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Top Ten Stem Cell Treatment Facts

Some people are using stem cell treatments, but many have misconceptions about what that stem cell treatment involves. Here are the top ten stem cell treatment facts that everyone should know.

1. Stem Cell Treatment Has Been Used for Many Years

Stem cell treatment might seem like a new treatment concept for many diseases and injuries, but patients with Leukemia or Lymphoma have been treated with stem cells from bone marrow for the past 30 years.

2. Stem Cell Treatment Has Been Used to Treat Many Conditions

Chronic pain, cancer, brain and spinal cord injury, blindness, deafness, and diabetes are just a few medical conditions that have been treated with stem cell therapy.

3. Stem Cell Treatment Has Changed

The term stem cell can stir up controversy and high emotions, but when looking at the facts these are often misplaced. While embryonic stem cells were used initially in the past, the common stem cell treatments of today use adult stem cells directly from the affected patient.

4. Stem Cell Treatment Uses Stem Cells from the Patient’s Body

Stem cell treatment involves drawing out stem cells from a bone in the patient’s body like the iliac crest (hip bone). This is combined with an FDA approved platelet rich plasma solution. Then this solution (platelet and stem cells) is injected into the affected pain area (such as the lower back).

5. Stem Cell Treatment Can Be Used In Conjunction with Other Treatments

Stem cell treatment can be used after or during other chronic pain treatment plans, like physiotherapy, acupuncture, and medications. A pain management specialist will help patients decide what stem cell treatment plan is best for them.

6. Stem Cell Treatment Can Be Done in Office

Many patients like stem cell treatments because the treatment can be done within a doctor’s office, and the patient does not need to go to the hospital or any special facility to benefit.

TopTenStemCellTreatmentFacts 300x201 Top Ten Stem Cell Treatment Facts

7. Stem Cell Treatment Is Not Painful To Undergo

While a large needle is used for the treatment, the treatment itself is not painful to undergo. The bone (where the stem cells are taken) is numbed beforehand, while the patient can still feel movement in the area, they will not feel pain.

8. Recovery Time is Minimal

Depending on the severity of the chronic pain, the type of treatment, and how well patients follow their doctor’s order to post-treatment and pain management (for example by taking prescribed medications), most patients are able to return to work within a few days of treatment.

9. Full Results of Stem Cell Treatment Can Be Noticed Within Weeks

How long it takes to see results may vary from patient to patient, but most patients will report results, including a decrease in pain, within a few weeks.

10. Stem Cell Treatment Is Continuing to Grow

Doctors and researchers are continuing to perform clinical trials with stem cells for a variety of medical conditions. The future of stem cell treatment and research is wide open.

Stem Cell based therapies are a Viable Option to Address Injuries Causing Chronic Pain

The best medical scientists and medical practitioners are those that are on the leading edge of research and who are willing to explore new options for their clients. Both western medicine and traditional eastern medicines have become partners in addressing issues such as chronic pain. Chronic pain can be quite debilitating, impacting all aspects of a person’s life. For this reason many patients suffering from chronic pain are more open to the idea of alternative methods and are more willing to explore other options. One of these types of alternative methods or treatments is stem cell based therapy.

Stem-cell-based therapies

Stem cells have the potential to cure many human diseases because they are not yet specialized and can become any type of cell in the human body; they are regenerative and can be used as an endless supply of live cells for self-repair. Stem cells are identical biological-cells that can grow into almost any specialized-tissues.

StemCellBasedTherapies 300x224 Stem Cell based therapies are a Viable Option to Address Injuries Causing Chronic Pain

Bone marrow transplants of stem cells have been used for over 30 years to treat cancer patients with leukemia and/or lymphoma. In 2012, stem cell therapy was also conditionally approved for the management of acute graft-vs-host disease in children who are unresponsive to steroids. In 2013, a clinical trial was underway in Scotland, injecting stem cells into the brains of stroke patients, and studies are underway to address the use of stem cell treatment for brain and spinal cord injuries.

New research has been focusing on various uses of stem cell treatments for neurodegenerative diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and other conditions. Trial studies have noted the potential of injecting stem cells into healthy people to help repair cartilage to address physical acute pain, such as that which is caused by knee injuries.

