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Injection Based Therapy

Dr. Mike Shah: Surgery Isn’t Always the Answer; Injection-based Therapy May Be an Alternative

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By: Dr. Mike Shah, Interventional Pain Specialist & Pain Management Board Certified Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Minimally Invasive Spine Institute in Dallas

Although the Minimally Invasive Pain Relief team was founded by an expert surgeon, surgery is not always the best way to tackle chronic pain and inflammation. Minimally invasive spine surgery can provide a safe, effective solution for many people suffering from spine or back pain. Yet as effective as it can be, it’s not always the best solution for relieving symptoms. At Minimally Invasive Pain Relief, our team offers another treatment option called injection-based therapy that’s designed to deliver pain-relieving medication directly to the area that’s causing symptoms, without the need for surgery or anesthesia.

Injection-based Therapy: The Basics

Injection-based therapy can be used to relieve different types of pain, including pain caused by localized areas of tenderness called trigger points as well as discomfort that emanates from the joints in the spine called facet joints. In both instances, treatment begins with a technique called “pain mapping” to identify the specific causes of painful symptoms. Pain mapping ensures the right areas are treated using the best technique for optimal results.

Once the sources of pain are identified, medication can be delivered right to the site of symptoms, achieving far greater – and longer-lasting – effects than oral pain medicines. Most injections use corticosteroid medications to help relieve inflammation, combined with a pain medicine that “anesthetizes” the area and prevents pain signaling.

Before treatment, the injection site typically is numbed using a local anesthetic. Then the medications are delivered right to the site of injury and pain. In facet joint injections, depending on the location of the injections, diagnostic imaging may be used during treatment to ensure optimal placement of the needle. 

Benefits of Injection-based Therapy

One of the primary benefits of injection-based therapy is that it often can provide significant relief from pain, enabling patients to avoid spine surgery – or at least delay surgery. But another benefit is based on the way it’s delivered. In oral medications, pain medicines must pass through the digestive system before they can be absorbed into the bloodstream and eventually delivered to the intended site. During these processes, the medication can become diluted – less effective in relieving pain. Plus, the entire dose doesn’t reach the treatment site; some of it is delivered to other areas of the body through the bloodstream, sometimes triggering unpleasant side effects like gastric upset.

In injection-based therapy, the full dose of medication is delivered right to the treatment site so pain relief is faster and more effective. Most patients experience symptom relief soon after their treatment, with effects that last for weeks or even months. Also, injection-based therapy is performed as an outpatient procedure, and in most cases, patients are able to resume their normal routines very soon after their treatment. And finally, since it uses only local anesthesia to help the patient stay comfortable during treatment, injection-based therapy eliminates the risks associated with general anesthesia. 

Learn more about injection-based therapy

The team at Minimally Invasive Pain Relief is skilled in injection-based therapies for many types of pain, including chronic spine and back pain. To find out if you might be a good candidate for this state-of-the-art treatment approach, call the office at 877-504-9759 and schedule an appointment today.

The Minimally Invasive Spine Institute Pain Relief are pioneers of minimally invasive research, and are experts in advanced, noninvasive pain management techniques. If you are a chronic pain sufferer, contact the MIPainRelief team today at 877-504-9759 to schedule a consultation with one of our pain management specialists.


Dr. Mike ShahMike Shah

Interventional Pain Specialist, Board Certified Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Minimally Invasive Spine Institute

Dr. Shah is a Harvard-trained physician in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation who is dedicated to providing pain relief to residents of the Dallas area since 2003. He received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Duke University and his medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dr. Shah also received a master’s in Pharmacology from Tulane and a Master of Public Health from Tulane University School of Public Health. Following this, he completed his Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation residency at Harvard’s Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, consistently recognized as one of the Top 5 Pain Management Hospitals in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

Opioid Addiction Study

Don’t Become a Pain Management Opioid Addiction Statistic

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Opioid addiction is a major public health concern in the U.S. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2016 alone, nearly 65,000 people died as a result of opioid drug overdoses – that’s more than the number of Americans who were killed during the entire Vietnam War. While other drugs also cause overdoses in the U.S., the CDC says about three-quarters of all drug overdose fatalities are caused by opioids, a type of painkiller drug that includes both illegal drugs like heroin and fentanyl as well as prescription painkillers like OxyContin.

