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How is Restorative Pain Management Better than Other Approaches?

Restorative Pain Management works by not only treating the pain itself but by directing therapy at the cause of your pain. By challenging the traditional wisdom of other pain management therapies, restorative pain management doctors, such as those at Pacific Medical Care center in San Diego, have shown significant reductions in pain and a greater quality of life for pain patients.

Too many pain clinics prescribe pain medications for every pain condition. This can lead to addiction, tolerance and hormonal abnormalities. Restorative pain management is an innovative approach that involves restoring relief and increased function with approaches that only use narcotics as a last resort. Since pain is treated by targeting the root cause, the patients’ risks of unnecessary and potentially dangerous treatments and prescription drug dependency is highly reduced.

Board Certified pain management physicians target the source of your pain and treat it using interventional pain procedures such as trigger point therapy, epidural injections, radiofrequency ablation, occipital blocks or joint injections to name a few. This results in lasting pain relief and an improved quality of life.

If you are looking for pain management doctors or foot doctor services in San Diego, call Pacific Medical Care at 619-333-8114. Pacific Medical Care is a San Diego healthcare center that offers a broad suite of healthcare services, with the goal in mind of providing first rate care to treat the whole patient. Services like internal medicine, urgent care, mobile diagnostics, pain management doctors and foot doctor in San Diego help you live a happy, healthy life.

Who should I see for Chronic Pain Treatment?

If you are suffering from chronic pain, you should see a pain management doctor immediately. While your primary care doctor can offer some help in some cases, for advanced types of pain they’ll likely refer you to a pain management doctor. Modern pain medicine uses minimally invasive treatments or interventional treatments to manage chronic pain to give you an improved quality of life.

A pain management doctor is a physician with special training in evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of all different types of pain. Highly-trained and experienced pain management doctors can diagnose conditions, coordinate treatment, and provide ongoing care for pain patients.

Pain management doctors can treat pain for a wide range of conditions – from acute sports injuries to cancer pain. Pain is considered chronic if it’s lasted for three or more months. The following are conditions that can be treated by pain management doctors.

  • Upper and lower back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Hip pain
  • Knee pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Arthritis
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Sciatica
  • Nerve pain
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

If you are looking for pain management doctors and mobile doctor services in San Diego, call Pacific Medical Care at 619-333-8114. Pacific Medical Care is a San Diego healthcare center that offers a broad suite of healthcare services, with the goal in mind of providing first rate care to treat the whole patient. Services like internal medicine, urgent care, mobile diagnostics, pain management doctors and mobile doctor services in San Diego help you live a happy, healthy life.

Cholesterol and heart disease – do you know your numbers?

You may have heard about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol. But what is it, and how do you know if you have the right amount?

Your body uses cholesterol, a type of fat, to make important compounds like vitamin D and hormones. Hormones control functions like digestion, mood, and reproduction. Many people don’t realize that your liver makes all the cholesterol you need. But you also absorb it from your diet.

Knowing the bad from the good

 

Cholesterol can’t travel through your blood stream. Instead, your digestive tract packages it into a ‘lipoprotein.’ Think of these as a raft of cholesterol molecules packed together. I carries it to organs in your body. There are two kinds of lipoprotein rafts: low-density and high-density.
Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). Low density, or LDL, is ‘bad’ because it builds up in your blood vessels. If LDL levels are high, the compounds stick together and form ‘plaques’ of gunk that build up in arteries. The most serious risk of plaques is a heart attack. Click here (Note: link to heart disease blog post if desired) to learn about other heart problems caused by plaques in the blood.
High density, or HDL, is ‘good’ because it scavenges the body for LDL and takes it to the liver to be re-used. As a result, having higher level of HDL lowers the amount of LDL in the blood. Which also lowers your risk of heart disease.

How do I know my levels?

 

If you are over 20 years old, you should get your blood tested once every five years. You will need to fast (not eat any food) for about 12 hours before your appointment. You doctor will draw blood to take four important measurements:

  1. LDL (Amount of “bad” cholesterol in your blood)
  2. HDL (Amount of “good” cholesterol in your blood)
  3. Total cholesterol (Amount of LDL and HDL combined in your blood)
  4. Trigclycerides (a type of fat that combines with LDL to form plaques.)

