Prescott’s Leading Group of Subspecialty Radiologists
Vascular Specialists and Interventional Radiologists Provide Specialized Care for Prescott’s Community
About Vascular and Interventional Specialists of Prescott
Vascular & Interventional Specialists of Prescott (VISP) has been a part of the Prescott medical community and serving patients since 2010. We are a group of subspecialty radiologists that perform numerous minimally-invasive, low-risk procedures using the tools of our trade for guidance—x-ray, ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI. Our goal is to educate the public and medical community, then diagnose and treat people in the safest, most compassionate way, with rapid recovery times and low risk of complications.
Meet Our Doctors
The physicians at VISP offer a vast background and thorough experience in diagnostic and interventional radiology, specializing in minimally invasive procedures using image guidance. The subspecialty group also provides therapeutic treatment through specific procedures to help alleviate chronic and severe back pain.
Click here to learn more about the specialties of Dr. Dicker, Dr. Lloyd, and Dr. Paxton.
- Back – VISP offers an array of therapies to treat chronic and severe back pain such as caudal epidurals, nerve block procedures, sciatica epidurals, injections similar to a cortisone injection, and vertebral cement augmentation.
- Arterial – The physicians at VISP are vascular specialists who work with patients with peripheral vascular disease (PVD) or peripheral arterial disease (PAD) to provide treatments to correct narrowed or blocked vessels to ease blood circulation throughout the body.
- Vein – Patients will see our varicose vein specialists for top-level care to treat uncomfortable and painful varicose veins, spider veins and reticular veins. Vein ablation procedures are nonsurgical and provide a quick recovery time.
- Cancer – The interventional specialists at VISP perform specific cancer therapy treatments to help shrink the size of tumors in cancer patients. Learn more here about the types of therapies offered.
- Epidurals – An epidural injection is a method to deliver pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory medicine to the epidural layer of the spine. VISP physicians use epidurals often to relieve severe back pain and chronic back pain in their patients.
- Nerve Blocks – Nerve block injections are used to alleviate pain by way of turning off the pain signal to the brain. The doctors at VISP use the nerve block procedure often in patients who are experiencing debilitating pain in their bodies. Learn more about the procedure here.
- Other – There are many procedures that we do at VISP with precision and care including implanting MediPorts, J Tube Placements, PICC Lines, IVC Filter Placement and Removal, Biopsies, and more.
Conditions We Treat
The hardworking and diligent team of physicians at VISP performs an array of diagnostic testing, procedures and treatment options for many conditions. Area physicians often refer to us because we are well-known and trusted to provide the best in care for our patients who are experiencing the following:
How Long Do Epidural Injections Last for Back Pain?
How Long Do Epidural Injections Last for Back Pain? Did you know that back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide? In the United States alone, it is one of the most common reasons for missed work. Some people suffering from back troubles prefer minimally invasive pain relief approaches such as epidural steroid injections (ESI). When administered within the epidural space, the injection can help reduce inflammation around the spinal cord and nerves. Although it is primarily used as a temporary pain reliever, steroid injections in conjunction with therapeutic exercise can prevent patients from undergoing surgical back procedures. But how long does it take for an epidural steroid injection to wear off? And how effective are they? Read on to find out. Epidural Steroid Injections An epidural steroid injection (also known as epidural corticosteroid injections) is a noninvasive procedure to relieve neck, back, and leg pain. The pain is usually due to the inflammation of the spinal nerves. The injection delivers steroid medication (cortisone) to the irritated nerve roots within the epidural space (the fat-filled area between the bone and protective sac of the nerves). The anesthetics stop the pain-spasm-pain cycle, while the steroid reduces the irritation in the treatment area. Candidates For Epidural Steroid Injections Patients with neck, arm, leg, and low back pain are recommended to take epidural steroid injections, especially if they have the following conditions: Spinal Stenosis Spinal stenosis when the spaces between your spinal and nerve root canal become narrow. The narrowing puts pressure on the nerves and causes pain in the back, especially when walking. Spondylolisthesis Spondylolisthesis is a spinal condition that occurs when a vertebra slips out of place onto the one below it. Disc herniation A herniated or slipped disc happens when the cushion-like soft disks between your vertebrae slip out of place or become damaged and press on your nerves. Degenerative Disc Disease Degenerative disc disease is an age-related condition that occurs when a disc between your spinal vertebrae deteriorates, loses fluid, and shrinks. Weakness, numbness, and