pain management at SSM Health St. Mary's

Pain Management

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If you have serious pain that persists, our team can help gain your life back with safe, responsible pain management. We recognize that managing chronic or severe pain is an important part of providing health care, and improving your daily life. Our team of specialists work with you and your primary care physician to design a treatment plan to responsibly provide the best level of pain care. Treatment may include medications taken orally or by injection, or more advanced procedures to reduce or block the pain.

​Contact SSM Health Spine & Pain Management Center at 573-681-3759  or request an appointment. ​

​​What is chronic pain?

Pain is an unpleasant sense of discomfort somewhere in the body. Chronic pain is that same discomfort, but it persists or progresses over a long period of time. In contrast to acute pain that arises suddenly in response to a specific injury and is usually treatable, chronic pain persists over time and is often resistant to medical treatments. When the pain interferes with activities of daily living, it is time to seek treatment.

Chronic pain often is associated with other diagnosed conditions, including arthritis, cancer, diabetes, fibromyalgia, migraines, sciatica, shingles and more. It also may result from a traumatic injury.

Pain Management Treatments

Epidural Steroid Injection for Lumbar, Thoracic or Cervical

  • Also referred to as an epidural block, pain medication is injected in to the epidural space around your spinal cord and spinal nerves, stopping​ the nerves from transmitting pain signal
  • Used to treat: neck, mid-back, lower back pain and radiating pain.

Sympathetic Nerve Blocks

  • An injection of anesthetic into different nerves to determine if there is damage to the sympathetic nerve chain.
  • Used to treat: nerve pain, reflex sympathetic dystrophy or complex regional pain syndrome in the arms or legs.

Trigger Point Injections

  • Injection of a local anesthetic into a tight band of muscles (called a trigger point) to alleviate pain.
  • Used to treat: extremely painful areas of muscle, specifically in the arms, legs, lower back, and neck.

Intercostal Nerve Block

  • Injection of a local anesthetic between the two ribs where the intercostal nerve is located, temporarily blocking or disrupting painful nerve impulses.
  • Used to treat: upper back, chest and rib pain.

Facet Joint Injection

  • A small amount of anesthetic and anti-inflammatory medication is injected in the area of the facet joint.
  • Used to treat: neck, back, or leg pain caused by inflammation, irritation, or arthritis of the facet joints.

Radiofrequency Denervation

  • Heat energy is used to alter small sensory nerves around the spinal joints that are causing pain.
  • Used to treat: lower back pain.

Selective Nerve Root Block

  • The region around an irritated nerve root is isolated and injected with an anti-inflammatory medication.
  • Used to treat: symptoms of a herniated disc, sciatica, or swelling/irritation of the nerve roots.

Sacro-Iliac Joint Injections

  • An injection of cortisone into the joints in the lower back.
  • Used to treat: lower back pain from inflammation and/or swelling of the joint tissue.

Spinal Cord/Peripheral Nerve Stimulation

  • A pacemaker-sized stimulator device is surgically implanted under the skin. It electrically activates a pain-inhibiting process and causes a tingling sensation that masks pain. The stimulator sends pulsed electrical signals to the spinal cord to control chronic pain.
  • Used to treat: lower back pain and leg pain.

Intrathecal Pain Pumps

  • Like the spinal cord stimulator, an intrathecal pump is a pacemaker-sized specialized device that is surgically implanted under the skin. The pump delivers concentrated amounts of pain-relieving medications into the spinal fluid area through a small catheter (tubing).
  • Used to treat: lower back pain

Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty

  • These are minimally invasive procedures for vertebral compression fractures that occur in the small bones that make up the spinal column. The fractures are most common in people with the bone-thinning condition osteoporosis. In vertebroplasty, physicians inject a special cement mixture through a needle into the fractured bone. In kyphoplasty, a balloon is first inserted through the needle into the fractured bone to create a cavity or space to restrict where the cement goes.
  • Used to treat: vertebral compression fractures. 

Piriformis Injections

  • Injection temporarily eliminates pain by stopping muscle spasm, helping to determine if piriformis muscle contractures are involved in the cause of the pain.
  • Used to treat: buttock and sciatica-type pains.

Ganglion Impar Block

  • Injection of a steroid and anesthetic around the ganglion impar nerves in the lower spine to block pain impulses.
  • Used to treat: chronic pelvic pain


  • A pressure gauge measures the pressure of the spinal discs to identify the source of pain, then contrast dye is injected to determine the shape of the disc.
  • Used to: determine the source of persistent spinal pain and identify the best treatment method


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