Treatment of Chronic Pain
PAIN RELIEF WITH ANESTHESIA
NERVE BLOCKS can relieve pain by stopping the impulses that travel along nerves in the body. The physician injects a local anesthetic along the course of the nerve or nerves associated with the pain.
SPINAL INFUSION involves the delivery of low doses of medications like morphine through a catheter inserted in the spine.
SURGICAL TREATMENT OF CHRONIC PAIN
Most experts say that surgery is a treatment of last resort. For many patients surgery can magically cure their pain, but, the risks are high. Surgery can destroy other sensations in the body or become the source of new pain.
IMPLANTED DRUG DELIVERY SYSTEMS are used for patients with very resistant pain. These systems are expensive but offer a more convenient, portable and efficient way to take medications.
IMPLANTED DORSAL COLUMN STIMULATOR is a device that allows a patient to stimulate spinal nerves with mild doses of electricity, producing relief by short-circuiting pain impulses. This method is being used to treat pain caused by nerve damage and angina.
JOINT REPLACEMENT is the surgical replacement of a joint with a prosthesis. This procedure can be a successful treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
SYMPATHETIC BLOCKS cut some of the sympathetic nerves, reducing pain for some patients.
ABLATIVE SURGERY cuts one or more sensory nerves and blocks sensation from the parts of the body affected by that nerve.
NON-INVASIVE CHRONIC PAIN TREATMENTS
PHYSICAL THERAPY helps patients with chronic pain to improve flexibility, strength, endurance and conditioning thereby reducing the disability caused by chronic pain. Techniques include postural correction for patients with back pain, hot and cold therapy, ultrasound and massage.
TRANSCUTANEOUS ELECTRICAL NERVE STIMULATION (TENS) uses mild electrical impulses delivered to the skin by hand held device. It is a popular method of relieving joint and muscle pain. TENS works by increasing endorphins and stimulating the nerve fibers, altering the balance of painful stimuli entering the spinal cord. It can be worn in a pocket and transmits an electrical impulse through electrodes taped to the body in the area of pain.