Interventional Pain Management: March 25, 2012

Like others of her baby boomer generation, Sandy Hodgson is enjoying life full throttle, but severe pack pain was putting a crimp in her lifestyle.

“It started out easy, just to my back and it came down through my leg and then it went down to my knee and I couldn’t walk and I couldn’t get out of bed.”

Sandy’s next stop was pain meds. Something she didn’t particularly like.

“I slept totally all the time so I knew that wasn’t the answer.”

So she was referred to an interventional pain management specialist.

“Historically, 20 years ago the only options were really surgery, medication management. So the field of interventional pain management has really come to the forefront in the last 10 to 15 years,” says Dr. Reggie Augusthy, an interventional physiatrist with Lee Memorial Health System.

Many patients assume prescription drugs or surgery are the only remedies, but interventional pain management allows doctors to use advanced technology to find the source of the pain and deliver anti-inflammatory injections.

“Fluoroscopy is a low dose x-ray that allows us to visualize where we are placing the medication. So by using fluoroscopy we can guide a needle directly to the area of the source of pain,” says Dr. Augusthy.

Sandy’s pain source was a herniated disc. She now uses periodic injections to stay pain free.

“It’s very much come to the forefront of conservative management and getting people more functional as we have an aging population that wants to stay very active,” says Dr. Augusthy.

After all, there’s a lot riding on their health.

“I’ll be 66 in August, can’t stop this Grammy, can’t stop her,” says Sandy.