Are Botox® Treatments Right for My Migraines?

Frustrated senior businessman with headache at work If you’ve ever experienced migraine headaches, you understand how debilitating they can be. There are several theories on how migraines begin, ranging from hormonal changes in the body, stress, bright lights, and lack of sleep. While the cause of migraines is up for debate, the pain that patients experience can leave them desperate for solutions. Botox® treatments are shown to provide migraine sufferers relief. Before you agree to injections, make sure that this treatment is the right option for you.

Risk Factors for Migraines

An intense, throbbing migraine can bring your day to a screeching halt. At the onset, you can feel nauseous, cause noise sensitivity, and unleash excruciating pain. You are more likely to develop chronic migraines if you
  • Have a family history
  • Suffer from depression or anxiety
  • Are between the ages of 10 and 40 years old

Typical Migraine Treatments

 Acetaminophen, Anti-Inflammatory drugs, and over-the-counter medications are used commonly to treat migraines. However, this is not always enough for patients that frequently have migraines.

When to Consider Botox® Treatment

Botox® migraine treatments serve as a last resort for those who suffer severely from migraines. Before you schedule a treatment, give an honest assessment of your experience with migraines. If over a 3-month time frame you have a migraine for more than 15 days each month, and 8 of those days you have a migraine that lasts for at least 4 hours, Botox® treatments might be worth considering.

Is it Safe?

A Botox® injection contains small amounts of the toxin, botulinum. The thought of being injected with something poisonous can sound frightening. However, the amount of toxin in each injection is so small it leaves few opportunities for side effects to occur. Botox® is recognized as a safe migraine treatment by the FDA.

Is it Effective?

While Botox® treatments are given to patients around 4 times a year, they are a safe, effective way to get migraines under control. Studies suggest that patients have reported a 30-50% reduction in the number of migraines they have. Of course, your results will be unique to your situation and if you believe that the treatments are ineffective, you can stop.

Talk to our team

If you are looking for chronic migraine treatment, schedule a consultation with our team in the Show Low area. Call Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic at 855-768-4968.

What Conditions Does a Spinal Cord Stimulator Treat?

a man has back pain in the sunset time Back pain can bring your whole life to a halt. Your back is the anchor of the frame that centers your body. When it is in pain, it can be difficult for you to think about anything else. That is why doctors worldwide have dedicated themselves to helping their patients get relief from back pain.

A spinal cord stimulator is a small device a medical professional implant into the body. Small wires are attached to the spine that connects to a pack that generates electrical impulses to parts of your back. These pulses can alleviate much of the pain you feel, and you can use them to treat several issues that affect the body.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Some injuries to the back can lead to life-long debilitating pain. Some patients continue to have pain issues with their back even after having surgery to correct the problem. A spinal cord stimulator can help ease the pain of spinal cord injuries by calming the affected muscle groups.

Nerve Related Pain

If you have ever had diabetic neuropathy or known someone who has gone through chemotherapy for cancer treatment, you know how painful nerve pain can be. It feels like your body is on fire, and that agony can affect the entire body. Most of that pain comes from nerves in the spine. A spinal cord stimulator can help calm that pain and alleviate a lot of suffering.


Inflammation around the heart can cause excruciating chest pains. Because the spinal cord stimulator has electrodes injected into the epidural space, it can help to ease some of the chest pain associated with angina. This procedure can lead to a better quality of life for those patients.

Contact Us to Learn More

There are many ways a spinal cord stimulator can change the life of chronic back pain patients. At Summit Healthcare, Dr. Dax Trujillo and the team stay on the cutting edge of all the technologies that can help ease your pain. Call us at 855-768-4968 if you live in the Show Low, Arizona, area for a consultation, and let us help you get started on the road to a life with less pain.

How Do Trigger Point Injections Work?

Doctor makes an injection therapy into head nape muscle of male patient. Trigger point injections are one treatment option available for patients seeking pain relief or pain management. It is a minimally-invasive procedure where your physician or pain management specialist will take a small needle and inject an anesthetic and corticosteroid mixture directly into the painful area. The procedure only lasts a few minutes, but the pain relief is almost immediate.

What Are Trigger Points?

Trigger points—not to be confused with tender points— are knots within the muscular fascia that can be felt when palpated or massaged. Palpating the area may also cause a twitch response in the muscle. Because of trigger points, patients may experience stiffness and decreased range of motion in addition to chronic pain.

Common conditions treated with trigger point injections are:

  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Groin pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Shoulder pain

What To Expect When Receiving Trigger Point Injections

A small needle and, sometimes, local anesthesia is used during trigger point injections. Any patient who frequently suffers from pain in the musculoskeletal system and consents to receive trigger point injections can expect specific steps from their procedure.

Before the Procedure 

Your physician explains the treatment plan in detail. This is the time to mention other painful areas. You may notice a variety of tools have been set out like lidocaine, needles, a syringe, gloves, and a pulse oximeter. These tools are needed to perform the injection procedure and monitor your status.

During the Procedure 

Your doctor will palpate your problem areas, clean the site, and make an injection directly to your trigger point. You may feel mild pain from the needle stick, but you will most likely feel relief from the pain you were initially experiencing.

After the Procedure 

Your muscles are relaxed, and your pain is subdued. Your doctor may encourage you to activate or use your muscles. You may also feel tenderness at the injection site. Your physician will ask you to schedule a follow-up appointment. 

Schedule a Consultation

If you are experiencing issues such as tension headaches, fibromyalgia, or chronic back pain, then don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation today. Contact the team at Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic to learn more about trigger point injections and your options for pain relief.

Finding real relief from neck and back pain

woman sitting on the bed and holding painful shoulder with another hand. If you’ve ever experienced neck and back pain, then you know you would do almost anything to get rid of the ache and pain that interfere with your daily life. Often patients will start with conservative treatments to manage this type of chronic pain, but if they don’t find relief, then the next step could be radiofrequency ablation.

Here is what you need to know about this procedure and who is a good candidate for treatment.

  • Radiofrequency ablation is designed to decrease pain signals from the nerves where the back pain originates. If a patient experiences pain relief from a diagnostic nerve recepter block injection, then they would be a good candidate for radiofrequency ablation.
  • The outpatient procedure is done under IV sedation and lasts anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes. Local anesthesia is administered in the area of the procedure. Patients are awake during the procedure to provide feedback throughout. An x-ray helps guide the radiofrequency needle into the treatment area and alongside the nerves causing the pain. A mild electrical current passes through the needle to verify placement. If done correctly, it will cause a brief tingly sensation. Radiofrequency currents are then passed through the needle, which creates a lesion on the nerve. This disrupts the pain signals sent to the brain. The process is repeated on additional nerves as necessary.
  • After a radiofrequency ablation procedure, most patients return to their regular activities in less than three days. Patients will experience pain relief in 1-3 weeks after the procedure.
  • For some patients, they will need to have this ablation procedure repeated if the nerve regenerates, which can happen in six months to two years after the first procedure.
  • Radiofrequency ablation helps many patients avoid surgery, which can present several risks and a longer recovery period.

If you are dealing with chronic neck and back pain and are wondering what treatment options may be available to you for the relief you seek, call (855) 768-4968 today for a consultation.

Unlocking the mysteries of fibromyalgia

Asian woman having neck pain after workout at the gym. For patients who have fibromyalgia, they may get frustrated when their providers don’t understand this chronic condition or how to treat it. Thankfully, there are pain specialists like Dr. Trujillo who have extensive experience with this to help you manage it.

Read on to learn more about fibromyalgia and what the treatments are.

  • Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain. This disorder is accompanied by fatigue and problems with sleep, memory and mood.
  • While there isn’t a lab test for this disorder, Dr. Trujillo may order a variety of tests to rule out other conditions and get you on a path to treatment. Tests include a complete blood count, cyclic citrullinated peptide test, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, rheumatoid factor, thyroid function tests and more.
  • While doctors aren’t sure about the exact causes of fibromyalgia, it may be caused by certain infections, genetics and physical or emotional trauma. It can often mimic other conditions such as rheumatoid diseases, neurological disorders and mental health problems.
  • There are many things patients who have fibromyalgia can do to reduce the severity and frequency of their pain and other symptoms. It starts with following a healthy diet and exercise program, getting better sleep and reducing stress. In addition to these conservative measures, treatments may include a mix of medication, therapy and self-care.
  • Cannabidiol or CBD is a good treatment option for many people who suffer from chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia. Research shows that CBD oil is effective at reducing pain, improving sleep and diminishing refractory pain that is common with fibromyalgia.
  • Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, massage therapy, yoga and tai chi are proven effective with many chronic pain conditions, including fibromyalgia.
  • There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but you can improve symptoms with these treatment options.