pain radiating down the legs are associated with this condition. Sciatica Epidural steroid injections are commonly used for leg and low back pain caused by spinal nerves. This type of pain is known as sciatica which occurs when there’s a pinched or compressed nerve root in the lower back, which radiates down to the buttock, thigh, legs, or foot. Potential Benefits of Epidural Steroid Injection Epidural steroid injections can provide temporary pain relief to patients with acute leg or low back problems. When administered in the lumbar epidural space, a steroid injection may have the following benefits: Reduce nerve pain and inflammation Epidural injections reduce the production of inflammatory chemicals and improve the ability of nerve fibers to manage back, neck, and leg pain. Limit oral medication The steroid injections provide pain relief to minimize the need for oral over-the-counter medications that may pose severe side effects in the long run. Continue or re-engage in physical therapy If you’re undergoing a rehabilitative physical therapy program, your doctor may administer a steroid injection to provide sufficient pain relief. Postpone surgery An injection in the lumbar epidural space can allow you to postpone or eliminate the need for a surgical procedure, especially if you combine the medication with physical therapy. Possible Side Effect of Epidural Injections The common, and usually not serious, side effects of epidural injections include: NauseaHeadacheDizzinessFainting due to anxiety from the procedure (vasovagal attack)Flushing of the face These side effects will eventually subside after a few hours of rest. Cold therapy using ice packs can reduce any post-treatment pain and swelling. The serious risks of the injection are as follows: Infection The medication can infect the brain, spinal cord, or other areas near the injection site. Epidural abscess (pus build-up in the epidural space)Meningitis (inflammation of the fluid and meninges surrounding the brain and spinal cord)Osteomyelitis or discitis (disc infection)Soft tissue abscess (bacteria build-up within the soft tissues at the site of injection) Bleeding If not administered properly, an epidural injection can damage the arteries and cause bleeding within the soft tissues, epidural space, and spinal membranes. Your doctor must be cautious of a possible blood clot. Dural puncture Improper administration of the epidural injection can cause dural puncture or the leakage of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) through the dural tear into the epidural space. Cardiovascular system (heart) complications Epidural steroid injections can cause low blood pressure and heart rate for some patients. Local anesthetic risks Damages in the central nervous system or cardiovascular system can happen if the injection containing local anesthetic enters a blood vessel. Nerve damage The injection can damage neighboring nerves and cause loss of sensation, seizure, and cauda equina syndrome. Risks associated with particulate steroids Steroids may lump together, build up in the blood vessels, and reduce blood flow in the spinal cord. The risks are more likely to occur to patients with allergic reactions to steroids or local anesthetic, and those who are over 50 years old. To maximize the pain relief benefits of epidural steroid injection and avoid complications, make sure to consult only with your trusted radiology, orthopedic, anesthetic, or neurology specialists and be honest with your current health conditions. More FAQs About Epidural Steroid Injection How often can you get epidural injections for back pain? Patients with mild low back pain can get one to two injections, with 1-4-week intervals to achieve the full effect. Those with chronic back pain can receive injections at 3-6 months intervals. It isn’t recommended to receive more than 3 shots in the same spot within 12 months. It’s best to consult your doctor if your symptoms are unchanged after receiving steroid injections. Why is the pain worse after taking epidural steroid injections? There may be a slight increase in pain or weakness as the numbing medicine wears off before the steroid starts to take effect. How long do epidural injections last for back pain? Most patients with back conditions can resume full physical activity the next day after getting epidural steroid injections. Depending on the patient’s condition, this treatment option can relieve pain for several days or years. Epidural injections are done together with physical therapy and/or other exercise programs to reinforce back muscles and prevent future inflammation. Who Can Administer Epidural Injections? If you’re suffering from back problems, epidural injections can be the best choice for you. To minimize the risk of complications, consult only with the right doctor. Remember that only qualified physicians such as physiatrists (PM&R), radiologists, anesthesiologists, neurologists, and surgeons can administer the injection. If you need a medical consultation for your body pain problems, VISP – Vascular and Interventional Specialists of Prescott is here to help you. Our expert radiologists can administer you with epidural steroid injection and prescribe you other pain relief methods according to your condition! Visit our website to know more about our services, or call us at 928.771.8477 to book an appointment today.
