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07 Aug 2014

Pain Management Atlanta & Concierge Medicine: What Is It? Is It Right For You?

Looking for convenient, yet effective, pain management Atlanta?

When you need an Atlanta pain doctor who is educated and available, a concierge pain management physician may be the best answer for you.

Concierge medicine is becoming more and more popular these days. Also called “Direct Medicine” it’s not really a new phenomenon…. it’s just becoming more accessible to the masses instead of only the wealthy or elite.

For the last decade or so, a concierge doctor – or “retained physician” – catered to the super-rich. A high retainer was charged in exchange for being at the beck and call of the doctor’s clientele, which was usually kept to pretty low numbers. There are stories of doctors being paid $50,000 retainers for a single individual, PER MONTH – whether they used the doctor’s services that month or not.

Of course, this type of practice could be exhausting if the physician did have a month where all his or her clients decided to take full advantage of their retainer. More often than not, however, these types of doctors made a lot of money on these retainers, had a ton of freedom (because less clients were needed), and often still billed insurance for the “meat” of the visit.

A very popular show that’s been on television for about the last six years – “Royal Pains” – centers on this kind of concierge medicine and portrays the glamour that typically went along with this type of concierge medicine practice.

Today, there are large numbers of doctors using a slightly different concierge model. These doctors often cater to a broader range of patients and the retainers are much smaller (or non-existent). If you need an Atlanta pain doctor or pain management Atlanta, a concierge doctor using this type of model may be a great option.

These “new style” concierge medicine practices will typically have a menu for services and only accept direct payment, not billing insurance at all and often, don’t even offer that option. However, by eliminating insurance filings, eliminating the need to collect copays and then re-bill the patient when the insurance doesn’t cover what was expected, and not having to deal with delinquent accounts, the concierge physician and/or practice is able to keep overhead low and thus, prices affordable. Furthermore, this usually also means they don’t need to see as many patients. This means when you need an Atlanta pain doctor or pain management Atlanta, you can usually see a concierge doctor quickly—even the same day if necessary. For chronic pain patients, you can also often get a recurring appointment, on the same day every month, with no wait.

Think a concierge practice might be right for your pain management Atlanta? Then, please reach out to Dr. Parimi, Atlanta pain doctor and concierge pain management physician in Marietta, GA today!

30 Jul 2014

Chronic Back Pain: 6 Uncommon Causes

Dealing with Chronic Back Pain?

While your pain management doctor will help you cope with chronic pain, a little prevention can go a long way…

But first… you need to know some surprising causes of back pain that you can potentially eliminate for good.

If you’ve ever had a bout of back pain, you’re not alone: According to the National Institutes of Health, eight out of 10 people will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. Most of the time, back pain is set off by something totally minor, says Venu Akuthota, MD, director of the Spine Center at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colorado.

Besides obvious causes (constantly lugging a too-heavy purse, for instance), experts say that everyday habits like hunching over your smartphone can strain your spine and the surrounding muscles over time, causing pain and making you more vulnerable to serious injury. To stop back pain now—and avoid future agony—try targeting these unexpected culprits.

Culprit No. 1: Your Fancy Office Chair

Even an expensive, ergonomic chair can be bad for your back if you sit in it all day without a break. Sitting not only lessens blood flow to the discs that cushion your spine (wearing them out and stressing your back), but it puts 30 percent more pressure on the spine than standing or walking, says New York City chiropractor Todd Sinett, author of The Truth About Back Pain.

Be sure to stretch at your desk and get up every hour to walk around. Don’t assume that built-in lumbar support makes your chair back-friendly—in fact, for many people, lumbar supports don’t make a bit of difference, especially if they aren’t positioned properly (at the base of your spine), says Heidi Prather, a physical-medicine and rehabilitation specialist and associate professor of orthopedic surgery and neurology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

No matter what type of chair you sit in, make sure your head is straight (not tilted down) when you’re typing or reading. Avoid slouching and adjust your seat so it tilts back slightly to help alleviate some of the load on your back, Sinett says. And keep your feet planted firmly on the floor.

Culprit No. 2: The Wrong Shoes

When you strut in stilettos, your foot strikes the ground in a toe-forward motion rather than the normal heel-toe gait, stressing your knees, hips, and back, Sinett explains. “Wearing heels also alters the angle of your body so your weight isn’t evenly distributed over the spine,” he says. This instability can set you up for pain and injury radiating from your knees all the way to your back.

Another shoe no-no: the backless kind (even flats and flip-flops), which allow your heel to slide around. Again, the lack of stability distributes your body weight unevenly, putting more pressure on your spine. Your shoe should firmly hold your foot in place to keep you stable and protect your back, says Sinett, who also advises sticking to heels that are less than three inches high.

Culprit No. 3: Your Beloved Smartphone or Tablet

Mobile technology has not been kind to our backs and necks, Prather says. “We’re hovering over laptops, iPads, and smartphones all the time,” she notes. “This head-down position strains the muscles in the neck, and the pain can extend all the way down your spine to your lower back.” Take frequent breaks, and try to look straight ahead—rather than down—while using a laptop, tablet, or phone. You can buy a stand to help hold your laptop or tablet at a more back-friendly height and angle.

Culprit No. 4: Extra Pounds

Carrying even just a few extra inches around your midsection—whether it’s due to belly fat or pregnancy—makes your pelvis tilt forward and out of alignment, as your body works to keep itself balanced. This can cause excessive strain on your lower back, Dr. Akuthota says. He recommends doing this easy stretch several times daily: Tighten your abs (like you’re bracing for a punch in the stomach) to activate core muscles and take a load off the lumbar discs; hold 10 seconds, then release. (Pregnant? Check with your doctor before doing any exercise.)

And if weight gain is your problem, consider making whole grains an essential part of your slim-down plan: A new study from Tufts University found that those who ate three or more servings of whole grains a day had 10 percent less abdominal fat compared with those who ate essentially no whole grains.

Culprit No. 5: The Wrong Bra

Large-breasted women obviously carry significantly more weight in front than those who have smaller breasts. This can lead to hunching and sore neck and back muscles, Sinett says. A bra that offers proper support can actually minimize that forward hunch and relieve pain, while one that doesn’t may exacerbate the problem, as you hunch or strain even more to compensate for uncomfortable straps or a riding-up band.

Research shows that many women wear the wrong size bra, but the right fit can mean the difference between sagging and supported; get fitted by a bra professional. Prather says you may want to try a T-back (a.k.a. racer-back) style. “It gives the body a cue to pull the shoulders back,” she says.

Culprit No. 6: Your Crazy Schedule

Just like the rest of you, your back muscles can tense up when you’re frazzled. Muscles are designed to contract and relax, Sinett explains, but when you’re stressed, they may contract so much that they can eventually start to spasm. Stress also boosts production of the hormone cortisol, which increases inflammation and can lead to achiness, he says.

On top of that, “Chronic stress can affect the way a person perceives pain,” says Alan Hilibrand, MD, spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and professor of orthopaedic and neurological surgery at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. “So those who are stressed will often have a harder time managing back pain than those who aren’t.” Lower-impact aerobic exercise (think walking or working out on an elliptical trainer) may help relieve back pain and ease stress—so you can beat the pain for good.