Category Archives: Pain Relief

Types of Pillows and Cushions for Side Sleepers

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While you sleep at night, the muscles and ligaments in your neck and back need to relax and recover from the daily stressors. Pillows can have a huge impact on spinal health. It is important to choose a pillow with the right height and firmness to support and maintain the natural curvature of your neck to ensure sufficient overnight rest and recovery. Continue reading “Types of Pillows and Cushions for Side Sleepers” »

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 DFW 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 our team today to schedule a consultation with one of our pain management specialists.

Best Sleeping Positions for People with Back Pain

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Sleep is meant to be peaceful and rejuvenating, but what happens when back pain prevents this? According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, “Adults should sleep seven or more hours per night on a regular basis to promote optimal health. Getting less than seven hours of nightly sleep increases your risk of several adverse health outcomes.”

The addition of an extra pillow paired with various doctor-recommended sleep positions can help alleviate lower back pain. To help those suffering from back pain, we have mapped out a few tips to obtain a restful night’s sleep.

  1. Sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees

    This position isn’t the key to relief, but the added pillow is. By tucking a pillow between your legs, the spine, hips and pelvis are in better alignment.

  1. Sleep on your stomach with a pillow under your lower stomach

    Adding a pillow under the stomach can take pressure off the space between your discs.

  1. Invest in a good memory foam pillow

    Many people research and research their bed but pay little attention to their pillow. Memory foam pillows molds itself around the curve of your head keeping every small bone carefully aligned.

  1. Sleep flat on your back with a pillow under your knees

    According to, this position takes stress off your pressure points and allows for better alignment of your spine and internal organs.

  1. When traveling, use a seat sleeper pillow

    Travel pillows come in all shapes and sizes. Supporting your head and neck while seat sleeping is important. Check out Travel +Leisure’s 14 Best Travel Pillows for Every Type of Seat Sleeper to help find a pillow that will  keep the head from being pushed forward when you are sitting.

While sleep positions alone won’t solve back pain, making small adjustments to your sleeping style can make a big difference.

Yoga Stretching

Best Yoga Stretches for Lower Back Pain

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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 yoga pose

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


Childrens Yoga

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


Triangle Pose

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


Cat Pose

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).

Everyday things that cause Back Pain

Everyday Things that Cause Back Pain

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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.

Back Pain for Chairs

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.

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.

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.

Eating healthy

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.


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.

Back pain from Heels

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.

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.

If you are suffering from chronic or severe back pain, contact the DFW Spine Institute at 855-297-7242 to schedule a consultation with one of our specialists.

Man using phone

Back pain? There’s an app for that.

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According to one of the leading statistics companies, Statista, as of March 2017, there were 2.8 million apps to choose from on Android and 2.2 million apps on the Apple App Store. There is pretty much an app for almost everything, including apps that help you manage back pain.

  1. My Pain Diary offers users a chronic pain and symptom tracker so they can better understand their pain and its patterns. With the app you can do the following:
  • Keep an accurate record of your condition for your doctor.
  • Learn how much you are affected by humidity, barometric pressure, temperature, precipitation and more.
  • Identify triggers, remedies, patterns and trends.
  • Email or print a report for you and your doctors.
  • Track your complex medical condition multiple times a day.
  • Track your simple pain condition as it occurs.Created by a chronic patient after being diagnosed with RSD/CRPS, My Pain Diary strikes the perfect balance between utility and ease-of-use. It is available for purchase in the App Store and Google Play for $4.99.
  1. The #1 Rated Yoga AppDown Dog: Great Yoga Anywhere brings yoga to you! Rated the number one yoga app by The Wall Street Journal, this is a fantastic tool to have in your possession in the fight against chronic lower back pain. With the app you can do the following:
  • Provides a home yoga workout to help relieve back pain.
  • Provides the closest thing to the actual experience of taking a yoga class in a studio.
  • New vinyasa flow sequences every time you log in. You’ll never see the same one twice.
  • 3 sequence types to choose from (full practice, on your feet, and restorative).
  • 4 levels (beginner 1, beginner 2, intermediate, and advanced).
  • Set practice time for between 15-80 minutes.
  • Clear demonstrations of all the poses with easy to follow instructions.
  • This music is tailored to your workout and constantly updated. You’ll never hear the same order twice.
    The app is free to use (with an optional upgrade to a membership of $3.99 per month) and is available for download in the App Store.
  1. The Backache app reminds users to get up and walk around to relieve the back after sitting for long periods of time. With the app you can do the following:
  • Backache app will send you regular notifications when to take a micro break throughout the day.
  • Simply follow the physiotherapist as he shows you which of the 31 exercises to perform.
  • The micro breaks can be performed anywhere as no special equipment is needed.
  • Set up your own schedule to suit your requirements.
  • Backache app includes 31 exercises that target all areas of the body including back, neck, legs, chest, feet, arms and hands.

