Super Doctor 2017

We’re proud to share that Dr. Doctor has been included in the 2017 Texas Super Doctors as seen in Texas Monthly for the seventh consecutive year with only five percent of the doctors in the state being selected to the list.

Pain Management Versus Spinecare?

Herniated DiscAs I started to put together our next SpineCare Newsletter, I noticed that one of the main topics in the news these days is the prescribing of narcotics by physicians for pain management and the subsequent drug addiction and overdoses this creates. Take for example the singer Prince.

As of 2011, 75 percent of the world’s narcotic prescription drugs were prescribed and swallowed up in a country that makes up less than 5 percent of the world’s population, leading to the most common cause of preventable death in America today. Millions of Americans are addicted to narcotics and in 2013 alone prescription narcotics were involved in 37 percent of all drug overdoses. Starting in the 1990’s, there was a dramatic increase in the use of narcotic painkillers by physicians to treat non-cancerous medical conditions like low-back pain, sciatica and various musculoskeletal problems. There is almost no evidence to show that narcotics are safe or effective for the long-term management of non-cancerous pain, even though they are very effective for the relief of short-term pain.

Mid-Back Pain is Misunderstood

Pain in the middle of your back? Between your shoulder blades? Felt pain wrapping around your ribs? Pain in the mid-back is an area of the body that that is often misunderstood and not well treated by most medical practitioners. The cervical and lumbar spine get a lot of attention and most of the treatment. The thoracic spine, which is the part of the spine which is located in the middle of the back, is the longest part of the spine with the most discs and vertebrae. If you look at the figure below you can see how each one of the twelve thoracic nerves cover their own part of the middle of the back. They are labeled in this diagram from T1 to T12.

Thoracic, Arthritis Newsletter_oldPicture 1 – What I want you to notice is how each of these nerves start in the back and wrap all the way around to the front. For example, the part of the body near your shoulder blade is covered by the sixth and seventh thoracic nerves. Each nerve comes out of the spine and passes by the disc and then is attached to the bottom of the rib. What that means is if your sixth or seventh nerve is inflamed by the disc it can create pain in your shoulder blade. If you follow the T6 nerve in the above picture you can see how you may feel pain not only in the area of the shoulder blade, but also in the front of your chest, since that nerve runs all the way around to the front of the body.


Arthritic joint pain from your knee? Hip? Shoulder?
If your joints ache, they have lots of company. Over 46 million Americans suffer from arthritis. Osteoarthritis of the knee is the most common type, and the way it affects the knee is painfully simple. Osteoarthritis causes the lubricating properties of the synovial fluid in the knee joint to diminish, resulting in less protection and cushioning. In addition, osteoarthritis wears down the cartilage, resulting in your bones grinding against each other. That grinding hurts! You can feel it climbing stairs, working in the garden, walking or bending your knees to sit. It may even keep you up at night. Similar issues can affect many other joints, including the shoulder, hip and even the fingers.

Welcome Our New Nurse Practitioner!

Thoracic, Arthritis Newsletter_oldAlissa Nguyen received her Masters of Science in Nursing at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. Prior to becoming a certified Adult and Gerontology Nurse Practitioner with the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, Alissa had experience as a registered nurse in general orthopedics, organ transplant, and cardiology. She is currently Vice President of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society, Zeta Pi chapter, and a member of Texas Nurse’s Association and Houston Area Nurse Practitioners. Outside of nursing, Alissa is passionate about volunteering and is an active Big Sister in the Big Brother Big Sister program and fosters homeless dogs through Golden Retriever Rescue of Houston and Animal Justice League.