Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine that typically occurs just before puberty during a growth spurt. The cause of scoliosis is usually unknown. While most cases are mild, scoliosis can be disabling in some people. June is Scoliosis Awareness Month, a great time for education about early detection of this prevalent disease through a campaign that unites patients, families, doctors, and institutions affected by scoliosis.
At Redefine Healthcare, we’d like to highlight some of the services that we provide to help people with scoliosis. Here are four pain management treatments that improve comfort and quality of life for those afflicted with scoliosis.
Nerve blocks are medications injected onto or near nerves; these medications may be steroids, local anesthetics, or narcotics. There are many different types of nerve blocks including facet joint blocks, medial blocks, peripheral nerve blocks, selective nerve root blocks, sympathetic nerve blocks, epidural steroid injections, sacroiliac joint injections, and radiofrequency nerve ablation. Ablation is similar to a nerve block or joint injection, except that in ablation, your care provider will use two needles–one in each nerve of the facet joint.
We can help you determine which type of nerve block may work best for your condition and tailor a treatment plan just for you.
Spinal Cord Stimulation
A newer treatment is available for people dealing with pain from damaged spinal nerves. Spinal cord stimulation involves placing electrical wires along the back of the spinal cord. These wires are connected to a small stimulator box, which is placed under the skin and controlled via a handheld remote control. When activated, the stimulator delivers mild electrical impulses near the spine. Similar to a pacemaker, this device works by interrupting pain signals traveling between the spinal cord and the brain.
There are many different medications to help relieve the pain stemming from scoliosis. A wide variety of drugs on the market right now can significantly reduce pain, from nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (such as ibuprofen and naproxen) to opioids (such as oxycodone and morphine) and nerve pain agents (such as gabapentin and pregabalin)
When they are prescribed by a doctor and used only as directed, medications can go a long way toward relieving a patient’s pain short term. However, that doesn’t mean that controlling pain with medication is a simple matter: many of these drugs can be addictive and may become less effective at fighting pain over time.
When less-invasive methods of pain relief have been ineffective, surgery may be an option. Surgery is usually recommended when pain is severe and cannot be managed with other treatments or when the spinal cord or nerve roots have become irritated and surgery is essential to prevent the loss of bodily functions. Your doctor can recommend procedures such as decompression surgery or decompression with fusion to help relieve symptoms and improve your quality of life.
If you have scoliosis and want to explore your pain relief options, don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation.