Innovative Pain Therapies
November 28, 2018
Pain Syndromes and Solutions That Work
Pain is a pervasive problem in the US. Fully 100 million Americans live with chronic pain. Our society pays a steep price for pain directly with health care costs and indirectly with emotional burdens and the potential for lost income and insurance coverage. Overall the total incremental cost of pain is a significant public health problem costing $600 billion annually—that works out to $2000 per man, woman and child living in the US.
Pain is associated with a wide range of injury and disease and is sometimes the disease itself. Some conditions may have pain and associated symptoms arising from a discrete cause, such as postoperative pain or pain associated with a malignancy or may be conditions in which pain constitutes the primary problem, such as neuropathic pains or headaches.
While acute pain is a normal sensation to alert you to possible injury (think ankle sprain or ear infection) chronic pain is different. Chronic pain persists. Pain signals keep firing in the nervous system for weeks, months, even years. There may have been an initial trigger — sprained back, serious infection, or there may be an ongoing cause of pain — arthritis, cancer, ear infection, but some people suffer chronic pain in the absence of any past injury or evidence of body damage.
Common chronic pain complaints include headache, fibromyalgia, autoimmune disorders such as Lupus, low back pain, cancer pain, arthritis pain, neurogenic pain (pain resulting from damage to the peripheral nerves or to the central nervous system itself).
Because of increased awareness of pain, doctors now feel trapped between 2 dilemmas —that of prescribing opiates with the risk of an addiction developing OR under– treating pain. And because most doctors are poorly trained in alternative ways of relieving pain, and due to time pressures, too often they still resort to the use of opiate drugs which contributes to the epidemic of drug overdoses. Studies have shown that patients can become addicted to opiates within 10 days of taking them.
Additionally, over the counter pain medications are not without risk. Acetaminophen (brand name Tylenol) is famous for reducing the liver’s ability to make our master antioxidant Glutathione. Inability to make glutathione means the body can’t detox well and depletion of glutathione is the reason why acetaminophen overdoses are the number one reason for acute liver failure and death.
Overuse of the NSAIDS—non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as Advil—predispose to kidney damage, strokes and heart attacks. They are most famous for causing GI tract bleeding and stomach ulcers—some of which require stays in the ICU and emergency surgery. Not a pleasant list of side effects!
What sets us apart from other providers is our intense unwavering attention to detail. Obviously, the most effective way to reduce pain is to find out the root cause and correct that instead of loading people up with drugs. This approach is SO common sense but unfortunately most doctors don’t have the time or expertise to do this. It’s just easier to prescribe a drug and move on to the next patient! We at Wellness By Design on the other hand, are going to do a careful history and physical exam, and almost always laboratory studies to get to the root cause. Sometimes reducing pain is as easy as getting on Vitamin D and changing the diet! Sometimes generalized achiness is due to low testosterone or other hormones. You’ll never know until we test!
Let’s go through a stepwise approach to various pain syndromes and what we can do for them specifically.
Arthritis is big business. Annually in the United States there are over 700,000 knee replacements and this is projected to rise to almost 3.5 million by 2030. At an average cost of $57,000 per surgery, this accounts for a staggering $40 billion annual expenditure. And, although insurance pays for much of that cost, depending on patient’s copays, they may be responsible for up to 20% or $11,400 per patient. Add to that the fact that the recovery/rehab time averages 8-12 weeks, the initial pain is intense requiring opiates, and about 30% continue to have chronic pain and have chronic opiate use. Also, the knee remains more stiff—knees can never regain full mobility after a replacement surgery!
And that’s just knee surgery. Back surgery fails so often that there is now an official diagnostic code called “Failed Back Surgery.” It occurs in up to 40% of all back surgeries.
Given all these factors, doesn’t it make sense to utilize a strategy that ranges from 50- 80% effective at preventing the need for surgery with no downtime, minimal side effects and almost immediate relief? Enter Prolozone and Biologic Allograft injections.
Prolozone is a technique in which a joint space is injected first with a mild numbing agent (prolocaine) followed by medical grade ozone at a concentration designed to enhance the healing process. Serial prolozone injections (typically every 2 weeks for a series of 4-8 times) can help regenerate cartilage and reduce pain such that patients can experience relief anywhere from 12 months to indefinitely. In my experience at least 50% of patients headed for knee replacement surgery can be addressed satisfactorily with prolozone. The main exceptions are severe joint laxity, a complete (as opposed to partial) torn meniscus and severe either valgus or varus deformity (bowlegged or knock kneed.) These conditions don’t respond as well to Prolozone and may eventually require surgery.
Prolozone injections are not limited to the knee. They are also highly effective for low back pain and soft tissues in general. We have had outstanding success at eliminating 50-80% of pain in low backs and knees with prozolone therapy.
Biologic Allograft is harvested from the umbilical cord of healthy newborns delivered via C-section from healthy mothers who have been screened for all the common transmittable diseases. This fluid is not only rich in neonatal stem cells but also exosomes, growth factors, and proteins. These elements can help protect, cushion, lubricate, reduce inflammation, and assist the body in the healing and regeneration process. The effects of BA are better and much longer lasting than just prolozone alone. However, whenever we do BA injections, we always also use ozone as it increases the effectiveness of the BA. That combination of BA and Prolozone raises the effectiveness to over 90% long term—meaning anywhere from months to years or even indefinitely.
Pulse Wave Therapy
This is discussed in our Sexual Rejuvenation tab but it’s worth repeating. Pulse Wave is a technology out of Switzerland that utilizes energy in the form of Sound Waves. The Sound Waves break up scar tissue and improve circulation. The Pulse Wave treatment can be painful for some—on a scale from 1-10 it can be a 7-9 but it lasts only 3 minutes and afterwards patients feel so much better. If there is an acute bruise or injury, it’s best to wait 3-5 days before treating that area. This is an amazing therapy for arthritis!
The Bemer mat is another Swiss made technology that delivers a gentler energy in the form of Pulsed Magnetic Therapy. Eight minutes twice per day will increase blood flow by up to 35% and that increased blood flow delivers more oxygen, more nutrients, and gets rid of waste by-products. Because of the need for ongoing twice per day therapy, our Bemer mats are primarily designed for patients to get a “taste” of how much better they can feel, but ultimately the mats need to be purchased for home use for best results. This technology has anecdotally been found to help with eye conditions, heart conditions, neuropathy and so much more. It is SO effective that virtually all famous horses such as the Clydesdales have their own special horse-specific Bemer mats!
Generalized Pain Syndromes
This category could include fibromyalgia, neuropathies, migraine headaches and various other aches and pains. This is where our medical sleuthing skills come into play. In many cases changing the diet to a lower inflammatory version and doing laboratory testing to find out which supplements are needed can work wonders! And, as mentioned, sometimes simply restoring hormones to more youthful levels can help. In stubborn cases, we have some IV therapies that have produced miracles. We have a pain-busting IV that is good for arthritis, and we have another IV based on DMSO that can even dramatically reduce cancer or any chronic pain. Even our Vitamin C Special IV can reduce pain. Patients have often called us back the next day in tears expressing their gratitude at finally being pain free.
No matter where your pain is or what it is from, we are going to try our HARDEST to find the cause and either correct it or throw our most advanced and effective therapies at it. Our goal is to help you become as pain free and healthy as possible. Please call us today to discuss how we can help YOU feel better!!