Pain is complex, so there are many treatment options — interventional pain management, medications, therapies, and mind-body techniques.


Pain Management: Treatment Overview

Interventional provedures, Medications, mind-body techniques, and acupuncture can help relieve chronic pain.

Nerve Block Injections and Pain

Nerve blocks are used for pain treatment and management. There are several different types of nerve blocks that serve different purposes. Often a group of nerves, called a plexus or ganglion, that causes pain to a specific organ or body region can be blocked with the injection of medication into a specific area of the body. The injection of this nerve-numbing substance is called a nerve block.

Trigger point injection is a procedure used to treat painful areas of muscle that contain trigger points, or knots of muscle that form when muscles do not relax. During this procedure, a health care professional, using a small needle, injects a local anesthetic that sometimes includes a steroid into a trigger point. With the injection, the trigger point is made inactive and the pain is alleviated. Usually, a brief course of treatment will result in sustained relief.

Trigger point injection is used to treat muscle pain in the arms, legs, lower back, and neck. In addition, this approach has been used to treat fibromyalgia, tension headaches, and myofascial pain syndrome (chronic pain involving tissue that surrounds muscle) that does not respond to other treatment.

In spinal cord stimulation, low-level electrical signals are transmitted to the spinal cord or to specific nerves to block pain signals from reaching the brain. In this procedure, a device that delivers the electrical signals is surgically implanted in the body. A remote control is used by the patient to turn the current off and on or to adjust the intensity of the signals. Most people describe the feelings from the simulator as being pleasant and tingling.

Also called infusion pain pumps or spinal drug delivery systems. The surgeon makes a pocket under the skin that’s large enough to hold a medicine pump. The pump is usually about one inch thick and three inches wide. The surgeon also inserts a catheter, which carries pain medicine from the pump to the intrathecal space around the spinal cord. The implants deliver medicines directly to the spinal cord, where pain signals travel. For this reason, intrathecal drug delivery can provide significant pain control with a fraction of the dose that would be required with pills. In addition, the system can cause fewer side effects than oral medications because less medicine is required to control pain.

You’ve got a number of pain-relief options — some more effective than others, some offering distraction rather than pain relief. This link will take you to an NIH web site that explains.

Lifestyle changes, physical therapy, counseling — in addition to medication or surgery, these can also bring pain relief.

If you have painful compression fractures in the spine, both surgical and nonsurgical treatments are explored.

Many people don’t ask for or get help because they have misperceptions about pain control.

Research shows that acupuncture and other nonmedical treatments can provide pain relief.

This overview provides a look at the options for pain medication, including possible side effects.

Learn about risks vs. benefits of narcotics used to treat severe pain.

Information on pain medication addiction and the differences between addiction, tolerance, and dependence.

If you need short-term pain relief, TENS might help. Learn how TENS can scramble your brain’s perception of pain.

This is a safe alternative to pain medication. Learn how bioelectric therapy can block pain messages to the brain. Click here.

At the last resort, there are surgical options to treat pain. This article briefly describes them.

It’s important to start cancer pain treatment as early as possible to get the most benefit.

This article clarifies pain-related misconceptions in treating elderly cancer patients.


Many people don’t like taking a pill regularly for pain relief. Here are some alternatives.

A few changes in everyday habits can help get pain under control. Read these tips.

Western medicine has found what the Chinese have long known — that acupuncture can help relieve pain. Click here to watch a video that explains.

Learn more about addiction of pain medication — and signs of addiction. Click here.

This pain relief care is for those with cancer, heart failure, or who are dying. Read more about palliative care.

If you take narcotic pain relievers, your doctor may ask you to sign an agreement form. Read about the purpose of this form.

Pain from cancer or cancer treatment can be serious — but it can be controlled in almost every case. Click here to read more.