South Lake Pain Institute. Treating you, differently.

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Archive for February 2016


Lower back pain, also known as lumbar disc pain, is caused by a variety of issues with any parts of the complex network of muscles, nerves, bones, discs, and tendons in the lumbar spine. Common causes of lower back pain include:

  • The large nerve roots in the lower back that go to the legs may be irritated
  • The smaller nerves that supply the lower back may be irritated
  • The large pair of lower back muscles may be strained
  • The bones, ligaments, or joints may be damaged
  • An intervertebral disc may be degenerating
  • A herniated disc pressing on the sciatic nerve, causing sciatica
  • Abnormal spine curvatures
  •  Spinal stenosis from the spinal column narrowing, putting pressure on the spinal cord and spinal nerves

An irritation or problem with any of these structures can cause lower back pain. At times, the pain radiates or transfers to other parts of the body. Many lower back problems also cause muscle spasms, which in turn can cause severe pain and possible disability.

While lower back pain is extremely common, just about everybody experiences it at some point in their life, the symptoms and severity of it vary greatly. South Lake Pain Institute is always searching for the best treatment of lumbar disc pain. We are currently conducting clinical trials on this very complex syndrome. If you are interested in getting involved, click here to visit our Clinical Research page and fill out the provided form. If you have any questions or would like to find out more, please click here.

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Diabetic foot ulcers are open, red sores that most often appear on the ball of the foot. They can also appear along the top and bottom of each toe, particularly the bottom of the big toe. Diabetic foot ulcers occur for several reasons, some of which include mechanical changes in bone conformation, peripheral neuropathy, poor circulation or a lack of feeling in the foot, and trauma. Diabetic foot ulcers are responsible for more hospitalizations than any other complication of diabetes, which is the leading cause of non-traumatic lower extremity amputations in the United States. Approximately 15% of diabetics develop foot ulcers each year. Of that 15%, about 20% will require an amputation.

Anyone with diabetes can develop an ulcer, though patients who use insulin are at higher risk, as well as patients with kidney, eye, and heart disease related to the disease. Because many people who develop diabetic foot ulcers lose the ability to feel pain, pain is not a common symptom. Many times, the first thing you notice is some drainage on your sock. Redness, swelling, and odor may also be associated with it too. If you notice an ulcer, seek podiatric medical attention immediately to reduce the risk of infection or amputation. The main goal in treating foot ulcers is to obtain healing as soon as possible. The faster the wound heals, the less chance for an infection.

At South Lake Pain Institute, we are currently conducting clinical research on the causes, treatments, and prevention of diabetic foot ulcers. If you or someone you know would be interested in assisting us with our research, please contact usor visit our Clinical Research page to fill out the form that is provided to you.

And remember, learning how to check your feet to find a potential problem as early as possible is crucial to preventing diabetic foot ulcers and possible amputation in the future. Inspect your feet every day, especially the sole and between the toes. Look for any cuts, bruises, cracks, blisters, redness, ulcers, and any other signs of abnormality.

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Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), also referred to as Type 1 CRPS or CRPS-I, is a condition which is triggered by tissue injury where there is no underlying nerve injury. The cause of RSD is still unknown, but it is thought to be a malfunctioning of the sympathetic nervous system. Though, some people question this assessment. Since RSD most often follows trauma to the extremities (arms, legs, hands, and feet), some conditions known to trigger RSD are sprains, fractures, surgery, damage to blood vessels or nerves, and certain brain injuries. Doctors may use x-rays and MRIs to try to diagnose RSD, but typically it’s found when it meets certain conditions or when everything else is cancelled out.

Symptoms of RSD usually include:

  • burning pain
  • increased sensitivity to touch
  • changes in skin temperature
  • excessive sweating
  • changes in skin color and/or texture
  • changes in nail and hair growth patterns
  • swelling and stiffness in affected joint
  • motor disability, with decreased ability to move affected body part

As of yet, we still have no cure for RSD, although the symptoms may be treated. It is especially treatable if RSD is diagnosed early. Treatment typically consists of physical therapy and prescribed medications. In severe cases, surgery may help reduce the symptoms.

