Many people move to Arizona to get out of the cold weather. Long winters and icy conditions can certainly make it harder to manage arthritis symptoms.

If you suffer from chronic joint pain and find that even Arizona winters are challenging, you’re not alone. Fortunately, you can take steps to combat the seasonal joint blues. Here are five reasons your joints hurt worse in the winter and how you can get feel great all season long.

Higher stress levels

Holiday stress may be over but the residual affect can still be wreaking havoc on your body. While stress isn’t fun for anyone, it can be particularly unwelcome for those suffering from joint pain.

Research shows that prolonged stress triggers an inflammatory response in the body. This is part of your body’s fight-or-flight response and a way of fighting off perceived threats. Unfortunately, stress-induced inflammation can exacerbate joint pain too.

Self-care routines such as journaling and meditation have calming effects on the body and mind. Research suggests that regular yoga practice can also reduce inflammation and cortisol levels.

Decreased activity

One of the best balms for joint pain is movement and exercise. However, many people often forgo their daily walk when shorter days and cooler temperatures appear.

Although curling up in front of the fire may be tempting, maintaining a sedentary lifestyle won’t do your joints (or the rest of your body) any favors. Regular physical activity is a vital part of overall health but is also important for joint health. Low-impact exercises promote joint function, improve range of motion and reduce stiffness, pain and fatigue.

If you experience acute or lasting pain (more than a few days) from your workouts, immediately stop and talk to your physician or a pain management specialist. They can help you find exercises that work best for you.

Change in diet

It’s no surprise that a change in diet can have a direct effect on joint pain. This is because certain foods, such as those high in sugar and saturated fats, can trigger inflammation.

You can find relief from chronic joint pain in the winter by eating foods with anti-inflammatory properties, including:

  • Ginger
  • Green leafy veggies, such as kale and spinach
  • Pomegranates
  • Fish

While it’s OK to indulge your sweet tooth now and then, monitor your diet and balance it with joint-healthy options to keep your pain in check this winter.

Changes in mood

Cooler weather and darker days can sometimes dampen spirits and leave you feeling ‘blah.’

For instance, less sunlight in the winter could signal to the body that it’s time to rest. Although some extra sleep might sound nice, too much sleep and fatigue can be linked to Seasonally Affected Depression and cause joint inflammation.

If you notice the winter blues coming on, try these tips:

  • Get out of the house
  • Exercise and move around
  • Connect with friends or family
  • Do something you normally enjoy

Cooler Temps

The jury is still out when it comes to the science on winter-related joint pain. Anecdotally, though, cold weather is the No. 1 culprit. In fact, 42 percent of participants in a poll conducted by Weather.com identified weather as a leading cause of arthritis flare-ups.

So, what is it about cold weather that exacerbates joint pain?

Though the science is conflicting, many researchers believe changes in barometric pressure could be responsible. The Arthritis Foundation says this is because air pressure can cause expansion and contraction of the tendons, muscles and bones, resulting in arthritic pain. Low temperatures may also thicken joint fluids, making the joints stiffer and movement potentially more painful.

While you can’t change the weather, you can make your joints more comfortable by keeping your body warm. As the temperature cools down, wear warm layers, use extra blankets and savor hot drinks and foods like tea and soup.

If joint pain has got you down this winter, talk a professional specializing in pain management and get back to doing the things you love.

Dr. Alex Bigham is the owner and CEO of Novocur Pain Management Clinics and has over 18 years of healthcare experience in private practice and Ambulatory Surgical Center settings. Novocur offers advanced treatment options in a concierge type practice without the concierge price tag. Dr. Bigham appears frequently on local TV and radio programs to discuss the latest in Pain Management or related health topics.


For people with chronic back pain, the added stress of accomplishing a holiday to-do list can overshadow the pleasure of the season.

Holiday decorating mishaps may be funny in the movies but thousands of people sustain holiday-related back injuries and many of those injuries can be prevented with a few simple solutions.

Here are a few simple hacks for a pain-free holiday season:

Outdoor decorating

A well-decorated house around the holidays looks festive and brings good cheer. However, the process of decorating can be stressful and even lead to injury.

