Vim & Vigor - Fall 2018 - Community Healthcare - 31

Confi

dent
ial

PAIN CENTERS
OFFER RELIEF

Could It Be
Related to
Something Else?

Other health conditions-or even a
history of them-can sometimes contribute to back pain. For example,
because osteoporosis causes your
bones to weaken or thin, trouble with
your back could be a result.
"If you have osteoporosis with back
pain, it could lead to an osteoporotic
fracture in the spine, so that's something we look for," Buchowski says.
Although rare, cancer can be a cause
of back pain. "A history of cancer
could indicate there's been a metastasis [spreading] in the spine that's
weakened the bone and led to a fracture," he says.

Is It Getting
Better?

This can be a tricky issue,
because for most people, back pain
comes and goes, Kennedy says.
"The severe, crushing pain usually
doesn't last for long while the low-level
nagging pain feels like it lasts forever. At
some point, it's worth getting checked
out just to make sure you're not missing something," he says.
If your pain seems to be related
to activity and improves with rest,
it's more likely to be mechanical
pain, Buchowski says, and he recommends self-treatment options including ibuprofen or acetaminophen, or
core-strengthening exercises and lowimpact aerobic activities, like walking
or swimming, to see if that helps.
"If it's not better in a couple of weeks,
it may be time to see a primary care
doctor or specialist and start physical
therapy," he says. ■

Chronic pain can have a debilitating effect
on quality of life. Pain management physicians can help alleviate patients' pain and
often identify the underlying cause. The
hospitals of Community Healthcare System
offer pain clinics where patients can receive
evaluations and a variety of treatments.
"Not everything can be treated by a
pain specialist," says physical medicine and
rehabilitation specialist Nikhil Shetty, MD,
who treats patients in the Pain Center of
St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart. "But we
are able to triage a pain patient and decide
whether or not we can treat that condition
or if the patient may require surgery."
More conservative approaches to pain
management often prove successful, Shetty
says. These may include physical therapy,
stretching or even over-the-counter medications or ointments. Common outpatient
procedures may include epidural injections,
nerve blocks or radiofrequency ablations.
"We have a big tool kit to treat someone
with pain," Shetty says. "It's important to
be evaluated by a pain physician to look
at each of the possibilities and develop
an individualized treatment plan for
that person."

CALL

Help for Your Pain
To learn more about pain management services at the hospitals of Community Healthcare
System-Community Hospital,
St. Catherine Hospital and
St. Mary Medical Center-visit
comhs.org/services/painmanagement. For a physician
referral, call 219-836-3477 or
toll-free 866-836-3477.

FALL 2018

31


http://www.comhs.org/services/painmanagement http://www.comhs.org/services/painmanagement

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Vim & Vigor - Fall 2018 - Community Healthcare - Contents
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