Effective Alternative Pain Management Therapies

What are pain management procedures?

When you’re in pain, it’s tough to think about anything else. MacNeal Hospital’s multidisciplinary team of specialists can help you reclaim your life, with a comprehensive pain management treatment plan designed to reduce discomfort and improve and restore function. We treat arthritis, back pain, headaches, joint pain and more. Learn more about some of the treatments and procedures offered at MacNeal.

Epidural steroid injections

An epidural steroid injection is a very effective, low risk, minimally invasive treatment used to treat chronic pain in the neck, arms, back and legs.  Epidural steroid injections have been a mainstay of pain management for over 60 years because they work well; several types are available depending on the patient’s condition.

Kyphoplasty

Kyphoplasty is often discussed along with vertebroplasty, another procedure. These are used to treat fractures in the bones of the spine, the vertebrae. During a vertebroplasty, the doctor injects a cement-like material into the bone to make it more stable. During a kyphoplasty, the doctor first inflates a balloon-like device in the bone to make space. The space is then filled with cement.

Nerve blocks

Nerve blocks, or neural blockades, are procedures that can help prevent or manage many different types of intractable pain. They’re often injections of medicines that block pain from specific nerves. They’re meant to bring pain relief rather than total loss of feeling.

Radiofrequency ablation (rfa)

Used to treat chronic pain caused by spinal injury or deterioration due to conditions relating to vertebrae and intervertebral discs which may in turn affect the nerves in the area. The most common condition treated is degenerative arthritis of the facet joints in the neck or back. RFA uses thermal energy to deaden tiny nerve endings.

Spinal cord stimulators

Spinal cord stimulation is one treatment for chronic pain. A small medical device sends signals to your spinal cord. These signals keep the chronic pain messages from being sent to your brain. Instead, you may feel tingling from the electrical signals.

Sympathetic blocks

The sympathetic nervous system is controlled by nerves called ganglions. One large ganglion, called the stellate ganglion, helps control nerves in the upper body. In the lower body, nerves are controlled by several ganglions that make up the sympathetic chain.

Trigger point injections

The cause of your muscle pain or spasms may be one or more trigger points. Your healthcare provider may decide to inject the painful spots to relax the muscle. This can help relieve your pain. Relaxing the muscle can also make movement easier. You may then be able to exercise to strengthen the muscle and help it heal.

Vertebroplasty

Vertebroplasty is a procedure in which a special medical-grade cement mixture is injected into a fractured vertebra. The vertebrae are the small bones that make up the spine. When they become fractured, you’ll often experience pain and a loss of mobility.

How should I prepare for my exam?

  • If you have an active infection and are taking antibiotics, the medication course must be complete prior to the procedure.
  • Inform us if you are or may be pregnant, or have allergies to medications or x-ray dye (contrast).
  • Arrive 15 minutes early to complete registration.
  • Bring your insurance card and a valid photo ID.

Depending on the injection procedure you are having, the following preps may also apply:

  • Do not eat solid food 2 hours prior to the appointment.
  • You may need someone to drive you home.
  • If you are taking blood thinners (Coumadin, Plavix or Ticlid), you will have to stop the medication prior to the procedure. Contact your healthcare provider before stopping any medication to determine if it is safe for you.

What happens during my procedure?

Depending on the area to be injected, you will be positioned on an x-ray table on your stomach or back. The area will be cleansed with an antiseptic solution and a local anesthetic will be applied to numb the area where the needle will be inserted.

Fluoroscopy (a type of low-dose x-ray) is used to clearly view the area in real time, on a video monitor. This ensures exact placement of the needle during the procedure. After the needle is placed, contrast material is injected to confirm that the needle is in the correct location. Some patients feel a slight pressure sensation or discomfort as the contrast is injected. This is temporary and will gradually dissipate within a short time after the procedure.