How are stem cells harvested?

One of the greatest controversies around the use of stem cell based treatments is the use of human embryonic stem cells. Opposition to the use of these stem cells is based on moral, religious and often philosophic challenges. It is important to note that not all stem cell research involves the destruction of a human embryo, but involves the use of adult stem cells, amniotic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells.

There are three main ways that stem cells are harvested: from bone marrow, circulating (peripheral) blood or umbilical cord blood. Harvested bone marrow from the pelvic bone provides the most concentrated amount of stem cells (10-100 times more concentrated). Harvesting stem cells from peripheral (circulating) blood is done on an outpatient basis – it takes 3-4 hours and can be repeated over a number of days to collect enough stem cells for a transplant – this is the least effective way to gather stem cells. The last way stem cells are collected is from umbilical cord blood: blood is collected from the umbilical cord shortly after a baby is born. The stem cells are frozen and stored by cord blood banks until they are needed.

Capitol Pain Institute

At Capitol Pain Institute, we are progressive in our approach to treatments, and thus we provide an option for stem-cell-based therapies. Our Founder, Dr. Matthew Schocket, ensures his team is always on the leading edge with respect to knowledge about progressive and innovative pain management. If all other methods do not provide the required results, then we will work with you to ensure you understand all alternative options as well. For more information or to arrange a consultation, contact us at (512) 467-7246.

Shingles Treatments

Shingles What are Shingles and what are the symptoms? Shingles are a very painful skin condition caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV – the same virus that causes chickenpox) that will affect approximately 1 out of 3 people in their lifetime.   Shingles usually starts with itching, tingling, and pain on one side of the body. It most often occurs in the trunk, but may affect the leg or even the face. A very typical blistering rash forms on the skin in the same region 1 to 5 days after the initial symptoms (itching, tingling, pain). The shingles rash will then scab over in about a week and clear up in 2-4 weeks. Associated symptoms may include fever, headache, chills, and upset stomach.   Prevention There is now a vaccine to protect against shingles. The CDC recommends that all patients over the age of 60 receive the vaccine.   Treatment The primary treatment for shingles is an antiviral medication (acyclovir, valacyclovir, or famciclovir) to directly treat the virus. These medications are most effective when taken immediately after the onset of the rash.   Use of these medications also may help prevent post-herpetic neuralgia (severe pain even after the shingles rash goes away). Other treatments may include medications for pain, including NSAIDS, acetaminophen, hydrocodone, or other similar pain relievers.   Nerve pain medications such as tricyclic antidepressants or anticonvulsants may also help control the pain from shingles. If the pain is extremely severe, a nerve block with injected steroids may be recommended by your Austin pain management doctor to help control your pain. Oral steroids have also been used to reduce inflammation from shingles and may help reduce the risk of post-herpetic neuralgia.   Risk of Transmission The varicella virus is highly contagious, so patients with active shingles should avoid pregnant women, children and infants who have not had chickenpox, and people who are immune deficient (like those with cancer, HIV, or who have received an organ transplant). If you have shingles, your Austin Pain Management doctor at Capitol Pain Institute can help! Please call our office at 512-467-7246 to schedule an appointment or contact us now by email to request an appointment.

ADL Austin Torch of Liberty Dinner

Capitol Pain Institute is proud to be an official sponsor of this Thursday’s Anti-Defamation League Event at the Four Seasons in Austin, Texas. “We’re very excited about this and we consider it an honor to be a sponsor for this great event,” said Dr. Matthew Schocket, founder of Capitol Pain Institute.

ADL Austin Torch of Liberty Dinner

Start:
September 18, 2014 6:00 pm
End:
September 18, 2014 10:00 pm
PinExt ADL Austin Torch of Liberty Dinneremail ADL Austin Torch of Liberty Dinner

Join more than 600 community leaders and members at the Four Seasons to honor Susan and Bobby Epstein and Marcia Levy and to celebrate ADL Austin’s many successes in its fight to end discrimination and ensure fair treatment and equality for all.

