Lisa’s chronic back and neck pain got to the point where she could barely function at work and was unable to enjoy the simple pleasures in life like playing with her grandchildren and getting together with friends.
After struggling for years to treat her pain without success, Lisa turned to Juan A. Ramos, M.D., a board certified anesthesiologist and pain management specialist at South Florida Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, in the hopes that he could help her reclaim her quality of life.
“Today, I feel 90% back to my original self,” says Lisa. “Since I’ve been seeing Dr. Ramos, within this short amount of time, I’ve been able to decrease my medication by 75% which has made a tremendous difference in my life and my lifestyle.”
Turning Frustration to Hope
“For about seven and a half years, I was going to another practice,” says Lisa. “And during my experience there, I didn’t feel there was any treatment for my actual issues. The treatment they were giving me was increasing my medication every time I went.”
As a diving instructor, Lisa needed to be in optimal physical shape to perform her duties correctly. Not only that, but it was also critical that she be sharp and attentive when beginner divers were in the water. Her pain medication regime was having the opposite effect on both fronts.
“I went from very low doses of opioid pain medication to extremely high doses of pain medication around the clock. That completely affected my quality of life and how I was able to perform the duties at my job. I’m a scuba instructor. I regularly have to carry tanks in my hands that can weigh forty-five to fifty pounds. I have to be alert for my students and keep them safe in the water. It was becoming very difficult to get proper sleep and to have the focus I needed with my students in the water.”
Working hand in hand with Lisa and her specific pain management objectives, Dr. Ramos developed strategies and initiated processes that allowed Lisa to get back to where she wanted to be. Lisa is now able to play with her grandchildren again, often tiring them out long before herself.
“Previously, the treatment I received got me to the point where I was barely functioning every day,” says Lisa. “Dr. Ramos suggested procedures immediately when I started to see him that allowed us to work together to accomplish my goals.”
Non-surgical Pain Management Treatments
At South Florida Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, our pain management specialists first diagnose the source of pain, assess the condition, and develop a treatment plan targeting the source of the discomfort. The cause and extent of pain will determine the diagnosis and treatment.
Based on their findings, several different techniques may be used to provide pain relief and make your pain tolerable on a day-to-day basis. These may include:
Epidurals are injections given directly into the spine to alleviate lower back pain. An epidural injection is administered by an anesthesiologist or a trained spine specialist; it can be done outpatient or in the hospital.
Trigger Point Injections
A trigger point injection targets muscles that are sore or painful to the touch, that can inflame surrounding nerves, and cause referred pain to radiate out to other parts of the body. The injection is typically given in the neck, back, and shoulders to reduce pain and discomfort.
Epidural stimulator implants use the neural networks of the body to limit pain. The stimulator unit sends out electrical impulses to the nerves “fooling” the brain to focus on the impulses instead of the pain. Similar to an epidural injection, the stimulator is threaded into the spine by a needle (under general anesthesia), and the instrument’s generator placed just beneath the skin.
A facet injection provides temporary relief of neck or back pain caused by swelling in the facet joint due to arthritis, wear and tear or injury. The injection can provide pain relief for days, months, or years. Facet injections give patients an opportunity to resume their daily routine and embark on a program of physical therapy.
A New Lease on Life
Cutting out 75% of her pain medication has increased Lisa’s energy levels, her degree of presence, and her enjoyment of life in general. “I can go out with my grandchildren and play for hours and hours on end, often wearing them out rather than myself, which is a wonderful benefit,” says Lisa. “And I’m completely there and with it during any social or professional event.”
Grateful for her new lease on life, Lisa does not hesitate to endorse the care Dr. Ramos provides and wishes for others to achieve the same benefits as she. “I would absolutely recommend Dr. Ramos to others,” says Lisa. “In fact, I’ve already referred seven or eight people to him, and every one that has come here has understood why I’m so over the moon crazy about Dr. Ramos and his staff.”