Depending on the type of procedure you’re having, the injection may contain one or both of the following:

  • Anesthetic, which helps give immediate pain relief.
  • Steroid preparation, which may provide longer relief of your symptoms.

After the procedure, you will be observed for a short time.

What happens after my procedure?

A summary of the procedure and findings will be sent to your healthcare provider.

Refrain from driving, rigorous activity and alcohol consumption for the remainder of the day. You can resume normal activity the next day. You may feel soreness at the needle insertion site for two to three days; you can use an ice pack to relieve any discomfort, up to 15 minutes per hour.

As with any procedure involving a needle, there is a small chance of infection or bleeding. Rarely there could be neural injury, headache, temporary numbness, weakness or facial flushing.

Get Auto Repair When Needed And Extend The Life Of Your Vehicle

How do I market an auto repair shop?

To get customers in the door of your auto repair shop (and to keep them coming back), you need trackable auto repair shop marketing strategies that can help you grow your business. Your marketing campaigns should be easy to analyze so you know what’s working and what’s not. While traditional advertising like print ads or TV/radio spots may expose your business to some new customers, their effectiveness is more difficult to track. Online marketing enables you to see:

Where visitors are coming from

What visitors are clicking on

What kind of content your target customers enjoy the most

Here are several digital marketing strategies your auto repair shop can use to grow your business, as well as some print and physical marketing ideas you might consider. If you are curious about what is the best marketing for auto repair shop, keep reading.

1. Website Branding

Your website is your digital storefront, and as such, it should portray an appealing view of your auto repair shop that gets people interested and wanting to come into your shop. Some basic best practices when creating your website so that it markets your business well include:

Use responsive design, since more internet usage occurs on mobile than any other device, and search engines like Google prioritize mobile-friendly websites in search results.

Secure your site with HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure), which is a secure internet communication protocol – which benefits users and your search results.

Create content on your website that accurately and clearly explains your services and includes reliable contact information.

You should also choose a domain name that reflects your business. Make it easy for those who visit your website to get in touch with you, by displaying live chat boxes throughout your site or by making the Contact tab prominent on each page.

2. Search Engine Optimization

Local businesses must use search engine optimization (SEO) best practices to get seen by web searchers. HubSpot, a digital marketing software company, reports 72 percent of consumers who did a local search, say for something like “Dallas auto shop,” visited a store within 5 miles. According to Google, 28 percent of searches for something nearby result in a purchase.

Make sure your website is SEO-friendly by:

Researching popular keywords that relate to your business, and then use those naturally throughout your website content

Adding those keywords to other websites your business has a presence on, like in the bios of your social media sites and review sites

Creating pages throughout your website that relate to keywords – for example, separate pages for each service you offer at your shop

As mentioned, the security and mobile-friendliness of your website also have effects on your search results. You may want to work with a professional website designer and SEO expert to optimize your website and content.

3. Social Media

It’s OK to hate Instagram, but your business should still create a profile on it. Pew Research Center reports on social media use in 2018:

  • 73 percent of American adults use YouTube
  • 68 percent of American adults use Facebook
  • 35 percent of American adults use Instagram
  • 25 percent of American adults use LinkedIn
  • 24 percent of American adults use Twitter

There are dozens more social media sites to consider adding your business to, but these five are essential to start with. Some ideas for how to use them for your shop include:

  • YouTube: Upload videos showing your technicians in action, or create video content with tips for car maintenance. Even if you’re not producing your own content yet, you can still connect with customers and other channels by interacting with auto-focused content on YouTube and leaving comments on behalf of your shop.
  • Facebook: Share business updates like specials or service promotions.
  • Instagram: This photo-sharing site is great to upload content like before-and-after shots of work you’ve done, or to share photos of your staff to promote your shop’s company culture.
  • LinkedIn: You can share business updates on a company page, and create your own personal page to connect with other local business owners.
  • Twitter: Twitter is a great site to form relationships with journalists and online influencers. Search popular hashtags, and share content from your business page that uses those hashtags, too.