While you might assume most opioid-related deaths can be attributed to illegal drugs like heroin, in fact it’s the overabundance – and overprescribing – of prescription opioid painkillers that’s at the heart of the recent increase in fatal overdoses. A couple of decades ago, opioid painkillers were primarily prescribed for patients with significant and debilitating pain – most often men and women with advanced-stage cancer. But during the past 10-20 years, there’s been a dramatic increase in the use of these medications as both doctors and patients have become more tolerant – even accepting – of their use. Today, the CDC reports about one in five patients with a non-cancer pain diagnosis are prescribed painkillers, even though there’s little research substantiating that these medications are more effective than non-opioid medicines in these cases.

In fact, a study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that non-opioid pain medications like Tylenol and Advil can be just as effective – or even more effective – in many types of pain management. That study looked at 411 emergency room patients with limb pain due to sprains, fractures and other injuries, and compared the effectiveness of different opioid pain relievers with a simple combination of Tylenol and Advil. Patients were asked to assess their pain levels before medication and after. At the end of the study period, the researchers found the combination of Tylenol and Advil was just as effective in treating and relieving pain as any of the three opioid alternatives that were also studied.

The “take-away” message is this: While opioids certainly have a place in the treatment of some types of severe pain, many patients can find the same level of relief without turning to potentially addictive drugs. If you’re suffering from chronic pain, you owe it to yourself – and your health – to consider alternative types of pain management that don’t involve opioid medications. Seeing a pain specialist allows you to explore your alternatives to find an ideal solution that’s custom-tailored specifically to your injury, your level of pain and your health.

The Minimally Invasive Spine Institute Pain Relief are pioneers of minimally invasive research and are experts in advanced, noninvasive pain management techniques. If you are a chronic pain sufferer, contact the MIPainRelief team today at 877-504-9759 to schedule a consultation with one of our pain management specialists.


Dr. Mike ShahMike Shah

Interventional Pain Specialist, Board Certified Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Minimally Invasive Spine Institute

Dr. Shah is a Harvard-trained physician in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation who is dedicated to providing pain relief to residents of the Dallas area since 2003. He received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Duke University and his medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dr. Shah also received a master’s in Pharmacology from Tulane and a Master of Public Health from Tulane University School of Public Health. Following this, he completed his Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation residency at Harvard’s Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, consistently recognized as one of the Top 5 Pain Management Hospitals in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

Pain Management

Dr. Mike Shah: Top Approaches to Pain Management: Which Is Right for You?

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By: Dr. Mike Shah, Interventional Pain Specialist & Pain Management Board Certified Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Minimally Invasive Spine Institute in Dallas 

Chronic pain affects millions of people in the U.S., interfering with mobility and taking a major toll on the quality of life for those who suffer from painful symptoms day after day. Spine or back pain, neck pain and headaches are among the most common types of chronic pain issues seen in doctors’ offices today, but there are other relatively common conditions that cause chronic pain as well, including:

Although the symptoms of pain may seem similar, the causes of pain – and how it manifests itself in the body – can actually vary dramatically. That means that for long-lasting relief, the approach to pain management also needs to vary based on the patient’s symptoms, overall health, lifestyle and other factors.

Nonsurgical Options

While some types of pain are best treated with surgery (especially minimally-invasive surgical options), other types of pain can be treated using nonsurgical approaches.

  • Physical therapy can be very effective in addressing some types of pain, and it can also be very useful following surgery or as part of a comprehensive approach to care that includes other approaches as well, including medication therapy. In physical therapy, special therapeutic exercises and stretching techniques are used to improve mobility while also reducing inflammation that’s commonly associated with pain.
  • Medication therapy uses both oral medications and injection-based therapy designed to deliver medicines right to the source of pain. The latter option can be very effective for many types of spine or back pain, as well as neck pain, limb pain and fibromyalgia, where localized areas of tenderness – “trigger points” – are common source of symptoms.
  • Chiropractic care is another option for treating some types of chronic pain by readjusting the spine to relieve disc problems and nerve impingements. Therapeutic massage is also commonly used in chiropractic care to promote circulation that’s necessary for optimal healing and to help the body get rid of toxins that may be byproducts of the inflammatory process. 

Care Focused on Your Needs

At Minimally Invasive Pain Relief, our team is dedicated to identifying the specific causes of pain using state-of-the-art pain mapping and other advanced techniques so your treatment can be tailored for your needs. Our custom approach to care means you can expect optimal results for long-lasting relief, helping you get back to the activities you love. If you suffer from chronic pain, visit https://mipainrelief.com/ or call Minimally Invasive Pain Relief at 877-504-9759 and schedule a consultation to learn how we can help you feel better.