If you think you are suffering from fibromyalgia and need a diagnosis and recommendations for treatment, call (855) 768-4968 today for an appointment.

Pain Relief by Pump

Young girl with back pain close up In March’s first blog, we got into some basics about one of the tools we use to help chronic pain patients at Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic, the intrathecal pain pump. This small medical device is implanted and automatically delivers pain medication directly into the intrathecal space surrounding the spinal cord.

Let’s get into this more in this post-vernal equinox blog.

Why is a pain pump better?

Once the pump is implanted, it is programmed to automatically deliver pain medication in slow-release fashion. The advantage is that by delivering the pain directly to the intrathecal space, this bypasses the digestive tract. Pain medication that is ingested loses some of its strength through the digestive tract. Plus, it can lead to constipation and nausea. Since all of the medication is delivered directly to where it is needed, the dosage is lower with the pump.

Would an intrathecal pain pump be right for you?

Dr. Trujillo weighs the need for these pumps on the unique circumstances of every patient. If this seems like a good option, he will perform a trial to see if this method will work. This could involve an injection through a lumbar puncture, or an external pump.

This pump could be good for you if:

  • You depend on pain medication for comfort and mobility
  • You have no medical conditions that would interfere with the efficiency of the pump
  • You have no allergies to the drugs commonly prescribed in pain pump therapy
  • Your pain has not improved with conservative therapies
  • Trial testing proved effective

How is the pump implanted?

Dr. Trujillo first conducts a trial to see if you’re right for a pain pump. He injects a single shot of medication into the intrathecal space in a simple procedure. This allows him to verify the location of the pain source and to see if the type of medication is right for you. If your pain decreases by at least half, you’re good for a pain pump.

The pump implant procedure takes just 30 minutes to an hour with the patient under general anesthesia. There are three steps:

  • A catheter is placed in your back in the spinal space.
  • The pump is placed under the skin of your abdomen below the waistline.
  • Medication flow is tested once the catheter is connected to the pump, and the pump is then programmed.

If you’re suffering from chronic pain, an intrathecal pain pump could be a good option. Call us at Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic Associates, (855) 768-4968, to schedule a consultation with Dr. Trujillo.

Less Medication, More Relief

sick woman on bed concept of back pain Chronic pain is brutal. It is a daily presence that begins to close off a person’s life as they have to give up more and more activities to avoid the pain. Even simple tasks such as walking around the grocery store can become painful drudgery.

As a pain management specialist, Dr. Trujillo helps our patients from Show Lo and the surrounding areas get past the pain. One of the tools he uses is the intrathecal pain pump.

In March’s two blogs, let’s get into this automated form of pain medication delivery.

What is an intrathecal pain pump?

An intrathecal pain pump is a small medical device that delivers medication directly to the spinal cord into the intrathecal space. This is the space that surrounds the spinal cord.

The intrathecal pain pump looks kind of like a hockey puck for you Phoenix Coyotes fans. Dr. Trujillo surgically implants the pump beneath the skin of the abdomen area. The interior of the device holds the medication. The pump is attached to a tube that runs from the device to the intrathecal space around the spine.

What are the advantages of having a pain pump?

As an alternative to oral medication, pain pumps have several advantages:

  • Only a small amount of medication is needed. Even a small concentration (1/300th of the same medication in pill form) can relieve a patient’s pain. Medications taken in pill form require a much higher dosage since they flow through the whole body before reaching the spinal cord. Because of this problem, oral medications such as opioids can cause side effects, tolerance problems, and addiction.
  • Few side effects. Because the pain pump delivers the medication directly to the area this reduces side effects such as nausea, constipation, and drowsiness.
  • Reduced addiction to opioids. The reduced dosage and direct delivery mean there is little risk for addiction. Pain pumps are excellent for chronic pain patients who cannot tolerate oral opioid pills.
  • No problem missing medications. The pump is programmed to release medications slowly and constantly. It can also deliver extra medication at those times of the day when the patient expects to have more pain. The pump stores this information and medication amounts in its memory, so you don’t have to do or remember anything.