5 Signs of Deep Vein Thrombosis
Do you feel any pain and swelling in your lower leg, thigh, or pelvis? Do you have any existing conditions that may cause blood clots? If yes, you have to be careful of getting deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition in which a blood clot forms in the deep veins in your body. The condition usually occurs on the legs, thigh, or pelvis, and causes pain and swelling. The blood clot forms if you don’t move for a long time, such as when you’re on bed rest or sitting for long periods. Deep vein thrombosis needs serious medical attention. Blood clots in leg veins can break loose, pass through your bloodstream, stay in your lungs, and block proper blood flow (also known as pulmonary embolism). Read on to find more about the signs of deep vein thrombosis and how you can treat it. 5 Signs of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) People who are over 60, smoking, overweight, or tend to sit or lie in the bed for long periods, should be extra careful of getting a deep vein thrombosis. Seek medical attention from experts immediately if you see these common signs and symptoms of deep vein thrombosis: Leg pain that starts in your calf and worsens when bending your footSwelling and tendernessSkin warmness in the affected leg and other areasCrampsRedness or discoloration of the affected skin (can also be bluish or whitish) The Warning Signs of DVT Aside from the abovementioned symptoms of DVT, you have to be extra careful if you also get these warning signs: Sudden coughing (with blood)Sharp, painful, or tight chestPainful shoulder, back, jaw, or armShortness of breath, which may be difficult and painfulLightheadedness, dizziness, or worse, faintingFast heartbeatRapid pulse Call 911 or proceed to an emergency room right away. These are warning symptoms of pulmonary embolism (PE), one of the life-threatening complications of DVT. Pulmonary embolism occurs when your blood clot breaks free, travels to your lungs, and blocks your blood flow. Health problems like pulmonary embolism can be deadly and need emergency medical attention. DVT Complications Post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS) happens to about one-third or one-half of DVT patients. This long-term complication occurs when the blood clot damages the valves in the vein. Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is the most severe complication of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and is associated with PTS. VTE is the combination of pulmonary embolism (PE) and DVT. This happens when the blood clots break off and pose damages to your lungs and blood flow. A small blood clot is still manageable with urgent and appropriate treatment. VTE patients with this condition can still recover. However, large blood clots can be fatal. Your blood may not reach your lungs, hence the life-threatening damage and the PTS. In addition to the common symptoms of DVT, severe PTS patients can experience scaling or ulcers, and worse, getting disabled. Risk Factors for Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Certain risk factors can increase your chances of suffering from deep venous thrombosis (DVT), including: Vein Injury Vein injuries caused by fractures, muscle injuries, or surgical procedures in the abdomen and lower parts of the body are among the risk factors for DVT. Poor Blood Circulation Poor blood circulation slows down the flow of blood in the body and increases your risk of DVT. The condition occurs when: You’ve been confined to bed for long periodsYou have limited lower body movement, orYou are suffering from paralysis Increased Estrogen Production Increase your estrogen production may also increase your risk of developing DVT in your legs. If you’re under birth control pills, hormone therapy, or if you’re pregnant, always keep in touch with your doctor regarding your health condition. Chronic Medical Conditions Heart disease, lung complications, cancer, and inflammatory bowel illnesses can also increase your chances of having blood clots in your leg veins and the risk of getting DVT. Other Health Conditions You can be exposed to certain DVT symptoms if you have these health conditions: Prior DVT or PE experienceDVT, PE, or blood clotting family historyOld ageWeight problems, including obesityCentral Venous Catheter Smoking and Unhealthy Lifestyle Similar to other diseases, people with unhealthy lifestyles and smoking habits are prone to DVT. Always do a regular health check-up to avoid unwanted complications. Your doctor will provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment whenever appropriate. DVT Prevention Just like other medical concerns, you can still prevent DVT by doing the following: Move around carefully after your bed confinement due to surgery, sickness, or injury.For patients with a family history of DVT, PE, and blood clotting, discuss your health condition with your healthcare provider to monitor any symptoms. Your doctor may recommend you the following:Usage of graduated compression stockings (medical compression stockings) as part of your compression therapyAnticoagulant (blood-thinning medications)Exercise regularly and avoid sitting for long periodsMaintain a healthy weight and lifestyleAvoid Smoking Treatment of DVT After you’ve been diagnosed with DVT, your doctor will advise you to undergo any of these treatments: Anticoagulant (blood-thinner) medicinesVena cava filter in your tummy to trap and stop the blood clot from traveling to your heart and lungs (in case the anticoagulants don’t work)Surgery for severe cases Schedule A DVT Consultation Now! Do you have any DVT symptoms in your legs or other parts of the body? Don’t ignore them! Even if the signs are still mild or moderate, ignoring them will only make it worse. DVT is a serious condition. Worst case scenario could be fatal. However, taking appropriate measures can help you prevent or recover from it. Consult your doctor or go to the nearest hospital immediately to conduct the right treatment procedures for your condition. Don’t delay seeking medical attention to avoid more danger and lengthier recovery time. If you need a medical consultation for deep vein thrombosis or other vascular problems, VISP – Vascular and Interventional Specialists of Prescott is here to help you. We have safe and top-level care treatment for various vascular problems with quick recovery time! Visit our website to know more about our services, or call us at 928.771.8477 to book an appointment today. Have you had a blood clot or DTS before? Share your experience in the comments section below!
7 Reasons To See A Vein Specialist
7 Reasons To See A Vein Specialist Think your vein problems are just a cosmetic issue? Vein specialists say no. More than 30 million Americans suffer from venous disease, but only 10 percent seek treatment for it, according to the Society for Vascular Medicine. About 20% of all adults will get varicose vein disorders, a type of vascular disease, at some point in their lives. And although these diseases are more common to older people, younger ones can have them too. Sometimes, a vein disease can go unnoticed until it gets serious and dangerous. So, if you see any minimal signs of venous problems, don’t hesitate to consult a vein specialist before it gets worse. Here are the signs that you need to see a vein doctor soon! 7 Signs That You Need To See A Vein Specialist 1. Leg Discomfort Do you feel any burning, throbbing, heaviness, or pain in your legs? These discomfort symptoms indicate that you need vein treatment from a vein doctor. Heavy legs, in particular, is one of the most significant signs of vascular problems such as chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). CVI is usually caused by blood clots and varicose veins. While it may not be a serious condition at first, it could lead to serious complications later on such as venous stasis ulcers and other circulatory system problems. 2. Vein Discoloration Another sign of possible vein disease is vein discoloration. The discoloration indicates that the blood is pooling due to venous insufficiency. This sign is most common to those with varicose veins and spider veins. The discoloration usually occurs in the abdomen, legs, and feet when blood pools in the vessels instead of flowing back to the heart. Because of the blood pooling, the pressure inside the blood vessels tends to build up until a vessel leaks. Vein discoloration can be a result of other vascular diseases aside from varicose veins and spider veins. Skin discoloration changes associated with any vein disease include: Red and darker skinThick, hard, scaly skinSwellingLeg ulcers Ask your trusted vein doctor for the diagnosis and treatment options if you noticed any discoloration in your veins. 3. Swelling Blood pooling can cause fluid to leak out of the vein and into the surrounding tissues and cause swelling. Swelling is one of the common symptoms of varicose vein conditions. Individuals with vascular diseases may experience swelling on either one side or both sides of the body. It’s best to consult and get a varicose vein treatment procedure right away from your trusted vein specialist. The doctor can also diagnose other vascular conditions related to your swelling symptoms. 4. Prolonged Pain Prolonged pain is common for people with vein diseases. You’ll feel an increasing pain the longer you stand or sit. Exercising can allow the blood to flow better and relieve the pain. Walking at least 30 minutes to one hour daily can support your circulatory system. If you can’t walk, you can opt for calisthenics exercises such as squatting. If exercising does not relieve the pain, schedule an appointment with a vein doctor immediately. If you’re someone who feels extreme discomfort in doing physical activities, vein doctors can provide you with the right varicose vein treatment options and find other threats in your veins. 5. Twisted Veins Twisted or gnarled veins are among the signs of venous insufficiency and varicose veins. Veins that are twisted and swollen are twice more common to women than men. Varicose veins can expose you to great dangers when a proper treatment plan isn’t done early. It’s best to seek medical advice from a vein specialist to help you with your vein issues before they get worse. 6. Chronic Skin Itching Got a frustrating itch that just wouldn’t go away? That could be a sign that you’re suffering from vein disease. CVI can sometimes cause your veins to itch, and the frustrating part is that you can’t scratch your veins. Hence, you’ll feel more irritated with the itching that can’t be relieved by continuous scratching. Vein doctors can help you alleviate this problem. Call and book an appointment with your trusted specialist immediately if you experience any prolonged itching so they can give you the right treatment procedures. 7. Bleeding Varicose Veins The varicose veins near your skin’s surface can bleed if you cut or bump your leg. You can stop an emergency bleeding if you lie down, raise your leg, and apply direct pressure to the wound. However, stopping the bleeding can be difficult if you’re not fully aware of the right procedure. Call for immediate medical treatment if the bleeding persists. Types of Vein Doctors You’ll need to consult a vein doctor if you have any of the above conditions. However, you have to remember that there are different types of vein doctors for various vascular problems. The three types of vein doctors are vascular surgeons, phlebologists, and vein specialists. Like other doctors, they have different training specialties and skills. Read on to learn more about them: Vascular Surgeon Vascular surgeons are American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) board-certified physicians that are specifically trained to do both the vascular surgery and post-operative medical care management of patients suffering from various vascular diseases. They are best-suited to diagnose and manage simple and complex vein diseases, including vein surgeries using minimally invasive techniques. Phlebologist A phlebologist is a medically qualified doctor specializing in diagnosing and treating patients with specific disorders in your veins such as spider veins, clotting, leg ulcers, vascular birthmarks, and other related vascular conditions. Phlebologists are limited only to the cosmetic treatment of varicose veins. Unlike a vascular surgeon, they aren’t trained to manage invasive vascular surgery, as well as post-operative care to their patients. If you’re looking for a phlebologist, you have to take note that their only requirement for obtaining their certification is a written examination. They have incomplete training as an expert in vascular management. It’s better to find out if they have ABMS recognized specialties like interventional cardiology or vascular surgery before booking an appointment. Vein Specialist A vein specialist has an ABMS board certification in invasive cardiology, vascular surgery, and interventional radiology. These specialists went through intensive residency training before achieving their board certification. Vein specialists also have interventional specialties with unique minimally invasive skills that they acquired from various rigorous training programs. Consult a Vein Specialist Now! Do you have any of those vascular disease symptoms? Even if the signs are still mild or moderate, ignoring them will only increase your problems later on. Consult a licensed specialist immediately to conduct the right treatment procedures for your condition. Don’t delay seeking medical advice to avoid more danger and lengthier recovery time. If you need a medical consultation for your vascular problems, VISP – Vascular and Interventional Specialists of Prescott is here to help you. We have top-level care treatment and minimally invasive procedures for various vascular problems with quick recovery time! Visit our website to know more about our services, or call us at 928.771.8477 to book an appointment today. Have you undergone treatment from a vein specialist? Share your experience in the comments section below!
7 Home Remedies for Pinched Nerve In Neck
7 Home Remedies for Pinched Nerve In Neck Are you experiencing any tingling, numbness, pain in your neck lately? Do you feel any pins-and-needles sensations on your nape? You might have a pinched nerve in your neck. Cervical radiculopathy or pinched nerves occurs when nerves are damaged and compressed. It arises when a nerve root becomes injured or inflamed. A herniated or slipped disk is also one of the causes of this pain. It happens when the cushion-like soft disks between your vertebrae slip out of place or become damaged and press on your nerves. This neck pain is often the result of sudden lifting, twisting, or bending. Pinched nerves may course through your shoulders and arms. Studies have shown that pinched nerves affect approximately 85 out of every 100,000 adults in the United States each year. Although it is most common for adults aged 50-54, many middle-aged people also experience this. Cervical radiculopathy may need serious medical attention if not treated right away. Read on to find out more about it and how you can remediate it immediately at home. What Does a Pinched Nerve in the Neck Feel Like? Signs and symptoms of a pinched nerve include: Sharp, aching, or burning pain in the arm and shouldersTingling, pins and needles sensationsWorsening pain when you move your neck or turn your headMuscle weakness, especially with certain activities How to Prevent a Pinched Nerve? Although pinched nerves are associated with age-related degeneration of the spinal cord, you can still adjust your lifestyle to prevent neck pains and injuries. Here are some tips to avert it: Practice good posture, especially when sitting or looking at a computerSleep on a comfortable mattress and pillowExercise regularly to keep your joints loose and flexibleWear a seatbelt whenever you travel in a carAvoid diving into shallow waterWear suitable protective gears when exercising and doing any sports activities How Do You Fix a Pinched Nerve in Your Neck at Home? Fortunately, there are many ways you can do to relieve the pain of a pinched nerve without the hassle of surgeries and serious medications. Try these seven home remedies: 1. Rest and Sleep Getting extra sleep and rest is effective in relieving many mild body pains, including nerve pinches. Avoid physical activities that may increase your pain and overuse your nerves, such as lifting heavy objects, high-impact sports, and high-intensity and high-speed exercises. Sleeping also heals nerves as the body repairs itself during sleep. Getting enough rest and sleep also helps the body reduce symptoms quicker. 2. Adjustment of Posture A pinched nerve also occurs when you have a poor posture. An incorrect posture when you sit or stand causes unnecessary stress on your body and may lead to damages on the spinal cord, muscles, eventually, a pinched nerve. Adjust your posture in a position that will help you feel better. Use cushions, adjustable chairs, or neck rests too to help you relieve pressure on the nerve and allow it to heal. 3. Switch to an Ergonomic Workstation Adjusting your workstation at home may help you reduce neck pain. Use an ergonomic computer set, chair, and table to help reduce pressure on your hand, wrists, and back. A standing workstation can also keep your spine moving and flexible to lessen back pains. 4. Ice and Heat Compress You can use either a hot or cold compress to reduce body swelling and inflammation. Apply a hot pack or heating pads directly onto the pinched nerve for 10-15 minutes at a time. This method relaxes tight muscles around a pinched nerve and increases blood flow, which is vital in the healing process. You can also apply ice packs to reduce swelling and inflammation. Just hold the cold compress directly onto the pinched nerve for 10-15 minutes. 5. Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and aspirin, also decrease swelling and relieve the pain of minor pinched nerves. These pain relievers are available for purchase over-the-counter or online. For safety concerns, it is highly recommended that you seek medical advice from your doctor first before taking new medications. 6. Splint Wearing a splint when you got a nerve pinched is one of the standard treatments to heal the affected area and prevent further damages. A splint is also helpful to prevent any irritation when you sleep at night. 7. Physical Therapy Getting a massage may help to reduce pain numbness and stress. Apply gentle pressure around your neck and other affected areas to relieve tension and relax the muscles. Be reminded that deep tissue massages aren’t advisable since any excess pressure on the body can worsen the symptoms. Physical therapy consisting of exercises, massages, and stretches can also cure the symptoms. For many individuals, a personalized physical therapy plan can quickly and efficiently ease nerve problems. Exercises such as side bends, walking, yoga, and neck tilts, are among the many gentle physical activities that you can do to ease the pain and discomfort of a pinched nerve. Can a Pinched Nerve Lead to More Serious Health Problems? The answer is yes. Pinched nerves on your neck, arms, and other parts of the body can cause chronic pain and permanent nerve damage. Call a healthcare provider right away if you have the following symptoms: Sudden numbness, weakness, or paralysis of your arms or legs that didn’t disappear after some timeLoss of bladder or bowel controlLoss of genital or anal regions sensations These symptoms are signs of serious conditions, and you may need to undergo surgery to prevent further nerve damage. Treat the Pinched Nerve in Your Neck Now! A pinched nerve usually goes away on its own within a few days or weeks if given immediate treatments and remedies. However, you should seek medical attention for your pinched nerves if the pain does not go away a couple of days after trying the home remedies mentioned above. If you need a medical consultation for your pinched nerve, don’t hesitate to visit us at Vascular & Interventional Specialist of Prescott or call 928.771.8477 for more information.
