Tag Archives: Pain Management Murfreesboro

Pets Can Help with Chronic Pain

By Maggie Harris, LCSW

puppyDid you know that pets can help with chronic pain? If you have a pet, you are probably quite aware of the benefits. Loving our animals and receiving their love is a sweet and powerful experience. But there is also research to back this up. Multiple studies show that pets or pet therapy can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and decrease depression and loneliness1. Playing with your pet actually elevates serotonin and dopamine levels in your brain, leading you to feel more calm and relaxed. A 2009 study by Loyola University researchers showed that people who had joint replacement surgery needed half as much pain medication if pet therapy was part of their treatment2. Arthritis sufferers in general were also found in this study to report less joint pain when they received pet therapy.

Having a pet gives you a reason to get up in the morning and thus a sense of purpose or meaning. Loss of purpose that can come with chronic pain can be devastating. Loss of work and the inability to provide for yourself and family can bring about grief and a huge void inside, as well as negative self judgment and stress. So building a life with meaning alongside the pain becomes a critical task for the chronic pain sufferer.

In the 2 ½ years I have worked at SJNMR, I have learned from my patients that, in general, those who have a reason to get up in the morning, such as someone or something to care for (whether this be a spouse, child, grandchild, pet or garden) cope better with their pain than those who do not. Even if the pain of getting out of bed is terrible, my patients tell me that being useful, caring for others or contributing in some way, improves quality of life.

Caressing and interacting with our pets can help to alleviate loneliness. Who doesn’t thrive in the face of the unconditional love our pets provide us? Walking our dogs, even if painful, keeps us active, which is an anti-depressant and can also help with anxiety. Focusing on more than just ourselves can pull some of the attention away from the pain, leading to the perception of less pain. The structure and routine of caring for a pet is also good for the depression often experienced by those with chronic pain.

If you are considering getting a pet, please do so responsibly. Keep in mind any limitations or restrictions you may have because of disability as well as the energy level of the pet you are considering getting. Check with your medical provider if you have any questions about that. Having a pet is a give and take relationship, and you need to give your pet what he or she needs to thrive. If you are prepared to do that, the benefits to you will be great!

References:                                                                                                                                                                         1Ballinger, Barbara. “The Healing Power of Pets,” May 8, 2012, www.care3.com

2“Nip Pain in the Bud,” October 13, 2012, http://nippaininthebud.blogspot.com

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Is Your Cell Phone Causing Your Neck Pain?

back pain, pain doctor, neck pain nashville tennesseeDid you know that bending your neck to text, browse or talk on your cell phone/smart device may be causing a lot more damage than you even realize until it’s too late. If you constantly experience headaches, neck pain, upper back or shoulder pain, “Text Neck” may be the diagnosis.

Bending your head down looking at your electronic device for long periods of time can put a lot of stress on your cervical spine. Experts say this bending of the neck combined with poor posture may also reduce your lung capacity by as much as 30%. The average human head weighs around 10 pounds. The more you tilt your head forward, the more pressure you are putting on your spine.  If you are looking at a device in your lap, your neck can feel like it is holding up  20 to 60 pounds. If your neck pain is left untreated,  it may cause nerve damage, arthritis, muscle damage, gastrointestinal problems, just to name a few.

There are many ways to prevent neck pain related to electronic devices:

  • Make sure your device’s screen is at eye level at all times.
  • Take breaks from your device throughout the day. Stretch for a few minutes and walk around every 20 minutes to get your blood flowing
  • Avoid talking on the phone while holding the phone between the face and shoulder. Invest in a headset for your phone.
  • Try exercises such as yoga to help your strength and posture

Learn more about smartphone ergonomics here.

About Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation:

Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation is a comprehensive approach to the treatment of pain.  We offer nonsurgical treatment for the neck, back, shoulders, hands, hips, knees, and feet by Board Certified anesthesiology, physical medicine and rehabilitation and pain medicine physicians. Services include evaluation and treatment of painful conditions including medical management, diagnostic and therapeutic injections, nerve conduction studies, diagnostic imaging, physical and behavioral therapy.

