Blog

Search Blog Posts

Submitted by Southwest Spine and Pain on November 17, 2019

It seems like some people just can’t get a break. Researchers are discovering that people who have chronic headaches are also more likely to have chronic low back pain.

Research published in July in the Journal of Headache and Pain looked at 14 studies from around the world—studies from Denmark, the United States, Germany, Iran, Tunisia, the UK and Qatar—that had examined a link between headache and low back pain. 

Some of the studies were small—just 88 participants—while other were quite large. One international study included over 404,000 people. The ages of people in the various studies ranged from 9.8 to 102.

The researchers found a...

Read More
Submitted by Southwest Spine and Pain on October 10, 2019

If you’re like most of us, you probably keep a to-do list. It can help keep you organized and feel like you’re making progress on getting where you want to be.

But what if what you really need is a not-to-do list.

Especially if you’re living with chronic pain, it may be important to give yourself permission not to do things. Here are some things to consider not doing.

Do NOT say yes to everything. You don’t need to live up to someone else’s ideal of what a parent, a spouse, or an employee should be. If you can’t volunteer for a community event or don’t have the energy to cook more than frozen pizza, don’t push yourself to do those things. Know your limitations and respect them.

Do NOT ignore your body. If you’re...

Read More
Submitted by Southwest Spine and Pain on September 22, 2019

Why does one person develop chronic, disabling pain and another doesn’t? Doctors aren’t completely sure, but it appears that a combination of psychological traits, socioeconomic status, and brain function may play a role.

A study published in August in PLOS Biology looked at how those factors combined to contribute to chronic pain in a group of patients with chronic back pain. 

They found, as previous studies have, that people with lower incomes are more likely to suffer from chronic pain than those with higher incomes.

Through questionnaires, they also found that certain psychological traits were associated with chronic pain. For instance, a tendency to “catastrophize”...

Read More
Submitted by Southwest Spine and Pain on August 12, 2019

How do you know if you have neuropathic pain versus a different type of pain? And what’s the best way to treat it if you do?

People with neuropathic pain often describe it as burning or shooting pain. They may also have numbness and tingling, and they may feel pain from a touch that wouldn’t normally be painful, such as going out in cold temperatures or rubbing against something. 

When people talk about neuropathic pain, they’re usually talking about pain associated with the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nervous system includes all the nerves throughout your body except for the brain and spinal cord. This peripheral system sends messages to the brain and spinal cord, which make up the central nervous system.

Peripheral neuropathy occurs when part of the...

Read More
Submitted by Southwest Spine and Pain on July 15, 2019

There are more than 100 rheumatic diseases—that is, diseases that affect the joints, tendons, bones, muscles, and ligaments. Many of them, including relatively common ones like osteoarthritis, cause chronic pain.

If you think you may have a rheumatic disease, be sure to see a doctor. Early treatment may help prevent or delay the damage some rheumatic diseases can cause.

Here is a look at six of the more common rheumatic diseases:

Osteoarthritis

Probably the most well-known of the rheumatic diseases is osteoarthritis, which is caused by wear and tear of the joints. It often develops as we age, as the cartilage that cushions our joints begin to wear away. This can eventually lead to bones rubbing against each other, with no cushion between...

Read More
Submitted by Southwest Spine and Pain on June 11, 2019

What if there was a drug you could take that would make it less likely you would develop chronic pain—and help you cope with pain when it crops up? We'd probably all be taking it, right?

Well, there is such a drug—exercise. 

Increasingly, research is showing that getting exercise and staying active can help people avoid chronic pain—and help treat it when it can’t be avoided. 

One study looked at pain processing in the central nervous system. It found that older adults who were physically active were better able to block responses to pain. Another review of research found that physical...

Read More
Submitted by Southwest Spine and Pain on May 16, 2019

Living with chronic pain can sap your energy. Sometimes it can feel like it takes all you have just to make it through the day, much less get anything productive accomplished.

Finding effective treatment for your pain can help you regain your energy. In addition, the natural approaches listed below can help boost your energy as you cope with pain. Give them a try. You may be surprised at the results.

1. Exercise regularly. It may seem like the last thing you want to do when you’re tried, but exercising can actually help you feel more awake and energetic. It can also product higher levels of a substance called serotonin, which can help you feel better.

2. Set realistic priorities. Reduce the size of your to-do list, or at least put...

Read More
Submitted by Southwest Spine and Pain on April 12, 2019

A "pinched nerve" means something is putting pressure on a nerve. Any number of things may be the culprit, including repetitive motions in sports or at work, poor posture, excess weight, a ruptured disc, bone spurs or arthritis in the neck.

If you have a pinched nerve in the neck, you’re likely to feel symptoms in the neck, elbow, hands, wrists, or fingers. Symptoms may include:

  • Pain
  • Tingling or “pins and needles” feeling
  • Numbness
  • Weakness

So how can you relieve those symptoms? A number of strategies, some of which can be done at home, may help:  

  • Rest. If an activity hurts, stop doing it for a while to give your body time to heal. You may also want to try cushions or neck rests to relieve pressure...
Read More
Submitted by Southwest Spine and Pain on March 18, 2019

Could the wrong shoes be causing a backache? Maybe. Experts say back pain can have many causes, some originating in the spine itself. But other cases of back pain may result from problems in the feet, knees, or hips.

Back pain is common. About 80 percent of us are going to suffer from it at some point. Tracking down the source of the problem is a key to getting relief.

When feet are the problem

If you have low arches, or “flat feet,” your feet will turn inward when you walk or run. This is called hyper-pronation and can cause your leg to turn inward as well, affecting the alignment of your body all the way up to your back.

The opposite problem, called hyper-supination, can...

Read More
Submitted by Southwest Spine and Pain on February 12, 2019

Treating chronic pain is complicated. With concern growing about overuse of opioids for pain and worries about side effects of some other medicines, many patients are looking for alternatives. One option many consider is medicated creams that are applied to the skin.

Unfortunately, a recent study showed topical creams did not appear to work any better than a placebo. There were a couple of caveats, though; one of the more promising creams was not tested, and the group being tested might not represent the general population.

A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine tested topical creams on a group of patients in...

Read More