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Monitoring Testosterone while taking Opioids

Did you know that taking an opioid medication on a regular basis can suppress gonadal hormone production which may result in low Testosterone levels? Symptoms of low Testosterone include, low sex drive, decreased muscle mass/increased fat deposit, decreased energy, changes in mood/mood swings, difficulty concentrating, and difficulty sleeping. Low Testosterone levels can also affect the way that pain medication works and make it less effective.

At NovaSpine Pain Institute we treat every aspect of your pain including this potential issue known as Hypogonadism.  We are starting a new program of testing Testosterone levels and Testosterone replacement.  We will begin by getting blood levels of Testosterone.  If it is in fact low, the best course of treatment will be discussed to replace it and get it back in normal range again.  Many times this comes in the form of an injection that is given routinely.  During your treatment, we will be monitoring your level as well as the symptomatic relief. 

Most patients report improvement in symptoms 3-4 weeks after initiating Testosterone replacement.  Energy levels return to a workable range which is needed for managing pain.  Exercise is vitally important and often the first thing that is stopped when energy levels are low.  This actually leads to increased pain levels. The providers at NovaSpine Pain Institute encourage daily exercise.  It not only helps with pain, it also releases the brains natural pain fighters know as endorphins.

If you have any of the above symptoms of low Testosterone, please discuss Testosterone replacement with your NovaSpine provider at your next appointment so it can be determined if Testosterone replacement therapy would be helpful for you.

Shauna Papa, RN Shauna Papa has been working with Dr. Baker as his nurse for 3 years now. She enjoys working closely with him to develop plans of care to help people in pain. Her favorite aspect of her job is seeing her patients return to their lives after receiving relief from debilitating pain conditions. She participates yearly in Pain Week in Las Vegas where she keeps up on all of the the latest advancements in pain management. Prior to working in pain management, Shauna worked extensively in trauma and emergency medicine both in the Phoenix area, and in Denver. In her time away from the office, Shauna enjoys spending time with her husband Randy and their 3 dogs Shilo, Ozzy and Baxter. She is a football fan and in keeping with her Denver roots, is a Denver Bronco super fan.

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