Huntsville Medical Doctor Dr. Eric Beck Explains Why Aerobic Exercise Can be More Effective Than Drugs in the Treatment of Fibromyalgia

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A recent cross-sectional survey  involving fibromyalgia patients found that when participants were asked to list the top 10 most beneficial therapies for fibromyalgia, no drugs were mentioned, and when asked to list the 10 most harmful therapies, only approved drugs were named.

“The biggest problem with drugs is that although they may help, their effect is only felt as long as the patient is taking them consistently,” said Dr. Beck in a recent interview.

“On the other hand, aerobic exercise and other non-drug approaches seem to produce more sustained effects, and patients feel more causative over their condition.” he added.

Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by muscle pain accompanied by tiredness as well as sleep, mood and memory problems. It tends to amplify painful sensations by affecting the way the brain processes pain signals.

“One major disadvantage of medications is the fact that prolonged use tends to have a negative effect on the mindset of the patient, in addition to physical side-effects.” said Dr. Beck.

“Being constantly depending on medication reminds a person he is still ‘sick’ and he feels and acts that way. In contrast, non-drug therapies like aerobic exercises make them feel they are doing something actively to regain back their health.” Dr Beck added.

Though medications have its use and need, especially in treating serious forms of fibromyalgia, Dr. Beck spoke about the need to treat each patient’s case individually and not just prescribe medication or keep the patient on prolonged periods of taking medication.

To encourage patients with fibromyalgia conditions to take a healthier recovery approach, Dr. Beck advocates an active lifestyle and to set positive goals to attain in life.

“Many patients appreciate the approach to depend less on drugs and more on changing their lifestyle.” Dr. Beck said, “Deep inside their heart, they know they are not just treating a condition but re-establishing the goal to be healthier.”

The Huntsville medical doctor offers advanced treatment for a wide variety of muscle and nerve disorders, including, fibromyalgia, at the Valley Center for Nerve Studies and Rehabilitation. For the last 25 years, he has been servicing the residents of Brownsboro, Normal, Birmingham, Fort Payne and Huntsville and cities near and far.

“Nominate a Hero” Winner

We are pleased to announce the weekly winners for our “Nominate a Hero” program.

The winners will receive 1 FREE Massage Therapy Session.

Each one of them is helping his community, improving lives of others and deserves recognition.

RickyParker_HHeroWinnerRicky Parker

Rick was nominated as a hero by his wife, Melia Parker. Rick has been a firefighter for the Huntsville fire department for the past 5 years and he works his off days part time for HEMSI. According to Melia, he is a great dad and a wonderful husband on top of being a hero for the community every day.

Read the full story here >>

Huntsville Physician: Psoriatic Arthritis

Huntsville Physician: Psoriasis Arthritis is an illness that affects millions of people. There is no cure yet for it. It is known for the swelling of joints and scaly patches of skin. This type of arthritis is related to the skin condition of psoriasis and it also affects millions of people around the world. If you or someone that you know is dealing with psoriatic arthritis it is necessary to do the right research for this condition in order to completely understand its symptoms and treatment options that are out there for the pain. With learning all that you can about psoriatic arthritis and all the drugs that treat it you can get a better understanding of how to treat it. Your doctor will be able to provide you with the right information so that you can read on it and use the different organizations that are located on the Internet and at the centers across the country.

There are a lot of people that are diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis and experience swelling of the joints in the body. This will include the wrists, knees, back, elbows, and fingers. This condition will also bring gray areas of skin that are very dry around the knees, elbows and lower back. The people that are suffering from the condition will often have fingers that appear sausage like and pitted nails or cuts around the fingernails. The cause of the condition is not known but experts think that a combination of genetic predispositions and the environment play roles in the development of psoriatic arthritis. You can find these problems at any age and with any gender or race. The most common age for psoriatic arthritis will start between age 20 and 50.

