Treatment Modalities

The physicians at the Center for the Study and Treatment of Pain (CSTP) at NYU Langone Medical Center provide a comprehensive, pain focused evaluation for the chronic pain patient, which helps to determine the best course of treatment for each individual patient.

Our specialists provide pharmacological, physical, interventional, and psychological treatments in a caring and supportive environment.  All of our physicians have trained in the subspecialty of Pain Medicine.  A psychologist experienced in chronic pain management provides services when necessary.

Our goal is to return patients to the most optimal level of functioning while keeping them and their families informed about the conditions that affect the patient, as well as the available treatments.

Types of Therapy


Medication

The most common analgesics include anti-inflammatory analgesics, opioids, and nerve pain medications, as well as antidepressants.  Patients that have previously become dependent are carefully withdrawn from drugs that may have contributed to their dysfunction over time.  If appropriate, the patient is placed on a time dependent schedule of non-addictive, non-narcotic analgesics.  Other drugs may supplement these if they are required.  Some patients may take long-term opioids as needed if they demonstrate improvement.  Every effort is made to minimize side effects and interference with a normal lifestyle.


Nerve Blocks and Trigger Point Injections

These are local anesthetics and/or steroid injections that can provide diagnostic and therapeutic value.  They may act to interrupt pain transmission, relax muscles, and decrease inflammation, as well as allow proper physical therapy to be engaged.  During the lesser-pain periods, physical therapy is initiated and normal activity is resumed.


Psychological Treatments

Cognitive behavioral treatment is often helpful in minimizing the suffering associated with chronic pain and improving quality of life.  Specific strategies may include relaxation training, hypnosis, cognitive restructuring, and individual and group counseling.


Rehabilitation

A frequent accompaniment of chronic pain is a distinct restriction of daily activities, including reducing one’s ability to work, perform household duties, and simply enjoy life.  These changes are usually thought to be consequences of the pain and may lead to further disability.  A gradually increasing program of range of motion therapy, muscle strengthening, massage, and proper postural training is often beneficial in helping the patient return to a more normal way of life.


Implantable Devices

Implantable medication devices deliver analgesia directly to the nerves to alleviate chronic and cancer pain.


Spinal Cord Stimulation

Electrodes are placed in the spine to reduce pain conduction at the spinal level.  This treatment works particularly well for nerve pain.


Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)

This electrical device, developed specifically for pain relief, provides a safe and painless level of electrical stimulation that interferes with pain transmission and perception.  It is worn and regulated by the patient.


Radiofrequency Lesioning

Nerve ablating blocks are performed safely and effectively with radiofrequency ablation.  This can be effective for nerve or osteoarthritic pain.


Traditional Chinese Medicine

The fundamental theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine, also known as TCM, says that there is an energy force flowing throughout the body. This force, known as Qi (pronounced “chee”), comprises all of the essential aspects of life—physical, emotional, and spiritual.