For people living with chronic pain, medication that begins as a coping mechanism can easily become a way of life. Although medication-based pain management techniques have their advantages, a variety of non-pharmacological interventional pain management methods can be just as effective. At his innovative pain management practice in Torrance, California, Dr. David Wu takes a multidisciplinary approach to pain that actively engages patients in their own care and recovery. If you’re in the Los Angeles area and you’d like to learn more, call or request your appointment online today.
The ultimate goal of interventional pain management is to help patients find long-term pain relief and get back to their normal activities as soon as possible. This technique takes the approach that with the right skills, support, and direction, you can reduce your pain and enhance your quality of life — often without having to rely on medication.
Physicians who specialize in interventional pain management never focus solely on your physical pain. Instead, they aim to discover the underlying cause of your pain so they can develop a treatment plan that takes into account your physical, mental, and behavioral health and helps you play an active role in the shaping of your treatment and ongoing care.
There are a wide variety of interventional pain management techniques that don’t rely on ongoing drug therapy. Some of the most common methods are:
Receiving steroid injections in your spine can help reduce inflammation to relieve back, neck, or sciatic nerve pain and improve your range of motion. Steroid injections are a complementary therapy intended to support physical therapy efforts.
If persistent back or neck pain is caused by a degenerative condition or a physical injury, Dr. Wu often can treat it with a facet joint injection administered directly into the affected facet joints in your spine.
A spinal cord stimulator (SCS) is a pain management device that’s often used to address chronic back pain. Once it’s been surgically placed under your skin, it sends controlled electric currents to the affected nerves to interrupt their pain signals.
Radiofrequency ablation (often referred to as RFA) therapy is a safe, state-of-the-art treatment method typically used for back pain, neck pain, and joint pain from arthritis. Technology from St. Jude Medical called the SimplicityTM Probe is used right in the office to ultimately heat a small, targeted nerve area, and decrease pain signals. Results typically last for 6-12 months but some patients experience relief for years after one treatment.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections help alleviate chronic joint pain while restoring function. The therapy, which uses a small amount of your own blood plasma injected directly at the source of pain, harnesses the power of highly concentrated growth factors to promote healing and rapid regeneration.
Physical therapy uses therapeutic exercise to promote movement, restore function, prevent disability, and reduce pain. This rehabilitative technique helps restore the highest possible level of function while preventing long-term damage or loss of mobility.
Physical therapy meets these goals through individualized fitness and wellness programs that recognize multiple facets of your health.
Cognitive pain management strategies aim to shift both your perception of pain and your reaction to it. These techniques can help you fortify your coping skills so you can manage your pain more effectively on your own.
Cognitive strategies may include learning meditation and relaxation techniques to reduce muscle tension, discovering how to identify unhelpful thoughts and replace them with better ones, or finding ways to improve your sleep patterns.