Chronic Pain Management
Chronic pain is a serious medical condition that affects an estimated 70 million people in the US, causing significant economic and personal losses, including costly medical expenses, lost income and productivity, lost mobility, anxiety or depression. Chronic pain is a separate and much more complex condition than acute pain, involving pain that persists for many months or years, beyond the normal course required by healing of an injury.
At the Carteret Comprehensive Medical Center, we understand pain management in NJ. The specific cause of chronic pain is not always known, although it is often linked to past traumatic injuries, congenital conditions, arthritis and other factors. For most patients, the source of chronic pain is very complex, making it difficult to treat and requiring a combination of different approaches in order to help the patient reach their highest level of function and comfort.
We understand the impact that chronic pain can have on a patient’s life and do our best to relieve pain through a series of effective treatment options. We have a state-of-the-art outpatient treatment center designed to perform the most effective, comfortable and convenient treatments for pain management.
While there is no cure for chronic pain, there are several treatment options available to help manage symptoms and allow patients to function at their highest level. Effective pain relief is usually done by combining different treatment options and creating a customized treatment plan for each individual patient to help reduce their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
Some of the pain management treatment options commonly used for chronic pain management include:
- Over-the-counter medication
- Physical therapy
- Heat/cold treatment
- Epidural injections
- Trigger point injections
- Sympathetic blocks
- Facet injections
- Joint injections
- Emotional support
A facet injection is a minimally invasive treatment option for back pain caused by inflamed facet joints. Facet joint pain is often related to spinal stenosis, sciatica or arthritis, and is characterized by neck, arm, low back or leg pain. Each vertebra has four facet joints that connect it to the vertebra above and below. This injection may also be used as a diagnostic test to determine if facet joint inflammation is the source of a patient’s pain.
The facet joint injection is comprised of a combination of a long-lasting steroid and a local anesthetic, which is injected either directly into the joint capsule or into its surrounding tissue. The steroid reduces inflammation and can relieve pain for a few days to a few years. This procedure can be repeated up to three times a year for those who experienced successful but short-term pain relief from this treatment.
An epidural injection is an injection of medication into the epidural space to temporarily relieve low back and leg pain, and may also be effective in relieving cervical and thoracic pain. This treatment is most effective for treating swelling, pain and inflammation caused by conditions such as:
- Lumbar disc herniation
- Degenerative disc disease
- Lumbar spinal stenosis
- Vertebral compression fractures
- Facet joint or nerve root cysts
- Annular tear
Epidural injections are comprised of cortisone and a local anesthetic or saline solution. These injections work by reducing inflammation and flushing out the particles that cause swelling and pain. Medication is delivered directly to the source of the pain, rather than dispersing it throughout the body as oral painkillers and steroids do.
This form of pain management treatment can be used alone to provide pain relief or as part of a customized rehabilitation program to help the patient perform his/her exercises with less discomfort. Relief from a single injection typically lasts from one week up to one year, depending on the patient’s individual condition.
Trigger Point Injections
Trigger point injections are an effective treatment option for pain in areas containing trigger points, or knots of muscle that form when muscles do not relax. These points can also irritate nerves around them, causing pain in other areas of the body. A needle containing a local anesthetic, and sometimes a steroid as well, is inserted into the trigger point to make it inactive and relieve pain.
The injection procedure takes just a few minutes to administer and is considered safe for most patients, with only minimal side effects. Aside from relieving pain, trigger point injections also loosen the muscles that cause the pain, helping with the rehabilitation process.
If you're in pain, click here to contact us now. You can also call us for an immediate appointment at 732-352-3555.