TORCH OF LIBERTY AWARD DINNER

TORCH OF LIBERTY HONOREES
SUSAN & BOBBY EPSTEIN

AUDREY AND RAYMOND MAISLIN HUMANITARIAN HONOREE
MARCIA LEVY

EVENT CO-CHAIRS
JENNIFER GREENBLUM & JOHNNA JONES
JEFF NEWBERG, ANDY PASTOR, & KIRK RUDY

KEYNOTE SPEAKER
SHARON ROBINSON
Author and Educational Consultant, Major League Baseball

THURSDAY
SEPTEMBER 18, 2014
FOUR SEASONS | AUSTIN, TEXAS

Learn more and register now at http://bit.ly/Yvygqs

Treatment of Painful Diabetic Neuropathy

Finding an effective treatment of painful diabetic neuropathy can be extremely frustrating, both for the individual in pain and for their loved ones desperately trying to find a solution.

Diabetic neuropathy is a nerve disorder caused by high blood glucose and other complications associated with having diabetes for a long time. The resulting nerve damage can be felt as numbness or pain in feet, lower legs, hands or arms. If you have painful diabetic neuropathy (PDN), you may experience that pain as tingling, burning, stabbing, deep aching or greater at the touch—especially at night. Sometimes the pain can come on fast and be severe.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes, most people with diabetes develop some form of neuropathy. It is more common if you have had diabetes for more than 25 years and have problems controlling your blood sugar, have high levels of blood fat and blood pressure, or are overweight.

Treatment

Doctors diagnose diabetic neuropathy based on symptoms and a physical exam. They may check your blood pressure, heart rate, muscle strength, reflexes and sensitivity to position changes, vibration, temperature or light touch. Once diagnosed, treatment can involve:

  1. Control of blood glucose levels

First, blood glucose levels must be brought within the normal range to help prevent further nerve damage. According to a Diabetes Control and Complications Trial, tight control of glucose levels can reduce the incidence of neuropathy by 60%.

  1. Prescribed oral medications

Diabetic Neuropathy 300x225 Treatment of Painful Diabetic NeuropathyBefore you reach for the usual painkillers, it might be worth getting a diagnosis from your doctor. Over-the-counter pain medicines are not recommended: they may not work well for treating nerve pain and can have serious side effects.

You do not have to be depressed for an antidepressant to help relieve your nerve pain; antidepressants are the most common form of treatment. According to the National Institute of Diabetes, drug options include tricyclic antidepressants (e.g. Norpramin, Pertofrane), other antidepressants such as duloxetine (Cymbalta), anticonvulsants such as pregabalin (Lyrica), and various opiods and opioid like drugs. Duloxetine and pregabalin are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration specifically for treating PDN.

  1. Topical medications

Some people experience pain relief with treatments applied to the skin. According to the National Institute of Diabetes, these can include nitrate sprays, capsaicin cream and lidocaine patches (Lidoderm, Lidopain) for the feet, alpha-lipoic acid (an antioxidant) or evening primrose oil.

  1. Therapies and more

Others find that acupuncture, biofeedback or physical therapy help relieve their pain. Less studied options may include electrical nerve stimulation, magnetic therapy and laser or light therapy. However, new clinical trials of therapies happen all the time. Also, if your feet and legs are very sensitive to the touch, then a device called a bed cradle can help keep sheets and blankets away from the skin.

Treatment of painful diabetic neuropathy is complex and may involve a combination of medications or treatments. Patient suitability, benefits and potentially adverse side effects need to be considered for any treatment, but there is hope.

Get help by contacting us at the Capitol Pain Institute in Texas. Doctors here are pain management specialists, equipped to diagnose your specific condition and to find the most effective pain relief treatment to help relieve your pain. Instead of sitting there in pain, start to reclaim your life by booking an appointment now!

The Two Faces of Pain: Acute and Chronic

Living with pain has a debilitating impact on people. Whether this pain is associated with a previous injury or a result of a disease, it is important to understand where it comes from, how to address it, and how to explain it to those closest to you. Let us explore the two faces of pain: acute and chronic.

