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Fundamentals of Interventional Pain Medicine

Elkersh, Mohamed A. MD; Simopoulos, Thomas T. MD; Bajwa, Zahid H. MD

doi: 10.1097/01.nrl.0000162955.44879.8b
Original Article

Chronic pain is one of the most common and challenging medical problems facing our society. The specialty of pain medicine has grown steadily in recent years, largely because of the recognition that multiple factors contribute to chronic pain. The practice of pain medicine is multidisciplinary in approach, incorporating modalities from various specialties to ensure the comprehensive evaluation and treatment of the pain patient. The integration of various specialties such as anesthesiology, neurology, neurologic surgery, orthopedic surgery, physical medicine, and psychiatry is essential to treating patients with chronic pain and to establishing continuity of care. Research in the last 30 years has developed a variety of alternatives or adjuncts to opiates for chronic pain, including neuroactive medications, counterstimulation methods, and cognitive–behavioral therapies. Pain medicine specialists have provided leadership in the development of the practice, with the application of a wide verity of central and peripheral nerve blocks, sympathetic and neurolytic blocks, intradiscal procedures, neuromodulation techniques, intrathecal infusion systems, and other technical procedures that are firmly linked to a biomedical model of pain.

From Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts.

Reprints: Zahid H. Bajwa, MD, Director, Education and Clinical Pain Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215. E-mail:

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.