Targeting Chronic Pain with Precision
It’s an exciting time in interventional pain medicine and there are more advances coming. Our knowledge has increased tremendously in the last few years. Research has given us clues in developing even newer treatment options for pain. Many people are not yet familiar with physicians who specialize in treating pain. Pain Medicine physicians do exist and Ramos Center can help. The earlier we start treatment, the better chance we have of being successful in relieving pain.
An epidural injection immerses the inflamed nerve root in steroids (potent anti- inflammation medicine) to decrease the size of the irritated nerve and the surrounding tissues, creating space, freeing the nerve from pressure. This is a treatment and cure of the existing acute inflammation within the chronic disease, bringing the patient back to their previous level of pain and function.
Radiofrequency Ablation is an outpatient procedure, a small area of nerve tissue is heated to decrease pain signals from that area. The procedure is conducted under guided imaging. A needle is inserted at the offending nerve site, then an electrical current produced by a radio wave is used for the heat-and-destroy mission. The chronic pain relief lasts for a relatively long period, from six to nine months. This is a big advancement because it is very localized, very specific, pain treatment. It’s not a cure-all, but it can really make a difference in specific cases of pain. Facet joints of the spine are particularly responsive to this technique.
Spinal Cord Stimulation involves a pacemaker-type device that is implanted in the body. The body delivers low-level electrical signals to the spinal cord or to specific nerves, which helps block pain signals from reaching the brain. The patient can adjust the on/off button and adjust the intensity of the electrical signals. Spinal cord stimulation therapy is often used when other treatments have failed, as with failed back surgery. It is also used in other types of refractory pain.
Epidural Steroid Injection Procedures are a common and minimally invasive procedure to treat inflammation present inside the spinal canal. This inflammation can occur in the spinal nerve, due to tissues next to the nerve (disc, facet joints, scar tissue, bone spurs, bone material) pressing or rubbing against it. The beginning of the nerve (nerve root) is most often irritated by an displaced intervertebral disc, bulged, herniated (protrusion, extrusion, sequestration) or a diseased disc (torn, fissured, collapsed, degenerated), directly.
Injections and Nerve Blocks are more effective for treating acute pain. When a group of nerves are causing pain to a specific organ or body region, the pain can be blocked with injections of a local anesthetic. The Ramos Center for interventional & functional pain medicine uses Nerve Blocks effectively in conditions such as RSD, nerve entrapments, pudendal pain, ilioinguinal groin pain, intercostal pain, supraescapular nerve, neuromas, occipital neuralgia, etc.
Joint Injections may decrease the accumulation of fluid and cells in the joint and may temporarily decrease pain and stiffness. Many of the major joints (i.e. shoulder, knee, hip, etc.) of the body are susceptible to arthritic pain due to aging, repetitive use or injury. Joint Injections may be given to treat inflammatory joint conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, gout, tendonitis, bursitis and occasionally osteoarthritis.
Trigger Point Injections Procedure will treat painful sites in muscle or connective tissue. Extreme tenderness can also develop in nearby muscles or regions of the body.
In a trigger point injection procedure, a local anesthetic (sometimes with a steroid) is injected into the trigger point to relieve the pain. It typically takes only a few treatments to resolve trigger point pain. Patients can get good muscle pain relief from these injections. It’s a relatively simple, safe procedure. It gives patients enough relief to participate in physical therapy. The use of physical therapy is important in preventing a re-injury.