Wednesday, August 10, 2016

About Spinal Cord Stimulation

Annie Burton, MD, has recently completed a fellowship in interventional pain at the University of Minnesota. There, Annie Burton, MD, performs such pain management procedures as spinal cord stimulation.

Spinal cord stimulation, or SCS, can offer relief for patients with chronic pain in the back or limbs. The technique requires the introduction of small and soft wires that transmit current from a generator to the spinal nerves. This current interrupts the transmission of pain signals and replaces them with what the brain perceives as a slight tingling.

Because spinal cord stimulation blocks and does not destroy pain messages to the brain, relief varies from patient to patient. However, the majority of patients report up to 70 percent less pain and noticeable increases in function, as well as less dependency on pain medication. Physicians often recommend that a patient try SCS on a trial basis, so that they can test its effectiveness before implanting a permanent system.

The typical permanent system includes an implantable generator, a connector wire, and a lead with four to 16 electrodes. The patient also receives a remote control that can adjust the pulses based on how his or her pain changes over the course of the day. Typically, the device includes a choice of settings that the physician programs into it, according to the patient's needs.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Buprenorphine for Patients with Opioid Addiction

Board-certified anesthesiologist Annie Burton, MD, graduated from medical school in 2001 and is currently completing a fellowship in interventional pain management at the University of Minnesota. After completing her fellowship, Annie Burton, MD, plans to treat patients with chronic pain and those with addiction issues. She has experience working with buprenorphine, a medication that can treat both of these problems.

Since the passage of the Drug Treatment Act in 2000, qualified physicians have been allowed to prescribe controlled substances to treat patients with opioid addiction. The Act made it possible for these patients to receive treatment for substance abuse in a traditional medical setting and led to the development of pharmaceutical interventions such as buprenorphine.

Buprenorphine is an effective medication for treating addiction because, as a partial opioid agonist, it stimulates the same receptors as full agonists like morphine and heroin but produces less euphoria and other desired effects. At the appropriate dose, buprenorphine can help patients with opioid addiction reduce their craving for and use of opioids while experiencing fewer symptoms of withdrawal.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Study Discusses Opioid Addiction Epidemic and Patient Behavior

Annie Burton, MD completed her anesthesiology residency and is currently undergoing her interventional pain management fellowship at the University of Minnesota. Besides anesthesiology, Annie Burton, MD is interested in addiction medicine, especially as it intersects with the prescription opioid addiction epidemic in the United States.

Prescription opioid overdose deaths in the Untied States have seen a threefold increase over the past two decades, and has reached epidemic proportions. In fact, the state of affairs is so dire that the Obama Administration has taken official action in an attempt to end the epidemic.

Meanwhile, researchers continue to investigate the origins of this problem. For instance, a study published in the June 13, 2016, edition of JAMA Internal Medicine documents patient behaviors that exacerbate opioid dependency. The study relies on data from a survey of 4,836 representative individuals, 1,055 of which had used opioid medications within the past year. Of those 1,055, nearly 98 percent completed the survey.

Findings indicate that 20 percent of people prescribed opioid medications end up sharing the medications with others. More than 60 percent of respondents reported that they save excess drugs to use later, despite 50 percent of them admitting that they did not understand how to properly store such medications.

The study’s authors suggest that when prescribing opioids, doctors ought to prescribe less. Moreover, they suggest that patients be educated on proper opioid storage and disposal practices.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Understanding Chronic Pain

An anesthesiologist, Annie Burton, MD pursues fellowship training in interventional pain management through the University of Minnesota Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Earlier, Dr. Annie Burton earned her MD from the University of Minnesota Medical School.

When doctors diagnose a patient with chronic pain, it means that the patient has experienced pain lasting more than half a year. In the United States, chronic pain is fairly common, with an estimated 100 million Americans living with this condition. Often, the pain centers on problem areas such as the back, head, and joints. Chronic pain can also degrade physical and mental health.

The field of pain management seeks to help patients impacted by chronic pain. Doctors who specialize in pain management have a wide variety of tools at their disposal, including medications and physical therapy. Moreover, patients may benefit from mental health counseling that teaches them how to effectively cope with feelings of hopeless and anger associated with chronic pain.

For those with especially severe symptoms there are pain centers around the country that offer both inpatient and outpatient care.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Buprenorphine for Addiction and Chronic Pain

Annie Burton, MD, stands out as a board-certified anesthesiologist. Experienced in the treatment of patients with chronic pain, Annie Burton, MD, pursues an interest in addiction medicine and co-morbid pain conditions.

Chronic pain and substance use disorder can be difficult co-presenting conditions for a physician to treat. Statistics suggest that close to 33 percent of patients with chronic pain conditions also present with addiction disorders, while those with addictions to opioids frequently report symptoms indicative of such pain. Patients with these co-occurring conditions are at a higher than average risk for overdose while also being prone to worsening of pain symptoms as a result of withdrawal.

Recently, the analgesic properties of buprenorphine have come to the attention of the medical community as a potential therapy for chronic pain and addiction. Buprenorphine itself has proven effective at treating moderate to severe chronic pain. Potentially useful as a split dose for co-occurring treatment of addiction and chronic pain, such an approach requires careful monitoring but has proven successful in a number of challenging cases.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Causes and Symptoms of Cleft Lips and Palates

Annie Burton, MD, trained in interventional pain management with the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Minnesota. Annie Burton, MD, has had the opportunity to travel to Guatemala on several occasions over the past five years on mission trips. There, she treated children with cleft lips and palates through surgical intervention.

A defect with which some children are born, cleft palates are traced to the initial six to 10 weeks of pregnancy, when the tissues forming the nose, mouth, and upper jaw fuse and create the upper lip and mouth roof. The cleft reflects a situation where the mouth and lip do not come together properly, which leaves a physical separation or split.

The cleft lip and palate are relatively common birth defects and affect approximately one in 700 babies in the United States. The malformation makes it difficult for children to eat and drink and also increases the risk of ear infection and hearing loss. Repairing a cleft palate typically requires a series of surgeries over the first 18 years, with the first one occurring before six months of age.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Opioid Pain Medication Addictions and Hard Drug Use

 A fellow in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Annie Burton, MD, has a longstanding interest in addiction medicine. Annie Burton, MD, and others have observed an alarming increase in opioid-related mortality over the past several years; the most recent figures point to 29,000 people dying from opioid overdoses annually.

As reported recently in Scientific American, a history of opioid addiction is rampant among hard drug users, with the vast majority of heroin addicts starting down that path through prescription medications. While medical use does play some part in this, the story is more complex than many perceive it to be. Some 90 percent of addictions are rooted in the adolescent and young adult period, with heavy use of recreational drugs and alcohol the single biggest risk factor.

New addictions are not common among adults who come to opioids as a treatment for chronic pain, with the rate of addiction among this demographic hovering at between 8 and 12 percent. With a large majority of people prescribed pain medication using it responsibly, the real issues driving opioid abuse seems to be traumatic childhood events, unemployment, and mental illness.