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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Fibromyalgia: Turning Stress into Pain

The medical community has come a long way in the past few decades in the recognition and treatment of chronic pain.

Fibromyalgia, however, still stumps even the greatest minds. With continued research, though, more is being learned about it and about how it can be treated.

Recent developments have led to the publication of a series of papers published in the Pain Research and Treatment Journal. While some delve into the concept of utilizing exercise to overcome muscular deficiencies, others are making a direct connection between stress and the pain associated with fibromyalgia.

The central nervous system has been studied at great length for its part in the unusual pain processing that occurs in fibromyalgia patients. In addition to the concepts of pain processing and body reactions to pain stimuli, a paper by L.A. Low and P. Schweinhardt aims to promote discussion on the part played by distress and stress.

Connections between early traumas and the later onset of fibromyalgia were made much earlier. The authors believe, though, that the traumas may actually disrupt the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal stress system and, therefore, cause later emotional or mental stresses to be perceived as painful stimuli resulting in a chronic physical reaction.

Though some might be skeptical, the authors argue that today’s stress is not likely to be the cause of the pain, but would likely augment it. They suggest that it is the initial trauma, whether resulting in a physical injury or something more psychological, which could overload the system and be too much for the adaptive capacity of the human being at a young age.

For more information about the issue of Pain Research and Treatment, visit the medical article here

Interventional Pain Associates strives to provide the best fibromyalgia treatment for our Austin patients. If you’d like to learn more about our services, visit our website or give us a call.

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Is Your Chronic Pain Caused by Memory?

Could the wipe of a person’s memory erase all signs of perceivable pain?

That certainly isn’t a viable option, but scientists from the McGill University Health Center have stopped to consider the possibility that the way in which pain memories are stored in the brain could be making chronic suffers worse off.

It has been known for quite some time that the body stores information about painful sensations. Those memories can actually amplify the pain that a person feels when he or she is exposed to similar stimuli at a future date.

The most obvious example of this is seen in amputee patients.

Even after the limb is gone, pain can be felt in its place. It is thought that any source of pain that lasts for than a few minutes can leave these trace memories, which would, obviously, play a large role in the case of chronic pain.

A particular protein was called to attention recently as a possible player in this memory storage practice of the body.

The protein, referred to as PKMzeta was discovered, during this latest round of testing, to be the key to understanding the process of pain memory storage. It was demonstrated that levels of PKMzeta increased substantially with the introduction of painful stimuli. By blocking the PKMzeta at the neuronal level, the researchers were able to reduce persistent pain and heighten sensitivity.

If doctors and scientists can devise a medication that aims to reduce or block this protein, it could vastly improve the comfort levels of chronic pain sufferers.

For more information on the study, the researchers, and the findings, continue reading at here

To learn more about how IPA treats chronic pain patients, please visit our website.