We can encounter pain at any point in our day-to-day life, in different intensities, and for various reasons. Some of these unpleasant sensations can go away over time while others may not heal on their own and continue to provide discomfort. This kind of persistent and unbearable pain is called chronic pain. It’s seemingly a never-ending battle for the patients with some days being extremely worse. But there are ways you can make your life easier even with this prolonged condition. 

If you are looking for successful chronic pain management, you must consider interventional pain management. This type of treatment can provide relief for a variety of conditions, including cancer pain, back pain, neuropathic pain, etc. American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (ASIPP), describes it as a “discipline of medicine devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of pain-related disorders...”

This approach implements a multidisciplinary way of cure, involving a team of specialists (physiatrists, anesthesiologists, internists, etc.) that provides comprehensive diagnosis and management of pain to improve a patient’s overall quality of life. It is generally considered pain that is not responsive to usual therapies or medications but can be treated without extensive surgery.

When to Consider Interventional Pain Management?

Until now, we’ve just looked at the general definition of what this specialty is. To help you in deciding if you should go for it, let’s look at these 4 important points. 


  • Your chronic pain is not going away – As already discussed, certain aches aren’t receptive to any conventional treatment, continuing for more than 6 months – like fibromyalgia, diabetic neuropathy, endometriosis, arthritis, sciatica, spinal stenosis, degenerative joint diseases, and so forth. Such conditions cannot be effectively managed by a general physician and require treatment at an interventional pain management center with specialized medical services.


  • You’re still trying to find a diagnosis for your pain – This goes without saying that the source of your pain can be better diagnosed by an interventional pain specialist. Due to this reason, patients in any kind of pain are often advised to consult one for getting an accurate examination of their condition. After a thorough diagnosis, your doctor will plan out the ideal treatment for your pain. 


  • You want to avoid surgery if possible – Nobody would right away agree on surgical procedures unless it’s the only solution left. This is, of course, not just due to the financial concerns involved, but also the skepticism about its success as well as the apprehension about the risk and complications that may arise. Interventional pain treatments usually work with OTC drugs, injections, there’s, and minor out-patient surgeries. 


  • You’ve had surgery but are still experiencing pain – This is a common phenomenon with many patients. One of the most unbearable side effects of certain surgeries is the never-going pain experienced in a muscle, bone, skin area, or an organ. Such problems may arise because of a complication that arose during the operation, some accidental damage to the issue, and so forth. If it’s been weeks since you’ve been experiencing your post-surgical pain and nothing so far has helped it, you must visit an interventional pain clinic.

What to Expect from Interventional Pain Specialists?

On your initial appointment, your pain physician will take into account your past medical history and reports to get a better picture of your overall health status. During this consultation, you’ll also play a crucial role in informing them about other treatments and medications you’ve tried earlier or are currently taking. Following this discussion, the specialist will ascertain the required diagnostic tests like X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, blood tests, etc. to thoroughly assess your pain issue. You might be asked to simultaneously take psychiatric consultation, too. Once all this is done, you’ll be informed of the suitable treatment options available for your condition.

The interventional pain associates at Advanced Pain Care in Austin, TX offer an all-inclusive treatment plan to help patients recover effectively. Besides some pain management physical therapies and medicines, their specialists also take into account several minimally-invasive techniques for the management of pain such as –  

  1. Injections —  Image-guided or ultrasound-guided injections are used to treat the painful areas with steroids or other pain medication for alleviating the pain. They can be categorized into – facet joint injections, radiofrequency neurotomy, sacroiliac joint injections, epidural steroid injections, trigger point injections, and botox injections. 
  1. Neurolytic blocks and single nerve root blocks — This involves deactivation or destruction of the pain-causing nerves by freezing or heating them. The primary aim of this procedure is to control pain signals from nerve endings to the brain.
  2. Radiofrequency rhizotomy —  A needle with an electrode is inserted into the targeted region with the help of an X-ray. Just like the nerve root blocks, they also manipulate the transmission of pain signals to the brain. 
  3. Pulsed Radiofrequency Neurotomy (PRFN) & Percutaneous discectomy/Nucleoplasty The former procedure stops the pain sensation by desensitizing spinal nerves while the latter involves the removal of tissue from the spinal disc to offer pain relief.
  4. Intrathecal pumps — A pump-like device is implanted between the spinal cord and the covering surrounding the spinal cord. It supplies medications to the primary source of the pain and is often used for failed back surgeries and cancer pains.
  5. Spinal cord stimulation Here, a remote-controlled device is inserted near the spinal cord (in the abdomen or hip region) to block pain signals from reaching the brain. It involves the use of mild-level electric currents to provide effective pain relief.  
  6. Other procedures – Depending on your situation, a specialist can also go for one of these procedures – intradiscal electrothermic therapy, endoscopic discectomy, kyphoplasty, and vertebroplasty.

Interventional pain management plans can include a combination of various cure options (both palliative & non-palliative). Even so, you must remember that these are usually not the permanent treatment methods and you’d have to continuously work with your doctor to stabilize and maintain your pain conditions, and getting your life back on track.