Advanced Nerve & Laser MAY 2018

MAY 2018

3941 FM 2181, Corinth, Texas 76210 940-202-1218 www.nerveandlaser.com

A Broken System WHY AR E TH E R E SO MANY ADS FOR PA I NK I L L E RS ?

“Patients are sent to a pain-management doctor, not a pain-elimination doctor. Meanwhile, drug companies push medications that don’t cure anything.”

Not long ago, I was watching an episode of “M.A.S.H.” on TV. I can’t remember what the episode was about, but I do remember that every other commercial was for Lyrica, Cymbalta, or some other kind of pain- or nerve-damage medication. “Wow,” I thought. “These marketing teams are spending a lot of money to advertise during ‘M.A.S.H.’”

Shortly after, when I was watching Fox News, I saw the same thing; every other commercial was for some pain or depression medication. And I saw the trend again while watching a financial report on CNBC! During every commercial break, I was bombarded with ads for medications to treat the pain associated with neuropathy. Considering how many products there are to advertise, I thought it was weird that the ads I saw most often — more than commercials for food or big-name stores — were commercials for pain medications. Then it dawned on me: Neuropathy is a gigantic problem in the United States, and the pharmaceutical companies know this. But instead of investing in research to cure the disease, they pour their money into advertisements, targeting people who are in pain, so they can make even more money. At least, that’s what people are told by their doctors, so they think the best option is to just “deal” with the pain. Patients are sent to a pain-management doctor, not a pain-elimination doctor. Meanwhile, drug companies push medications that don’t cure anything. They may take the pain away for a little while, but inevitably, patients have to up their doses and suffer from the medication’s side effects. Then patients have to give drug companies more money for other medications to deal with those side effects. I promise I’m not putting on my tin foil hat here. It’s well-known that our health care system is broken. There is no cure for neuropathy.

Consumer Reports found that half of all Americans are taking an average of four different medications regularly, but all these pills aren’t making anyone any better. Market research from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics found that we spend around $200 billion a year on unnecessary medications and the related medical costs. It’s a bad system that more patients get caught in every day, and it can feel like there’s no end in sight. May begins with Neuropathy Awareness Week, from May 6–12. This year, I don’t just want to raise awareness about the 20 million people in the U.S. alone who struggle with the pain of neuropathy every day; I also want to raise awareness about the fact that the system we are being pulled into does not work! This applies to patients with neuropathy, high blood pressure, diabetes, or even cancer. Prescription medications taken to cover the pain and doctors who only help “manage” the pain aren’t good enough. We need to take our health into our own hands. Take time to do research about your condition and the medications and treatment options you’re being offered, and ask, “Are these things a temporary Band-Aid over a single symptom, or will they help me get healthy and feel better?” At the office, my goal is to help patients get out of the cycle that values financial gain over their well-being. It is possible to beat the system. You just need to be willing to ignore all those ads selling an “easy fix” and dig into the core of the problem.

–Dr. Bao Tha i

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3 THINGS TO DO BEFORE THE TRIP TRAVELING WITH THE GRANDKIDS?

Pack Necessary Documents You need to have some form of ID for your grandkids. Older kids can use a driver’s license, but if you’re traveling with little ones, find a copy of their birth certificates. You also need copies of insurance and prescription cards and a notarized letter from the parents granting you permission to authorize medical care in case of an emergency. It’s also a good idea to have a letter of permission for your grandkids to travel with you. Make sure the letter is signed by all legal guardians, especially if your grandchild’s parents are divorced. You don’t want to accidentally cause a custody dispute. Plan a Trip You’ll Both Love When planning your itinerary, ask yourself if your grandkids will have fun, too. You might be excited to visit an art museum, but a younger child might not appreciate it as much. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit museums or historical sites! In fact, most of these places offer kid-centric activities, like scavenger hunts, that can help a younger audience engage with the environment. Just be sure to think of your grandchild first when planning. There’s nothing like the adventure of travel to bring generations closer together and create lasting memories. These tips will help you ensure those memories are good ones. Happy travels!

We could all use a vacation, and if you’re looking to bond with your grandkids, a trip might be the perfect answer. It’s fun for you, and getting away from Mom and Dad for a while is thrilling for any kid. But before you board a plane to Italy

with your granddaughter or rent an RV for a trip to Yellowstone with your grandsons, there are a few things you need to check off your to-do list. Don’t Let the Parents Worry Letting their kids go on a trip without them can be nerve-wracking for parents. Don’t view parental worries as an implication that you are an irresponsible grandparent. Instead, think about how you felt when your own children were young, and take steps to alleviate the parents’ concerns. If your daughter asks you not to be on your phone while in crowded public places because she’s concerned you might lose sight of her child, promise to keep the phone in your pocket. If your son-in-law wants regular updates, make time before bed for your grandchild to call home and tell her father about all the fun she’s having. A little compromise can lead to less stress and more fun for everyone.

How 10 Doctors Got It Wrong

“When I was 26 years old, I needed to have surgery. Though the surgery was technically a success, I ended up developing nerve pain that was so terrible it made my physically sick. I was in pain 24 hours a day, only slept for two hours at night, and got a walker to move around. “I went to 10 different doctors asking for help, and they all told me there was nothing they could do. They said there was an 80 percent chance I would never have feeling back in my legs and I would spend the rest of my life taking medicine for my pain. My life would never be the same, so I just needed to get used to it. “Then I met Dr. Bao Thai, and my life changed for the better. Dr. Thai actually tried to help me, instead of just saying there was nothing that could be done. Today, I am so much better. I’m off my walker, able to walk by myself again, and I no longer have to take pain medicine. “Everyone told me my life was going to be so different and I would just have to accept it. Dr. Thai gave me hope, and he has improved my life so much. I want everyone who is suffering to know that even if you are told by 10 different doctors that nothing will change, don’t give up. There is someone who is willing to try and help you get better.