While fire hazards are the biggest safety concern for holiday-related accidents, climbing and falling from ladders is not far behind.

People who are already prone to back injuries should take extra precaution when it comes to being on a ladder or decorating in high places. Core strength and stability are often accompanied with back injuries and can make balancing on ladders even more of a challenge.

Using things like ladder stabilizers and levelers can provide better security and more confidence when moving up and down.

According to Ladder Safety Hub, OSHA believes 100 percent of all ladder incidents could be prevented with proper use and training. So before you break out the decorations, take a few minutes to check the safety specs on your ladder. And, as simple as it sounds, following instructions is the best way to stay safe.

Beyond the obvious of ensuring all rungs are secure and dry, make sure you have the right ladder for the job. Trying to use a step ladder when you need an extension ladder can lead to unnecessary injuries. People also have a tendency to lean step ladders up against the wall which can result in slippage.

Simple hack: Pre-planning your decorations will ensure minimal time on the ladder. Pre-measuring for electrical outlets, using light clips and having an extra set of hands will make things easier for sure. Try using a hanging pole when hanging lights in trees instead of a ladder.

Heavy lifting

Decorations, shopping bags, packages and retrieving boxes from storage: Some heavy lifting is inevitable during the holidays.

For people with existing back pain, this can make things worse.

Many people often forego their usual exercise routines during the holidays and that’s a big mistake. Skipping workouts can lead to weak, tight muscles making the risk of heavy lifting injuries even worse. Keep exercise routines consistent and remember to stretch before activities such as decorating and shopping.

Some exercises can actually relieve symptoms of sciatic pain, so make sure to stay active, even if it’s taking 15 minute breaks to stay loose.

Don’t risk straining your back so you can get something finished quickly. Rushing into a job before you can assess what is needed is tempting, but could ultimately result in unnecessary injuries.

Refresh your memory on using the proper heavy lifting techniques such as lifting with your legs, not your back. Ask for help with awkward objects even if they aren’t heavy.

If something is really too heavy, don’t be afraid to hire some help. The extra money spent will be worth it if it keeps you pain free.

Simple hack:  Keeping strap handles handy for large objects ( and even smaller ones for shopping ) can make it easy to distribute weight evenly and properly.

When packing suitcases, consider packing two small bags instead of one large bag to reduce back pain and strain when you carry luggage.

Extended travel, poor sleeping accommodations

Winter holidays and Fridays in the summer are some of the busiest times in airports. Whether your holiday plans include travel by plane or by car, chances are you may end up sitting for long periods of time.

In a previous article on pain-free travel, we talked about pre-travel treatments, warm and cold relief, and controlling foods that cause inflammation.

Simple hack: When traveling for extended periods, try using a rolled up towel for lumbar support instead of a pillow. The towel allows flexibility to roll or fold to the appropriate support needed. Consider using contoured travel pillows for long flights and car trips. Many are ergonomically designed for neck support and side sleeping.

Above all, don’t let pain steal the joy from your holiday season. If you find yourself with back pain, get professional help to determine your next plan of action and get back to doing the things you love.

Dr. Alex Bigham is the owner and CEO of Novocur Pain Management Clinics and has over 18 years of healthcare experience in private practice and Ambulatory Surgical Center settings. Novocur offers advanced treatment options in a concierge type practice without the concierge price tag. Dr. Bigham appears frequently on local TV and radio programs to discuss the latest in Pain Management or related health topics.

 


According to the Arthritis Foundation, 1 in 2 adults will develop symptoms of knee osteoarthritis — a breakdown of cartilage or the cushions between bones — during their lives. Osteoarthritis causes pain, swelling and stiffness, and affects people of all ages.

If you experience osteoarthritis or have severe knee pain or long-lasting swelling or inflammation that limits your activities, doctors may recommend total knee replacement surgery.

Deciding when you need knee surgery is a difficult decision. Knee surgery can be costly, create limitations and even increase your risk of a heart attack. For those facing these issues, there are alternatives.