South Lake Pain Institute is currently conducting clinical trials on RSD in an attempt to discover a cure, or in the least to find more effective treatment. If you or someone you know is suffering from this unfortunate condition, and you/they would like to help us in our search, please visit our Clinical Research page and fill out the provided form. If you have any questions about RSD or CRPS, please don’t hesitate to contact us with any inquiries.

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Complex regional pain syndrome, more commonly known as CRPS, is a chronic pain condition that (most often) affects one of the limbs (arms, legs, hands, or feet). It typically occurs after an injury or trauma to the limb. Researchers and professionals believe that CRPS is caused by damage to the peripheral and central nervous systems.  The central nervous system is composed of the brain and spinal cord, and the peripheral nervous system involves nerve signaling from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body.  CRPS is characterized by prolonged or excessive pain and mild or dramatic changes in skin color, temperature, and/or swelling in the affected area.

CRPS is classified in two ways, CRPS-I and CRPS-II, both with the same symptoms and treatments. CRPS-II, also known as causalgia, is the term used for patients with confirmed nerve injuries. Individuals without confirmed nerve injury are classified as having CRPS-I, also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome.  Although researchers have recently found evidence of nerve injury in CRPS-I, so the validity of the different forms is being investigated.

CRPS affects both men and women, although it’s a lot more common in women. The average age of affected individuals is about age 40, though CRPS can occur at just about any age. Children do not get it before age 5 and only very rarely before age 10, but it is not uncommon in teenagers.

CRPS symptoms vary in severity and duration. The main symptom is prolonged pain that can be constant and extremely uncomfortable for some people. Other symptoms may include:

  • changes in skin texture on the affected area; it may appear shiny and thin
  • abnormal sweating pattern in the affected area or surrounding areas
  • changes in nail and hair growth patterns
  • stiffness in affected joints
  • problems coordinating muscle movement, with a decreased ability to move the affected body part
  • abnormal movement in the affected limb

South Lake Pain Institute is now conducting clinical trials for CRPS to try and come up with new approaches to treat the disease, as well as limit the symptoms associated with it. If you or someone you know is interested in participating in these trials, visit our Clinical Research page and fill out the provided form. If you have any questions that may not have been answered, please feel free to contact us at any time.

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Approximately 45 million Americans suffer from chronic headaches…more than half of them suffer from migraines.

A migraine headache causes an intense throbbing or pulsing sensation in one area of the head. Most of the time, it is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. At times the migraine can be so severe, the person suffering from it cannot function normally and is forced to do nothing but lie down in a dark room. Causing extreme pain, migraine attacks can sometimes last for hours, or even days.

Medications can sometimes help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. Although, if the treatment hasn’t worked for you in the past, talk to your doctor about trying a different migraine headache medication. The right medication, combined with self-help remedies and lifestyle changes, may make a big difference.

Some migraines are preceded by sensory warning symptoms, commonly called auras. These auras cause symptoms such as flashes of light, blind spots, or tingling in the person’s arm or leg. Other signs of migraine headaches include:

  • mood changes and depression
  • restless sleep
  • stuffy nose or watery eyes
  • craving certain foods (i.e. chocolate)
  • eye pain
  • neck pain
  • frequent urge to urinate
  • vertigo or double vision

At South Lake Pain Institute, we conduct clinical trials to better understand this debilitating condition and find new treatments to help those suffering from chronic migraines. If you are interested in assisting us with these trials, please visit our Clinical Research page, or contact us by clicking here. Together, we just might be able to find an end to your suffering!

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What is a hernia?

A hernia occurs when an organ or fatty tissue squeezes through a weak spot in a surrounding muscle or fascia. The most common types of hernia are:

  • Inguinal – the intestine or the bladder protrudes through the abdominal wall or into the inguinal canal in the groin.
  • Incisional – the intestine pushes through the abdominal wall at the site of a previous abdominal surgery.
  • Femoral – the intestine enters the canal carrying the femoral artery into the upper thigh.
  • Umbilical – part of the small intestine passes through the abdominal wall near the navel.
  • Hiatal – the upper stomach squeezes through the hiatus, which is the opening in the diaphragm through which the esophagus passes.

