Chronic pain is something I would never wish on anyone, even my worst enemy. It’s a state characterized by intermittent pain in a specific area of the body. Chronic pain management involves several approaches that should only be carried out by an expert pain physician. Pain specialist William Yancey, MD of Yancey Pain & Spine, emphasizes evidence-based approaches specifically minimally invasive ones to treat chronic pain. He believes that patients should be made aware of non-surgical interventions before going for surgery.
Spinal, head, and neck pain are among the most common types of chronic pain. Chronic pain occurs when the body tissue fails to heal, causing a progression from acute to chronic pain. There are three main pain management approaches, namely: the pharmacological approach, non-pharmacological, and the third one being the invasive approach.
The third approach can either be done surgically or non- surgically through minimally invasive interventional pain management. Some doctors tend to propose the surgical method, which is not always the best option considering the costs in between and after surgery.
In this article, I will list down some of the non-surgical treatments that may prove helpful for chronic pain management.
Spinal Cord Stimulation
Spinal cord stimulation was initiated by doctors who wanted to reduce high opioid dependence among patients suffering from chronic pain. Pain specialists will most often suggest this treatment if you are experiencing abdominal, spinal, or cervical pain.
The specialist inserts a stimulator to generate a charge to the spinal tissue. The electric charge produced will alter neurotransmitter activities, create neuron excitability, and also facilitate physiological inhibitory mechanisms leading to numbness and pain reduction.
Intradiscal Electrothermal Therapy (IDET)
Your specialist will most likely recommend this approach if you’ve experienced chronic lower back pain for at least six months. This pain occurs when your intervertebral discs get injured (disc herniation) or dislocated due to old age.
You must also pass screening tests to become a suitable patient meaning you shouldn’t suffer from arthritis or other conditions that could cause complications.
Transforaminal Endoscopic Laser Annuloplasty (TELA)
There are times when foreign tissue and blood vessels forge around your discs, leading to ‘discogenic’ pain. Performing a transforaminal Endoscopic Laser Annuloplasty will help reduce this pain by removing the foreign tissue using forceps and a laser ablation technique.
This treatment is not without risks. Patients could suffer neural injuries, vascular damage, and infections. However, a successful procedure provides pain relief while maintaining your posterior structure.
This technique involves passing electric current on the body’s facet joints to reduce pain chronic back pain. Doctors recommend radiofrequency to patients who failed to respond to oral pain medication. This treatment is a short procedure that has minimal side effects, making it safe for elderly patients.
This process has a risk of infection or bleeding if the electrode and needles are not placed correctly. You must, therefore, visit an expert pain specialist who will determine whether you require Continuous RF (CRF), Pulsed RF (PRF), or Radiofrequency (RF).
Finally, you or anyone suffering from chronic pain must do your research before choosing surgery. Doctors are at times biased towards treatments that will bring in money, so one has to also be cautious to avoid becoming a victim of malpractice.