In March’s post vernal equinox blog, we’ll get into some more details about intrathecal pain pumps at Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic Associates. Until then, if you need to see Dr. Trujillo, please give us a call at (855) 768-4968 to make an appointment.

The CornerLoc System for Chronic Pain in the Sacroiliac Joint

woman suffering from lower back pain In this month’s first blog, we got into the sacroiliac joint and problems that can lead to chronic pain. In this second blog, we’re going to detail a new treatment used by Dr. Trujillo to help patients get through this dysfunction in the sacroiliac joint, the CornerLoc™ SI Joint Stabilization System.

Dr. Trujillo uses this minimally invasive surgical option to create stabilization and fusion in the SI joint.

What is the SI joint?

As a quick refresher, the sacroiliac joint connects the sacrum at the base of the spine to the pelvis. The sacrum is the triangular bone at the bottom of the spine, and it connects with the pelvis through two joints on the right and left sides — the sacroiliac joints. These joints act as shock-absorbing structures and typically only move a small amount. When these joints move too much or too little, they can lead to serious pain. This is sacroiliac joint dysfunction.

What is the CornerLoc™ SI Joint Stabilization System?

The CornerLoc™ SI Joint Stabilization System gives us a new option for dealing with SI dysfunction. The CornerLoc™ system is designed to achieve optimal stabilization and fusion with only minimal invasiveness. After careful preparation of the sacroiliac joint, two CornerLoc™ allografts are placed orthogonally within the sacroiliac joint. These CornerLoc™ grafts create instant joint stability and an ideal environment for fusion.

How is the CornerLoc™ SI Joint Stabilization System placed?

Dr. Trujillo places the CornerLoc™ grafts through a posterior approach using two small incisions in the lower back. This provides simple and safe access to the sacroiliac joint. Through the two small incisions, Dr. Trujillo places the two CornerLoc™ allografts within the SI joint and this creates immediate stability. The grafts then begin fusing the two joints.

What is recovery like after CornerLoc™ joint stabilization surgery?

These are minimally invasive procedures. Patients are typically walking within hours of their procedure. For the first two weeks, you’ll need to keep your incisions dry and your dressings in place. You won’t drive during this period. After two weeks, you can return to work and perform light duties. For up to six weeks, you won’t lift anything over 10 pounds. There can be some inflammatory pain as your body responds to the allograft, but this isn’t acute pain and doesn’t typically require anything beyond over-the-counter pain medication.

It’s important for patients not to “push” their recovery in any way. You don’t want to squat, jump, or place stress on the sacroiliac joint for that first six weeks. If you are patient, after about 12 weeks you can return to most forms of exercise, such as running or playing tennis.

How successful has the CornerLoc™ SI Joint Stabilization System been?

The FDA approved the CornerLoc triangular titanium implant grafts for sacroiliac joint fusion in 2008. Studies since that approval have shown the system to be very successful in helping patients with sacroiliac joint dysfunction. In those studies, 8 out of 10 patients who have undergone the CornerLoc™ procedure have reported excellent pain relief and functional improvement without serious complications.

If you’re dealing with pain caused by sacroiliac joint dysfunction, the CornerLoc system could be a great treatment approach. Call us at Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic, (855) 768-4968, and let’s see if this new treatment is right for your situation.

Stabilizing Two Unknown Joints

Pain in the spine, a man with backache at home Unless you’re into studying human joints, it’s unlikely you’ve heard of the sacroiliac joints. They definitely aren’t as glamorous as the knees, shoulders, or other more well-known joints of the human body.

But the two sacroiliac joints can be a source of chronic pain. That’s why we’ve added a new approach at Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic to treating sacroiliac pain — the CornerLoc™ SI Joint Stabilization System. Dr. Trujillo uses this minimally invasive surgical option to create stabilization and fusion in the SI joint.

Let’s get into this in February’s two almost spring blogs.

What is the sacroiliac joint?