Physical therapy and knee braces can help relieve pain, but as medicine advances and new techniques are discovered, it’s important to be aware of additional pain management interventions that can serve as alternatives to total knee replacement surgery.* In simple and easy terms, learn about some of the alternatives to total knee replacement surgery below:

1. Knee viscosupplementation

In simple terms

Knee viscosupplementation is an injection of lubricants to help joints work more smoothly, relieving pain and stiffness.*

Who is it for?

Patients with mild to moderate osteoarthritis of the knee. If you have more severe degenerative changes, consider one of the other treatments below, such as knee radiofrequency ablation. In Arizona, Novocur is the only provider of RFA to date.

How does it work?

Your joints are surrounded with fluids to keep them lubricated and work smoothly. If a person has osteoarthritis, this fluid becomes thinner. Knee viscosupplementation is an injection of hyaluronan, a substance that occurs naturally in the fluid surrounding joints, and is quick and virtually painless. It often relieves pain and stiffness and is safe and effective.*

How long does it last?

This treatment offers pain relief for up to six months.*

2. Radiofrequency ablation

In simple terms

Radiofrequency ablation zaps the nerves surrounding your knees with heat to make them temporarily blind to pain.*

Who is it for?

Patients with moderate to severe degenerative or osteoarthritis of the knee. If you are seeking an alternative to knee replacement surgery or have tried other treatments without success, consider giving RFA a try.

How does it work?

A person experiences pain when nerves send signals to their brain saying. RFA is a quick procedure that uses radiofrequency energy to heat and alter nerves to create a nerve block. This treatment has been used successfully to treat spinal pain in the past, but Novocur is one of the first pain centers in the nation to be offering this technology to treat chronic knee pain.*

How long does it last?

Pain relief typically lasts 6-18 months.* After time, the heated nerves recover and begin transmitting pain signals again, but patients can simply return for another 90-second treatment for another 6-18 months of pain relief.*

3. Amniotic allograft injection

In simple terms

Yep, that amniotic. An amniotic allograft injection is a product that consists of all the good stuff that helps babies grow and develop to facilitate soft tissue repair and reconstruction.

Who is it for?

An amniotic allograft injection is great for anyone with knee pain from osteoarthritis.*

How does it work?

The amniotic product is developed from amniotic tissue and fluid (derived from moral tissue donations) to be injected into soft tissue or joints. The result can be diminished inflammation and pain and increased soft tissue repair and reconstruction.*

4. Bone marrow aspirate concentrate

In simple terms

Bone marrow aspirate is derived from a patient’s bone marrow and injected to aid in the healing process.

Who is it for?

Bone marrow aspirate concentrate provides pain relief for those with moderate to severe knee pain from osteoarthritis.*

How does it work?

Concentrated BMA is high in stem cells that are critical in biological processes such as tissue regeneration and bone formation. BMAC is obtained from a patient in a relatively straightforward and painless process by aspirating the needed bone marrow tissue, usually without any incision or stitches.* The BMAC is then injected into the knee, and can even be mixed with amniotic tissue for more powerful pain relief.* Learn more about the BMAC procedure here.

5. Partial robotic knee replacement surgery/MAKOplasty

In simple terms

A total knee replacement removes the major ligaments of the knee, severely limiting knee motion and requiring a long recovery. Partial knee replacement surgery enlists the help of a robot to resurface only the arthritic region of the knee, preserving the ACL and PCL and natural knee motion.

Who is it for?

Partial knee replacement is possible when an arthritic condition is fairly localized (usually possible in about 10-30 percent of patients).

How does it work?

A CT scan is taken of a patient’s knee to provide a virtual model of his or her specific anatomy. Using this 3-D model, a doctor uses a robotic arm to resurface the arthritic region of the knee, preserving healthy bone and ligaments. Novocur reports that this procedure is so minimal that patients usually walk out of the surgery center less than two hours after surgery and begin physical therapy the next day.*

If you are suffering from knee pain and want to explore alternatives total knee replacement, consider visiting Novocur.com to learn more. With facilities in Scottsdale, Arizona, or Chandler, Arizona, Novocur delivers cutting-edge treatments in state-of-the-art facilities to provide fast-acting and long-lasting relief to its patients.

