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FAQ

The goal of  effective spine care is to  provide pain relief and facilitate return to function as soon as possible, ideally in a conservative, cost-effective fashion. If early conservative care fails to treat the  problem  effectively,  an orderly  approach  to  additional  workup  and treatment  is desired  to  reduce  the risk of chronic pain or disability. A multidisciplinary pain center approach offers a variety  of  treatment options, including medications,  diagnostic  workup, physical therapy, non-surgical interventional procedures under fluoroscopy, and/or surgical intervention. By evaluating and coordinating an effective rehabilitation program in a timely manner, we are able to  reduce the  patient’s anxiety  and stress caused by their pain, eliminate excessive interventional therapies, and possibly prevent surgery. ASC at the  JPRC is able to fulfill these goals and serve your needs by having Board Certified Pain Physicians and staff who are devoted exclusively to advanced pain management.

The mission, core values, and goals of our center are to improve your quality of life by reducing pain and suffering in order to maximize function.

  • Emphasis on diagnosis, with patient-centered, individualized programs: We truly believe that the patient is a partner in pain management.
  • Multi-disciplinary approach to pain medicine: We work closely with other health care providers.
  • Continuity of care: Each patient is followed by a board certified pain physician for ongoing progress in terms of function and pain-levels. Patients experience timely appointments with caring staff.
Why an interventional physiatrist (Physical Medicine and Pain Medicine Specialist)?

Physical medicine and rehabilitation is a medical specialty dedicated to restoring optimal function to people with injuries. These physicians, called physiatrists (fizz ee a’ trists or fizz eye’ uh trists), can treat problems as simple as a sprained back or as complex as a spinal cord injury.

Physiatrists are specialists in diagnosing problems in the musculoskeletal system. We perform thorough histories and physical examinations, and electrodiagnostic tests to find the source of your pain, injury or disability, even when standard diagnostic tests don’t  reveal specific problems.

In addition, physiatrists direct your treatment team. If you need any other services, such as those of a physical therapist or medical acupuncturist, the physiatrist supervises, collaborates with and coordinates the  other  health care professionals. The result  is a specially  designed  treatment  program tailored  for you.

Because we offer an aggressive, non-surgical approach to pain and injury, physiatrists are the ideal choice for the treatment of neck, low  back, & limb pain. Physiatrists are expert in examining all aspects of  neck & back problems –  we can even determine if there are underlying problems in other parts of your body that are causing you neck, back and joint pain. Most important, Physiatrist have many treatment methods available to reduce or eliminate your problems and to decrease the possibility of a recurrence.

Why should I choose the Ambulatory Surgery Center at the Jefferson Pain and Rehabilitation Center (ASC at the JPRC)?

ASC at the JPRC sets the standard of care for pain management in Pittsburgh. When you think of pain management, we hope you think of ASC at  the  JPRC first. While many physicians think of a pain center as the last resort for their patients, many advances have accrued in the last five to ten years in pain management. We are the only true independent comprehensive  pain center in our  region. Because  of the ASC at the JPRC’s status as an independent pain center you may not be aware of our center or our mission.

What is interventional pain management?

lnterventional pain management is the discipline of medicine devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of pain and related disorders with the application of interventional techniques in managing subacute, chronic, persistent, and intractable pain, independently or in conjunction with other modalities of treatments.

What are interventional pain management techniques?

lnterventional pain management techniques are minimally invasive procedures including, percutaneous precision needle placement, with placement of drugs in targeted areas or ablation of targeted nerves; and some surgical techniques such as laser or endoscopic discectomy, intrathecal infusion pumps and spinal cord simulators, for the diagnosis and management of chronic, persistent or intractable pain.

Who are doctors specializing in pain management?

Pain specialists come from various primary specialties with advanced training and expertise. They mainly are anesthesiologists, physical medicine rehabilitation specialists and neurologists. However, they may include  neurosurgeons, orthopedic  surgeons and interventional radiologists.

What is the difference between acute pain and chronic pain? Why should my pain be treated?

Acute pain is pain of a short, limited duration, usually the result of an injury, surgery or medical illness. Acute pain often goes away with the healing process. Chronic pain continues for longer periods of time, sometimes even a long time after the healing of the original injury is expected to have occurred. Chronic pain  is also  associated  with frustration,  depression  and anxiety.  It  is important to  note that treatments for  acute  and chronic pain are often quite different.

What Causes Pain?

In the simplest case, something dangerous – heat from the stove, the cut of a knife, electricity from an outlet, an object colliding with your toe  –  damages or threatens to damage tissue in your body. Pain receptors, called nociceptors, send signals to your brain via your spinal column telling you of the danger so you can take measures to protect yourself or prevent further injury. This type of pain, called nociceptive pain, is the most common. It is experienced with muscle or bone injuries, surgery, or pressure from an infection or condition like cancer. It can be experienced as sharp, dull or aching, in a large or small area, and generally goes away as the damage to your body heals.

Nociceptive pain can last for months or years when damaged tissues cannot heal, and chronic inflammation may be involved. Arthritis, some kinds of neck and back pain, osteoporosis pain, some kinds of cancer pain, and many other types of chronic pain are nociceptive.

Another type of pain is caused by injured nerves, or other changes in the  nervous system, and is called neuropathic pain. The disturbed nervous system sends pain signals to the brain even when there is no other ongoing tissue damage. Neuropathic pain is often experienced as tingling, aching, or burning and can last for months or years. One example of this type of pain is phantom limb pain, when a person who has had an arm or leg removed still experiences pain as if it  were coming from the missing limb.

Other types of neuropathic pain include trigeminal neuralgia, peripheral neuropathy, postherpetic neuralgia, and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Some patients have chronic pain, and doctors cannot pinpoint the source. Often, it is best to refer to this pain as idiopathic –   which means that the cause is unknown. All types of pain are subjective and can be measured and reported only by the person experiencing it. All types of pain are real and can be treated. Many factors influence the experience of pain, including the mechanisms in the body that are sustaining the pain, the meaning of the pain, and psychological factors, such as individual coping styles and emotional support.