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Chronic neck pain is a miserable experience. Although some cases of neck pain are caused by an injury, many are simply due to poor posture. Poor posture stresses the muscles of the neck and can cause muscle spasms, stiffness and pain. Over time, the stresses of poor posture on the neck can cause degenerative diseases to develop in the discs and bones of the neck. 

 
Forward head
A very commonly seen posture that puts a lot of strain on the neck is the forward head. The individual habitually thrusts the head forward, carrying it out in front of the shoulders. In this position, the weight of the head is constantly pulling on the spine and the shoulders. Sitting for hours hunched over a desk or a computer is a common cause of forward head. 
 
Many people with this habitual forward head carriage suffer from sore shoulders as well as a sore neck. Over time, the vertebrae at the base of the neck (C5 and C6) can develop painful degenerative conditions due to the constant weight of the head pulling on them in the forward head posture. 
 
Correct posture
A correct posture is one that keeps the spine in alignment. Some people call it a neutral or balanced posture. One exercise to encourage a neutral posture is to focus on opening the chest wide as you try to squeeze your shoulder blades together. Once your chest is open, bring your head into alignment. Think of a string pulling up the top of your head and lengthening the neck. When you do this, your chin will tuck in and your head will naturally shift into proper alignment with your spine. Do the open chest/ string exercise multiple times a day. 
 
Other exercises to build better posture are head nods and chin tucks. To do a head nod, slowly nod your head slightly up and down without moving your neck. To do chin tucks, tip your nose down toward the ground and move the top of your head backwards. Repeat head nods and chin tucks several times a day. These exercises strengthen the muscles on the front of the neck. Individuals with habitual forward head posture usually have very weak muscles in the front of the neck. 
 
If you've worked hard at correcting your posture and you are still suffering from neck pain, why not give us a call?
 

Choosing a pillow wisely should be a primary concern for anyone struggling to live with neck and back pain. How do you know which pillow is healing for your body? You have to find a balance - a sweet spot - resting between pillow type and your specific sleeping habit. If you sleep on your side, you’ll need a firm pillow to prop up your head. If you sleep on your back, you need a thinner pillow than side sleepers. If you sleep on your stomach, you’ll need an extremely thin pillow. 

Now, let’s take a look at types healing pillows perfect for those suffering from neck and back pain.

Neck pillows and memory foam pillows both lend your neck, back and head sculptural support not found in other types of pillow designs. Neck pillows have a feature called a “baffle” which establishes a dependable foundation for your neck. These unique pillows grasp your head and neck. They relieve your cervical spine. Memory foam pillows are fantastic constructions for anyone with hyper tender areas. They special material magically reduces pressure between your head and neck against the pillow. Regular foam pillows are also an option for people simply seeking solid support beyond traditional pillows, but they don’t reduce pressure like memory foam. 

There are two hard pillows well suited for people who struggle with neck and back pain. Microbead pillows and buckwheat pillows are made from highly sturdy materials that are relaxing even though they are as strong as nails. Made with miniscule beads called “EPS beads”, microbead pillows create a strong foundation which adjusts to your body without losing shape. Buckwheat pillows are just as durable but made from organic material. Composed of buckwheat seeds, they also adjust to your head and neck without losing shape.

If you are dealing with neck and pain, chances are you’ve tried all kinds of techniques. Pillow stuffing is a common approach that tends to work temporarily. The stuffing usually loses shape and becomes more of a problem for your pain than relief. Many try yoga and yoga is great, but the relief brought by a yoga sessions dissipates without a pillow balanced to your pain and sleeping habits. No one should spend their days and nights trying to block out what feels like never-ending pain. Get a pillow designed to alleviate your pain or call us to help diagnose your pain and layout a treatment option just for you.

If you are suffering from back pain, you know how difficult it can be to get a comfortable night's sleep and to awake without experiencing pain or stiffness. Many different factors can influence your sleep quality, but one of the most crucial elements is your sleep position. Some are better than others for combating discomfort and getting proper recuperative rest. 


Sleeping on Your Back
Some sleepers swear by this position, while others actively avoid it. Nevertheless, many people prefer this sleep position or find themselves in it when they wake. To make the best of back sleeping, you should consider placing a pillow underneath your head and neck and another underneath your knees to relieve pressure on the back. The posture places the back in its most natural, aligned positioning. This can also help with cramping; however, for those who snore, this position is likely to exacerbate the condition.

