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HPC | Hertfordshire Pain Consultants

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Can I have a general anaesthetic for the injections ?

General anaesthetic can pose a risk to health and so should not be used for minor procedures that can be easily carried out under sedation.  Also by being able to communicate with you during the procedure the doctor is alerted to potential problems as they approach sensitive structures (nerves) within the spine, thereby reducing the risk of causing damage.

Will the treatments reduce my pain ?

As with any treatment there is no guarantee that this will eliminate your pain, however our aim is to reduce your pain enough so that your quality of life is returned to previous levels.  This may require a combination of injections, medications and a physical therapy programmne.  There is a balance with any treatment of reducing pain at the cost of causing side effects.  For some people reducing their pain by 50% is enough if there are no side effects.  Other people require higher pain relief but are willing to accept side effects (nausea, constipation, dizziness, sleepiness).  Your pain specialist will tailor treatments to you as an individual.

Why did my G.P not refer me to pain services earlier ?

Pain management is a new medical speciality that has developed as our understanding of chronic pain grows. It has been recognised by the Chief Medical Officer for the United Kingdom that there needs to be a rapid expansion in delivery of pain services but dissemination of this has taken some time. Therefore general practitioners are sometimes unaware of the service.  This is improving with education.

Are Pain Specialist Doctors ?

All pain specialists are doctors.  Pain specialists can come from a variety of backgrounds eg. neurosurgeons, spinal surgeons, rheumatologist, with the large bulk coming from an anaesthetic background.  They have to undergo specific training, assessment and formal examinations.

Our consultant is recognised by four different bodies of medical specialities, Royal College of Physician, Royal College of Anaesthetists, and Faculty of Pain Medicine in the UK and Australia

Why are pain specialists different to surgical specialists like spinal surgeons ?

Spinal surgeons are experienced in surgical treatments, however are unable to give advice with regards to a vast array of non operative treatments, which is the expertise of a pain specialist.  Pain specialists take a holistic approach (looking at whole person, rather than a body part), and advise of treatments to help sleep, mood and function as well as the pain.

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