XIMED IPA and Health Excel IPA plans now accepted

New for 2019. We are happy to report that our office is now accepting XIMED IPA and Health Excel IPA plans. These required referrals by your primary care physician which should be obtained prior to your office visit.

Medicare Advantage / Medi-Medi Contracts

  • Anthem Blue Cross: HMO Medicare Advantage Plan (MA) & Anthem Medi-Blue Plus plan (Health Excel only)
  • Brand New Day: HMO Medicare Advantage Plan (MA) & Medi-Medi
  • Humana: HMO Medicare Advantage Plan (MA) & Medi-Medi
  • Alignment Health Plan: Effective 01/01/2019 – HMO Medicare Advantage Plan (MA) & Medi-Medi


Medicare Advantage / Medi-Cal Contract

  • Care 1st/Blue Shield of CA: HMO Medicare Advantage Plan (MA), Cal MediConnect & Medi-Cal

 

Supplements help reduce headaches

Several dietary supplements have been studied for headaches, particularly for migraine prevention. In 2012, the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society issued evidence-based guidelines that classified certain dietary supplements as “effective,” “probably effective,” or “possibly effective” in preventing migraines.

Butterbur
The guidelines concluded that butterbur is effective and should be offered to patients with migraine to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks. The most common side effects of butterbur are belching and other mild digestive tract symptoms. Raw butterbur extracts contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which can cause liver damage and cancer. Extracts of butterbur that are almost completely free from these alkaloids are available. It is uncertain whether butterbur products, including reduced-alkaloid products, are safe for prolonged use.

Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant that cells need to function properly. It’s available as a dietary supplement and has been studied for a variety of purposes. The guidelines say that coenzyme Q10 is possibly effective and may be considered for migraine prevention. No serious side effects of coenzyme Q10 have been reported. It may interact with some medications, including the anticoagulant (blood-thinning) medication warfarin (Coumadin).

Feverfew
The guidelines say that a specific feverfew extract called MIG-99 is probably effective and should be considered for migraine prevention.Side effects of feverfew may include joint aches, digestive disturbances, and mouth ulcers. It may interact with anticoagulants (blood thinners) and some other medications. Feverfew is not safe for use during pregnancy. Its long-term safety has not been established.

Magnesium
Magnesium deficiency is related to factors that promote headaches. The guidelines say that magnesium is probably effective and should be considered for migraine prevention. Magnesium supplements can cause diarrhea and may interact with some medications. Because the amounts of magnesium people take for migraines are greater than the Tolerable Upper Intake Level for this mineral (the largest amount that’s likely to be safe for almost everyone), magnesium supplements for migraine should be used only under the supervision of a health care provider.

Riboflavin
The American Academy of Neurology and American Headache Society’s guidelines say that riboflavin is probably effective and should be considered for migraine prevention. Riboflavin has minimal side effects, but it can cause an intense yellow discoloration of the urine.

Yoga as a complimentary health approach

Current research suggests that a carefully adapted set of yoga poses may reduce low-back pain and improve function. Other studies also suggest that practicing yoga (as well as other forms of regular exercise) might improve quality of life; reduce stress; lower heart rate and blood pressure; help relieve anxiety, depression, and insomnia; and improve overall physical fitness, strength, and flexibility.

In a 2011 study, also funded by NCCIH, researchers compared yoga with conventional stretching exercises or a self-care book in 228 adults with chronic low-back pain. The results showed that both yoga and stretching were more effective than a self-care book for improving function and reducing symptoms due to chronic low-back pain.
Conclusions from another 2011 study of 313 adults with chronic or recurring low-back pain suggested that 12 weekly yoga classes resulted in better function than usual medical care.

If You Are Considering Practicing Yoga
Do not use yoga to replace conventional medical care or to postpone seeing a health care provider about pain or any other medical condition.
If you have a medical condition, talk to your health care provider before starting yoga.

Everyone’s body is different, and yoga postures should be modified based on individual abilities. Carefully selecting an instructor who is experienced with and attentive to your needs is an important step toward helping you practice yoga safely.
Carefully think about the type of yoga you are interested in. For example, hot yoga (such as Bikram yoga) may involve standing and moving in humid environments with temperatures as high as 105°F. Because such settings may be physically stressful, people who practice hot yoga should take certain precautions. These include drinking water before, during, and after a hot yoga practice and wearing suitable clothing. People with conditions that may be affected by excessive heat, such as heart disease, lung disease, and a prior history of heatstroke may want to avoid this form of yoga. Women who are pregnant may want to check with their health care providers before starting hot yoga.

