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Back pain. Dull aches, stabbing, shooting sensations. Pain can impact your sleep and ability to exercise, which directly affects your immune system, relationships, and mental health. Lower back pain is also one of the leading causes of missing work, setting people back financially. Whatever you are dealing with, it’s all incredibly frustrating, miserable, and limits your possibilities in all areas of your life.
However, if you are part of the 80% of adults who have suffered from lower back pain, I do not need to keep going on about how back pain can overwhelm your life. You get it—from the inside out.
My name is Dr. Brandon Claflin of Oklahoma, and my mission is to help you lose the pain and gain the life you really want. I am a board-certified physician in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, with subspecialty board certification in Pain Medicine. My specialty is to create a tailored treatment plan that may include physical therapy, medication, and spinal injections. I only suggest surgery if nothing else will give you the desired results.
To get a better glimpse into living life where you can manage your back pain—and not let your pain manage you—please review my interview with Healthcare Weekly.
Most people know what chronic back and spine pain is because they have experienced it too many times to count. But finding the root cause of the pain can be difficult and complicated. With the right testing and team of medical experts, however, it can be found. This is why Dr. Claflin of Oklahoma closely collaborates with neurologists, orthopedic and spine surgeons/neurosurgeons, physiatrists, physical/occupational therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and chiropractors to provide optimal solutions for each unique patient. Spine and back pain do not live in silos and can not heal with a one-treatment-fixes-all approach.
For all new patients seeking spine and pain management help, he starts by learning about the patient’s history of their pain and dives into the details. Then he does an in-depth physical exam and focuses on the area of pain as well. Typically imaging studies are also involved such as x-rays, MRIs, labs, and blood work is done to evaluate them for other disease processes.
Additionally, Dr. Claflin in Oklahoma uses cutting-edge testing technologies such as EMG/NCS to know exactly what is happening inside your body. EMG/NCS is a diagnostic procedure to assess the health of muscles and the nerve cells that control them (motor neurons). Motor neurons transmit electrical signals that cause muscles to contract. An EMG translates these signals into graphs, sounds, or numerical values that a specialist interprets.
Chronic back pain can often be caused by:
Note: These are just a few causes of back pain; there are multiple other causes.
Our bodies are incredibly powerful, yet complex. Therefore, it is essential to work with a doctor such as Dr. Claflin in Oklahoma, who will act as a curious detective until the problem is solved.
Dr. Claflin of Oklahoma Interventional Spine & Pain suggests that if common treatments such as taking over-the-counter pain drugs and physical therapy are not working, then it is best to seek out a qualified interventional pain physician. When finding the pain physician that is right for you, it is important to find out if they are board certified, an active member of a pain society (where they learn the latest approaches), and have the appropriate training. A recommendation from your primary care doctor is also a trusted way to avoid unnecessary treatments, undertreatment, overtreatment, or medical malpractice.
While Dr. Claflin creates a unique treatment roadmap for each patient and consistently reevaluates along the way, here are a few services that he specializes in and tremendously help his patients:
For pain and spine management, RFA sends radio waves through a precisely placed needle to heat an area of the nerve, preventing pain signals from being sent back to your brain. This 30-45 minute outpatient procedure can reduce long-term neck and back pain while increasing your range of motion. It is also a safer alternative to opioid pain medication and surgery. More than 70% of people experience pain relief between 6 months to several years. RFA can also be repeated without any major risks.
An epidural steroid injection (ESI) is a minimally-invasive treatment to relieve low back-related leg, or neck-related arm pain. A small dose of anti-inflammatory medication (called a glucocorticoid) is injected into an area of fatty tissue surrounding the spinal nerves. By reducing inflammation, an ESI can help reduce your pain. In most cases, pain relief can last for years. ESI can also diagnose a specific nerve root problem when there is a question.
A medial branch block is an injection of anesthetic medication onto the nerves that transmit pain information. The goal is to relieve pain caused by the facet joints. Most people enjoy pain relief for several years after their shot.
Small doses of Botox injected into a muscle block the release of a neurotransmitter chemical known as acetylcholine, which transmits messages from the brain through the nerves to tell a muscle to contract. When acetylcholine is blocked, the muscle relaxes. Most people will require treatment every 12 weeks to feel relief.
Being able to manage your pain is possible. With the support of spine and pain management tools and technologies under the guidance of experts like Dr. Brandon Claflin in Oklahoma, you can live a life of endless possibilities.