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Interventional Pain Management: An Overview

Author: Robert Smith
by Robert Smith
Posted: Oct 19, 2014
pain management

Interventional pain management, sometimes referred to as interventional pain medicine, is part of the medical field known as pain management. It deals specifically with the use of certain injected medications, implantable drug delivery devices, and stimulation of the nerves. It is a very advanced and specialized branch of medicine, and as a result, interventional pain management doctors are usually only found at pain clinics. While they sometimes treat very severe acute pain, the majority of these doctors treat chronic pain.

Nerve blocks represent some of the first attempts at interventional pain management, historically speaking. However, the neural blocks that some people remember from a few years ago have come a very long way in terms of effectiveness. Some of the treatments are also not as likely to be uncomfortable as they used to be. Today, interventional pain management doctors have several different treatment options to offer their patients.


Yes, believe it or not, radiation can actually help to reduce pain. This method is used specifically to reduce pain associated with tumors which are still growing. Tumor growth cannot always be controlled, and not all tumors can be surgically removed. Radiation can help to slow growth, but even when it doesn’t, it reduces the pain at the site. It’s likely because the radiation stops the tumor from producing some of the chemicals which cause the patient pain.

Nerve-Oriented Treatments

Many of the other treatments offered by interventional pain management doctors are designed to actually stop the nerves from sending signals to the brain. Of course this is, in a sense, the goal of all pain treatment. However, these particular treatments take a much more direct, and sometimes invasive, approach. Neurolytic blocks, for example, actually injure the nerve which is giving the pain signal. This is accomplished by injecting the site with certain chemicals. Another method of injuring the nerve in order to stop pain is the use of extreme temperatures (apply heat to or freezing the nerve).

Another nerve oriented treatment method involves actually cutting or otherwise destroying certain nerves. While nerves affected by neurolytic blocks are expected to regrow and heal, neurectomy (the removal of nerves) does not heal. It’s usually used in patients with terminal illnesses for this reason. This is a very extreme method of pain management, used in the most serious of circumstances.


Intrathecal and epidural infusions are also used by interventional pain management specialists. These infusions are accomplished by inserting a medication delivery mechanism into the patient’s body. They’re particularly effective, and they often have fewer side effects and cause less stress on the patient’s body than using other delivery methods. A variety of different medications are used, including anesthetics and opioids. Intrathecal infusions occur in the subarachnoid cavity, while epidural infusions are inserted into a space by the spinal cord.

There are many other methods used by interventional pain management professionals to treat pain. These doctors have extensive knowledge of the nervous system and various medications in order to treat their patients.

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Author: Robert Smith
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Robert Smith

Member since: Mar 26, 2014
Published articles: 313

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