Welcome

We devote our attention to preventing and treating painful conditions. We remain current on advances in rheumatologic diseases in order to deliver the most appropriate care to our patients. We create a customized treatment plan just for you.


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RA studies

RA

Do you have rheumatoid arthritis and are interested in research trials?


CLICK HERE to learn more.


 

Prolotherapy

Prolotherapy (proliferative therapy), also known as sclerotherapy, ligament reconstruction therapy, and fibro-osseous injection therapy, is a recognized procedure that stimulates the body’s natural healing processes to strengthen joints weakened by traumatic or over-use injury. Joints when ligaments or tendon attachments are stretched , torn, or fragmented, become hypermobile and painful. Traditional approaches with surgery and anti-inflammatory drugs often fail to stabilized the joint and relieve this pain permanently.
Prolotherapy, with its unique ability to directly address the cause of the instability, can repair the weakened sites and produce new fibrous tissues, resulting in permanent stabilization of the joint.

WHAT IS PLATELET RICH PROLOTHERAPY (PRP)?

PRP is a component of your blood (plasma) with concentrations of platelets above normal values.
PRP typically contains 3-8 times the concentration of normal platelet levels. After injury, platelets are on the front line of the healing response and play a critical role by releasing growth factors. These growth factors influence tissue repair in a variety of different cell types including tendon, muscle and cartilage cells.
PRP was first used in dental and oral surgery to improve soft tissue healing in the 1990s. Its usage in the treatment of musculoskeletal injuries and sports medicine has increased over the past decade.

HOW DOES PROLOTHERAPY WORK?
With a precise injection of your own platelets directly on the site of the torn or stretched ligament or tendon, prolotherapy creates a mild, controlled injury that stimulates the body’s natural healing mechanisms to lay down new tissue on the weakened area. The mild inflammatory response that is created by the injection encourages growth of new ligament or tendon fibers, resulting in a tightening of the weakened structure. Additional treatments repeat this process, allowing a gradual buildup of tissue to restore the original strength to the area. Injection of varicose veins and other similar abnormalities creates a mild inflammatory response causing them to contract so that they become smaller or even vanish.

WHAT IS THE SOLUTION THAT IS INJECTED?
It is your own platelets but more concentrated.

HOW IS PRP PREPARED?
PRP is prepared by centrifuging your whole blood sample. The centrifugation separates the platelet rich plasma from platelet poor plasma and red blood cells because of differences in specific gravity.

HOW MUCH BLOOD IS DRAWN?
• In our practice, we follow the Harvest System protocol (Harvest Technologies)
-20 mL of whole blood is drawn to generate 3 mL of PRP for small applications, elbow, foot, ankle.
-60 mL of whole blood is drawn to generate 7-10 mL of PRP for the hip, buttock and shoulder.

WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF PRP?
Since PRP originates from a concentrate of your own blood, safety concerns are minimal.
As with any injection, sterile technique is performed to avoid infection

IS PROLOTHERAPY TREATMENT PAINFUL?
Any pain involving an injection will vary according to the structure to be treated, the choice of solution, and the skill of the physician administering the injection. The treatment may result in mild swelling and stiffness. The mild discomfort passes fairly rapidly and can be reduced with pain relievers such as Tylenol. Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, should not be used for pain relief because their action suppresses the desired inflammatory process produced by the injection.

CAN PROLOTHERAPY HELP ANYONE?
Each patient must be evaluated thoroughly with patient history, physical exam, X-ray exam, and full laboratory work up before treatment will be administered. With this information, your physician can evaluate your potential success with this therapy. Success depends on factors which include the history of damage to the patient, the patient’s overall health and ability to heal, and any underlying nutritional deficiencies that would impede the healing process.