Acute pain

Acute pain is pain that lasts less than 3 to 6 months, or pain directly related to an injury or tissue damage. This type of pain consists of acute chronic pain texas 300x171 The Two Faces of Pain: Acute and Chronicthat which is associated with small burns, smashing fingers or limbs, labor pains, etc. Acute pain is most often a symptom of injured or diseased tissue – as it heals, the pain would normally recede. The medical treatment, thereby focuses on healing the underlying causes, such as torn muscles, etc. The longer and more intense the pain becomes, the more likely it will become a less acute pain and a more likely chronic pain, which then requires more analysis and often more proactive and long-term medical assistance.

Chronic pain

Chronic pain, in most instances is considered a disease state – it has outlasted the normal time of healing associated with an initial injury and therefore it is often hard to diagnose where it has come from and whether it will have a defined end point. This is pain that lasts longer than 6 months. For all these reasons, the diagnosis behind chronic pain may take more time and is more complex, relying on a multidisciplinary approach.

In chronic pain, the nervous system may be sending a pain signal even though there is no ongoing tissue damage. The nervous system itself misfires and creates the pain. In such cases, the pain is the disease rather than a symptom of an injury. Long-term sicknesses that could result in chronic pain include multiple sclerosis, inflammatory disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, degenerative diseases like osteoporosis or osteoarthritis, and cancer.

Continuing conditions that may be the reason for chronic pain include peripheral neuropathy such as carpal tunnel syndrome, sinus headaches, migraine, and ear infections. Initial injuries like a sprain, along with back pain, heel pain, sciatica, and Achilles tendonitis may also become chronic. This pain is certainly much less understood than acute pain, partly due to its complexity.

Capital Pain Institute

At Capitol Pain Institute, we work with you to determine what type of pain you are dealing with and how we can help you create a pain management plan. Dr. Matthew Schocket founded the Capitol Pain Institute to provide progressive and innovative pain management in Austin and central Texas.

The patient experience here at the Capitol Pain Institute begins with a face-to-face consultation with one of our pain management physicians.  During this initial visit, a unique treatment plan is designed based on the specific individual needs of each patient. Your role in this plan is vital as it has to fit you and your needs. With our multidisciplinary approach, we are able to look at rehabilitation programs, psychological therapy, and physical therapy in order to offer you a comprehensive treatment plan. For more information or to arrange a consultation, contact us at help@capitolpain.com.

Patient Testimonial – “Filtered” Yelp Reviews

Since Yelp has decided to filter our reviews, we have decided to post their filtered reviews to our website so that everyone can decide for themselves which reviews are useful (instead of Yelp doing it for you).  These reviews are copied and pasted directly from the Yelp “not-recommended” page.

  • 60s Patient Testimonial   Filtered Yelp Reviews
    • L W.
    • Austin, TX
    • 0 friends
    • 18 reviews

    7/30/2014

    I have been a patient of Dr. Schocket and Capitol Pain Institute for almost three years now. Before that, I suffered with terrible pain, neuropathy and restless leg syndrome my entire life. Exhausting every recommended medicine available and every general practitioner left me hopeless and tired. After being referred to Dr. Schocket, I was immediately taken in, evaluated and treated. He is a caring doctor and very knowledgeable about a wide-range of medications and treatments. It wasn’t long after my initial appointment with Dr. Schocket that I finally found relief with a combination of effective medication. Each time I visit, I’m treated with the utmost concern. I love CPI so much, that I actually commute from Cypress after we moved because I’m unwilling to give up Dr. Schocket’s expertise and his practice. The only negative thing I could say would be the long wait times, but within the last 6 months, CPI has relaunched their scheduling program and I’ve been in and out each time in 30 minutes or less. CPI is nothing close to being a pill-mill or some kind of junkie pharmacy like some of the other reviews claim. They’ve been crystal clear about the law and what’s allowed and expected of us as patients from Day One. There’s nothing lax, or unprofessional about it. I highly recommend CPI and Dr. Schocket to anyone frustrated with chronic pain!

     

EMG & NCS: What do all these letters mean to the patient?

EMG & NCS: What do all these letters mean to the patient?

