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If you’ve been in an auto accident, you not only experienced the frightening event, you likely sustained injuries, and if you’re like many victims, you may have ongoing pain. Often, this pain lingers even after your obvious injuries heal, which can be frustrating at the least, and debilitating at the most.
Dr. Jay M. Shah at SamWell Institute for Pain Management in Colonia and Livingston, New Jersey, specializes in evidence-based and innovative treatments that help car crash victims manage and resolve their untreated pain. Here are a variety of minimally invasive and non-surgical treatments Dr. Shah uses to ease your symptoms. Trigger point injections
At the moment a car accident occurs (and often during the few moments preceding it), your body braces for impact, and your muscles spring into action. Even if you’re blindsided and have no warning of the oncoming impact, once metal meets metal, all your muscles react to the force, and the traumatic experience may cause trigger points to develop in your muscle tissue.
Trigger points are highly sensitive spots, sometimes called knots, in your muscles and other connective tissues that hurt when you press on them. Trigger points can also send referred pain to other parts of your body, causing a condition called myofascial pain syndrome.
To relieve this type of pain, Dr. Shah may recommend a trigger point injection. He uses an extremely slender needle to inject lidocaine to numb the trigger point and give you immediate relief, and he may also add a steroid to the injection to reduce inflammation.
It’s common for auto accident victims to experience ongoing pain in their back and neck, as well as major joints, like their hips and knees. Often, the pain you feel in your lower back and legs stems from a problem in your spine, the hub of all your nerves.
To bathe those irritated, painful nerves in soothing, numbing medication, Dr. Shah performs an epidural steroid injection, which delivers medication directly into the epidural space in your spine. Live X-ray guidance helps him target the precise area that needs the treatment.
Like a trigger point injection, an epidural injection contains lidocaine to instantly numb the nerve, and a corticosteroid to ease the inflammation and bring you long-lasting relief.
If you experience neck pain, headaches, or severe back pain flat across your back after your whiplash injury, Dr. Shah may consider you a candidate for radiofrequency ablation. This treatment is especially effective for pain that radiates from your neck into the back of your head with headaches, from your neck to your shoulders, or from your lower back to your hips, and stems from severe joint inflammation from facet joints in the cervical and lumbar spines.
Pain that feels better when you lie down and worse when you lift something, twist, or flex or extend your neck or back may also respond well to radiofrequency ablation.
Radiofrequency ablation, also called rhizotomy, is a technique that sends radiofrequency energy into the area where your affected nerves reside, and gently heats them up so they stop sending pain signals in the small joints in the neck and back. Dr. Shah uses advanced imaging technology to guide the needle with precision to the targeted nerve or nerves. If rhizotomy works for you, you may enjoy pain relief for up to two years, and this procedure can be repeated in a non-surgical fashion.
Surgery is never considered the first option for pain relief, but when other measures fail, a surgically implanted spinal cord stimulator (SCS) may be the next-level treatment that works for for refractory neck, back and nerve pain in to the arms or legs.
The SCS precise doses of low-voltage electrical energy to stop your nerves from sending pain signals to your brain, shutting off the pain at the source. If Dr. Shah determines you’re a good candidate for SCS, he will recommend a seven-day trial period to find out if it stops your pain or to assess if you are a candidate for the long term device placement.
During the trial phase, Dr. Shah places two small wires into a safe space in the back that stimulates the nerves that are causing your pain. He then gives you an external remote device to help you activate and control the low-voltage electrical energy over a 1 week period.
After a week, if the trial is successful and your pain has improved by at least 50%, Dr. Shah guides the lead wires into your back in a more permanent way and uses a minimally invasive technique to implant a small battery in your flank area. Once he connects the leads to the generator, he closes the two incisions and your pain level decreases significantly long term.
To find out if one of these cutting-edge treatments can make your post-car accident pain resolve or subside, schedule a consultation with Dr. Shah — book your appointment online, or call us at either location today.
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