3 Popular Procedures for Pain Relief

May 26, 2022

Closeup of hand holding paper businessman kicking word pain on wood, representing pain relief procedures

The reasons why people might experience chronic pain are endless, and we’re thankful that at Southside Pain Specialists we have an extensive list of treatment options. Different treatments are appropriate in various scenarios, and the right option for one person may not be the right treatment for others.

With our experience, expertise, and skilled team, we have performed every treatment we offer many, many times, but in this article, we will focus on three popular procedures that often make a big difference in improving pain levels and overall quality of life.

3 Popular Procedures for Pain Relief

Spinal Cord Stimulator

A spinal cord stimulator is a device that is implanted into the spine to relieve chronic pain, and it’s one of our most commonly performed procedures at Southside Pain. Using electrodes, the stimulator delivers electric pulses into the epidural space where the affected nerves attach to the spinal cord. The electric pulses intercept pain impulses and modify the signal to the brain to reduce pain. A small battery is implanted in the hip/buttock area to power the electrodes.

There are two parts to the spinal cord stimulator procedure: trial and permanent implant. The trial period is totally reversible and lasts three to seven days. During an outpatient procedure, the physician implants the stimulator device. The next step is to resume daily activities and monitor pain levels. 

We generally require a 50% reduction in pain during the trial period to proceed with the permanent implant. If spinal cord stimulation successfully reduces pain during the trial period, you can undergo an additional outpatient procedure to have the device permanently implanted. You can go home immediately following the procedure but must refrain from bending, lifting, or twisting for six to eight weeks. We will provide a back brace to assist in immobilization.

Spinal cord stimulation may be an effective option if you experience chronic pain but have not benefited from other non-surgical treatment methods. Ideal candidates include those with radicular or neuropathic pain resulting from injury to a nerve or nerve root, amputees with phantom pain, and patients with regional sympathetic dystrophy syndrome, or complex regional pain syndrome.

Kyphoplasty

Kyphoplasty is another outpatient procedure that we perform often. It is aimed at helping those with a collapsed vertebral body caused by weak bones or trauma. Our specialists perform the procedure by inserting a large cannula into the vertebrae and then filling the collapsed vertebra with cement to replace the missing or weak bone. The procedure can reduce chronic back pain, improve mobility, restore body height, and improve overall quality of life.

To have a kyphoplasty procedure, you must have osteoporosis. Those who have experienced vertebral compression fractures due to osteoporotic weakening or a traumatic accident are good candidates for the procedure.

Epidural Steroid Injection

An epidural steroid injection is a procedure used to treat back, neck, leg, and arm pain. Patients primarily feel pain and discomfort as a result of inflammation of the spinal nerve root. An injection of medication into the epidural space can help alleviate this pain.

Epidural space is the area that sits between the vertebrae and the spinal sac. This fat-filled area is targeted with steroids, often in combination with anesthetic depending on your specific plan. With x-ray guidance, your physician will direct a needle into the epidural space. A contrast dye is injected to ensure placement is correct. The targeted area will then be injected with the steroid mixture.

The injection of steroid and anesthetic will work in combination to minimize inflammation of, and to decrease pain in, the spinal nerve. As a result, patients will experience lesser to no pain in their problem area. The effects of epidural injections can last anywhere from weeks to years. Patients who attend physical therapy and actively work to improve their overall physical health may achieve longer lasting results.

Start your pain management journey by scheduling an appointment at Southside Pain Specialists

With highly specialized training and a multitude of pain relief options, Southside Pain Specialists follow the standards of the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, The American Board of Pain Medicine, and the International Spinal Injection Society. We work hard to provide patients with comprehensive, caring pain relief when they need it most. Check out our website or contact us today at 205.332.3155 to learn more.