Results May vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as typical. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Below are merely personal stories and do not guarantee success.

Posts Tagged ‘Chicago suburbs’

Chronic Pain: Non-Invasive Options for You

Monday, November 9th, 2015

Chronic Pain headache

By Dr. Grant Reffell

Chronic pain – generally defined as pain lasting longer than 3 months – is the leading cause of disability (pdf link) among people under the age of 45. It is also a leading cause of lost workplace productivity. In fact, chronic pain is such a widespread and costly problem that it affects more Americans than diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke and cancer, combined.

A pain management specialist will often consider prescribing an invasive treatment procedure, such as surgery, to combat chronic pain. If you have found these options to be unsuccessful for your chronic pain, consider the variety of non-invasive chronic pain treatments that are available at your local pain management clinic.

What are the top 3 causes of chronic pain?

Chronic pain is a categorical term that covers a wider variety of conditions. Each condition under this umbrella benefits from a different combination of treatment options. According to recent medical studies, these are the three most common types of chronic pain:

  • Back Pain – across the board, chronic back pain is the most common type of recurring pain. While this pain can be caused by an accident or injury, a growing number of back pain sufferers can’t trace the origins of their pain to a specific root cause.
  • Headache Pain – whether migraine or not, severe headache pain is the leading cause of lost productivity in American workplaces. An average of 3.5 hours of productivity per week is lost, due to headache pain.
  • Joint Pain – this form of chronic pain, often caused by arthritis, injury and accidents, can severely inhibit a person’s ability to function normally. As expected, joint pain sufferers often find even normal movement to be painful, not to mention more stringent physical activities like running, lifting and exercising.

Chronic pain can also strike areas of your body, such as your abdomen, chest, face or legs, but these forms of chronic pain are much less common than the top-three. If you are experiencing any long-lasting pain, make sure to schedule an appointment with a qualified pain management specialist.

What are my pain management treatment options?

Chronic pain covers so many types of physiological issues that it is difficult to provide an exhaustive list of every treatment option available. Many of the more common treatment options involve invasive procedures, like surgeries and injection regimens. These can have side effects as challenging as the chronic pain. That said, here are some of the non-invasive treatment options that your pain management specialist may be able to prescribe as part of your overall pain management and treatment plan.


Surprisingly, your pain management specialist might begin treatment with common over-the-counter medications like aspirin, ibuprofen, anti-inflammatory medications, and/or topical pain-relief creams. These treatment options serve as diagnostic tools, helping the specialist to determine if your pain is caused by inflammation, nerve problems, or another issue. In cases of more extreme pain however, your specialist may prescribe narcotics to reduce the pain to a more manageable level. Of course, narcotic-based medications carry many side effects, including a risk of abuse and addiction, so this option is only exercised in more extreme cases.

Alternative Therapies

Alternative therapy options have become more popular in recent years. They can be effective at reducing the effects of many different types of chronic pain. Modern pain management therapies often fall into one of three categories: cognitive, behavioral, and physical.

  • Cognitive therapies help the chronic pain sufferer mentally strengthen themselves against the effects of the pain. Pain management specialists have noticed a relationship between patient outlook and the success of their treatment plan. People with a positive outlook generally experience greater pain treatment success. While individuals with a less positive outlook generally have a more difficult time. As such, cognitive therapies can help chronic pain sufferers have a better mental outlook, with the intent of making the overall treatment plan more successful.
  • Behavioral therapies help patients modify their lifestyle to better cope with their pain. Sample behavioral therapies involve relaxation techniques, biofeedback, and other coping techniques that help improve the symptoms of long-term, chronic pain.
  • Physical therapies involve modifying or manipulating the problem to relieve the issue that is causing chronic pain. Low-impact exercise regimens, massage, acupuncture, electrotherapies, among others, have shown various levels of success in different chronic pain patients. Before you begin any alternative therapies, be sure to have a discussion with your pain management specialist.

This short list of options is only intended to introduce you to the idea that invasive pain management treatments and medications are only a few of many available options to manage your chronic pain. Alternative treatment options have the ability to be a valuable part of your overall treatment plan. The next time you speak with your pain management specialist, discuss the variety of treatment options and therapies available for your specific case.

How old is your heart?

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

By Dr. Grant Reffell


New research in the medical community suggests that despite an individual’s age, their heart may be significantly older than their actual age. Factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes can all play a significant factor in aging your heart past your physical age and putting you at risk for heart disease, heart attacks and stroke.

The recent Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) report has some alarming findings for the average American. In the report it was found that 1 out of 2 men and 2 in 5 women have a heart that is at least five years older than their actual age. In fact, the average male has a heart age eight years older than their actual age and women have an average heart age five years older than their real age. In addition, 3 out of 4 heart attacks and strokes are directly related to heart health.

So how is my heart age determined? While some of the factors that play a role in aging your heart, such as your actual age and your family history, are unavoidable and still play a role in your heart age, other factors are preventable if each person chooses to make small lifestyle changes to improve their heart condition. Unfortunately, high heart age is found more frequently in poor people and minorities, particularly African Americans who have an average heart age of 11 years older than their chronical age. Mississippi, West Virginia, Kentucky, Louisiana and Alabama have the highest number of people whose heart age is advanced. The alarming statistic is that approximately 69 million Americans have a heart age older than their actual age, yet they have never suffered from a heart attack or stroke and may be unaware of the risk their heart age may pose to their future health.

In order to determine your heart age, you can use this simple health calculator provided by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NIH). Answering these basic questions can help you determine how healthy your heart is and how old your heart is. If some of the factors in the calculator are abnormally high, you can pinpoint those problem areas and prioritize them to begin the process of lowering your heart age. For example, if you have high cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol (the cholesterol that is considered ‘good’ cholesterol), than it is likely that you need to exercise more and eat healthier on a regular basis.

However, do not fret yet. If your heart is not at the age it needs to be (at or below your actual age), there are certainly steps that can help lower your heart age rapidly. Identifying the lifestyle changes you can make to ensure heart healthy habits will go a long way in lowering your heart age. Making these lifestyle changes permanent and a part of your daily routine is the first step to lowering heart age. If you’re a smoker, quitting smoking can have an almost immediate and drastic effect on heart age. Also, if you suffer from type-2 diabetes, than that is a glaring signal that you need to eat better and consistently perform weight loss exercises to shed those unwanted pounds and get your heart healthy again.

Here at CoreWellness we utilize proven weight loss systems and design personalized wellness programs to help get you heart healthy and lower your heart age. Our commitment to our patients is that we will help you identify the lifestyle changes you make and cater a program that you can manage and that can help you become and stay healthy. Schedule an appointment today so we can determine your heart age and ensure that we are lowering it and keeping it low.

There’s nothing more important that practicing healthy habits to get heart healthy and stay heart healthy and visiting CoreWellness for a consultation is the first step for Northwest Chicago residents to leading a healthy life. Contact us today and let’s get your heart health back on track.