PARAMUS, N.J. -- HSS Anesthesiologist Dr. Semih Gungor provides an in-depth understanding of interventional pain specialists in the second of his two-part series. Part one can be found here .
Who should see an interventional pain management specialist?
Typically, these are patients who have failed conservative therapies and yet are not found to be a candidate for spinal surgery. Other patients may include those who have undergone spinal surgery, yet are still complaining of residual pain despite a reasonable recovery period.
Sometimes, interventional pain management procedures may be considered earlier than 2–3 weeks if the pain is so severe that the patient is unable to perform home exercises or physical therapy effectively. In such a case, effective pain control with an interventional pain procedure may be considered prior to resuming or starting home exercises and physical therapy.
What can interventional pain medicine specialists do?
Interventional pain medicine specialists may be able to figure out and treat the cause of your pain, and direct you for the right treatment options after determining the most likely pain generators. Interventional pain management is different from other pain management practices because it emphasizes the importance of a precise diagnosis so treatment can begin immediately. Rather than just prescribing medication or only recommending physical therapy, an interventional pain management specialist utilizes all sources of treatment to eliminate pain in the fastest, most effective way for each patient.
How can I be referred to a pain management specialist?
The best route for referral is through your primary care physician. Back surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, neurologists, rheumatologists and other specialists often work regularly with a pain physician and can also refer you. Most pain physicians work closely with their patient's referring physicians to insure good communication, which provides optimum treatment for their patients.
Dr. Semih Gungor is an anesthesiologist and Director of Pain Medicine Research at HSS and specializes in comprehensive, pain-focused medical care. He practices at both the HSS Outpatient Center in Paramus and the hospital’s main campus in New York.