“I absolutely love Dr. Thai and his staff at Advanced Nerve and Laser Center and appreciate them all so much for helping me through this ongoing journey!”

–Hillary Richardson

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WHO PAYS FOR AMER ICA ’ S LOVE OF PRESCR I PT IONS? A PILL FOR ILL

Americans love prescription medication. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that in the last 30 days, 48.9 percent of Americans have taken at least one prescription drug, and at least half of those individuals are regularly taking three or more different prescriptions. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that patients in the United States spend $457 billion on prescription drugs every year. One reason for this astronomical amount is the ever-rising cost of prescription medications. Leigh Purvis, director of health services research for the AARP Public Policy Institute, has spoken about the negative impact rising drug costs have on the people who take them. “People are concerned about drug prices; more are being forced to make trade-offs between paying for their drugs and for food or rent. The trends that we’re seeing are simply unsustainable.” Many Americans are painfully aware of how unsustainable this system is. In 2017, nearly 2 million people were affected by bankruptcy due to unpaid medical bills. According to reports from CNBC, health care costs are the No. 1 reason Americans file for bankruptcy, beating out credit card bills and unpaid mortgages. This financial crisis even impacts individuals who have health insurance.

As long as people have to rely on prescriptions, these hardships won’t be going away anytime soon. We know the drug companies peddling pills aren’t going to do anything to change the system. It’s more profitable for pharmaceutical companies to sell pills to repeat customers than to create something that will actually cure patients. Research from GlobalData found that 9 out of 10 big pharmaceutical companies spend more on marketing than on research. The solution is that we, the patients, have to break up with prescription drugs. While someone with diabetes can’t just stop taking their insulin, and it would be dangerous for a person with high blood pressure to quit their medication cold turkey, there are things you can do to reduce your reliance on prescriptions and become healthy again. The health experts at Advanced Nerve and Laser Center can show you how. In honor of Neuropathy Awareness Week, we’re offering free health consultations for the entire month of May. Call 940-202-1218 to schedule your free consultation and learn what you can do to save your money — and your life — by saying goodbye to unnecessary prescription drugs.

ROASTED ASPARAGUS W I TH L EMON BR E ADCRUMBS

SUDOKU

Recipe inspired by Food and Wine Magazine

Spring is the height of asparagus season. This dish, which features the crunch of breadcrumbs and a refreshing splash of lemon, is the perfect way to highlight the natural flavors of the vegetable without overwhelming them.

INGREDIENTS

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• • •

2 pounds asparagus

2 garlic cloves, minced 1 cup panko breadcrumbs 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

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Kosher salt

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Freshly ground pepper

2 teaspoons lemon zest Juice of one lemon (not packaged lemon juice)

DIRECTIONS

1. Heat oven to 425 F. Toss asparagus with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet and bake for 20–26 minutes, turning asparagus halfway through. 2. When asparagus is nearly done, heat remaining olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add

garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add breadcrumbs and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and fold in parsley and lemon zest. 3. Transfer asparagus to serving platter, drizzle with lemon juice, and top with breadcrumb mixture.

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3941 FM 2181 Corinth, TX 76210 940-202-1218 www.nerveandlaser.com

PRST STD US POSTAGE PAID BOISE, ID PERMIT 411

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1

The Vital Role of Rebalancing

Secrets to a Great Family Vacation 10 Doctors Got It Wrong

2

A Prescription for Bankruptcy Roasted Asparagus With Lemon Breadcrumbs

3

4

Start Smiling With Invisalign

Too Old for a Beaut i fu l Smi le? THE THAI REPORT:

INVISALIGN PROVES IT’S NEVER TOO LATE!

Extra Freedom Since you can remove the plastic aligners, patients who choose Invisalign treatment do not deal with the restrictions of traditional braces. You can continue to eat all your favorite foods and participate in your favorite activities without risking a broken bracket.

With offices right next door to each other, Dr. Bao Thai of Advanced Nerve and Laser Center and Swisher Dental’s Dr. Suzanne Thai are a couple who strive to promote wellness in their family and community. The Thai Report will provide patients with additional resources to take control of every area of their health. I have a confession to make: When I was a teenager, I needed braces. Now, this is not really a confession. Most teenagers need to wear braces, and that is nothing to be embarrassed about. However, I am a little embarrassed that I stopped wearing my retainer after I got married and ended up needing braces again! Needing orthodontics as an adult can be pretty frustrating. But before you think, “I am too old for braces!” remember there is an effective alternative to ugly metal brackets: Invisalign. For many adults who want a beautiful smile without embarrassing braces, Invisalign is the perfect option. Discreet Invisalign can straighten your teeth without ruining every picture you take. The transparent plastic aligning trays are nearly invisible. Most people will not notice you are wearing Invisalign unless you happen to take the trays out in front of them!

Fast Results Many adults have told me they cannot stand the idea of being in treatment for the next three years. The truth is, most patients are done with Invisalign in as little as 18 months. Think about that. In less than two years, you can be enjoying straight, beautiful teeth that will last a lifetime — provided you remember to wear your retainer. It does not matter if you are 16, 36, or 66! If you want to be proud of your smile, there is a way. Give Swisher Dental a call at 940-312-6939. I can help you determine if Invisalign is right for you. –Dr. Suzanne Thai

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