By Robert Fogarty
Most chronic pain sufferers have utilized medications, surgery, psychological and physical therapies, as well as chiropractic care, the conventional treatments. Although many will find relief in these treatments, there are those that these solutions don’t provide long enough relief or any relief at all. And those individuals are turning to interventional pain specialist to find the relief they need.
There are more than a 100 million individuals in the United States that suffer from chronic and debilitating pain. Chronic pain accounts for more than 75% of all doctors’ visits and causes billions of dollars in lost productivity from employees calling off work. This would have you think that health care providers would seek better ways to treat chronic pain sufferers but they haven’t and pain still remains under treated and misunderstood.
An interventional pain specialist is able to treat different non-spinal and spinal conditions due to his or her extensive training. A combination of neurological and musculoskeletal anatomy knowledge enables them to use tools such as musculoskeletal and neurological imaging, exams, and electro-diagnosis to pinpoint the cause of the patient’s pain and apply pain management procedures to alleviate and reduce one’s pain.
Most of these specialists will determine what level of pain a patient is experiencing and the right treatment for their condition. There are typically three levels of pain which determines the type of treatment a chronic pain sufferer may expect to receive. These levels and their treatment options can include the following:
1. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs – these medications are a low risk treatment that are available OTC, like Tylenol, to provide pain relief.
2. Physical Therapy – this treatment can include strengthening, stretching, and core exercises, as well as, chiropractic treatments.
3. Behavioral Treatment – continuous pain can affect one’s emotional state and in order to help deal with the pain treatment with a mental health specialist is beneficial.
4. Nutrition – keeping one’s body healthy by proper dieting is essential for one’s care.
1. Nerve Block Injections – an interventional pain management specialist will directly inject into the affected area a numbing agent. This treatment varies in the time pain relief is maintained which can be anywhere from hours to years.
2. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation – electrical impulses are sent through the skin into the nerves and muscles to change painful signals.
3. Prescription Narcotics – opiate medications which work on altering pain perception if the brain’s receptors.
4. Thermal Treatment – utilizing ice on the painful area to numb it.
1. Implants – these can include drug pumps and spinal cord stimulators which are devices implanted into the body to either use narcotic drugs or electrical signals to mask pain perception.
2. Surgery – usually used as a last resort and will either provide a pain-free lifestyle or a partially pain-free lifestyle which would include stage one treatment.
Talking with an Interventional pain management specialist will determine which stage of treatment is best for you to have an improved and active life.
Written by By Robert Fogarty of US Pain Network