INTERVENTIONAL PAIN MANAGEMENT
Interventional pain management is a medical subspecialty which treats pain with invasive interventions such as facet joint injections, nerve blocks (interrupting the flow of pain signals along specific nervous system pathways), neuroaugmentation (including spinal cord stimulation and peripheral nerve stimulation), vertebroplasty, kyphoplasty, endoscopic discectomy, and implantable drug delivery systems.
Interventional procedures - typically used for chronic back pain - include epidural steroid injections, facet joint injections, neurolytic blocks, spinal cord stimulators, and intrathecal drug delivery system implants.
Most chronic pain sufferers have utilized medications, surgery, psychological and physical therapies, acupuncture, and conventional treatments. Although many will find relief in these treatments, there are those that these solutions don't provide long enough relief or any relief at all. And those individuals are turning to an interventional pain specialist to find the relief they need.
There are more than 100 million individuals in the United States that suffer from chronic and debilitating pain. Chronic pain accounts for more than 75% of all doctors' visits. This would have you think that health care providers would seek better ways to treat chronic pain sufferers but they haven't and pain still remains undertreated and misunderstood.
Interventional pain specialists are able to treat different non-spinal and spinal conditions due to their extensive training. A combination of neurological and musculoskeletal anatomy knowledge enables them to use tools such as musculoskeletal and neurological imaging, exams, and electro-diagnosis to pinpoint the cause of the patient's pain and apply pain management procedures to alleviate and reduce one's pain.
Most of these specialists will determine what level of pain a patient is experiencing and the right treatment for their condition. There are typically three levels of pain which determine the type of treatment a chronic pain sufferer may expect to receive. These levels and their treatment options can include the following:
1. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs - these medications are a low-risk treatment that is available OTC, like Tylenol, to provide pain relief.
2. Physical Therapy - this treatment can include strengthening, stretching, and core exercises.
3. Behavioral Treatment - continuous pain can affect one's emotional state and to help deal with pain treatment with a mental health specialist is beneficial.
4. Nutrition - keeping one's body healthy by proper dieting is essential for one's care.
1. Nerve Block Injections - an interventional pain management specialist will directly inject into the affected area a numbing agent. This treatment varies in the time pain relief is maintained which can be anywhere from hours to years.
2. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation - electrical impulses are sent through the skin into the nerves and muscles to change painful signals.
3. Prescription Narcotics - opiate medications that work on altering pain perception if the brain's receptors.
4. Thermal treatment - utilizing ice on the painful area to numb it.
1. Implants - these can include drug pumps and spinal cord stimulators which are devices implanted into the body to either use narcotic drugs or electrical signals to mask pain perception.
2. Surgery - usually used as a last resort and will either provide a pain-free lifestyle or a partially pain-free lifestyle which would include stage one treatment.
Dr. Kim has contributed as a co-author in the Essentials of Regenerative Medicine in Interventional Pain Management with the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians. He also has published quite a few articles, medical journals and presented case reports at national conferences. He has presented 13 case reports in a single national conference, which was considered to be the highest number in the nation.
Dr. Kim has begun his journey in pain medicine in the ACGME-Accredited Interventional Pain Management Fellowship Program at NYU Langone Health. The program at NYU, with Johns Hopkins, is an award-winning recipient of The American Academy of Pain Medicine's Pain Medicine Fellowship Excellence Award.