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Are there different kinds of pain?, what is sciatica? what are the most common medications used for back pain, neck pain and headaches?,which are the most common forms of chronic pain seen in a doctor's practice?

 

Are there different kinds of pain?

 

Yes. Pain is classified as neuropathic (derived from diseased or compressed nerves or nervous tissue structures) or inflammatory (caused by inflammation of tissues). Examples of neuropathic pain include peripheral neuropathies or nerve compressions caused by scars or tumors. Inflammatory pain can be very diverse in its specific cause such as inflammation associated with specific disorders, trauma, surgery, burns or arthritis. Inflammatory conditions can also cause tissue damage and nerve compressions and the pain may be mixed in nature (both, inflammatory and neuropathic). It is important that the physician identifies correctly the neuropathic or inflammatory mechanisms underlying a patient’s pain because the medications and strategies used to treat each of these are different.   

 

What is sciatica?

 

It is a common form of neuropathic pain caused by compression of nerve roots in the lumbosacral area of the spinal cord. Sciatica is a form of leg pain that can be sometimes associated with back pain. The name derives from the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the body made up of fibers coming from the lumbar and sacral region. Not all the nerve root fibers from the lumbar or sacral regions go into the sciatic nerve. Compression of the sciatic nerve itself is less common and gives origin to a form of leg pain similar to that cause by compression of the nerve root fibers. Neurologists can easily identify the correct site of compression by performing a nerve conduction study or an EMG (electromyography) examination. This technique complements the standard neurological examination in the road to an accurate diagnosis of the mechanism and causes of back pain, neck pain, leg pain, arm pain or sciatica.

 

What are the most common medications used for back pain, neck pain and headaches?

Effective pain relief may involve a combination of prescription drugs. Patients should always check with a doctor before taking drugs for pain relief. Certain medicines, even those sold over the counter, may be unsafe during pregnancy, may conflict with other medications, may cause side effects including drowsiness, or may lead to liver damage. Your doctor may select medications depending on the cause of your pain and the presence of other associated medical conditions like hypertension, diabetes, sleep apnea or depression. These are usually prescribed in combination with several therapeutic modalities tailored to fit the problem causing the pain and to whether the type of pain is neuropathic or inflammatory.The most frequently used drugs include:

                         Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs Used primarily for inflammatory (not nerve generated) pain such as pain caused in acute traumatic injuries, arthritis, common forms of back and neck pain. These agents are taken orally to reduce stiffness, swelling, and inflammation and to ease mild to moderate low back pain or neck pain. Some medications can be applied topically to the skin as a cream or spray to stimulate nerve endings in the skin to provide feelings of warmth or cold and dull the sense of pain. Topical analgesics can also reduce inflammation and stimulate blood flow. NSAIDs are associated with potentially dangerous side effects including gastrointestinal bleeding, renal or liver damage and their long term use should be monitored by your doctor.

                        Anticonvulsants — certain drugs primarily used to treat seizures — may be employed in treating certain types of nerve generated pain and may also be prescribed with analgesics. They are also useful to stabilize mood.

                        Some antidepressants, particularly tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline and desipramine or a newer one called duloxetine have been shown to relieve pain (independent of their effect on depression) and assist with sleep. Antidepressants alter levels of brain chemicals to elevate mood and dull pain signals.

                        Steroids and pain medications— These are powerful anti-inflammatory agents with also substantial potential side effects if used for prolonged periods of time. They are very useful to treat certain types of pain. Side effects can be minimized when injected directly into the source of pain and inflammation, such at the intervertebral joints, called facets or in sacroiliac joints.

                        Opioids such as codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine are occasionally prescribed to manage severe acute and chronic back pain but should be used only for a short period of time and under a physician’s supervision. Side effects can include drowsiness, decreased reaction time, impaired judgment and potential for addition. Most respected authorities in pain management are convinced that chronic use of these drugs is detrimental to the back pain patient, adding to depression and even increasing pain.

 

Which are the most common forms of chronic pain seen in a doctor's practice?

 

The most common forms of chronic pain are headaches and low back pain. Most cases of low back pain are caused by conditions that are not serious enough to last more than a few days or weeks and usually respond to non-surgical treatments such as simple non-opioid analgesics and anti-inflammatory medications. However, some of these patients develop chronic back pain which may become disabling. Once this happened, it is critical to reach a correct diagnosis of the cause and mechanisms of the pain for its successful management.

