Anesthesia Services : Chronic Pain Management
Will the pain management specialist determine the cause of my pain?
The pain specialist can often diagnose the cause of a particular pain problem based on history, physical examination and/or performance of an injection. More often, the patient’s personal doctor will find out what may be wrong through x-rays, nerve conduction tests, MRIs, differential nerve blockade, blood tests, and other investigative or diagnostic techniques. When help is needed, your doctor may refer you to our pain clinic for evaluation and treatment. This is why patients are seen by referral only.
How can the pain specialist anesthesiologist treat my pain?
There are several methods to manage pain. The goal is to create a better quality of life. Complete cure of pain is not always possible or realistic, but improvement can often be very satisfying. Equally important is improved level of activity and function. Treatment usually includes one or more of the following:
Stopping pain signals that travel through a nerve or nerves can be an effective way of treating pain. Often special nerves must be blocked by a special technique known as nerve blocks. Various medications used with nerve blocks include local anesthetics, steroids and bretylium. These injections may block pain, reduce swelling, decrease muscle spasm and/or improve motion. Types of blocks include: trigger point injections, sympathetic ganglion blocks, epidural steroid injections and others.
Non-narcotic pain medications are the basis for treatment in non-acute or non-cancer pain. These medications include:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs such as Motrin, Toradol, Lodine, Naprosyn and others. These help with swelling as well as relieving pain.
- Tricyclic medications such as Elavil and Doxepin have been shown to reduce pain in certain conditions. These medications are also excellent sleeping aids.
- Anti-spasmodics such as Baclofen, Flexerial and Soma are very helpful to many patients needing relaxation of muscles.
- Anti-seizure medications such as Tegretol or Dilantin have been effective in controlling pain from damaged nerves.
- Other medications usually used for other conditions can be effective pain medications and are prescribed in certain doses to manage your pain.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and Galvanic nerve stimulation are ways to treat many pain problems. The TENS unit helps to decrease the pain signals to the brain.
Referral to physical therapy for improvement of range of motion, stretching and strengthening exercises, whirlpool, massage and other therapies might be indicated.
On rare occasions, surgical treatment may be suggested for long term improvement.
Director – Martin V. Ton, M.D.
Consultants in Pain Medicine
1080 First Colonial Road, Suite 201
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23454
Office: (757) 395-6450