Sleeping on Your Side
One of the most popular sleep positions, side sleeping is good for reducing back strain. Placing a pillow between your knees or thighs can help reduce pressure on the hips and other joints. A full sized body pillow is less likely to slip out during the night and can be very comfortable. If you tend to roll one hip forward, you should use caution and try to avoid doing so, because it can increase both lower back and hip pain. This position can also help with sinus pressure; however, those with shoulder pain may find it markedly less comfortable. To alleviate that, switch sides during the night when possible.

Sleeping on Your Stomach
Not a highly recommended position, but one that makes many people feel more secure as they drift off to sleep, stomach sleeping is a more challenging sleep option for those with back pain. The answer is to sleep with a pillow beneath your pelvis and abdomen, easing the curve of the spine. You may want to forego resting your head on a pillow in this position. For those with some types of degenerative disc disease or paracentral disc herniation, stomach sleeping may help, but otherwise, if possible, you may wish to give up this position, as it offers few benefits beyond potential psychological comfort.

If you have tried all of these positions and are still having back pain issues, contact us for more information and potential solutions for your pain and sleep quality issues.

Why Does Cold Weather Make Back Pain Worse?
According to medical experts, cold weather causes severe back pain because barometric pressure levels increase when temperatures are low.
 
How Barometric Pressure Causes Back Pain
There are some theories for why pain increases during the winter. One theory focuses air pressure changes in the environment. Rainy and damp weather does not intensify back pain. Back pain occurs when the barometric pressure changes the weight in the air. This theory makes sense because the tissues that surround your joints are like balloons. Their purpose is to protect your joints; however, your tissues will not expand out whenever the barometric pressure is high. Your tissues expand when the pressure drops; this places pressure on your joints. 

 
How To Avoid Winter Pain
If you typically experience back pain on cold days, there are a few measures that you can take. Moving around is important because it loosens your stiff joints, so you should exercise each day during the winter. If you do not normally exercise daily, try walking through a mall or dancing at home. When your back starts to ache, do not place a warm pack on the sore spot for numerous hours. Too much heat is bad because it will cause swelling. Though, if you wear tight-fitting material, you can restrict the swelling.
 
Simple Ways To Reduce Back Pain
Our back pain specialists understand all back pain causes and symptoms. If you have low-back pain, you should not spend too much time in bed.  Long workouts at the gym often lead to back pain. However, the strain that you experience has probably been building up for months. Proper posture is crucial when performing gym activities because poor posture places unnecessary stain on the back. If you have chronic back pain, you must strengthen your core. When abdominal muscles are weak, the other muscles pick up the slack. When the abdominals are strong, there will be less strain on the back.
 
Hot and cold packs can provide relief whenever the pain gets intense. We recommend using an ice pack after an injury for 48 hours because it will heal the swelling. Then, a heated pack should be use after the swelling is gone.
 
If your basic at-home treatments do not relieve the pain, contact us so that we can help you get back to your normal routine.
 
People are very busy and active today. This hectic lifestyle might lead to back pain. The fact is that back pain is one of the top reasons that send people to the doctor's office for treatment and pain relief. Often, all it takes is slowing down and relaxing a few days. Of course, the doctor might also prescribe a few pills to treat the back pain. However, there are others that find the back pain simply does not go away. They find that nighttime back pain or nocturnal back pain exaggerates their condition. 

 
Nocturnal Back Pain
We've also had a lot of people tell us that they can go through their usual daily activities. For example, working, shopping, playing with kids, attending social events, without experiencing severe back pain. This is very distressing to them. Why? Well, they reveal to us that the back pain symptoms begin in the evening. In fact, the back pain is so severe that it keeps them awake through the night. They were desperate for a solution because the problem was interfering with their ability to sleep or simply enjoy relaxing in the evening.
 
Nocturnal Back Pain Cause
What are the causes for severe nocturnal back pain? Well, this is a very complicated question. The cause can usually be diagnosed by a doctor that specializes in back injuries. The fact is that back problems can be caused by several reasons:
The pain might be due to a problem with the spine.
The pain might be due to a severe accident. For example, a fall or car accident.
The pain might be due to an undiagnosed medical condition.
The patient might be severely overweight. The extra weight places extra stress on their back.
Even arthritis might lead to severe nighttime back pain.
Sleeping on a bad mattress is also another reason people suffer with back pain.
 