15 Easy Ways to Relieve a Pinched Nerve In Shoulder Without Surgery
15 Easy Ways to Relieve a Pinched Nerve In Shoulder Without Surgery Are you familiar with the “pins and needles” feeling you get in your shoulder or neck? Do you experience sharp or burning pains in these areas as well? If you’re feeling these symptoms along with weakness or numbness in your arms, you might be suffering from a pinched nerve in your shoulder. Pinched nerves can happen when there is too much compression or irritation to a nerve. This pressure from the surrounding tissues around the nerve can block the nerve’s function, leading to weakness, numbness, and pain. If you are looking for some quick relief and non-surgical ways to treat a pinched nerve, then keep reading! We share with you some of the best tips to help ease your pain from pinched nerves. First, let’s learn more about what a pinched nerve is and what may be the cause of your symptoms: What Is A Pinched Nerve? Cervical radiculopathy, or more commonly known as a pinched nerve of the neck, arises when a spinal nerve becomes constricted and inflamed. Pain from the nerve can be felt from the neck, as it radiates through the shoulder, and down to the arm. In addition, these other symptoms may be associated with this condition: Numbness or loss of sensation in the area of the nerve Sharp burning pain in the neck, shoulders, and arms Tingling (“pins and needles”) feeling Muscle weakness in the affected area Feeling as if your arm is always “falling asleep” What Causes A Pinched Nerve? The spine is made up of 24 vertebral bones that are placed on top of each other. These bones form a canal that protects the group of nerves in your spinal cord. Between every vertebra is a flexible intervertebral disk that acts as a shock absorber whenever we move. However, as we get older, these disks go through wear and tear. They become dry as they lose water content, and grow stiffer. As a result, the disk loses height and can form bone spurs that bulge. These degenerative conditions are often known as arthritis and spondylosis. Younger people may also suffer from a pinched nerve, particularly those who engage in sports and activities that require pulling, lifting, bending, and/or twisting. When an injury arises from these sudden movements, it may result in a herniated disk, which will put pressure on the nerve root. When a herniated disk bulges outwards, pressure constricts the nerve root and leads to pain and weakness in the affected area. Furthermore, you are at greater risk when you have the following conditions: Bone spurs from osteoarthritis Inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis Diabetes Overweight or obese Do repetitive work that strains a muscle group (eg. assembly line work) Long bed rests While the neck pain and shoulder aches may seem unbearable at first, a pinched nerve can heal over time. Generally, doctors advise conservative techniques and treatments first before considering surgery. Here are the 15 best ways to relieve pain from a pinched nerve in your shoulder without the need for invasive surgeries: 1. Apply ice and heat packs Pinched nerves are often related to inflammation. This can be easily relieved through hot and cold therapy. Doing so can increase the circulation of blood in the area and reduce the swelling. Apply hot and cold packs alternately each time for at least 3 times a day. Ice packs should be applied 15 minutes at a time, while heat packs can be applied for up to an hour. 2. Elevate your arms One instant relief trick you can try is to elevate your arms. Resting your hand on top of your head can temporarily reduce the pressure on the nerve root. 3. Rest the area Nothing beats the power of good rest in order to fully recover. Give your shoulders and arms a few days off to allow them to heal. It’s also important to avoid doing extreme and sudden movements in the area of the irritated nerve. Nerve damage can worsen when these muscles are being overused as well. 4. Get a gentle massage Massages are a wonderful, relaxing experience. If you have a pinched nerve, getting a soft massage will help to improve blood circulation and relax the muscles. For someone with a pinched nerve, soft massages work well in improving blood circulation and relaxing the muscles. Do keep in mind that deep-tissue and other hard massages might be counterproductive to your healing process. Ask your massage therapist to keep it soft and light instead. 5. Stretch for increased flexibility Doing stretches that increase flexibility is one of the best ways to reduce pressure and tension in your neck and shoulder. Remember to keep your stretches gentle. Pulling your muscles too deeply can worsen your symptoms. The most effective time to do stretches is after you have done a warm-up exercise or after your workout. 6. Be aware of your posture Poor posture can definitely compress and irritate the nerves in your neck leading to a pinched nerve in your shoulder. So, even though you’re just sitting at a desk or standing the entire day for your job, it’s important to be aware of your posture. If it helps, use adjustable chairs, neck rests, and posture-friendly cushions to allow the nerve to heal. 7. Improve your workstation Working with a bad posture puts unnecessary stress on your back and shoulders. That’s why it’s also essential to have an ergonomic workstation to keep your posture healthy while being productive. First, make sure your screens are at eye level. If you’re working on a laptop, you can buy a laptop stand to elevate the screen. You may also buy an ergonomic keyboard and mouse that will make typing and clicking much more comfortable. In addition, try using a standing desk. By having the option to either sit or stand, you improve your spine’s flexibility and reduce the occurrence of shoulder pain and backaches. 8. Use a splint If the pinched nerve in your shoulder causes aching in your hands and wrists, you can wrap the affected area with a splint. The splint works by reducing the pressure on the nerves in your arm. This will help prevent further irritation and allow for healing and recovery. 