An interventional pain management physician may use a variety of different injections in the course of your treatment. Injection therapy is both therapeutic and diagnostic.
Injections are diagnostic because the physician will observe how your pain symptoms respond to a specific injection. Even if the injection fails to relieve pain, the injection process will provide more information back to the pain specialist that may lead the physician to a type of injection or a treatment recommendation that does work for you.
Injections are therapeutic in relieving pain symptoms either permanently or at least long enough for you to progress into a physical therapy program that strengthens muscles and ligaments. Hence, they are resistant to a recurrence of pain. Some of the injections used include:
Vertebroplasty: Sudden onset of severe back pain can indicate a vertebral compression fracture, especially if the spine is weak from osteoporosis. Spinal fractures can be treated by placing a special type of cement into the vertebra to strengthen and stabilize the bone.
Spinal Stimulation: If spinal and leg/arm pain persist despite treatment, nerve dysfunction may be the cause. Spinal stimulation places electrodes within the spine to "mask" the pain. Surgery is not required to test this treatment option. This "spinal pacemaker" relieves pain without medications or their side effects.
Intrathecal Infusion Therapy: Medications placed directly into the spinal fluid can be more potent than those administered by other means. Smaller doses of medications can achieve better pain relief with fewer side effects. Spinal infusion may be the best option when all other treatments have failed to provide pain relief.