Numerous people try aspirin or other over the counter medications. Others prefer alternative ways to end the back pain. For example, try yoga or acupuncture. If you've tried those alternative methods and still feeling the pain, contact us today, and we will help you get back to your regular routine.
 
Do you want to sleep like a log, but feel more like you're sleeping on a log? Waking up with back pain is not good. But we can help with some options that can get your day off to a better start.
 

blonde woman sleeping

Your bed and mattress are very important. Your mattress is designed to provide support and relieve pressure on many parts of your body. If it's getting older, it might have lost some of its supportive ability, and you might be ready for a new one. Research shows that people sleep better and have less back pain on a new mattress.
 
But what kind of mattress is best for you? Here are some options with features that can help back pain.
 
Innerspring mattress - An innerspring mattress uses steel coils for support, covered with fiber, foam, and sometimes smaller coils. Sometimes the coils are a single unit, and sometimes they're individual coils. For back pain, you want the greatest number of coils you can get, because that will give you the most support. Heavier gauge coils also offer more support.
 
Memory foam mattress - The memory foam, or visco elastic foam, mattress uses polyurethane foam throughout the mattress and sometimes in the upper layer. This mattress conforms to the body, and so offers good support.
 
Air bed - An air bed has an air chamber for a mattress, covered with foam or fiber. The air chamber is adjustable, so you can make it either softer or firmer to decrease back pain. Air beds often have individual controls on the sides, and partners can each have the bed set just the way they like it.
 
Another option to consider is a bed with an adjustable foundation. It can bend various parts of the mattress to best suit your needs and relieve your back pain. Beds with an adjustable foundation often have individual controls, so each partner can set them for the greatest comfort. You'll need a mattress that's designed to work with an adjustable foundation, and it should be a good supporting mattress to further alleviate back pain.
 
Nowadays, beds and mattresses have many new technologies that can benefit you. If getting out of bed is a pain, call us today and let us help you find the product that's right for you. 
 
We all know that Thanksgiving can be a figurative "pain in the neck," but this year we want to help you make sure that it's not a literal pain in the neck or back. There are many factors that can contribute to back or neck injuries, and a lot of them happen to collide around the Holiday season. Thanksgiving is generally thought of as the beginning of the true Holiday season, and sustaining an injury that has you off your feet can throw a wrench into your fun. 
 
Some of the factors that contribute to back pain are obvious. They're things such as medical conditions or injuries that you may sustain. We understand that the potential for injuries can increase as activities such as lifting and running about getting things organized for the festivities of Thanksgiving day occur. Another hazard that tends to arise around this time of year in some regions has to do with the weather. As the temperatures drop, icy and wintery conditions can also lead to potential injuries or strains to muscles. Even a minor injury such as a pulled or strained muscle from these and other hazards can set your goals and fun family time back. 
 
Another (perhaps less obvious) factor that can lead to increased back and neck pain around Thanksgiving is stress. When you're stressed out it kicks off a whole set of physiological reactions within your body that can lead to tight and sore muscles. In addition to that, the potentially lower focus level on taking care of yourself and your health, and avoiding risky or hazardous conditions can lead to injuries or strains. 
 
While reducing stress through organization is one way that you can begin to help limit your risks of back or neck injuries and pain this Thanksgiving, it's often easier said than done. That is also by no means the only factor that contributes to the pains and aches that you can feel post-party. There are a lot of aspects to preventing and rebounding from back pain that professionals such as those at our offices can help you with. 
 
We want to make sure that you're going into this Holiday season as the strongest, healthiest, best version of you that there is. By giving our offices a call - (214) 396-3647 or (888) 373-3720 - you're taking charge of your holiday season to make sure it's going to be an enjoyable one for you and your loved ones alike. Give us a call today so that pain won't be getting in your Holiday fun's way!
People always say that a good night's sleep is the best recipe to wake up in the morning feeling fully refreshed, but for many people who suffer from morning back pain, that scenario may seem like just a dream. For those who do have back pain, there may seem like no end in sight, but luckily, there are some great stretches you can do in the morning that'll eliminate your pain and have you feeling great for the rest of the day. Let's take a closer look at the top five best stretches for morning back pain:

man and women stretching

 
The Erector Spinae Stretch (lower back)
 
This is a great exercise to use if you're having a lot of pain specifically in your lower back region. For the erector spinae stretch, you'll want to lay on your back and then pull one of your knees up towards your chest. Grasp it firmly with both hands, and then bring the remaining knee up and hold both of them close to your chest while relaxing.
 