Phone:  (615) 872-9966     http://www.sjnmr.com     Fax:  (615) 872-9967

Brentwood – Hermitage – Mount Juliet – Murfreesboro – Nashville

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Knee Pain; Not Just a Runner’s Problem Anymore

By Shamolie Wyckoff, MD, FAAPMR

iStock_000012172323Medium kneeKnee pain is a common term, but we often find ourselves wondering what it means, what causes it, and if it can be fixed.

It can occur in all ages from children to the elderly, be temporary or affect you daily. Because of where it’s located and its function, it bears the full weight of the body and so when in pain or injured, it can make the difference between skipping and limping, being stable or prone to sudden falls. It is highly susceptible to how much we weigh and the angles at which that load is put on the knee (i.e. running, twisting).

Generally, acute knee pain is often due to trauma or sudden awkward movements resulting in a new injury.  Knee pain that slowly appears and increases with time is often due to degenerative causes, such as a meniscus tear or loss of cartilage. Increased degenerative changes can lead to chronic and long term  knee pain.

Diagnosis of the cause is usually made by physical examination and imaging studies such as x-rays and MRIs.  It can be treated conservatively with rest and ice as well as lifestyle changes, including  weight loss and adopting low impact exercises.  Bracing and correction of any abnormalities in the way you walk can also be extremely helpful.  Medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and vitamin supplements are also recommended to control painful symptoms.  If those measures fail, injection therapy with steroids, Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP), viscosupplementation or surgical interventions (i.e. arthroscopy and joint replacements) are may be utilized.  Recommended treatments can vary or differ based on the cause of your knee pain.

Talk to your healthcare provider about finding the best option for you.

About Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation:

Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation is a comprehensive approach to the treatment of pain.  We offer nonsurgical treatment for the neck, back, shoulders, hands, hips, knees, and feet by Board Certified anesthesiology, physical medicine and rehabilitation and pain medicine physicians. Services include evaluation and treatment of painful conditions including medical management, diagnostic and therapeutic injections, nerve conduction studies, diagnostic imaging, physical and behavioral therapy.

Phone:  (615) 872-9966     http://www.sjnmr.com     Fax:  (615) 872-9967

Brentwood – Hermitage – Mount Juliet – Murfreesboro – Nashville

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Feeling Hopeless

hopelessDo you find yourself feeling hopeless at times in response to living with chronic pain?  This is not uncommon.  Losses that come with chronic pain can be widespread and include loss of ability to work, inability to provide for family, changes in relationships, difficulty playing with your children, loss of pleasurable physical activities, and more.

Sometimes grief over these changes and losses leads to suicidal thinking for chronic pain patients.  Suicide risk is, in fact, higher for people living with chronic pain.  Have you ever felt that way?

Several factors may let you know that you are at greater risk and need help to move through hopelessness and despair.

Some of these risk factors are:

  • Catastrophizing, in which you predict the worst possible outcomes and/or you feel consumed with negative thoughts about the pain
  • Poor sleep quality
  • Types of pain, including wide-spread pain, chronic pain with no clear causes, back pain, migraine, or fibromyalgia
  • Losses such as employment and family/social roles
  • Recent or current substance abuse
  • Social withdrawal and isolation, pulling away from family and friends
  • Thinking that you are a burden to others, forgetting your true value

While suicidal thinking does not necessarily mean that you intend to make an attempt, it is clearly a “pay attention” sign.  It is a sign that you are having difficulty handling your emotions on your own and need some help.

You may be reluctant to speak of suicidal thinking in fear that this will guarantee a psychiatric hospital stay.  However, mental health and behavioral health providers are trained to assess, to the best of our abilities, whether it is suicidal thinking or if there appears to be a risk of acting on it.  Talking about it, getting it out in the open, and looking at ways to improve your life in spite of pain may serve to reduce hopelessness. Try journaling as a way to express your feelings or talk to your loved ones and ask them to write down what they love about you.  Then pull those out and read it when you are feeling down.

Please talk to your providers here at SJNMR (or your own mental health provider if you are receiving psychiatric care) about suicidal thinking when it arises.  Don’t keep it hidden and allow it to fester and grow.  This is your precious life we’re talking about.

If suicidal thoughts and feelings become overwhelming, please call Crisis at 1-855-274-7471 or go to your nearest emergency room.

Please allow us to support you in difficult times.  That is what we are here for.

