4 Recent Advances in Pain Management

Do you suffer from neck, back or spinal pain? While in the past, often patients were told by their doctors to learn to live with their pain, today many people are finding relief thanks to recent pain management developments. Also called "pain medicine", pain management is a branch of medicine focusing on therapies and medicines for treating pain from injuries, surgeries or illnesses. This medical disciple uses a wide range of techniques for relieving pain and painful disorders. Here are four of the latest advances in pain management, along with some considerations and warnings.

1. Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)

Radiofrequency ablation, which is known as RFA, is a minimally invasive treatment that sends signals to the brain. It's been found effective in treating back, neck and knee pain, neuropathy and arthritis. This same-day procedure involves placing the heated tip of a needle near the affected nerve causing pain. Heat that zaps the affected area stops the pain signal.An even newer version, known as "cooled RFA", offers precise pain relief. Currently, research is being done to determine if cooled RFA is more effective than regular RFA.

2. Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections - Lower Back

A form of regenerative therapy, PRP injections are made from a high concentration of the patient’s own platelets to accelerate the healing of injured tendons, ligaments, muscles and joint. Platelets are the blood cells, also called thrombocytes, that cause blood clots and other growth healing functions.PRP injections amplify the natural growth factors bodies use to heal tissue and improve musculoskeletal issues. PRP is injected directly onto the injured area, where it will stimulate and increase the number of reparative cells in the body to speed up the healing process.

3. Spinal Cord Stimulation

One of the newest pain management treatments is spinal cord stimulation or SCS. To perform this procedure, a doctor implants a small lead underneath a patient's skin that's used for creating mild electrical impulses near the spinal base. Also known as a "pain pacemaker", it's like a remote-control device that gives patients the ability to adjust the level of electrical signals needed for pain reduction.A local anesthetic is given, and it usually takes about an hour to implant the lead. It's not hard to recharge the lightweight, portable implant battery. Consider that it can be charged while on the go.

4. TENS Unit

A TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) unit is another successful pain management treatment for treating joint, neck and back pain. A TENS unit is a battery-run device that works by delivering small electrical impulses to affected pain areas.To do this, a technician attaches adhesive pads to a patient's skin. When flooding the patient's nervous system, the electrical impulses reduce the ability for transmitting pain signals to a patient's spinal cord and brain. What's more, these electrical impulses cause endorphins to be released in the body, which can result in pain relief. Sometimes called "feel-good chemicals of the brain", endorphins are considered to be natural painkillers.

Considerations & Warnings

  • Doctors use several pain management options to help in managing pain.
  • Choosing a pain management treatment depends on factors, such as the severity of pain, where it's located as well as the duration and cause of the pain.
  • Radiofrequency ablation is good for eight to 12 months. Once the effectiveness has worn off, your doctor can give you another treatment.
  • PRP injections are autologous and have a lower risk of an allergic reaction. However, other risks can include infection, nerve injuries, or tissue damage.
  • Although spinal cord stimulation is now being used for pain relief, it's still being researched and tested for effectiveness.

Pain Relief & Orthopedic Specialists in Dallas

Don't continue to suffer from neck, back or spinal pain. If you need affordable pain management and high-quality orthopedic medical services without having to pay for expensive ER bills, contact us to set up a pain consultation. We are available in the Dallas and Fort Worth area.