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Addressing Every Pain Point

Back pain permeates every aspect of a person’s health: physical, mental and emotional. Hoag’s Pain Management Services at the Hoag Spine Institute are just as far-reaching, addressing back and neck pain to help return you to your highest quality of life.

Charles De Mesa, D.O., M.P.H., serves as chief of interventional pain, physical medicine & rehabilitation at the Hoag Spine Institute. Bridging both worlds means Dr. De Mesa can work alongside the multidisciplinary spine team to give back and neck pain the comprehensive and complete attention it demands.

“Pain is a useful alarm, and it lets you know when something is wrong. But for some that alarm system is malfunctioning,” Dr. De Mesa said. “The approach we have to have is to carefully listen to the patient and address the issues that have impacted their quality of life through predominantly non-pharmacological options before considering medications, if necessary.”

And when patients do require medication, board-certified pain medication experts at Hoag can help guide them safely to relief. Aaron Przybysz, M.D., recently joined Hoag as a double board-certified anesthesiologist and pain medicine physician.

He said he was drawn to Hoag’s dedication to providing patients with the highest quality multidisciplinary, evidence-based and patient-centered pain management care.

“Every patient is unique, and every pain management plan should be tailored to meet patients’ needs, lifestyles and goals,” Dr. Przybysz said.

Hoag’s team at the Hoag Spine Institute offers a variety of non-surgical, cutting-edge treatment options for back and neck pain that include:

  • Neuromodulation. Hoag is a leader in implanting devices that use electrical pulses to stimulate key nerves and muscles, including those responsible for stabilizing the lower back. Some implants target common chronic back pain which degenerates a person’s multifidus muscle – a series of small, triangular muscle bundles located on either side of the spinal column. Other implants reduce pain along the knee, ankle/foot, shoulder and head and neck.
  • Ablation and Neurotomy. Precision stunning and/or burning of small nerves within the spine can result in immediate pain reduction.
  • Injections. Joint, muscle, spine and nerve injections are all tools in your pain team’s toolbox to alleviate pain. Hoag offers the latest technology to provide lasting relief for pain throughout the body, including the C-arm, a device that uses fluoroscopy-guidance to precisely pinpoint the location to maximize injection success.

Hoag’s pain management services also include non-pharmacologic, non-surgical and non-invasive approaches to pain management, including:

  • Physical Therapy. Hoag’s stellar physical therapists work with people contending with back and neck, as well as pain all over the body, from pelvic floor to back pain, joint and limb pain.
  • Virtual Reality. Hoag is pioneering the use of Virtual Reality (VR) in the treatment and management of pain, helping surgery patients recover faster and guiding labor and delivery patients through relief.
  • Diet and exercise. “Even small alterations to your diet, exercise regime and sleep can help you manage chronic back pain,” Dr. De Mesa said. “Medication, injections and surgery are always options, but small adjustments to your lifestyle can lead to significant improvements in your pain.”
  • Mindfulness. Meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy can help you learn to control your response to life’s stressors. “Managing stress is important because stress and pain are a two-way street. Pain triggers the release of stress hormones, which makes muscles tighten up – causing you to experience more pain,” Dr. De Mesa said.

To learn more about back pain and treatment options, listen to Dr. DeMesa’s Empowered by Hoag podcast

Learn more about pain management at the Hoag Spine Institute