Keep the Crisis number handy:  1-855-274-7471

-Maggie Harris, LCSW

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Nashville Business Journal names Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation a finalist for their 2015 “Healthiest Employers of Nashville”

healthiestempCenter for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation (SJNMR) has been named as a finalist Nashville Business Journal’s Healthiest Employers of Nashville award for the fourth consecutive year.  The Healthiest Employers of Nashville award recognizes companies that are committed to creating a healthy environment in the workplace.  Nashville Business Journal utilized Indianapolis-based consultant, Healthiest Employers LLC, who is an expert partner.  The company handled the survey, categories, scoring and benchmarking along with the assistance of professionals in the academic, medical, wellness and business communities from across the country.  SJNMR is proud to be recognized for supporting their staff and community in health and wellness goals. The following group of finalists will be honored at an awards luncheon August 18 at the Omni Hotel in Nashville, where the winners for each category will be revealed:

5-99 employees:

  • Burr & Forman LLP
  • Butler Snow LLP
  • Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation
  • Duke Realty Nashville
  • Five Points ICT
  • Movement Mortgage
  • Paradigm Group
  • Precision Fabrics Group
  • Ryan LLC
  • Terracon Consultants, Inc.
  • Walker & Dunlop LLC

100-499 employees:

  • Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz PC
  • Delta Air Lines Inc.
  • First Tennessee
  • Meredith Corp.
  • Onlife Health Inc.

500+ employees:

  • Dollar General Corp.
  • Healthways
  • Vanderbilt University and Medical Center

Read more about it here: http://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/blog/2015/06/nbj-announces-finalists-for-the-2015-healthiest.html

About Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation:

Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation offers nonsurgical advanced treatment for painful conditions of the neck, back, shoulders, hands, hips, knees, and feet. Phone:  (615) 872-9966      http://www.sjnmr.com     Fax:  (615) 872-9967

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Neuropathy Awareness Week: May 13-17

hands2Neuropathy Awareness Week is May 13-17. Peripheral neuropathy is caused by damage to the network of nerves that transmits information from your brain to spinal cord known as the central nervous system.  It often causes burning, weakness, numbness and a stabbing or shooting pain, usually located in your hands and feet, but it may also occur in other areas of your body. The causes of peripheral neuropathy can be things such as hormone imbalances, kidney conditions, shingles, vitamin deficiency or autoimmune diseases, but the number one cause of neuropathy is diabetes. According to The Neuropathy Association, there are now 15-18 million Americans with diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN). Peripheral neuropathy symptoms can improve with time, especially if it is caused by a treatable condition.

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Tingling/numbness sensation in toes or fingers
  • Weakness in the arms or legs
  • Sharp, stabbing pains
  • Lack of coordination
  • Digestion problems
  • Sleep disturbance

If you or someone you know notices any unusual weakness, tingling, burning or pain in the hands or feet, contact your health care provider immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment offers the best chance for controlling your symptoms and preventing further damage to your peripheral nerves.

About Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation:

Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation is a comprehensive approach to the treatment of pain.  We offer nonsurgical treatment for the neck, back, shoulders, hands, hips, knees, and feet by Board Certified anesthesiology, physical medicine and rehabilitation and pain medicine physicians. Services include evaluation and treatment of painful conditions including medical management, diagnostic and therapeutic injections, nerve conduction studies, diagnostic imaging, physical and behavioral therapy.

Phone:  (615) 872-9966     http://www.sjnmr.com     Fax:  (615) 872-9967

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Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation Welcomes Asha Vishnagara, PA-C

AshaAsha Vishnagara, PA-C is a Physician Assistant at Center for Spine, Joint, and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation. Mrs. Vishnagara earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Fairleigh Dickinson University and her Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies from Nova Southeastern University.

Mrs. Vishnagara has been practicing in the pain management field since 2008. She has a strong passion for helping patients with various pain management conditions. She believes in a multidisciplinary approach to managing a patient’s pain, making sure they have been offered all modalities possible.

During her time away from work, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, watching movies, and traveling.

