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Dr. Hunter at the North American Neuromodulation Society (NANS) 22nd Annual Meeting

NANS 2019 was an extremely exciting meeting.  The future is bright for pain management has newer and better technologies for treating chronic pain continue to be created to give doctor improved tools to offer to our patients and these innovations were all showcased at this year's meeting.  Much of the innovation in the field seems to be centered on finding different and unique ways to manipulate the nervous system to respond in different ways to meet a given need - whether it be Parkinson's Disease, incontinence, tremors, movement disorders, pelvic pain, amputee pain, headaches or neuropathic foot pain. One of the highlights from the conference was something called "closed loop stimulation" by Saluda.  This is a once-in-a-lifetime discovery that allows doctors to communicate with the spinal cord and literally see what it is "saying" to the brain...its basically like an EKG…

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The Truth About Laser Spine Surgery

Laser Spine Surgery New York Laser Spine Surgery NYC Laser Spine Surgery New York City

Laser spine surgery can be summed up in one word – hoax. There is a perception by the general public that lasers are modern or even futuristic. Dating back to the 1960’s people were obsessed with lasers. Whether it be Auric Goldfinger using it as a hi-tech weapon to try and kill James Bond in 1964 or Val Kilmer designing a prototype for the military in 1985 – the American public has viewed lasers as the penultimate in science and technology. It would only seem natural that if one were to “apply” lasers to medicine, the public would find that application equally as futuristic, regardless of whether that use was real or just more movie special effects. Dr. Theodore H. Mainan, the researcher who first constructed the optical laser in 1960, said it was “the solution in search of a…

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Dorsal Root Ganglion (DRG) Spinal Cord Stimulation Comes to NYC

The Ainsworth Institute is one of just 26 sites in the nation selected to start performing the cutting-edge technology! DRG Stimulation is a variation of traditional spinal cord stimulation.  The difference is that the leads are a fraction of the size and are placed directly over the individual nerves of the spine, more specifically, the small structures that house the neurons themselves - the Dorsal Root Ganglion (DRG).  The ACCURATE study (an FDA-approved clinical trial performed by leading pain physicians in the United States) was completed in 2015 and the results were presented at the North American Neuromodulation Society meeting in the same year.  The results were impressive to say the least!  It showed DRG was superior in almost way to traditional stimulation with better success rates and better overall pain relief. Dr. Hunter has been selected as one of the…

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Can a Sea Snail Venom Save America from Prescription Drug Abuse?

Conus Magus - Ziconotide Prialt

As of 2014, pain relievers are the 2nd most commonly abused drugs in the United States with 4.3 million Americans using them for nonmedical reasons.[1] The number of those using pain relievers for nonmedical reasons has remained relatively unchanged from 2002 to 2014, however the number of deaths from prescription drugs, namely opioids, is up 3-fold since 2001.[2] At a time where opioids appear to be causing more problems than they solve, the medical profession is in desperate need of something new. Enter ziconotide. This unique medication is created from a toxin naturally made by the Cone snail (a ω-conotoxin peptide).[3] The molecule is a calcium channel blocker that works by infused into the cerebrospinal fluid to inhibit the release of glutamate, CGRP and substance P in the brain and spinal cord to provide pain relief [4],[5]; the best part…

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Pharmaceutical Companies Cashing in on the Opioid Epidemic

Opioid Epidemic

The opioid epidemic is just that...an epidemic - it's widespread and affects everyone.  Here are some interesting statistics.  The United States comprises only 4.6% of the world's population but we consume 80% of the world's opioids.  The United States consumes 99% of the world's Vicodin.  We spend $300,000,000,000 (that's billion) on pain-related medical costs each year, much of that is on medications.  According to the CDC, in 2013, nearly 2 million Americans abused prescription drugs. [1]  Each day, 7000 people are treated in Emergency Rooms across the United States for overdose or complications related to prescription drugs. Abuse Deterrent Formulations (ADF) are a good attempt to help curb the epidemic, but since insurance companies charge patients an arm and a leg for them over generics, addicts have a valid reason to ask for something that's cheaper and abusable.  More importantly, these ADFs are only one…

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How to Avoid Opioid Induced Constipation (OIC)

Opioid Induced Constipation

Constipation is defined as infrequent bowel movements or the passage of hard stools, causing discomfort.  In patients taking opioids for pain, Opioid Induced Constipation is a frequent occurrence.  While there are many effective medications on the market for treating Opioid Induced Constipation, you may want to try some of these helpful recipies first. How to prevent constipation: Below is a list of ways to avoid constipation.  Start with #1 and move down the numerical steps until bowel movements are soft and regular. 1. Drink 8-10 glasses of fluid per day, including fruit juices. Eat a high fiber diet including raw fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, and whole grains. Fiber is important. Cereals such as Quaker Oatmeal Squares are high in fiber. In addition, try the juice recipe below: Juice recipe: 1 oz prune juice 1 oz apricot nectar 1 oz…

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What Causes Neuropathy?

Neuropathic pain affects roughly 2-3%[1] of the general population with an estimated cost of $40 billion per year in treatment related costs.[2] But what causes it? Since Neuropathy is an umbrella term used to describe any abnormalities of nerve function and structure, the potential causes of neuropathy are seemingly endless. Causes of Neuropathy: Genetics - Family history plays a big role. People who have family members with Neuropathy are more likely to experience it themselves. Toxins - Exposure to lead, glue, solvents, and heavy metals like mercury can cause nerve damage. This can happen through proximity to these agents in the workplace, or through willful abuse. Physical Injury - The most common cause of nerve injury. For example, spinal cord injury or disc herniation due to a fall or accident can lead to Neuropathic pain. Neuropathy can also be caused by holding…

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What is Transdifferentiation?

Stem Cell Therapy New York City NYC

Once a stem cell reaches the treatment site, it will differentiate or specialize into whatever specific cell is needed to repair specific tissue – like cartilage in an arthritic knee or connective tissue in a torn tendon[1]; this is called Transdifferentiation. A number of experiments have reported that certain adult stem cell types can differentiate into cell types seen in organs or tissues other than those expected from the cells' predicted lineage (i.e., brain stem cells that differentiate into blood cells or blood-forming cells that differentiate into cardiac muscle cells, and so forth). This enables the damaged or degenerative tissues to be repaired at the cellular level without surgery. Once the stem cells specialize, these new cells will continue to divide. Infusing damaged, painful tissue with new healthy cells can lead to regeneration – potentially reducing pain and improving function…

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Why Choose Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS)?

Spinal Cord Stimulation NYC New York City Manhattan

Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) is a particularly appealing option for those with chronic who are hoping to avoid surgery. The field of Neuromodulation (aka neuroaugmentation, aka neurostimulation) was born from the need to find an alternative to surgery. SCS adheres to the fundamental principles of Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) by avoiding the excessive tissue injury and scarring inherent to open surgery. The important thing to remember is a SCS trial is not surgery, in fact there is no cutting of any kind. Patients get to test out the neurostimulation in a fully reversible fashion to see if it works and is effective in treating their specific pain complaints. Everyone’s pain is different and no two person’s complaints are the same. This may explain why spinal surgery is successful in some (61%)[1] yet in others their pain is made worse – the…

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