What is chronic pain?

Chronic pain is defined as pain lasting more than 3 months. It actually can be regarded also as any pain that lasts beyond what would be expected to be a reasonable healing period after injury, or surgery.

When any ongoing issues prevent the return to the normal state of the body, we have a process that may snowball to create other problems, including anxiety (Why is this happening? Is there anything more serious going on that may have been missed? When is this going to end?), inner turmoil, gradual deconditioning and, not infrequently, progressive worsening of symptoms. Most of the time, chronic pain is associated with depression, withdrawal from social and professional activities, loneliness, and familial strain.

Will I have the procedure the first time I see the pain specialist?

Usually, the treatment can be done on the first visit. However, if you are on blood thinners, you may need to stop these drugs prior to your visit. You may also need to have a blood test just prior to your visit.

Who will perform the procedure?

The procedure will be performed by a pain medicine specialist trained in chronic pain therapy and assisted by a trained clinician. A local skin anesthetic is given.

How long does it take?

It may take less than an hour, for the actual procedure.

What should I expect?

You will be prepped and taken to a procedure room. You will be positioned lying on your stomach and the area of focus will be cleansed with a sterile solution. The area will be numbed with an injection of lidocaine. Many describe a burning or stinging sensation for a few seconds. The probe will be fluoroscopically guided and placed. A very small electrical current will be passed through the probe. This is not painful. You will only feel a slight tightness, pressure or tingle. When the desired area has been located, the nerve will be bathed in a numbing medication before the cauterization begins.

May I eat or drink prior to my procedure?

Eating a light breakfast or lunch is usually permitted. However, our staff will instruct you regarding your specific procedure.

How should I prepare for the injection?

ARRANGE FOR A DRIVER TO TAKE YOU HOME. Your procedure will be rescheduled if you do not have a driver; Notify the nurse if you are taking blood thinner, Aspirin or an anti-inflammatory or have an infection or are sick; Stop taking Aspirin seven days in advance and four days for anti-inflammatories, and Plavix. Blood will need to be drawn prior to procedure to make sure it is not too thin; DO NOT TAKE ANY PAIN MEDICATION THE DAY OF THE PROCEDURE; You may take your routine medication the day of the procedure (heart, diabetes, blood pressure); Expect to be at the office one to three hours. This includes registration, paperwork, review of consent, procedure, recovery and review of discharge instructions.

For what reason should I call the Pain Center after the injection?

If you experience severe back pain, new numbness or weakness of your legs, or signs of infection in the area of the injection, you should call The Pain Center immediately at (870)972-0411 during office hours or go to the nearest emergency room. Our office hours are 7:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:45 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday.

What is Pain Medicine?

Pain Medicine is a branch of Medicine which is made of many disciplines. Pain doctors  have to draw their knowledge from the intersection of Internal Medicine, Orthopedic (bone and joint) medicine, Neurology (nervous system), Rehabilitation, Anesthesiology, Radiology, Pharmacology and Psychiatry.

The Pain Medicine physician has to make sense of the history and findings a patient presents with; he then has to devise a plan to identify the elusive causes of their pain and suffering, however subtle or frequently overlooked they may be; and finally put together a plan towards recovery of function, abilities and quality of life; in the process, a lot of time needs to be spent on gradually promoting good long term habits that would improve the odds of success.

Sometimes, chronic pain is the result of chronic conditions (Diabetes, degenerative arthritis, neuropathies) which cannot be cured. But even then, we strive to find solutions, tools that empower the pain patient to withstand discomfort in a prepared and knowledgeable fashion, effectively and successfully.