New Hope for Chronic Back Pain Sufferers

New Hope for Chronic Back Pain Sufferers
Dr. Tomi T. Prvulovic Anesthesiologist Goshen, NY

Almost everyone has experienced some form of pain in their lifetime but imagine the worst possible pain that is present 24 hours a day. Chronic pain sufferers often exhaust all modalities of pain treatment such as multiple surgeries and high doses of narcotic medications, which may lead to addiction. Even with these interventions, their pain is unmanageable. Chronic pain often leads to depression, inability to work, inability to perform activities of daily living, interference with sleep and enjoyment of life. It puts strain on personal relationships with family and friends. Chronic pain sufferers often feel guilty for complaining about the pain and feel it is something they will have to live with for the rest of their lifetime. They feel hopeless. Pain management can resolve many of these issues.

Interventional Pain Management consists of various forms of minimally invasive treatments. These include injections, spinal cord stimulators, hydrodiscectomy, endoscopic discectomy, radiofrequency rhizotomy (burning the nerves causing the pain) and other modalities. After the procedures, the patient is able to walk to their car and go home.

Pain management techniques are constantly evolving and improving with the introduction of minimally invasive procedures such as percutaneous disc decompression (hydrodiscectomy).

Hydrodiscectomy uses high-speed fluid to effectively shave away the disc bulge that is causing back or leg pain. Because there is only a small incision, recovery is quick and patients resume normal activity shortly thereafter.

Endoscopic percutaneous discectomy is performed on patients with protruding as well as herniated discs with and without ruptures. Unlike other “open” surgical procedures for herniated discs, endoscopic discectomy removes the herniation without invading any bone structure. After these procedures, the patient is able to walk unassisted to their car and go home. The advantage of the endoscopic approach versus the “open” surgical approach is that the endoscopic procedure is usually performed as an out-patient procedure. The endoscopic approach uses fewer narcotics post-operatively and has a reduced recovery time compared with “open” surgery.

Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is another modality used to treat chronic pain, Patients who experience failed back surgery syndrome, chronic back/leg pain and CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) are usually ideal candidates. SCS is an implantable device similar to a pacemaker delivering electrical stimulation that interrupt pain signals from reaching the brain.

As a pain management physician, my goal is to diagnose, treat and improve the quality of patient’s lives.