The Pelvic Tilt Stretch
 
Another great exercise is the pelvic tilt stretch. For this one, lie on your back and tilt your knees so that your lower back is raised off the ground. You'll then want to tighten your abs in such a way that the small of your back will lay flat against the surface. Hold this position for around five seconds. Do this at least three times, but you're working towards around nine to ten overall repetitions. 
 
The Supine Hip Flexor
 
This is a great stretch that's also easy to do early in the morning. Simply move on over to the edge of your bed and let your leg dangle down. Hold this for about one to two minutes before switching to the other side of the bed and doing the same for your other leg.
 
The Piriformis Stretch (Glutes)
 
This is a great stretch to alleviate both leg and back pain. Stay on your back and move one leg over the other one while pulling the knee up towards your chest until you feel a stretch in your behind. Hold this for 30 seconds and then switch to the other leg.
 
The Hamstring Stretch
 
The final stretch we'll mention here is the hamstring stretch. Stay on your back and raise your leg up while trying to keep it straight. Use both hands to hold your upper leg for support. Hold this position for five seconds a piece on each side.
 
These are certainly not the only methods out there, and the very best way to get true pain relief is by consulting a professional. Living in pain is not something you just have to "deal with;" it's a real problem that can be helped by real physicians. 
 
If you're experiencing morning back pain that you want to go away, then make sure to call us here at (888) 373-3720 or (214) 396-3647 today to schedule an appointment with one of our well experienced physicians. 
Back pain has many causes, many of which involve the discs in the spine. Discs are cushions that are located between each vertebrae that makes up the spine. Discs can deteriorate over time, possibly leading to several potential spinal disc problems. 
 

spinal diagram image

Normal Disc
A normal, healthy disc provides cushioning between the bones, or vertebra, that make up the spine. A disc is round, but flattened at the top and bottom, and is flexible to provide shock absorption and act as connective tissue between vertebra. Each spinal disc is made up of a firmer collagen outer layer with a softer fiber and gelatinous center. Over time, loss of hydration may lead to discs becoming stiffer or more brittle, leading to potential problems.
 
Degenerative Disc Disease
(DDD) is not really a disease and is typically used to refer to the natural degeneration that occurs to discs over time. Loss of fluid causes discs to become thinner and stiffer. Degenerative Disc Disease may include inflammation within the inner portion of the disc or stiffening of the outer portion, resulting in micromotion instability and small cracks or tears. DDD does not always cause pain or other symptoms, but this condition may lead to the development of other spinal disc problems.
 
Bulging Disc
Due to weakening and thinning of the tough outer layer of the disc, the inner filling may press beyond its natural boundaries, forcing part of the outer layer to extend beyond its normal range, resulting in a protrusion of an area of the disc. Bulging discs typically have no symptoms, unless the protruding area presses on surrounding nerves.
 
Herniated Disc
If there are tiny cracks in the outer layer of the disc, pressure can allow some of the gelatinous fluid from the inner core to leak out of the disc and protrude into the spinal column. While it is possible that a herniated disc may have no symptoms, it is more likely because the protruding inner core is likely to press on surrounding nerves.
 
Thinning Disc
Thinning, or flattening, of spinal discs is a normal occurrence of DDD. Problems can occur if parts of the weakened disc break off and press on nerves or affect normal spinal movement. Thinning discs may allow bones in the spine to rub together, leading to pain and additional problems.
 
Disc Degeneration with Osteophyte Formation
As discs thin with DDD, less space is available between vertebrae. Osteophytes, or bone spurs, can develop to compensate for the thinning space. Osteophytes may cause no symptoms, or they may grow large enough to press on nerves.
 
No matter what is causing your back pain, Become Pain Free has a medical specialist who will work to help you become pain-free. Make an appointment today by calling us today at (214) 396-3647 or toll-free at (888) 373-3720. The sooner you call, the quicker you can get back to living your life instead of living in pain.

