Explore Treatment Program

About the Program

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 Pain Management Center 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.

Mass General Difference

Mass General is consistently ranked as a top hospital in the nation 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. We provide training to the next leaders of the pain field during their training as fellows, residents, and medical students. As a patient, you benefit from shared expertise, leading research, and our commitment to quality and excellence. 

Conditions We Treat

We treat conditions such as:

  • Arthritis
  • Failed back surgery syndrome, which is chronic pain in the legs after spine surgery
  • Herniated discs
  • Low back pain
  • Pinched nerves
  • Sciatica
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Work-related injuries

Our Services

Treatments and services performed by our specialists include:

  • Behavioral management
  • Comprehensive evaluation and interdisciplinary care for patients with new onset or chronic spine-related pain, as well as patients with persistent pain following spinal surgery
  • Dorsal root ganglion stimulation therapy
  • Epidural injection of steroids
  • Facet injections
  • Medication management
  • Neuromodulation, including spinal cord stimulation
  • Peripheral nerve stimulation under ultrasound
  • Physical therapy
  • Radiofrequency therapy
  • Sacroiliac joint injection
  • Selective nerve root block
  • Spinal cord stimulation
  • 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.

Range of Therapies

The Mass General Pain Management Center 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.

Individualized Chronic Pain Treatment 

To achieve the most significant improvement in chronic pain and function, we may refer you to additional services, including but not limited to: surgical evaluation (specifically, neurosurgery or orthopedic surgery), physical medicine and rehabilitation, pain rehabilitation program, and neurology.

Patient Experience

During your initial consultation, your care team will conduct a physical examination and review your medical history and treatment objectives. 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. We follow the MGH Patient Bill of Rights.

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.

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Access to Expert Care

The care team at the Pain Management Center 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.

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