If you suffer from chronic pain and do not want to be a surgical candidate, St. John’s Medical Group has opened a new Interventional Spine & Pain Management Center at 1022 North Broadway in Yonkers. “We are not an alternative to surgery, or against surgery. Interventional Pain Management is a part of the continuum of care used before patients have surgery and in many instances after surgery. It is a multidisciplinary practice that works best in conjunction with other specialties,” said Dr. Stephen Erosa, DO, a double-board certified interventional pain management specialist.
This is the only Pain Management Center in Westchester County that offers new treatments and solutions to your persistent chronic pain with treatments that are almost always non-pharmaceutical and minimally invasive.
Interventional pain management focuses on targeting the specific cause of a patient’s pain using small, minimally invasive procedures to diagnose, as well as treat, chronic painful conditions without the need for long-term medication use.
“Interventional procedures are not surgeries. They are small, through-the-skin, or percutaneous injections or procedures to provide medications around effective nerves, joints, and areas in and around the spine to help control chronic pain,” explains Dr. Erosa, who has a passion for offering other options to provide patients with pain relief.
Once Dr. Erosa and his colleagues diagnose where a patient’s pain is coming from, they determine the appropriate treatment modality. For example, with neck pain, long-term management may involve radio frequency ablation.
“This is where we place a special needle right next to those nerves and use radio waves to shut down those nerves for nine months to a year, providing sustained pain relief for that period of time,” states Dr. Erosa.
But the Pain Management Center at St. John’s Medical Group offers treatments for all types of pain. “We do have several procedures for joint pains—knee, foot, hip, upper extremities, wrist, elbow, shoulders—that are specific to those areas as well.”
Other Treatments (or Therapies) offered at SJMG’s Pain Management Center include:
Minimally Invasive Lumbar Decompression (MILD) is used to treat spinal stenosis, which arises when the joints of the back become arthritic, and the nerves are squeezed, limiting the flow of blood to the spine (spinal area).
“You may have seen family members walking flexed forward, hunched over as we age. That is part of the body’s mechanism to decrease some of the symptoms. When we flex our back forward, we open the canal. When we stand upright, we make the canal smaller. So, as a protective mechanism, the aging spine tends to bend forward,” said Dr. Erosa, who added that in many cases, conservative therapies like physical therapy and medications produce undesirable side effects such as dizziness or drowsiness.
“When you’re already having difficulty ambulating and walking, sometimes these added effects are not helpful and can actually impede your overall functioning,” notes Dr. Erosa.
Steroid injections are another available therapy, but they can only be administered safely three times a year. The good news is, before individuals need to undergo major surgery, there’s another option: minimally invasive lumbar decompression (MILD).
How Does MILD Work? With MILD, physicians focus on one part of the spinal stenosis: the ligamentum flavum. “Through a small stab incision, a small poke in the skin the size of the baby aspirin, we slide a little trocar and shave a little bit of the bone along with a little bit of that ligament to open up the space,” explains Dr. Erosa. “Everything is done through this small incision. It can open the space and allow for blood flow to restore to those nerves and decrease symptoms of leg pain when ambulating or standing for long periods of time.”
This is a same-day procedure, so patients can return home immediately and resume normal activity 24 hours later. There are no stitches, either. Instead, the incision is closed with a medical glue called Dermabond. Another benefit is that no implants are left behind. Even better is that the MILD procedure is as safe as a steroid injection.
What Can Patients Expect? Once the procedure is complete, patients see more functional gains as time progresses over a six-month period with therapy and exercise. Patients who have benefited from the MILD procedure can get around and stand approximately seven times longer than they did in previous clinical trials—and walk 16 times farther.
“The procedure is very good at improving functional outcomes, as well as decreasing pain by at least 50%. It gets even better with some of the results,” shares Dr. Erosa. “What they found at a five-year data study, 88% of the patients who had this procedure had sustained benefit and only a small percentage of patients went on to needing further surgery.”
St. John’s Medical Group’s Pain Management Center’s Peripheral Nerve Stimulation therapy, which electronically stimulates specific nerves to reprogram and override the pain to potentially provide long-term relief, is “the first of its kind in Yonkers and in lower Westchester.”
“We place a small wire next to the nerve. It stays in for two months and is then removed. We have found this treatment provides sustained relief without medications or permanent implants,” said Dr. Erosa.
While the SJMG’s Interventional Spine & Pain Management Center has only been open for two months, “the word is getting out in the community. We are already treating hundreds of patients. It’s a big deal.”
“We have something else to offer patients with chronic pain, other than opioids. We do something different, and it is especially satisfying to help someone who has exhausted all their treatments and other options,” said Dr. Erosa, who stresses that after treatment, patients need to complete their rehabilitation and home exercises.
With new treatments for pain management under review by the FDA, seeking treatment at SJMG’s Pain Management Center’s ensures that patients will get the most advanced and revolutionary care.
“We are living in exciting times. There are a lot of options for patients. And I just want to let them know we’re here to help. We’re here to offer them the best state-of-the-art treatments and get them the best outcomes possible,” assures Dr. Erosa.
For an appointment at the Interventional Spine & Pain Management Center call (914) 904-4040. For more information visit, bit.ly/44BGZt3.