In the first two parts of this series of articles, we explained the two basic types of pain, and the most common options used to treat acute and chronic pain. For many patients dealing with chronic pain, these basic and mid-level treatment options work, and enable them to manage chronic pain in a way that allows them to “get their lives back.”
There are many people, however, for whom these treatments don’t work. If you are one of these people, and you have been told that there is nothing that can be done about your chronic pain, don’t lose hope.
There are advanced treatment options that can provide relief from chronic and even intractable pain. In this third part of our “Pain 101” series, we’ll discuss some of these procedures.
Why interventional radiology is a perfect match for pain management
Interventional radiology, or IR, the branch of medicine we specialize in here at MTV IR, allows doctors to treat certain types of chronic pain with remarkable levels of success. IR procedures are surgical in nature, but they are minimally invasive procedures. No large incisions are needed, because access to the internal areas being operated on is done via tiny pin-pricks, into which are inserted specialized catheters or miniaturized medical equipment.
IR procedures are so gentle that in many cases full anesthesia is not necessary. Also, because there are no large incisions, recovery time is much faster, and there is no additional post-operative pain to deal with, as there sometimes is with invasive surgery.
What conditions are treated with interventional pain management procedures?
At MTV IR, we provide advanced pain management treatment options to many different types of patients. We treat leg pain associated with peripheral artery disease. We reduce back pain by accurately delivering epidural steroid injections. We help patients manage shoulder, joint, and knee pain by delivering steroid facet injections to help decrease inflammation in these joints.
We perform selective nerve root block (SNRB) procedures to pinpoint and block spinal nerve pain. We also provide long-term pain relief from back pain associated with a procedure called rhizotomy. We provide permanent relief from painful spinal disorders using kyphoplasty and other procedures to stabilize fractures and reconstruct fractured or degenerated spinal disks. We treat women experiencing the pain of uterine fibroids with a procedure called Uterine Artery Embolization, and we treat men trying to live with painful testicular varicoceles with Varicocele Embolization.
MTV IR doctors are considered among the best oncology specialists in Dallas, and chronic pain is often a part of fighting cancer. So in our oncology practice we have become expert at providing advanced, effective pain relief treatment to oncology patients, even those whose pain has become intractable.
Spinal Cord Stimulation can even help those who suffer from intractable pain
A treatment option called SCS may help even those who have been told that there is nothing more that can be done about their pain. Spinal cord stimulation uses electrical signals to stimulate certain nerve centers in the spine to mask the perception of pain and keep it from reaching the brain. A Spinal Cord Stimulator is installed, which the patient activates when needed, using a remote control. When the device is activated, the patient feels a mild, tingling sensation called paresthesia instead of pain.
SCS has been found to provide long-term pain relief to people suffering from chronic and intractable pain. Patients who have pain conditions that have not responded to previous treatments may be candidates for SCS.
The bottom line
As we’ve tried to emphasize in each of the three parts of “Pain 101,” pain is not “something you have to live with.” There are effective interventional pain management procedures that can help you to overcome the chronic pain you live with. If you’d like to speak to our pain management specialists to see whether the IR procedures we specialize in can help you, give us a call at 469-828-2025 and schedule an appointment with us. Then we can meet with you and determine whether you are a candidate for advanced, minimally-invasive interventional radiology options, treatments that in many cases can eliminate pain altogether.