Chronic Pain Syndrome
Pain lasting six months or longer is considered chronic and is typically the result of a long-standing medical condition.
Chronic pain can vary considerably, from mild and inconvenient to excruciating and incapacitating, with an episodic or continuous presence.
Without treatment, chronic pain can continue to affect a person both physically and emotionally.
Information comes courtesy of eMedicine.
An intrathecal pump is a method of inserting medication directly into the subarachnoid or intrathecal space of a patient’s spinal cord, where the cerebrospinal fluid is stored, to quickly and effectively treat chronic pain resulting from conditions including failed back surgery syndrome, cancer pain and chronic pancreatitis. The pump can also alleviate muscle rigidity and spasms arising from Cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, stroke, or damage to the brain and neck. In this procedure, a small pump is surgically placed under the skin of a patient’s abdomen, delivering a pain relieving drug solution through a catheter to the targeted area in the spinal cord. The implantation of an intrathecal pump comprises three stages. The first is a psychological evaluation, which is required by the insurance provider to resolve any psychological contraindications to the procedure beforehand. The second stage is a trial phase where the medication that will be transmitted via the intrathecal pump is injected directly into the patient’s spine. The patient is then admitted to the hospital for a 24 hour observation to monitor any reduced pain or negative side effects. If the trial is successful, a surgical procedure is scheduled to have the intrathecal pump installed, which is the third phase. For more information visit http://www.medtronic.com/patients/chronic-pain/living-with/index.htm
Spinal Cord Stimulator
Spinal cord stimulation is a form of electrical neurostimulation designed to reduce chronic pain felt by patients in their back and limbs as a result of various conditions including failed back surgery syndrome, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, and peripheral neuropathy. Rather than directly targeting the source of chronic pain, SCS interferes with the transmission of pain signals from certain nerves, preventing the brain from fully recognizing sensations of pain. The implantation of a spinal cord stimulator comprises three stages. The first is a psychological evaluation, which is required by insurance. The purpose is to resolve any psychological contraindications to the procedure beforehand. The second stage is a trial phase lasting typically between five and seven days. In this phase, electrodes are implanted in the epidural space using a technique very similar to a standard epidural injection. The electrodes are then activated to determine whether the stimulation is effectively relieving the pain. If the trial stage is successful, the patient returns to have the electrodes removed. A permanent device is then implanted through a simple outpatient surgical procedure. The strength of electrical stimulation can be changed by the attending physician or patient to adjust to shifting pain levels, providing adaptive, optimal pain relief in the process. For more information visit http://www.medtronic.com/patients/chronic-pain/living-with/index.htm
Infusion therapy entails administering pain medication through a needle or catheter, typically using an intravenous (IV) drip. Infusion therapy may also be used through other means including intramuscular injections and epidural routes. This method of treatment helps to counter the severity of patient conditions by reaching the bloodstream faster than oral medication. Many conditions are also unresponsive to these oral alternatives. Infusion therapy is a flexible treatment that can be applied to a host of pain conditions including arthritis, cancer, and immunologic and complex regional pain syndromes. Infusion therapy is tailored to your condition and is often repeated on a scheduled basis.
Chronic Pain Management
Chronic pain refers to any pain lasting in excess of six months. There is no clear cause, as the term applies to any long-term discomfort arising from an initial injury. Chronic pain can occur in virtually any part of the human body and often contributes to other residual health problems including fatigue, decreased appetite, mood swings, and a lack of mobility. These difficulties negatively affect a person’s ability to lead a comfortable lifestyle. Many advances in modern medicine are helping people to manage their chronic pain more effectively to reduce suffering and enhance a patient’s quality of life and functionality. We will fully evaluate your condition and design a holistic, individually tailored plan to help you return to your life.