What raises my LDL (“bad”) cholesterol?

 

  • * Low levels of HDL – the “good” cholesterol that removes LDL from the blood
    * Cigarette smoking
    * Family history of heart disease
    * Age – men over 45 years old and women over 55
    * Gender – women are more likely than men to have high LDL levels

How can I improve my numbers?

 

  • * Eat HDL-friendly fooods like olive oil, beans an legumes, high-fiber fruits, and fatty fish
    * Avoid LDL-heavy foods including trans fats, fatty red meats, eggs, and milk products with more then 1% milk fat. Fast food is often heavy in LDL.
    * Increasing exerciese and losing weight. This increases the amount of HDL (good cholesterol) and lower LDL (bad cholesterol)
    * If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to quit. Additional resources here.
    * You can’t change your gender, age, or family history of heart disease. But your doctor can prescribe medications that will counter these risks. These include:

– Statins, a drug that prevent the liver from making cholesterol

– Vitamins and supplements that reduce LDL and raise HDL

– Inhibitors can block how much fat is absorbed from your diet.

Remember! It is important to stay on top of your levels to keep your heart healthy and to prevent life-threatening heart attacks and blood clots. If you need help remembering, try this:

LDL – LOWER LEVELS TO LIVE LONG
HDL – HIGHER LEVELS FOR A HAPPY LIFE

New diabetes test to identify kidney failure before it happens

There are two common tests for kidney function. These are urinary albumin to creatinine ratio (ACR) and estimated glomerular filtration rate.

How do these tests work? Your kidneys contain millions of tiny filters, or ‘glomeruli.’ Blood passes through them to remove waste and excess water. People with diabetes or pre-diabetes have high blood sugar levels, unless they take medications or change their diet. High blood sugar is toxic to the kidneys. Over time, the glomeruli become damaged, and cannot filer properly.

How doctors measure kidney damage

There are two bio-markers that can show damage has occurred. A ‘bio-marker’ is a molecule that reflect how well the body is functioning.

  1. The estimated GFR measures how well your kidneys are working. The bio-marker used in this test is creatinine. This is a compound that glomeruli filter from blood. So, damage to the ‘filters’ will change the amount of creatinine in your blood. A GFR of 60 or higher is normal. A lower GFR is a sign of kidney damage.
  2. The ACR bio-marker is a protein called albumin. Blood and protein should not be in urine. If the test finds albumin, it is a sign that glomeruli have become damaged and ‘leaky.’

Why so much focus on diabetes and kidney function? Diabetes is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease in the United States.  End-stage renal disease (ESRD) occurs when kidney damage is so severe that the organs stop working. These patients must go on dialysis or receive a transplant. Identifying who will develop ESRD can save thousands of lives.

Can we predict kidney failure?

ACR and GFR can measure kidney damage that has already occurred. But how can doctors know if a patient with damage will go on to develop kidney failure?

Researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center discovered that molecule called TNFR 1 is a biomarker for kidney failure in people with diabetes.  The test has a strong prognostic value, meaning it can identify people will develop ESRD. It identified 81% of all study participants who developed ESRD within three years.

This test is not currently available. Researchers hope to develop it in order to identify patients who will develop ESRD before kidneys fail.

But it’s important to remember that these patients developed ESRD within three years. This means that their kidney damage was already very advanced. Diabetic patients should strive to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Even if your kidneys seem to function normally. This includes testing blood sugar daily with a glucometer. It is also importnat to see your doctor regularly to test your HbA1c. HbA1c uses another biomarker in your blood. It is a measure of your average blood sugar levels over time (several months). Even if your blood sugar level is normal at one time in the day, a high HbA1c means that on average, your blood sugar is high.

We may be able to identify patients at risk of kidney failure. But treatment and prevention of kidney damage has not changed: maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

Hypertension is a silent killer. Do you know your numbers?

