According to the National Institutes of Health, chronic pain is the most common cause of long-term disability, affecting more Americans than heart disease, cancer and diabetes combined. With approximately 50 million Americans partially or totally disabled by pain, the physicians and staff of St. Clair Hospital’s Pain Management Services provide a multidisciplinary approach to the diagnosis and treatment of sub-acute and chronic pain.
Conveniently located in Suite 303 of the St. Clair Hospital Outpatient Center at Village Square, Pain Management Services provides a comprehensive, multidimensional approach to the treatment of subacute and chronic pain problems including:
St. Clair's dedicated pain medicine team is expert at diagnosing pain, treating pain and managing acute pain caused by surgery, a debilitating illness or serious injury.
A Coordinated Approach to Care
Pain Management Services provides individualized medical evaluations and pain management treatments via a medical team specializing in anesthesiology, neurology, psychology, nursing, rehabilitation, pharmacology and nutrition. Staff members work closely with each patient’s referring physician to ensure the best possible outcome.
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Comprehensive Diagnostic Services
Pain Management Services offers a variety of diagnostic and therapeutic services that are designed to reduce or eliminate pain. All patients receive a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation to determine the underlying cause or causes of their pain, as well as to assess how existing medical conditions can affect pain and be affected by treatment.
Advanced Pain Management Treatments
A variety of pain management treatments are available through Pain Management Services, and patients receive only those necessary for their individualized treatment plan. Many treatments can be administered on an outpatient basis.
Over-the-counter pain medications and prescription pain relievers – including non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, opioids, anti-depressants and anticonvulsants – can be effective in treating chronic pain. However, prescription medications can have serious side effects, so they are prescribed in the lowest dose possible for as short of a length of time as needed to reduce or relieve pain.
Interventional Pain Procedures
The injection of nerve-numbing substances into a specific area of the body is called a nerve block. Several different types of nerve blocks exist, including diagnostic and therapeutic nerve blocks. Diagnostic nerve blocks, which contain a short-term anesthetic, are used to determine sources of pain. Therapeutic nerve blocks, which utilize local anesthetic and steroid, can be used to control acute or chronic pain. Prognostic nerve blocks are performed to determine whether more permanent treatments to block nerve activity, such as surgery, would be successful in treating pain.
Advanced Pain Therapy
When oral medications and/or nerve blocks cannot control pain sufficiently, advanced pain therapies or implantable devices may be effective for pain control.
Spinal cord stimulation devices, which are implanted during a surgical procedure, provide low levels of electrical current to a portion of the spinal cord to block the sensation of pain. Spinal cord stimulators can manage pain caused by failed back surgery or sciatica (leg pain). Spinal pumps, which are also implanted during a surgical procedure, deliver pain medication directly to the space surrounding the spinal cord. Medication in the pump is added periodically through an injection via the individual’s skin into the pump reservoir. Spinal pumps can be effective in managing chronic pain due to cancer.
Patients whose severe pain has not responded to other treatments or procedures can be candidates for surgery. Surgery may be performed to provide relief and allow patients to resume normal activities. Surgical referrals will be made when needed to best help our patients.
Physical and Occupational Therapy
Specifically designed exercises supervised by physical or occupational therapists can be beneficial to help rehabilitate weakened muscles and prevent injury. Therapy is also useful in developing and maintaining flexibility and aerobic conditioning. Through rehabilitation, patients can often return to activities of daily living more quickly and at a higher level of functioning.
Psychiatry and Mental Health Medicine
Patients who suffer from psychological or emotional pain due to physical pain may benefit from behavioral medicine. Support and counseling are available to help patients and their loved ones deal with chronic pain.