Treat each social network your business is on as its own branded website. Make sure the bio reflects your business, include accurate contact information, and check your channels regularly in case clients are using them for customer support.

4. Email Marketing

Ask customers if they’d like to join an email list for your business so they can stay up-to-date on deals and new offerings. Always ask permission before adding a customer’s email to your list. If you start emailing clients without their permission, they may mark your business email as spam, which can affect your ability to email other customers in the future.

There are several free email marketing services you can use, depending on how many people you’re emailing and how often. With Mailchimp, for example, you can subscribe up to 2,000 people and send 12,000 emails a month for free.

Use email marketing to:

  • Send a welcome email to new customers
  • Spread the word about new services
  • Share blogs or other forms of content marketing

Make sure any email marketing client you use offers instant one-click unsubscribe capabilities. Use A/B testing to manipulate certain elements within emails to see what techniques work best.

Word of Mouth

Did you know that when it comes to trusting what’s read on the internet, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they trust information coming from people they actually know? Which can seem a little daunting, but when it comes to auto repair shop marketing, this is a great opportunity to showcase what you do and get recognition for it.

Encourage customers to leave reviews whenever possible. When it comes to where you place on Google searches, the site takes around 200 factors into consideration, but online reviews are a huge component of it. Train and ask your staff to request reviews. It’s also encouraged to follow up with clients after their visits with you. This is a great way to ensure that you’re getting the benefits of your hard work without having to spend an extra dollar. Word of mouth is the best free advertisement around.

Content is King

The thing to remember – from how you rank on an internet search engine, to how people can find your company – is to ensure that you’re offering up value from the get-go. The easiest way to do this is by generating content to get people to click on your website. What does this mean for an auto repair shop?

  • Create videos on simple car maintenance topics, like oil changes
  • Write blog posts answering common questions people have
  • Send out emails with special information your customers can’t get anywhere else

It might feel like the internet is full of thought leaders and people spinning content, but you can easily do it too, and better. Share your content on social media and make sure you’re following SEO best practices to enjoy the organic reach this content will get you. The more organic your online traffic is, the less you have to spend on advertisement.

Referrals and Partnerships

As an auto repair expert, you can grow your business and support others in your local community by building strategic partnerships. Talk to your local auto parts store. Go meet with them and explain what you do. Ask if they’d be willing to send customers your way and leave some business cards or brochures with them. To help solidify the relationship, offer to order some of your parts and supplies from the company if you’re not already doing it. Also, talk with local towing companies and insurance companies to see what you can do to become a preferred provider. Connect with other local businesses and offer discounts for repair services on their fleet vehicles.

Loyalty Programs For Regular Customers

You should appreciate your regular customers by providing them with incentives in the form a free service after a certain number of paid services. You can also gift them certain items. A loyalty program will let your customers know how much you value them. They will think twice before choosing a different auto repair shop. Thank them for being loyal customers in a festive season like Christmas. Send them reminders about exciting offers and deals. First, you need to keep your loyal customer base intact and then think of attracting newer ones.

Encourage customer reviews

Customers don’t typically make it a point to go and give you a review online. In extreme cases (extremely good and extremely bad) customers will go out of their way to give you a review, it’s the run of the mill happy customers you want to try to have them review you.

Good reviews also mean new leads – those who leave reviews (especially really positive ones) are like a referrer for your business.

Local community involvement

Getting involved in the local community is a great way to get your name and face out there. Not everyone is looking for your services today, but by being involved, you can be in their context once they are looking. Here are some ideas:

  • Meetup: A great way to find local communities for auto repair shops. All of the meetups happen offline and locally, so get involved.
  • Contribute help to local associations and citizen groups
  • Offer help to local schools and PTAs and show support for your growing community

Share your business card with other local business and partners

Many local businesses with waiting areas allow other local businesses to place business cards (of course, you should also return the favor). For example, if you do mechanical work, look to place your business cards at a nearby body shop or tire shop. Other alternative cards include gyms, salons,  daycares, as they all typically have a business cards share. Have your employees be on the lookout for these types of establishments. Like-minded businesses with a similar market can exchange cards and help each other grow.

