We Treat a Wide Array of Chronic and Acute pain Conditions
Our pain management techniques can help you to gain mobility and improvement in quality of life right away. At Southern Coast Spine & Pain Specialists, we provide comprehensive treatment for the cause of your pain, improving your overall ability to heal well. We are the most comprehensive pain management specialists in Summerville, SC.
Our patients consistently find relief from their pain (even after they have tried other doctors and other treatments) due to the wide variety of techniques that we have at our disposal. Don’t let your chronic pain hold you back from life any longer. Let our team at Southern Coast Spine & Pain Specialists find the solution that will work for you.
The spine consists of 26 individual bones that connect to create joints along with supportive tissue like ligaments. All this surrounds nerves that make your body move. It is a complex structure, so several things can go wrong.
Some common spinal conditions include degenerative disc disease, a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, spondylosis, scoliosis, and a spinal fracture. The spine can also be damaged in accidents, trauma, or by disease. Congenital disorders will affect the spine’s structure and its ability to function. It also tends to be a victim of aging.
Diagnosing a spinal disorder starts with a physical exam but may also include imaging and nerve tests such as electromyography (EMG). The treatment will depend on the diagnosis, but some common approaches include lifestyle changes plus medication to reduce inflammation and control pain. Surgery may be necessary to repair part of the spine or relieve pressure on a nerve. Some spinal surgeries replace discs, fuse the vertebrae, or repair the nerves.
Chronic pain is pain that lasts at least three months. It may stop and then come back repeatedly. It is a sign that a problem exists that is not getting better on its own. It’s different from the pain you might have if you stub your toe, for example. With an injury such as that, you have the initial pain; then it may subside to a throb and eventually go away as the toe heals.
Chronic pain relates to something that is not healing, such as a pinched nerve in the back or a disc that is bulging. These problems, along with the pain, will likely exist until you get treatment for them.
Treatment for chronic pain depends on the source. Someone with a burst disc can get a replacement disc or another repair to relieve the pain. Chronic back pain may require surgery to release a pinched nerve. After surgery, it may be necessary to undergo physical therapy or other treatments to completely heal the problem.
Headache pain can include tension at the neck that radiates upward, pounding or throbbing in the temple or behind the eye, or intense burning behind one or both eyes that comes back for days. There are over a hundred different kinds of headaches, and they all have unique symptoms and causes.
Stress, tension, light, sound, disease, trauma — these are all potential causes of head pain. The exact symptoms and treatment will depend on the type of headache. Some common symptoms include sensitivity to light and sound, fatigue, stomach upset and vomiting, and muscle pain in the neck and head. Some people with a headache say even their hair hurts.
Treatments typically offered for chronic headaches include pain medication, massage, biofeedback, stress management, and neck injections. If the headache is a symptom of a medical problem such as a pinched nerve, it is necessary to treat the underlying condition.
Back pain is a widespread problem with various symptoms such as muscle pain, burning, or a stabbing sensation. Back pain can radiate to other areas, such as down the back of the legs, the hips, or groin. It can also lead to bowel or bladder problems when left untreated.
The causes of the pain can be injury or disease. Muscles can tear, for example. Over time, discs, the cushions between the vertebrae, may bulge or break open. Back pain can also be a symptom of diseases like arthritis or osteoporosis. Cancer can also cause back pain.
Treatment would depend on the cause and type of the pain. Medication can help manage back pain while other treatments heal the underlying cause. Treatment can involve drug therapy, lifestyle changes, nonsurgical interventions (such as physical therapy), or surgery to repair or correct a problem.
Arthritis is inflammation and tenderness in joints. It can involve any joint from those that make up the spine to the connections in the fingers and toes. The primary symptoms of arthritis are joint stiffness and pain. There may be swelling around the joint and redness on the skin.
Arthritis is an umbrella term for various types such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The exact cause of the inflammation will depend on the type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is due to the wear and tear of the cartilage in joints like the knee or shoulder. Rheumatoid arthritis is an immune system disease. The immune system attacks the joint capsule’s lining and eventually destroys the cartilage and bone.
Treatment will also depend on the type of arthritis. It will typically involve medication for pain and inflammation. Therapy may help with the stiffness of arthritis. In some cases, surgery is necessary to repair or replace the joint.