Hernia repair has been around for a long time. While not every technique is right for every hernia, they all have common goals: to provide the strongest repair with as little discomfort and the quickest recovery possible. Until about 25 years ago, hernias were only repaired in one way, referred to as ‘open tension’ repair. This method has been tried and true for decades and may be the only way to repair a very large hernia. The incision tends to be painful and recovery can take as long as five to six weeks. Today’s hernia repair includes new techniques and materials that can make surgery less invasive, recovery faster, and recurrence less likely. The earlier you’re able to catch it, the more options you’re likely to have.

At South Lake Pain Institute, we conduct clinical trials for hernia repair in hopes of discovering newer and better techniques for fixing this extremely uncomfortable condition. If you would like to participate in our trials, click here to fill out the provided form and we will contact you with more information. If you have any questions about your hernia that didn’t get answered above, feel free to contact us anytime.

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Analgesia is the inability to feel pain while still conscious. An analgesic (or painkiller) is a doctor prescribed drug used to achieve analgesia. Analgesic drugs act in various ways on the peripheral and central nervous systems and they include acetaminophen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, and opioids. The type of analgesic to use is determined by the type of pain, or in this case, the location of the surgery. Effective analgesia is an essential part of post-operative management to minimize the patient’s discomfort, to facilitate early mobilization and recovery, and to prevent acute pain from developing into chronic pain. As pain is a complex phenomenon, the management of postoperative pain in children has historically been poor, but many advances have been made in the last decade and continue to be discovered. If acute post-operative pain is not managed correctly, a child is at risk of forming “pain memory” and chronic pain, which can have long-term physical, psychological, and developmental consequences.  A post-operative analgesia plan may contribute to not only an improved post-operative experience, but could potentially have far-reaching effects on a child’s behavior and neuro-development.

At South Lake Pain Institute, we are constantly trying to find newer and better methods of creating post-operative analgesia within both, adults and children. We are currently undergoing clinical trials and research in this study. If you have any questions about post-operative analgesia, please do not hesitate to ask our highly experienced team of physicians and professionals. To contact us at any time, click on this link and we will be sure to get back to you in a timely fashion…

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According to the National Headache Foundation, over 45 million Americans suffer from chronic, recurring headaches and of these, 28 million suffer from migraines. About 20% of children and adolescents also experience significant headaches. The most common type of headache among adults and adolescents is a tension headache, also known as chronic daily headaches. These muscle contraction headaches cause mild to moderate pain and come and go over a prolonged period of time. The relentless nature of chronic daily headaches makes them among the most disabling headaches.

If you have chronic headaches and experience a sudden exacerbation, come see us. We provide a quiet environment and treat your headache with gentle and proven techniques, including Intravenous traumeel, lidocaine and magnesium; muscle and ner injections; head and neck blocks and several other options. Faster than the E.R. – visit our walk-in headache clinic today.

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Cancer may be painful for several reasons. The tumor or its growth into nearby nerves, organs, and tissue may all be responsible. A growing tumor may cause pain by putting pressure on nerves, bones, or other organs. Cancer may also destroy the tissues after invading them, which is particularly painful when involving bones and nerves. Tumor spread or metastases could be painful for the same reasons explained.

Cancer therapy, such as chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, may leave painful sequelae (an abnormal condition resulting from a previous disease). After surgery, recovery may be slow and painful. Radiation may burn skin and other tissues. Chemotherapy can cause many potentially painful side effects, including mouth sores, diarrhea and nerve damage. Peripheral neuropathy after chemotherapy could be difficult to treat. There are many different ways to treat cancer pain. Pain medications can usually control the pain. Most commonly used are NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (Advil); as well as opioid medications, such as codeine, morphine, oxycodone, fentanyl or methadone.

Severe cases may need nerve blocks, epidurals, and morphine pumps. We may recommend a continuous delivery of medication (epidural, spinal or intravenous) and arrangements could be made to receive these at home, hospice, or the hospital.

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Back pain is the most common reason why people see a doctor. It affects everybody at some point in their life and it can happen with no warning. Typically, back pain is the result of a muscle sprain from lifting and carrying heavy objects incorrectly or repeatedly. Having your back in a bent position for a long period of time may also cause strain. Other causes of back pain may include damage to the discs between the vertebrae, osteoporosis, and osteoarthritis, which can eventually lead to spinal stenosis.

Fortunately, most cases of back pain will heal itself within a few weeks with the proper care. Diagnosis of the pain can be difficult to pinpoint, so having a doctor look at it should be the first step towards recovery.

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