Pain Management

Daniel Smeester, MD -  - Addiction Treatment Center

Diablo Valley Drug and Alcohol Services

Daniel Smeester, MD

Addiction Treatment Center located in San Ramon, CA

Alcohol and opioid dependence often begins as a tool to cope with acute or chronic pain. Fortunately, Daniel Smeester, MD, and his friendly staff at Diablo Valley Drug and Alcohol Services can help you manage pain without addictive medication at their state-of-the-art clinic in San Ramon, California. Because this problem is so prevalent they have teamed with a world-class interventional pain physician, specializing in non-surgical pain therapies and regenerative medicine- Dr. Susan Gutierrez. For more information on the pain management services available at Diablo Valley Drug and Alcohol Services, call or book an appointment online.

Pain Management Q & A

What is chronic pain?

While everybody experiences pain at some point in their lives, chronic pain lasts for several weeks and can impact the way you function at work, school, and home. It can be a debilitating condition that affects both your physical and mental health.

What causes chronic pain?

You can feel chronic pain constantly or intermittently for many reasons, in nearly any part of your body. Some of the most common chronic pain causes include:

  • Cancer pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic migraines and headaches
  • Nerve pain
  • Low back pain
  • Arthritis pain

Many patients begin experiencing chronic pain after undergoing surgery, even if they’ve already healed. Others can experience pain following an injury or accident. Unfortunately, addictive prescription opioids are one of the most common chronic and acute pain treatments, which makes it easier for patients to become reliant on them.

How do opioids affect chronic pain?

Opioids block pain signals from the brain, spinal cord, origin of insult and other areas of your body, effectively “tricking” your body into thinking it’s not in pain. While these medications can be highly effective in reducing pain, they’re also highly addictive. Over time, your body builds a tolerance to opioids as well, so it may take more and more of your medication to feel the same relief. As well they have been shown to actually cause more pain by increasing the sensitivity to pain impulses. 

In addition to their addictive nature, opioids have many negative side effects, including:

  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Shallow breathing

Diablo Valley Drug and Alcohol Services understands that there may not be many alternatives to opioids when coping with chronic pain. However, they’re committed to designing a pain management plan for you that doesn’t involve the typical opioid reliance or a much safer opioid regimen.

What are my pain management options?

Diablo Valley Drug and Alcohol Services starts with an initial pain consultation to determine your pain severity and location. They also analyze your medical history and past treatment programs to figure out which pain management techniques have worked for you, and which haven’t.

This initial consultation gives Diablo Valley Drug and Alcohol Services the information they need to design your individual pain intervention plan. After your consultation, they may recommend one or more of the following pain treatments and therapies:

Ketamine Infusions

This is a developing treatment for chronic pain, especially of neurological origin, also termed “neuropathic pain”. This is especially beneficial in a debilitating disease, oftentimes leaving the patient without any other treatment, called CRPS or RSD.

Epidural nerve blocks

An epidural nerve block is an injection that numbs your chronic pain at the source with a local anesthetic and steroid. This treatment is especially helpful if you suffer from a bulging or herniated disc or any other forms of back pain.

Facet Blocks

This blocks with injections to the site where the nerve is producing pain.

Nerve Ablation

This burns the nerve painlessly that is a cause of the pain, often with complete and permanent relief of the pain.

Peripheral neuropathy Calmare® treatment

The Calmare machine uses electrode pads to transmit stimulation to the nerves sending signals of pain to the brain. Much like opioids, the Calmare machine overrides your pain signals, without the addictive side effects of pain medication.

PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injections

This is a non-surgical approach to many painful syndromes, especially involving joints. This is used by many sports medicine doctors, especially on the professional level, to avoid surgery after injury. The patient’s own blood and healing processes are used to promote more rapid and more pronounced healing. 

Alternative therapies

Diablo Valley Drug and Alcohol Services offers a number of alternative pain therapies, including referral to acupuncture, hands-on chiropractic manipulation, and physical therapy to minimize chronic pain.

For a full list of pain management services available at Diablo Valley Drug and Alcohol Services, call or book an appointment online.