Integrated vs. Interventional Pain Management

Integrated vs. Interventional Pain Management

Shelly Sharma, MD Blog

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Aches and pains can be difficult to deal with, as they can cause challenges with even the most simple tasks and decrease your overall quality of life. Integrated and interventional pain management both aim to reduce or block aches that cause discomfort. These pain management treatments can help you get back to your normal routine and improve your quality of life.

Interventional Pain Management

Pain can make everyday activities difficult and impede your daily life. Interventional pain management uses techniques that block pain, so that patients can get back on their feet. Some possible treatments in interventional pain management may include surgery, nerve blocking, electrostimulation, or implanted medication delivery systems that slowly and periodically release pain relievers into your body. Interventional pain management is a long-term, “last resort” option and is used for chronic severe pain that interferes with daily life when other treatment options have failed.

Integrated Pain Management

Integrated or integrative pain management takes on a more complex approach to treating chronic aches and pain. Integrated pain management tends to be natural and holistic, combining interventional treatment, therapeutic techniques, and behavioral therapy together to reduce pain and improve your quality of life in a non-invasive manner.

Interventional Treatments

There are a large variety of interventional treatments your doctor may recommend based on your individual symptoms and needs. Some common interventional pain management treatments consist of:

  1. Radiofrequency Ablation. Used to treat pain in the back and neck, radiofrequency ablation can be used to help those suffering from arthritis. As the name suggests, radio waves are used to create a current of electricity, which then heats nerve tissue and decreases or blocks pain signals.
  2. Nerve Blocking. The brain uses your nerves to signal when you feel pain. By blocking these nerves, these signals are interrupted and pain is no longer felt. Depending on what type of nerve block you receive, the pain relief can last for days, weeks, or may even become permanent.

  3. Injections / Infusions. Injections, such as steroids, can be used to treat specific areas of pain in the body. While steroids are the most common, sometimes a numbing agent may also be used. Similarly, infusions deliver pain relievers directly into the bloodstream to target areas that cause pain and are used for long-term pain relief, typically in the spinal cord.

Integrated Treatments

While interventional treatments rely mostly on medical procedures and medication, integrated treatments tend to incorporate holistic methods. Some examples of integrated pain management treatments include:

  • Physical Therapy / Occupational Therapy. While physical therapy focuses on improving a patient’s ability to move and perform physical activities without pain, occupational therapy primarily focuses on improving a client’s ability to perform the tasks they need for their daily lives.
  • Acupuncture. Known as an alternative form of medicine, acupuncture is a key part of traditional Chinese medicine and involves thin needles being inserted into the body in specific areas to stimulate nerves, improve muscle functionality, and relieve pain.
  • Behavior Modification. One component of behavior modification is biofeedback, in which you learn to better control the functions in your body, such as your heartbeat, relaxing certain muscles, and breathing in an effort to reduce pain.

Which Form of Pain Management Should I Use?

Deciding on what type of pain management is right for you is mostly a personal choice and involves the particular changes you would like to see in your daily life. Both integrated and interventional have one goal in mind: improving your quality of life. Interventional pain management typically achieves this goal through more invasive methods that involve altering the natural state of your body, but often results in more complete pain relief. Integrated treatments are less invasive and usually focus more on the patient’s ability to deal with pain, rather than attempting to eliminate it altogether.

You can visit the interventional pain management service page for more information on the types of pain management available at CORE Medical & Wellness.

Ready to Get Started?

If you are ready to begin your journey toward a pain-free lifestyle, an experienced physician like Dr. Jag Desai can help. Double certified in Anesthesiology and Interventional Pain Medicine, Dr. Desai is well equipped to diagnose and prevent degenerative processes that cause you pain. Give CORE Medical & Wellness a call at 888-521-0688 or contact us online to set up your appointment.

Dr. Shelly Sharma is double board certified in anesthesia and pain medicine. Dr. Sharma graduated summa cum laude from Drexel University with a B.S. in biomedical sciences and received her M.D. from St. George’s University School of Medicine. Read her full bio here.