Explore Our Program

About the Program

At the Pain Management Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, we offer a range of therapies to treat pain at all levels and specialize in advanced techniques to treat complex, cancer-related pain. Pain control is an integral part of a patient’s care, and improved pain relief helps a patient follow his or her treatment plan more successfully.

Our therapies include:

  • Nerve blocks
    These are procedures designed to alleviate pain by numbing the nerves responsible for transmitting pain signals. Medication is used to temporarily block these nerves. Common targets being the brachial plexus (for upper extremity pain) and intercostal nerves (for chest and chest wall pain).
  • Neurolytic blocks
    Neurolytic blocks involve targeting specific nerves or nerve plexuses for pain relief by using medications that essentially destroy or deactivate them. Common targets include the celiac plexus, superior hypogastric plexus, and ganglion impar.
  • Spinal drug delivery
    This procedure aims to manage pain by continuously delivering medication directly to the spinal cord through a small, implanted pump. For advanced cancer patients, spinal drug delivery offers effective pain relief with a lower dose of oral medication, potentially minimizing side effects like drowsiness and reduced mental clarity.
  • Spinal cord stimulation
    Spinal cord stimulation involves small implantable leads that deliver mild electrical impulses to nerves in the spinal cord to alleviate pain. This procedure may be considered for treating nerve-type pain associated with cancer.
  • Peripheral nerve stimulation
    Peripheral nerve stimulation is a technique that involves the use of small electrodes to send mild electrical impulses, alleviating pain by targeting nerves in the peripheral nervous system. This system may either be reversible or permanent.

By using imaging technology, our specialists can identify target areas and deliver pain relief more effectively to patients.

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 different 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 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.

Our Approach

Our care team is comprised of board-certified doctors who have received specialty training in pain medicine, fellows who are undergoing specialty training, nurses, nurse practitioners, psychologists and psychiatrists. We work with the Mass General Cancer Center and the Mass General Palliative Care team to provide comprehensive, coordinated patient care. This collaboration brings together clinicians from multiple disciplines to provide expert assessment on patients’ conditions and recommend advanced therapies for patients with complex needs. We are guided by our philosophy to improve quality of life for our patients and aid them with their medical decision making.

Research and Innovation

Physicians in the Mass General Pain Management Center 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.

Patients may have the opportunity to participate in clinical research. If you are interested in participating in a study, your doctor can help determine whether you qualify, and will provide you with detailed information to review.

Preparing for the Appointment

During your consultation, your care team will conduct a physical examination and review your medical history. If you are a new patient, we ask that you bring a list of the medications, vitamins and herbal supplements that you take, along with information on dosages. Additionally, please bring any medical records, CDs of images, 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 to develop an appropriate pain management plan that is tailored to your needs.