Interventional Pain Management for Chronic Pain: Rhizotomy, Spinal Cord Stimulation, and Spinal Pumps

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Radiofrequency Rhizotomy
Radiofrequency rhizotomy temporarily turns off a nerve's ability to transmit pain signals. During the pain free period—which usually for 6-12 months—your doctor will probably highly recommend physical therapy. The physical therapist can help you work on underlying physical problems that are causing or adding to your pain.

3D Illustration of Spinal CordSpinal Cord Stimulation
Spinal cord stimulation is usually one of the last treatment options tried. A stimulator is implanted in your body, and it sends electrical pulses directly to the spinal cord. Those pulses change how the brain interprets pain; essentially, they interrupt the pain signal.

Research suggests that spinal cord stimulation is a good option for patients who had spinal surgery, but the surgery didn't reduce their pain. It also appears to be a good option for chronic neuropathic pain.

Spinal Pump
Similar to spinal cord stimulation, spinal pumps are usually one of the last treatment options tried. A pump is implanted in your body, and it sends medication straight into the spinal fluid. It offers more constant pain relief than oral medication, plus you won't have to take as much medication. With oral medication, you sometimes have to take higher doses to get adequate pain relief since the medication spreads through your body—it doesn't go directly to the nervous system. The pump may help to reduce medication doses and their side effects.

Other Interventional Pain Management Techniques
Injections are another interventional pain management technique. You can learn about the different types of injections used for chronic pain in this article.

Reference

  1. Devulder J, De Laat M, Van Bastelaere M, Rolly G. Spinal Cord stimulation: A valuable treatment for chronic failed back surgery patients. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 1997;13:296-301.
Updated on: 08/10/15
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Physical Therapy for Chronic Pain
Steven Richeimer, MD
This article was reviewed by Steven Richeimer, MD.
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Physical Therapy for Chronic Pain

Going to physical therapy when you have chronic pain can teach you how to maintain an active life while taking good care of your body and dealing with your pain. A physical therapist will develop a personalized treatment plan to help you manage pain.
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