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Treating chronic pain without mediation
Pain Management 25 Aug 2021

Treating Chronic Pain Without Medication

We look at interventional procedures that can provide significant relief

Treating chronic pain without mediation

Living with chronic pain can be hard.

Classified as a pain that lasts a long time, chronic pain can affect any part of the body. The pain may be constant, or come and go, but it can have a big impact on daily life. Interfering with daily activities and normal sleep patterns, it can sometimes lead to depression and anxiety.

Treating chronic pain effectively is key to improving quality of life. Traditionally, medication is the first step in offering relief to patients. Whether this is over-the-counter painkillers, or stronger prescription medication, for some patients, drugs work well.

But medication isn’t a long-term solution, and it won’t stop the pain or resolve the problem that is causing it. Many pain medications come with undesirable side effects, particularly when taken over a long period of time. Some patients don’t get adequate relief from medicines and some people are concerned about developing a dependency on stronger drugs.

What are the alternatives?

When medication isn’t suitable, there are alternatives that can help patients manage and treat their chronic pain.

For some people, lifestyle changes can offer relief from chronic pain. Acupuncture, meditation, and exercise can all help patients manage the physical and emotional impact of living with pain. Certain therapies can also be very effective. Physical therapy, which involves exercises that will strengthen the body, and occupational therapy, which will teach you how to go about tasks to lessen pain, can be very effective.

Treating chronic pain – an interventional approach

When medication isn’t suitable, and strategies to manage chronic pain aren’t effective, there are a number of interventional methods on offer that can effectively alleviate pain.

The team at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Interventional Pain Management Center offer a range of cutting-edge, minimally invasive interventional methods for patients with chronic pain.

Whether the pain is related to cancer, joints, nerves, or post-surgery, the aim of treatment is to significantly reduce pain and improve the patient’s functional level and quality of life, as much as possible.

The multidisciplinary approach to treatment involves therapies, both physical and cognitive, and includes the following procedures:

  • Differential target multiplexed (DTM) spinal cord simulation (SCS): This procedure is the very latest interventional technique that can dramatically reduce chronic pain for patients with chronic back and leg pain following surgery. In fact, over 80% of patients who undergo DTM SCS report a notable reduction in their pain. It works in a similar way to traditional SCS, which sends electrical pulses to the spinal cord via an implanted device. But DTM SCS targets two types of cells involved in the pain pathway instead of just one - the neurons and the glial cells. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi was the first center in the Middle East to offer this state-of-the-art procedure.
  • Dorsal root ganglion (DRG) stimulation: A relatively new treatment that offers significant pain relief for patients living with chronic intractable pain conditions, when traditional pain medication, pain management, or other interventional procedures, have not been effective. The procedure works in a similar way to traditional spinal cord stimulation, but the electrodes are implanted on the dorsal root ganglion instead. These nerves form the ‘nerve center’ of the spinal cord, and can modify pain before it reaches the brain, therefore reducing its intensity. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is the only center offering this state-of-the-art treatment in the UAE.
  • Peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS): A minimally invasive treatment that offers effective relief for patients living with chronic pain, such as neuropathic pain of the upper and lower extremities, persistent knee and shoulder pain, and chronic back pain, when traditional options have not been effective.Peripheral nerves are the nerves that extend outside of our central nervous system, to our organs and extremities. The procedure involves implanting a device – a very thin wire – next to the peripheral nerves causing the pain. This delivers precise electrical pulses which interfere with the pain signals that are being sent from the source of the pain and changes the way that your brain perceives the pain. The multidisciplinary team at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Interventional Pain Management Centre were the first in the UAE to offer PNS treatment.

Thanks to modern medicine, there are a range of pain relief options that reduce the need for medication. Talk to your doctor today about the options available to you.

PNS is used to treat chronic pain (in patients for whom traditional pain relief strategies haven't worked etc.), including chronic neuropathic pain of the upper and lower extremities, persistent shoulder and knee pain, groin pain, nerve pain after surgery, compression of nerves after a stroke, and chronic back pain.

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