Dr. Alex Bigham is the owner and CEO of Novocur Pain Management Clinics and has over 18 years of healthcare experience in private practice and Ambulatory Surgical Center settings. Novocur offers advanced treatment options in a concierge type practice without the concierge price tag. Dr. Bigham appears frequently on local TV and radio programs to discuss the latest in Pain Management or related health topics.

*Individual results may vary.

 


From professional athletes dealing with aftereffects of concussions and injuries to grandparents recovering from surgery, anyone who watches the news today knows opioid addiction is not limited to celebrities and the homeless. It’s a national epidemic affecting every age and socioeconomic group.

In June of 2017, Governor Ducey declared a state of emergency in Arizona regarding the opioid addiction problem. In the article, the Governor states, “Most of us know someone impacted by substance abuse — our family, our friends, our neighbors. Our hearts ache for them, but that isn’t enough. We must do more.”

In 2016, 790 Arizonans died from opioid overdoses, according to data from the Arizona Department of Health Services. The trend shows an increase of 74 percent over the past four years, reminding all of us that the opioid crisis is still a real threat to our community.

From pain to addiction

Many people begin by using prescribed narcotics to manage pain. Eventually, they develop a dependency that can take over and destroy normal life functions.

Some patients are afraid to discuss their problems with a doctor because they worry the doctor will tell someone or they fear being cut off from the medication they depend on. But people should know, patients with addiction problems are still protected by doctor/patient privilege and many pain management doctors are experts in tapering medications to keep patients safe.

Some of the things you should ask when working with your pain management Doctor include:

  • Am I taking any medications other than my opiate pain killer, that when combined with the opiate may increase my risk of an adverse reaction or death?
    • You should not combine any drug in the benzodiazepine class with an opiate – it dramatically increased the chance of death. That class of drugs includes most antidepressants, anti-anxiety, and sleeping pills. 
  • Am I taking the best medication in the best form to minimize my opiate dosage?
  • Is it possible that I do not respond to certain medications like most other people?
    • Some people cannot properly metabolize the pain killers into the form of the drug that actually provides the pain relief. The only way to find out is to have a genetic screen performed that will help the doctor determine the right drug to prescribe.
  • How can I safely wean down or completely off my opiate medications?

Signs to watch for

For many, addiction sneaks up slowly and remains unnoticed until it’s too late. Some addiction symptoms to watch for include drowsiness, lack of motivation, inability to concentrate, loss of friendships and healthy lifestyle habits and secrecy from trying to live a double life.

There can also be appearance changes such as pupils staying constricted even with dim lighting; itching of the arms, stomach or legs; drooping eyes; flushing of the face and neck; head nodding; intense calm; and slurred speech.

Many patients fear withdrawal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea, joint pain, flu-like feelings and severe insomnia. The thought of dealing with pain and withdrawal symptoms at the same time can be overwhelming for many patients and should only be done under the care of a medical professional.

Overcoming addiction

Opioid addiction is a chronic medical condition that results from changes in the brain in susceptible people. Once narcotic addiction develops, escaping the cycle of detox and relapse is typically a long-term process. Certain medications, counseling, and support from friends and family can greatly improve the chances of success.

A popular misconception is that by taking drugs used to treat narcotic addiction like methadone, buprenorphine or naloxone, addicts simply replace one addiction with another, reports the National Institute on Drug Abuse. That is inaccurate. Brain imbalances that occur with addiction alter reward, decision-making, impulse control, learning and other functions. The medications restore balance to these brain circuits, preventing withdrawal symptoms and restoring the patient to a normal condition that allows effective psychosocial treatment and social functioning.

Support system necessary

In addition to medication and counseling, recovery works best for people who have a support system like narcotics anonymous, family help and a medical team that is truly invested in helping patients get (and stay) healthy.

