Seeking Relief for Pain: A Variety of Options at Stony Brook

When pain — whether short term or chronic — begins to interfere with someone’s daily functions or activities, getting proper treatment by a pain management specialist can be life changing. Dr. Marco Palmieri discusses the different types of pain that may benefit from specialized treatment, as well as some of the traditional and alternative treatment options available today.

What conditions require pain management?

A significant number of the patients we see at the Center for Pain Management come to us for spine-related pain. We also see patients with cancer-related pain, joint pain, post-surgical pain and nerve-related pain. We treat patients of all age groups, pediatrics to adults. 

What types of pain management does the Center offer?

We have many different ways to treat pain. We offer a wide range of interventional and injection-based treatments utlilzing fluoroscopic (X-ray) and ultrasound guidance. These include everything from nerve blocks and epidural injections, to implantable devices. We have treatments that are medication based. We offer psychological therapy if it’s needed. We also may recommend rehabilitative therapy – physical or occupational – and lifestyle changes such as weight loss. We may also recommend complementary treatments including acupuncture, which is offered at the center. What we stress at the Center is that there is not one way to treat pain that’s right for every patient. Before we recommend any treatment, we always take the time to really understand the patient so we can individualize the therapy to his or her specific needs and lifestyle.  

What are some of the misperceptions about pain management?

Some people think pain is just something they have to live with. Older people especially may think pain is a natural consequence of aging. While pain can be part of getting older, a person should not have to live with debilitating pain if there are treatments available. There are also people who don’t seek help for their pain because they’re worried about being treated with opioids, which is only one subclass of medication-based treatment. Their concern is that they could develop a dependency. Many patients and even some healthcare providers equate pain management with treatment by opioids. At our Pain Center, that’s not the case. In fact, we look for any and all alternatives to opioids. However, if opioid therapy is an appropriate option, we monitor patients carefully the entire time and get them off of the treatment as quickly as possible.

Can you cure pain? 

Sometimes, yes. It depends on the source and type of pain. For severe sciatica, which involves pain that typically radiates from the lower back through your hips and buttocks and down the leg, patients can often get long-term relief with a series of pain management injections. When should patients see a doctor for pain relief? If someone is experiencing pain that’s interfering with their life, he or she should see a doctor.

When should patients see a doctor for pain relief? 

If someone is experiencing pain that’s interfering with their life, he or she should see a doctor. Often the doctor will start with conservative treatment. If there is no response, the physician may refer them to a pain management specialist. When someone has had surgery or is undergoing cancer treatment, specialized pain management may be put into place sooner. It’s important not to wait too long. The longer a person has had pain, the harder it can be to treat. 

Why should someone come to the Center for Pain Management? 

We offer a truly unique approach to pain management. We understand that each patient is different in how he or she experiences pain. Pain doesn’t always need to have a specific cause, so even if tests don’t show the reason for the pain, we still believe it’s real and look for appropriate treatment options. Every treatment plan is customized to the patient and may involve a combination of therapies to maximize relief. Our Pain Center is staffed by physicians who are board certified in both anesthesiology and pain medicine, and by nurse practitioners who
are experts in the field of pain medicine. We are happy to answer any questions you have regarding your pain management.

If You Need an Appointment 

To be evaluated at the Center for Pain Management, patients must be referred by their primary physician or specialist. Contact us at (631) 638-0800 with any questions or concerns. Our professional staff is available from 8:30 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.