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The Downward Spiral of Chronic Pain

The Downward Spiral of Chronic Pain

Chances are you or someone you know suffers from chronic pain. According to the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies, 100 million Americans are diagnosed with chronic pain. (1) Pain can easily cause a spiral into other unfortunate endeavors.

 

Opioid Addiction

The opioid addiction epidemic is in full force. Prescription painkiller overdoses killed nearly 15,000 people in the US in 2008. This is almost four times the number of people killed by these drugs in 1999. (2) Although there are measures implemented to combat the epidemic, it is still a major issue. It has been found that the use of opioids over a long period of time may in fact increase a patient’s sensitivity to pain (hyperalgesia), hence the ability to tolerate pain decreases.

 

 

 

Surgery

Surgery has been accepted as the necessary evil, the “this is your only option” notion to orthopedic pain. Although many truly have no other options, there should be a consideration that there’s no going back from surgery and that it sometimes causes more harm than good.  “A 2012 study of people who had the procedure for low back pain through workers’ compensation schemes found only three percent had returned to pre-injury work duties two years after the surgery. About 70 percent were still taking strong opioids such as OxyContin in an attempt to manage their pain. A 2011 study of new hip and knee replacements over a five year period found none of them were superior to the old ones, and 30 percent were worse.”(3)

 

 

 

 

Money

According to a recent report from the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies, chronic pain costs $560-$635 billion annually, that equivalates to $2,000.00 for each person living in the U.S. This includes the cost of health care due to pain from ranging between $261 to $300 billion and $297-$336 billion due to lost productivity.(2)

 

 

 

 

Personal

It all comes back to the individual suffering from a daily disadvantage. Back pain is the leading cause of disability in Americans under 45 years old. More than 26 million Americans between the ages of 20-64 experience frequent back pain.(4) From relationships, sleep, work, and everyday life activities, pain is present and can have a major impact on these common entities.

 

 

 

 

 

Regenerative Medicine

We at Regen Colorado understand that surgery and opioids are truly necessary at times. After all, our board-certified physicians are interventional pain medicine specialists. However, we have incorporated regenerative medicine into our practice due to the promising results we have seen from it. FDA compliant, bone marrow regenerative medicine is allowing patients to experience less pain and therefore have the potential in avoiding surgery and opioids altogether.

We are so confident in the advancement of regenerative medicine that we could see it as a requirement though insurance companies prior to more expensive and invasive orthopedic procedures. This would truly be a win for all those that experience orthopedic pain. Regenerative medicine could be the key to avoiding surgery, avoiding unnecessary costs, and combating the opioid crisis.

If you or someone you know is suffering from orthopedic pain, we are here to provide many avenues of treatment in addition to or in place of regenerative procedures. While regenerative therapies have shown an improvement in many orthopedic conditions, they are not appropriate for all ailments. Our doctors will present you with an honest, expert opinion on your options, including procedures or treatments that may be covered by your insurance, or no treatment at all if that is what is in your best interest.

  1. Institute of Medicine Report from the Committee on Advancing Pain Research, Care, and Education: Relieving Pain in America, A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education and Research. The National Academies Press, 2011. http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=13172&page=1.

 

  1. Vital Signs: Overdoses of Prescription Opioid Pain Relievers — United States, 1999–2008, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Analysis: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), November 4,2011/ 60(43);1487-1492. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6043a4.htm?s_cid=mm6043a4_w

 

  1. Institute of Medicine of the National Academies Report. Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research, 2011. The National Academies Press, Washington DC. ((page 5) http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=13172&page=5

 

  1. National Centers for Health Statistics, Chartbook on Trends in the Health of Americans 2006, Special Feature: Pain. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus06.pdf.

Regenerative Medicine Combating Back Pain

Regenerative Medicine Combating Back Pain

Back pain is one of the scourges of our modern society and is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide.

While there are some factors we can control; diet, exercise, and smoking, we can’t control our genetics, at least not yet!  The aging process causes the inner part of the spinal disc, known as the nucleus pulposus, to essentially dry out.  As this happens the disc is no longer able to act as an efficient shock absorber as it was intended.  As this process continues, the outer covering of the disc, called the annulus fibrosis, begins to degrade and fissures form, which can lead to back pain, disc herniation, and nerve compression.  As this process continues, the microenvironment in the disc nucleus becomes toxic to stem cells and starts to affect the ability of the disc to heal itself.

Treatments for chronic back pain from DDD (degenerative disc disease) range from physiotherapy (PT), spinal bracing, medications including anti-inflammatories and or opioids, spinal steroid injections, and lastly spinal fusion surgery.  The outcomes for these vary widely, but none of them address the underlying problem and root cause.

Until recently there was no precedent for the use of orthobiologics- (stem cells and growth factors found in one’s bone marrow) to treat chronic back and neck pain stemming from degenerative and damaged spinal discs. There is now a fair amount of research on the topic, and more being conducted every day.

The physicians at Regen Colorado have treated hundreds of patients with chronic back and neck pain using their own bone marrow.  We are also involved in cutting-edge research to help further the science behind this.  Please check our research tab for upcoming studies that you may qualify for.

We are also now part of a national registry called the ROR, or Regenerative Orthobiologics Registry.  This state of the art registry helps us to more accurately track outcomes and compare them to other high-quality physicians across the country practicing regenerative medicine.

Here are few good articles here for your review:

Biological Treatment Approaches for Degenerative Disc Disease: A Review of Clinical Trials and Future Directions

Intradiscal Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) For Early Stage Disc Disease

Contributed by Dr. Matthew Pouliot D.O., Medical Director at Regen Colorado

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Preventing and Helping Knee Pain Though Exercise

Preventing and Helping Knee Pain Though Exercise

We’re a big fan of preventatives in orthopedic pain. You may have guessed already, but exercise can help relieve pain and prevent it altogether. The stronger the muscle, the less stress is placed on joints. One of the most common orthopedic ailments we see is knee related. ACL, MCL, Meniscus injuries and most commonly, degeneration due to osteoarthritis. Here are a few simple strengthening exercises that should be regularly implemented to help in knee pain relief and prevent future issues.

 

  • Start Out Easy With Sitting
    Whether it’s at your desk or on the couch at home; keeping your back straight, straighten one leg out in from of you for 10 seconds. Repeat this 15 times.

 

  • Straight Leg Raises
    This exercise concentrates on your quadriceps. Lie on your back. With one leg at a 45-degree angle, raise the other leg up in the air keeping it straight. Repeat this 15 times.

 

  • Wall Squats
    Most intense of all the moves. With your back up against a flat surface, slide down until your legs form a 90-degree angle while being sure to keep your entire back against the wall. It doesn’t take much with this one. Only hold the position for 5-20 seconds.

 

  • Calf Raises
    This move can be done on a flat floor or a step. Being sure you have something to hold on to, slowly raise your body by only standing on your toes while keeping your legs straight. Repeat this motion by doing 3 sets of 10.

 

  • Low Impact Cardio
    Motion is important! Yet running and other impact actives sometimes can do more harm than good. Elliptical machines, swimming, and water aerobics are perfect for increasing motion and function all while bypassing impacting your joints.

 

Rule of thumb: If it hurts, stop. Soreness related to exercise is normal. Sharp shooting pain is a clear indication to take it easy and to consult with a doctor on what could be causing the pain.