What are interventional pain procedures?

This is a way of managing pain that focuses on first diagnosing the problem with image guided precision blocks, and then treating it accordingly.  Pain is only a symptom, so the issue that is causing your pain is addressed via a diagnostic procedure (using the X-ray machine, shown on the left, to assure the needle goes exactly where it should). This can be prognostic in that, depending on the length of pain relief, one can tell how severe the  problem is.  For example, a "selective epidural" blocks a nerve root that may be compressed by a herniated disc, if there is even short term pain relief, this aids in the diagnosis and management.  Surgery is non-reversible, so ti is always better and safer to try nerve blocks first, because one can still have the surgery if the blocks don't work. On the other hand, spine surgery cannot be undone; it is the only medical procedure that already comes with a built-in failure diagnosis code (M96.1) called "post-laminectomy" or failed neck or failed back surgery syndrome. 

Physicians like Dr. Zahl who specialize in interventional pain management look beyond medication to help their patients deal with pain. Instead, they draw from a vast array of treatments and therapies to reduce and relieve the pain. Whether through a procedure or treatment, the goal is always to reduce the pain as much as possible, helping you return to your best life.

Is interventional pain management right for me?

If you experience pain on a chronic or acute basis, interventional pain management can be a good approach to treating the cause of your pain rather than simply trying to lessen its effects.

Start a conversation about which treatment option, or a combination of treatments, might be right for you as part of interventional pain management by registering for a consultation.  In some cases pain can be successfully treated and managed when you work with someone like Dr. Zahl, who is an experienced professional who specializes in the diagnosis of pain disorders and conditions.



Dr. Zahl uses a variety of interventional pain management procedures to treat pain at its source. They all are guided by the live x-ray shown above.

Epidural injections. These injections reduce inflammation and pain at the root of the nerve.

Facet joint injections and medial branch blocks. This is a method used to diagnose the cause and location of many common neck and back pain conditions.

Sacro-Iliac injections are used to diagnose and treat sacro-pelvic pain. 

Radiofrequency ablation. Radio waves are used to create an electrical current, which impairs or destroys the nerves to reduce pain.

Synvisc injections. These injections supplement the fluid in your knee for pain relief in the joint.

Electromyography (EMG)/nerve conduction study. A diagnostic test used to check on the health of muscles and nerves.

Discography is a diagnostic test used to check on the health of the discs and help plan for major interventional procedures.

Spinal Cord Stimulation trial.  A procedure design to see if the pain can be blocked by electrical signals delivered into the back of the spinal cord.

Ultrasound is used to look inside the body to try to discover the source of pain and/or to guide a needle to the correct location.  

Sedation - unlike some pain clinics, since Dr. Zahl is trained in anesthesiology, procedures can be done under monitored sedation to prevent unnecessary stress or sudden movements.

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PRP (platelet-rich plasma) & Stem Cells

Dr.  Zahl is pleased to offer cutting-edge procedures like platelet-rich plasma therapy and stem cell therapy to treat his patients in East Stroudsburg and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. These natural, regenerative therapies not only help treat pain, but also help the body heal itself and promote the regrowth of tissue in the body.  Platelet activation plays a key role in the process of wound and soft tissue healing. Platelet rich plasma (PRP) uses a portion of the patient’s own blood having a platelet concentration above baseline to promote healing of injured tendons, ligaments, muscles, and joints.  This procedure can be applied to various musculoskeletal problems.

What is PRP used to treat?

Platelet-rich plasma therapy is commonly used to treat sports injuries but has other applications as well. It has been shown to help:

  • Torn ligaments and tendons
  • Skeletal fractures
  • Strained muscles
  • Sprained knees
  • Tennis elbow
  • Achilles endinitis
  • Pulled hamstrings
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Bone regeneration
  • Plastic surgery recovery
  • Cardiac muscle injuries

What is Stem Cell Therapy?

Stem cell therapy is comparable to platelet-rich plasma therapy in that it also uses a natural method to help the body heal and repair itself, but stem cell therapy is more advanced. Stem cell therapy is often used to treat degenerative diseases (like chronic arthritis or herniated discs). Because a stem cell can become any type of cell in the body once it matures, stem cell therapy has a wide array of applications for pain patients and patients of all kinds.  Stem cells can come from your bone marrow, your fat cells (near your belly button) or from treated placental tissues from a verified donor.

This is a new, exciting approach to pain management that Dr. Zahl is now offering to his patients.

What is stem cell therapy used to treat?

For patients experiencing chronic pain, stem cell therapy can be used to treat:

  • Arthritis
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Nerve damage
  • Knee pain
  • Hip pain
  • Sport injuries
  • Burn Injuries