Dr. Mike ShahMike Shah

Interventional Pain Specialist, Board Certified Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Minimally Invasive Spine Institute

Dr. Shah is a Harvard-trained physician in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation who is dedicated to providing pain relief to residents of the Dallas area since 2003. He received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Duke University and his medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dr. Shah also received a master’s in Pharmacology from Tulane and a Master of Public Health from Tulane University School of Public Health. Following this, he completed his Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation residency at Harvard’s Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, consistently recognized as one of the Top 5 Pain Management Hospitals in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

Fibromyalgia Pain

Dr. Mike Shah Discusses How to Treat Fibromyalgia Pain

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By: Dr. Mike Shah, Interventional Pain Specialist & Pain Management Board Certified Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Minimally Invasive Spine Institute in Dallas

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome that affects about 10 million people in the U.S., and although the condition is most common among women, anyone of any age can be affected. One of the problems with fibromyalgia is that it can be very difficult to diagnose – and as a result, many people may be living with fibromyalgia who have not yet been properly diagnosed with the condition.

What causes fibromyalgia?

The exact cause of fibromyalgia isn’t completely understood, which only adds to the difficulties in obtaining an accurate and timely diagnosis. Some researchers think painful symptoms are triggered by an injury or illness that causes the body’s pain signaling system to perpetually “misfire,” which means the body thinks it is experiencing pain even after the initial injury has healed or subsided. Others think the condition develops when the body’s nervous system becomes “confused” over how to recognize and react to stimuli, which means painful symptoms can be triggered even by a gentle touch or from normal, everyday activities. And still other researchers think the condition may be related to genetics or stress.

Fibromyalgia can also “look” different in different people. While many people with fibromyalgia have tender spots or trigger points that feel painful to the touch, other fibromyalgia sufferers may have more diffuse symptoms including joint pain that can be very similar to arthritis, but without the joint damage that’s caused by that condition. And some people with fibromyalgia have other symptoms that seem to be completely separate from their pain, including:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Bowel problems
  • Persistent headaches
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety or depression

Fibromyalgia Treatment

Most people who suffer from fibromyalgia benefit from a comprehensive approach to pain management that includes lifestyle changes, therapeutic exercises, medication and stress management activities. However, the Minimally Invasive Pain Relief Team has effective fibromyalgia treatment plans that improve function and lessen pain.

Patients with painful trigger points often find considerable relief through injections of medications designed to relieve pain as well as resolve associated inflammation, and some patients find therapeutic massage to be helpful in stimulating circulation and “loosening” knotted muscle fibers. Since fibromyalgia is a chronic condition and symptoms often change over time, many patients may need ongoing treatment to keep pain and related issues under control.

Find out more.

As with most types of chronic pain, the key to fast, meaningful relief is to begin treatment as soon as possible – and that starts with an office visit. If you’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia or if you suffer from debilitating chronic pain symptoms, visit https://mipainrelief.com or call Minimally Invasive Pain Relief at 877-504-9759 today and request a personal consultation and evaluation to learn about therapeutic pain management interventions that can help you feel better and get back to the life you love.

At Minimally Invasive Pain Relief, our team is dedicated to identifying the specific causes of pain using state-of-the-art pain mapping and other advanced techniques so your treatment can be tailored for your needs. Our custom approach to care means you can expect optimal results for long-lasting relief, helping you get back to the activities you love. If you suffer from chronic pain, visit https://mipainrelief.com/ or call Minimally Invasive Pain Relief at 877-504-9759 and schedule a consultation to learn how we can help you feel better.


Dr. Mike ShahMike Shah

Interventional Pain Specialist, Board Certified Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Minimally Invasive Spine Institute

Dr. Shah is a Harvard-trained physician in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation who is dedicated to providing pain relief to residents of the Dallas area since 2003. He received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Duke University and his medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dr. Shah also received a master’s in Pharmacology from Tulane and a Master of Public Health from Tulane University School of Public Health. Following this, he completed his Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation residency at Harvard’s Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, consistently recognized as one of the Top 5 Pain Management Hospitals in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

Pain Specialist

Dr. Mike Shah: What Does a Pain Specialist Do?

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By: Dr. Mike Shah, Interventional Pain Specialist, Board Certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Minimally Invasive Spine Institute in Dallas

Approximately 100 million Americans suffer from some sort of chronic pain, according to data from the American Academy of Pain Medicine. That’s more than the number of people who suffer from cancer, heart disease and diabetes combined. Neck or back pain along with headaches are among the most common types of chronic pain, affecting millions of people and taking a significant toll on their quality of life.

