Center for Pain Medicine

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Comprehensive Spine Services

The Center for Pain Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital delivers comprehensive, multidisciplinary care for individuals with painful spine disorders and acute or chronic neck and low back pain.

The evaluation and coordination of care for patients with acute and chronic neck and low back pain are the most common services we offer in the Center for Pain Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. We collaborate with the Spine Service within the Mass General Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and the Mass General Department of Neurosurgery to offer comprehensive and coordinated care for patients with painful disorders of the spine.

Gary Brenner, MD, PhD (right), peforms a lumbar epidural injection to a patient with a spinal injury

Gary Jay Brenner, MD, PhD (right), peforms a lumbar epidural injection with the assistance of Diana Rivera, medical assistant (left), to a patient with sciatic pain.

We treat conditions such as:

  • Herniated discs
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Low back pain
  • Work-related injuries
  • Failed back surgery syndrome, which is chronic pain in the legs after spine surgery

Our services include:

  • Comprehensive evaluation and management services for patients with new onset or chronic spine-related pain, as well as patients with persistent pain following spinal surgery
  • Comprehensive interventional spine services, including:
    • Epidural injection of steroids
    • Facet injections and radiofrequency treatment
    • Diagnostic discography
    • Intradiscal electrothermal therapy (IDET)
    • Percutaneous disc decompression
    • Sacroiliac joint injection 
    • Spinal cord stimulation
  • Complete coordination of patient care including medication management, physical therapy, behavioral management and work re-entry. Our goal is to assume overall patient management during the early treatment of patients with acute and chronic back and neck pain and to coordinate long-term care with each individual's primary care provider

What to Expect

During your initial consultation, your care team will conduct a physical examination and review your medical history and treatment objectives. Please complete the new patient questionnaire (PDF) before your visit. We ask that you bring a list of medications, vitamins and herbal supplements that you take, along with information on dosages. Additionally, please bring any medical records, imaging on CDs, consultation notes and notes on previous treatments and their effectiveness. We use this information at the time of your first visit to get a complete picture of you and your overall condition in order to develop an appropriate pain management plan.

Treatment options, including risks and benefits, will be discussed in detail. We will work with you to create your customized treatment plan. Our aim during the consultation is to give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

Scheduling an Appointment

In order to schedule an appointment, you must have a referral from your physician. Once your appointment is scheduled, please fill out the new patient questionnaire (PDF), and bring it and any other records with you to your first appointment.

For Referring Physicians

To refer a patient to our center, please complete a new patient referral form (PDF) and fax it to 617-726-3441. Our goal is to follow up with you within 24 hours of a referral request and to contact your patient within 48 hours to schedule an appointment. Your patient will need to complete a new patient questionnaire (PDF) prior to their visit. This questionnaire will help us evaluate your patient and develop an appropriate pain management plan.

To refer a patient for chronic opioid therapy consultation, fill out the behavioral medicine referral form (PDF), and fax it to 617-726-3441.

Locations

We provide services in Boston and in Waltham. Visit our Waltham site

Mass General Difference

Mass General is consistently ranked among the best hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Our ranking is based on our quality of care, patient safety and reputation in more than a dozen specialties. Our commitment to excellence means that we work to ensure that you receive the best care at all points during your visit.

As an academic medical center, Mass General invests in research to understand disease and develop new approaches in treatment. Our doctors are leaders within their respective fields, and collaborate with colleagues in various departments across the hospital. As a patient, you benefit from shared expertise, leading research, and our commitment to quality and excellence.

Range of Therapies

The Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Pain Medicine treats both acute and chronic low back and neck pain with a range of therapies. Acute pain is pain that has been present for less than 12 weeks. We may use traditional treatments such as medication, injections and physical therapy to treat your pain. Injections such as epidural steroid injections, facet joint injections, piriformis injections, sacroiliac joint injections and trigger point injections treat pain by delivering anti-inflammatory medicine to affected areas. 

Pain that lasts more than 12 weeks is considered to be chronic pain. We may recommend more intensive treatments, such as spinal cord stimulators or radiofrequency ablation, to address these conditions. Spinal cord stimulation is an advanced therapy that reduces pain through a small device implanted in the back. This device sends electrical pulses to the spinal cord, interfering with the nerve impulses that make you feel pain.

Radiofrequency ablation delivers heat to nerve tissues surrounding a joint. This heat destroys the nerve tissue, interrupting pain signals. Radiofrequency ablation can deliver long-lasting relief, but as nerves regenerate, additional treatment may be necessary.

A Patient-centered, Collaborative Approach

Your care team is made up of board-certified doctors who have received additional specialty training in pain medicine, fellows who are undergoing specialty training, psychologists and psychiatrists.

We work with you, your referring physician and your care team to coordinate all aspects of your care, including medication management, physical therapy, behavioral management and work re-entry. We provide comprehensive care at all stages of your condition.

Acute and chronic back and neck pain may affect all aspects of your life and can cause additional stress. If needed, we will connect you with a psychologist in our center who specializes in pain management. Your psychologist will work closely with your care team to understand and inform your treatment plan.

We also help patients who rely on opioids to treat their conditions. It may be your goal to transition from opioid therapy to alternative forms of treatment. Learn more about our opioid therapy services 

Access to Expert Care

The care team at the Center for Pain Medicine comprises physicians who are defining the field of pain medicine. Our doctors conduct well-known innovative research on methods to improve pain management, serve in leadership positions at relevant medical societies, speak at national and international conferences, publish frequently and teach courses on trends in pain medicine.

Research and Innovation

In addition to seeing patients, doctors within our center also conduct research on pain management options to further improve the field of pain medicine.  Ask your doctor if you qualify to participate in any available studies or trials.

Center for Pain Medicine

Wang Ambulatory Care Center
Suite 340
15 Parkman Street
Boston, MA 02114

Phone: 617-726-8810
Fax: 617-726-3441

Public Transportation Access: yes
Disabled Access: yes

We are also located at:

Mass General West
Center for Pain Medicine
Specialty Suite, Third Floor
40 Second Avenue
Waltham, MA 02451
Phone: 617-726-8810
Fax: 617-726-3441

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