Symptom management for pain relief
Although many people will want to stay in bed when they have back pain, doing so can actually slow the healing process or even make things worse. A physical therapist can provide therapy or recommend exercises designed to relieve back pain. If these techniques don’t help, interventional radiologists can provide minimally invasive treatments to relieve pain.
Epidural steroid injection: Inserting a needle into the soft tissue around the spinal cord or spinal nerves and injecting medications to relieve pain.
Facet joint injections/denervation: Inserting a small needle into the small joints in the back and injecting medication to provide temporary pain relief. If there is continued pain, special needles that heat might be inserted to inactivate the nerves.
Percutaneous discectomy: Inserting a needle through the back and into a herniated disc, to remove portions of a herniated disc, allowing the bulge to reduce.
Interspinous spacer placement for spinal stenosis: Spinal stenosis is a narrowing in your spine. The narrowing puts pressure on your nerves and spinal cord and can cause pain. In certain cases, placing a small spacer through a small incision, which props the vertebrae open and unpinches the nerve
Spinal cord stimulation: Placing small electrical leads outside the spinal cord through a small needle gives signals to the spinal cord that decrease the pain signals transmitted to the brain
Targeted drug delivery: Placing a catheter into the spinal fluid and connecting it to a medication pump that delivers pain medication directly to the pain receptors through the spinal fluid; the medication has a far lower dose and is much more effective than oral medication in decreasing pain.
Interventional radiologists are often members of the palliative care team involved in the treatment of cancer patients who are entering the last phase of an illness that cannot be treated. An interventional radiologist can provide symptom management and treatments for pain relief when decided upon by a patient and their care team.
For example, in patients with cancer that has spread to their bones and is causing constant pain that has not improved with medication, radiofrequency ablation can be performed. Not only does this provide pain relief, but it also assists in preventing breaks in the weakened bone.
Disclaimer: This information is provided as a public service. IYA assumes no liability, legal, financial or otherwise for the accuracy of this information or the manner in which it is used. This information is being provided for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace professional medical advice from your physician or qualified health care professional.