As an anesthesiologist and pain physician, I understand the complexity of pain management procedures required for chronic pain disease. Chronic pain is a disease like others such as hypertension and cardiac disease. Several interventional pain procedures can be dangerous, even in the hands of the most specially trained interventional physicians, as they are performed near or around the spinal cord and surrounding nerves.
Potential complications from pain procedures include allergic reactions, infections, bleeding, nerve damage, spinal cord injuries (e.g., paralysis) and brain stem tissue damage. In addition, pain services include complex prescription medication regimens involving opioids. With the escalating use of prescription drug abuse in the U.S., it is critical for chronic pain physicians to determine the appropriate multimodal pharmacological therapies, taking into consideration the complex co-morbities that these patients have.