Know Your Brand

It’s important for you to know your brand so that you can easily explain it to other people. Has your auto shop been in business for a long time? Is your business family owned? Whenever possible, you want to make sure that people can know and understand your brand’s image and what you stand for. Make sure to highlight customer testimonials along the way.

If you offer something specific, then make sure that you tell people – make it clear and transparent why they should use your auto shop over the competition.

It’s also important to make sure your branding is consistent across whatever platforms you use – your website, your Facebook, your Instagram, etc. Do you know what fonts you want to use and what the color scheme is? Things like this might seem trivial, but people remember visuals more strongly than words. Particularly if you are getting involved with outreach, it helps to have a logo that people can recognize and understand as your brand. Then when they’re wondering which auto shop to use, a particular one will come to mind.

When you’re planning your auto shop marketing strategy, it helps to look around and see what other people are doing and how well they’re doing it. What do you want to do the same? What do you want to do differently? Make sure you have everything listed out so you can track what’s working and log any helpful feedback.

Safe And Effective Rodent Control Methods

How to Get Mice and Rats Out of Your Home Without Calling an Exterminator

Mice Hate Mint

Mice hate the smell of mint! To get rid of mice in your home, head to the healthfood store and grab some peppermint essential oil. Dab it on cotton balls and place wherever you see the mice. Or, add a few drops to a spray bottle of water and spray around your home each day to keep mice away.

Best Bait for Mice Traps

If you’ve seen a lot of Disney movies, you probably think mice live for cheese. But when you’re baiting a mousetrap, a better bet is peanut butter. Since it’s sticky, you can be sure the mouse won’t grab it and run, and scientists say they love its sweet scent even more than your best piece of Cheddar

How to Bait a Rat Trap

If you’re baiting a rat trap, there are a few things you should know. First, make sure to wear latex gloves while baiting the trap. Rats have a highly developed sense of smell, and if they smell the scent of humans on the trap, they’ll stay away. The best foods to use in a rat trap are their favorite treats: bread, bananas, soft cheese like Cheddar, and raw bacon. Place near any water sources or sites where you’ve found rat droppings.

Easy Mousetrap Removal

If you’re squeamish about having to pick up the remains of a rodent you’ve set a trap for, place the baited trap inside a brown paper lunch bag. Rodents like exploring small spaces, and once the trap has done its trick, you can scoop it right up and throw it away.

Get Rid of Rodents for Good

If you have a rodent problem, you know how tenacious the little buggers are. The most effective way to solve a rat or mouse infestation is to seal closed every way in which they’re entering your house. To help you figure it out, sprinkle baby powder or baking soda on your floor before going to sleep. In the morning, you’ll find paw prints where they’re getting in. Seal all holes with caulk to keep them out permanently.

How to Get Rid of Rats and Mice from Home – Effective Natural Remedies

If you stumble upon rats and mice in your home, you know you will be in panic mode. If you see them, then it is a problem, and if you don’t then it is a bigger problem – you never know where they might be hiding in your house. Rats and mice infestation can make your life miserable. Furthermore, these creatures also carry a risk of infectious diseases. You don’t want that, right? So, it’s best to try something soon to get rid of these pests. There are many ways to get rid of these pests from your home, but there are some home remedies too that you can try – simple and effective.

Home Remedies to Get Rid of Rats and Mice

The presence of rats and mice can be understood by various signs. They often leave several droppings in the house. They even chew away on your boxes and clothes, or any edibles if left open. Therefore, it is crucial to identify these pests and drive them out. Read on to follow these few remedies that will teach you how to get rid of mice naturally.

