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According to the National Institutes of Health, back pain is one of the most common medical problems, affecting 8 out of 10 people at some point during their lives. In fact, Americans see their doctors for low back pain more than any other reason except the common cold and flu.

Dr. Edward Apicella, Anesthesiologist and Pain Management physician is the founder of the Albany & Saratoga Centers for Pain Management. He has treated thousands of patients with back pain since opening his practice in 1997. “Although women and men experience overall pain at similar rates, women more often seek treatment for their painful conditions including back pain. Women also play the role of care coordinators for family members more than their male counterparts,” noted Dr. Apicella.

The causes of spine-related pains such as back and neck pain are numerous and range from the extreme, like lifting a heavy object or being involved in an accident, to the very ordinary, like moving too quickly or sitting too long in one position. A number of medical conditions contribute to back pain, such as a narrowing of the spinal canal called spinal stenosis, ruptured, herniated, or degenerating discs, poor alignment of the vertebrae and small fractures to the spine from osteoporosis.

Pain can range from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp pain. Acute pain comes on suddenly and usually lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Pain is called chronic if it lasts for more than three months.

“Conservative treatments such as the application of ice and heat along with the use of anti-inflammatory medications should be used as a first-line measure. Exercise including core-strengthening exercises and weight loss are also helpful. Patients may also derive benefit from chiropractic care, physical therapy and pain counseling. When these conservative measures fail, that’s where we come in,” noted Dr. Apicella.

The practice employs three physicians who practice Interventional Pain Medicine which focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of pain by applying minimally invasive techniques that target structures mediating pain. The goal of this approach is to reduce or eliminate pain and to help patients quickly return to their daily activities without heavy reliance on medications.

All new patients receive a thorough consultation including a review of the patient’s pain history, treatments to date and an explanation of their condition. Dr. Martin Ferrillo, partner in the practice comments, “We formulate a treatment plan that will most often include diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, make medication adjustments if needed and coordinate care with our partners in physical therapy, chiropractic care, primary care and a variety of other specialists. We also empower our patients to be active decision makers in their own care.”

The practice’s website educates patients on the differences between diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Diagnostic procedures generally involve introducing a needle at the location of nerves that supply painful areas. The primary goal of these procedures is to decide if the particular area is involved in the generation of pain.

Therapeutic procedures attempt to take results from diagnostic interventions and produce long-term relief of pain. Epidural steroid injections, facet joint injections, nerve blocks and peripheral nerve blocks are just some examples of therapeutic approaches. “We want to make a significant impact on our patients’ ability to regain their active lifestyles. These procedures are very helpful in getting them one step closer to that goal,” noted Dr. Ferrillo.

Besides back and neck pain the practice treats chronic pain stemming from Sciatica, Peripheral Neuropathies, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Migraines and other headaches, Joint Pain, Post-Herpetic Neuralgia, Trigeminal Neuralgia, Arthritis, Failed Back Surgery Pain amongst others.

Dr. Priti Vohra joined the practice in 2010 and practices in both offices. She explains that, “Women have a unique set of pain problems resulting from Post-Mastectomy Pain Syndrome, Endometriosis, Post-Menopausal Osteoporosis and Vulvadynia. Other chronic pain disorders more common in women include Fibromyalgia, Myofacial Pain and Pelvic Pain.

Although interventional pain techniques are effective in most cases, patients unresponsive to the approaches previously listed may find that Neurostimulation is an effective option. Neurostimulation works by intercepting pain signals before they reach the brain. To do this, a small system similar to a cardiac pacemaker is implanted within the body sending pleasant sensations that replace painful symptoms.

Dr. Apicella and his colleagues take pride in offering a wide range of options for people in pain. He encourages patients to reach out to their primary care and specialty providers to help them find answers for pain.

For more information, contact either of the locations. In Saratoga, 3 Care Lane, Phone 518-682-2240, Fax 518-682-2243, and in Albany, 116 Everett Road, Phone 518-463-0171, Fax 518-463-0174, or on the web at ASCPM.com.

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