How to Survive a Road Trip with Persistent Pain

If you have persistent back or neck pain, riding in a car for any period of time can be difficult. Riding in a car for an hour or more can be even more challenging. If you have a road trip or long car ride coming up, consider some of the following tips to make the trip as best as it can be.

Take frequent stops:

Stopping often to walk around and stretch can help with your pain from sitting. Before even leaving the house, plan your trip out and how you want to take a break. You can plan it however feels comfortable for you. Whether that’s a five-minute break every hour or fifteen minutes every two hours. Incorporate these planned breaks into your road trip route.

When you do stop, move around. Sitting for long periods of time will stiffen up your muscles and lead to achiness and possible muscle spasm. Movement is important for everyone, but especially those with persistent pain. Movement stimulates blood circulation, which brings nutrients and oxygen to your muscles.

Hydrate and snack appropriately:

Dehydration can increase pain, so keeping plenty of water on hand is important. If it’s hard to drink lots of water, opt for green tea or vitamin water with antioxidants that help with inflammation. Drinking pop or sugary drinks can add to inflammation, which can add to pain.

As much as it’s important to drink plenty of water, it’s important to eat foods that help your body as well. Eating anti-inflammatory foods is great for your chronic pain, as well as your waist line. Try to eat foods like cherries, watermelon, almonds, smoked salmon, and fresh veggies. It’s sometimes hard to find better food options at gas stations, but you can always pack a cooler ahead of time to help set yourself up for success.

Make your trip as smooth as possible:

Bring some comfortable accessories along on your trip. Getting a seat cushion made for a car or a lumbar pillow can help support your back and spine. Try riding passenger for a long trip or if you have to drive, switching up driving shifts with one or more people will let you change up your sitting position and may help with a smoother ride. When driving make sure your seat and mirrors are in a comfortable position as well.

You want your seat close enough to the steering wheel that you don’t have to hunch your shoulders forward to reach the wheel, but you want to make sure you are not so close that your arms and elbows hug your body. The seat itself can also tilt forward or backwards. Tilting the seat forward helps preserve the curve in your lumbar spine (lower back). And tilting the seat back lifts your knees above your hips, which can relieve low back pain.  You also want to make sure your mirrors are at a good level. You want to be able to look into your side and rear-view mirrors with a level chin. Having your chin tilted for too long can result in neck pain.

You shouldn’t just try to ease pain on road trips. Working on strengthening your core and exercising frequently can help try to ease pain in the long run. Click to read more on how exercise and stretching can help ease pain.

 

If you have more questions or need more help regarding your pain, please call 952-841-2345

Resources:

http://www.holisticpain.com/back-pain-road-trips/

https://www.spine-health.com/blog/7-tips-alleviate-back-pain-your-road-trips

Employee Spotlight: Stacy

Meet Stacy, Medical Biller at Twin Cities Pain Clinic. Stacy was nominated by her fellow staff members for her continued hard work to always get to the root issue on commercial payer claim denials. Stacy is always determined to have claims paid correctly and the A/R be accurate. Thank you for your continued hard work and dedication day-in and day-out, Stacy!

What is your position / What are your daily responsibilities?

I am a medical biller at the Edina location. My responsibilities include working a/r for all commercial payers. I am also responsible for refunds.

How long have you been with TCPC?

January 3rd I reached my one year mark with TCPC.

What are some of your hobbies?

I really don't have any hobbies as I work two jobs and the rest of my time is spent with family.

What is your favorite thing about working at TCPC?

My favorite thing about working at TCPC is the billing team and working from home.

 

 

Twin Cities Pain Clinic has been named a Top Workplace by the Star Tribune. This great award wouldn't be possible without our amazing staff members. Your hard work does not go unnoticed.

All About Arthritis

There are many different diseases that contribute to the 50 million American’s that experience chronic pain. One of those diseases is arthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, about 54 million adults have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes arthritis as inflammation or swelling of one or more joints. There are more than 100 conditions that affect the joints, tissues around the joint, and other connective tissues. Specific symptoms vary depending on the type of arthritis, but usually include joint pain and stiffness.

