Pain Management Improves Quality of Life
Cheryl White, M.D., and Abraham Thomas, M.D., Pain Specialists
Everyone experiences pain. It’s not pleasant, but fortunately, for most of us it’s temporary. For those who experience chronic pain, though, it can be debilitating. Cheryl White, M.D., and Abraham Thomas, M.D., two of the board certified pain specialists at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, answer some common questions about treating pain.
Q: Why is pain management so important?
Dr. White: Chronic pain can affect every facet of a person’s life. If someone is in pain, it can damage their family relationships, their performance at work, their enjoyment of life and their ability to sleep. Managing pain is very important, and yet, in general, patients experiencing chronic pain don’t always seek medical attention.
Q: What’s the psychological impact of chronic pain?
Dr. Thomas: Stress and pain go hand-in-hand. If you have pain, you often become stressed out, and then the stress makes the pain worse. But if we can alleviate the pain through treatment, a patient’s outlook brightens. Managing pain can improve quality of life.
Q: What are some of the most common causes of the pain you treat?
Dr. White: We treat a variety of conditions associated with pain, including shingles, fibromyalgia, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, post-surgery pain, chronic regional pain syndrome, and back and neck pain. Because there are so many types of pain – and also because each patient reacts differently to treatments – we take an individualized approach to each case.
Q: What treatments do you use?
Dr. Thomas: Epidural steroid injections are a common and effective treatment for many patients. In some cases we use medications including muscle relaxants, nerve pain medicines and anti-inflammatory medications. We also rely on a variety of procedures to relieve pain, such as radio frequency lesioning (RFL), which burns some of the sensory nerves to block pain transmission, or spinal cord stimulation, a cutting-edge procedure in which electrodes are used to block pain transmission. We may refer patients to physical therapy or have the patient consult a surgeon.
Q: When should a patient seek further treatment?
Dr. White: While not all pain can be cured, it can be managed – especially if back or neck pain is keeping you from taking part in everyday activities. Our team of pain specialists at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s Spine Center will perform a thorough evaluation and formulate a treatment plan specific to your condition.
Suffering from Back or Neck Pain?
Check Out the Spine Center
The new Spine Center is located on the Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital campus with easy access off Town Center Boulevard. Patients with primary care physician referrals, as well as those without referrals, are welcome. For more information or to schedule an appointment at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s Spine Center, please call 281-313-BACK (2225).