Neurology Services in Grayson
Patients often come to us for pain, and we work to find the cause, such as inflammation in a muscle or joint, or misalignment of the spinal cord. But in some cases, the difficulty begins with the nerves that carry signals to and from the brain. Even if nerves are not the source of your pain, understanding how they work is key to some treatments that may be helpful in controlling your pain.
How Does Optimum Health Rehab Identify the Cause of Pain?
At Optimum Health Rehab, our pain specialists will work to determine the cause or causes of your pain. Many people struggle to get the correct diagnosis because there can be more than one reason for pain, and some diagnosticians stop when they identify one cause. For example, an injury to your back could cause damage to one of the muscles, pull one of the vertebrae out of alignment, or both. At the same time, this injury could also have damaged nerves in the area. Your pain may be further affected by the fact that you have to sit at your desk most of the day when you’re at work, putting pressure on your sciatic nerve.
Understanding the root cause or causes of your pain is a necessary first step to fixing it, so we apply a full suite of diagnostic procedures to learn as much as possible. These tests may include:
- Testing your autonomic nerve function.
- Checking your ability to feel sensations and stimuli.
- Asking you to do physical therapy exercises to see your current level of function and determine what you may need assistance with.
- Testing your muscle strength.
- Nerve conduction studies.
- Imaging studies, such as MRIs, CT scans, and X-rays, to get a better look at what factors may be affecting a nerve.
- Blood tests to detect any systemic problems that could affect nerve function, such as diabetes or B12 deficiency.
- A physical exam to look for signs of inflammation or misalignment.
The Central and Peripheral Nervous Systems
The human nervous system is separated into two parts: The central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord, and the peripheral nervous system, which includes the sensory and motor nerves. The central nervous system is a little like the router in your home, and the peripheral nervous system is like all the devices on your wireless network – phones, tablets, TVs, and laptops, all sending and receiving signals through the router. When there is an acute injury, local nerves relay pain signals to your brain, letting you know that something has gone wrong so you can give it your attention.
But pain signals don’t always stop after an injury has healed, and the pain may become chronic. This can happen for several reasons, including that the injury hasn’t actually healed, or that the nerve itself has been damaged and is now misfiring. In either case, addressing the nerves or nervous system may bring relief for some patients with chronic back, neck, or joint pain.
Grayson Neurology Services Treatments
Once we have diagnosed a nerve problem, we will devise a treatment plan that may combine several therapies for the best results.
Neurological rehabilitation relies heavily on physical therapy for two reasons. First, it acts as a diagnostic tool to show where your nerve issues have caused damage or decreased function. Then we can use physical therapy to help you strengthen muscles, improve coordination, and regain lost function. Physical therapy can help with the following nerve-related difficulties:
- Lost flexibility in certain muscle groups.
- Reduced dexterity, such as your ability to grip objects or make fine motions with your hands.
- Trouble with balance and coordination, which can lead to difficulty walking or climbing stairs.
- Pain. Exercises that help take pressure off a nerve can reduce your pain. For example, if you have sciatica pain, your physical therapist may help you work on exercises to take the burden off the sciatic nerve.
- Arthritis. Physical therapy can help improve mobility and reduce symptoms of joint pain caused by various kinds of arthritis.
Getting the Most Out of Physical Therapy
Your physical therapist will work hard to help you with exercises and stretching so you can feel better. While these sessions are very important to your recovery, so is the work you do at home. A physical therapist will give you homework, which is usually a list of exercises you should do at home on days that you don’t go to physical therapy. Much of the improvement that you experience comes from doing this homework, so if you don’t do it, your progress will go much more slowly.
Interventional Pain Management Options
If there are any barriers to doing these home exercises, such as pain or a lack of space, please talk with your physical therapist about it. We may be able to prescribe something for the pain or modify the exercises to fit your situation.
In cases where the patient can’t participate in physical therapy or other treatments because of pain or inflammation in the joint, we may prescribe steroid shots to the affected area. This is a very short-term solution, intended to relieve pain long enough for you to do physical therapy and other treatments so the joint can heal. Steroids can have serious side effects, so we use them only briefly and as necessary. In many situations, we first try other options like massage therapy and chiropractic adjustment to see if these can reduce your pain without medication.
This is a field of medicine where we work toward the goal of helping the body heal itself. Our most popular regenerative treatment is called platelet-rich plasma injection, or PRP.
What is Platelet-Rich Plasma, or PRP?
This procedure is done in our office in one visit, so you don’t need to worry about scheduling multiple appointments. First, we’ll take a blood sample from you, and then we’ll place it in a centrifuge. This device spins around, dividing the blood into its components. Plasma is a pale yellow fluid that contains platelets, growth hormones, and bio proteins, which we further separate into platelet-rich plasma and platelet-poor plasma.
Platelet-rich plasma contains the highest concentration of platelets and other compounds that promote healing in the body. As part of your blood, it’s diluted, and only small amounts of these compounds reach an injured joint or muscle at any given time. But PRP is highly concentrated and contains a large amount of these healing components. For this reason, we take the platelet-rich plasma and inject it into the joint, muscle, or ligament that’s causing you pain, where it can help to heal both damaged tissues and nerves.
For example, carpal tunnel syndrome, or CTS, is caused by compression of the median nerve in the wrist. A study on PRP treatment for CTS found that PRP was not only effective for mild to moderate cases of CTS but also better than traditional treatments for reducing pain and restoring function.
E-Stim and TENS Treatments
E-Stim is short for electrical stimulation, and it uses electrical pulses that behave like neurons, or nerve cells. This causes the muscles to contract, helping to improve blood flow in damaged or compressed areas and promote the healing process. Alternatively, it can be used to stimulate nerves, blocking pain signals so they can’t make it through to the brain. In this way, E-Stim can provide pain relief.
TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, a type of E-Stim. A TENS unit is a small electrical device with wires that end in pads. You attach these pads to your skin in the affected area, such as your knee or back, then turn the unit on. It will send electrical impulses through your skin to the joint or muscle in question. These electrical signals interrupt pain signals going to the brain, thus reducing your pain and discomfort.
Are Electrical Impulse Treatments Safe?
Yes. These use low amounts of electricity that are not harmful in most situations. However, you should not use TENS if you have a pacemaker, are pregnant, have epilepsy, or have an overactive bladder condition.
A few people may experience irritation on the skin where they place the TENS unit pads. If this happens, you can order hypoallergenic pads to use instead.
Find Out More About Grayson Neurology Services Today
It can be difficult to know if your pain is caused by a pinched nerve, a damaged muscle, joint damage, or some other cause. The best way to find out, so you can get the treatment you need, is to contact Optimum Health Rehab online or call (678) 985-7286 for an evaluation of your pain and health concerns. Our welcoming staff will assist you with any insurance questions or difficulties, and help you schedule an appointment with one of our specialists. We will then treat your nerve damage and other difficulties that may be causing you pain, using a combination of neurological and other services, including chiropractic care, massage therapy, regenerative medicine, and physical medicine.