If you think you might have a dependence on pain medication or spot some of these signs in a loved one, a good first step is to talk with your doctor or a medical professional with expertise in pain medication addiction about getting help. Unfortunately, trying to overcome addiction on your own can be dangerous and unsuccessful. By working with a credible pain management doctor from the beginning, you can avoid the risk of addiction altogether.*

Dr. Alex Bigham is the owner and CEO of Novocur Pain Management Clinics and has over 18 years of healthcare experience in private practice and Ambulatory Surgical Center settings. Novocur offers advanced treatment options in a concierge type practice without the concierge price tag. Dr. Bigham appears frequently on local TV and radio programs to discuss the latest in Pain Management or related health topics.

*Individual results may vary.


Most people think arthritis is an ailment that causes joint pain in older people. While that is accurate for some forms of the disease, the Arthritis Foundationcounts more than 100 types of arthritis, including some better known by names like fibromyalgia, lupus, gout, tendonitis, spinal stenosis and more.

In its various forms, arthritis affects more than 50 million Americans and is the country’s leading cause of disability. It can strike patients of any age or gender, although it is more common among women and the elderly.

In the early stages of arthritis, patients often mistake it for an injury or simply soreness from overexertion. Sometimes, the first signs can even be health problems that seem unrelated, such as a rash or fatigue. An early diagnosis is important to protect your joints from permanent damage of uncontrolled inflammation. An accurate diagnosis is also important to your overall health.

If you think you might be experiencing symptoms of arthritis, you should probably consult with a physician experienced in dealing with chronic pain and other arthritis issues.

Here are some important facts to know about the effects of arthritis.

Chronic vs. acute pain

It’s important to note, arthritis pain can come and go with varying levels of intensity. It can range from uncomfortable aching to nearly unbearable intense throbbing. Some people even feel worse with inclement weather. Acute pain, such as a knee injury, is a common injury that lasts for days or weeks until the injury is healed. Pain is considered chronic when it lasts for 3-6 months or longer. Inflammation and joint pain from an acute injury can contribute to arthritis pain, making it hard to determine if the pain is actually caused by arthritis or the injury.

When should you call a doctor? If the pain starts to interfere with everyday activities such as walking and housework and lasts more than 3-6 months you should consider seeing a pain management specialist.

Unusual symptoms

Different types of arthritis can produce an array of symptoms. Rheumatoid arthritis is particularly known for affecting victims differently and presenting unusual symptoms.

Some unusual symptoms associated with Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Fatigue – Chronic fatigue is one of the most frustrating symptoms of RA. Many times it is caused by other factors such as medication, depression, and hypothyroidism.
  • Vision problems – The most common eye-related symptom of rheumatoid arthritis is dryness. Dry eyes are prone to infection, and if untreated, severe dry eyes can cause damage to the cornea.
  • Nausea and other flu-like symptoms – With RA, your immune system is attacking tissue in your joints, and so you may experience some of the general symptoms of inflammation throughout your body.
  • Balance and mobility problems
  • Leg and feet numbness

There are many other unusual symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. A complete listing is available at rheumatoidarthritis.net. Early diagnosis is important because of potential damage to internal organs such as the lungs and heart.

Other arthritis complications

Some types of arthritis can cause internal damage to the heart and other organs. For example, many studies have linked rheumatoid arthritis to heart disease and to increased chances for heart attack. Another recent study published in the Arthritis Research and Therapy journal found patients with psoriatic arthritis are more likely to develop inflammation of the aorta, which can lead to more serious forms of heart disease.

Inflammation

It probably won’t surprise most people to know arthritis in its many forms is an inflammatory condition. What many don’t realize is that diseases like peripheral neuropathy, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, migraines, thyroid problems, some cancers, dental diseases and a host of others are also related to inflammation. As research continues, the findings often are that when patients suffer from multiple inflammatory conditions, they can be connected.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes chronic, low-grade inflammation has systemic effects on chronic ailments, and in addition to being associated with conditions like those mentioned above, it can even play a role in ailments like depression and dementia.

