Sunday, May 4, 2014

Soloniuk Pain Center in Red Bluff

We value our patients and appreciate that many of you drive from outside Shasta County to Redding for your visits. For your convenience, we are pleased to announce that Wednesday, June 3, 2014, we are opening our Red Bluff office. 

Your familiar Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners from Soloniuk Pain Center will staff the office. At this time, procedures and clinic appointments with Dr. Soloniuk and Dr. Workman will only be scheduled in the Redding office.

The Red Bluff office is located at 590 Antelope Blvd., #40. There is easy parking in front of the building. Please let the front office know, if you would like to be scheduled for your next appointment at the Red Bluff office. The phone numbers are the same and calls will continue to be answered by our staff at the Redding office.

The pain care team takes pride in providing our patients with the highest quality, personalized pain care in a safe, professional, and caring environment. We look forward to seeing you either in Redding or Red Bluff.

Meet Dr. Workman

We are excited to announce that Dr. Theodore E. Workman, Jr., MD has joined the Soloniuk Pain Center pain care team. Dr. Workman joins us with extensive Pain Medicine experience. He is board certified in both Pain Medicine and Anesthesiology. If fact, when Dr. Soloniuk needs an epidural, he trusts Dr. Workman to perform the procedure.

You could say that Soloniuk Pain Center just got older and wiser. Between Dr. Soloniuk and Dr. Workman, they have over 50 years of Pain Medicine experience. Many of you may already know Dr. Workman. He has been practicing in Redding since 1989, primarily at Mercy Medical Center and Apogee Surgery Center. Prior to moving to Redding, Dr. Workman was an Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at University of Arizona and co-director of the Tucson VA Pain Clinic.

Dr. Workman shares our passion for providing the highest quality pain care in a safe, professional and caring environment. He and Dr. Soloniuk will work together with the PAs and pain care team to continue to improve your pain care experience.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

How many people in Shasta County have chronic pain?

Let's do the math based on the available data.

Chronic pain is defined as having pain for 3 months or longer.

The last time the CDC did a national survey on pain, they found that 25.8% of adults have had pain in the last 30 days. Of those with pain, 55.7% have had pain for 3 months or more. This would mean that 1 in 7 adults in the United States have chronic pain.

 According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2012 Shasta County had 138,588 adults.

If Shasta County has the same percentage as the rest of the US, this would mean that there are 19,916 adults in Shasta County with chronic pain.

Of course, this number could be adjusted for such factors as age, gender and ethnicity, but 20,000 adults with chronic pain in Shasta County is a good estimate.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Multistate Meningitis Outbreak Not in Redding

Starting May 21, 2012, there was an outbreak of meningitis from epidural steroid injections  using a contaminated medication (methylprednisolone acetate) made by New England Compounding Center.

The Soloniuk Pain Center has never used medications made by New England Compounding Center. There have been no reported infections from the suppliers that we use. 

Naturally, we are concerned about this issue, but there does not seem to be any risk to our patients from this outbreak.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) have a list of facilities that have used possibly contaminated medications. The closest facility to Redding is Ukiah.

Meningitis is a very rare complication of epidural steroid injections. Since we started electronically tracking our patients in 2001, we have not had any episodes of meningitis after epidural steroid injections, and there were no prior reports of meningitis.

Further information from the CDC:

From the CDC website:

Patients who have had an epidural steroid injection since May 21, 2012, and have any of the following symptoms, should talk to their doctor as soon as possible:
  • New or worsening headache
  • Fever
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Stiff neck
  • New weakness or numbness in any part of your body
  • Slurred speech
  • Increased pain, redness or swelling at your injection site

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block for Headache and Facial Pain

Headaches can be one of the most disabling, painful conditions that a person can experience. An underutilized, yet highly effective, treatment for certain types of headaches is the sphenopalatine ganglion block (SPGB). For certain types of headaches, the response to SPGB is excellent. I have seen dramatic improvements in patients with atypical facial pain, persistent pain after facial trauma, dental surgery or sinus surgery, or pain after herpes zoster (shingles). 

Less Pain = More Quality of Life
The sphenopalatine ganglion block is a low risk procedure and can be done in the office or at a surgery center. It takes about 15-20 minutes to perform.  

