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
On the flip side, some patients say their feet are ice cold all the time. They wear wool socks in the summer – and are even more uncomfortable in the winter. “It all depends on which nerves are involved,” he says. “Different nerves communicate different sensations.
For some, it’s black and white – either cold or hot. With others, because of the variety of nerves that are damaged, it’s not so defined. And then there are those – just like Grandpa and his knee that can predict when a storm’s coming – whose peripheral neuropathy symptoms are worse when there are significant changes in barometric pressure. “That’s a common thread among those who experience chronic pain,” says Dr. VanderPloeg of the impact of pressure changes. “We do not understand the physiology, but we see it all the time."
Understanding peripheral neuropathyPeripheral neuropathy is a disorder of the nerves that carry messages to and from the brain. The muscles, skin and internal organs are connected to the brain and spinal cord by an intricate network of peripheral nerves. Periphery refers to “away from the heart.” As its very name suggests, peripheral neuropathy symptoms, then, are typically more pronounced in the feet or hands, which are the farthest from the heart.
Causes of peripheral neuropathy:
- Diabetes – 40-60% of people with diabetes will develop peripheral neuropathy
- Environmental toxins
- Dr. VanderPloeg says he treated a hairdresser whose peripheral neuropathy was linked by him and her neurologist to the chemicals she worked with and inhaled.
- Toxins are used to create the technology that surrounds us. We’re living in a world with many toxins.
- Alcohol or drug abuse, including certain prescription medications
Cold hard factsDr. VanderPloeg recalls a patient whose burning sensation was so severe that relief was found only in a bucket of ice water. And yes, other patients are now seeking relief barefoot atop the Northeast’s snowy terrain or frozen ponds. STOP!! While temporary relief might be gained, there’s a potential for frostbite, which can
- Intensify the peripheral neuropathy symptoms because there’s additional nerve damage.
- Increase the chance for infection.
- Damage the vascular system.
- Increase the potential for amputation.
- Wear appropriate footgear, such as warm socks and warm boots, when you venture outside in the wintertime.
- When you return inside, remove your boots and socks – and feel your feet with your hands so you can judge if your feet are really cold or not. “Your feet may no longer tell you if they’re cold, but your hands will,” says Dr. VanderPloeg.
- The only thing a patient can do to lessen symptoms is to be treated. These symptoms do not go away on their own.
- Mid-frequency electro-analgesic treatment, a device is placed on the leg that emits rapid pulses, which, among other effects, stimulates the nerves, muscle and small-nerve regeneration, as well as inhibits many pain chemicals.
- Class IV therapeutic laser to help improve blood supply, improve lymphatic drainage and increase circulation.
- High-quality nutritional supplementation.
- Treatment is not painful.