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is called the ‘silent killer’ because it does not cause many symptoms. As a result, most people don’t know that they have high blood pressure.

How do I know if I have high blood pressure?

High blood pressure can occur at any age, even in young children. The only way to know if you have hypertension is to measure your blood pressure using a blood pressure (BP) cuff. A doctor or a nurse can do this for you.

The BP cuff provides two numbers that measure the pressure in your blood vessels. The top number is called “systolic blood pressure,” and bottom number is called “diastolic blood pressure.”

Your doctor will determine if you have hypertension using the following numbers
(Systolic/Diastolic):

  • Healthy blood pressure:          120/80 mmHg or lower
  • Pre-hypertension:                    121-81 mmHg to 139/89 mmHg
  • Hypertension:                          140/90 mmHg or greater

What are the risk factors for high blood pressure?

Risk factors are traits that make you more likely to have an illness compared to other people. The risk factors for hypertension include:

  1. Lifestyle

Smoking and alcohol increase blood pressure, while regular physical activity lowers blood pressure.

  1. WeightYou are more likely to have high blood pressure if you are overweight or obese. Use your BMI (body mass index) to determine if you are overweight. We discuss how to do this in detail here.
  2. Age

Anyone over the age of 60 has a higher risk for hypertension. However, it is beginning to occur at early ages because more young people are overweight.

  1. Race or ethnicity

High blood pressure is more common in certain races or ethnicities. People with African American heritage are more likely to have high blood pressure, and it may occur earlier in life. Certain blood pressure medications work better for this group. So be sure to talk to your doctor about the best drugs to control your hypertension.

  1. GenderMen are more likely than women to develop high blood pressure before age 55. After age 55, high blood pressure is more common in women.

High blood pressure: What’s the big deal?

Because hypertension causes few symptoms, most people don’t understand why it is dangerous. But over time, high blood pressure causes heart attack and strokes. These are the leading causes of death in the United States. In fact, one in four people will die from heart disease.

Hypertension is deadly because high pressures put strain on your heart and blood vessels. Over time, this damages your organs. Especially your brain, kidneys, and eyes.

Long term effects of hypertension include:

  • Stroke (brain damage)
  • Artery disease
  • Damage to eye sight
  • Heart attack
  • Kidney failure

By the time these happen, the effects may not be reversible. So it is important that you prevent hypertension before it happens.

How can I treat hypertension?

The best treatment is prevention. This means addressing risk factors before they cause high blood pressure. The most important changes to make are:

  1. If you are overweight or obese, losing weight is the best way to prevent heart disease and death
  2. Don’t smoke. If you need help to quit smoking, you can find resources here.
  3. Get regular physical exercise, including walking and taking the stairs.
  4. See your doctor regularly to track your blood pressure, especially if you have risk factors. Besides lifestyle changes, your doctor may prescribe you medications to lower blood pressure.

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Restorative Pain Management – Pain Medicine’s Answer to Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can prevent you from leading a normal personal and professional life. Restorative pain management has been designed to relieve your pain, prevent it from recurring in the future and improve quality of life for the patient.

Restorative Pain Management at leading pain management clinics, such as Pacific Medical Care in San Diego, combines cutting-edge treatment options, treating the patient as a whole and a multidisciplinary approach. This makes restorative pain management uniquely suited to achieve pain relief and help patients get their life back.

Restorative pain management employs a wide variety of therapies to diagnose, reduce, and completely eliminate pain. The goal is to help a patient get back to their normal activities as quickly as possible.

Pain specialists, who practice restorative pain management, first diagnose the problem to determine the underlying condition and then treat it accordingly.

Restorative Pain Management Techniques

Several different pain management techniques may be used alone or in conjunction with each other to provide lasting pain relief to patients.

Epidural steroid injections

Epidural Steroid Injections work to reduce inflammation and pain in the nerve roots as they exit the spine. The injections are a combination of a local anesthetic and a steroid injected into the epidural space (the area right outside the membrane that covers the spinal cord and its nerves).

Facet Joint Injections

Facet joint injections are often used to diagnose the cause and location of pain.