Finding Solutions

As stated in a previous article, the first thing to do is to find the correct diagnosis of the problem. Because so many arthritis symptoms are inter-related, finding an accurate diagnosis can be a challenge. That’s why working with a pain management specialist who is highly trained to spot lurking symptoms could save you time, money and more importantly, your health. Here is a list of a few possible options to consider: 

Exercise

“People with arthritis who exercise regularly have less pain, more energy, improved sleep and better day-to-day function,” states information from the American College of Rheumatology.

Ironically, many patients with arthritis become inactive because of the pain caused by movement. This can lead to decreased pain tolerance, stiff joints, imbalance, weakened muscles and other issues common to many forms of arthritis.

Diet 

What you eat can play a significant role in joint pain. Recent studies have linked sugar to inflammation, which is a major component of joint pain.  Many of those foods are found in the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fish, colorful vegetables, and fruits, olive oil, beans, and fiber.

Other Options

  • Intra-articular or peri-articular cortisone injections

An injection of a corticosteroid either inside the joint space or into the surrounding joint tissue can rapidly reduce inflammation and pain. Sometimes an injection into the nerve of the joint can also help.

  • Epidural injection

Injecting a corticosteroid into the epidural space overlying the spine can rapidly reduce inflammation and back or neck pain.

  • Facet injection

An injection of a corticosteroid medication around the nerves that supply pain signals from the facet joints can rapidly reduce inflammation and pain in the back or neck area.*

  • Trigger point injection

Injections of an anesthetic mixed with a corticosteroid into the soft tissue surrounding a painful and swollen arthritic joint can reduce pain.*

  • BMAC stem cell injection therapy

Bone marrow blood is extracted from the patient in a painless procedure. The stem cell rich blood is then reinjected into the painful joint. Bone marrow aspirate concentrate, which supplies the important stem cell building blocks, can be combined with growth factors from amniotic allograft tissue for 1-2 punch to knock out arthritis pain naturally.*

Because arthritis impacts patients in different ways, you should also consult with a physician to find out what type of exercise and therapy program will work best for you. A medical professional who specializes in pain management can also help you learn to manage arthritis symptoms so you can return to doing the things you love.*

Dr. Alex Bigham is the owner and CEO of Novocur Pain Management Clinics and has over 18 years of healthcare experience in private practice and Ambulatory Surgical Center settings. Novocur offers advanced treatment options in a concierge type practice without the concierge price tag. Dr. Bigham appears frequently on local TV and radio programs to discuss the latest in Pain Management or related health topics.

*Individual results may vary.


Most people take sleep seriously. Getting short-changed in shuteye can leave us cranky, groggy and generally unpleasant to be around.

For some unfortunate patients, lack of adequate sleep is a problem that occurs night after night — sometimes for many years. Whatever the cause, chronic sleep deprivation is linked to many serious health conditions.

“Without enough sleep, your brain and body systems won’t function normally. It can also dramatically lower your quality of life,” reports healthline.com.

A review of 16 studies that included more than 1.3 million participants found that sleeping for less than 6-8 hours nightly increases the risk of early death by about 12 percent.

From bad mattresses to too much caffeine, there are hundreds of reasons people lose out on regular sleep.

Here are just a few reasons American’s can’t get a good night’s sleep:

Restless leg syndrome

As many as 1 in 10 people suffer from restless leg syndrome. Even though it’s common, it can be difficult to describe, because it affects every person differently.

“Some people use comparisons, such as ‘like ants crawling through my legs’ or ‘like soda running through my veins’ to try to describe the symptoms and feelings to their health care professionals,” explains the National Sleep Foundation.

While the true cause of RLS is still undetermined, there are certain triggers that seem to make the condition worse. Making healthy food choices by limiting caffeine, alcohol and refined sugar are big factors in getting a good sleep and reducing symptoms of RLS.

Iron and magnesium supplementation have also shown promising results but can interact with some medications and should only be taken under a doctor’s care. Including some iron-rich foods in your diet, however, can reduce symptoms and help you get a great night’s sleep.

