According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, pain impacts more individuals than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined and is a leading factor behind long-term disability. In an effort to mitigate existing chronic pain or post-surgical pain, many individuals receive treatment from a pain management specialist in New Jersey.
To help patients return to doing the things they love and enable them to accomplish the routine activities of daily life, doctors typically recommend a multidisciplinary approach to properly and effectively manage pain. The pain management doctors at Advanced Orthopaedic Centers employ a variety of therapeutic methods, including:
- Physical therapy – to address postural issues, movement patterns, and repetitive stress injuries
- Prescription medication
- Therapeutic modalities
- Interventional pain procedures
Today, many patients seek to manage chronic pain with as little medication as necessary. Below we’ll describe the most effective treatment methods used by doctors to help patients achieve their pain management goals.
Physical therapy at Advanced Orthopaedic Centers uses hands-on physical therapy techniques to help patients achieve relief from pain while restoring function, enhancing mobility and amplifying performance for patients of all ages, shapes, and sizes.
Some common conditions that respond well to physical therapy include acute injuries, trauma, total joint replacement, degenerative joint diseases, arthritis, and post-operative care.
Physical therapy involves a comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment plan. You will have a dedicated physical therapist work with you throughout your rehabilitation program, to assist you in reaching your goals.
Treatments may include manual therapy, gait training, range-of-motion, strengthening, traction, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, therapeutic exercise, and other pain relieving modalities.
An epidural steroid injection is a minimally-invasive procedure used by pain management physicians to relieve both spine and extremity pain caused by disc herniation, disc degeneration, spinal stenosis, and inflamed nerve roots.
Although some consider epidural steroid injections a “last resort” in the pain management subspecialty, patients typically report high satisfaction and effectiveness ratings.
The steroid medication is delivered to the inflamed spinal nerve through the epidural space, the area between the protective covering of the spinal cord (the dura) and the bony elements that form the spinal canal. The injection includes a corticosteroid (betamethasone or triamcinolone typically) and a numbing agent (bupivacaine or lidocaine).
Corticosteroids reduce inflammation and have the potential to work very well when delivered directly to the site of pain. Often patients report near immediate pain relief following the procedure. If only mild relief is achieved, one or two more injections may be scheduled to attain maximum effectiveness.
Unfortunately, it is unknown how long a patient will feel relief following their epidural steroid injection. Pain relief may last for several weeks, or it may last for several years. What is certain is that a majority of patients experience reduced pain and improved function in short order. A patient’s response will depend on the specific area affected, medical history, physical condition, and possibly genetic history.
Trigger Point Injections
A trigger point injection is a minimally-invasive outpatient treatment to relieve pain from the effects of trigger points, commonly found in the back and spine region.
When you experience pain, spasm, and inflammation in your muscles for any given period, knots can form. These knots are known as trigger points. As the knotted bands of muscle fiber remain tense, they can lose their ability to relax, and continue to stay tied and bundled up, generating additional pain and discomfort. Moreover, the tense fibers can cause irritation to the nerves around them and can produce referred pain that can be perceived elsewhere in the body.
Trigger point injections are used to target involved muscles that are sensitive to touch or excessive pressure. Injections are generally administered in the neck, back, and shoulders to help alleviate the pain and discomfort.
The injection can take up to two weeks to work, but the pain relief can last up to several months. Every patient will respond differently to the treatment, and its efficacy for each individual cannot be determined until after they’ve had an injection.
Facet injections are done through a minimally-invasive procedure to temporarily relieve neck or back pain triggered by inflammation of the facet joints. Facet injections can be used as a diagnostic test to see if the pain is actually coming from your facet joints, or they can be used as a treatment to relieve inflammation and pain caused by various spine conditions.
The effects of facet injections tend to be temporary, providing relief for several days or even years. The goal is to reduce pain so that you may resume normal activities and physical therapy.
Every Patient Is Unique
Managing chronic pain with less medication does not involve a cookie-cutter approach. There is no “one size fits all” solution for pain. Every individual is unique and brings with them their own particular medical history and personal experiences that are pivotal to finding the best pain-relief approach.
Because pain management plans are tailored to your specific needs, the regimen is different for each patient and varies depending on the nature of the condition. Therefore, it is essential to have close working relationships with both orthopaedic surgeons and physical therapists should additional treatment be needed.
With this multidisciplinary approach, you will be able to manage complex and challenging pain conditions. Throughout your pain management plan, your physician will be there to answer questions and offer guidance to help you towards living pain-free.