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What Is UPMC Pain Management and Addiction Services?

If you are suffering from chronic pain or addiction, look no further than the experts at UPMC Pain Management and Addiction Services. This specialized team will help you manage your pain or addiction(s) through expert clinical support.

UPMC Pain Management and Addiction Services serves as a hub for patients at UPMC Central Pa., offering interventional pain management, pain medication management, and medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorder and opioid dependence.

What is pain management?

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 orthopedic/post-surgical care, or traditional physical therapy are not effective, pain management can provide additional options. Pain management 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.

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.

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.

Addiction Services

The experts at UPMC Pain Management and Addiction Services recognize that repeated use of an opioid can decrease the effectiveness of the medicine. When tolerance has developed, any individual can become physically dependent on the opioid. Stopping the opioid requires weaning, or slowly decreasing the dose, in order to avoid symptoms of withdrawal.

Some patients can develop abnormal behavior with adverse consequences related to opioid use, otherwise known as addiction. This is a separate condition from pain and is treated by our specialists with medication assisted treatment for substance use disorder and opioid dependence. 

The experts at UPMC Pain Management and Addiction Services also treat addiction and substance use disorder of illicit opioids and substances with medication-assisted treatment when appropriate. If additional resources are needed, such as inpatient detox, counseling, or other outside services, referrals will provide the appropriate care.

Our staff supports and cares about all patients. We do not reject anyone or make them feel badly for having an addiction. Our goal is to return our patients to a better, disease-free life. 

Where can I go for pain treatment?

The most important thing to know patients 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. Learn more about our pain management services by visiting us online.

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 Addiction Services, and UPMC Chronic Pain Management Program.

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