Carolinas HealthCare System

Treatment Options

Carolinas HealthCare System Pain Management physicians offer a wide array of pain management intervention techniques. After a thorough review of the patient's history and current health, a care plan is developed that may include:

  • Medication management
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation
  • Counseling
  • Pain management intervention techniques

Advanced Pain Control Medicines

Pharmacology has made remarkable strides during the last 10 years. Thanks to innovative research in the pharmaceutical industry, many patients who suffered from debilitating pain are now able to perform daily functions if they maintain their prescribed medication regiment.

Nerve Blocks/Epidural Injections

Many patients respond well to nerve blocks or epidural injections. Our pain management physicians are experts in the administration of these pain relieving techniques.

High Frequency Radio Waves Sever Nerves and Relieve Pain

Radiofrequency Thermocoagulation (RFTC) is a procedure that provides pain relief by severing nerves through the use of heat generated by high-frequency radio waves.  This procedure has been particularly successful in diminishing pain for patients who have been involved in injuries, such as those caused by traffic accidents. Physicians often use nerve blocks to pinpoint the source of pain and then use RFTC to sever nerves precisely, avoiding the risk of neurological deficiency.

Implanted Infusion Pumps Target Pain Medicine

This technique allows physicians to target the use of pain medicines, resulting in smaller doses than would be necessary if oral medications were prescribed. This procedure also helps to reduce the side effects of oral pain medicines. Implanted pain pumps are being used successfully for cancer patients and for patients with failed back surgery syndrome, which results when multiple surgical procedures are unable to alleviate back pain.

In this procedure, infusion pumps are implanted under a patient's skin to deliver a specific dosage of medicine to a particular segment of the spinal cord. Pain patients experience less nausea and a reduced risk of becoming drug dependent. They also enjoy the freedom of not having to take medications on a daily basis. The pumps are programmed to administer the correct dosage at precise times and can be reprogrammed by a doctor if the dosage needs to be changed.

A recent technical advance with implanted infusion pumps involves the use of multiple drugs infused through the pump. Physicians are able to combine pain medicine, such as morphine, with anesthetic drugs to target precisely the various pain receptors in the spinal column and pain levels. The result is improved pain relief with fewer side effects.

Spinal Cord Stimulators Replace Pain with Tingling

Carolinas HealthCare System Pain Management has been successful in using spinal cord stimulators in treating leg, foot and back pain, which is frequently caused by ruptured discs. This technique is also successful with phantom limb pain and pain from shingles and diabetes.

Implanted spinal cord stimulators produce low-voltage electrical signals that are transmitted through the spine to block pain messages from the brain. In effect, the stimulators serve to jam the nerves so that the pain impulses do not reach the brain. Instead of chronic, often debilitating pain, patients feel a tingling sensation. Physicians can test the effect of this procedure for a patient before permanently implanting a stimulator.

Scope Provides View of Inflamed Nerves, Targeted Treatment Approach

Physicians use epiduroscopy to view scar tissue and inflamed nerves in the spinal canal. Tiny scopes provide an up close view of the affected areas, along with the ability to administer anti-inflammatory medicines to precise areas causing the painful conditions.

Botox Treats Chronic Muscle Pain

While Botox is commonly associated with cosmetic treatments, it is also playing a role in pain medicine, providing an effective treatment approach for chronic muscle and skeletal pain. Botox injections can effectively block nerve transmission from muscles, eliminating spasms and pain for extended periods of time. Patients who in the past might have been referred for ongoing physical therapy, have been successfully treated with Botox, with relief extending up to three months.

Team Approach

Our multi-disciplinary treatment plans often involve other specialized healthcare professionals for supplemental pain management methods. All of our rehabilitation programs are individualized to fit the patient's needs. We educate patients about pain prevention and new developments in the art of pain management, including:

  • Biofeedback (a technique using auditory tones to teach relaxation)
  • Stress management
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Psychological counseling

In some instances, we assemble a network of other healthcare professionals to gain insight into solving a particular problem.

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