9. Get an ample amount of sleep Sleep is essential for any healing process, especially for those with a pinched nerve. It is only during sleep that the body can repair itself. Aim for a complete night’s rest of at least 7-8 hours. Also, avoid sleeping in positions that impact the affected area. 10. Do low-impact exercise Exercising might be the last thing on your mind when your back, neck, and shoulders hurt. But, doing low-impact workouts like walking, swimming, or cycling can help to relieve your aches and pains. 11. Improve your weight Packing on a few extra pounds can weigh your nerves down as well. Try to achieve a healthy weight to help reduce the pressure on your nerves. Losing weight doesn’t have to be hard. By eating a well-balanced and nutrient-dense diet and exercising regularly, you’ll find that your weight will drop slowly but surely. 12. Use a soft-cervical collar Soft-cervical collars are padded rings that wrap around your neck and are locked in place with velcro. If you have a pinched nerve, your doctor may recommend you to wear these special neck braces to relax the neck muscles. However, it’s only advisable to wear these soft cervical-collars for a short time as long-term wear may lead to loss of muscle strength in the neck muscles. 13. Take pain-relieving medications If your pain has been unbearable, you may opt to take over-the-counter pain medications to relieve the pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) specifically work in reducing the swelling and pain of a minor pinched nerve. Before taking any medications, ask for a physician’s medical advice. Your doctor may recommend certain medications and dosages for you to take. 14. Ask for the help of a physical therapist There are special exercises and stretches that you can do that specifically aim to soothe and strengthen your neck muscles. In this case, going to physical therapy would be beneficial to get the best exercises for you. A physical therapist will be able to guide you thoroughly and carefully through these exercises. The exercises should be designed to help your neck and shoulder muscles regain their strength while lowering your risk for injury. 15. Consider having an epidural injection A safe and easy way to provide instant relief to your pinched nerve is through epidural injections. In this procedure, an anesthetic and a steroid medication will be injected into the nerve area that is causing you pain. The mix of medications will give you the instant pain relief that can last for weeks up to months. If you have not found any solutions to your neck and shoulder problems, this is your next best step before considering other invasive methods. Relieve Your Pinched Nerve Today! More often than not, a pinched nerve will heal on its own after a few days or so. These simple techniques will relieve your symptoms and ultimately lead to recovery and healing. However, if your symptoms continue to last for a longer time, it might be best to get it checked. If your pinched nerve is coupled by bladder problems, inability to grip or hold properly, or your limbs collapsing, report to your doctor right away. Visit us at vispdocs.com, or call 928.771.8477 for more information.
When to Get Neck Injections for Pain [and How to Prepare]
When to Get Neck Injections for Pain [and How to Prepare] Have you been experiencing constant neck pain that radiates from your neck to your arm? Do simple remedies like stretching, ice/heat therapy or pain medications give you zero relief? Chronic neck pains are debilitating aches that can hamper your day-to-day activities. Fortunately, a simple injection may be the answer you’ve been looking for. What Injections Are Given For Neck Pain? Neck injections for pain are administered to patients who have been dealing with long-term neck pain. Cortisone injections for pain in the neck are one of the best alternative treatments before neck surgery is considered. If pain medications or physical therapy hasn’t worked to alleviate your neck pain, you might be the perfect candidate for one of these treatment options: Epidural steroid injection. A cervical epidural injection places steroids in the epidural space and into the dura (the membrane that covers your spine and nerve root in the neck). This will lower inflammation in the nerve roots, providing pain relief. Facet joint injections. This injection is recommended if the neck pains are caused by facet joint inflammation. The steroid is injected in the facet joint, a small joint behind your vertebral bones. Nerve root block. If the neck pains are associated with a damaged disk or a bone spur, the nerve root block is considered. This injection is inserted in the area around the spinal nerve root to decrease its inflammation. What Is A Cervical Epidural Steroid Injection? The cervical epidural injection is a minimally invasive procedure wherein both a corticosteroid and an anesthetic numbing agent are delivered to the epidural space (the area between the bone and the protective dura sac around the spinal nerves). This type of corticosteroid injection has been proven as an effective treatment to decrease inflammation and pain in the neck area. Although this injection is not intended to reduce the size of a cervical herniated disc, it can flush away some of the proteins that cause the swelling in the spinal cord and nerves. This neck pain injection can bring long-term pain relief, allowing alternative treatments such as physical therapies and exercise programs to improve your spinal condition. When Should You Get A Cervical Epidural Steroid Injection? Patients who have been suffering from long-term neck and back pain are good candidates for an epidural steroid injection. It may benefit those particularly with the following conditions: Cervical radiculitis. Pain that radiates from the head or the neck down to the arm due to nerve compression in the cervical spine. Cervical Herniated Discs. Electric-like pain that’s felt from the neck down to the arms, which may be caused by trauma or neck injury. Cervical Spondylosis. Pain caused by the aging and normal wear-and-tear of the spinal disc in your neck. Treatment through the cervical epidural steroid injection has been beneficial to patients with these painful neck inflammatory conditions. In cases where rehabilitative exercises are required, these epidural injections work well in abating the pain to allow you to continue with physical therapy. Furthermore, it can also help assess if more invasive treatments, such as surgery, are needed to address the pain. Who Are