Acute pain (what you feel after an accident, surgery, or injury) and chronic pain (the type that persists long after the cause is healed) each have the potential to change your life dramatically. They can stop you from participating in the level of exercise necessary to maintain your overall health, and can also prevent you from doing everyday tasks, like getting dressed, preparing meals, household chores, and going to work.
Dr. Patrick McNulty, double-board certified orthopedic surgeon and spine specialist, understands the complexities of pain and its effects on the body. A leader in his field, he skillfully helps patients throughout Las Vegas and Henderson overcome their debilitating pain and reclaim their active lifestyles.
What pain does to your body
Usually, pain is a good thing. When you cut your finger or break your leg, your body immediately goes into protection mode to prevent further injury and sends healing resources to the area.
But if that pain doesn’t resolve itself or is allowed to go unchecked, it turns into chronic pain — and it affects more than 100 million Americans.
When your body has to deal with pain over a long period of time, it leads to a cascade of complications.
Pain in any one area — like your leg, back, or shoulder — causes your body to deactivate that part of your anatomy. That leads to atrophy, weakened muscles and nerves, and joint immobility.
Another way your body copes with pain is to rely on other body parts to carry the load. This leads to pain in those other areas because of overuse and misuse.
Chronic pain can wreak havoc with your endocrine system, which is responsible for regulating your hormones. Depending on the type of imbalance your pain produces, you may end up with high blood pressure, tachycardia, and even low testosterone.
Too much pain for too long may also affect your brain because it increases the electrical activity in your nervous system and spinal cord. Many patients with persistent pain experience depression, insomnia, suicidal thoughts, memory loss, attention deficit disorder, and dementia.
How pain management stops the cycle
Pain keeps you on a continuous cycle of discomfort and disability that keeps feeding off one another. Often your attempts to soothe yourself don’t work, and your family physician may not have the training or resources to treat the source of your agony, especially when it originates in your spine.
That’s where pain management specialists have an advantage. Degenerative diseases, injuries, infections, birth defects, and other conditions that cause changes in your spine can easily compress and damage the countless nerves that run through your spinal column. Those nerves branch out to other parts of your body, which is why you may feel pain in your arms and legs even though the problem is in your back.
Pain management is a specialized field of medicine that goes beyond general family practice. It requires a deep knowledge of the complex spinal anatomy. Dr. McNulty has more than 30 years of experience correcting spine conditions and relieving the pain that stems from them.
Depending on the underlying cause of your pain, Dr. McNulty can reduce your symptoms dramatically by addressing the origin.
He uses various types of injections containing anesthetics and corticosteroids to stop specific nerves from sending pain messages to your brain.
If the pain is coming from your facet joints in your spine, he can help you get relief through a nerve block injection or a radiofrequency neurotomy, which heats the nerves and deactivates them.
Spinal cord stimulation offers long-term pain relief by way of a small device implanted in the epidural space in your spine. A small generator is then placed in your hip area. You can control your own pain with a remote control that sends low levels of electricity to interrupt the pain signals.
If these treatments don’t work, minimally invasive surgery is a viable option for many. In that case, Dr. McNulty, award-winning orthopedic surgeon, is one of the nation’s most trusted in the field.
Life without pain
The goal of pain management is to go beyond your symptoms and treat the root cause of your discomfort. Whether it’s acute or chronic, we can free you from the prison of pain and get you back to an active life.
We break the cycle of pain and inactivity. If you’re dealing with pain you can’t stop, call us today or request an appointment online to set up a consultation with Dr. McNulty.