Neurologists and certain other medical specialists like Anesthesiologists or Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation doctors and Psychiatrists receive additional formal training in Pain Medicine, a specialty that focus in the diagnosis and treatment of the causes of chronic pain. These doctors can assist patients to reach a decision in determining which form of treatment may be more effective. Neurologists, for example, are Medical Doctors with extensive training in the diagnosis and non-surgical treatment of diseases the brain, nerves and muscles including the muscles and nerves of the back and the causes and treatment of pain.

 

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6243 Fairmont Parkway - Suite 200 in Pasadena, Texas 77505.
Telephone:  832-448-0706 
 
1140 Westmont Dr. Suite 547
Houston, TX 77015
 
Neck, Back Pain and Spine Clinics in Houston TX

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Common conditions treated include at our clinics: back and spine pain caused by disk degeneration,neck and lower back pain caused by facet disease and arthritis or spondylosis (a synonym of arthritis or degenerative joint disease), back pain due to injuries,back pain due to trauma,leg pain due to sciatica also called radiculopathy,back and spine deformities associated with pain,complex back pain syndromes (co-existence of various causes for your pain sometimes associated with deconditioning, gait or balance abnormalities), lumbago, disk herniation, disk protrusion, slipped disk, root compression or pinched nerves,cervical or neck pain,fibromyalgia, back pain due to osteoporosis,low back pain and spine pain due to fractures,neck pain due to neurological disorders such as dystonia, neck or back pain following prior failed surgeries (failed back syndrome), back pain and neck pain associated with fibromyalgia, back and neck pain associated to myofascial pain syndrome, sciatica, slipped disks, degenerated disk, herniated disks, nerve compressions, carpal tunnel syndrome, neck pain or back pain associated with rigidity due to neuromuscular disorders such as parkinsonism and others. Neuropathy associated with metabolic disorders or diabetes. Migraine and refractory headaches, daily headaches, daily migraine, atypical migraine syndrome and atypical facial pain. Complex regional pain syndrome also called RSD or regional sympathetic dystrophy. Post-herpetic neuralgia. Trigeminal neuralgia.  For more information on these conditions we recommend downloading and reading our Free Pain Report or visiting the web sites of reputable non profit organizations which provide unbiased information of the efficacy of various treatments available for your condition (some of the organizations we recommend are listed on the "links" page in this site.

For your protection

The internet is one of the greatest informational tools of our time. However, the abundance of information obtained, sometimes ambiguous or unverified, can lead to confusion or misinformation. For additional education on the mentioned terms (below) related to spine conditions we recommend that you also visit the LINKS page which will direct you to highly reputable non-profit organizations where you can do your own additional research independent of any bias. To this end, we also prepared a Pain Report for educational purposes.  The information retrieved on searches using these terms is sometimes unverified by clinical trials or other evidenced-based medicine standards. For education on these terms, we highly recommend also (in addition to visiting the medical societies as mentioned above) to obtain information from other reputable sources such as the National Institutes of Health web site, WebMD or the American Medical Association website. You can then make an educated decision for yourself as to which information will conform with current standards of medical care in this country. Finally, note that most patients will use the term "doctor" on their searches. Remember to visit our page "about us". Therein, we describe what is considered acceptable regarding the credentials of a treating doctor. Often, your own primary care physician can be the best source for the answers to your questions.Common terms used by the public in the internet for searching information related spinal conditions frequently include: back pain doctor,back pain injuries,back pain trauma, spine doctor. Similar terms like lumbar back pain,pain orthopedics,pain specialist,back strain or back surgeons are frequently used in searches. Please use the listed non profit organizations to find additional information also when searching for "cervical pain or neck pain ,fibromyalgia,neuropathy, pinched nerve, slipped disk or back problems".

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Back Pain, Headache and Neurology Centers in Houston and Pasadena, Texas. Discover Excellence in Pain Care.

Discogenic Pain | Degenerative Disc Disease | Herniated Disc | Nucleus Pulposus | Spinal Stenosis | Spondylolysis |   Spondylosis | Fibromyalgia Syndrome | Osteoporosis | Vitamin D Deficiency | Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunct | Sciatica Pain | Chronic Pain Management | Epidural Injections | Joint Injections | Facet Joint Injections | Discography | Prolotherapy | Physical Therapy | Trigger Point Injections | Neck Pain | Platelet Rich Plasma

 

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