According to the Arthritis Foundation the five most common types of arthritis include osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), fibromyalgia and gout. All of these types of arthritis cause pain in different ways. Lupus is another form of arthritis that affects many individuals as well. Below are explanations about the six most common types of arthritis.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. With OA, the cartilage within the joints begins to break down and the underlying bone begins to change. These changes with the joints usually develop slowly and get worse over time. OA can cause pain, aching, stiffness, and swelling. Decreased range of motion or flexibility can also be present.

Osteoarthritis affects over 30 million US adults. Because of the symptoms that come with OA, some people experience reduced function and disability. Some people are no longer able to do daily tasks or work because the pain and stiffness gets so bad.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease, which means that your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake, causing inflammation in the affected body parts. RA mainly attacks joints, and usually many joints at once.

RA commonly affects the joints of the hands, wrists, and knees. In a joint with rheumatoid arthritis, the lining of the joint becomes inflamed, causing damage to joint tissue. The tissue damage from rheumatoid arthritis can cause chronic pain, unsteadiness, and deformity. RA can also end up affecting other tissues throughout the body and cause problems in organs such as the lungs, heart, and eyes.

There are many signs and symptoms of RA and there are times when symptoms “flare” up or get worse, and times when they get better. The common signs and symptoms include pain, aching, stiffness, tenderness, weight loss, fever, fatigue, and weakness. With some of the symptoms, like pain and stiffness, they can occur in more than one joint at a time.

Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is also an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and pain. PsA affects the joints, the connective tissue where tendons or ligaments attach to bones, causing enthesitis, and affects the skin, which causes psoriasis.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes pain all over the body, sleep problems, fatigue, and emotional and mental distress. Often times, doctors who examine people with Fibromyalgia cannot find anything specifically wrong, even after a number of tests. Normally people with Fibromyalgia experience pain and tenderness all over their body and feeling consistently exhausted.

Gout

Gout is a common form of inflammatory arthritis that is very painful. Usually it affects one joint at a time (often times the big toe joint). People with Gout tend to experience flare ups and times when there are no symptoms. There is no cure for Gout, but it can be affectively managed. Symptoms in the affected joint may include pain, swelling, redness, and heat.

Lupus

Lupus is another major for arthritis that is an autoimmune disease that can affect many different parts of the body including, heart, lungs, brain, kidneys, skin, and joints. The main feature of Lupus is inflammation, characterized by redness, heat, swelling, loss of function and pain outside or inside the body. Fatigue, hair loss, sensitivity to light, fever, rash and kidney problems are also some more severe symptoms in Lupus. There is no cure for Lupus, but there are treatments to help control its symptoms.

There are many more forms of arthritis that are paired with other symptoms than inflammation and swelling of the joints. One form of arthritis is not worse than others and can affect everyone differently. There are many ways to help relieve some of the pain and inflammation that is associated with arthritis. At Twin Cities Pain Clinic, we are happy to offer a wide array of procedures to manage pain and tailor each patient based on their own symptoms. 

 

Resources

https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/pain-management/understanding/types-of-pain.php

https://www.disabled-world.com/health/autoimmunediseases/arthritis/arthritis-types.php

https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/types.html

Our Woodbury Clinic Has Moved!

Twin Cities Pain Clinic is excited to help meet the growing need for comprehensive pain management. We understand that when you are in pain, convenience is key. In pursuit of our mission, we are happy to provide excellent care, in a new comfortable location. Our new office location will proudly serve Woodbury and the surrounding communities by continuing to offer the most advanced treatment options.

Twin Cities Pain Clinic first expanded to Woodbury in 2014 with a clinic location on Commerce Dr. To better serve our patients, we have moved from our old office on Commerce Dr to 683 Bielenberg Dr. #103. The new office opened to patients on March 4th, 2019.

 

Click here to see a map.

How Your Feet Can Contribute to Your Persistent Pain

Your feet get you from point A to point B, but as you walk I’m sure most of you don’t even notice how you walk. What you might not be aware of, is that your feet can play a significant role in your pain. The way you walk and stand can impact your whole body.

According to Dr. Positano, DPM, MPH, director of the Non-Surgical Foot and Ankle Service at the Hospital for Special Surgery, “The foot is the foundation of the body, if the foundation is not sound, it could have a deleterious effect on the joints above the foot and ankle, namely the knee and the hip.” If there is an unbalance with your feel, your shoes will likely be uneven. If your shoes are uneven, this can eventually cause weakness in your ankles, knees, and hips, making them vulnerable to injury.

