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Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine – Pain Management

Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine – Pain Management

The Department of Anesthesiology's Chronic Pain Management Center at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center provides for the diagnosis and management of pain problems through an outpatient clinic environment. 

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Chronic pain team


Pain categories

The Pain Management Center can address, in addition to general pain complaints, cancer pain, sympathetically maintained pain, musculoskeletal pain, and persistent pain from any cause. Each type of pain and its corresponding treatments are explained below.

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Treatment is available to all patients by physician referral only. 

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Cancer pain

Patients with cancer, especially in the terminal stages of the disease, often experience pain as a consequence of the disease. Pain may also occur during treatment for cancer. The Pain Management Center uses several methods to combat the pain of cancer. Patients are treated in conjunction with their primary physician and oncologist.


  • Medication management
  • Local anesthetic nerve blocks
  • Neurolytic nerve blocks
  • Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation
  • Cryotherapy
  • Implantable drug delivery systems
  • Celiac plexus block
  • Referral to appropriate medical specialists as indicated
  • Patient education

Sympathetically maintained pain

Complex regional pain syndrome (Causalgia or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy) manifests by persistent burning pain, unusual sweating, and hair, skin and nail changes are all symptoms of pain caused by abnormal sympathetic nervous system activity. Proper diagnosis and prompt treatment may be curative. Untreated, this painful condition often results in prolonged impairment. The goal of the treatment is to decrease pain, improve function, and avoid the development of a chronic pain state.


  • Recommendations for Medical Management
  • Sympathetic Nerve Blocks
  • To alleviate sympathetic pain and to establish the diagnosis, it is often necessary to perform a series of nerve blocks of the specific sympathetic nerves involved.
  • Implantable Pain Management Devices
  • Referral to appropriate medical specialists as indicated
  • Patient Education

Musculoskeletal pain

Chronic musculoskeletal pain is the most common type of pain and may have lifetime implications. Proper treatment requires daily effort on the part of the patient. Low back pain, neck and shoulder pain, certain headaches, and pain in extremities may all be kinds of musculoskeletal pain. Factors contributing to musculoskeletal pain include poor posture, physical and emotional stress, cigarette smoking, poor exercise habits, and poor nutritional habits. Therapy for this condition involves increasing, in a gradual manner, proper exercise and overall activity. Pain improvement comes from sustained appropriate activity levels over long periods of time.


  • Recommendations for Medication Management
  • Trigger Point Injections
  • Fluoroscopically Guided Spinal Injections for the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal pain
  • Intradiscal Electrotheral Therapy (IDET)
  • Referral to appropriate medical specialists as indicated
  • Patient Education

Methods of Treatment

Treatment methods will vary according to the individual patient's specific needs. A therapeutic program may include any combination of the following services:

  • Medical diagnosis
  • Interventional pain management procedures
  • Cancer pain management
  • Recommendations for medical management of chronic pain
  • Referral to appropriate medical specialists as indicated
  • Acupuncture
  • Patient education

Follow-Up Visits

The need for follow-up visits will be determined on an individual basis and will be scheduled after the initial evaluation and development of a treatment plan. Follow-up visits may last about 30 minutes. The primary care physician and/or referring physician will be notified in writing of progress and options for future care after each patient visit.

Penn State Health Children's Hospital
Penn State College of Medicine
Penn State Cancer Institute
Penn State University