WHAT CONDITIONS ARE COMMONLY TREATED WITH PRP THERAPY?
• Chronic tendinopathies
-Elbow (lateral and medial epicondyle, a.k.a. tennis and golfer’s elbow)
-Shoulder (tendinosis, partial thickness tears)
-Hip (gluteal, adductor, and proximal hamstring tendons, a.k.a. bursitis)
-Knee (patellar tendon, a.k.a. jumper’s knee)
-Foot/ankle (Achilles, peroneal, plantar fascia)
• Chronic pain from osteoarthritis
-Knee (often of value after treatment with steroids or viscosupplementation no longer helps)
-Shoulder (glenohumeral and acromioclavicular)
-Ankle and foot
• Muscle
-Subacute and chronic symptomatic intrasubstance muscle tears

HOW OFTEN DO I NEED THERE TREATMENTS?
The treatments should be administered every one, two, or three weeks, as determined by your treating physician.

WHAT IS THE RATE OF SUCCESS IN TREATMENT?
The anticipated rate of success depends on a number of variables, including the patient’s history and ability to heal, and the type of solution used. In patients with low back pain with hypermobility, 85% to 95% of patienst treated experience remission of pain with this form of therapy. In comparison, the Journal of Bone and Joint Therapy reports on a 52% improvement in patients treated surgically for disc involvement. Varicose veins can usually be 90% to 100% eliminated. Spider veins can usually be improved 70% to 90%.

Plantar Fasciitis

One of the most common causes of foot pain is plantar fasciitis.
The plantar fascia is a strong band of connective tissue that stretches from the heel to the ball of the foot, supporting the arch of the foot. The plantar fascia is designed to absorb the body’s weight when standing, walking and running. But, sometimes, too much pressure damages or tears the tissues. The body’s natural response to injury is inflammation, which results in the heel pain and stiffness of plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis occurs when this fascia becomes irritated and inflamed due to overuse. This leads to pain on the bottom of the foot near the heel.

People may experience pain with the first few steps after getting out of bed or after sitting for prolonged periods. The pain usually subsides after a few minutes of walking. The pain tends to be greater after activity, not during activity.

Most cases plantar fasciitis arise without an identifiable cuse. There are, however, risk factors that can make someone more likely to develop plantar fasciitis. These include:

Tight calf muscles that make it difficult to bring your toes up toward your shin
Being overweight or obese
High arches
Sports or activities that lead to repeated impact to the foot, such as running.

Treatment Options for Plantar Fasciitis
Your doctor will recommend a treatment plan based on the severity of symptoms, responses to past treatments, your medical history and personal preferences.

It is important to note that the majority of people with plantar fasciitis will improve with simple non-surgical approaches.

Rest. Decrease or stop the activities that make the pain. You may need to stop athletic activities where your feet pound on hard surfaces, such as running
Ice. Rolling your foot over a cold water bottle or ice for 20 minutes, 3-4 times per day is effective.
NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can reduce pain and swelling. Using the medication for more than 1 month should be reviewed with your doctor.
Exercise. Plantar fasciitis is aggravated by tight muscles in your feet and calves. Stretch your calves and plantar fascia to relieve the pain that comes with this condition.
Corticosteroid injections. Corticosteroid (cortisone) is a powerful anti-inflammatory medication that be injected into the plantar fascia to reduce inflammation and pain. There is a limit to the number of times corticosteroids injections can be administered. Multiple steroid injections increase the risk of the plantar fascia becoming weak and even rupturing.
Supportive shoes and orthotics. Wear shoes with thick soles and extra cushioning to reduce pain when standing or walking. Soft silicone heel pads are inexpensive and work by elevating and cushioning your heel. Pre-made or custom orthotics (shoe inserts) can also be helpful.
Night splints. Most people sleep with their feet pointed down. This relaxes the plantar fascia and is one of the reasons for morning heel pain. A night splint stretches the plantar fascia while you sleep. Although it can be difficult to sleep with, a night splint is very effective and does not have to be used once the pain is gone.
Physical therapy. Your doctor may suggest that you work with a physical therapist on an exercise program that focuses on stretching your calf muscles and plantar fascia.

FDA approves new medicine for AS and PsA

Novartis announced on January 15 2016 that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Cosentyx® (secukinumab) for the treatment of two new indications – adults with active ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and active psoriatic arthritis (PsA). AS and PsA are both life-long, painful and debilitating inflammatory diseases that affect the joints and/or spine. If not treated effectively, both conditions can lead to irreversible joint and/or spinal bone damage caused by years of inflammation.

