When you’re suffering, you want a doctor who can help you find solutions to your pain — from head to toe.
Bradley Schulte, M.D., is an interventional pain management specialist at St. Elizabeth. He knows that in his role, he improves the quality of life for people dealing with pain, from joint and nerve pain to migraines and arthritis. “Pain is one of the most common reasons that people seek medical treatment,” Dr. Schulte says.
Neck and lower back pain are the most common conditions that bring patients to a St. Elizabeth Spine Center. Some may have had surgical procedures in the past and are seeking less invasive options to help reduce chronic pain, while others hope to find relief for the first time with a minimally invasive procedure that can prevent major surgery. Most are outpatient procedures done within an hour or less.
• Kyphoplasty: This procedure treats compression fractures in the spine. A small balloon device is inserted into the spine and filled with cement, which repairs the fracture. Treatments must be done between six to eight weeks of the fracture to be effective. “Commonly, patients are pain-free that day,” Schulte says. “It’s not often you can have that quick of a result with that level of satisfaction.”
• MILD (Minimally Invasive Lumbar Decompression): This procedure is used to treat lumbar spinal stenosis, which is often seen in older patients and can include back and leg pain, numbness and weakness. It includes removing small pieces of bone and ligament that could be causing pain.
• SI fusion (Sacroiliac Joint Fusion): This procedure inserts implants to help stabilize pelvis joints that might contribute to back pain.
• Intracept Procedure: This procedure uses radiofrequency heat to deaden nerves that can cause lower back pain. It is minimally invasive and implant-free.
• SCS (Spinal Cord Stimulator): These devices are inserted into areas around the spinal cord and deliver an electronic charge to stimulate the spinal cord. While SCS is a slightly more invasive procedure than others because a battery-like device is installed under the skin, it’s still less invasive than other surgeries. Patients undergo a trial procedure in which temporary devices are inserted in the spinal cord for about a week. If they like the results, the full generator will be installed. SCS can be used after other therapies, including surgery, have failed.
• ITDD (Intrathecal Drug Delivery): Pain relief can be delivered directly to the spine through this procedure. This type of targeted drug therapy can also eliminate the need for additional opioid medications for pain, which many patients hope to avoid due to fears of dependency. Because of the effectiveness of ITDD, if other pain medication is needed, non-opioid analgesics can be a good option.
For patients who don’t require advanced procedures or aren’t ready yet for that option, Schulte’s office offers the full array of regular injections for pain, such as epidural steroid injections for sciatica and Botox for migraine.
Pain doesn’t have to be the central focus of your life. There are multiple options to help at St. Elizabeth Spine Center.
Are you having neck or back pain? St. Elizabeth has Spine Centers in Florence and Highland Heights, Kentucky and Greendale, Indiana. Call 859-212-7000 or visit stelizabeth.com for more information.