First, let’s get into this unknown joint, the sacroiliac joint. The sacroiliac joint connects the sacrum to the pelvis. The sacrum is a triangular bone at the bottom of the spine, below the lumbar region of the spine and above the tailbone. It consists of five fused vertebral segments. These segments move during our childhood, but fuse in early adulthood. The sacrum is connected to the pelvic bone, also known as the iliac crest, on the right and left sides at the sacroiliac joints. These joints act as shock-absorbing structures and typically only move a small amount.

What is sacroiliac joint dysfunction?

When a person develops pain in these two joints, this is known as sacroiliac joint dysfunction. This usually occurs when the joint moves too much or too little. Hypermobility (too much movement) can be caused by injury to the ligaments in the joint or pregnancy. Hypomobility (too little movement) can be caused by degenerative joint diseases such as arthritis.

When the sacroiliac joints overcompensate for problems in nearby joints, they may become painful. Lumbar spinal fusion patients can develop pain in the sacroiliac joint due to reduced mobility in their lumbar spine segments.

Sacroiliac joint pain usually shows itself as pain in the lower back or buttocks, but it can spread to surrounding muscles that may spasm in response to joint dysfunction.

How has sacroiliac joint dysfunction typically been treated?

Treatments for sacroiliac joint dysfunction have focused on alleviating the pain and restoring normal motion in the joint. A combination of rest, applying ice and/or heat, physical therapy and manual manipulation, and various pain medications have been the usual approaches. Some patients benefit from a pelvic brace when the joint is inflamed and painful.

In these methods don’t improve the patient’s pain, the last option has usually been injection of corticosteroid in combination with local anesthetic into the sacroiliac joint. This reduces the inflammation and reduces pain.

While these treatments with Dr. Trujillo are usually successful, in some patients their sacroiliac joint becomes a source of chronic pain. For these patients, our new CornerLoc treatment could be a great solution. In February’s second blog, we’ll get into this new approach to sacroiliac joint pain.

Until then, if you’re dealing with chronic pain, please give us a call at Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic Associates, (855) 768-4968, to make an appointment to see Dr. Trujillo.

More About that Chronic Hip Pain

Young Man Having Pain In His Back In January’s first blog we got into the cause of many cases of chronic hip pain, inflammation of the trochanter bursa. Known as trochanteric bursitis, this inflammation in the outer hip area can be quite painful, and if the patient continues to create the stresses that are inflaming the bursa, their bursitis is likely to continue.

In this second blog, let’s get into how Dr. Trujillo diagnoses and treats trochanteric bursitis in our patients from Show Low and the surrounding areas.

Diagnosing hip bursitis

When a patient comes in exhibiting the symptoms that point to possible hip bursitis, Dr. Trujillo will first discuss your symptoms and medical history. For instance, he’ll want to know if you’ve had a prior injury to the area or if you perform activities, such as distance running, that could cause inflammation.

Next, he’ll perform a physical examination, looking for tenderness in the area of the point of the hip. If he needs confirmation, he may also order imaging studies, such as x-rays, bone scans, or magnetic resonance imaging.

Treating trochanteric bursitis

Hip bursitis rarely needs invasive procedures. Dr. Trujillo can usually get the patient’s pain to resolve and the bursa to calm with these non-invasive treatments:

  • Activity modification — If you’re running stairs every day, you’ll need to change your ways to let the bursa calm.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications — Ibuprofen, naproxen, and other NSAIDs all work to calm inflammation. They’re not meant for long-term use, but they can have great results for shorter periods.
  • Physical therapy — Dr. Trujillo may assign a course of physical therapy to help you increase your hip strength and flexibility. Your therapist will work with you and then will give you exercises to perform on your own. The therapist may also use ultrasound, ice, heat, and rolling therapy.
  • Steroid injections — Injection of corticosteroid combined with local anesthetic is a common treatment for hip bursitis. Dr. Trujillo performs these injections in our offices in Show Low. They can provide temporary or permanent relief (especially if you change behavior that was causing inflammation). The number of corticosteroid injections must be limited over time.

If you have pain when you’re sleeping on one side or when climbing the stairs, you may have hip bursitis. Give us a call at Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic Associates, (855) 768-4968, and have Dr. Trujillo help you get past the pain.

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