A facet joint injection uses a local anesthetic and/or steroid, which is injected directly into the facet joint to block the pain. Facet joint injections are used as a tool to help the patient tolerate pain better so that they can undergo physical therapy.

Lumbar Facet Nerve Blocks

Nerve blocks are injections administered along the sides of the spine to diagnose or treat the root cause of pain.

Sacroiliac Injections

Sacroiliac injections are a combination of a steroid and a local anesthetic to relieve pain in the sacroiliac joint (at the bottom of the spine).

Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency ablation treatment uses radio waves to generate small electrical current which delivers heat to targeted nerve tissues, to prevent the transmission of pain signals from the spinal column to the brain.

Spinal Cord Stimulation

A device implanted near the spinal cord to deliver low-level electrical impulses to the epidural space. These signals override the pain signals from peripheral nerves to the brain.

If you wish to consult experienced pain management doctors in San Diego, call Pacific Medical Care at 619-333-8114. Pacific Medical Care is a San Diego healthcare center that offers a broad suite of healthcare services, with the goal in mind of providing first rate care to treat the whole patient. Their services, like internal medicine, urgent care, mobile diagnostics, house call doctors and mobile foot doctor in San Diego help you live a happy, healthy life.

Difference between Restorative Pain Management and Other Pain Treatments

Patients typically take painkillers to cope with chronic pain. The effects of such medication not only lasts a short while but may also lead to tolerance, dependence and ultimately, abuse. That is why modern pain medicine and cutting edge technology has been combined under restorative pain management techniques for lasting relief, without drug dependence.

Restorative pain management aims to treating the pain by directing therapy at the root cause of your pain.

At leading pain management clinics, such as Pacific Medical Care in San Diego, Board Certified pain management doctors focus diagnose the source of your pain and treat it, rather than using a “Band-Aid” approach. Restorative pain management may include interventional pain procedures such as nerve blocks, trigger point injections, epidural injections, radiofrequency ablation, occipital blocks or joint injections to name a few.

Benefits of Restorative Pain Management over Other Techniques

Better Approach

Many doctors prescribe pain meds for every condition. This can lead to addiction, tolerance and hormonal abnormalities. Restorative pain management employs an innovative approach to provide relief and improved motion and function.

Measurably Better Outcomes

Pain management treatment plans carefully consider a patient’s full history to customize a unique treatment plan with realistic and measurable goals.

Faster Recovery and Stabilization

By combining our individualized treatment plans, unique goal setting methods and a comprehensive approach to pain treatment we are able to achieve significantly faster recovery times for our patients.

Reduced Risk

Restorative pain management greatly reduces the risks of unnecessary and potentially dangerous treatments and risk of prescription drug dependence.

If you are looking for pain management doctors in San Diego, call Pacific Medical Care at 619-333-8114. Pacific Medical Care is a San Diego healthcare center that offers a broad suite of healthcare services, with the goal in mind of providing first rate care to treat the whole patient. Services like internal medicine, mobile doctor services and pain management doctors in San Diego help you live a happy, healthy life.

Top 10 Ways Diabetes Can Kill You

Diabetes, though a very common disease, is often neglected as not many are aware of how dire its consequences can be. As per a report published in 2014, about 9.3% Americans had this disease in 2012, which is a big growth compared to the numbers recorded in 2010 (8.3%).

This disease slowly devours the human body and can even cause sudden death. As per the data found in National Diabetes Statistic Report, it is the 7th leading cause of deaths in the US. The disease itself may not be a direct cause of deaths (69,071 deaths in 2010 with diabetes being the direct cause); however, it does heavily contribute to deaths (234,051 deaths listed it as an connected cause).

To help you lead a healthy life and combat this disease better, given below are top 10 ways in which diabetes can kill you. It is important that you’re well aware so that you can live a healthy life.

10. Due To Viral Infections

If you have diabetes, catching viral infections can create havoc. Something as little as cold can be troublesome because viruses can cause the depletion of the immune system in the body. When you catch viral infections, your body uses hormones to battle the virus, making it difficult for your body to produce insulin. Such a situation may result in the buildup of acid in your blood (especially in type-I diabetes) which is a life threatening problem.

