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Jan 07

Sciatica is pain in the lower back or legs caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve. The largest nerve in the body, the sciatic nerve stretches from the lumbar spinal cord in your lower back all the way down to your feet and is responsible for transmitting sensory information from these areas of the body. Sciatic pain is usually felt extending from the lumbar area to behind the thigh, and can even reach below the knee. In most cases is it felt on only one side of the body at a time.

Pain from sciatica can range from mild to severe, and it may feel like it’s radiating over a large area or be sharp and localized. Transitioning from sitting to standing and vice versa can trigger sharp sciatic pain, as can any sudden lower-back movement. Those suffering from sciatica can experience leg numbness, “pins and needles,” burning sensations, foot numbness, limping, and muscle weakness.

Common causes of sciatica are a herniated disk pressing on the nerve, trauma to the lower back, pregnancy, joint dysfunction, degenerative disc disease, and spondylolisthesis.

Herniated disc: This is one of the most common causes of sciatica. A herniated or bulging disc can cause disc material to push against a nearby nerve root, compressing the nerve tissue and causing sciatica. In addition to this pressure, a herniated disc also contains hyaluronic acid, which can cause nerve inflammation, compounding the pain from the compression.

Degenerative disc disease: Though the name is frightening, this is the most common cause of lower back and neck pain and is simply a byproduct of aging. One of the symptoms of degenerative disc disease is inflammation that can irritate the sciatic nerve. Another symptom is muscle spasms attributed to the body attempting to stabilize the spine to prevent additional damage, which can impinge on the sciatic nerve in the process.

Pregnancy: Weight gain and elevated fluid retention associated with pregnancy can compress the sciatic nerve where it passes through the pelvis. An expanding uterus can also compress the sciatic nerve at the base of your spine. In the third trimester, when the baby begins shifting into the birth position, its head can end up pressing against the nerve.

Spondylolisthesis: This condition is most prevalent in older individuals, characterized by the bones, joints and ligaments in the spine gradually weakening and losing their ability to keep the spinal column properly aligned. As these spinal components shift, they can encroach on the sciatic nerve, putting pressure on the nerve and causing pain when standing or walking.

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

The sacroiliac joint connects the spine with the pelvis. Sciatic pain arising from sacroiliac joint dysfunction is not true sciatica, as it does not involve compression of the nerve root, but stems from joint inflammation that can irritate the nearby sciatic nerve. The symptoms, however, can be similar.

There are three million cases of sciatica in the United States each year. Sciatica is usually self-diagnosable and may not require lab tests or medical imaging. Some cases of sciatica can benefit from self-care treatments such as applying an ice pack to the affected area, regular physical exercise, and stretching. More serious cases may require physical therapy, massage, acupuncture or chiropractic treatment. In addition to these physical treatments, some severe forms of sciatica may require an epidural steroid injection to alleviate the pain, pain medication, anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants or analgesics like Tylenol.

Sciatica pain can last weeks or months, depending on the root cause and treatment used. There is no quick fix, but the right treatment and management can relieve the pain and allow the resumption of normal activities. For diagnosis and treatment recommendations, contact the Pain Care Clinic of Idaho to schedule an appointment. Call (208) 629-2492.


Dec 10

Acupuncture is one of the most sought after natural treatment methods for a variety of medical conditions. The ancient practice that originated in China over 4,000 years ago has been found to calm and relax patients, fight allergies, and lessen chronic pain. Here are some of the ways that medical acupuncture treatment at Pain Care Clinic of Idaho could help you.

Improved Digestion

A 16th century Chinese doctor, Yu Jia Yan once wrote, “If the stomach is strong, life will be healthy. If the stomach is weak, life will be unhealthy.” Good digestion is the key to a long, healthy life. Acupuncture works to calm inflammation while also waking up body parts that are working less efficiently, making it a perfect treatment for digestive concerns. Stomach cramps, constipation, or irritable bowel syndrome are some stomach concerns that may improve with the treatment of underlying digestive issues.

Less Chronic Pain

Acupuncture is most well-known as a natural form of pain relief. It can treat neck tension, low back pain, headaches, and chronic pain. These treatments increase mobility overall, but can also be used after an injury or accident to get you back on your feet faster. Acupuncture specifically encourages cortisol flow to painful spots, helping to mobilize joints and allowing some movement while relaxing and releasing muscles.

Acupuncturists will look at not only the site of your pain, but also surrounding areas that might be feeding the pain – such as tight feet or shoulders throwing off the hips or spine.

Fight Allergies

An allergic reaction occurs when our immune system responds to some allergen, such as pollen or pet dander. Acupuncture can calm that immune reaction and also help relieve symptoms like a runny nose and puffy eyes. Treating seasonal allergies early on in the seasons when you suffer most is an effective way to improve your quality of life during what would normally be a miserable time of year.

A 2008 study in Germany found those with allergic rhinitis (runny nose) who received 15 acupuncture treatments had better symptom control than those who did not receive treatment.

Increase Mental Health

Consistent and good acupuncture treatment by a trained professional will leave you deeply relaxed. That’s what makes it a natural choice for those looking to calm or cope with stress and concerns like insomnia or even addiction, anxiety, and depression.

According to traditional Chinese medical theory, mental illness occurs when there is an imbalance within the body. Acupuncture and oriental medicines were found to have the ability to detect energetic changes that occur in the body and relive symptoms, thereby restoring equilibrium.

