UTILIZING MINIMALLY INVASIVE PROCEDURES
At Nova Spine & Pain Centers, we utilize minimally invasive procedures to help alleviate pain. We recommend some key alternative treatment methods to ensure that our patients are getting the absolute best care possible. The procedures that we offer include the following:
At Nova Spine & Pain Centers, we utilize minimally invasive procedures to help alleviate pain…
What is an epidural?
During an epidural, medication is delivered through a catheter (a very thin, flexible, hollow tube) that is inserted into the epidural space just outside the membrane surrounding the spinal cord and spinal fluid.
Will I experience any pain from my epidural?
Patients may feel pressure during the procedure, but an epidural is designed to alleviate pain and numb the area where pain is being experienced, and will do exactly that.
Facet Joint Rhizotomy
What is a facet joint rhizotomy?
The goal of a facet joint rhizotomy is to provide pain relief by shutting off the pain signals that the joints send to the brain. The pain relief experienced by most patients who have this procedure typically lasts up to a year. During the procedure, nerve roots in the spinal cord are severed, allowing relief for patients due to a large decrease in pain signals being sent to the brain.
Can the nerves grow back after the procedure?
Pain relief usually is not experienced until about four to six weeks after the procedure, when the nerves no longer receive pain signals. On occasion, patients may feel weakness in their back or neck for several weeks after the procedure. The nerves will eventually grow back, but the pain will not likely return.
How is the procedure performed?
Most commonly, the facet joint rhizotomy is done with radiofrequency ablations, which takes heat energy to render the nerves less capable of transmitting pain signals.
Genicular Nerve Blocks
What is a genicular nerve block?
A genicular nerve block is a proven and popular procedure to combat knee pain. This innovative new procedure can be done without the need for surgery and has been performed often by Dr. Shaikh and his team. The procedure is performed in two stages:
- Diagnostic Genicular Nerve Block. This stage consists of placing a small amount of a local anesthetic on the genicular nerves. This tests the patient’s response and determines if there is sufficient pain relief in the knee to justify performing a therapeutic neurotomy.
- Genicular Nerve Ablation. During this therapeutic portion of treatment, the pain management physician will perform a radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of the genicular nerves, restoring function of the knee and alleviating pain.
How long does a genicular nerve block last?
The procedure will allow for pain relief to be felt within the first hour after it is completed, and after some soreness from the injections subsides, relief normally lasts between three and four months.
Will the procedure be painful?
The injections can be painful, but there is always the option to have intravenous (IV) sedation. This form of sedation, paired with a local anesthetic, can make the injections pain-free and keep the patient completely still, allowing for more precise and efficient injections.
Hypogastric Plexus Blocks
Hypogastric plexus blocks are injections of medication that helps relieve pelvic pain. The pain may come from the colon, bladder, lower intestines, uterus, ovaries, prostate, testicles or other parts of the pelvis. The procedure also can help reduce pelvic pain from endometriosis, irritable bowel syndrome, radiation injury and cancer in the pelvis. The hypogastric plexus is a bundle of nerves near the bottom of the spinal cord. Blocking these nerves from carrying pain information can help stop pain in the pelvis.
Intrathecal Pump Trials
What does the trial portion mean?
Intrathecal drug delivery, or a “pain pump,” is a method of delivering medication directly to a patient’s spinal cord. The goal of the pump is to better control the symptoms and to reduce oral medications, thus reducing their associated side effects. The trial is to ensure that the pump is a course of action that best suits the patient.
Used often in cases of arthritic pain, knee injections assist in lubricating the joint between the two parts of the knee cap to make movement in the knees more comfortable for those who experience chronic knee pain.
Lumbar Sympathetic Blocks
A lumbar sympathetic block is an injection of local anesthetic around the sympathetic nerves. These nerves are a part of the sympathetic nervous system, and are located on either side of the spine in the lower back. Normally, these nerves control basic functions such as regulating blood flow.
Medial Branch Blocks
During a medial branch block, a strong local anesthetic is injected around the medial branch nerves that supply the facet joints. The facet joints are part of the bony framework of the spine, and with this treatment, patients can feel pain-free for months. This procedure is often done as a diagnostic prior to a radiofrequency ablation.
Sacroiliac Joint Injections
The sacroiliac joints are located on either side of the sacrum or tailbone. They connect the tailbone to the pelvis. A sacroiliac injection is an injection of a steroid or other medication into the joint, and aids in relieving inflammation and painful movements in the tailbone and pelvic areas.
Selective Nerve Root Blocks
The selective nerve root block procedure involves an injection of a small amount of steroid and numbing medication around a very specific nerve root/spinal nerve that exits out of the spinal cord. It can be done in the cervical (neck), thoracic (chest) and lumbar (lower back) areas. While relieving pain, the procedure also helps physicians identify which nerve roots are causing pain.
Shoulder injections help to provide pain relief, stop inflammation and restore range of motion in people who have shoulder joint conditions or limited mobility in the shoulder.
Spinal Cord Stimulators
A spinal cord stimulator is a small device that is surgically placed under the skin. The device then sends mild electric currents to the spinal cord. A small wire carries the current from a pulse generator to the nerve fibers of the spinal cord. The stimulator will modulate and interfere with the transmission of pain signals to the brain.
Stellate Ganglion Blocks
A stellate ganglion block is an injection of local anesthetic in the sympathetic nerve tissue of the neck. These nerves are located on either side of the voice box. The injections assist patients with range of motion as well as pain relief from the sympathetic nerves that can cause pain and stiffness in the back and neck.
Transformanial Epidural Injections
In a transforaminal epidural injection, a long-acting steroid is injected into the opening at the side of the spine where a nerve roots exits. This procedure is often used to help patients with leg pain and lower back pain, and typically will provide lasting relief from pain for about two to three weeks.