Not Ideal Candidates For Cervical Epidural Steroid Injection? A patient with the following conditions is at risk for complications: Patient with active infections, bleeding problems, high blood pressure, or diabetes If you are taking medications blood-thinners (eg. heparin, coumadin, etc.) If you are allergic to the epidural steroid medication (eg. corticosteroid, anesthetic) You can discuss your conditions with our doctors and we will assess your pain management options. How To Prepare For Cervical Epidural Steroid Injection? If you are considering having cervical epidural steroid injections, preparation is key to lessen risks and complications. Here’s how you can best prepare for your neck injection: Bring your complete medical data and history at your first appointment. Be sure to give your doctor a comprehensive list of all your medications so they know which medicines need to be discontinued or avoided before doing the procedure. What To Expect Before The Procedure? Before the treatment, your doctor will do a thorough medical examination. Your medical history will be reviewed and several tests will be done to assess whether you are a good candidate for cervical ESI. Once cleared, our doctors will list specific instructions on what you should do before the procedure. For example, a typically required routine preparation is to not eat more than a small meal within a few hours before the injection. Patients are also typically allowed to take their usual medications, except for those that have anti-inflammatory or blood-thinning effects. What Happens During The Treatment? What To Expect: Do Injections In Neck Hurt? In general, injections can bring some mild discomfort, especially when the medications are delivered in small delicate areas. Fortunately, local anesthetics (pain relief medication) will be administered before the injection so you can expect to only feel a small amount of pressure rather than pain when your doctor inserts the cervical corticosteroid injection. If you’re concerned about pain from the neck injection, talk to your doctor to find out your options for pain relief medication. You may request to be sedated during the procedure, but this is very uncommon as the procedure is not uncomfortable. Remember to simply relax, stay calm, and take deep breaths during the procedure. Step 1: Preparing For The Injection Extensive assessments will be done by your doctor to figure out which site to inject. Ideally, they will target the medication as close to the painful nerve as possible. To do this, x-ray fluoroscopy is used to take live imagery of your neck. You will lie down on the x-ray table. A local anesthetic will be administered to numb the injection site and minimize pain. Generally, patients are expected to be awake during the injection to be able to communicate any discomfort to the physician. Step 2: Inserting The Needle Through the x-ray fluoroscopy, the doctor will be able to see in real-time where to inject the epidural steroid. A contrast dye will be used to ensure that the medication is flowing in the correct place. The entry site will be on the side of the neck to access the neural foramen, which sits just above the opening of the nerve root and outside the epidural space. The needle will go through the skin, between the bony vertebrae, and into the epidural space. Step 3: Injecting The Corticosteroid Once the local anesthetic takes effect and the needle is correctly positioned, your doctor will inject the epidural steroid injection into the epidural space that surrounds the inflamed nerve roots. Depending on the pain location, one or several cervical spinal levels may need to be injected. How To Recover After The Procedure? After the injection, you will be monitored in a recovery area typically for up to an hour. Many patients are already able to move and walk around post-injection. However, for some, temporary weakness and numbness can occur in the legs, which will eventually wear off by the end of the day. We advise the following to our patients: Be brought home by a companion Rest and avoid heavy activities for the rest of the day Avoid drinking or operating heavy machinery for at least the next 12 hours post-injection Usually, many patients can resume their regular activities the following day. However, you may expect soreness at the injection site. This can be alleviated by icing the area and taking mild analgesics that are recommended by your doctor. What Results Can You Expect? The medication may not go into full effect right away. It’s recommended to track the pain levels you feel within the next couple of weeks. There may be days where the area feels much more painful, numb, or weak. This is normal as the numbing medications eventually wear off before the epidural steroid injections start to take effect within 2-7 days. For those with mild neck pain, one or two injections may be administered within a 1 to 4-week interval to achieve the full relief. How Long Do Neck Injections Last? Depending on the severity of neck pain, patients who undergo cervical epidural steroid injections can expect pain relief that lasts for weeks up to years. To achieve the best results, epidural injections are best done with physical therapy and neck exercise programs. In Conclusion… If you’ve been suffering from chronic neck pain, it may be best to consider cervical epidural steroid injections. Get in touch with us and we’ll schedule you for your first appointment! Epidural steroid injections are a minimally invasive treatment wherein corticosteroids are injected in epidural space within the cervical area of your spine. This results in decreased inflammation in the nerve and reduces neck pain. These neck injections a safe, with very low risk associated with the procedure. Not much preparation is needed, but it is important to discuss your medical history and list of medications to your doctor. Full recovery can be experienced a day after the injection. The epidural steroid injections will take effect in about 2-7 days, but it can bring relief to long-term neck pain. Cervical epidural steroid injections can be a life-changing experience, especially for those that have been dealing with chronic neck pains. Want to know more about cervical epidural steroid injections? Visit us at vispdocs.com, or call 928.771.8477 for more information.