Improve Sleep

Struggling to sleep at night is frustrating for many Americans. Additionally, insomnia has been linked to a number of other health problems, like heart disease and weight gain. Acupuncture’s ability to leave you more relaxed and less anxious may also encourage you to fall asleep more easily. If your insomnia is caused by chronic pain that keeps you awake or wakes you up throughout the night, acupuncture can be an effective treatment that ultimately allows you to find better quality sleep.

Acupuncture has also been shown to help manage sleep apnea, with targeted treatments strengthening the tongue. This treatment helps prevent the tongue from dropping back during the night and blocking your airway.

Regular acupuncture can identify imbalances and guide patients to move towards more optimal health. By stimulating the natural healing process of the body, acupuncture can safely, gently, and effectively manage many health issues in patients of all ages. Visit Pain Care Clinic of Idaho for more information about acupuncture or call for a confidential, no-obligation evaluation: 208-629-2492.


Nov 26

The Japanese traditional medicine style known as Kiiko Matsumoto (KM) is based on an interpretation of classic Chinese acupuncture. Through abdominal palpation, the use of reflex zones, shallow needling, and a unique set of tools (including diode rings and diode chains), KM provides a holistic approach to addressing chronic pain and other health issues.

Diode rings and diode chain therapies are noninvasive methods to reduce pain, inflammation and swelling, and accelerate healing. Diode rings and chains work with the ion flow of the body to produce a healing micro-current to reduce pain and promote healing. By strategically placing a diode ring or a series of diodes (which can be wrapped, say around a limb), treatment can direct the body’s own energetic current toward healing.

Diode Rings

A diode is an electrical component that conducts electricity in just one direction. According to ancient Chinese medicine, energy flows through the human body on pathways called meridians. The heart of acupuncture is to promote healing by restoring proper energy flow along those meridians. Diodes are used to manipulate and direct the flow of energy, just as they direct the flow of electricity.

“The use of the diode is like a “gate” that allows electrical energy (that exist in the body) to move in one direction and in a particular level. The use of these tools helps to move the stagnated energy (cause of the pain) from one area to another and balance the stagnated energy of the injured site,” according to the Integrated Medicine Institute.

Diode rings, diodes mounted on a copper ring are particularly effective at relieving inflammation, pulling out the energies causing inflammation as well as bruises, and bone and ligament issues.

Diode Chains

Diode chains can be rings that have been soldered together or individual diodes soldered on a chain, interspersed to optimize energy flow in the area of the body surrounded by the chain. Chains are specifically used on joints (where they can surround or wrap the joint), such as wrists, ankles, and knees where the target, inflamed area is too large for one or two rings.

Many people notice that wearing diodes helps reduce stress, fatigue, eyestrain, and other effects associated with prolonged stressors like sitting for periods, working on a computer, or typing. People also report reduced jet leg and reduced fatigue when traveling. Diode treatment has been found to assist in a number of health issues, such as promoting proper organ function and metabolic processes, reducing inflammation, and improving mobility.

At Pain Care Clinic of Idaho, our practitioners offer a range of drug-free treatments and therapies that will help you get quick and lasting relief from acute and chronic pain. We focus on providing real solutions and results. Discover how we can help with your condition and improve you quality of life with alternative medicinal therapies. Visit Pain Care Clinic of Idaho or call for a confidential, no-obligation consultation: 208-629-2492.


Nov 19

For those suffering from chronic or neuropathic pain, Scrambler® Therapy may offer relief in a way that no pain management treatment has been able to do before. This non-invasive treatment uses a special device that interrupts, or “scrambles,” the transmission of pain signals by stimulating nerve fibers to send non-pain signals instead. Scrambler Therapy claims a 90% success rate without requiring any surgery, though repeated treatment is necessary to obtain long-lasting results.

By overwhelming the nerves that transmit chronic pain information with what appears to be normal, non-pain electrical information, Scrambler Therapy can retrain the brain to believe there is no pain in the treatment area. This process of retraining is due to a phenomenon called brain plasticity or neuroplasticity. (The original meaning of “plastic” is moldable or changeable.) As medical researchers continue to learn how brain plasticity works, treatments that exploit it are becoming more common and more effective.

In a clinical trial at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, Scrambler Therapy was used to treat patients suffering from chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. CIPN is a set of symptoms associated with damage to peripheral nerves (like those found in our arms and legs or used for bladder and bowel control) caused by chemotherapy or other drugs used to treat cancer. After ten days of treatment, patients in this clinical trial reported a 50% reduction in pain during treatment days. These patients self-reported weekly for ten weeks following treatment and these reports reflected an overall benefit from Scrambler Therapy.

Scrambler Therapy is being used to treat other types of neuropathic pain like chronic back or leg pain caused by sciatica, post-surgery nerve lesion neuropathy, lower back pain and more. Chronic pain can be frustrating due to its difficulty to treat with prescription drugs, invasive surgery or other standard treatments that might have negative side effects and may not resolve the problem in any case. Scrambler Therapy is non-invasive and it has no side effects.

Located in Boise, Pain Care Clinic of Idaho recommends six to ten Scrambler Therapy treatments over the course of two weeks. Patients can expect pain relief to last three to six months or longer based on the severity of the injury or condition. Our physicians are able to evaluate your pain and recommend an appropriate treatment path that may also include medication, activity, and diet instructions to ensure that you receive the maximum benefit from the therapy.

Ideal candidates for Scrambler Therapy include those who have been dealing with unbearable chronic or neuropathic pain and have exhausted all other options or wish to avoid invasive surgery or strong drugs. If you’re ready to learn more about Scrambler Therapy, call Pain Care Clinic of Idaho for an appointment: 208-629-2492.


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