Back Surgery or Interventional Pain Management: Which is Right for You?

If you are experiencing chronic pain, you do not have to simply learn to live with it. One of the best things you can do to help manage your pain is take an active role in your treatment. When a patient does not respond to conventional therapies, such as physical therapy and medications, the pain specialist may recommend interventional procedures. However, when these procedures do not work, surgery is an option.

Interventional Pain Management

Interventional procedures may be fight for patients who are not candidates for surgery, or people who do not have severe enough problems to require surgery. Some of the options include:

  • Epidural steroid injection (ESI) – This injection reduces irritation and inflammation to ease pain and decrease muscle Lumbar-Transforaminal-Epidural-300x168spasms. A steroid agent is instilled into the space around the spinal cord (epidural space) in the lower back.
  • Facet joint injection (FJI) – Used to numb the spinal nerves and alleviate facet joint inflammation, the injection of a corticosteroid and anesthetic is placed inside the tiny facet joints along the posterior region of the spine.
  • Dekompressor discectomy – For compressed nerve pain related to a herniated disc, the decompressor discectomy will create more space for the nerves to relieve pressure.
  • Disc-FX® – For herniated disc pain, this procedure reduces the size of the material within the disc to relieve pressure on compressed nerves. The doctor inserts a tube into the disc and uses the device to remove some of the inner material.
  • Intrathecal pump implant – For people who cannot tolerate oral medications, or those who do not respond to them, the intrathecal pump is an option. This unit is implanted into the body, and it delivers pain medication directly to the spinal cord.

Surgical Pain Management

There are three basic types of back surgeries: the laminectomy, the discectomy, and the spinal fusion.

  • Laminectomy – This involves removal of a portion of the posterior region (lamina) of the vertebra (spinal bone). This surgery is performed to relieve nerve root compression of one or more nerves along the spinal column. A compressed or pinched nerve will cause lower back and leg pain, with associated symptoms of numbness, tingling, and weakness (called radiculopathy). A laminectomy is best at relieving radiating symptoms than other measures. This procedure is best for patients who fail to improve with conservative treatment, people who have muscle weakness that interferes with walking and/or standing, and anyone who has suffered loss of bladder and/or bowel control.chronic failed back pain
  • Discectomy – This procedure involves removal of a portion of the disc that is pressing on a nerve. A discectomy is best for people who have a herniated disc, a bulging disc, or severe degenerative disc disease. This procedure is usually reserved for people who do not respond to other treatment measures. If a disc ruptures, the protruding material may press on spinal nerves or the cord, producing disabling, painful symptoms. Depending on the location of the damaged disc, symptoms include muscle weakness, numbness, pain, and tingling.
  • Spinal fusion – A spinal fusion involves using a piece of bone from the pelvic area or hip to fuse two or more vertebrae for stability, which corrects deformities and relieves pain. Rods, wires, screws, plates, and metal cages are used for the surgery, which is used to relieve nerve compression due to excessive vertebral slippage or motion. This procedure will offer a 62% improvement in neurological symptoms for people who have an unstable spine and severe symptoms.

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There are significant potential complications associated with spinal surgery. That’s why it’s best if at all possible to avoid it with interventional pain management services. Typically, this can be achieved with one of the treatments discussed here. Colorado Clinic offers several locations in Northern Colorado for convenient treatment. Call us today!