Frequently Asked Questions
The Pain Center
of Western Washington
What can I do about my migraine headaches?
It is estimated that between 5% and 30% of the general population suffer from migraines.
Migraine headaches usually occur on one side of the head and have a pulsating quality. They can be associated with changes to vision, smell, and taste and can last from several hours to several days. There are different categories of these headaches, depending on your symptoms. Treatment should include preventative measures, such as avoidance of triggering agents (certain foods or physical activities), use of nutritional supplements and herbs, and some medications. Acute treatment involves oral medications, reduction of physical activity or other stimuli (such as light or scents), and invasive treatments like nerve blocks or botox injections (which may also be preventive). Contact your doctor or see us if you think these are affecting you.
I have chronic muscle pain… what can I do to treat this?
Chronic muscle pain is also known as Myofascial Pain Syndrom. It can occur in a single muscle, or multiple areas of the body. It occurs when a muscle is strained or injured, and can become chronic if scar tissue forms, or the muscle developes persistant spasms. ‘Knots’ of muscle fibers can develop, called trigger points, which are tender to the touch, and can often be felt under the skin. Treatment should involve physical therapy, massage therapy, relaxation training, and often injections will help. These trigger points injections may contain saline solution, local anesthetic, and/or cortisone, or a combination of these. They can be performed in your doctors office, and may need to be repeated on several occasions for any long-term effect.
See us for an evaluation if you think this is affecting you.
I have a broken bone in my back - - what can be done to help me?
A broken bone, or vertebral compression fracture (VCF), occurs when one of the bones in the spinal column collapses on itself. These are very painful and can severely impact a person’s health and well-being. They usually occur when the bone weakens due to osteoporosis or cancer, and can occur anywhere in the spine, from the neck to the low back. A proper diagnosis is essential.
Conservative treatment consists of bed rest, pain relievers, and sometimes braces. If these are ineffective, a minimally invasive surgical procedure can be performed to inject bone cement into the fractured vertebral body, essentially forming an internal cast. Two different procedures are available which accomplish this, Percutaneous Vertebroplasty or Balloon Kyphoplasty. Call us for an evaluation if you think this is affecting you.
I have bursitis in my hips. What is this, and how can it be treated?
Bursitis is a painful inflammation of one or more bursa sacks in the body. A bursa is a fluid filled sack that lies over a bony prominence, such as in the hips, knees, or shoulders. If they become inflamed, such as in arthritis, a minor trauma, or an infection, they can be very painful. Treatment includes oral anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, possibly antibiotics, and sometimes cortisone injections to the affected bursa.
See us for an evaluation if you have or think you have this condition.
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