Pain clinics offer options for managing pain

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Pain clinics offer options for managing pain

When medications and other conservative treatments have been ineffective in reducing pain, interventional pain management may be an option.

Interventional pain management at a pain management center utilizes pain blocking techniques when pain is severe enough to interfere with daily activities. Treatments can include surgery, electrostimulation, nerve blocks, injections, or implantable pain pumps. The type of treatment an individual receives depends on his or her specific condition and symptoms.

Conditions that generally respond well to interventional pain management include knee pain, back pain, sciatica, and cancer. In addition, shingles pain and migraines frequently respond favorably to pain center treatments.

Some of the most common interventional pain management techniques include the following:

  • Nerve blocks interrupt pain signals that travel along nerves to the brain to provide pain relief. The type of nerve block depends on the individual treatment plan. Certain nerve blocks require surgical procedures, and may be long-term or permanent.
  • Infusions deliver pain-relief drugs directly into the body. They generally are for longer-term use.
  • Injections target different pain spots in the body and generally include a numbing agent and a steroid. Some common types of injections are epidural steroid injections (back), facet joint injections (body part), and trigger joint injections (body part).
  • Radiofrequency ablation often is used to treat lower back and neck pain, especially when pain is caused by arthritis. It uses a radio wave to produce an electrical current, which is then used to heat an area of nerve tissue. This disrupts the nerve’s ability to send pain signals.
  • Spinal cord stimulation applies gentle electrical currents to the source of the pain. Electrical leads are inserted close to the spinal column, while a tiny generator is inserted into the abdomen or buttock. The generator emits electrical signals to the spinal column, thus blocking the ability for the brain to perceive pain.
  • Peripheral nerve field stimulation is related to spinal cord stimulation, except that it is localized on other parts of the body. The electrical leads are placed as close to the source of pain as possible and follow the same general process as spinal cord stimulation.
  • An intrathecal pump or “pain pump” is a surgically implanted pump that delivers pain medications directly to the spinal cord.