Pain management is a nonsurgical means of controlling pain stemming from many different sources such as spinal, neuropathic pain and musculoskeletal. With early intervention, patients are able to avoid the chronic circle of pain, or at least have a reduction in the severity. Minimally invasive treatments and procedures go together to achieve these goals.
The specialty of pain management helps hundreds, if not thousands of people suffering from pain each year. Pain management specialty groups consist of primary care physicians (PCP), neurologists, orthopedists and a variety of other healthcare professionals.
What is a Pain Management Specialist?
Physical medicine physicians are also referred to as physiatrists. They are experts in treating injuries to the nerves, muscles and bones, as well as illnesses that have an adverse effect on the way we people move. A physiatrist is able to diagnose and treat acute and chronic pain syndromes, as well as musculoskeletal problems. They are qualified to order and effectively interpret spinal imaging such as MRIs, x-rays, bone scans and CT myelograms. They are also skilled in performing nerve testing to include EMGs, SSEP and NEV. These specific tests help to diagnosis the origin of pain so it can be treated effectively. Physiatrists may recommend treatment with:
Epidural injections and selective nerve root blocks.
Anesthesiologists are specifically trained in minimally invasive and interventional procedures to help alleviate chronic pain. An anesthesiologist is an important part of a pain management team. They also treat patients who are suffering from acute and chronic pain. Their practice can focus on performing various types of injection for pain relief such as:
Epidural steroid injections.
Injections into the sacroiliac joints.
Trigger point injections.
Placement of pain pumps in the spinal canal.
Facet joint injections.
Diagnosis of Pain
There are several ways to diagnosis the source of pain outside x-rays and physical examinations. For example, discography or disc stimulation is a procedure in which the suspected disc is stimulated in order to reproduce pain. If a positive response is elicited, then proper treatment of the affected disc can be carried out.
In addition to injections for pain relief, there are numerous other methods used in the specialty of pain management. Intradiscal intervention is a procedure the pressure is released from the disc in hopes if relieving painful symptoms. Radiofrequency neuroablation is a relatively new procedure in which a wand is used to reduce the size of the disc in attempts to relieve pressure on the spinal canal or other structures.
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