Pain management centre
Algology tells us that untreated pain creates a form of ‘vicious circle’ in which pain maintains its levels or creates further pain. Algologists or pain physicians will help the sufferer to break out of this circle.
The team in the pain management centre includes not only algologists but also a neurologist, a psychotherapist, and specialists in remedial gymnastics and physical therapy. So pain is treated here with multiple approaches.
An algologist is a physician who has a deep understanding of the physiology of pain, specific examinations, and the methods involved in the treatment of pain, including the use of invasive methods (such as blocks or injections).
In the case of acute and chronic pain (which has lasted longer than three months):
- back pain (such as intervertebral disc protrusion, disk hernia, etc)
- pain in joints, muscles, connective tissues, and soft tissues, including in the lower abdomen
- oncological pain (involving the selection of an analgesic medicine)
- migraines, or tension-type headaches and other forms of headache
- following surgery or injuries
- nerve damage, including diabetic neuropathy (for the prescription of reimbursable medicines)
- and other pain, including pain of an unclear origin
n the case of acute pain, it is important to relieve this as much as possible – preferably completely – to prevent the pain from becoming chronic. For example, nerve pain (neuropathic pain) can last for months or even years after the damage which triggered it no longer exists. The removal of these ‘pain memories’ requires complex treatment; moreover, over-the-counter analgesic drugs do not help and can even prolong the problem.
Chronic pain can manifest itself as a pain disease which, in essence, affects all of the body’s systems, changing the body’s physiology and even the sufferer’s personality. With modern levels of knowledge, medicines, and procedures, the pain can be handled almost in all cases.
Some patients have misleading ideas about blocks, namely, that blocks are used only to reduce the symptoms of pain. This perception is incomplete – blocks have a therapeutic effect. A block means the administration of medicines which reduce pain and inflammation in the right place, without affecting other organs. The main blocks are those for the spine and pelvic bone joints, spinal nerves, the joints, etc.
Invasive algologists at Jurmala Hospital carry out blocks of high levels of complexity under x-ray or ultrasound control (epidural or intra-articular). Only a few specialists can carry out this level of manipulation in Latvia, and we are therefore proud that our anaesthesiologists and algologists in the Pain management centre can indeed manage such blocks.
Jurmala Hospital is one of the few medical facilities in Latvia in which radiofrequencytreatment is available. This has a longer and much more effective effect than blocks. This modern technology affects injured nerve roots or sensory nerves in joints.
Anaesthesiologists and algologists also carry out intra-articular injections of orthokine, which is a unique treatment method that effectively reduces inflammatory processes and stimulates the regeneration of damaged tissues. Such injections can considerably postpone the need for endoprosthetics.
There is a great depth of variety in the causes of headaches – they can be a symptom of disease, but most commonly (in over 90% of cases) a headache is a disease in itself. In such cases, an algologist forms a diagnosis during an examination of the patient. The latest methods considerably reduce the frequency of episodes and the intensity of the pain until the headache is gone completely.
For example, during a consultation migraine, patients can look at and try out an externally used neurostimulation device known as a Cefaly, which is safe to use during pregnancy. Onabotulinum toxin injections, which are used in the case of very frequent and severe headaches, are also a novelty in the treatment of chronic migraine.