TREATING NEUROPATHIC PAIN
Neuropathic pain is complex and chronic, and usually accompanies tissue injury. The nerve fibers may be damaged, dysfunctional, or injured, and send incorrect signals to other pain centers. Symptoms of neuropathic pain may include shooting and burning pain and/or tingling and numbness. Some common causes of neuropathic pain are:
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, and pelvis. Injections are typically done in a series of at least two injections separated by 10 to 14 days.
Spinal Cord Stimulation/Neuromodulation
Patients suffering from chronic or recurring low back pain, especially those who have tried other conservative pain management treatments with little or no success, may get the relief they want from neuromodulation therapy (spinal cord stimulation). It is a noninvasive, low-risk therapy that can treat pain in its early stages. It may even reduce the number of patients who progress to debilitating, long-term pain. Treatments may also provide patients increased activity levels, improved sleep and reduced need for pain medications. Kenneth C. Lewis, MD and Dr. Kyle Christopherson are board-certified anesthesiologists with many years of experience treating neuropathic pain. They use the most advanced interventional pain techniques including medication management to treat neuropathic symptoms.
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, 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.