This is a condition that is tricky because the patients are dealing with the two fused diseases. One is of the skin and the one of the joints. It is important to talk to your doctor or have another medical professional helping you with treatments. There are many drugs that can have a negative reaction to it. There are different options other than medication that you can use to treat this disease. Some exercises will work well with those patients that have swelling in their joints. You can also have skin therapy to treat psoriatic parts of the disease. Heat and cold can be used to treat psoriatic arthritis. Rest is very important too. Using splints and surgery are not usually used but the options are available for more of the extreme conditions. Cosmetically this is a disease that can be treated with laser surgery light treatment. There are other corrective cosmetic surgeries too. You can talk to our doctor to find out more on this disease and your options for treatments.

Huntsville Medical Doctor: Arthritic Pain

Huntsville Medical Doctor: Having pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. For some people, they say “no pain, no gain” and pain is a sign that they have done something to the point of destruction and the body will let you know this. Most of pain is not that productive. If you are suffering from arthritis you are going to have pain in the joints and this can keep you from doing the things that you want to. It is important to have pain management so that you can deal with the arthritis and live from day to day with hardly any frustration.

Like a red flashing light, your pain in the body is going to signal that you need to stop what you are doing and take action about your body’s health. Pain is very natural and it does not have to be hard for you. There are a number of things that can cause arthritic pain. Pain can be caused by inflammation in the joints. This type of pain is usually joined by redness and swelling in younger patients or anyone that just develops a condition. A second cause is damage to the joint tissue. We usually feel that we have pulled a muscle when this type of pain is occurring and it can be a condition due to stress on a joint or another problem.

Pain can also happen from fatigue. You may simple have a small amount of lingering pain; being tired can make you have this more. Think of it in terms of a headache at the end of the day when you are tired. Joint pain works in the same way. Depression and stress can cause pain or make your pain more severe than it really is. This is a terrible cycle to start. You will get depressed when you have pain and this will cause you to be more depressed which will cause you to feel even worse.

Arthritic pain in people is likely to fell a lot different than other kinds of pain. It is important to have a pain management system. This will also include eating healthy and exercising better to improve the condition. Taking medication will also help. You may also want to use massage to help you with your arthritis as well. Stay optimistic about you outlook for life and take on the challenge of pain when it comes. Arthritis is going to be hard but you can overcome it so that you have a normal life.

To learn how to relieve your arthritic Pain, call Huntsville Medical Doctor Dr. Eric Beck at (256)382-1603.

Physician Huntsville: Musculoskeletal Pain

Combating muscle and ligament complaints.

Physician Huntsville ALPhysician Huntsville: Muscle and ligament complaints are a leading instigator of chronic disability in the United States, particularly with baby boomers. They can be caused by any number of issues, including injury, osteoarthritis, tendonitis and irritated nerves. Dr. Eric R. Beck is a triple-board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist who offers effective nonsurgical solutions for muscle and ligament problems, including therapeutic exercise and injection therapy.

These conservative treatment methods can reduce your discomfort and improve and restore function to the affected area of your body. This is your first step toward improving your overall quality of life.

Offering real relief that lasts.

Physician Huntsville: After Dr. Beck conducts a health history and physical exam, which may include electrodiagnostic testing, he will create a customized program designed to decrease your pain and promote your body’s own natural healing abilities. He will also teach you how to keep the problem from coming back and how to avoid reinjury.

Dr. Beck’s therapeutic exercise programs can help you recover from injury, improve strength, balance and coordination and enhance your ability to perform. This is welcome news if you’re a baby boomer who enjoys golfing, jogging, playing tennis or other activities.

Another effective way that Dr. Beck treats muscle and ligament pain is with injection therapy that involves the injection of anti-inflammatory medications in or around the painful sites to decrease inflammation and promote healing. In some cases, using more than one treatment modality greatly improves chances for success; Dr. Beck will recommend the best approach based on your individual needs. If indicated, he will coordinate your care with other specialists, physical therapists or occupational therapists for maximum results.

You’ll feel confident knowing that Dr. Beck has over 13 years of clinical experience. Plus, he is the trusted choice of many area physicians for their patients who need specialized care for conditions that can affect the muscles and ligaments.

