Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain | One might say that "chronic pain ages a person". Chronic, ongoing pain certainly affects the entire person, often decreasing one's ability to perform basic daily activities or return to work. The baby boomer often comments how their recurrent back, neck or knee pain makes them look and feel old. One by one all the activities they love doing in our great mountain state are put at risk by the assumption that chronic pain is an inevitable part of aging. A better understanding of pain will help individuals seek treatment and allow them to maximize a return to the lifestyle they desire.

Chronic pain refers to pain that has been present for more than three months but may often begin as simple acute pain, such as a sprain; or as a more serious injury such as a fall, or secondary to a penetrating injury that injures a nerve. Indeed, a bulging or herniated disc can present as simple back pain but progress to chronic pain if it is present for a long period of time.

The cost of chronic pain due to our society is staggering, reflected by the fact that pain is the most common complaints that patients take to their physicians. Most acute pain stops spontaneously after simple physical or medical treatments. This type of pain involves injuries to soft tissues or bones and is known as 'nociceptive pain'. Aching, throbbing, deep nonspecific pain may be nociceptive pain and often feels like a pulled muscle or a sprain.

For reasons that are not understood some acute pain seems to activate our nervous system and send it into overdrive. This type of pain is known as 'nerve' or 'neuropathic' pain. Since all tissues including bones are supplied by nerves, even a soft tissue or bony injury can progress to a nerve type of pain. Burning, radiating pain such as sciatica is an example of neuropathic pain.

When nerve pain spreads to include one or more limbs we term this 'complex regional pain syndrome'. This is a result of the nervous system going haywire and often requires in-depth evaluation and pain management.

Our medical practice, Interventional Pain Management of Colorado Springs, specialize in the evaluation and treatment of many different types of chronic pain. We try to develop comprehensive treatment plans to address not only the pain, but also the emotional and social changes brought about by chronic pain. We see some acute pain syndromes such as shingles that require treatment as soon as possible to prevent progression to chronic pain.

Comprehensive chronic pain management uses history and focused physical exam as well as review of x-rays and MRIs. Treatments may include physical therapy, chiropractic, alternative therapies such as acupuncture. Our practice also utilizes many different types of medication, including non-narcotic medications or judicious use of low-dose narcotic medications.

Interventional Pain Management physicians also perform any types of injections, nerve blocks, epidural steroid injections, and sympathetic blocks. Most people who are seen in our practice have already tried the "easy" things to cope with chronic pain and need to be evaluated for these more complex types of the pain management.

Our practice sets itself apart by our ability to treat pain from the head to the feet, including headache, facial pain, complex regional pain syndromes, chronic pelvic pain, and spinal pain in the cervical (neck), thoracic (cast) and lumbar regions of the spine. We treat all forms of nerve pain, including shingles, use radio-wave rhizotomy for long-term pain control, repair spinal compression fractures, and perform minimally invasive lumbar decompression (mild) procedure to relieve spinal canal stenosis (spinal canal narrowing). In some cases we implant spinal cord stimulation systems or spinal medication infusion pumps.

There are many drugs that can be used to medically manage chronic pain, including narcotics, anti-inflammatories, local anesthetics, nerve pain medications, and non-narcotic analgesics. We believe that less narcotic is frequently more effective than high-dose narcotic therapy, and use many helper medications to minimize narcotic doses. Our doctors have decreased the amount of medication used in our spinal infusion pumps by a factor of 1000 simply by weaning oral narcotic medications completely prior to use of this therapy!

Frequently patients are pleasantly surprised to learn that they have no more pain on zero narcotics than they do on high-dose therapy. Families are often delighted to have their loved one back "in this world" after weaning narcotics and eliminating narcotic side effects and complications.

Interventional Pain Management Colorado Springs was found that in 2000 when Dr. Laub returned to Colorado Springs after practicing anesthesiology and pain management in New Hampshire for 16 years after serving at the US Air Force Academy in the early '80s. He has practiced pain management since 1977 and brings many years of experience to patients with chronic, intractable pain.

Dr. Malinky completed a fellowship in interventional pain management at Rush University in Chicago and joined Interventional Pain Management in 2011. He brings the latest in chronic pain management thinking and skills to our practice and excels in the use of ultrasound for injections in the office and operating room. He established a satellite office in Woodland Park. He evaluates and treats patients in the office and does pain management procedures in the Pikes Peak Regional Medical Center.

The physicians at Interventional Pain Management of Colorado Springs look forward to seeing you for evaluation and treatment of acute or chronic pain. Please visit our website, www.ColoradoPain.com for additional information.