Using real-time, radiologic imaging with ultrasound, fluoroscopy, or CT scan for guidance, needles are placed with high precision near or in the targeted nerves, muscles, joints, tendons, or bones.
These techniques can be used to inject medications, deliver radiofrequency energy, place stimulating electrodes, or deposit special cement to diagnose and to treat a specific type of pain.
It is common for chronic pain to have more than one cause or so-called “pain generator.” A selectively performed nerve block or joint block can be very useful in more accurately identifying which structure is causing which type of pain.
Beyond this diagnostic information, interventional procedures can also offer therapeutic benefits.
- Steroid injections help to break the cycle of chronic inflammation and pain.
- Radiofrequency ablation can disrupt a nerve’s ability to transmit pain signals and sensation.
- Electrodes placed close to the spinal cord or a peripheral nerve can alter the way pain is perceived by the brain.
These and other interventional techniques allow pain to be managed more effectively, thus reducing a patient’s reliance on medications and improving the patient’s rehabilitation, function, and quality of life.