Interventional pain management involves minimally invasive procedures performed by Board Certified pain doctors to provide short or long term pain relief. Some procedures have been in mainstay pain management for over 50 years while some of the more revolutionary ones have been introduced in just the past few years.
Interventional pain management procedures are performed on an outpatient basis, and most take less than an hour. None of these procedures require general anesthesia, and most can be done with simply numbing the soft tissue in the area around where the procedure is being performed.
There are procedures available to relieve the pain from sciatica, spinal stenosis, joint arthritis, tendinitis, CRPS/RSD, muscle spasms, disc related pain, migraines and more. Most procedures are performed in an ambulatory procedure center under image guidance, including ultrasound or fluoroscopy. This is a real-time form of x-ray.
When nerves are being pinched, such as with sciatica or spinal stenosis, epidural steroid injection’s are indicated. This includes placing steroid medication around the area where the nerves are being pinched. This may provide weeks or months of continuous pain.
There are actually three different types of epidural steroid injection’s. Depending on the patient’s condition, One may receive either a caudal, transforaminal, or interlaminar epidural injection.
For patients suffering from spinal osteoarthritis, the procedures available include either a medial branch block, facet joint injection or a radiofrequency ablation. The injections involve placement of numbing medicine and possibly some steroid either in the arthritic joint, or around it. Pain relief me last weeks to months, and then be repeated if necessary. For longer-term relief, radiofrequency ablation can apply thermal energy to the area and help for 12 to 18 months. These are all outpatient procedures that are typically covered by a patient’s insurance plan.
For those patients suffering from joint arthritis, there are several types of injections that may help. One is a steroid injection, which has been shown to help from weeks to months. Another is hyaluronic acid, known as Visco supplementation. These procedures have been shown to help 80% of patients for 6 to 12 months.
If the patient suffering from severe chronic pain but has no surgical option, then a spinal cord stimulator implant may be the best option. This involves placement of electrodes around the spinal cord, which are attached to a rechargeable battery under the skin. The battery also includes the programming unit.
These have been revolutionary for pain relief and help individuals suffering from neck, arm, back or leg pain. There are even indications for those suffering from abdominal, pelvic pain as well.
There are many other interventional procedures being offered to patients at Gershon Pain Specialists. This may include procedures forCRPS/ RSD, abdominal pain, pelvic pain, migraines and more.
Occipital nerve blocks may provide exceptional relief for migraines, while a celiac or hypogastric plexus block may help substantially for abdominal/pelvic pain. For facial pain due to trigeminal neuralgia, a sphenopalatine ganglion block may be the answer or a block of the trigeminal nerve itself.
All in all, interventional pain management serves three vital purposes. The first is pain relief, which may be short or long term. Thankfully, most procedures can be repeated on a regular basis. The second benefit of interventional procedures is to decrease the amount of pain medication an individual may require. A third benefit is the increased function patients often experience due to the pain relief. This may include increased recreational activities, sporting activities, being able to care for one’s children or grandchildren.
Essentially, interventional pain management procedures can truly change a person’s life!