Minimally Invasive Therapies In Our Chronic Pain Treatment Center
Chronic pain conditions affect millions of people all over the world.
No matter if they last weeks or years, they can have a serious impact on one’s well-being and quality of life. Fortunately, there are several highly effective treatments available for patients who wish to improve their lives.
These are some of the non-invasive and minimally-invasive pain treatment options that you can find in our chronic pain treatment centers. If you are interested in undergoing a pain treatment, you should discuss it with a specialized pain doctor so they can accurately diagnose your condition and create a customized treatment plan for you.
Treating Pain With Nerve Blocks
Nerve blocks consist of injecting a local anesthetic into a specific nerve or group of nerves. This “blocks” pain signals, stopping them from getting to the central nervous system.
Nerve blocks are effective in treating acute pain. They also work as a diagnostic tool, helping to identify the source of pain. This is a short procedure that provides temporary relief.
Key Facts About Nerve Blocks
- There are different types of nerve blocks for different types of pain. Some of them are:
Neck and back nerve blocks: Pain in these areas can be treated using cervical epidural, thoracic epidural, or lumbar epidural nerve blocks.
Abdominal nerve blocks: include paravertebral, intercostal, and transversus abdominis plane nerve blocks.
Sympathetic nerve blocks: Are injected around sympathetic nerve roots, located in the spine.
Stellate ganglion blocks: Help treat and diagnose the source of pain in the head, neck, chest, and arms.
Facet joint blocks: Facet joints are located on the back of the spine. These blocks help determine if facet joints are the source of pain.
- Side effects of nerve blocks include elevated blood sugar, soreness, bleeding, and itching.
- Nerve blocks can last for 1 to 2 weeks. You can have several injections.
Pain Management Injections
Injections consist of delivering pain-relieving medication directly to the affected area. They are used to both treat and identify the source of the pain.
There are several types of injections, including joint injections, trigger point injections, and steroid injections. This type of therapy can provide effective relief from back pain, neck pain, among others.
Key Facts About Nerve Blocks
- These injections are more effective when combined with physical therapy.
- Injections are fast procedures that may be performed at the doctor’s office. After the procedure, the patient may return home.
- Pain relief may happen within a few hours after the procedure or may take up to 2 weeks to take effect.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive procedure that “burns” the pain-carrying nerves using radiofrequency heat. This prevents them from sending pain signals to the brain.
This is an outpatient procedure and you can go back to your normal activities 24 to 72 hours after the ablation.
Key Facts About Radiofrequency Ablation
- Pain relief typically occurs within the next 10 days after the RFA. In some cases, patients experience immediate relief.
- The effects may last from 9 months to over 2 years.
- This is a safe procedure with minimal risks. Some possible side effects of RFA include temporary pain in the treated area, skin burns, numbness, infection, and allergic reaction.
Spinal Cord Stimulation
Spinal cord stimulation, or SCS, consists of a small device that is implanted under the skin and delivers electrical pulses that mask the pain signals before they reach the brain.
This is a good option for patients who want to avoid surgery, or that haven’t found relief with other therapies.
Key facts about SCS
- Spinal cord stimulation can be used to treat chronic pain in the back, the neck, or the limbs. Studies have shown that it provides long-term relief in 50 to 80% of patients.
- You can use a remote control to turn the device on and off and to adjust its settings.
- This is a minimally invasive procedure. Most patients are sent home the same day.
FAQ About Pain Treatments
When should I seek medical help to treat pain?
Whenever pain is affecting your quality of life. If you are experiencing persistent pain that interferes with your everyday activities, you should see a pain specialist.
What is the best pain treatment for me?
This depends on several factors, such as your medical history, if you have already tried other therapies, if there are any underlying conditions, among others.
In our chronic pain treatment centers, our specialists will always diagnose and understand your condition before designing a customized treatment plan for you.
What other types of therapies are there to treat pain?
Besides traditional treatments (like medication, physical therapy, and surgery), there is a great variety of pain therapies available to treat pain.
In our pain centers, we provide a holistic approach that includes minimally invasive procedures, as well as alternative treatments like regenerative medicine, PRP injections, and medical marijuana, among others.
How do I know if my pain is acute or chronic?
- Acute pain is very intense and vanishes after a period of time (less than 3 months). However, it should be treated so it doesn’t turn into chronic pain.
- Chronic pain is persistent and lasts more than 12 weeks.
What should I tell the doctor about my pain?
Your doctor will ask you several questions. It helps if you keep a diary of your symptoms before the first appointment. In this diary you may include:
- What caused the pain in the first place
- How long have you been feeling the pain
- Possible triggers of the pain
- If there are other symptoms
- Is the pain constant, or does it come and go
- Does the pain radiate
- What are you doing to manage the pain
- What have you tried before
Can my pain be a sign of something else?
In some cases, pain can be a symptom of an underlying serious condition, which is why you should seek medical help.
However, in most cases, pain is produced by common causes, like old age, sprains, and fractures.