Physiatry and Radiating Pain
Medical specialists trained in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Physiatrists) are experts in diagnosing and treating the conditions that cause radiating pain. A Physiatrist uses non-surgical rehabilitation and pain management practices to help patients reduce pain and restore movement. A Physiatrist is a particularly good option for patients looking for ways to rehabilitate without surgery.
As stated above, the treatment for radiating pain is entirely focused on the source of the pain, whether it is from disc problems, sciatica, or other conditions. Physiatrists usually create a pain management plan that works with the most conservative, least invasive treatment options first (such as acupuncture or spinal decompression). When these options are exhausted and pain persists, minimally invasive procedures such as Epidural Steroid Injections may be used.
Medical treatment for conditions that lead to radiating pain may include any of the following:
• Physical Therapy;
• Spinal Decompression;
• Spinal Manipulation;
• Epidural Steroid Injections: This type of injection is a minimally invasive procedure that reduces inflammation (and therefore radiating pain) in the spinal nerves. Epidural Steroid Injections deliver a long-lasting corticosteroid and an anesthetic numbing agent to the spinal nerve through the epidural space (the area between the protective covering of the vertebrae and spinal cord);
• Facet Joint Injections: Inflammation that causes compression of the nerves may be relieved with Facet Joint Injections, which deliver a steroid medication to the joints of the spine;
• Sacroiliac Joint Injections: Injection of a long-lasting steroid in the sacroiliac joint reduces pain and inflammation in the lower back, which can resolve radiating pain in the lower extremities;
• Peripheral Joint Injections: Inflammation of the joints of the body can also cause radiating pain. Joint injections can bring relief from radiating pain triggered by tendonitis or arthritis (among other conditions);
• Trigger Point Injections: Injections of a local anesthetic medication and/or cortisone into trigger points—areas of intense muscle spasm (also known as Myofascial pain)—can reduce symptoms; and/or
• Sympathetic Blocks: A local anesthetic is injected in the sympathetic nerve tissue located on either side of the spine. This purpose of this treatment is to block the nerves in order to alleviate radiating pain.