September is Pain Awareness Month.
Over 100 million Americans currently suffer from chronic pain, with that number growing from year to year. People living with chronic pain, know just how debilitating it can be. But, what is chronic pain and how does it differ from regular pain?
Everyone will experience pain at some point, a sprained ankle or hurt back, but once the injury has healed, the pain is gone. Chronic pain is defined as a persisting pain that lasts for weeks, months, even years. With chronic pain, pain signals continue to send messages through the nervous system that something is wrong long after an injury has healed. Pain can stem from an initial incident (injury, infection, surgery) or from an ongoing condition (arthritic, migraines, fibromyalgia). Some people will suffer from chronic pain in the absence of injury or ongoing conditions.
Three of the most common forms of pain are back pain, headaches, and osteoarthritis.
Back pain is the second most common reason for doctor’s visits, with low back pain affecting over 31 million Americans. Back pain can cause numbness, tingling, shooting pains, and weakness in the legs. A number of things can cause back pain, from pulling a muscle when you lift a box to your posture to a serve accident. It is important to monitor any back pain you are having so it does not worsen.
Headaches are classified into three major categories: primary headaches, secondary headaches, and cranial neuralgias/ facial pain. Some of the symptoms include: nausea, sensitivity to light, blurry vision, pupils getting smaller, and feeling dizzy. It is important to know that during a headache, a person can experience many different symptoms that are no consistent from headache to the next. When experiencing a headache it is best to try to relax in a cool, dark space.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and is caused by the breakdown of cartilage that protects your joints from rubbing together. It typically worsens over time and is more prevalent in women than men. It can also be seen in people who have played sports throughout the lives or who have had a job that requires a lot of kneeling/ lifting. Make sure to protect your knees when exercising and always let knee injuries heal.
When experiencing chronic pain, it is important to speak with your doctor about symptoms to determine the best plan of action to manage your pain and get you back to the life you love!
We are delighted to welcome Dr. Ryan Galica to Pain Specialists of Charleston, PA. It is our mission to provide excellent care to our patients with the best and brightest talent in our practice. Dr. Galica is an exceptional addition and truly embodies the mission and mindset of our Pain Specialists Team.
Dr. Galica received his medical degree from Northeast Ohio Medical University and then completed a Categorical Anesthesia Residency at University Hospitals Case Medical Center. Following residency, Dr. Galica continued his stay at University Hospitals Case Medical Center where he completed his year-long Fellowship in Pain Medicine. Dr. Galica is board certified in Anesthesiology.
“Pain specialists of Charleston and Columbia has become a frontrunner for treating pain in the Lowcountry. Dr. Tavel, Dr. Schuyler, and their staff have established a very high quality practice that utilizes safe and effective techniques to treat pain,” said Dr. Galica. “I look forward to bringing my own experience to the practice and helping reduce the burden of chronic pain.”
Dr. Galica is a member of the North American Neuromodulation Society, American Society of Anesthesiologists, the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, and the American Medical Association.
Click here to learn more about Dr. Galica!
- A COPAY is a fixed amount you pay for a health care service
- A COINSURANCE is your share of the costs of a health care service. It’s usually figured as a percentage of the amount your insurances allows for a charged service and most patients begin paying a coinsurance after you’ve paid your plan’s deductible.
For most people, deciding where to travel during summer vacation is something they plan all year long. Picking the best locations for days of fun and laughter. For people suffering from chronic pain, it can be something they dread.
As families and friends are ramping up their summer get-a-ways, it is important to have a plan to help minimize your pain.
Here are a few tips to remember when planning your vacations.
- Don’t just book any old hotel room: When you book a room, make sure that it includes certain features and specification that are suitable for you. After a day of traveling or sightseeing, you need to have a comfortable place to unwind. If you need a room on the first floor, a shower instead of a bathtub, or help moving luggage, just ask the hotel when booking
- Know how to make flying more comfortable: For most, flying is uncomfortable. For someone suffering from chronic pain it can be miserable. Make sure to wear layers. Not only will layers help with the temperature on the plane, but you can also roll sweaters or jackets for neck/back support. If you need extra support ask a flight attendant for a pillow or blanket. While on the plane, take time to stretch and walk the aisles every hour. Here are a few easy yoga stretches for airplanes. Also, plan to check your luggage. Lifting and maneuvering heavy luggage can cause more pain.
- Bring your stress reduction techniques with you: Traveling can be very stressful, so it is important that you do what you can to combat that stress. Take time every day to meditate, practice yoga, or exercise. Try to keep a well-balanced diet and limit your alcohol intake while traveling.
While you are enjoying your vacation, remember these tips and try to recreate as many of your stress reducing techniques. Enjoy your time with family and friends, but remember not to overdo it and take time for yourself.
June in South Carolina means the official start of hurricane season is upon us.
We don’t know when disaster may strike, so it’s important to be prepared for any emergency, remembering to include your prescription medications in your plans.
Here are tips to be prepared:
- Make a medication list: Keep an updated list of all medications, dosages and phone numbers for your doctors and pharmacies in a waterproof bag or container.
- Carry your prescription card: Keep your health insurance or prescription-drug benefit card with you at all times, as your pharmacy benefit provider or health plan can help you obtain an emergency supply of any lost or damaged medication.
- Order early: Reorder as soon as you are able and consider ordering a 90-day supply of medication through your plan’s home-delivery pharmacy to ensure a full stock.
- Keep your medications together: Keep medications in original containers with original labels and place prescription bottles in a waterproof bag or container.
- Prepare for special needs: If your medication requires refrigeration or electronic equipment, have a plan for temporary storage and administration.
- Make a plan: Discuss your medication disaster plan with your doctor, especially if your medication has special shipping or electronic equipment requirements. Also discuss plans for your child’s medication with your child’s daycare provider or school.
- Maintain an emergency healthcare kit: Stock a supply kit with any nonprescription medications you may need such as pain relievers, cold medications and antacids
If you experience an emergency situation, it’s important to consider the following:
- Medication safety: Inspect your medication to see if the look or smell of it has changed, as excessive moisture or heat can contaminate the drugs. If you are unsure about its safety, contact a local pharmacist or healthcare provider.
- Skipping doses: If you haven’t been able to take your medication, contact a pharmacist or doctor as soon as possible even if you’re not experiencing any negative health effects. Never take additional doses to make up for those you’ve missed before talking to a healthcare practitioner.
While we hope we never have to enact our emergency plan, being prepared will help keep us safe, whichever way the wind blows!