by Interventional Pain Management Specialist Dr Raj Sureja M.D.
Interventional Pain Management is considered a sub-specialty of pain management and is a relatively new area of medicine. It is termed “interventional” because we try to identify the root cause of a person’s pain (called the “pain generator”) and then use a variety of techniques and therapies to treat this pain to help the patient feel better. Early attempts at interventional pain management can be traced back to the late 1890s, when one practitioner placed a therapeutic nerve block to control pain. Other early adopters followed in his footsteps and developed ways of diagnosing conditions and using particular drugs to determine pain pathways in the body. The medical community began recognizing the term “interventional pain management” in the mid-1990s, when a renowned pain management specialist used it to describe the emerging specialty. It didn’t take long before pain management organizations were formed to promote the development and practice of interventional techniques. Soon after, interventional pain management received a specialty designation, allowing practitioners to bill Medicare and Medicaid, and private insurers soon followed. The rest, as they say, is history!
Although the specialty is “new,” there has been a great deal of interest in developing and understanding interventional pain management. Approximately 50 million Americans live with chronic pain, so there is a significant need to have healthcare providers who train specifically for this specialty. New programs have been developed (and are growing exponentially) to educate the next generation of physicians to practice this exciting specialty.
After medical school, I completed my residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, followed by a Fellowship in Interventional Pain Management. I am Board-Certified in Interventional Pain Medicine, a Diplomate with the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and a member of both the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians and the International Spine Intervention Society. In my profession, we have a great deal of resources and training opportunities available to stay up to date with the safest and most effective interventions and technologies to assist our patients.
Chronic Pain is a very real diagnosis. Some people who have never had to cope with it often tell those suffering with it that the pain is “in their head” or if they just relax it will get better. Chronic pain is often caused by anatomical issues, such as a herniated disc in the neck that is compressing a nerve and causing great discomfort radiating from that nerve. In these cases, “relaxing” will not fix the problem.
Living with pain can greatly disrupt your life and stop you from doing the things that you enjoy. Pain can affect your mood, relationships, work, and leisure time. Depending on what the cause of it is, pain can also have long term effects that may lead to disability, so it is important to tend to the issues sooner rather than later. I encourage you to visit an Interventional Pain Management specialist to help determine the cause of the pain and make a plan of action to help you feel better.
When to see an Interventional Pain Management specialist:
- If you are suffering with pain and do not know the cause of it
- If you are unsure or undecided if you need to visit a doctor about your pain
- If your activities or relationships have been altered due to your pain
- If you have been suffering with pain, have been seeing a physician and are not satisfied with the care or your response to the treatment, seek a second opinion
At OSC, we use conservative and minimally-invasive techniques to improve and manage pain symptoms, while using narcotic pain relievers judiciously. All techniques are FDA approved and are not considered ‘experimental.’ You can find more information on our website about the treatments we offer our patients.
If you are dealing with uncontrolled pain, I strongly encourage you to visit an Interventional Pain Management Specialist. We successfully treat thousands of patients per year. Many people tell us that after seeing us, they felt they got their lives back because they were able to feel normal again. I hope that you will consider seeking care if you are coping with unmanaged pain.
Raj N. Sureja, MD is a Fellowship-trained, Board-Certified, Interventional Pain Management Specialist who practices at Orthopaedic and Spine Center in Newport News, VA. Dr. Sureja has been named a “Top Doc” in the field of Pain Management in both 2012 and 2013 through a physician survey sponsored by Hampton Roads Magazine. For more information on OSC or Dr. Sureja, please go to www.osc-ortho.com