Medical Doctor Huntsville: Exercise Therapy for Pain Management

exersice therapy huntsvilleIntroduction

Medical Doctor Huntsville: Exercise therapy focuses on helping the body function at a higher level of efficiency. Exercise is important for helping all body systems function optimally while preventing injury, pain, and deterioration. Exercise therapy may help improve flexibility, strength, endurance, and posture. Exercise therapy may focus on select muscle groups and/or the body as a whole. Exercise and therapy modalities may be used together to increase the effectiveness of treatment.

Exercise may help with pain management and improve function. Strength training, aerobic exercise, and stretching may comprise a whole body program. Various types of yoga may be used to improve joint health, proper breathing, and relaxation.


Pain Management

Medical Doctor Huntsville: Your therapist will assess your baseline skills before formulating your individual exercise program. The evaluation results are necessary to customize a treatment plan with specific short term and long-term goals. You should tell your therapist about any problems or concerns that you have. You should also discuss your specific goals, expectations, and priorities. This information is helpful for formulating an individualized plan that is safe for you.

Your therapist will instruct you on the specific exercises or techniques in your exercise program. You should perform your exercises as instructed. At periodic intervals, your exercise therapy program will be reassessed and changed as you meet goals. By working with professionals, you are ensured that you are exercising at a challenging yet safe level for you.


Pain management Huntsville specialist can help you improve your life. Call (256)382-1603

Physician Huntsville: Trigger Point Injections for Pain Management


Physician Huntsville: Trigger point injections are used to relieve extremely painful areas of muscle. Trigger points are very tight bands or small areas of a muscle that are very sensitive to touch and pressure. The trigger point can irritate surrounding nerves and cause referred pain. Referred pain is a type of pain that radiates to nearby areas. Traumatic injury, overexertion, muscle tension, muscle spasms, pinched spinal nerves, and hormonal deficiencies are common causes of trigger points. Trigger point injections are used to treat involved muscles in many areas of the body. The neck, back and shoulders are particularly common areas injected.

Treatment with Trigger Point Injections

Physician Huntsville: Your doctor can administer trigger point injections in his or her office. Treatments take several minutes. Repeated treatments are sometimes necessary. You may receive a nerve block or simple local anesthetic prior to the procedure to prevent pain.

Your doctor will insert a small needle into your trigger point and inject a local anesthetic. The anesthetic medication provides pain relief and relaxes intense muscle spasms. A steroid medication is sometimes included in the injection. Your doctor will provide you with instructions to reduce initial pain and swelling caused by the procedure. Trigger point injections are usually followed by physical therapy treatments aimed at pain relief and muscle stretching.

Physician Huntsville: BOTOX for Pain Management


Physician Huntsville: BOTOX® is useful for more than smoothing out wrinkles. In fact, it is indicated for treating painful muscle spasms and contractions in the neck (cervical dystonia), tension headaches, migraine headaches, back pain, and myofascial pain. BOTOX injections are used to block the nerve signals that trigger muscle hyperactivity. In many cases, the effects of BOTOX are greater and longer lasting than traditional steroid injections.

Treatment with BOTOX

Physician Huntsville: You can receive BOTOX injections for pain relief as an outpatient in your doctor’s office. Each treatment lasts for about three months. The injections may be repeated if they are successful.

Physical Therapist Huntsville: Shoulder Rehabilitation

Physical Therapist Huntsville Shoulder Rehabilitation


Physical Therapist Huntsville: Shoulder rehabilitation can reduce pain and restore function to an injured shoulder. The shoulder moves in more directions and to greater extents than any other joint in your body. However, because it performs so many movements, the shoulder is vulnerable to stress and injury. Shoulder injuries are very common, especially among those who play sports or have jobs with overhead arm motions. Shoulder conditions that are frequently treated in rehabilitation include rotator cuff injuries, fractures, dislocations, and joint, nerve, or muscle disorders.