The Sphenopalatine Ganglion is located behind and to the side of the nose and is accessible by going in from under the cheekbone or through the nasal passages. Although the block can be performed with an anesthetic-soaked cotton ball, it has been my experience that using a fluoroscopy-guided injection technique produces more predictable and longer lasting relief. After a SPGB, the relief can last for days to months.

When the relief from a SPGB is not long-lasting enough, radio-frequency lesioning (RFL) of the sphenopalatine ganglion is an option. The RFL usually takes less than 30 minutes and can be done in the office or surgery center. While some insurance companies want to label radio-frequency lesioning of the sphenopalatine ganglion an experimental procedure, it is well documented in medical literature as an effective treatment for selected patients. I learned the procedure from Dr. Gabor Racz and Dr. Miles Day of Texas Tech (TTUHSC School of Medicine in Lubbock, Texas), who have written and lectured extensively about the procedure.

An inspiring example of a patient whose quality of life has remarkably improved is a woman I recently saw for a repeat SPGB for her facial pain. Her pain is the result of a car accident that caused major facial trauma, requiring reconstructive surgery that left her with severe, uncontrolled facial pain. By the time I saw her, she had seen an impressive list of doctors, endured multiple surgeries and tried a long list of medications. With a SPGB regime, her pain is controlled. She gets at least 50% pain relief from each SPGB and the effect lasts for 5-6 months. SPGBs have enabled her to significantly reduce her pain medication and live a much more functional life.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Redding and Neuromodulation

Last month I was invited to attend a special session of the Neuromodulation Academy for advanced techniques in Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS). SCS is well-accepted as one of the treatment options for serious, chronic pain.  

The seminar was for physicians with extensive experience in Spinal Cord Stimulation. It was both an update of cutting edge techniques and research and an opportunity to share information with colleagues around the country. It was hosted by St Jude Medical, one of the three companies in the United States that manufactures  SCS systems. 

Implant of a Spinal Cord Stimulator
I began utilizing  SCS for my patients in the 1990s and have worked with SCS in over 150 patients. As one of 13 physicians who participated in the round table discussions at the Neuromodulation Academy,  I interacted with pain physicians who practiced in settings from urban to rural and from New York to California. We discussed challenging cases and shared different techniques to achieving the most benefit from the wide range of available equipment for SCS.

While it does not work for everyone, some of my happiest patients have a SCS system. When it is the right therapy for chronic pain, patients can control their pain and significantly improve their quality of life, while reducing or eliminating their need for narcotic pain medication. 

Spinal cord stimulation can work well for low back pain, leg pain, and arm pain. Cutting-edge applications of SCS are for headache, pelvic pain, and abdominal pain. However, while shown to be effective, some of these uses are still awaiting FDA-approval. 

SCS systems continue to improve with better batteries, miniaturization of the generators, and improvement in the leads used for stimulation. Through the years it has been both exciting and rewarding to participate in this rapidly evolving area of pain medicine and to offer this state-of-the-art care to pain patients in Redding.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Weight Issue: Starting Out

Most doctors agree that maintaining a healthy weight is beneficial to overall health. How is maintaining a healthy weight is accomplished? If it were easy, everyone would be slim and fit. As it turns out, losing weight is hard work. So, what do you do when you know your weight is adversely affecting your health?

While lose weight would seem the logical response, the answer to that question is as individual as the person asking it. 

Keeping a food diary is an excellent way to learn your best answer. By writing down everything you eat, you will discover not only what, but when and why you eat. This exercise in awareness is both informative and surprising for most people.

Here are some tips for keeping a food journal. Usually one week is more than enough daytime. Just be sure to include both weekday and weekend days.
  1. Keep a pen and paper handy.
  2. Record everything you eat and drink immediately. 
  3. Note what you're doing while eating: driving, watching TV, cooking.
  4. Note how you felt while you ate: angry, sad, happy, nervous, starving, bored.
  5. Be honest. No one has to see it or even know about it but you.
  6. At the end of each day, examine your eating for patterns.

For more information about what you eat, the calorie and nutrition tools at LiveStrong are both free and easy to use.