together. In people, TRPA1 is a protein used by the body to control pain and inflammation.

While this discovery will first be used in the field of biology for creating methods of keep pesky, disease carrying insects away from their intended human targets and attracting them, instead, to traps, the more that is learned about the protein, the more hope there is for pain sufferers.

Scientists believe that the right use of the version one of the TRPA1 protein could make insects believe that humans are toxic, thereby keeping them at bay, while the second variation could be used to entice them into traps.

As for the pain sufferers, there are a lot of questions left to be answered, but the similarities between mankind and the tiny winged animal could mean quicker, cost-effective, and meaningful solutions to questions that millions seek answers to. At Interventional Pain Associates, we continue to stay “in the know” regarding the latest medical research and technological advancements so we can care for our patients with the best treatments available for their chronic pain conditions at our clinic.

You can read more about the research on fruit flies and the pertinent findings here.

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Why Painkillers May Not Work For You

If you are like millions of Americans, then you may know what it is like to be let down by painkillers. So many people suffer with lasting pain and cannot find comfort in the form of a pill because of the unfavorable side effects of the drugs inability to truly treat the symptom.

At the University of Leeds, a team was assembled by Dr. Nikita Gamper, who understood the concerns of the medical community and pain patients everywhere. It was admitted by the team that it is not as easy to get the funding for pain-related studies today. Though the general path of pain is fairly well understood, there are many details of the process that remain a mystery. As a result, the ability for researchers to discover a noteworthy medication is limited. There is no doubt that there have been a number of failings in the effort to produce an effective treatment.

So, Gamper’s team set out to investigate the difference between persistent pain, such as toothache, and pain resulting from increased sensitivity of nerves. The results, which were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, demonstrated that the same nerves are at play in either situation. The difference lies in the underlying mechanisms.

Gamper’s team discovered that there were two substances that came into play – bradykinin and substance P – which bind to the nerves causing a message to be sent to CNS. Each of the substances caused a unique message to be sent. It was theorized, after this study, that substance P could actually act as a pain suppressant, by changing the action taken by the nerves.

This certainly isn’t the answer that pain sufferers are longing for, but it could point this area of research in the right direction. If you want to learn more about the findings, continue reading here. At Interventional Pain Associates, we continue to stay updated on the latest research findings and treatments to serve our patients the best we can at our clinic in Austin.

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Fatigued from Concussions or Concussion Examination?

An athlete is seated on the examination table after taking a big spill or being part of a collision while in play.

What is the concern? Concussion.

It is highly common for athletes to suffer head trauma during play. Unfortunately, there is a very real concern about the damage done during and shortly after the incident. Until recently, one of the warning signs taken most seriously when looking for any sign of a concussion was fatigue. If the athlete showed signs that he or she was growing suddenly tired, the likelihood of concussion was considered far greater.

However, in a recent study, it was discovered that fatigue is not such a great predictor of injury.

Penn State researchers found that mental fatigue was evident in healthy, highly active athletes after undergoing the extensive concussion testing. This symptom, which involves a feeling a sleepiness, lack of motivation, and a reduction in performance, was seen the majority of the participants after the approximately two-hour long test. This test is not unlike the standard form of testing for concussion, providing reason to doubt that fatigue is really a predictor of concussion at all.

Though the tests are tiring, any athlete who is suspected to have suffered a concussion should receive immediate medical attention and should be examined for any signs of trouble. If that person returns to play after suffering a concussion, and receives a second impact, even weeks after the initial injury, the results could be deadly.

For more information on the research, keep reading at here