EMG & NCS. At first glance, the name of this study can easily confuse a patient. However, once it is broken down into its components, the words explain themselves. Electro-myo-graphy and Nerve Conduction Studies are, as the names state, electrical studies of the muscle “myo” and nerves. In a normal muscle, the electrical signal or waveform that is produced has a certain onset or latency, size or amplitude, duration, appearance, and sound. In muscles innervated by damaged nerves, the latency of the nerve may be delayed, amplitude may be abnormally large or small, and the clinician may hear certain sounds produced which indicate acute or chronic damage.

During the day-to-day routine in the clinical setting, we try to determine if a patient would benefit from an EMG/NCS through the process outlined below.

On our first evaluation of a patient, he or she may report numbness or tingling in one, two or all extremities with or without any pain complaints. At this point, the clinician should inquire about the duration of the patient’s symptoms, and exactly what areas are affected by the symptoms. Some of these questions may include:

  • What time of day are symptoms present?
  • Is the numbness and tingling worse at night or early mornings?
  • Is the numbness and tingling related to certain activities?
  • Are there any medications which alleviate the symptoms?

 

After obtaining the appropriate initial history, it is essential to review the patient’s medical history, as certain medical conditions can cause neuropathy affecting the sensory function of the nerves (which allow the patient to feel certain sensations). These medical conditions include diabetes, hypothyroidism, connective tissue disease, and alcohol consumption, among several others.

A thorough history is often followed by a physical examination of the patient, during which the clinician will focus on range of motion, muscle strength, muscle atrophy, and changes in sensation.

Once the determination is made that a patient has a clinical picture consistent with possible nerve damage, the EMG/NCS study is scheduled. The test generally starts with the NCS, or nerve conduction studies portion and involves the patient lying flat on a comfortable table. Then, grounding and recording wires, which are attached to gel-covered stickers, are placed directly on the skin. Therefore, it is essential that the patient does not apply any lotions or oils to the area to be tested. An electrical stimulator is applied to the skin, and then the patient feels a tingling sensation. Subsequently, a waveform is recorded from the particular nerve being tested, for the clinician to view and evaluate.

The second portion of the exam is the EMG, or electromyography, and focuses on testing the electrical activity of the muscle. A small, acupuncture sized needle is inserted into a particular muscle, and the clinician evaluates the size, shape, and sound of the signal. Based on the results of this evaluation, the clinician can diagnose a nerve problem in the arms, legs, or spine.

In summary, EMG & NCS is useful in the diagnosis of several conditions. Some of these include compressed nerves in the arms or legs (eg. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome), peripheral neuropathy (eg. Diabetic Neuropathy), and pinched nerves in the neck and back (radiculopathy). As with any diagnostic study, the findings of an EMG/NCS should be incorporated into the patient’s entire clinical picture.

Watch the video below to know what to expect during your EMG & NCS test.

Back Pain: Spondylosis, Spondylolysis, and Spondylolisthesis

Have you read your MRI report recently and ended up more confused about your low back pain than before you began? If so, you are not alone.  The medical terms for low back problems confuse many medical professionals who don’t deal with these issues on a regular basis.  The purpose of this post is to help explain what is going on with your back, so that you can make a more informed decision on which treatments to choose.

The 3 main terms we are going to discuss are spondylosis, spondylolysis, and spondylolisthesis.  Each is defined below and a general discussion of treatment options follows.

Spondylosis refers to degenerative osteoarthritis of the spine – essentially the space between adjacent spinal vertebrae narrows. Because this condition commonly occurs in the zygapophysial (facet) joints or the intervertebral discs, it is often referred to as facet syndrome or degenerative disc disease.

Spondylolysis is a defect of a vertebra in the pars interarticularis – most typically a stress fracture that is caused by repetitive trauma done to the lumbar spine from strenuous sports such as football, weightlifting, cheerleading, or gymnastics.  Spondylolysis is also linked to certain inherited spinal anatomy (increased size and shape of the L4 superior articular process).

Spondylolisthesis is the displacement of a vertebra, most commonly occurring after a break or fracture.  There are 2 common forms of spondylolisthesis.

