What is UPMC Pain Management?

If you are suffering from ongoing pain, look no further than the experts at UPMC Pain Management. Our specialized team will help you manage your pain through clinical support.

Pain management is a health care specialty, and most often refers to the treatment of pain from the spine, muscles, joints, and the nervous system. When experienced by an individual with cancer or a terminal illness, pain is usually treated by the specialist in that discipline. This can include an oncologist or palliative medicine physician.

When first line treatment provided by primary care, acute orthoapedic/post-surgical care, or traditional physical therapy are not effective, pain management can provide additional options. It can be sought when pain limits functionality more than expected, or if the pain causes extreme suffering, regardless of duration. Pain management is also often consulted in complex and/or chronic pain conditions. It can be used both for maintenance and chronic pain flare ups.

We serve as a hub for our patients in central Pa., offering interventional pain management and chronic pain management.

What is Chronic Pain Management?

Chronic pain may go on for months or years. You may have this pain from an injury that doesn't heal or from a health problem like low back pain, very bad headaches, or diabetic neuropathy. Chronic pain may make daily functioning difficult.

If you have chronic pain that does not respond to traditional treatments, our multidisciplinary UPMC Chronic Pain Management Program team will work with you to help you control or decrease your pain, and return you to your normal activities.

 What is Interventional Pain Management?

A second area known as Interventional Pain Management, uses medical procedures to address a specific source of pain in a particular area. These procedures can be performed at different rates depending on type and purpose. They may be effective alone or in combination with other therapies, medications, or surgery. Although all interventional procedures are invasive, they can range from a simple joint or muscle injection performed in the provider’s office, to a more complex spinal injection or implant performed an ambulatory surgery center. Interventional procedures are available at UPMC Pinnacle Procedure Center and UPMC Pinnacle Bone and Joint Institute.

Is there Medication for Pain Management?

A comprehensive pain management plan also can include the use of medications available both over the counter and/or through a prescription from a medical provider. Muscle relaxers, topical creams, acetaminophen (Tylenol) and NSAIDS (Advil, Aleve) often are used for musculoskeletal pain conditions.

Neuropathic medications, such as Neurontin or Lyrica, work to decrease pain related to nerves and the processing of pain in the nervous system. Some antidepressant medications have shown pain-relieving benefit. In addition, steroids can be prescribed for some pain conditions, and for flare-ups of chronic pain.

Medical cannabis is now legal for patients who are certified by a state-approved provider as having one of the approved medical conditions, which include neuropathies and severe chronic or intractable pain, among other. To begin the process of application, patients should visit the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program Website.

Research shows opioid medication is most effective for acute or short-term pain management. Although it safely can be used to treat chronic pain, any long-term use of opioid medication should be closely monitored for side effects, interactions, and misuse.

Where can I go for pain treatment?

The most important thing to know is that you do not have to live with pain. Options exist and ongoing research and evolving technologies continue to create new opportunities for pain management. The experts at UPMC in Central Pa. will assist you in finding the best care to lessen your pain and suffering, regardless of the cause or severity of your condition.

Because pain is complex and individual, a thorough evaluation is necessary to determine which combination of pain management treatments is most effective. A comprehensive treatment plan may include referrals to multiple pain management providers. At UPMC in Central Pa., these may include the Spine Institute, The Bone and Joint Institute, UPMC Pain Management and UPMC Chronic Pain Management Program.

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