What is Interventional Pain Medicine?Interventional pain medicine is a specialty that is devoted to the management of pain through medical procedures, without the routine use of prescription medications. Usually practiced by anesthesiologists or pain medicine specialists, this subspecialty has had a marked increase in demand in recent years, as the illegal abuse of narcotic painkillers has become a nation-wide problem. Interventional pain medicine physicians must be adept at diagnosing their patients. Until they can accurately pinpoint the source of the pain, it can be difficult to treat it effectively. In some cases, the pain has an obvious cause, such as the hurt experienced when healing after surgery or when dealing with some cancers. In other cases, there is no obvious problem causing the pain, and the pain itself is the issue. This can be the case with chronic lower back pain, migraines, neuropathies, and other disorders. There are many treatment options that interventional pain medicine doctors might use to ease a patient's pain, ranging from non-invasive to minimally invasive. Some of these treatments are:
- Physical therapy
- Nerve blocks
- Facet injections, which are injections of small amounts of anesthetic into the joints of the spine
- Radiofrequency denervation, or the use of radio waves to stop painful nerves from firing
- Spinal cord stimulation, or the use of electrical currents along the spine to interfere with the transmission of pain signals
- Implanted intrathecal or epidural injection drug delivery systems
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