Rats dislike the smell of peppermint oil. We find the smell of peppermint refreshing but rats don’t – so use peppermint oil to drive them away from your home. Place peppermint oil- dipped cotton balls in front of several small openings in your home to keep rats at bay.

Plaster of Paris and Cocoa Powder

Plaster of Paris and cocoa powder also works to kill rats and mice. Mix 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder with plaster of Paris and sprinkle it around the standard trail for the rats and mice. As cocoa powder attracts these pests, they tend to eat this mixture and soon they feel dehydrated and suffocated. To save themselves, they rush out of homes and die

Hot pepper flakes not only make humans sneeze but also keep rats and mice away. Sprinkle hot pepper along the doorways and other corners of your house to get rid of vermins.

Helpful things you can do to prevent rats from entering your home

Make sure your property is well manicured. Get rid of clutter! Rats are fond of using trees, vines and large shrubs as ladders to access upper stories and roof areas. Dense foliage and ground cover needs to be thinned out or removed. Eliminate weeds, prune trees and vines back so they don’t touch the structure of the home or buildings on the property.

Don’t feed the rats. Keep pet food in closed containers and never leave it outside in open dishes, especially overnight. Clean up under and around bird feeders — rats are attracted to nuts and seeds. Pick up fallen fruit from the ground, and harvest your fruit and garden produce regularly. Clean your BBQ well — rats love leftovers and even a little grease can attract them! Finally, keep your garbage cans lidded and never leave trash in plastic bags outside​.

Rats need water. Keep irrigation equipment in good condition and fix any leaks. Do not leave any pools of water outside like pet water bowls. Maintain pool equipment and keep storage boxes locked. Bird baths and fish ponds may also attract rats, so bear this in mind when you determine their importance to your property

Exclusion

Inspect the exterior of the home or building to determine possible entry points. All openings to interior spaces greater than one half-inch (1/2″) should be sealed. Exclusion is an important rodent control technique that should be done before rats get into the structure or after rats have been evicted or removed. Sealing rats inside will lead to the destruction of your property as they try to escape and eventually die inside your home.

Locate access points for rodents where utility lines come into walls, as well as openings around air conditioning units, drain pipes and vents. Look for broken windows, warped doors, and unscreened vents as possible points of entry. All spaces beneath doors should be checked to see if the opening is too large. Reduce any openings as needed (remember, one half-inch (1/2″) is all the space a rat needs to gain entry).

Roofs should be checked to see that shingles and tiles are in good repair and sheathing is complete. Also, check roof ventilators and louvered-in wall vents.

Rats need to be eliminated from your home. The safest and most effective rodent extermination methods are those performed by a pest control professional.

Keeping the rats out of your home – Rats can enter structures through almost any opening — even those as small as half an inch in height or width. Our expert rodent technicians identify rat entry points and perform any necessary sealing off or repair work to keep the rats out of your home. Rat Cleanup, Sanitation and Exclusion Service fees vary depending on the size of the area and extent of repair work needed.

How to deter mice and rats from your home

Mice and rats are not pests you want to see around the home, here’s how you can put them off stopping by. Even if you have good standards of hygiene and proofing, infestations sometimes occur. If mice or rats have entered your home and are causing a problem, it will be necessary to remove them. It’s also worth putting preventative measures in place otherwise the underlying causes of an infestation will remain. Chances are that if there’s nothing for mice or rats to eat in and around your home, they’ll move on to greener pastures by themselves.