9. Kidney Failure

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of kidney failure (44% as per new data). Even controlled diabetes can cause kidney failure and must be taken seriously. Patients with kidney failure require dialysis or a transplant, which if not possible may result in death.

8. Damage to Blood Vessels

Diabetic patients might face consistent damage to the blood vessels, which triggers the possibilities of strokes, heart attacks and also kidney failures. It’s considered a risk factor in myocardial infarction and coronary artery disease that are associated with sudden cardiac death.

7. Consuming Fats in Your Diet

One of the most important reasons for untimely deaths of diabetic patients is the consumption of foods composing of high fat. A diabetic patient is required to follow a strict diet that focuses on a low-fat food items in order to maintain the blood sugar level.

6. Damage to Bones

Diabetes can further trigger depletion of the bones due to a lack of insulin making them quite fragile. Sudden movements and extreme pressure on the body can lead to fatal accidents, especially in old age. One should be very careful because some of these accidents may be life threatening.

5.  Cuts and Wounds

Daniel Cohen, DPM, a podiatrist working with MAB in Brevard County believes that if you have diabetes you should take all cuts seriously, including the minor ones you have while shaving. This is because diabetic patients lack the ability to heal their wounds naturally which is why special care is needed. Many diabetic patients have lost their lives to small wounds that did not heal naturally and ended up causing infections that caused death.

4. Dehydration Problems

Diabetes can also increase effects like frequent urination and dehydration. A diabetic person would want to consume water on a frequent basis, which if ignored can lead to fatality. Deaths due to dehydration are rare though.

3. Eating Habits

Diabetic patients have to be very careful in what they eat or drink. This is because not having proper meal may cause their blood sugar level to increase (hyperglycemia) or decrease (hypoglycemia) to an alarming level. Both high and low sugar levels are dangerous for health and may lead to death. This is why it is important to take care of what you eat and keep an eye on blood sugar level.

2. Hepatitis C

Diabetes (Type-II) is said to worsen the prognosis of hepatitis C, a deadly disease the vaccine of which is yet to be invented. Hepatitis C is a leading cause of death worldwide and when combined with diabetes it becomes even more deadly. Scientists are still studying the relationship between diabetes and hepatitis C to be able to reach concrete conclusions.

1.     Other Diseases

In addition to several cardiovascular diseases, diabetes is also linked with different types of cancers. Since diabetes weakens the immune system patients suffering from cancer and diabetes run a higher risk of losing their battle to the killer disease. A report published by the American Diabetes Association and the American Cancer Society says that a direct connection has not been found yet; however, it is believed that diabetic patients run a higher risk of suffering from breast cancer, bladder cancer and liver cancer. Additionally, diabetes also causes or increases the risk of other diseases like retinopathy and neuropathy

References:

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/780684

http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/

http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/cold-guide/diabetes-colds

http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/57/11/2863.full

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3253029/

Your BMI Explained (Body Mass Index)

Your Body Mass Index is a measurement that adults can use to determine whether they are at a healthy weight according to their height or not. The calculations are pretty straightforward, but the great thing about calculating your BMI reading is the fact that you get an accurate measurement of your current weight, which gives you a clear view of how much you will have to shed or gain.

A Healthy BMI

Mostly, 18.5 – 24.9 is an ideal measurement for adults, and if your reading falls between this window, you are on the safer side of your health. However, if your BMI is at 25 or above, your weight is more than it actually should be considering your height. This will help make things simpler:

  • 25 – 29.9 (Overweight)
  • 30 – 39.9 (Obese)
  • 40 or above (Very Obese)

In case your reading is lesser than 18.5, your current weight is less than it ideally should be. The above mentioned numbers can be considered when you are dealing with adults, but the Body Mass Index of a child is calculated and interpreted differently. A good way to go about it is to contact your general physician if you find yourself worrying about your child’s weight.