Where you feel your pain is almost always never where your pain originates from. A lot of the times, pain will travel up the body. Indeed, the stabbing, throbbing, aching in your low back, hip, or knee could be a symptom, not the cause, of your discomfort. Many people don’t realize it, but how you stand and walk can play a key role in your pain.

Any problem with the foot or ankle can result in a compromised posture or gait which can lead to knee or hip pain. Some examples of common foot problems that can lead to poor posture and irregular walking patterns include:

  • Plantar fasciitis, which can lead to chronic heel pain and/or arch pain
  • Nerve pain or numbness in the foot, (neuromas and tarsal tunnel syndrome)
  • Bunions and bunionettes (big-toe versus little-toe side, respectively)
  • Excessive foot pronation (rolling in) or supination (rolling out)

If your feet automatically go into a “V” shape when you’re standing or walking; instead of facing straight out in front of you, the whole structure of your body is at least somewhat off balance, or “out of alignment.” Focusing on standing and walking with proper alignment can help ease some of the back, knee, or hip pain you are feeling.

Changing how you walk may feel strange at first, but over time it will feel more “normal.” Consciously make an effort to “square” your feet with your knees and walk with your toes pointing straight ahead. This is how to keep your body aligned, reducing your chances of injury to the low back and other parts of your body. Since the foot is the foundation of the body, it makes sense that the way you walk can affect your whole body.

Resources

https://www.ipfh.org/media-press/features/low-back-pain-your-feet-could-be-the-culprit

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170919181533.htm

https://www.orthofeet.com/blogs/news/how-your-feet-impact-knee-and-hip-pain

Employee Spotlight: Crystal

Meet Crystal, Medical Assistant at Twin Cities Pain Clinic. Crystal was nominated by her fellow staff members for always going out of her way to help patients in any way she can. This winter she has helped brush snow off of patients cars and is always so kind to the patients she helps. Crystal always treats her patients with the utmost care and respect. Your hard work and compassion does not go unnoticed. Thank you for all you do, Crystal!

What is your position / What are your daily responsibilities?

I am a Medical Assistant at Twin Cities Pain Clinic. My responsibilities include rooming the patients, taking their vitals, collecting specimens and a variety of other medical tasks.

How long have you been with TCPC?

I have been with TCPC for about 8 months and truly enjoy it.

What are some of your hobbies?

Some of my hobbies include playing outside with my kids, reading new books with them and baking. I love water parks and the beach when it's warm outside.

What is your favorite thing about working at TCPC?

My favorite thing about working at TCPC is the patient care. I love getting to know my patients and enjoy seeing them improve. The environment is great as well. I absolutely love my co-workers and how well we all work together. 

 

 

Twin Cities Pain Clinic has been named a Top Workplace by the Star Tribune. This great award wouldn't be possible without our amazing staff members. Your hard work does not go unnoticed.

How Botox Can Help In Pain Management

What is used to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles can also help with chronic pain control, including back and nerve pain. Pain management and other alternative uses for Botox have shown how versatile and effective the treatment is.

Botulinum Toxin (Botox) was originally approved by the FDA in 1989 to treat muscle contractions caused by cervical dystonia. Doctors knew that Botox could help relax muscles before it exploded into a cosmetic procedure. Botox does that by blocking the neurotransmitters that tell muscles to contract. No signal from the neurotransmitters, no contraction, no tension – no pain.

The pain types, which are suitable for this treatment, include those where muscle spasm and tenderness are clearly definable, in the regions of the head, neck, and back. Botox has been used for approximately the past 40 years in the treatment of excessive muscle stiffness, spasticity, and dystonia. Recently, it has been used to treat various types of neuropathic pain.

Botox works by blocking the release of acetylcholine from the junction between a nerve and muscle. Normally acetylcholine binds to its receptor at this junction and causes a muscle contraction. When Botox is injected to an area of chronic muscle spasm, acetylcholine is blocked, allowing the muscle to relax.

Botox is administered by an injection directly into the desired site. The onset of relief occurs in about a week and typically lasts 3 months. The intent of Botox in this case, is to serve as a temporary relief from pain, not as a fix or cure. After three months, the muscles may become overactive again, so four injections per year may be needed.

