Treating abdominal/pelvic pain

Abdominal and pelvic pain that has not responded to conservative treatment and/or surgical intervention may be neuropathic in nature. Neuropathic pain is complex and chronic, and usually accompanies tissue injury. The nerve fibers may be damaged, dysfunctional, or injured and sending incorrect signals to other pain centers. Symptoms of neuropathic pain may include shooting and burning pain and/or tingling and numbness.  Neuropathic abdominal and pelvic pain can be treated with sympathetic block and/or neuromodulation therapy (spinal cord stimulation).


Sympathetic blocks are designed to treat a component of the central nervous system, the sympathetic nervous system. These injections are intended for the treatment of neuropathic pain that originates from the nervous system rather than from a physical structure. The injections target the sympathetic nervous system chains located on the front of the spine. The goal of the injections is to interrupt and reset the neuropathic pain cycle that is causing pain. Sympathetic blocks are performed on the cervical spine, lumbar spine, abdomen, and pelvis. Injections are typically done in a series of at least two injections separated by 10 to 14 days.


Spinal cord stimulators are implanted to treat a specific area of pain by treating specific pain fibers within the spinal cord. The stimulator interrupts the pain signals before they reach the brain and are perceived as pain. This treatment is appropriate for patients with neck pain, back pain, abdominal pain, pelvic pain, leg pain, or arm pain that either cannot be identified or cannot be treated directly. Some examples of conditions typically treated with spinal cord stimulation include, but are not limited to: phantom limb pain, failed-back surgery syndrome, and complex regional pain syndrome. A four-day trial with a temporary system precedes all implants. Permanent implantation is only performed if the four-day trial was successful. The trial placement is done in our office and the permanent implant is placed at the hospital in the operating room.

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