Opioids Aren’t the Only Options for Pain

Opioids pillbox.
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By Dr. Jonathan Anthony Kost, Medical Director
and
Dr. Annette Karen Macannuco-Winslow
The Spine and Pain Institute at MidState Medical Center

Millions of people in America suffer from severe or chronic pain at some point in their lives. While opioid medications might help some with pain, for others they can be ineffective or even dangerous.

What most people don’t know is that opioids are not the only option and in some cases, not the best option. Some excellent non-opioid treatments are available.

For pain on the head, neck and face areas, a specific type of nerve block called Sphenopalatine ganglion is used. This new minimally invasive anesthetic block is needle-less and very effective for intractable headaches, some types of head and neck cancer pain, and shingles on the face.

Nerve stimulation is another effective option. For patients with spine pain, spinal cord stimulation is used to transform the way our pain signals travel through our bodies, leaving the patient with a sensation of less or no pain at all. This option is great for treating complex regional pain syndrome and back pain that has been resistant to other treatments.

For people who suffer from knee joint pain, a nonsurgical procedure called cooled radiofrequency neurotomy treatment can be used to interrupt pain signals coming from the knee joint. A local anesthetic is used first to determine if a patient is a candidate for this type of procedure.

There are many different ways to alleviate pain without opioids or even surgery. We just need to find the right procedure for you.

Dr. Jonathan Kost is the founder and medical director of The Spine and Pain Institute at MidState Medical Center and the Hartford Hospital Pain Treatment Center. He has practiced pain management for more than 20 years and is board-certified in anesthesiology and pain management. Dr. Annette Karen Macannuco-Winslow is a pain medicine physician at The Spine and Pain Institute at MidState Medical Center. For more information, call The Spine and Pain Institute at 203.694.8414.


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