Interventional Pain Management: How Is It Used for Back Pain?

For those living with chronic pain, it can be hard to find a solution that works. Many treatment options include a lot of trial and error and invasive procedures that do not promise an effective outcome. However, modern medicine is always looking to improve pain management techniques and procedures used to relieve chronic pain – such as back pain.

While you might just suffer from acute pain now, it is important to take note of how long it persists. Unfortunately, acute pain can quickly turn into chronic pain when left untreated. When left untreated, chronic pain can become a disability – inhibiting physical activity and daily routines.

Interventional pain management is unique because it uses techniques that are meant to address the pain precisely at the source. There are several different methods – involving injections or placement of devices into the body – which are used and are typically minimally invasive and more effective in treating back pain. It is designed to focus on building a routine of non-invasive treatment designed to improve mental and physical well-being.

These methods of interventional pain management may include:

Injections or Blocks

By administering an anesthetic or steroid directly into the muscle, ligaments, area around the nerves, or joints, temporary pain relief can be achieved. However, injections are typically used more as a diagnostic measure. Injections can be delivered into the source of the pain to confirm, or clarify, the diagnosis proposed by the physician.

Other forms of injections include epidural injections which offer temporary pain relief to upper or lower extremity pain – such as that felt with a pinched spinal nerve.

This form of treatment is also called blocks – such as facet blocks – due to their intention to block chronic pain. Those who have previously received facet blocks but experience the return of pain shortly after might also be a candidate for another procedure known as radiofrequency rhizotomy.

Radiofrequency Ablation

During radiofrequency ablation, painful sensory nerves are deadened via heat administered through the use of a small needle. In most patients, the pain relief lasts for 12-18 months – the success ratio is about 85 percent.

Implantable opioid infusion pumps

Opioid infusion pumps are surgically implanted and deliver opioid agents directly to the spinal cord. However, the effectiveness of these devices for treating chronic back pain, as well as the appropriateness of these devices, is controversial. In addition to their controversial nature, opioid infusion pumps are also expensive.

Spinal Cord Stimulator devices

Similar to opioid infusion pumps, electrotherapy devices are also surgically implanted. These devices are typically used to treat arm and leg pain that is a result of spine pain, rather than the localized spine pain itself. These work very well for a patient as a last resort, such as after a failed back operation.

Stem Cell Therapy

Regenerative medicine works extremely well for chronic back pain. This may include facet injections with stem cell material, or into the disc itself if degenerative disc disease is the problem.


While not each treatment will work for everyone, interventional pain management is continually looking for ways to provide patients the relief they need from chronic pain using minimally invasive techniques which aim to block the pain rather than just treat it.

All Star Pain Management offers comprehensive nonoperative treatment for back pain. This includes treatment with Dr. Zed Zamfirov, who is a Board Certified pain doctor and an expert in interventional pain management. He offers stem cell therapy and the other treatments mentioned at two offices including pain clinics in Annapolis and Glen Burnie MD. Call us today!