PARAMUS, N.J. -- Anesthesiologist Dr. Semih Gungor provides an in-depth understanding of interventional pain specialists in the first of his two-part series.
Our spine is a complex structure with many types of pain generators. Everybody experiences neck or back pain, at some point. Most often, there are simple reasons for this pain, such as overuse injuries. Fortunately, in most cases, pain lessens on its own in a few days. Brief rest, activity modification and simple over- the-counter pain medications may be all you need. However, if the pain does not improve after 4-7 days, further investigation by a clinician may be required.
If there is still no significant improvement following physical therapy or medications, it’s necessary to involve an interventional pain specialist to evaluate your condition. Further evaluation by your clinician may include ordering more advanced diagnostic tests such as an MRI scan.
As the field of medicine learns more about the complexities of pain, it has become more important to have physicians with specialized knowledge and skills treat these conditions. A pain management specialist is a physician with special training in the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of different types of pain.
If spine pain continues for 2–3 weeks despite utilizing conservative therapies, your clinician may consider a referral to an interventional pain medicine specialist. There are a variety of spinal interventions that may be considered for treatment and diagnostic purposes. A correct diagnosis is the first and most important step in the treatment of debilitating and unresolved pain.
In many cases, these diagnoses are extremely helpful in pinpointing the actual pain generator within the spine and may also help a patient avoid unnecessary surgery.
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.