Pain management is one of the most pressing issues facing modern society today. While pain comes in many shapes and forms, chronic pain is among the leading causes of disability in the United States as well as the world. Right now, the first-line treatment of chronic pain is opioids and narcotics, which can lead to serious side effects.
Fortunately, there is another option called interventional pain management. This is a useful alternative that can be helpful for patients who are struggling to control their pain with other pain management options.
What is interventional pain management and how does it work?
What Is Interventional Pain Management?
Interventional pain management is an entire subspecialty of medicine that is entirely devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of all pain-related disorders. What makes interventional pain management different is that this is a multidisciplinary approach. Instead of patients having to go back and forth between therapists, doctors, surgeons, and other healthcare providers, the entire team works together to provide patients with a complete suite of treatments and services that can help patients address both acute and chronic pain.
The goals of interventional pain management are to manage, reduce, or alleviate pain completely. In this manner, interventional pain management can improve a patient’s overall quality of life using minimally-invasive techniques that can both diagnose and treat the causes of acute and chronic pain. Some of the members of an interventional pain management team include:
- Physical therapists
- Occupational therapists
- Mental health professionals such as psychologists and psychiatrists
Those who seek interventional pain management may meet with one, some, or all of the specialists above. That is the beauty of interventional pain management: this is a service that can be tailored to meet the needs of each patient, helping them return to their everyday activities safely and quickly without having to depend heavily on prescription medications.
What Procedures Are Used in Interventional Pain Management?
There are several minimally-invasive procedures that might be used in interventional pain management. These include:
- Epidural Injections: These injections are used to both diagnose and alleviate pain that is located in or around the spine. This injection is usually a combination of anesthetic medication (to reduce pain) and steroid medication (to reduce inflammation). These injections often alleviate pain for months before they have to be repeated.
- Facet Joint Injections: Facet joint injections are used to determine if the pain someone is feeling is coming from the facet joints, where are a specific part of the vertebrae in the back. In addition, facet joint injections can also be used to provide pain relief specifically at this location.
- Pain Pumps: Also called intrathecal pumps, these pumps are implanted by an experienced surgeon. Then, they can be controlled by the patient and doctor to deliver pain medication to the precise location in the spine where the pain is located. Pain pumps themselves can be refilled with more medications without requiring surgical intervention.
- Medial Branch Blocks: Medial branch blocks are used to target pain coming from specific spinal nerves. A block is used to temporarily halt pain at this location. Medial branch blocks can also be used to reduce inflammation.
- Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP): The plasma is the part of the blood that does not contain the red blood cells. By concentrating the patient’s own platelets and numerous other healing molecules, PRP injections and treatments can be delivered specifically to an injured or damaged body part. Thus, PRP can be used to expedite the healing process, helping patients recover from their injuries more completely.
- Radio Frequency Ablation: This is a minimally-invasive procedure that is used to disable spinal nerves that are transmitting pain signals to the brain. This is done using heated electrodes that are applied specifically to the nerves that are carrying pain signals back to the central nervous system.
What Should You Expect at an Interventional Pain Management Appointment?
When you arrive for an appointment with someone who specializes in interventional pain management, you should expect to have a thorough medical history taken. The doctor will ask you about:
- Where your pain is located
- When it first started
- What is feels like
- Anything that makes the pain better
- Anything that makes the pain worse
- Any treatments that have been tried in the past
- Any surgical procedures that might have been tried
- Any imaging scans that might have been taken
- Any prescription medications that you are currently taking
- Any other medical conditions you might have
For this reason, it is a good idea for patients to bring their medical records, imaging scans, and medications they might currently be taking (or have them sent over electronically). After this, the doctor is going to perform a thorough physical exam to try to figure out exactly where the pain is located and how it changes in certain positions.
Finally, the interventional pain management doctor will help you coordinate the therapies that you need to manage your pain. All of these therapies could be offered in the same place to help you reduce the need to travel.
Contact Zion Medical, Inc Today To Learn More About Interventional Pain Management
If you are ready to take a new, comprehensive approach to your pain, then rely on the team at Zion Medical, Inc. We are an orthopedics and neurosurgery clinic in Daytona Beach, FL. Contact us today to make an appointment with our team!