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About Chronic Pain

One thing about pain — you know it when you have it. And if you suffer from constant chronic pain, over time it wears you down — physically, mentally, emotionally. However, you may not know what kind or what category of pain you have.

There are 2 main categories of pain — both of which can be mild, moderate, or severe:

  • Acute pain: Occurs immediately after an injury and lasts no longer than 2 months when treated properly.
  • Chronic pain: Any type of pain that lasts 6 months or longer. Chronic pain is often difficult to treat, because the cause can be hard to determine. It can also vary from one person to the next — individuals with seemingly the same kind of chronic pain may need different treatments.

Managing Chronic Pain

The treatment option that will work best for you depends on your type of pain, how severe it is, and how you respond to pain treatment. The fact is, only a doctor can determine if you are a good candidate for various pain treatment options. Pain Management Specialists are doctors who specialize in treating chronic pain. These doctors receive years of advanced, specialized training in pain management and focus on treating patients with severe pain.


There are three levels of pain, and each may have different forms of treatment. Usually, your doctor will follow a treatment plan that begins with basic therapies (like resting and nutrition) and progresses to more aggressive solutions, depending on the type and severity of pain. The treatment plan also depends on how you respond to any particular treatment.


Basic pain treatments

  • Rest and diet changes.
  • Exercise and physical therapy.
  • Acupuncture, massage, and spinal adjustment.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., Ibuprofen).
  • Cognitive and behavioral modification.

Mid-level pain treatments

  • Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)
    A quick, reversible, outpatient procedure that uses thermal energy to interrupt pain signals at their source. RFA is often used to treat arthritis-related pain of the back and knee. Relief typically lasts six to twelve months, but in some cases can last for years. Learn more »
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
  • Medications
    Opioids, as well as muscle relaxants, anti-seizure drugs, and some antidepressants.
  • Opioids
    Prescription painkillers.
  • Nerve blocks
    Injection of an anesthetic, steroid, and/or anti-inflammatory into the pained area.

advanced pain treatments

  • Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS)
    SCS, also known as nerve stimulation, or neurostimulation, uses electrical signals to interrupt the perception of pain traveling from the painful area to the brain. With traditional SCS systems, in place of pain, patients feel a soothing, massage-like sensation called "paresthesia." Boston Scientific is the first company to offer an SCS system that is able to deliver both paresthesia and paresthesia-free therapy in one device at the same time. SCS may provide long-lasting pain relief and can be used with other therapies. Patients are able to control the intensity of the therapy, as well as turn it on and off, using a wireless remote control. Learn more »
  • Surgery
    Surgical treatments may range from minor outpatient procedures to brain and spinal procedures. Surgery may be needed when structural problems occur within the spinal column often caused by injury or disease.
  • Implantable Drug Pumps
    Pumps deliver pain medication directly to the space surrounding the spinal cord. Direct application reduces the amount of opioids needed to relieve painful symptoms.
  • Other Surgical Procedures
    Often used as a last resort when other therapies fail, some surgical techniques, such as cordotomy, permanently destroy nerves and tissue that conduct pain. These procedures are most often used to relieve pain due to cancer or other incurable diseases.

The description of various treatments on this page is intended for informational purposes only.
You should consult your doctor about your treatment options before beginning any course of treatment.

Boston Scientific Solutions

Boston Scientific provides two forms of treatment for Chronic Pain:

Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) is a quick, reversible, outpatient procedure that uses thermal energy to interrupt pain signals at their source. Over half a million RFA procedures are performed every year.

More about RFA

Spinal Cord Stimulation

SCS uses electrical impulses to interrupt the perception of pain as it travels to the brain. SCS therapy is often considered when medications or surgery are not an option or when the side effects of your current therapy are impacting your quality of life.

More about SCS

Is SCS for You?

Is SCS right for you or your loved one? It very well could be. If you suffer from chronic pain, a Boston Scientific Spinal Cord Stimulator (SCS) System may be the right choice. SCS therapy is often considered when medications or surgery are not an option or when the side effects of your current therapy are impacting your quality of life.

Evaluate your pain now. Then talk with a Pain Management Specialist to discuss if SCS may be right for you.*

Evaluate your pain

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*Individual symptoms, situations, circumstances, and results may vary. Please consult your physician or qualified health care provider regarding your condition, appropriate medical treatment. The information provided is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for professional medical advice. For more information on the approved use, risks, and benefits of Boston Scientific SCS Systems, click here.