Interventional Chronic Pain Management
Interventional Pain Management Specialists
Interventional pain management (IPM) is a special area of medicine that uses injections and minor procedures to help patients control their pain. Interventional pain management specialists are trained to diagnose and treat pain-related conditions, and their goal is to improve patients' overall quality of life by helping them reduce their pain.
IPM's Role in Treating Chronic Back Pain
Interventional pain management plays a big role in chronic pain because many forms of chronic pain cannot be cured, so chronic pain sufferers must learn how to live with and work around the pain. A pain management specialist can help them find the pain relief they need to function in the day-to-day. The interventional treatments are often part of a multi-disciplinary approach that might include use of medications, psychology, and physical therapy.
Part of IPM is finding the treatment or combination of treatments that works best for you. Some possible interventional pain management treatments are:
Your interventional pain management specialist may have you try injections, which send powerful pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory medications straight to the problem area. Some examples of injections used for chronic back pain are:
- Epidural steroid injection: This is one of the most common injections. An epidural steroid injection (ESI) targets the epidural space, which is the space surrounding the membrane that holds the spinal fluid around the spinal cord and nerve roots. Nerves travel through the epidural space and then branch out to other parts of your body, such as your legs. If a nerve root is compressed (pinched) in the epidural space, you can have pain that travels down your back and into your legs (commonly called sciatica, although the technical medical term is radiculopathy).
An epidural steroid injection sends steroids right to the nerve root that's inflamed. You'll probably need 2-3 injections; generally, you shouldn't have more than that because of the potential side effects of the steroids.
- Facet joint injection: Also known as facet blocks, facet joint injections are useful if your facet joints are causing pain. Facet joints in your spine help you move and provide stability. If they become inflamed, though, you'll have pain. A facet joint injection will numb the joint and can reduce your pain.
- Sacroiliac joint injection: The sacroiliac joint is where your pelvis and spine come together, and an inflamed sacrioiliac joint can be very painful. The injection may reduce joint inflammation and pain.