We all experience pain, but pain that lasts a long time can begin to interfere with our daily lives. Chronic pain can have a negative impact on a person’s quality of life, mental health, and physical well-being.

While a primary care physician (PCP) or even a specialist like an orthopedist may be able to provide some intervention for acute pain, chronic pain can require the expertise of an interventional pain management specialist. Through interventional pain management, people enduring chronic pain often find better long-term solutions.

If you’re considering seeing a pain management doctor in Tulsa, we can help. We’ll explain the difference between acute pain and chronic pain, tell you what interventional pain management is, and how it can help give you the relief you deserve.

What Are the Different Types of Pain?

There are numerous different types of pain. While a child may ask if immunization shots hurt, an adult with chronic pain may wonder if their pain might ever subside. Both types of pain are real, but the degree to which they interfere in a person’s life is radically different. This is because pain differs and, as such, is treated differently.

Acute Pain

Acute pain is the type of pain that is experienced when a child receives a shot, when you get a paper cut, or even when you break a bone. It is short-term, lasting anywhere between minutes to months. It generally doesn’t require long-term medical support.

Nociceptive Pain

Pain that results from damaged tissues, like muscles or tendons, is called nociceptive pain. This pain may feel like an ache or a throb. Nociceptive pain may come and go depending on how much movement is involved with the damaged tissue.

Neuropathic Pain

Pain that occurs due to damaged nerves is called neuropathic pain. A classic example of this type of pain is neuropathy. Neuropathy can result from underlying illness and from nerves that may be damaged by an accident or surgery.

Chronic Pain

Pain lasting longer than three to six months is referred to as chronic pain. Any pain can become chronic pain, including nociceptive and neuropathic pain. The real qualification for chronic pain is the length of time the pain is experienced.

Out of all types of pain, chronic pain can be the most difficult to treat. Sometimes, it can be hard to determine the root cause of the pain. Additionally, often the solutions available for treating pain are not intended to be used long term. It’s recommended that over-the-counter NSAID pain relievers, for example, shouldn’t be used longer than about ten days.

Due to the complexity of chronic pain, a PCP or other healthcare professional may refer their patients to an interventional pain management clinic for continued care.

What Is Interventional Pain Management?

If you’re wondering “What is interventional pain management and how can it help,” you might be considering transitioning your care to a new healthcare team. If you have more questions when a healthcare professional refers you to a pain management specialist, you’re not alone. Some may wonder if they get better results or end up with the same level of pain you currently experience.

The good news is that transitioning to a pain management clinic is often the pathway to relief for many chronic pain patients. Interventional pain management is a field of medicine dedicated to diagnosing and treating pain and pain-related disorders in the most sustainable way possible.

Interventional pain management doctors and their teams focus on every aspect of a person’s pain, including:

  • Cause and source of pain
  • Review of past procedures, injuries, and treatments, and their effectiveness
  • How a person’s pain affects other aspects of their health
  • The level of interference a person’s pain has with their ability to complete daily tasks and/or do their job.

Working with a pain management clinic can help you gain access to more therapies, treatments, and interventions than you would be able to get from a PCP or other healthcare provider.

What Are Interventional Pain Treatments?

Interventional pain management is a multidisciplinary field that utilizes numerous therapies and techniques to treat pain and pain-related disorders. A pain management provider may discuss the best course of treatment for patients, which may include one or more of the following procedures.

Radiofrequency Ablation

One method your interventional pain management team may use is radiofrequency ablation. During this process, radio waves are used to stop the communication between nerves that are damaged or sending pain signals to the brain. This treatment has a high success rate: Radiofrequency ablation can provide relief for up to 12 months in some patients.


There are several different types of injections a provider can use to help mediate pain. Corticosteroids are one option commonly used to treat inflammation and relieve pain and may provide months of relief for some conditions.

Other injections, like medial branch blocks and epidural steroid injections, specifically target certain nerves and disrupt their communication with the brain and/or reduce inflammation that could be causing pain.

These injections are designed to work for longer periods of time than using over-the-counter pain relievers. Injections could offer a person pain relief without reliance on daily medication.


As part of a treatment plan, providers may conduct an EMG/NCS study. This study can help providers determine the health of certain muscles and nerve cells, identify issues, and treat them accordingly. This type of study is particularly useful for those with pain related to a nerve disorder like neuropathy.

Botulinum Toxin Injections

The use of botulinum toxin (associated with the brand Botox) isn’t just for wrinkles. Pain management specialists use botulinum toxin to block certain pain-causing chemicals. This injection could provide relief for migraine headaches and for people with muscle spasms and/or stiffness related to muscle movement disorders.

These are only a few of the ways that pain can be treated with interventional pain management. Your doctor can assess your case, order the right diagnostic tests, and talk to you about the best course of action for treating your pain.

How Is Interventional Pain Management Helpful?

Beyond the fact that pain management can provide significant relief for chronic pain, there are other reasons why it can be effective in helping individuals.

It Can Reduce Dependency on Medication

Many of the pain reducers available are not intended for long-term use, which doesn’t always make them viable options for treating chronic pain. Interventional pain management can incorporate the use of medication when necessary and safe, but typically other, more effective avenues of care are pursued.

Opioid medications, in particular, can lead to tolerance and dependence. Such dependencies can leave a person suffering from chronic pain suffering more deeply than they did before they began the medication.

It’s Available for Numerous Types of Chronic Pain and Pain-Related Disorders

Sometimes, it may seem like you’ve exhausted your resources for treating your pain. Interventional pain management is available to help a myriad of different types of pain and pain-related disorders, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Cervical and lumbar pain
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Facial pain (like TMJ)
  • Headaches
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Neuropathy
  • Sacroiliac joint (SI) pain
  • Radiculopathy
  • Post-traumatic pain syndrome
  • Post-surgical pain

No matter what type of chronic pain people are experiencing, there can be a pain management plan that can help give support and relief.

It Can Improve Quality of Life

At times, people living with chronic pain become so adapted to living with their pain they forget what it was like to be without it. Symptoms that pain is changing our quality of life can include not being able to enjoy the same activities, taking a different job at work, or being forced to decline social invitations.

Interventional pain management seeks to restore your quality of life by introducing treatments and therapies that are long-term focused. Pain management can also provide coping mechanisms to make certain daily activities less stressful and more manageable.

It’s Available Near You

No matter where you live in Oklahoma, there’s a pain management resource near you. If you need a pain management doctor in Stillwater, click the link and schedule an appointment. Have a referral for a pain management doctor in Bartlesville? We’ve got offices there, too. Pain relief can be just a click away when you contact us to start your pain management journey.

Get the Relief You Deserve

Your constant pain can bring a significant challenge to your life. Finding the right resources for safe and effective treatment is key. If you are struggling, interventional pain management can be a critical stepping stone to relief.

Getting started is easy. Contact Oklahoma Interventional Spine & Pain today to learn how our team of doctors and specialists can work alongside your other care professionals to help you manage your pain long-term.


What are the Different Types of Pain Management? | AUC School of Medicine

NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs): Uses | Cleveland Clinic

Long-Term Function, Pain and Medication Use Outcomes of Radiofrequency Ablation for Lumbar Facet Syndrome | PubMed

Electromyography (EMG) and Nerve Conduction Studies | MedlinePlus

Corticosteroids | Cleveland Clinic

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