Severe Back Pain May Need a Specialist

by: Prince, Glover & Hayes Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Most people with neck or back pain or severe arthritis first try to combat it with heat, ice, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, or even trigger-point injections.

But when none of that works they might consider a pain specialist. These doctors, usually anesthesiologists, employ aggressive, cutting-edge techniques such as injection steroids directly into the spinal areas to calm an irritated nerve.

Treatments may include:

· Epidural steroid injections: The doctor injections cortisone around the irritated nerve. A patient can have up to three treatments over six months.
· Surgery: cuts away a bulging herniated disc.
· Spinal cord stimulation: The pain specialist implants electrodes into the spine that intercept the pain signal before it reaches the brain, decreasing the pain by about two-thirds. Or the specialist implants an “intrathecal pump” that delivers morphine into the spinal fluid around the clock.
· Radio frequency: The doctor can inject a needle that applies heat directly to the nerve, numbing the pain for six months to two years, most often done in cases of arthritis.

–McClathy-Tribune Information Service

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