With so many options, there’s an app for everyone. Some may help you identify issues to discuss with your doctor since back pain can result from a variety of things. However, if you are experiencing severe back pain, consult a doctor immediately.

The most important word of advice I have is don’t try and play Dr. Google and don’t rely on apps or the internet to self-diagnose your pain. If you are experiencing back pain, see a Board-Certified, Fellowship-Trained spine specialist. These apps are not in any way an endorsement or recommendation.

Pain medication dependence avoidance

Tips for Avoiding Pain Medication Dependence

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At the DFW 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.

Back Pain Myth Busters

Back Pain Myths

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Common Myths About Back Pain

Back pain is bad enough, and myths about the issue can make it worse. Roughly 8 out of 10 people in America will experience back pain at some point in their life, and being able to separate fact from fiction can be important in dealing with it and knowing when to take it easy for a while or when to get help from a spine specialist.

Back Pain MythsMyth 1 – Rest heals back pain

While rest is important and recommended for back pain, it is not always the key to a healthy recovery. Some instances require more extensive recovery methods, and rest can actually be harmful to recovery. When experiencing severe or prolonged back pain, you should always consult a doctor.

Myth 2 – Sitting up straight can prevent back pain

Back Pain and PostureWhile slouching is bad for the back, sitting up straight for too long can strain the back. Lean back in your chair occasionally to create a curve in your back, and walk around during the day as much as possible. If you sit at a desk for long periods of time, chairs that allow you to place your weight on you legs and knees can help remove pressure from your spine. Below is a video of a few key preventative stretches from the DFW Spine Institute that you can easily do at the office to help avoid back or neck strain.

Back StretchesMyth 3 – I’m active, so I won’t have back pain when I’m older

Active Back PainAnyone can experience back pain, regardless of their lifestyle. Being active can decrease the likelihood of back pain, but no one is immune from pain regardless of their lifestyle. Excessive weight gain can increase or lead to back pain so maintaining a healthy weight through regular exercise will help ensure a healthier spine.  However, excessive or improper exercise can put extra stress on our spine.  Using proper form and techniques when exercising can help protect you from injury.

Myth 4 – My spine is fragile, so I need to take it easy to avoid hurting my back

The spine is surrounded by muscles and tendons, which give it strength and flexibility. A spine without fractures is strong, and activities like walking or aerobics can strengthen it even more.  If your doctors instructs you to avoid specific activities, it is important to follow his or her instructions.

Myth 5 – Since I have back pain, I must have torn something

Back Pain from TearPain does not always equate to damage. Sensitivity from overuse can often cause pain in the back area. However, if you are experiencing intense or chronic pain, contact a spine specialist immediately.

Myth 6 – The only way I can fix my back pain is with surgery

Many of our patients at The DFW Spine Institute don’t need surgery to relieve their pain. Through innovative pain procedures, non-surgical therapy, and rehabilitation — pain relief is possible with no incision at all.

At the DFW Spine Institute our goal is helping patients find relief. In many cases, that means assisting them in determining the exact cause of their pain through testing and diagnostic imaging so we can accurately treat the source of their pain.  Pinpointing the cause of their pain can often allow us to avoid unnecessary procedures or large surgeries.

When I opened the DFW Spine Institute , my goal was to build a patient centric center that incorporates a team of patient care advocates, therapists, chiropractors, pain management specialists, radiologists and fellowship-trained spine specialists to work as a team to help care for our patients. No patient is ever treated the same because each patient has their own specific conditions and symptoms. Each patient’s pain is unique to them. Each one of our patients has had a customized treatment plan specific to their condition, symptoms and needs.

If you are suffering through pain and chronic symptoms contact us today to speak with one of our compassionate patient care coordinators and learn more about our effective treatment process.