Treatment of Shoulder Injuries

Physical Therapist Huntsville: Your doctor can refer you to a physical or occupational therapist that specializes in shoulder rehabilitation. Shoulder rehabilitation may be prescribed before a surgery, after surgery, or as a treatment instead of surgery. The goal of shoulder rehabilitation is to reduce pain, improve your strength, endurance, mobility, coordination, and functional activity.

At your initial evaluation, your rehabilitation therapist will examine your shoulder and arm. Measurements will be taken to see how far you can move your joints and how strong your muscles are. Your therapist will look for signs of deformities, swelling, or muscle imbalance. Painful motions will be documented.

You should tell your rehabilitation therapist about your symptoms, concerns, and specific goals. Your therapist will ask you about your activities at work, home, and leisure to learn more about the functional needs of your shoulder. Your rehabilitation therapist will create a treatment plan based on your goals for functional improvement.

Components of shoulder rehabilitation vary and depend on the type of condition you have, the extent of your condition, and your goals. It is common for therapy to include strengthening, mobility, endurance, and stretching exercises. Your rehabilitation therapist may use modalities, such as heat and ice, to reduce pain and increase flexibility. Ultrasound and electrical stimulation are other modalities commonly used on the shoulder.

In general, therapy is geared to first regain or maintain range of motion. Strength and stability training usually begin after range of motion has improved. Specific exercises are gradually added with the goal of returning the patient back to their sport and or normal work activities.

Medical Doctor Huntsville: Neck Pain Management


Medical Doctor Huntsville: The neck is a very vulnerable part of the spine. It is susceptible to injury. Muscle, ligament, nerve, and spine injuries are common causes of neck pain. Poor posture and “wear and tear” can also cause neck pain. Degenerative diseases, such as arthritis, can cause the spinal structures to break down and put pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.
Neck pain can spread to the head, shoulders, arms, and hands. It can be acute or chronic. Acute neck pain begins suddenly, usually after an injury. Acute neck pain resolves as the injury heals, usually within several days or weeks. Chronic neck pain lasts longer than three months. Chronic pain may be constant and caused by structural changes in the spine from degenerative diseases.

A medical examination is necessary to identify the cause of the neck pain and to determine the appropriate course of treatment. Neck pain is usually treated with non-surgical methods. However, if symptoms progress or continue, there are a variety of spinal surgeries to relieve neck pain.


The spine is divided into regions that are defined by their curvature and function. The cervical spine is located in your neck. The cervical spine supports your head and connects it to your trunk. The cervical spine supports less weight than any other portion of the spine. It also has the greatest amount of mobility and flexibility. Your neck can bend forward and backward or tilt from side to side. Your neck can also turn or rotate to the right and left, a motion used when checking for traffic before crossing a street.

Seven small vertebrae make up the cervical area of your spine. Vertebrae are the series of small bones that align to form the spine. The back part of the vertebra arches to form the lamina. The lamina creates a roof-like cover over the back opening in each vertebra. The opening in the center of each vertebra forms the spinal canal.

Your spinal cord, spinal nerves that travel to your arms and hands, and arteries that supply blood travel through the protective cervical spinal canal. The top section of the cervical spinal canal is very spacious. It allows more room for the spinal cord than any other part of the spine. The extra space helps to prevent pressure on the spinal cord when you move your neck.

Intervertebral discs are located between the vertebrae in your cervical spine. The discs are made of strong connective tissue. Their tough outer layer is called the annulus fibrosus. Their gel-like center is called the nucleus pulposus. The discs and two small spinal facet joints connect one vertebra to the next. The discs and joints allow movement and provide stability. The discs also act as a shock-absorbing cushion to protect the cervical vertebrae.

Causes of Neck Pain

Medical Doctor Huntsville About Neck PainMedical Doctor Huntsville: Neck pain is caused by abnormalities in the soft tissues, nerves, discs, or vertebrae of the neck. The soft tissues–muscles, tendons, and ligaments, can strain from over exertion, poor posture, physical stress, and injury. Motor vehicle crashes, sports, falls, or violence are causes of neck injuries. Soft tissue injuries can cause painful muscle spasms or tightening of the neck muscles.