Fortunately, a physician’s understanding of pain – what causes it and how it can be effectively treated – has grown dramatically during the past 20-30 years, and today there are more options than ever for safe, effective pain management. The first step in relieving painful symptoms is scheduling an evaluation with a pain specialist, a doctor who’s trained specifically in the diagnosis and ongoing treatment of pain.

What does a pain specialist do?

Pain specialists have in-depth, advanced knowledge of the physiology of pain – that is, the causes, the effects and the symptoms of pain, as well as the often-complex mechanisms that cause pain to persist. This training and knowledge allows pain specialists to become skilled in evaluating pain, diagnosing the underlying causes and treating the root cause. Interventional pain specialists are also skilled in treating pain using state-of-the-art out patient procedures. From neck or back pain to related issues such as headaches and shoulder or arm pain, a pain management doctor begins treatment with a thorough evaluation of the patient’s condition and symptoms as well as overall health. Utilizing this information, your pain management specialist can develop a comprehensive treatment plan that’s designed specifically for the individual patient. There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution when it comes to treating pain. The key to a successful outcome lies in ensuring each plan of care is tailored specifically for the patient’s unique needs as well as developing a clear path for communication between the patient and the physician regarding pain relief and progress. 

Can a pain management doctor help me feel better?

While most people think of chronic pain in terms of the physical symptoms it causes, the fact is many people with chronic pain issues also suffer from anxiety, depression, sleep problems and other physical and emotional side effects. The sooner pain is appropriately managed, the sooner these problems can be resolved as well. If you suffer from chronic pain, there’s a good chance a pain management specialist can help you feel better too. To learn more about pain medicine and whether it’s a good choice for your needs, call the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute at 877-504-9759 and schedule your personal consultation and evaluation appointment today.

At the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute, our team is dedicated to identifying the specific causes of pain using state-of-the-art pain mapping and other advanced techniques so your treatment can be tailored you. Our custom approach to care means you can expect optimal results for long-lasting relief, helping you get back to the activities you love. If you suffer from chronic pain, visit https://mipainrelief.com/ or call the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute at 877-504-9759 and schedule a consultation to learn how we can help you feel better.


Mike Shah

Interventional Pain Specialist, Board Certified Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Minimally Invasive Spine Institute

Dr. Shah is a Harvard-trained physician in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation who is dedicated to providing pain relief to residents of the Dallas area since 2003. He received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Duke University and his medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dr. Shah also received a master’s in Pharmacology from Tulane and a Master of Public Health from Tulane University School of Public Health. Following this, he completed his Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation residency at Harvard’s Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, consistently recognized as one of the Top 5 Pain Management Hospitals in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

Yoga Stretching

Best Yoga Stretches for Lower Back Pain

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By: Dr. Mike Shah. Interventional Pain Specialist & Pain Management Board Certified Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, The Minimally Invasive Spine Institute in Dallas

One of yoga’s most attractive qualities is that it’s good for the mind, body and soul. This holds true for people with back pain. There are a variety of yoga poses that you can do that are very beneficial when it comes to relieving back pain. Next time your back is acting up, try these yoga poses.

DOWNWARD DOG

Downward dog yoga pose

Photo Credit: Can Stock Photo

This stretch reaches the entire body and stretches the large muscles that form the lower back.

CHILD’S POSE

Childrens Yoga

Photo Credit: Can Stock Photo

Child’s pose provides the back with a deep stretch.

TRIANGLE POSE

Triangle Pose

Photo Credit: Can Stock Photo

Great for strengthening the back, triangle pose helps lengthen muscles and stretch muscle fibers.

CAT AND COW POSE

Cat Pose

Photo Credit: Can Stock Photo

Not only does this pose do wonders for an aching back, it also loosens back muscles and can be used as a warmup in any workout.

When first starting yoga, be prepared for your body to be a little sore. For a person with weight issues, a lack of exercise can greatly increase the risk of back pain. Inactivity combined with extra weight puts pressure and strain on your joints and spine, putting you at a greater risk for sciatica, herniated disks and pinched nerves.

Many people suffering from chronic back pain, for whatever reason, are under the impression they will be less likely to hurt their back if they limit the amount of activity or exercise they participate in. However, regular activity helps with lower and upper back pain relief as well as other types of chronic pain. Physical activity activates the exchange of nutrients between spinal disks, keeping the spine healthy.

