The UAB Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine provides safe and effective pain management services, with a focus on improving the health and well-being of each patient. We recognize the effects of the nation’s opioid crisis, so we support a patient-centered approach to pain management that includes responsible opioid prescribing practices. Our services are divided into two groups: the Inpatient Pain Service and the outpatient Pain Treatment Clinic at UAB Hospital-Highlands.
The Inpatient Pain Service provides in-hospital consults for patients with acute pain (sudden, often temporary), along with anesthesia and pain management services for patients undergoing surgery at UAB Hospital. The primary goals are excellent patient care and effective management of acute pain, to enhance recovery and help patients return home faster after surgery or a hospital stay. Our service uses ultrasound-guided techniques for nerve blocks that help us deliver safer and more effective pain relief, and we perform more than 6,000 nerve blocks each year. Our acute pain treatment services are available for patients undergoing many types of surgeries, including orthopaedic, gynecologic, trauma, thoracic, vascular, plastic, and general surgical procedures.
The types of pain blocks and related services performed by the Inpatient Pain Service include:
- Upper and lower extremity blocks
- Paravertebral and erector spinae plane blocks
- Transverse abdominis plane blocks
- Spinal and epidural blocks
- Nerve block catheter techniques
- Nerve stimulation techniques
- Other acute pain treatment procedures
Our outpatient Pain Treatment Clinic is conveniently located at UAB Hospital-Highlands, which offers easy access and free parking. It focuses on managing pain for patients with both acute and chronic (ongoing) pain, and it is staffed by physicians who have trained extensively in pain management. The clinic’s range of services includes traditional therapies such as epidural steroid injections, joint and bursa injections, muscular trigger point injections, and nerve blocks. For patients with more severe or persistent pain, we offer advanced treatments such as high-frequency spinal cord stimulation and dorsal root ganglion stimulation.
The types of treatments and related services performed by the Pain Treatment Clinic for chronic and acute pain include:
- Lumbar and cervical epidural steroid injections for disc problems, spinal stenosis, and chronic back pain
- Facet medical branch blocks for back pain and degenerative joint disease
- Sympathetic ganglion blocks for complex regional pain syndrome
- Sacroiliac joint, hip, and knee injections for degenerative joint disease
- Trigger point injections for muscle pain
- Radiofrequency nerve ablation
- Spinal cord stimulator implantation
- Outpatient consults
- Pain psychology assessments and cognitive behavior therapy
Treating pain effectively requires comprehensive and specialized care. The physicians and staff of the UAB Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine offer the latest in pain management techniques, backed by the expertise, knowledge, and research of one of the country’s largest academic medical centers. In both the hospital and the clinic, the needs of each patient are carefully considered, and we design each treatment plan to provide the best possible results.
We understand that relief from pain is critical to recovery. Our approach combines compassionate care with image-guided procedures, physical therapy, psychological assistance, medication, and ongoing consults with your primary care physicians. Our program puts less emphasis on opioid medications and tries to help patients improve their enjoyment of life by focusing on daily exercise, better nutrition, and stress reduction through cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness techniques.
Our innovative physicians and researchers continue to advance the field of pain management with studies that explore new therapies and treatment approaches, which may give patients access to treatments not yet available at most medical centers. We work closely with the departments of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Orthopaedics, Neurology, Psychiatry, and Palliative Care to provide complete care for our patients.
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