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Chronic Pain Telemedicine Services at UPMC

People with chronic pain face added barriers when accessing medical care.

Spending an hour or more sitting in a car can worsen pain. That's on top of the time, money, and effort involved in traveling for care.

UPMC Chronic Pain Telemedicine reduces in-person medical visits for people with pain. You can access our experts to help manage your pain from your home.

About Chronic Pain Telemedicine Services

Studies show that the best way to treat pain is with more than one approach. At UPMC, we treat pain in a holistic way.

This includes:

  • Medicines
  • Physical therapy
  • Exercise therapy
  • Nerve block shots
  • Psychotherapy

If you prefer remote care, we provide pain management services through video visits when possible.

You may need to travel for some appointments – like in-person injections. But telemedicine works well for other procedures, such as pain assessments or follow-ups.

Since the same doctors offer both online and in-person visits, you receive seamless pain care.

Here are some of the chronic pain services we offer through virtual care at UPMC:

  • First-time consults to decide the next steps.
  • Dosage adjustments for pain meds.
  • Home exercise programs to strengthen muscles and relieve chronic pain.
  • Online psychotherapy to help manage the stress of chronic pain.
  • Follow-up appointments to address questions and concerns.
  • Connections to other non-medical pain treatments, such as physical therapy and massage therapy.
  • Referrals to surgical consults if you need surgery.

Chronic pain telehealth for lumbar degenerative disk disease

Lumbar degenerative disk disease is one of the most common reasons for low back pain. This occurs when the cartilage in one or more disks in the spine breaks, due to the effects of aging.

The disks are less able to absorb pressure on the spine, causing:

  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Back pain

What to expect during your lumbar disk disease video visit

During a video visit, the doctor will ask you about your symptoms. If they suspect lumbar degenerative disk disease, you'll need imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Or, if you've already had an MRI or other scan, the doctor can view those results.

At UPMC, we offer a many-sided – rather than a piecemeal – approach to treatment. This helps ensure your recovery is thorough and long-lasting.

Our treatment plan for lumbar disk disease includes:

  • Oral medications, steroid injections, or both.
  • Physical therapy and exercise programs to help strengthen and secure the muscles around the spine.
  • Online therapy with a pain psychologist since pain can cause stress, which reduces the effectiveness of treatments.

We follow you using virtual care for months, and often years, to be sure your treatment plan is working for you.

Benefits of Chronic Pain Telemedicine Services at UPMC

Many people we see with chronic pain travel an hour or more to access our care.

Our chronic pain telemedicine service helps to reduce these trips, offering the following benefits:

  • Convenient and timely care with a team of pain experts.
  • Access to testing and other services closer to home.
  • Answers to follow-up questions or concerns, without needing an in-person visit.
  • Less missed work.
  • Reduced travel costs.
  • Decreased stress and pain caused by long car trips.
  • A complete care approach, including medical and non-medical treatments.

Who Can Use Our Chronic Pain Telemedicine Services?

We see people with chronic pain (or pain that has lasted more than three months).

Chronic pain conditions we treat include:

  • Lower back pain.
  • Cancer-related pain.
  • Pain caused by nerve damage.
  • Post-op pain.
  • Arthritis.
  • Pain from diabetes or other conditions.
  • Belly or pelvic pain.
  • Facial pain or migraine headaches.

What to Expect During Your Chronic Pain Video Visit

Before your appointment, a UPMC chronic pain team member will call you. They'll ask you about your medical history, including past surgeries, treatments, and diagnoses.

For your video appointment, you'll meet with a nurse practitioner or physician assistant, and a pain management doctor. They will ask you detailed questions about your pain and discuss the cause, or suspected cause, with you.

Our telehealth team may decide to refer you for a test, like an MRI.

Or we may have enough information to create your treatment plan. This often involves medicines or shots and non-medical treatments, like physical therapy.

If you need a physical exam to confirm a diagnosis, we'll book an in-person visit when it works best for you.

We will continue to follow you to make sure your treatment plan is working or make any changes to it. If you have questions later, you can call our office any time for a phone or video follow-up visit.

Insurance Plans We Accept

As a major referral hospital, UPMC accepts most major insurance plans.

We suggest that you contact your health insurance company to confirm your plan covers our telemedicine services.

Schedule a Chronic Pain Video Visit

Visit the UPMC Find A Doctor website to view pain management doctors and schedule a video visit. Or call 412-432-1760.

More Resources from UPMC Pain Management: