What We Treat: Types and Causes of Chronic Pain
Information about some of the pain conditions we can help you manage.
Of course, we treat many patients with chronic back pain, neck pain, headaches, and joint pains from a variety of causes. In addition to these condition, we also treat some very specialized pain problems. Below is a list of some of the conditions we treat.
Degenerative and inflammatory conditions of the spine, nerves, joints, and muscles
These are the most common conditions we treat. Back, neck, or joint pain usually results from inflammatory or degenerative conditions of the spine, nerves, joints, muscles and/or soft tissues, and is rarely caused by only one thing. For example, someone may have back pain with bone spurs and disc herniations worsened by poor posture and weak muscles. Treating only one aspect of the problem will not provide lasting pain control and pain medication rarely provides adequate relief.
Complex Regional Pain Syndromes (CRPS I & II)/Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy and Causalgia
No, it’s not in your head. Sometimes, the cause of this type of pain is clear, but often the cause is more subtle, like patients with chronic pain after surgery or trauma. It’s essential to determine if this type of pain is present as soon as possible, as it can be difficult to control once established. We use the full spectrum of treatments available, including ketamine administration and neurostimulation. Sometimes, the condition can be reversed, but, if this is not possible, our goal is always to control the pain.
Leg pain from peripheral artery disease
This pain can be debilitating. If your surgeon has determined there are no vessels that need bypass or stenting and you are not a surgical candidate, we may be able to help control this pain. We use the treatment standards set forth in the European Union protocols for patients with vascular pain who are no longer surgical candidates, including use of stimulators and shock wave therapy. While this helps reduce ischemia and delay amputation, the main goal is to improve pain control and maintain as much mobility as possible.
Pelvic pain, interstitial cystitis, and sexual dysfunction
Frequently, patients—both male and female—are embarrassed to discuss this type of pain with their physicians. With many possible explanations for pelvic pain (including rectal pain) and sexual dysfunction, we work closely with your gynecologist and/or urologist to identify any neurological cause and use a variety of treatments discretely with the goals of reducing pain and restoring function.
Whether as a result of stroke, multiple sclerosis, or congenital condition such as cerebral palsy, spasticity can be debilitating and painful. Many treatment options exist, including use of intrathecal pumps and botulinum toxin (e.g., Botox®), as well as therapy, splinting, manipulation, and surgery. Most patients do best combining more than one approach, but it’s important to address spasticity as soon as it develops. Waiting too long can lead to potentially irreversible changes.
Headaches, migraines, trigeminal neuralgia, facial pain, and TMJ pain
Not all headaches are migraines, and facial pain is not the same as a headache. Our goal is to diagnose the cause of pain and identify triggers that may worsen the underlying condition. For example, some patients have migraines triggered by temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome. We use all available treatment modalities, including, among other things, medications, blocks, botulinum toxin (e.g., Botox®), neurostimulation, acupuncture, and oral appliances to maximize pain control while avoiding medication-overuse headaches. We also have an acute headache program for established patients who have a headache and wish to skip a trip to the emergency room.
Cancer can impact many aspects of a person’s life. Pain, and the fear of pain, should not be something that adds to the burden of dealing with such a serious condition. As there are many types of cancer, there are many types of cancer pain. Sometimes, it’s not even the cancer itself but rather the treatment that causes pain, such as when patients develop neuropathy or plexopathy from chemotherapy or radiation therapy. We work with your oncologists and surgeons to optimize pain control and minimize the neurological side effects of cancer treatments.