Feeling pain can be … well, a pain.
Just ask Bryon Peterson of Minot, who had been suffering back pain for the past year – that is, until he sought pain management intervention through Trinity Health’s Pain Center.
Peterson injured his back last year when he tried to pick up his jet-ski lift out of the water, overextending his back. He had been in pain for the past year. “I had such a bad pain; it was going down both of my legs,” he said.
In fact, Peterson was about to undergo surgery to help relieve his pain but his “blood pressure went crazy,” leading to a stent. While taking his wife to the Trinity Health Pain Center for her ablation treatment, he took notice of the procedure, which temporarily blocks nerve pain. “I thought, ‘You know, we’ll give it a whirl and see what they say,’ “he said.
Whether it is chronic pain or pain that persists months after the healing process has ended, Trinity Health’s Pain Center can help. The Pain Center includes Michael Templer, MD, who is board-certified in anesthesiology and pain management, and Darcy Christianson, PA-C. They work with patients to find treatment methods that restore the patient’s quality of life. Dr. Templer is an expert in treating pain with interventional procedures.
In April 2019, Peterson met with Christianson, who recommended ablation treatment and scheduled him with Dr. Templer. “They do trial blocks to see if it works – if you feel better – before they go in and do the actual procedure,” Peterson said. “Once you determine it helped, they go ahead and do the actual ablation, which takes a little longer, but it can last six months to a year.”
In addition to nerve blocks, such as the ablation that Peterson had, the Pain Center uses a multimodality approach, using interventional procedures, non-opioid medications, physical therapy and home exercise, and occasional spinal cord stimulation, to name a few.
Patients seen at Trinity Health’s Pain Center can range in age from 20 to 90; younger patients tend to have work- or accident related pain, while older patients face degenerative changes and arthritis. The types of problems can range from herniated discs, sciatica, arthritis, SI joint pain, and spinal stenosis.
“Those are the majority of what we see,” Christianson said.
The treatments for these problems are not always a cure but, like the department’s name suggests, help manage the pain. “Occasionally, patients get long-term relief with one injection, but the injections can be repeated periodically, if needed,” Christianson said.
Following his procedure, Peterson had an appointment at the Pain Center every two weeks to determine if the
ablation was working. If it wasn’t, they would do something different, he said. “They’re ready to make changes if you tell them it’s not working.”
Fortunately, for Peterson, it did work.
“They did a fantastic job, I’m very impressed,” he said, adding that the Pain Center staff “are my new best friends.”
“My back is almost 100 percent,” he added. “I still have to work on my therapy to make sure I’m exercising my back properly, but the pain is gone. I can actually walk upright.”
What Peterson liked about the procedure was that it did not include surgery, which could lead to a long recovery time; with this procedure, the nerve endings are burned, leading to a quicker recovery. Should he begin to feel pain after the six months-to-a-year period, Peterson said he will go in “when the pain becomes so bad I can’t stand anymore.”
Peterson has nothing but good things to say about the Pain Center.
“They treat you like you are the only patient they have, from Sierra and Sara at the front desk back to Dr. Templer,” he said. “The nurses in between, the x-ray guy, everybody. They’re all super people and they all really want to help you.”
Peterson added that more people should know about the Pain Center. “I think that’s half the problem, that people don’t understand what the Pain Center is for,” he said. “Surgery is a big step, and if you can do something without surgery that does the same thing, it may be a better option for people.”
The Trinity Health Pain Center, located at Trinity Health South Ridge, 1500 24th Ave SW, Ste 101, Minot, is referral-based; if you feel you need pain management, please speak with your healthcare provider. For questions about services available at the Pain Center, please 701-857-5150.