The spinal cord or spinal nerves cause neck pain when they are compressed, pinched, or irritated. This commonly occurs from structural changes in the spine. Bone spurs, abnormal bone overgrowths caused by Osteoarthritis, can grow in to the spinal canal or nerve root openings on the vertebrae. Bone spurs can also contribute to a condition in which the spinal canal is narrowed, called Spinal Stenosis. Some degenerative diseases can cause the spinal structures to thicken and extend into the spinal canal over time. The narrowed canal causes pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, resulting in pain.

Changes in the intervertebral discs can also cause neck pain. As we age, our discs lose water content. Our discs become shorter and less flexible, a condition called Degenerative Disc Disease. Once the discs are injured, they do not have the blood supply to repair themselves and they deteriorate. Without the protective disc, the spine can become structurally unstable and unable to tolerate stress. Degenerative Disc disease can also lead to a herniated disc.

A herniated disc occurs when the outer disc layer, the annulus, ruptures. When the inner content, the nucleus pulposus, comes out of the disc, it can cause pressure on the nerve tissue. When the inner contents of the disc come in contact with the spinal nerves, a chemical reaction occurs that causes irritation, swelling, and pain.

Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis are degenerative diseases that cause changes in the discs and vertebrae. Normally, the discs act as a cushion between the vertebrae. Without the disc functioning well, pain can occur. Spondylosis is a condition that results when Osteoarthritis or a fracture causes disc degeneration and the overgrowth of bone. Spondylosis causes stiff and painful joints. Spondylolisthesis is a condition that results when a weakened vertebrae slips out of alignment on the spine.

Osteoporosis is a medical condition that can cause the cervical vertebrae to weaken. Osteoporosis causes more bone calcium to be absorbed than is replaced. Bone calcium is necessary to keep your bones strong. The weakened bones are susceptible to multiple fractures. Osteoporosis can cause the cervical spine to curve, resulting in hunched posture and neck pain Huntsville.


The type of pain that you feel depends on the cause of your neck pain. Your pain may range from mild to severe. The pain may begin suddenly and gradually get better, or it may start gradually and persist over time. The pain may spread to your head, shoulders, arms, and hands. You may get headaches. Your neck may feel stiff. You may not be able to completely move your neck. Your shoulder, arm, and hand muscles may feel weak. You may also experience numbness or tingling in your forearm, hand, or fingers.

You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience severe neck pain following an injury, such as from a motor vehicle crash, diving accident, or fall. You should not move your neck until it can be examined. To avoid the risk of further injury or paralysis, a medical professional should immobilize your neck. In rare cases, the loss of bowel and bladder control accompanied by significant arm and leg weakness indicates a serious problem. If you experience these symptoms, you should also seek immediate medical attention.

Diagnosis of Neck Pain

Medical Doctor Huntsville: Your doctor can determine the cause of your neck pain. The cause must be identified in order to treat your symptoms appropriately. Your doctor will perform a physical examination. Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and medical history. You will be asked to perform simple neck movements to help your doctor assess your muscle strength, joint motion, and joint stability. Your doctor will test the reflexes and sensation in your arms and legs. Your doctor may order lab studies to rule out disease processes that may affect your neck.

Your doctor will order imaging studies to identify the location and source of your neck pain Huntsville. Your doctor will order X-rays to see the condition of the vertebrae in your cervical spine and to identify fractures, misalignment, narrowed discs, or damaged facet joints. Sometimes doctors inject dye into the spinal column to enhance the X-ray images in a procedure called a myelogram. A myelogram can indicate if there are pinched nerves, herniated discs, bone spurs, or tumors.

