Understanding and taking control of your pain

One thing about pain — you know it when you have it. And if you suffer from constant pain, over time it wears you down — physically, mentally, emotionally.

Trying to understand all of the different treatment options available can feel like it just adds to the stress. Let’s take a look at some of the options to simplify your search and identify which ones might work best for you.

Different pains need different treatment options

 The treatment option that will work best for you depends on the source of your pain and how it is impacting your functions.

Only you and your doctor can determine if you are a good candidate for specific pain treatment options. Pain management specialists are doctors who specialize in treating all kinds of pain. In addition to their normal residency training in their subspecialty, these doctors receive years of advanced specialized training in pain management and focus on treating patients with severe pain. If you do not currently have a pain management specialist, use the Doctor Locator to locate one near you.

Understanding pain management treatment options

Your doctor will usually follow a treatment plan that begins with basic general therapies and progresses to more definitive solutions. This is because simple options such as lifestyle changes, diet changes, or specific exercises may often suffice in reducing your pain.

Noninterventional treatments

The most basic of these don’t require a prescription and can usually be done at home with or without help from a healthcare professional. These are treatments that do not include injections, implants, or other surgical procedures.

  • Rest and diet changes
  • Exercise and physical therapy
  • Acupuncture, massage, and spinal adjustment
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs (eg, ibuprofen)
  • Cognitive and behavioral modification
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)

Other noninterventional treatments are used as a first step when there are no improvements from basic treatments. These include:

  • Prescription opioid and non-opioid medications
  • Prescription painkillers, muscle relaxants, antiseizure drugs, and some antidepressants

Interventional pain treatments

These are typically outpatient treatment options that can provide long-term pain relief. They are less invasive and have a quicker recovery time than most surgical procedures and are often used when noninterventional treatments fail and invasive surgery is too aggressive.

  • Epidural steroid injections (ESI) or nerve blocks
    Injection of an anesthetic, steroid, and/or anti-inflammatory into the pained area
  • Radiofrequency ablation (RFA)
    RFA is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that uses thermal energy to interrupt pain signals at their source. RFA can be used to treat pain in the back, hips, knees, shoulders, feet, and neck, and can provide months—or even years—of relief. Learn about RFA
  • Spinal cord stimulation (SCS)
    SCS therapy can help manage chronic pain of the lower back and limbs by using mild electrical impulses to interrupt pain signals. Boston Scientific SCS Systems offer more therapy options in a single device than any other system, which provides a greater chance of finding effective, long-term relief for your personal pain. Although a minimally invasive treatment, SCS may also be used to help manage pain that is unresolved—or even caused—by more invasive surgical procedures. Learn about SCS
  • Vertiflex™ Procedure
    The Vertiflex Procedure is a unique treatment clinically proven to provide long-term relief from pain associated with lumbar spinal stenosis. Using a simple, safe, and minimally invasive technique, the small device helps relieve pressure on nerves that cause pain in the lower back and legs. Learn about Vertiflex Procedure

Surgical methods

These are more aggressive procedures that may be necessary to correct structural damage or to relieve pain that does not respond to other treatments.

  • Surgery
    Surgical treatments such as laminectomy and spinal fusion may be needed when structural problems occur within the spinal column. These treatments often require prolonged postoperative hospitalization and rehabilitation.
  • Implantable drug pumps
    Pumps deliver pain medication directly to the space surrounding the spinal cord. The pumps delivering the medication need frequent specialized care.
  • Other surgical procedures
    Often used as a last resort when other therapies fail, some surgical techniques, such as neurolytic blocks with phenol and alcohol, and cordotomy, permanently destroy nerves and tissue that conduct pain. These procedures are most often used to relieve pain due to cancer or other incurable diseases.

Boston Scientific treats many kinds of pain

Depending on the cause of the pain, Boston Scientific offers nonpharmaceutical solutions that can provide relief for many types of pain in the following areas.

Experiencing pain in a different area?

There are many tools available to help you track or learn more about your pain. Speak with your doctor or a pain management specialist to learn about the pain management options that may be right for you.

Find a pain management doctor near you

Use our Doctor Locator to explore pain management specialists in your area. 

Start your search. ⟶

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Our solutions for your relief

Where many one-size-fits-all treatments fail to provide long-term relief, Boston Scientific provides therapies that can be customized to treat your unique pain. The more we can personalize your treatment, the more likely you are to experience lasting pain relief.

SCS therapy uses an implanted device to deliver mild electrical impulses that interrupt pain signals your nerves send through your spinal cord. This can help prevent you from perceiving the pain.

This minimally invasive outpatient procedure uses a small spacer to relieve pain associated with lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS).

RFA is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that uses thermal energy to interrupt pain signals at the source.

Welcome to your relief library

We’ve gathered resources on drug-free pain management. Find pertinent information and answers here. Or reach out to us directly.

Wondering which of our pain management solutions may be right for you?

Take this quick quiz and find out. ⟶