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Chronic Pain Management : July 31, 2011

Twenty years ago there were few options for people with chronic back pain, but we’ve since entered a new era in interventional pain management.

“The field of interventional pain management has really come to the forefront in the last 10 to 15 years to be able to get patients much more comfortable, much more functional, minimizing the need for medication and of course keep them out of surgery,” says Dr. Reggie Augusthy Interventional Physiatrist with Lee Memorial Health System.

Pain specialists find as many as 90% of their back and spine patients aren’t even candidates for surgery. While their pain is debilitating, it’s mostly inflammation.

“We can have pain that can be 'lancinating', very sharp electric type pain pain down the legs with that type of pain even simple walking, can be problematic,” says Dr. Augusthy.

Modern therapies intervene by targeting steroid medications directly to the pain source. A common cause is herniated disc.

“If we can use anti-inflammatory medication whether it be incedes or aggressively injectable steroid treatment that can calm down,” says Dr. Augusthy.

Degenerative disc disease or spinal stenosis can also benefit.

“If the spinal stenosis which is a condition of the narrowing of the canals can be responsive to steroid injections,” says Dr. Augusthy.

Along with traumatic injuries.

“If we're arguing that the primary pain complaint is inflammatory in nature, which is very typical of the traumatic event than these injection treatments can be very effective,” says Dr. Augusthy.

Doctors may follow up with physical therapy to strengthen surrounding muscles to help patients fight back pain.