Overweight BMI

If your BMI has come around 25 or more, you will require losing some weight to get fit. Living your life will become a lot harder if you do not manage the amount of pounds that you carry, since being overweight can help accelerate a number of health problems there is no turning back from. Being overweight is almost an impairment and you need to get rid of the things that hold you back to truly experience life in its true essence. In this case, the things that are holding you back are the excessive pounds that you have piled on. It’s time to rethink!

Obesity and being overweight puts your health at a great amount of risk, and some of the diseases that can take control of your body thereafter are as follows:

  • Heart problems
  • Diabetes (type 2)
  • Some kinds of cancer
  • Strokes
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Kidney abnormalities

However, these are not all. You can even develop joint and muscular impairments for life, since your body wasn’t essentially made to sustain the pressures of carrying a heavy load every time you take a step.

Professional healthcare practitioners use the term ‘obesity’ as a sign of a patient being more exposed to health risks instead of a description of what the patient looks like.

While finding out that you have an underweight BMI and then trying to gain some pounds is relatively easy, it’s important to get in touch with your physician before you take up any weight loss programs since losing weight is an entirely different ballgame. Once you realize you need to shed some extra pounds, opt for the healthiest path that can help you reach an ideal weight for your particular height.

The Damage Associated with Tobacco Smoking

Directly according to CDC Medical Research and Statistics, nearly 1 in every 6 American adults currently smokes tobacco products. This translates to approximately 40 million adults in the United States. Cigarette smoking is actually the #1 leading cause of preventable disease and death in America. Almost half a million (480,000) deaths every year are directly attributable to smoking. Men are more likely than women to smoke, and the age range with the greatest incidence of smoking habits is between 25-64 years old (nearly 40% of all smokers). Socioeconomic status affects likelihood of smoking, with over 25% of all current smokers living below the poverty level. (CDC.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets)

Carcinogens in tobacco smoking are directly damaging to the human body, and leads to extensive disease burden. Diseases caused or worsened by smoking include Asthma, Cancer in the Lung, Nose, Mouth, Throat, Esophagus, Stomach, and others; Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), mouth and gum (Periodontal) disease, Heart disease, Vascular disease, Stroke, Depression, and Anxiety. Diseases significantly worsened and exacerbated by smoking include Diabetes, Heart disease, any and all pre-existing lung diseases, Skin Ulceration and infection due to poor blood flow from smoking, HIV, mental health, and pregnancy.

Most damaging and irreparable consequences from smoking are related to the deposition of carcinogens into the walls of blood vessels or inside organs. Blood flow becomes extremely impaired and pinched off, resulting in accelerated rates of heart attack, stroke, blindness, non-healing skin ulcers, erectile dysfunction, and eventually amputation of fingers, toes, and legs.

People smoke and die every day, despite widely available material on the extremely harmful nature of smoking. Why is this? In almost every person’s case, tobacco smoking quickly develops into an addiction and lifestyle. The powerful grip of smoking is in large part as a coping mechanism- people smoke to calm their anxiety; as a distraction or to escape; for a chemical feeling of pleasure and relief. These unconsciously become a way of life in how a person copes with stress, anxiety, and daily life.

Successfully separating yourself from smoking requires more than just not reaching for a cigarette or black & mild. It requires committed motivation, dedicated desire, and in many cases, a learning of new coping mechanisms. Psychologically, people who have quit are most vulnerable when under increased amounts of stress, depression, and anxiety, or when they encounter common subconscious triggers and life patterns that were associated with smoking (such as drinking a beer, visiting smoking spots, etc). It is important to know that many people who go “from current to former” can often struggle with relapse one, two, three or more times. Don’t beat yourself up! Relapse periods in the midst of continued, committed, and sustained efforts to quit smoking are expected.

When quitting smoking, most people may try using nicotine-replacement products. There are many different kinds of smoking cessation products on the market. The most common types include nicotine-containing gum, lozenges, nasal-spray, or patches that are applied directly onto the skin. Oral medications (Chantix, for example), and even anti-anxiety medications (Buspar, for example) can be used to decrease cravings, reduce anxiety, and decrease the former pleasure that was experienced from smoking. Discuss smoking cessation with your doctor today!

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