Interventional Pain Management


A study from Academy of Pain Medicine shows that more than 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. This is nearly four times the number of people who have diabetes and more than five times the number of people who have coronary heart disease.

What is Interventional Pain Management?

The American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians defines Interventional Pain Management (or ‘Interventional Pain Medicine’) as the “discipline of medicine devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of pain related disorders”. This method is generally used when pain is severe enough that it is interfering with a person’s daily activities.

This treatment is also necessary if an inpidual’s previous medical treatment has not been successful in reducing pain. If you have been suffering from chronic or acute pain and are searching for a solution, then it’s about time to find an Interventional Pain Management doctor who can help.

The discipline aims to proactively treat the root cause of pain, as opposed to merely treating the symptoms. This proactive treatment aims to be as minimally invasive as possible. The physician’s main goal is to utilize pain blocking techniques in order to help make the patient’s day-to day activities less difficult, whilst efficiently restoring the person’s quality of life.

The principles of interventional pain management are nothing new and have been around for over 100 years. For example, the first therapeutic nerve block was documented in 1899.

According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists:

“Interventional pain management can help manage some patient’s pain. Many interventional pain procedures are complex and require the use of advanced imaging techniques such as fluoroscopy, digital subtraction, angiography and computerized tomography to accurately guide needles to the proper location to treat pain.”

What is the difference between Interventional Pain Management and Pain Management?

Interventional pain management is a subspecialty of pain management. Ultimate goal of which is to relieve the pain and if possible treat the condition that is causing the pain. While many procedures and practices are used in both disciplines, the main difference between pain management and interventional pain management is in the approach. The former aims to proactively target the source of the pain, while the latter focuses on treating the symptoms.

Interventional pain management specialists try to diminish pain without prescribing drugs, which is a frequent practice among many pain management doctors.

Interventional pain management specialists treat symptoms related to chronic pain, such as discomfort, difficulty sleeping, soreness, and tightness, burning, aching, or electrical feelings.

Interventional pain management specialists use non-invasive methods to proactively target the source of the pain, instead of simply treating the symptoms. 

Such procedures include, but are not limited to:

Spinal Cord Stimulation is a procedure that places a stimulator under the skin near the spinal cord to deliver electrical pulses. In most cases, the physician and the patient work together to adjust the level of stimulation to control the pain. This technique is minimally invasive, has lesser side effects and caters adjustable and targeted pain relief without making use of narcotic medications.

Regenerative Medicine is a process that mostly deals with replacing, engineering or regenerating human cells, tissues or organs to establish a normal body function. This technique holds a promise of repairing damaged tissues and organs by stimulating the body’s own mechanisms to functionally heal irreparable tissues or organs.

Trigger Point Injections (TPI) is a technique used in treating painful areas of muscle that contain trigger points. It is mainly making use of acupuncture-style needles that enable the release of muscular knots , hence alleviating pain.

Electrodiagnostic Testing (EMG) is a commonly used technique to test the function of muscles and nerves. This kind of test is usually ordered by physicians to determine the cause of neck pain, tingling, numbness, weakness in the arms or legs, or strength loss.

Fluoroscopically guided spinal injections is the process of making use of a real-time X-ray to pinpoint the pain relief treatments of the affected area. Some of the types of fluoroscopically guided spinal injections are epidural steroid injections, facet joint injections, and nerve root blocks.

You may be considering trying several interventional pain management procedures or a combination of some techniques as part of your pain management plan. But as any procedure they have certain risks, it is essential to have a discussion with your Interventional pain management doctor whether these techniques are the right option for you.

What conditions does Interventional Pain Management treat?

Interventional Pain Management can treat both acute and chronic pain. Examples of conditions treated include:

  • Back Pain
  • Arthritis
  • Sacroiliac Joint Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Failed Back Surgery
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Cancer Pain
  • Post-Surgical Pain
  • Cervical Disorders
  • Myofascial Pain Syndrome
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Lumbar Disorders
  • Peripheral Nerve Disorders
  • Spasticity
  • Pinched Nerves
  • Sciatica
  • Spasmodic Torticollis

Experiencing the following indicators suggests you should visit a pain management doctor:

  • You have been experiencing pain for more than three months or longer.
  • Your daily activities and movement are being limited due to severe pain.
  • Over-the-counter medications, natural therapies or home treatment haven’t been successful in relieving your pain
  • Your physician can’t locate the main cause of your pain.
  • You are missing some important events because of pain.
  • You have visited an interventional pain management specialists but you are still experiencing pain.

Can Interventional Pain Management Doctors be Board Certified?

Yes. There are a variety of Board Certifications. Doctors may be Board Certified in Pain Management, PM&R, or by the American Board of Interventional Pain Physicians. The latter is a self-described as:

“a Specialty Board providing Board Certification in Interventional Pain Management and Competency Certification in Controlled Substance Management, Competency Certification in Coding, Compliance, and Practice Management and Competency Certification in Fluoroscopic Interpretation and Radiological Safety.”

“The eligibility requirements and examination materials for ABIPP certification programs have been developed based on substantial review and analysis of the current state of medical and scientific knowledge of the treatment of pain, as reflected in the medical literature.” – The American Board of Interventional Pain Physicians.

Further information about about our Interventional Pain Management Physician – Dr. Dane Pohlman

Dr. Pohlman is double board certified in both Pain Management and PM&R (physiatry). He aims to target the root cause of the pain and to return the maximum possible function and quality of life to patients. He specializes in treating spinal injuries, joint pain, and chronic pain.

Read more about Dr. Pohlman or Schedule an Appointment.

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

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