Maine Spine & Nerve Institute - The Back and Neck Surgery Alternative
In the Portland area, patients seeking back pain and neuropathy relief have many healthcare options.
And from clinic to clinic, they're likely to encounter a diverse range of recommendations. For the same set of spine and nerve symptoms, some providers may prescribe pain medication, and others may recommend back or neck surgery. Lately, though, more and more providers are recommending that patients start with a non-invasive treatment approach.
At Maine Spine & Nerve Institute, we specialize in that approach.
We begin by diagnosing the origin of your pain, and then proceed to correct the underlying condition through non-surgical spinal decompression therapy.
After a course of treatment here, many of our patients are able to avoid surgery and expensive, addictive prescriptions. And we've even been able to achieve success in patients who have gone through failed back surgery.
If you're struggling with spine and nerve symptoms, we'd love to see if we could help. The initial consultation is free, and you can request your appointment by filling out the form above on this page.
Health Care Articles
“…the use of narcotics to treat pain lasting beyond three months is ineffective and can be life-threatening,” the study found. “Opioids are not the answer. Chronic pain rehabilitation, exercise, cognitive behavioral therapies, acupuncture, yoga or tai chi are all better options than opioids.”
As are treatments offered at Maine Spine & Nerve Institute that address common sources of excruciating chronic pain:
- Nonsurgical spinal decompression - to reduce or eliminate neck or low-back pain.
- Electrotherapy - to significantly reduce peripheral neuropathy pain.
“With narcotics, they’re just turning off the fire alarm, not changing the course of the fire,” says Dr. VanderPloeg.
Opioid painkillers are easily absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract. They attach to one or more of the four types of opiate receptors in the central nervous system and brain. When those receptors are stimulated, they reduce pain perception without eliminating its cause.
Side effects include euphoria, sleepiness, respiratory depression and slower gut function, leading to constipation. Peak effects are generally reached in 10 minutes if taken intravenously, 30-45 minutes with an intramuscular injection, and 90 minutes by mouth.
The scope of the epidemic
It’s estimated that five million people are dependent on opioids such as Oxycodone, OxyContin, heroin, methadone and morphine.
- The CDC reported that in 2012 there were enough opioid prescriptions written to supply every adult in the country.
- Use of narcotics has increased four-fold between 1999 and 2010; overdose, death and abuse have increased six-fold over that same time period.
- In 2007, misuse of pharmaceuticals became the second-leading cause of emergency department visits.
There are about 17,000 overdose deaths annually. Half of all overdose deaths are related to prescription drugs. Recent legislation intended to restrict overprescribing of painkillers is actually linked to the nationwide heroin epidemic. “When you take away the supply of pain medication, people look for a different source,” says Dr. VanderPloeg. For all too many, heroin becomes the replacement.
Dangers of opioid use for chronic pain relief
”Narcotics were intended for short-term relief, such as post-surgical pain and pain associated with cancer,” says VanderPloeg. Long-term use can permanently change the central nervous system by causing:
- Hyperalgesia - or increased sensitivity to pain, which there is no known treatment.
- Tolerance - more of the drug is needed to achieve the same level of pain relief.
- Addiction - chronic pain patients are more likely to become dependent on opioids.
Patients may equate “painkillers” with a medication that’s able to take away all of their pain, while their physician is thinking “pain management,” which means bringing the pain to a level where they can function at a reasonable manner.
Opioids produce a short-lived euphoria. Some people continue to take them even after the pain is gone because they like the way it makes them feel. Others begin to have physical cravings. Both are signs of physical dependence. The body adapts to the presence of the substance. If one stops taking the drug abruptly, withdrawal symptoms occur:
- Disruption of the hypothalamus and pituitary glands
- Onset of sleep-disordered breathing
- Impaired wound healing
The Geisinger study also found that long-term use of prescription opioids raise the risk of death.
Call Maine Spine & Nerve Institute to distance yourself from opioids for chronic pain relief, and find real relief by treating the root cause of the pain.