A bone scan may be used to show fractures, tumors, infections, or arthritis. A bone scan requires that you receive a small harmless injection of a radioactive substance several hours before your test. The substance collects in your bones in areas where the vertebrae are breaking down or repairing.
Your doctor may also order Computed Tomography (CT) scans, a Discogram, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans to get a better view of your spinal structures. CT scans provide a view in layers, like the slices that make up a loaf of bread. The CT scan shows the shape and size of your spinal canal and the structures in and around it. Your doctor may inject dye into the disc area to enhance the CT images in a procedure called a Discogram. A Discogram provides a view of the internal structure of a disc and can help to identify if it is a source of pain. The MRI scan is very sensitive. It provides the most detailed images of the discs, ligaments, spinal cord, nerve roots, or tumors. X-rays, myelograms, bone scans, CT scans, and MRI scans are painless procedures and simply require that you remain motionless while a camera takes the pictures.

Nerve conduction studies may reveal how your cervical spinal nerves are working. Doctors commonly use a Nerve Conduction Velocity (NCV) test. During the study, your spinal nerve is stimulated in one place and the amount of time it takes for the message or impulse to travel to a second place is measured. Your doctor will place sticky patches with electrodes on your skin that covers the spinal nerve. The NCV test may feel uncomfortable, but only during the time that the test is conducted.

An Electromyography (EMG) test is often done at the same time as the NCV test. An EMG measures the impulses in the muscles to identify nerve and muscle problems. Healthy muscles need impulses to perform movements. Your doctor will place fine needles through your skin and into the muscles that the spinal nerve controls. Your doctor will be able to determine the amount of impulses conducted when you contract your muscles. The EMG may be uncomfortable, and your muscles may remain a bit sore following the test.

Neck Pain Management

The treatment for neck pain depends on its cause, severity, and duration. The majority of neck problems are treatable with pain medications, short periods of rest, and physical therapy. You may wear a soft neck collar for support.

Over-the-counter medication or prescription medication may be used to reduce your pain. If your symptoms do not improve significantly with these medications, your doctor may inject your neck with pain relieving medication. Occupational or physical therapists can provide treatments to reduce your pain, muscle spasms, and swelling. These include modalities, such as heat, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation. The therapists will also show you exercises to gently stretch and strengthen your neck muscles. Aquatic therapy may help ease your pain, relax your body, and provide support for you to exercise your joints.

Neck Surgery

Medical Doctor Huntsville: Surgery is recommended when non-surgical methods have provided minimal or no improvement of your symptoms. Surgery may be required if a herniated disc, bone spur, or a narrowed spinal canal is pressing directly on a nerve or the spinal cord. Surgery may also be required to stabilize a fractured vertebra after traumatic injury. The goals of neck surgery are to remove the pressure from the nerves or spinal cord and establish neck stability. There are several options for surgery, depending on the cause of the neck pain. Some of the more common surgeries are described below.

An Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion is the type of surgery most frequently used for a herniated cervical disc. An Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion involves removing all or part of a herniated disc or discs. The surgeon also fuses or secures two or more vertebrae together to stabilize the area.

Spinal Fusion is the type of surgery most frequently used for degenerative disc disease. Spinal Fusion involves removing the degenerative disc from between the vertebrae. The vertebrae are fused together to stop movement.

The most common surgery for Spinal Stenosis is a Laminectomy. The goal of this surgery is to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerves by enlarging the spinal canal where it has narrowed. To do so, the surgeon removes all or part of the lamina on the affected vertebrae.


Recovery from surgery depends on the cause of your neck pain and the type of surgery that was performed. Most surgeries require at least an overnight stay in the hospital. Your physician will let you know what to expect.

Individuals usually participate in physical therapy following surgery. Physical therapy exercises will help strengthen your neck muscles. Overall, most individuals achieve good results with surgery and are able to resume their regular lifestyles.

Prevention of Neck Pain

Medical Doctor Huntsville: It is important that you adhere to your restrictions and exercise program when you return home. It is important to keep your muscles strong and flexible. You should use proper posture when lifting, standing, sitting, and moving your body.

It can be helpful to maintain a healthy weight. Do not smoke. Smoking increases the risk of surgical complications and hinders bone fusing.