Neuropathy is a term that describes damage to nerves. It typically refers to peripheral neuropathy or damage to the peripheral nerves outside the spinal cord and brain, in other words, the nerves in the lower legs, feet, arms, and hands. These nerves send messages to the central nervous system and sensory information to the brain such as pain.
Neuropathy is a symptom of a disease or injury. It may occur due to trauma, infection, metabolic conditions, or exposure to toxins. It may result from an inherited condition, as well. Those who experience neuropathy feel burning, numbness, and tingling in the nerves.
Treatment for neuropathy could include a combination of medications such as pain relievers and anti-seizure drugs and therapies such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). In some cases, surgery is necessary to relieve pressure on the affected nerves.
Fibromyalgia is a condition that leads to widespread musculoskeletal pain along with fatigue, memory problems, and moodiness. The symptoms can start after a trigger, such as physical trauma, infection, surgery, or stress. For some, the condition appears with no trigger.
The condition tends to affect women more than men and can work in concert with other medical problems such as irritable bowel syndrome or temporomandibular joint disorder. The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unclear, and there is no cure. Treatment might involve medications, physical therapy, and counseling. Lifestyle changes may help as well, such as regular exercise and eating right.
Complex Regional Pain
Complex regional pain syndrome is a type of chronic pain that runs down an arm or leg. It typically develops after surgery, injury, stroke, or a heart attack. The pain is usually worse than the initial injury.
Someone with complex regional pain syndrome may also experience swelling, changes in skin temperature and color, sensitivity to cold or heat, and stiffness in the affected limb. There may be tremors and weakness in the limb along with a decreased range of motion.
Treatment for complex regional pain is a combination of medication and therapies. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) can be effective, as is biofeedback, spinal cord stimulation, and intrathecal drug pumps.
Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic condition that affects sensitive areas in muscles. Touching these areas, called trigger points, causes pain and sometimes referred pain (discomfort in an unrelated part of the body). The condition is a side effect of repetitive use of a muscle. The muscle develops tight fibers that create the trigger points.
Treatment includes therapy and medication. Some types of therapies effective for myofascial pain include massage, heat, stretching, and ultrasound. For stubborn pain, the doctor may inject a steroid or numbing agent into the muscle to relieve the pain.
Sciatica is pain that travels down the longest nerve in the body — the sciatic nerve. This nerve starts in the lower back, branches down through the hips and over the buttocks then terminates in each leg.
Sciatic pain can be a symptom of a herniated disc, bone spurs, or spinal stenosis. Someone who experiences this pain will usually feel it on one side or the other. The pain can be mild or sharp and burning. Some also experience numbness in that same leg.
Treatment can include medications to manage pain and inflammation. Steroid injection around the nerve root can help to control chronic pain. For those experiencing bowel or bladder control issues, surgery might be necessary to remove what is irritating the nerve, like a bone spur.
Shingles is an infection of the varicella-zoster virus, which causes chickenpox. The virus can invade the nervous system and remain dormant for years before resurfacing as a painful rash.
Symptoms include a rash, blisters that break open, and itching. Often people with shingles experience nerve pain, tingling, and numbness, as well.
Treatment for shingles would include antiviral drugs and pain-management medications such as tricyclic antidepressants and even narcotics like codeine.
Sports injuries can involve anything from the occasional sprain to chronic pain from a back or neck injury. Contact sports can lead to potential, long-term, severe conditions such as traumatic brain injury or chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
Symptoms will vary based on the injury. People with head injuries may experience chronic headaches, motor dysfunction, and sensory changes. Treatments for sports injuries also depend on the trauma. The therapy might often involve controlling the symptoms, such as managing pain or improving motor functions.
Work injuries that involve the brain or spine can lead to long-term disabilities and chronic pain. A complete assessment helps determine the nature of the damage and source of the pain to create an individualized care plan based on the patient’s needs.
The goal will be to prevent further injuries, manage the symptoms, and allow for healing. That might require medication, therapies, and surgery, depending on the injury type.
Spinal Cord Stimulation
Spinal cord stimulation is an intervention for chronic pain patients when other interventions fail. The surgeon implants a neuromodulation device into the spinal cord. It works like a pacemaker and sends electrical impulses to the spine. Patients use a remote control to send the impulses when they feel pain. Although it’s not clear why this device works, many patients have been able to find relief from their chronic pain. Insertion of the device requires two surgeries: one to test the unit’s effectiveness and placement and a second surgery to implant the device itself.