Prospects for pain medicine in 4 elements


Pain medicine and spine care can work in tandem, and their success will involve four key elements, according to one spine surgeon.

"Pain medicine is navigating an era of unprecedented progress, and one of the key driving forces behind this evolution is the collaborative relationship between pain specialists and spine surgeons," Michael Oh, MD, of Orange, Calif.-based UCI Health, said. "If these two disciplines can work together, innovative approaches can be fostered to enhance patient outcomes and provide a more comprehensive approach to managing spine-related pain."

Dr. Oh outlined four aspects of pain medicine's future:

1. Integrated care protocols that seamlessly blend the expertise of pain specialists and spine surgeons: Collaborative decision-making processes will lead to more holistic treatment plans, considering both surgical and nonsurgical interventions to address complex spine conditions comprehensively, he said.

2. Minimally invasive techniques: The ongoing trend toward minimally invasive techniques in both pain medicine and spine surgery is set to continue, he said. Collaborative efforts will refine and expand these procedures with appropriate guardrails, providing patients with less invasive options that offer quicker recovery times, reduced postoperative pain and improved overall outcomes.

3. Advancements in neuromodulation: The synergy between pain medicine and spine surgery is particularly evident in the field of neuromodulation, he said. As both disciplines contribute to refining spinal cord stimulation and other neuromodulatory techniques, patients will benefit from more effective and tailored interventions. 

4. Research and innovation: Collaborative efforts between interventional pain medicine and spine surgery will drive research initiatives at the intersection of these two disciplines, he said. These efforts will hopefully decrease the prevalence of failed back syndrome. 

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