Because yoga uses a variety of postures and techniques, it is important that you stretch properly before and after each yoga program. Stretches where your body doesn’t leave the floor and stretch the lower back are helpful. However, it’s important to communicate your pain with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine. It is also important that you learn how to properly perform yoga’s postures and techniques to avoid potential injury.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you see your doctor before engaging in vigorous exercise if two or more of the following apply:

  • You’re older than 35 years.
  • You have a family history of heart disease before age 60.
  • You smoke or you quit smoking in the past six months.
  • You don’t normally exercise for at least 30 minutes, most days of the week.
  • You’re significantly overweight.
  • You have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

You have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, or you have impaired glucose tolerance (also called prediabetes).


Dr. Mike ShawMike Shah

Interventional Pain Specialist & Pain Management Board Certified Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Minimally Invasive Spine Institute

Dr. Shah is a Harvard-trained physician in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation who has been dedicated to the eradication of pain in the Dallas area since 2003. He received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Duke University and his medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dr. Shah also received a master’s in Pharmacology from Tulane and a Master of Public Health from Tulane University School of Public Health. Following this, he completed his Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation residency at Harvard’s Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, consistently recognized as one of the Top 5 Pain Management Hospitals in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

Everyday things that cause Back Pain

Everyday Things that Cause Back Pain

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By: Dr. Mike Shah. Interventional Pain Specialist & Pain Management Board Certified Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, The Minimally Invasive Spine Institute in Dallas

According to the American Chiropractic Association, In the United States, more than three million people experience back pain each year. Lower back pain can be described as a problem in any part of the spine and can range from annoying to excruciating. As the single leading cause of disability worldwide, back pain is one of the most common ailments adults face.

Understanding your back pain:

For many, back pain can be as simple as a muscle strain or sprain. This is the most common form of back pain, and the most treatable. This kind of back pain is referred to as “self-healing”, which means it does not require treatment. Other kinds of back pain can be symptoms of a more severe condition, for which it is often necessary to seek out the advice of a back doctor.

Causes of back pain:

There are many different causes of back pain. Most commonly, back pain is caused by overuse or wear and tear as opposed to one isolated event. While overuse is not always preventable, there are several ways to change your daily routine that can significantly decrease the risk of back pain.

  1. Back Pain for Chairs

    Photo Credit: Can Stock Photo

    Take a break.

    For a lot of people, working includes sitting at a desk or in an office for up to eight hours a day. A the most common contributors to back pain is remaining sedentary for long periods of time. In fact, sitting can put up to 40 percent more pressure on your spine than standing. Taking breaks and going for short walks or doing stretches every hour or so can alleviate pressure on your spine. If taking breaks and stretching possible during a busy day at work, try investing in a chair that supports your back and does not cause you to hunch over your desk.

  2. Stop smoking.

    It’s no secret that smoking is bad for you. Everyone is aware of the effects smoking has on the lungs and heart, but not everyone realizes the damage it can cause to other parts of the body, specifically the back. Smoking has been linked to lower back pain and lumbar spondylosis, a disease in which the cartilage of the disks and joints degenerate. Quitting smoking is an effective way to improve your overall health and decrease the risk of lower back pain.

  3. Switch out your mattress.

    If you can’t remember the last time you switched out your mattress, it’s probably time to invest in a new one. For those who already have back pain, the right mattress can make a difference. Professionals recommend finding a mattress that has a medium firmness, or placing a pillow between the knees or under the stomach to relieve pressure. Not only can it decrease back pain, but it may also improve the quality of sleep.

  4. Eating healthy

    Photo Credit: Can Stock Photo / Choreograph

    Eat healthy.

    Following a healthy diet is an effective preventative measure to easing back pain. The key to creating a “back-healthy” diet is eliminating foods that cause inflammation. Avoiding added sugar, processed foods, caffeine, red meat and alcohol and introducing more grains, lean proteins, vegetables and fruit can decrease inflammation and improve circulation throughout the body.

  5. Stretch.

    One of the effective forms of alleviating pre-existing back pain is doing preventative and therapeutic stretches. Other methods, such as low-impact exercises and yoga can prevent back pain from occurring by keeping off excess weight and keeping the joints limber. Yoga not only promotes physical strength and muscle relaxation, but also promotes deep breathing and mindfulness. Try asking an instructor to adjust specific poses to target the lower back.

  6. Back pain from Heels

    Photo Credit: Can Stock Photo / YuriV

    Take off the heels.

    No one will ever say that walking in heels is easy or comfortable. High heels force the back to arch and the spinal muscles to work in overdrive. Try trading in high heels for shorter ones or even sneakers occasionally, and even consider investing in gel inserts for shoes to provide more stability and relief.

