Therapies expected to become more popular in spine: 2 pain specialists weigh in

Alan Condon -  

Physiatrists — or physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians — collaborate with spine surgeons to develop personalized treatment plans for patients before and after surgery to optimize outcomes.

Physiatrists are an essential part of multidisciplinary spine teams and use nonsurgical treatments such as pain medications, spinal cord stimulators, epidural spinal injections and facet blocks to help return patients to their normal activities.

Two physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists from Atlanta-based Resurgens Orthopaedics discuss therapies and technologies they expect to become more popular in spine care in the next five years:

Marly Dows-Martinez, MD: I expect both spinal cord stimulation for axial nonsurgical back pain and posterior sacroiliac joint fusion to be leading the way for interventional pain management. The future of chronic spine pain needs to be a collaborative effort between surgeons and interventionalists with both of these technologies leading the way in bridging this gap. Patients desire less invasive options with strong clinical outcomes, with spinal cord stimulation and posterior sacroiliac fusion checking these boxes.

Michele Perez, MD: We need pharmaceutical companies to invest in medications for pain management that are not addictive. There have been very few advances in pain management pharmaceuticals. The companies invest in research for new opioids, longer lasting opioids, more expensive opioids, but never in non-opioid options. With the current culture in the country and the movement away from opioids, physicians need other, safer options for chronic pain that will not lead to abuse and addiction.

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