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Submitted by Southwest Spine and Pain on January 20, 2020

Sciatica can be a painful condition and interfere with exercise—here’s what you need to know.

You’ve probably heard people talk about having sciatica, and that’s for good reason—many people experience a form of pain related to the sciatic nerve at some point in their lives. 

That’s because the sciatic nerve is actually the largest nerve in the entire body, extending from your lower back all the way down through the muscles and joints of your hips, glutes, legs, and feet. Because it affects so many structures in your body, it can be relatively easy for it to become injured or irritated, leading to pain, numbness, or weakness, in your back, buttocks, or legs.

What Causes Sciatica?

Sciatica is a condition of pain as a result of the...

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Submitted by Southwest Spine and Pain on December 15, 2019

30-Second Blog “Snapshot:”

  • A spinal cord stimulator (SCS) is an implantable device that delivers electric pulses to specific nerve fibers that control pain.
  • SCS is not a cure for chronic pain, but can help manage pain symptoms.
  • Because SCS uses an implantable generator that produces low-level electric pulses, patients need to be cautious of certain lifestyle choices.

The leaders of Utah pain management at Southwest Spine and Pain Center offer spinal cord stimulation as a treatment option for those living in chronic pain. To learn more about this device and the procedure itself, please visit our treatments page. If you already have...

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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...

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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...

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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”...

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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...

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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:


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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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