Some foods rich in iron

  • liver
  • high quality lean red meat
  • spinach and other dark leafy greens
  • dried fruit such as apricots
  • lean turkey and chicken
  • seafood such as oysters and salmon
  • iron-fortified cereals such as raisin bran
  • beans such as kidney, pinto, lentils, and chickpeas

Some early research shows including magnesium-rich foods relieved insomnia due to RLS. While high doses of magnesium can cause severe side effects, including some magnesium-rich foods can help nocturnal cramping and Restless Leg Syndrome.

Some magnesium rich foods

  • spinach
  • cashews
  • almonds
  • peanuts
  • soy milk
  • black beans
  • edamame
  • peanut butter
  • whole wheat bread
  • brown rice

Some medications such as beta blockers, antidepressants and over-the-counter antihistamines can also trigger Restless Leg symptoms.

Because every patient experiences the ailment differently it is important to work with a healthcare professional to determine the best way to control your symptoms.

Sleep apnea and snoring

Many people who snore loudly at night have sleep apnea — a condition where they stop breathing during sleep. Sleep apnea is a serious health condition linked to a number of life-threatening illnesses.

“Research suggests that inadequate healthy sleep can lead to weight gain and is a factor in the national obesity crisis,” reports the American Sleep Apnea Association. “The sleep stage known as REM (rapid eye movement) sleep is believed to play a role in the mental processing of the experiences of the day just past and the organization of memory. With too little REM sleep, memory may suffer. If prolonged, inadequate healthy sleep may be a precursor to cardiovascular disease.”

Chronic pain

Whether the cause is arthritis, a back injury, fibromyalgia or some other chronic condition, pain hinders your ability to sleep. Pain is often the primary reason someone wakes up several times each night, which decreases sleep quantity and quality. Sleep deprivation can lower your pain threshold and pain tolerance and make existing pain seem more severe.

The key to treating chronic pain is to work with a pain management specialist to determine the exact cause of the pain and to find the best management option.*

Your own bad habits

When it comes to insomnia, we can be our worst enemies. Overindulging on alcohol, caffeine or food can cause people to struggle to sleep. Late night exposure to blue electronic light like that from a television, computer, tablet, reader or even a phone has been shown to make it difficult for some to fall asleep. Others simply stay up too late, studying or doing other tasks.

Some insomniacs lay in bed at night and worry about their daily problems. Stress and anxiety can cause anyone to worry, but for some, it is a regular routine that ends up either preventing sleep or causing periods of wakefulness and difficulty getting back to sleep.

Finding a solution

Before a solution is found, it’s important to understand what could be causing your sleep difficulties. Meeting with a medical professional for a thorough review of medical and psychiatric conditions, as well as lifestyle factors is needed to determine the root problem of your insomnia.

Whether the problem is ongoing pain or some other issue, it is important to know sleep deprivation does not need to be a lifetime condition. Talk with an experienced medical expert today to start your journey toward rejuvenating sleep.*
Dr. Alex Bigham is the owner and CEO of Novocur Pain Management Clinics and has over 18 years of healthcare experience in private practice and Ambulatory Surgical Center settings. Novocur offers advanced treatment options in a concierge type practice without the concierge price tag. Dr. Bigham appears frequently on local TV and radio programs to discuss the latest in Pain Management or related health topics.

*Individual results may vary.


Summer is the season for travel. Whether going on a full-fledged vacation or simply visiting loved ones, most people take one or more trips every summer.

For people dealing with chronic pain, the prospect of travel can be concerning or even frightening. With a little planning, you can still enjoy the experiences and adventures of travel while keeping your pain under control.

Read about these 6 tips for pain free travel in Dr. Alex Bigham’s article on ktar.com.




About 37 million people in the U.S. suffer from migraine headaches. For many migraine patients, traditional painkillers and treatments with other drugs are ineffective. There is a new, exciting treatment option for those seeking relief from migraine headaches.* This treatment uses an implanted electrical stimulation device to offer new hope for relief through nerve stimulation. This stimulation of the nerves blocks head pain signals to the brain. Chronic migraine victims who have not been successful in finding relief through traditional treatments can learn more about this new treatment option by reading Dr. Alex Bigham’s article on ktar.com or by visiting Novocur’s webpage regarding the new treatment.*

*Individual results may vary.