Cosentyx is the first in a new class of medicines called interleukin-17A (IL-17A) inhibitors to treat both AS and PsA. The two new indications follow the earlier FDA approval for Cosentyx in January 2015 to treat adult patients with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis, and European approval for AS and PsA in November 2015.

More than 9,600 patients have been treated with Cosentyx in clinical trials across multiple indications, and over 15,000 patients with psoriasis have already been treated in the post-marketing setting. The safety profile of Cosentyx was shown to be consistent with that seen in clinical trials across multiple indications.

Six food choices to help ease arthritis pain

Foods to trybroccoli
Remember, there’s no magic food. But growing evidence suggests that following a healthy diet and adding in specific foods and spices could help fight inflammation and joint pain. Here are six food choices that may be helpful:

1. Broccoli, Brussel sprouts and cabbage. These veggies are part of the cruciferous family, and they are chock full of a compound called sulforaphane, which helps slow broccolidown cartilage damage in joints due to OA, according to a 2013 study involving mice. Admittedly, it’s an early study. But veggies are always a healthy choice.
Try adding broccoli, Brussel sprouts or cabbage to your salad or stir-fry. Other foods rich in sulforaphane include kale and cauliflower.
2. Fatty fish. Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, trout, and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight inflammation and boost heart health. Try adding fish to your diet a couple of times a week. If you’re not a big fan of fish, ask your doctor whether it’s worth taking an omega-3 supplement. Studies have found that omega-3 supplements reduce inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but whether they help people with OA isn’t clear.
3. Garlic. Garlic is a member of the allium family—which also includes onions, and leeks. These items contain a compound called diallyl disulfide that may help with a number of diseases—including arthritis. “This compound may have some effect in limiting cartilage-damaging enzymes,” says rheumatologist Scott Zashin, MD, a volunteer clinical professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, and author of Natural Arthritis Treatment. One study noted that people who regularly ate garlic and its relatives had less evidence of hip OA on x-ray images.
4. Tart cherries. Some people with osteoarthritis have found relief from products made from tart cherries. The ingredient in cherries cherriesthat helps with OA symptoms is the same one that gives this fruit its red color—anthocyanin. A 2013 study of tart cherry juice found that the drink improved symptoms of OA, although not much more than a nontherapeutic drink (placebo). Dr. Zashin conducted two small studiecherriess using a gel made from tart cherries called CherryFlex. One of the studies showed that patients with OA who used this cherry concoction had significant symptom relief. “We found that some patients can actually go off their anti-inflammatory drugs,” he said. However, he cautions that larger trials are needed to confirm that it is the cherries that make a difference in OA pain—and not a placebo effect. Never stop taking your medicines without first talking to your doctor.
5. Turmeric. One of the best-researched inflammation fighters isn’t a food at all, but a spice. Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin. A 2012 review published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences said that “curcumin could be beneficial in the management of chronic inflammatory-related joint disease, including OA” but authors warned that there is a considerable lack of data regarding side effects and safety. The compound has, however, been used for centuries in India to ward off inflammatory diseases. You’ll find this yellow spice in Indian cuisines—particularly curries—or you can add it to your own dishes.
6. Vitamin C. Antioxidants in vitamin C may slow the progression of OA, research finds. A 2011 study from the University of South Florida reported that people who took vitamin C supplements were 11 percent less likely to develop knee OA than those who didn’t take the supplements. You can safely get vitamin C from fruits like strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, or cantaloupe. However, do not take supplements with much higher doses than the recommended daily allowance of 65 to 85 micrograms, because in large doses vitamin C can increase the risk of kidney stones.

 

Foods to avoid
Some people find that certain foods aggravate their OA. For example, people have reported that eating foods in the nightshade family – such as eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes and most peppers – increases their pain, although studies haven’t confirmed this.
When it comes to your diet, eat what works for you. I have some patients who find that when they got off gluten and dairies their joints feel better. If you think a particular food is aggravating your OA, try eliminating it from your diet and see how you feel.
Foods high in saturated and trans fats – such as red meat, fried food and packaged baked goods — should be avoided. They are unhealthy in general, and can lead to weight gain, which can make OA symptoms worse.
And if you tend to wash down your meal with a sugary soda – don’t. A 2013 study revealed that OA of the knee tended to get worse in men who drank a lot of sodas.
ARTICLE TAKEN FROM ARTHRITIS FOUNDATION