Interventional pain procedures allow the patient to become less dependent on medication and improve overall quality of life. These procedures are a mainstay of the multi-modal approach to decrease pain.
Many types of pain are aided by steroid injections or nerve blocks. These injections help reduce the inflammatory process. Inflammation releases pain chemicals which cause pain and attract even more inflammation cells. This creates a snowball effect, making the pain very difficult to control. Injecting steroid medication directly to the site causing pain allows us to not only dramatically reduce pain, but also diagnose the true area generating the pain. This allows us tailor your care even more. Furthermore, by directly injecting into the site of damage, we are able to decrease the amount of medicine given, thus dramatically reducing any side effects.
-Radiofrequency Nerve Ablation (RFA)
When appropriate, RFA is a unique tool to help aid long-term pain control. By disrupting the nerve conduction to certain joints, we area able to significantly decrease the pain felt at that joint for a periods of many months.
Pain control devices such as spinal cord stimulators are implantable systems that help pain control when other more conservative measures have failed. These systems have helped improve the quality of life of many patients and, at times, ends their need for medication completely.
Although pain medications are very helpful, they should be used as part of a treatment plan and not the sole option to combat pain. Medications come in topical gels and patches, as well as pills. Medications should be tailored to the individual to maximize pain relief and minimize side effects. Every body is different and what may help a certain patient, may not help another. The same goes for side effects. Pain medications include: non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, anti-convulsants, anti-depressants, opioids, and muscle relaxers. In some specific patients with severe pain, a spinal infusion of medication may be necessary to obtain satisfactory pain control.
The conservative approach moves a patient from conservative, non-invasive options to more advanced treatment modalities. Conservative care is designed to avoid radical medical therapeutic measures or operative procedures. It generally consists of a period where medications are prescribed and time is given to allow the body to repair and heal itself. Physical therapy is often used to help the patient regain function to an injured area. Therapists can also use techniques to breakdown scar tissue and help a patient return to activities as before.