Botox injections are typically indicated for:

  • Muscle pain arising from chronic muscle spasm
  • Neck pain in cervical dystonia
  • Migraine headaches
  • Nerve disorders resulting in blepharospasm
  • Myofascial pain

If you experience any of the symptoms listed above and are curious if Botox could help you, please call 952-841-2345 to talk to a member of the Twin Cities Pain Clinic team.

What is DRG stimulation?

Dorsal Root Ganglion (DRG) stimulation is a new type of therapy that can help those who suffer from chronic neuropathic pain or complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Neuropathic pain is pain caused by damage to or malfunction of the nerves themselves. The peripheral nervous system includes all the nerves that lead to and from the spinal cord. The nerves transmit pain signals to the brain. If the nerves are injured, neuropathic pain may develop. Chronic neuropathic pain can be challenging to treat because it can be difficult to pinpoint where and how the nerves are damaged.

Click here to learn more about neuropathic pain.

What is the dorsal root ganglion?

The dorsal root ganglion is a bundle of nerve cell bodies located within the posterior region of various vertebrae along the spinal column. It is adjacent to the dorsal nerve root. The primary function of the dorsal root ganglion is to transmit information regarding your senses. As such, the dorsal root ganglion carries sensory neural signals from the peripheral nervous system to the central nervous system, which includes your spinal cord and brain.

DRG Stimulation

DRG stimulation consists of electrical leads, an optional extension, and an implantable pulse generator. The electrical leads are threaded into the epidural space and from there, into the intervertebral foraman, in which the DRG lies. Each lead is tipped by four electrode contacts that are placed over the DRG. A non-rechargeable pulse generator is implanted in a pocket either in the upper buttock/low back, or, with an extension, into the abdominal wall. In the period after surgery the leads can be programmed to give stimulation based on the pain pattern. Patients go home with a small hand-held controller that switches between stimulation settings.

DRG stimulation is pretty identical to traditional spinal cord stimulation (SCS), with one very important difference. Rather than placing leads in a general region of the spinal cord, DRG stimulation targets the specific regions of the spinal cord that are transmitting the pain and shuts down those painful signals directly by placing the leads directly over the DRG’s.

To learn more about DRG stimulation click here.

 

TCPC Welcomes Nancy Nyongesa, DNP, FNP

Please join Twin Cities Pain Clinic in welcoming our newest Burnsville provider!

"I have 5 years of experience in pain management as a nurse practitioner. I strongly believe in positive patient-provider relationship and shared decision-making."

"I am mother to two handsome boys. When I am not with my family or at work, I enjoy spending time with friends, playing volleyball, shopping. I was fortunate to play volleyball at highest level of the sport – 2004 Athens summer Olympic games."

Education

Associate in Practical Nursing degree in 2007 at Dickinson State University

Bachelor of Science degree in nursing in 2009 at Dickinson State University

Doctor of Nursing Practice with Specialty in Family Practice in 2013 at North Dakota State University

Hobbies

Powerwalking, running short distance races (5K, 10K), Spending time with husband and kids, and playing league volleyball.

"I am delighted to be part of the Twin Cities Pain Clinic team!"

Employee Spotlight: Ieasha

Meet Ieasha, Patient Service Representative at Twin Cities Pain Clinic! Ieasha was nominated by her fellow staff members for always going above and beyond with the patients she encounters. Ieasha continues to demonstrate exceptional customer service to the patients she helps. Your hard work does not go unnoticed. Thank you for all you do, Ieasha!

What is your position / What are your daily responsibilities?

I am a Patient Service Representative at the front desk of the Edina clinic. I help patients check-in and check-out.

How long have you been with TCPC?

I have been with TCPC for 3 months and I enjoy working with patients and the TCPC team.

What are some of your hobbies?

I enjoy spending time relaxing at home reading or watching movies and I also love spending time with my family.

What is your favorite thing about working at TCPC?

The staff are amazing! The atmosphere is positive and I can always find help if I need it. I enjoy being a team player. I believe that in order to be effective and deliver the best care possible we have to be equipped with the support to do our jobs efficiently. Here at TCPC the support and leadership is amazing and I am proud to be part of the team.

 

 

Twin Cities Pain Clinic has been named a Top Workplace by the Star Tribune. This great award wouldn't be possible without our amazing staff members. Your hard work does not go unnoticed.