Isthmic (spondylolytic) spondylolisthesis is the most common form, with a reported prevalence of 5–7 percent in the US population. It usually progresses from spondylolysis over time.

Degenerative spondylolisthesis develops as a long-term result of progressive spondylosis. Facet arthritis and ligamentum flavum weakness may result in slippage of a vertebrae. Degenerative forms are more likely to occur in women, persons older than fifty, and African-Americans.

Symptoms:

Spondylosis, spondylolysis, or spondylolisthesis can cause stiffness and pain in the spine (lower back pain or neck pain), however, when severe, the narrowing may cause pressure or compression of the nerve roots.  Compression of a nerve root emerging from the spinal cord may result in radiculopathy (sensory disturbances, such as severe pain, weakness, or tingling in the neck, shoulder, arm, back, and/or leg, possibly accompanied by muscle weakness).

Treatments:

Treatment begins with conservative therapy including: physical therapy (including yoga and pilates), anti-inflammatory medications, epidural steroid injections, facet joint injections, radiofrequency ablation, massage therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic care.  Often a back brace will help patients, especially those with spondylolisthesis to perform certain activities with less pain.

If there is nerve root irritation or nerve root compression causing radiculopathy that is not improved with conservative care, decompression surgery may be very effective in relieving the pain.  Fusion surgery is a poor option for the treatment of spondylosis, but may be considered for severe cases of spondylolisthesis.

Regenerative medicine has recently emerged for spondylosis and spondylolysis.  There are several reports of long-term successful treatment of low back pain with both PRP (platelet rich plasma) therapy or stem cell treatments.

For those interested, I have included a video with some excellent exercises for low back pain.

Fast facts: Are you at an Increased Risk for Back Pain?

An important question that is frequently put to our back pain management specialists here at the Capitol Pain Institute is whether there are certain jobs or lifestyles that increase the risk of back pain. The simple answer to this question is that it is not professions or lifestyles that influence back pain probability, but due to a wide specter of reasons. Statistics show that most adults would, at one time or another during their lifetime, experience a severe case of back pain, especially lower back pain. There is even evidence to show that a quarter of Americans may have a relapse of severe back pain once a quarter. These people come from different creeds, have different day-to-day routines and so forth, yet are united by this worrying statistic. Suffice it to say that back pain leads to more work missed than any other occupational disability.

Why does back pain occur?

Back Pain 225x300 Fast facts: Are you at an Increased Risk for Back Pain?As mentioned before, there are plenty of factors that can influence the appearance of back pain. There is the excessive strain put on muscles and ligaments, injury due to a car accident or workplace incident, nerve irritation and so on and so forth. A key point to remember about back pain is that it is not always a manifestation of something wrong with the back per se, as back pain can be a direct manifestation and symptom of other health issues. Back pain in itself is a very broad term that includes both the symptoms of various injuries and the elements of deeper health concerns. Neck and back strain, unusual physical activity, direct and indirect injury, shock, uncomfortable posture can all contribute to the formation of back pain.

What causes increased risk of back pain?

The non-exhaustive list above should provide some direction in terms of activities and occupations that may be closely linked with greater risk of back pain. There are, of course, ways to try and avoid this back pain. Our back pain doctor in Austin at the Capitol Pain Institute recommend abstaining from physical activity that is not at par with your usual level of strain on your muscles and ligaments. They also recommend taking it slow when pain does occur, as forcing yourself past the mild irritating pain can lead to much greater consequences. What our doctors stress, however, is that it is usually very difficult to pinpoint the exact reasons for a particular back pain incident. Given the interconnectivity and complexity of the human nervous system, most of the time no one factor can be attributed to increased back pain risk. Nerve entrapment, muscular injury, herniated disks, joint erosion are all named as possible causes of back pain, but caution is urged when trying to link the condition to just one of the aforementioned issues.

How we can help

No online chat or discussion can substantiate a visit to meet with our trained medical professionals in person. Diagnosis should never be given out online, and the materials you would find here are for informational purposes only, thus we encourage you to contact our doctors at the Capitol Pain Institute today to book an up and personal review of your individual situation.