Knowing the Basics of Interventional Pain Management

Anyone, who is dealing with chronic and/or acute pain, knows the “pain” associated with the condition. In most cases, patients spend a considerable amount of time with primary care doctors, physical therapist, and specialists, hoping to find a more permanent solution. Interventional pain management is a practical alternative in such cases, where the concerned patient has tried all other treatment options.

Understanding interventional pain management

Interventional pain management is a specialized field in medicine that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of chronic and/or acute pain and other related disorders. This is more of a “multidisciplinary” approach, which is offered by a team of experienced doctors and healthcare professionals. With interventional pain management, doctors aim to reduce chronic and or acute pain, besides focusing on better living. The treatment is entirely different from other forms of pain management because there is no direct dependency on pain-relief medications. In most cases, a physician may refer the matter to a pain management doctor, who will decide on the line of treatment, depending on the facts of the case. In case of interventional pain management, pain management physician will work together with chiropractors, physical therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, neurologist, and orthopaedic surgeon as needed to treat the condition by utilizing minimally invasive procedures such as epidural injections, facet blocks, trigger point injections, etc.

Things worth knowing

Interventional pain management is particularly beneficial for patients who are suffering from neck and back pain. Physicians may use more than one approach to the condition, depending on the diagnosis. The use of steroidal injections in the joints and epidural space is quite common, while injections are also used to treat a spinal nerve root, which is diagnosed as the source of pain. Branch blocks are also used for diagnostic purpose followed by radiofrequency ablation, while doctors may also use additional injections in the facet joints. Discography is also utilized to find the possible cause of pain, and in this procedure, a special dye is used in an injectable form into a disc to understand the pathology better.

In some cases, minimally-invasive procedures like “Radiofrequency Ablation” can be used for the medical branches, so as to restrict the movement of pain signals. Doctors may also suggest the use of heated electrodes for certain nerves that carry the pain signals, and this process is also known better as Rhizotomy. Not to forget, physical therapy and other forms of occupational therapies are also used for the treatment. Doctors also suggest lifestyle changes to patients, if they find any hope for better health.

The first appointment

You need to visit an Interventional Pain Management specialist, who will do a thorough exam to understand the possible concerns and issues related to the condition. Doctors may also suggest a few tests including x-rays and MRI for accurate diagnosis. You must also discuss the other kinds of treatments you have tried for your condition, and as required, doctors may suggest a line of therapy, after discussing the expectations, costs and other aspects.

Top Ways to Prevent Chronic Disease

Even if you have a family history of chronic diseases, you can take steps to prevent these conditions and maintain your health for many years. Studies show the best ways to prevent chronic diseases include:

Eating Healthy Foods
No diet has to be perfect, but you should strive to eat nutritious, lean foods as much as possible. A healthy diet should always include foods like:

  • Vegetables and fruits
  • Lean meats like poultry
  • Fish
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Whole grains
  • Healthy fats like olive oil or avocados

By filling your plate with these items, you’ll rarely have space left to eat sugary or fatty foods that can increase your risk of a chronic disease.

Staying Active
You don’t have to run marathons to see the health benefits of exercise. Simply walking for about 150 minutes each week can help your body stay healthy. Even if you walk in short 10 minute intervals, you will see healthy benefits.

For extra health benefits, incorporate resistance training to build strong muscles and bones.

Maintaining Low Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (hypertension) can hurt your heart and your kidneys. While a healthy diet and exercise should keep your blood pressure healthy, be sure to check your blood pressure at least once a year and take blood pressure medicines as your doctor recommends.

Sleeping Well
Sleep may play a larger role in your health than you think. People who are sleep deprived tend to have higher levels of stress, higher blood pressure, higher blood sugar and poor metabolism. Proper sleep helps your body work well.

Keep a Healthy Weight
If you are already at a healthy weight, work to maintain that weight through proper diet and exercise. If you are carrying a few extra pounds, work with your physician to find ways to lose weight that work for you. Everyone is different, and no single weight loss plan works for everyone. Keep trying to find the plan that’s right for you and your lifestyle.

Don’t Smoke
Smoking has countless negative effects on your health, increasing your risk for heart attack, stroke, lung cancer and more. If you need help quitting smoking, speak to your physician. Your physician can help you find smoking cessation support and give you access to prescription medicines that might help you quit.

Remember, your doctor is your partner in healthy living. If you have any questions about preventing or managing chronic disease, always ask your physician for help.

6 Healthy Packaged Foods That Save You Time And Money

When choosing packaged foods, it’s important to read the labels. This can be time consuming but worth it. To save time, try focusing specifically on foods low in sugar, low in salt and high in protein. Stay away from anything containing high fructose corn syrup which is an unnecessary sugar additive. Why do we even need sugar in bread? Foods with the fewest ingredients are best. If you don’t know what an ingredient is, chances are it’s not good for you.

Marketing techniques labeling foods as Lite, gluten free, healthy or wheat may not always be the healthiest choice. As an educated consumer you should know the difference. Many so called “wheat” products may not be whole grain or made from whole wheat. The first ingredient should be whole wheat flour. Wheat flour, unbleached wheat flour, multigrain, enriched, and stone-ground wheat flour are alternative ways of saying “refined white flour.”

To save you some time in the grocery store, I’ve compiled a list of packaged healthy foods that can also save you money. Here are 6 packaged foods that I recommend:

1. Canned beans. Opt for the low salt version if you can. Always rinse the beans thoroughly to wash away any unnecessary salt. Try to avoid beans with sauce or refried beans that tend to be high in sodium.

2. vegetables. Plain vegetables without sauces and added salt are a healthy and delicious addition to any meal. Steamables are a great choice when you’re in a hurry or just too tired to cook. They are quick and easy and leave you with little clean up. They can be more expensive, so stock up when they’re on sale. I’ve found them on sale for as little or close to $1 a bag.

3. Frozen berries. Not only are they delicious, but can really save you money. Especially in the winter when berries are out of season and more expensive. Try mixing them in plain Greek yogurt. Or serving them with pancakes or French toast. It makes a natural sweet sauce. Sometimes we thaw them in the microwave, making them a little warm to pour over our pancakes. Try topping them with a dollop of Greek yogurt too. It gives it a taste that’s almost like a crepe.

4. Nut butter. If the ingredient says almonds, you have a winner. It takes some time to stir, but if you store it in the refrigerator, you shouldn’t have to stir it again.

5. Low sugar cereals. Ideally cereals should have less than 6 grams of sugar. Opt for whole grain cereal such as toasted oats and muesli. Unsweetened instant oatmeal can be thrown in the microwave for a quick & healthy breakfast.

6. Canned Tuna fish. Packed in water. This is a quick and inexpensive source of protein. I pack my tuna salad with lots of vegetables like onions, celery, carrots, vinegar, pepper and olive oil mayonnaise (it tastes just like the real thing without adding as much fat and calories).

When choosing pre-packaged foods just remember, marketing can be deceptive. The fewer ingredients, the more natural the product. Look for whole wheat flour as a first ingredient when selecting whole grain foods. Try to stay away from processed foods that are high in sodium, sugar or contain high fructose corn syrup.