Benefits and Risks of Interventional Pain Therapies: What to Know


Interventional pain therapies are a type of treatment that is used to help relieve chronic pain. These include spinal cord stimulation (SCS), peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) and radiosurgery. Dr. Michael Poss, these therapies can be helpful for people who have failed other treatments, including medication and physical therapy. However, these treatments do carry some risks and their effects may vary from person to person.

There are many different types of pain-relieving therapies that have been researched in recent years.

  • Injections. These are injections of medication into the spine or other areas where nerves carry signals from the body to the brain, causing pain when they’re damaged or irritated.
  • Radiation therapy. This treatment uses X-rays or other types of radiation to destroy nerve tissue around damaged nerves, which helps reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Surgery: A surgeon may remove part or all of a damaged disc in your neck (decompression), fuse vertebrae together with metal plates and screws (fusion), or place an artificial disc between two vertebrae (interbody fusion).
  • Physical therapy: Physical therapists can help with stretching exercises for back muscles that support your spine; strengthening exercises for abdominal muscles; learning how to sit correctly at work so that you don’t strain your back muscles; managing stress levels through meditation or yoga classes; improving posture by wearing supportive shoes every day–the list goes on!

Interventional pain therapies are not without risks.

Interventional pain therapies are not without risks. Some risks are common, some are rare and depend on the type of therapy and your health. The risks also depend on the condition being treated and your age and overall health.

  • Common risks associated with interventional pain therapies include bleeding, infection or reaction to anesthesia (such as nausea, vomiting or dizziness). These can be managed by your doctor before you have the procedure done so they don’t interfere with getting relief from pain.*
  • Less common but more serious complications include damage to nerves or blood vessels near where an injection is given; organ injury; nerve damage if an epidural steroid injection goes too deep into tissue surrounding nerves; spinal cord compression caused by worsening arthritis in cervical vertebrae; nerve root irritation from prolonged use of interlaminar epidural catheters that deliver steroids directly into spinal fluid spaces between vertebrae.*

An interventional therapy that may be right for you depends on your doctor’s recommendation and your condition.

An interventional pain therapy is any procedure that uses a needle or catheter to inject medication into the soft tissues near your spine. There are several types of these therapies, including epidural steroid injections, nerve blocks, facet injections and radiofrequency ablations (RFAs).

An interventional pain therapy may be right for you if:

  • You have chronic back pain that hasn’t responded well to other treatments like physical therapy or medications like painkillers and antidepressants.
  • Your doctor recommends it after conducting an assessment of your condition and discussing possible risks and benefits with you.

If you’re considering an interventional pain therapy, talk to your doctor about potential risks, benefits and side effects.

If you are considering an interventional pain therapy, be sure to discuss the risks, benefits and side effects with your doctor. The risks, benefits and side effects vary depending on the type of therapy you are considering and your condition.


Interventional pain therapies are an important part of the treatment options available for patients with chronic pain. They can be effective and help people live a better life, but they also come with risks and side effects. If you’re considering an interventional therapy, talk to your doctor about potential risks, benefits and side effects before starting treatment.

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