  7. Walk when you can.

    Much like sitting at a desk, sitting in a car for long periods of time can negatively affect your spine. Hunching over the steering wheel or slumping in the seat causes unnecessary pressure on the back. Simple steps such as sitting upright and purchasing a supportive lumbar pillow can ease pain, but the most effective method is simply stopping often to walk and give your spine a break.

The American Association of Neurological Surgeons state, “An estimated 75 to 85 percent of all Americans will experience some form of back pain during their lifetime. Although low back pain can be quite debilitating and painful, in about 90 percent of all cases, pain improves without surgery. However, 50 percent of all patients who suffer from an episode of low back pain will have a recurrent episode within one year.” Because back pain is so common and can have significant negative effects on daily life, it’s worth taking the time to consider the changes you can make to take care of your spine.

For more information on back pain, common conditions and treatments, please visit www.mispinerelief.com. If you are suffering from chronic or severe back pain, contact the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute at 855-297-7242 to schedule a consultation with one of our specialists.


Dr. Mike ShawMike Shah

Interventional Pain Specialist & Pain Management Board Certified Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Minimally Invasive Spine Institute

Dr. Shah is a Harvard-trained physician in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation who has been dedicated to the eradication of pain in the Dallas area since 2003. He received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Duke University and his medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dr. Shah also received a master’s in Pharmacology from Tulane and a Master of Public Health from Tulane University School of Public Health. Following this, he completed his Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation residency at Harvard’s Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, consistently recognized as one of the Top 5 Pain Management Hospitals in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

Pain medication dependence avoidance

Tips for Avoiding Pain Medication Dependence

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By: Dr. Mike Shah, Interventional Pain Specialist & Pain Management Board Certified Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Minimally Invasive Spine Institute in Dallas

At the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute, the majority of our patients come to us because they are in pain. And contrary to popular belief, many of those patients don’t need surgery to relieve their pain. Through innovative interventional pain management procedures, nonsurgical therapy and rehabilitation, pain relief is possible with no incisions at all. However, sometimes medication is also needed.

Addiction and substance abuse in America have increased significantly and pain medication misuse has become a dangerous problem. It is safe to say the United States is in the midst of an opioid addiction epidemic. Often times medicine that is intended to help becomes a source of pain for many because of its misuse.

How can patients take steps to heal without the fear of misuse? We have developed four tips to help ease the fear of misuse when a pain medication is prescribed for proper pain management.

1. Follow doctor’s orders

Pain Medication Dependence DoctorsClosely following dosage and the doctor’s orders can help ensure patients are taking the proper amounts to aid with pain relief but not more than is prescribed. 

2. Know the signs of substance misuse

The National Institute on Drug Abuse describes a person who misuses drugs as someone who takes drugs at a higher dosage than prescribed, combines drugs with alcohol or other drugs, and someone who takes drugs through different forms of administration such as snorting pills. Being aware of these signs can be vital to understanding substance misuse. Noticing a personal change in the frequency or dosage of medication you’re taking can be a red flag.

3. Stay alert for early signs of trouble

If you notice you’re not taking the drug as prescribed, or if you begin missing school, work, etc., see your doctor immediately and inform him that you are concerned you may be developing a dependency on your pain medication. 

4. Upon doctor’s orders, stop taking pain medication once the pain has stopped

Stopping pain medicationOnce the injury has healed and the pain has subsided or decreased to a tolerable level, it is important not to lean on pain medication as a crutch. If you experience withdrawal symptoms after ending medication, seek medical attention immediately.  It is important not to leave pain medication unattended where it can be used by anyone else.  You can return unused medication to your pharmacy to keep your family members safe and avoid misuse.

Not everyone who misuses prescription medication becomes dependent. But any misuse must be addressed so it doesn’t develop further.

Substance misuse affects many people and families every single day. Knowing how and what to watch out for and how to handle any issues that may arise can make all the difference.


Dr. Mike ShahMike Shah

Interventional Pain Specialist & Pain Management Board Certified Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Minimally Invasive Spine Institute

Dr. Shah is a Harvard-trained physician in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation who has been dedicated to the eradication of pain in the Dallas area since 2003. He received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Duke University and his medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dr. Shah also received a master’s in Pharmacology from Tulane and a Master of Public Health from Tulane University School of Public Health. Following this, he completed his Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation residency at Harvard’s Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, consistently recognized as one of the Top 5 Pain Management Hospitals in the country by U.S. News and World Report.