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Failed back surgery syndrome, commonly referred to as FBSS, occurs when a patient does not have a successful experience with spinal surgery intended to ease pain in the back, neck, hips, or legs. About 40 percent of people who go through open back surgery experience symptoms of failed back surgery. If you are one of those people, keep reading. You are not out of options.
 
Causes of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome
There can be many reasons why back surgery fails to ease pain or actually causes pain to get worse. Sometimes the original problem was incorrectly diagnosed, leading to unnecessary surgery or surgery in the wrong place on the spine. Other times, the surgeon misses a fragment of disc or bone which is left still putting pressure on the nerve.
 
FBSS is certainly not always the fault of the doctor who performs the operation. Sometimes a patient develops a new spinal condition following surgery. Scar tissue from the original surgery can also lead to increased pain, as can damage to the nerves. 
 
Symptoms of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome 
Because there can be so many causes of FBSS, the symptoms can vary broadly as well. Some people find that their pain is reduced somewhat but not enough to make a meaningful difference in their quality of life. Other people say that their pain is not reduced but is actually worse after the failed surgery. Finally, some people do well for the first three to six months after surgery and then start to develop pain again. This is often caused by a new injury or by the formation of scar tissue. 
 
The site of the pain can vary as well. It may be located in the spine. Other people report pain in the neck or hips or shooting pain to the extremities. People with FBSS also frequently experience emotional pain such as frustration, depression, or anxiety. 
 
Treatments for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome
Depending on the causes and symptoms of FBSS, there are many treatments available. They range from additional surgery to careful use of pain medications to exercise to electrical devices that reduce the transmission of pain signals. Here at Become Pain Free, we recognize that one treatment will not fit every patient. We will examine you carefully, run any necessary tests, and develop and individualized plan of care designed to ease your pain. 
 
Don't put off calling us. The longer pain is allowed to go untreated, the harder it is to control. Become Pain Free offers a diverse and comprehensive network of physicians whose sole purpose is to effectively treat your pain. If you are experiencing FBSS, don't suffer another minute. Call us today for an appointment. You can reach us at 214-396-3647 or at 888-373-3720. Pain does not have to control your life. We can help you control the pain.
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Posture and Neck Pain

Chronic neck pain is a miserable experience. Although some cases of neck pain are caused by an injury, many are simply due to poor posture. Poor posture stresses the muscles of the neck and can cause muscle spasms, stiffness and pain. Over time, the stresses of poor posture on the neck can cause degenerative diseases to develop in the discs and bones of the neck. Forward head A very commonly seen posture that puts a lot of strain on the neck is the forward head. The individual habitually thrusts the head forward, carrying it out in front of the shoulders. In this position, the weight of the head is constantly pulling on the spine and the shoulders. Sitting for hours hunched over a desk or a computer is a common cause of forward head. Many people with this habitual forward head carriage suffer from sore shoulders as well as a sore neck. Over time, the vertebrae at the base of the neck (C5 and C6) can develop painful degenerative conditions due to the constant weight of the head pulling on them in the forward head posture. Correct posture A correct posture is one that keeps the spine in alignment. Some people call it a neutral or balanced posture. One exercise to encourage a neutral posture is to focus on opening the chest wide as you try to squeeze your shoulder blades together. Once your chest is open, bring your head into alignment. Think of a string pulling up the top of your head and lengthening the neck. When you do this, your chin will tuck in and your head will naturally shift into proper alignment with your spine. Do the open chest/ string exercise multiple times a day. Other exercises to build better posture are head nods and chin tucks. To do a head nod, slowly nod your head slightly up and down without moving your neck. To do chin tucks, tip your nose down toward the ground and move the top of your head backwards. Repeat head nods and chin tucks several times a day. These exercises strengthen the muscles on the front of the neck. Individuals with habitual forward head posture usually have very weak muscles in the front of the neck. If you've worked hard at correcting your posture and you are still suffering from neck pain, why not give us a call?


Note: The information on this Web site is provided as general health guidelines and may not be applicable to your particular health condition. Your individual health status and any required medical treatments can only be properly addressed by a professional healthcare provider of your choice. Remember: There is no adequate substitution for a personal consultation with your physician. Neither BPF Specialty Hospital, or any of their affiliates, nor any contributors shall have any liability for the content or any errors or omissions in the information provided by this Web site.