Injections are often the first intervention your provider will try for chronic pain, but sometimes they are not enough or are not the right treatment. In those instances, our Pain Center has much more to offer.
Depending on the underlying condition or the patient’s response to a previous treatment, the provider can offer one or more of the following advanced interventions:
Nerve ablation is performed when a patient has had a good response to a nerve block injection, because the provider then knows where the pain is coming from. Your provider will use thermal energy—heat (radiofrequency ablation, also called RFA) or cold (cryoablation)—to deaden the nerves, and that will provide longer-lasting relief than nerve block injections.
This is a procedure to relieve pain associated with a bulging disc. The provider uses a thin probe to go inside the disc and remove some of the thick shock-absorbing substance there. That will reduce the pressure the disc is exerting on the surrounding nerves, which should reduce pain.
Patients who have suffered a vertebral fracture may benefit from vertebroplasty. The provider injects a cement solution into the fractured vertebral body to stabilize it. Once it is set (in about 30 minutes) the vertebra will no longer be able to move in an uncoordinated manner, which will stop the irritation of the surrounding tissues.
Kyphoplasty (vertebral augmentation) is very similar to a vertebroplasty and may result in restoring the normal height of the fractured vertebra, but that is not always a necessary goal of treatment.
Through the discogram procedure, the physician can pinpoint the source of pain by determining the exact nature and location of disc injuries. The physician injects a dye into several adjacent discs to try to duplicate the patient’s normal pain and then analyzes the pattern of the dye dispersion to identify bulges or tears in the disk. It is a diagnostic procedure only and does not relieve pain.
Spinal Cord Stimulator
This is a device the physician implants under the skin. The spinal cord stimulator generates electrical impulses inside the spinal column to mask, override, or cancel out the transmission of pain signals.
Patients with intractable pain that has not responded to any other treatment may find relief through a pain pump. It is a small device implanted under the skin that delivers a slow, steady flow of pain medications directly into the spinal column.
IDET (Intradiscal Electrothermal Annuloplasty)
IDET is used to treat partial tears in a disc. It uses heat energy to thicken the wall of the disc to stop intradiscal substance from leaking into the surrounding tissues.
The RACZ procedure uses a hypertonic saline solution to dissolve adhesions that may be causing or aggravating an underlying pain condition. Adhesions commonly develop following back surgery.
The blood patch is a treatment for headaches caused by leaking spinal fluid following a puncture in the spinal column. Myelograms, obstetric epidurals, and diagnostic lumbar punctures are the most common procedures that may cause these headaches to occur. The provider draws blood from the patient and then injects it into the spinal column where the leak is—as the blood clots it seals the puncture site. Once the leak is stopped, the headache should resolve quickly.
Let Us Help You
You are in good hands at The Pain Center. With these treatments available from our highly trained providers, we believe we can help you manage your pain so you can live a more productive life.