Caffeine Helps the Effectiveness of Painkillers – AZ Pain Clinic


Caffeine has been added to over-the-counter pain medications for decades. It is normally found in chocolate, tea, soda and coffee.

By itself, caffeine is not an effective pain reliever. However there has been inherited wisdom over the last few decades that it helps other pain drugs.  The reason is that studies done about three decades ago showed some slight evidence of its effectiveness when added to pain medications and it’s been used therefore ever since.

A new study out of the Cochrane Library looked at multiple other studies trying to determine the true effectiveness of caffeine at boosting pain medication’s effectiveness. Almost 20 studies were looked at which included over 7000 patients who took ibuprofen or acetaminophen. These studies definitely showed that caffeine did boost the effectiveness of these medications.

Compared to the medications that had no caffeine included, caffeine-enhanced drugs allowed an additional 10% of patients to experience at least half of the maximum possible pain relief over a 46 hour period. More patients who had the caffeine in their medication considered their treatment very good or excellent, and also more had relief of their headaches.

Why caffeine helps pain medication is unknown. A few possibilities are it may help the medication get into the bloodstream faster, it may slow medications clearance from the bloodstream, or it may actually change how individuals perceive pain along with enhancing mood.

It is also unknown if adding caffeine to narcotic pain medications would have the same beneficial effect. My thoughts are that it would, but this research did not look at opiate pain medication enhanced with caffeine.

If you live in the Phoenix metropolitan area and are experiencing chronic pain, Arizona Pain Specialists can help. They provide comprehensive pain management doctors in Arizona including treatments with injections, medication management, physical rehabilitation, spinal decompression therapy, chiropractic and acupuncture treatments.

These AZ pain clinics serve the whole valley with multiple locations in Glendale, Phoenix, Chandler, Scottsdale, Mesa and more. They accept all major medical insurances along with Medicare, Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, United healthcare, Worker’s Compensation, personal-injury, Mercy care, APIPA, and self-pay as well.

Call 602-507-6550 today for scheduling. You do not have to live in chronic pain!

The Basics on Hip and Leg Pain from an Arizona Pain Center


The hip joint is a very large ball and socket joint that sees a lot of force with every step the body takes. The joint represents the connection between the lower extremity and pelvis. There is a large cartilage surface area with this connection that is subject to arthritis and injuries from “wear and tear arthritis”, post traumatic arthritis, sports related injuries, motor vehicle accident injuries and falls especially in the elderly.

It is important when dealing with hip pain to make sure that it is actually coming from a hip problem and not a lumbar spine problem, which can cause hip pain such as from symptoms of spinal stenosis radiating into the hip and thigh area.

How is hip and leg pain evaluated at an Arizona pain center?

The first step is a comprehensive history and physical examination. This will involve figuring out when the pain occurs, how often it lasts, and where exactly it is situated. If the pain only comes on with weight bearing and goes away with sitting, then most likely is due to some sort of arthritis or possibly even a stress fracture. in addition, a person may also have pain with activity due to a soft tissue injury such as from a tendon being inflamed or maybe a cartilage injury inside the joint that is irritated with motion. This may include a labral tear or a greater trochanteric bursitis where muscle tendons rub over the outside area of the Phoenix pain clinichip.

During a physical examination, the doctor will palpate the joint area itself and put it through an extensive range of motion. If the joint itself is tender and painful when rotated, arthritis may be the culprit.

X-rays of the hip and pelvis performed at a Phoenix pain clinic are typically included in the work up and may show predominant arthritis.

Hip arthritis may also cause pain that radiates from the joint itself down into the thigh. So it may overlap with the same pain that is seen from spinal stenosis in the lumbar area. That type of pain radiates around the hip into the thigh and may be consistent with the same type of pain seen from hip arthritis.

One of the ways to delineate between a hip joint problem and one from the lumbar spine is a diagnostic injection into the hip joint itself with numbing medicine. The injection is performed under fluoroscopy which is a real-time form of x-ray as there are some vital structures between the skin and the hip joint. Scottsdale pain management

Into the joint the doctor will inject numbing medicine and within five minutes the patient should be able to tell how much pain relief is going to be achieved. If it is a lot, the presumption is that the hip is the culprit for the problem. If not, an MRI of the lumbar spine may be necessary with the end result being a successful series of epidural injections for pain control. Pain management Mesa

Another problem that may cause pain in the hip region is a bursitis on the outside part of the hip called grader trochanteric bursitis. This is a common condition that is best treated non-operatively with physical therapy and an office-based steroid injection into the outside part of the hip. For those individuals who have hip arthritis, there’re multiple ways to avoid a hip replacement surgery or possibly just delay it for a few years.

Pain management doctors in Arizona can perform corticosteroid injections into the arthritic joint with typical excellent results for a few weeks to months. There are also hyaluronic acid injections such as with Synvisc that have been shown to provide excellent benefit for upwards of a year.

Physical therapy along with chiropractic treatment can also help delay the need for the surgery.

For those who have pain that persists all day long and wakes someone up at night, further workup is necessary. There is the rare circumstance of a tumor which should be looked for in these instances.

Arizona Pain Specialists are experts in the treatment of spinal stenosis and hip arthritis pain. They understand exactly how to tell the difference between whether or not pain is actually emanating from the hip or spine. The last thing you want is to receive a series of steroid injections into an area that is not causing your problem. With Board Certified and Fellowship Trained Arizona pain doctors, APS will make sure that does not happen.

Call today at (602) 507-6550.

Seven Recommendations for Arthritis Pain Management


A recent international panel of rheumatoid arthritis experts convened and presented multiple recommendations for treating arthritis. The findings were published in the Journal of Rheumatology.

Here are seven of those recommendations from their systematic literature review.

1. Acetaminophen is recommended for the treatment of persistent arthritis pain.

2. Giving corticosteroids into the bloodstream or taken orally should be avoided in the routine pain management of rheumatoid arthritis when inflammatory signs and symptoms are not present.

3. Muscle relaxants or benzodiazepines such as Valium are not recommended for usage. Tricyclic antidepressants and neuromodulators such as Gabapentin, however, were recommended by the panel along with traditional medications.

4. Narcotics were recommended for short term Arizona pain management only when other treatments such as acetaminophen have failed, and long-term use or stronger opioids should only be used in extreme cases. Both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis flare up severely from time to time, and opioids may help mitigate those rough times. Using them chronically, however, is not a good idea.

5. If acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories are not working well enough, a different anti-inflammatory should be tried. Two or more nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories should not be tried together at the same time. There becomes a risk of ulcers and kidney problems if multiple are used together.

6. Using acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories can be used along with methotrexate safely with standard doses.

7. The lowest effective dose of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories should be used to minimize the potential complication of renal or G.I. problems.

Inflammatory arthritis such as the rheumatoid variety or severe osteoarthritis may cause significant pain and disability. The board-certified pain management doctors at Arizona Pain Specialists help individuals avoid surgery for these conditions.

If you live in the Phoenix or Scottsdale metropolitan area and suffer from arthritis, call the Arizona pain clinic today that gets results at 602-507-6550.