How to avoid a mice or rat infestation

Cover any holes or gaps in walls and around pipes

Fix a bristle strip to the bottom of doors. You can buy these at your local DIY store

Use thin wire mesh to cover ventilation holes

Place wire balloons in the top of drain pipes. You can buy these at your local DIY store

Fit cone guards to the bottom of drain pipes

When planting bushes make sure you plant them at least 3 ft from your house. Short, tidy vegetation in your garden exposes mice and rats to predators

Try planting mint; mice and rats hate the smell

Give your house a good clean. Even a few crumbs from the toaster could tempt a hungry mouse into your home. Keep food in sealed containers

Dispose of rubbish immediately and clear up spillages

Clear up fallen fruit from trees and leftover bird food in your garden

If you regularly find litter around your home from local shops, call your local council to arrange for them to clear it up

Make sure birdhouses and feed trays are out of reach

Keep bin lids closed

Keep gardens and alleys clean – old appliances and old furniture make perfect homes for mice and rats.

How to tell if you have mice/ rats

Telltale signs of mice or rats include small black droppings near food, scratching noises, signs of gnawing and sometimes a strong musky odour. If you suspect a problem, identify where the mice or rats are living and feeding, as well as the routes they take between these areas (look for holes, droppings and footprints). Remember, a mouse or a rat can squeeze through a hole the size of a pen, so you may have to look carefully.

Pets

Having pets around, especially dogs and cats, should persuade mice or rats that it’s not worth the risk to make your house their home. Bear in mind that cats might also have other thoughts on humane mouse disposal.

Electromagnetic and ultrasonic devices

Electromagnetic and ultrasonic devices are simply plugged into a wall socket; the sound emitted is only heard by the rodents. These do not bother dogs, but they will affect pets such as hamsters or gerbils.

An outdoor repeller can also be used. These have a motion detector which when triggered emits a powerful burst of ultrasound, harmlessly scaring the mice or rats away. This device may however bother other pets.

Electronic units

Mice and rats are attracted to electronic units by bait. Once they enter the trap a footplate is dispersed which triggers an electric volt. The trap is designed so that the carcass can be emptied into a bin.

Humane cage traps

Humane cage trap devices capture mice and rats for release elsewhere. Once caught you simply relocate the mouse or rat, releasing it at least a quarter of a mile from your home.

Traps

Traps come in various sizes and forms, the most well known being the spring-loaded type. Traps are widely available and can generally be effective if placed in the right locations.

This method can be cruel to the rodent (limbs and tails can become trapped rather than instantaneous death occurring) and you may have to kill the mouse yourself once it’s caught. You will also need to dispose of the carcass. Traps will not keep mice from returning to your home.

Do not be tempted to use glue traps. These are inhumane, inefficient and pose a danger to pets and other animals.

Chemicals

Be aware that this method involves rodenticides/poisons which are inhumane and extremely toxic to humans and animals.

A mouse or a rat may die in hard to reach areas of your home, preventing you from disposing of them and causing greater hygienic issues. There is also the risk that pets and other animals might consume the poison or eat a poisoned mouse, resulting in illness and even death.

How to Keep Mice and Bugs Out of a Storage Unit

Rodent proof storage is the goal of all our customers whether they realize it or not. However, sometimes the things we inadvertently do while packing items into a storage unit can attract unwanted pests. Before we know it, an infestation can occur and reoccur. It’s vital that everyone learn how to keep pests and rodents out of storage units whenever possible.

Before you purchase a ton of traps and poison, try some other methods to keep unwanted critters out. In most cases, a little preparation goes a long way in keeping your items clean and safe.

Pack items in plastic totes with airtight lids.

The most effective way to keep pests out of your belongings is by packing them in well-sealed containers. Plastic containers are best, especially for linens, fabrics and clothing. We recommend buying new cardboard boxes for storage. New boxes will be stronger and are less likely to have gaps or punctures that pests could enter, plus they are manufactured with added strength to withstand stacking for long periods of time.

Do not store food inside a storage unit.

This tip might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people make the mistake of keeping food items inside storage. If you’re moving in a hurry, don’t leave your entire pantry inside a storage unit expecting no rodent to take notice.

Keep items raised a couple of inches off the ground

While bugs and rodents can crawl, it is helpful to keep your items elevated off the ground. One easy way to do this is by using open shelving or placing clean pallets on the ground