Pain Awareness and Management
WebMD Live Events Transcript
More than 75 million Americans suffer from chronic, debilitating pain, according to the National Pain Foundation. Chronic pain accounts for more than 80% of all physician visits. We observed Pain Awareness Month on August 9, 2005. Our guest was interventional pain specialist John Oakley, MD.
The opinions expressed herein are the guests' alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.
Once we get beyond those approaches we begin to talk about trying to identify the pain generator, that is, what anatomical structure is generating the pain and trying to provide interventions which take away the pain from the pain generator, so all of the procedures that we do, which intervene anatomically in the body, can be interventional pain management techniques.
There are two different areas of interventional pain management:
For example, it could be a joint in the low back or the neck, it could be a nerve itself, it could be a disk in the back, or any one of a number of structures which can be involved in the pain process.
Once the local anesthetic has been placed on the nerve or nerve pathway that's involved, we try to determine if that relieves the pain. If it does we can then say that the nerve or the structure that the nerve goes to is involved in generating the problem.
For example, we may use some type of long-term blockade of the nerve. We could use a chemical on the nerve to give a long-term decrease or permanent decrease in the function of the nerve and thereby give long-term pain relief. Or we may use techniques such as applying electrical stimulation to a nerve to block the perception of pain in the area where the nerve goes.
There are other therapeutic techniques designed to affect many different nerves all at one time when a single nerve or structure cannot be identified. One example is someone who has had multiple surgeries on the lower back and has persistent back and leg pain which more than likely comes from multiple nerves; there we use techniques such as electrical stimulation or drug- administration pumps which are designed to cover many nerves or larger territories that are involved in generating the pain.
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