3 Procedures In Pain Management
Pain, especially chronic pain, is a complex problem with various underlying causes. People with chronic pain can benefit from visiting a pain management professional who has several techniques to manage pain, regardless of the underlying reason.
Trigger Point Injections
Trigger points are tight areas of muscle, but they can also occur in soft tissue. These tight areas may be felt as knots under the skin. Not only do trigger points cause pain at the site, if they are located near a nerve, they can also cause radiating pain by agitating the nerve. The purpose of trigger point injections is to get the trigger point to relax and stop causing pain or irritating a nearby nerve. The contents of the injection depend on the provider. At a minimum, a local anesthetic is included, but it may also contain a steroid. A fine needle is injected into either the muscle or soft tissue, depending on the appropriate location and the medicine is administered. In some instances, people find their pain relief lasts for several months.
Spinal Cord Stimulator
Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is much like transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), but the stimulator is implanted inside the body. Before having SCS, a trial period is necessary to determine if the stimulator would be effective and the proper adjustment of electrical impulses for your needs. The trial is either performed with a small incision or using an epidural needle. This allows the electrical wires to be inserted near the spine. If the trial is determined to be successful, a more invasive surgery will be necessary to implant the permanent device. The permanent leads that will generate the electrical impulses will be implanted in the targeted location. Before closing, a battery that is responsible for maintaining the electrical impulses is also implanted under the skin. Just like TENS, SCS is based on the theory that electrical impulses can intercept pain signals and prevent them from reaching the brain.
If other methods of reducing or eliminating pain have not been effective, some people may be candidates for a pain pump. During the procedure to install the pain pump, a small catheter that will deliver the medication is placed near the spinal cord. The pump, which contains the pain medication, is usually placed under the skin of the abdomen. This location is chosen so the pump is easily accessible and the doctors can inject more pain medication when the medication runs out. Much like SCS, a trial period is necessary for doctors to determine the right dose of medication and the frequency of dosing to reduce pain to acceptable levels.
In many instances, chronic pain can be successfully managed with a combination of non-invasive techniques that can be done in-office or on an outpatient basis. For some people who need more extensive help for widespread, chronic pain, a more invasive procedure, such as a pain pump, might be necessary for relief. Contact a pain medical clinic for more information.