Frequently Asked Questions

What Do Most Patients Want to Know About Interventional Pain Management?

What is interventional pain management?

Interventional pain management is a department of pain management that specializes in an array of pain blocking techniques often in the form of injection therapies.

What does an interventional pain anesthesiologist do?

An interventional pain anesthesiologist should be double board certified in both anesthesiology and pain management. This type of physician can treat all levels of pain through minimally invasive techniques such as injection therapy, radiofrequency ablation or spinal cord stimulation.

What type of treatments can an interventional pain anesthesiologist provide?

Interventional pain anesthesiologists provide treatments such as epidural steroid injections, nerve blocks, radiofrequency ablation, spinal cord stimulation, facet joint injections, lumbar sympathetic plexus blocks, and trigger joint injections. All procedures are done on an outpatient basis.

When should I seek advice/treatment from an interventional pain management physician?

When pain interferes with your daily routine and cannot be managed through conservative therapies, you may seek the advice of an interventional pain management specialist to determine if you are a good candidate for these therapies.

Am I a suitable candidate for interventional pain management treatment?

To determine if you are a suitable candidate for interventional pain management treatment, your physician will administer a series of assessments including diagnostic and imaging tests, a review of your medical history, and a physical exam.

What if I’ve already had surgery? Do interventional pain management specialists work in conjunction with my primary care physician?

Interventional pain management specialists use a multidisciplinary approach to pain management. Your interventional pain management specialist will work in close association with your primary care physician and any other medical field that could integrate with your new treatment plan.

How is an interventional pain management specialist different from other pain management specialists?

Interventional pain management is different from other pain management practices because it emphasizes the importance of a precise diagnosis so treatment can begin immediately. Rather than just prescribing medication or only recommending physical therapy, an interventional pain management specialist utilizes all sources of treatment to eliminate pain in the fastest and most effective way possible for each individual patient.

Can an interventional pain management specialist help me even if I’ve been in pain for years, and everyone says there’s nothing that can be done to treat my pain?

An interventional pain management specialist can help patients with any level of pain, regardless of how long they’ve been suffering with it.

Does interventional pain management treatment involve the prescribing of pain medications?

Interventional pain management treatment utilizes therapeutic approaches to alleviate pain without the use of prescriptions. The majority of pain sufferers will have pain relief by multidisciplinary approaches. However, some patients will have better results with the use of prescribed medications.

Should I stop taking my medications before a pain procedure?

In most cases, your doctor will recommend a discontinuation on your current medications before undergoing a procedure. Please consult with your interventional pain management specialist to determine which medications you should not take. Medicines such as Courmadin, Plavix, Pradaxa, and Ticlid should all be ceased before a pain procedure.

I’m diabetic (or have another illness). Would this effect my ability to undergo interventional pain management treatment?

No. In fact, some interventional pain management treatments manage diabetes’ symptoms. Your doctor can determine if treatment will be safe and effective based off the patient’s initial exam.

What kinds of symptoms do interventional pain management specialists treat?

Interventional pain management specialists treat symptoms closely related to chronic pain. These can range from discomfort, difficulty sleeping, soreness, and tightness, to burning, aching, or electrical feelings. Treatments can help relieve pain related to Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, neuropathy, headaches, bone pain, back pain, and muscle pain.

Can interventional pain management specialists treat fibromyalgia?

Yes. Fibromyalgia symptoms can be managed with interventional pain therapies.

What is the difference between acute and chronic pain?

Acute pain is typically the result of an injury, illness, or surgery. In most cases, acute pain can be relieved in less than six months. Chronic pain is persistent pain that lasts longer than six months even after an injury has been healed. One in five adults are living with what they describe as chronic pain.

What common concerns do patients voice before treatment, and how do you address them?

Before any procedure, your doctor will go over the risks of surgery or injection and the guidelines that every patient should follow. Patients will know what they can and cannot do prior to their surgery or injection, and what will happen once they have received treatment.

If I choose to undergo interventional pain management treatment, will there be any limits on my activity afterward?

If you have received a sedative for your procedure, you are required to have someone available to drive you home afterwards. We recommend that a patient who has received an interventional pain management treatment take it easy following their procedure. The patient can then determine what their limitations are for getting involved with certain activities.

Are interventional pain management treatments successful?

Yes, they are successful for most patients. Some patients will have post-procedural pain where they have received treatment. However, that pain often quickly resolves. Based on the severity of your pain, further treatments may be required for effective results and significant pain reduction.