Check out her New Hire listings here:                                                                                       The Tennessean                                                                                                                   Nashville Business Journal

About Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation:

Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation is a comprehensive approach to the treatment of pain.  We offer nonsurgical treatment for the neck, back, shoulders, hands, hips, knees, and feet by Board Certified anesthesiology, physical medicine and rehabilitation and pain medicine physicians. Services include evaluation and treatment of painful conditions including medical management, diagnostic and therapeutic injections, nerve conduction studies, diagnostic imaging, physical and behavioral therapy.

Phone:  (615) 872-9966     http://www.sjnmr.com     Fax:  (615) 872-9967

Brentwood – Hermitage – Mount Juliet – Murfreesboro – Nashville

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National Pain Care Provider Day is March 20

doctor-hugging-patient-caring-young-medical-46571265National Pain Care Provider Day is today, March 20, 2015. This day is dedicated to the caring pain care providers who go above and beyond to bring aid and comfort to those in need.  Please take some time out today and help us give thanks to pain care providers and for all they do. Talk to your friends and family, write a letter to your governor, mayor or congressmen and let them know how important it is to show our gratitude for those who care for people in pain, especially those who cannot care for themselves. We appreciate all of our providers and the work they do to continuously give our patients comfort and hope. Today we celebrate you, pain care providers!

About Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation:

Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation is a comprehensive approach to the treatment of pain.  We offer nonsurgical treatment for the neck, back, shoulders, hands, hips, knees, and feet by Board Certified anesthesiology, physical medicine and rehabilitation and pain medicine physicians. Services include evaluation and treatment of painful conditions including medical management, diagnostic and therapeutic injections, nerve conduction studies, diagnostic imaging, physical and behavioral therapy.

Phone:  (615) 872-9966     http://www.sjnmr.com     Fax:  (615) 872-9967

Brentwood – Hermitage – Mount Juliet – Murfreesboro – Nashville

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Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation Welcomes Peter A. Chrisco, MSPT, CMTPT, CSCS

PeterChriscoPeter Chrisco, MSPT, CMTPT, CSCS is a licensed Physical Therapist at Center for Spine, Joint, and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation. Mr. Chrisco earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Kentucky. He graduated with honors from the University of Miami School of Medicine with a Master of Science degree in Physcial Therapy.

Mr. Chrisco has 15 years experience as a Physical Therapist as well as 10 years experience in director/manager roles. He specializes in manual therapies including joint mobilization, soft tissue mobilization, trigger point release, and myofascial release. He is also a certified strength and conditioning specialist. Additional specialties include kinesiotaping and the McKenzie Method.

  • Check out his New Hire listings here:                                                                                       The Tennessean                                                                                                             Nashville Business Journal

About Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation:

Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation is a comprehensive approach to the treatment of pain.  We offer nonsurgical treatment for the neck, back, shoulders, hands, hips, knees, and feet by Board Certified anesthesiology, physical medicine and rehabilitation and pain medicine physicians. Services include evaluation and treatment of painful conditions including medical management, diagnostic and therapeutic injections, nerve conduction studies, diagnostic imaging, physical and behavioral therapy.

Phone:  (615) 872-9966     http://www.sjnmr.com     Fax:  (615) 872-9967

Brentwood – Hermitage – Mount Juliet – Murfreesboro – Nashville

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Challenge Negative Thinking

NegativeThoughts

By Maggie Harris, LCSW

Did you know that your thoughts can influence how you feel?  We are not always aware of the things that we tell ourselves and the impact of them.  For instance, have you ever told yourself that others in the room are reacting negatively to you, even if there’s no real evidence? Or that you are a failure because your pain leaves you unable to work? Neither one of these statements are facts, but when you act as if they are, how does that make you feel? Well, consider telling someone you love, such as your child or a good friend, that they are a failure.  How do you think they would feel about it?

You may be thinking that you would never say that to your child.  If a child makes a mistake, as we all do, hopefully we respond in a way that will help them take responsibility for the mistake, learn from it, and move on.  Most of us would not tell them they are a failure or say other mean and damaging statements.  Yet many of us don’t think twice about speaking that way to ourselves.  If you are human, like I am, it hurts to hear that.  Mean self talk can lead to increased low mood or depression, even hopelessness.  And isn’t it hard enough already to live with losses that can occur when you have chronic pain?

Rather than blaming yourself for things you can’t control, why not allow yourself to feel the natural sadness and grief about losses you have experienced and then focus on what choices you actually do have?  For instance, even if you can’t play ball with your child right now, think of other ways you can show them love and attention.

Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to someone you love.  If you slip up, just apologize and then speak differently to yourself.  Encourage yourself when you are down rather than beating yourself up.  Make amends and do better when you get off track.  Positive self regard and loving kindness is good for all relationships, including your relationship with yourself.

The Behavioral Health Department at SJNMR as well as your medical providers care about your health and are happy to help you in any way that we can.

About Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation:

Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation is a comprehensive approach to the treatment of pain.  We offer nonsurgical treatment for the neck, back, shoulders, hands, hips, knees, and feet by Board Certified anesthesiology, physical medicine and rehabilitation and pain medicine physicians. Services include evaluation and treatment of painful conditions including medical management, diagnostic and therapeutic injections, nerve conduction studies, diagnostic imaging, physical and behavioral therapy.

Phone:  (615) 872-9966     http://www.sjnmr.com     Fax:  (615) 872-9967

Brentwood – Hermitage – Mount Juliet – Murfreesboro – Nashville

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Urge-Delay Skill for Smoking Cessation

By Maggie Harris, LCSW

ID-10044848The urge-delay skill, which is taught in smoking cessation classes, is good for smokers who prefer to cut down their smoking gradually as opposed to quitting cold turkey. Pick a time that you routinely have a cigarette every day.  Often, that is first thing in the morning, right after a meal or when driving. Decide on two or three days in the coming week when you will delay smoking at one of those routine times.  For example, you might decide to choose after breakfast on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday.  It is a good idea to mark these times on your calendar.

Set a timer for one hour at the time when you would usually smoke.  Then do the best that you can to not smoke for that hour.  It can be helpful for you to get involved in something else that is interesting, pleasurable, or relaxing. It is normal to experience anxiety or stress when you are not smoking at the time you usually would. Remind yourself that it is only for an hour and remember that tolerating anxiety is a very useful life skill for all of us! When the timer goes off after an hour, check in with yourself to see how strong the urge to smoke is in that moment.  If it is not strong, you may decide to delay smoking a little longer.  But you may also go ahead and smoke at that time if you wish.  This is still progress towards cutting down and stopping smoking.

The urge-delay skill will help you break the pattern of believing that you need to smoke every time you have the urge, which is essentially an unconscious automatic reaction.  You are teaching yourself that you don’t necessarily have to smoke in a particular moment, even if the urge is very strong. With practice, you will begin to develop confidence in stretching out the time between smoking episodes.  Once you are comfortable, you may want to set a couple of other times in the week to delay the urge to smoke for an hour.  Before you know it, you will have cut down your smoking or perhaps even stopped!

The Behavioral Health Department at SJNMR as well as your medical providers care about your health and are happy to help you with your efforts to stop smoking in any way that we can.

Call for your appointment today!  615-872-9966, option 5

About Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation:

Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation is a comprehensive approach to the treatment of pain.  We offer nonsurgical treatment for the neck, back, shoulders, hands, hips, knees, and feet by Board Certified anesthesiology, physical medicine and rehabilitation and pain medicine physicians. Services include evaluation and treatment of painful conditions including medical management, diagnostic and therapeutic injections, nerve conduction studies, diagnostic imaging, physical and behavioral therapy.

Phone:  (615) 872-9966     http://www.sjnmr.com     Fax:  (615) 872-9967

Brentwood – Hermitage – Mount Juliet – Murfreesboro – Nashville

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Service Offerings at Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation

We are excited to share the service offerings that Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation offers patients. Please share with your friends and family!

About Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation:

Center for Spine, Joint and Neuromuscular Rehabilitation is a comprehensive approach to the treatment of pain.  We offer nonsurgical treatment for the neck, back, shoulders, hands, hips, knees, and feet by Board Certified anesthesiology, physical medicine and rehabilitation and pain medicine physicians. Services include evaluation and treatment of painful conditions including medical management, diagnostic and therapeutic injections, nerve conduction studies, diagnostic imaging, physical and behavioral therapy.

Phone:  (615) 872-9966     http://www.sjnmr.com     Fax:  (615) 872-9967

Brentwood – Hermitage – Mount Juliet – Murfreesboro – Nashville

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