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Pain management

Pain may be due to a condition, or an injury 

Living with pain can be challenging – even if the pain is mild – but fortunately there are lots of treatment options available.

Most often, people visit BMI Albyn Hospital with low back pain and chronic neck pain – these are the main two types of pain we see, says our Consultant in Pain Medicine. There are others, too, including chronic abdominal pain and chronic knee pain.

Pain may be due to a condition, or an injury – such as a sports injury, for example.

Sometimes, people experience chronic widespread pain, pain all over the body, because of a clinical, chronic condition like fibromyalgia.

Alongside widespread pain, other tell-tale symptoms of this relatively common condition include extreme tiredness, muscle stiffness, difficulty sleeping, headaches, and problems with mental processes, such as issues with concentration and memory.

The majority of our patients at BMI Albyn Hospital visit with back pain or neck pain – and the most common treatments, following appropriate examination and investigations, are physiotherapy. In some patients, no treatment is needed, and they simply visit us to seek the reassurance from a specialist that nothing is wrong.

We also offer interventions, which includes diagnostic injections for back and neck pain; this helps us find out where the pain is coming from.

Facet and Sacroiliac Joint Injections

Back pain can be due to various different reasons, and the injections we use here at Albyn are for facet joints. For pelvic pain, we use injections for sacroiliac joints.

Facet and sacroiliac joint injections are done in theatre, which involves coordination with the team there. Our Consultant will also coordinate x-rays for these patients.

Epidural for Pain Relief

We may need to consider other interventions for some patients, such as an epidural, where we inject some steroids into the epidural space, for pain relief.

As with all medical procedures, there are a few risks. For epidural specifically, these include:

  • Failure of the epidural
  • Worsening pain
  • Low blood pressure
  • Headache
  • Problems emptying the bladder
  • Temporary weakness in the arm or leg
  • Backache
  • Infection around the spine
  • Short-term nerve injury
  • Long-term nerve injury.

Other treatments are available besides epidural, too, especially for patients who have had surgery on the spine.

These patients may develop pain, specifically nerve pain in their legs, because of the initial pathology or because of the surgical process.

Radiofrequency Denervation

Another common treatment is radiofrequency denervation procedure, which offers longer lasting pain relief – sometimes for up to two years. During this procedure, a needle is inserted into the back, while the patient is under local anaesthesia.

The radiofrequency waves responsible for heating the tip of the needle destroy the nerve endings, with the aim of the treatment being to stop the nerves sending pain signals to the brain. This can lessen a patient’s pain considerably.

During your consultation appointment, our Consultant in Pain Medicine at Albyn will take a look at your referral letter, from either the GP or a Consultant.

He will then go through your presenting symptoms, usually your pain history, before taking a full medical history and talking about which treatments you have already had. Your Consultant here at the hospital will look at any current treatment you’re undergoing, as well as treatments for pain that you’ve already had.

By looking at your medical history, our Consultant in Pain Medicine may be able to see what is contributing to the pain. He will also look at what impact the pain this has on you; if it is affecting your ability to function or restricting your work, for instance.

Our Pain Management Consultant will need to examine you, in order to come to a diagnosis. If necessary, investigations will be needed, and you will always be informed of this, and you will be given plenty of time to have a think if you are happy going down this route.

Treatment options can be in the form of:

  • Painkillers
  • Non-medical treatment, in the form pf physiotherapy, for example.
  • Use of TENS machines – TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) machines involve the use of a mild electric current to help relieve pain. The machine itself is a small, battery-operated device that has leads, which are connected to sticky pads called electrodes. The pads are attached directly to the skin and, when the machine is switched on, small electrical impulses are delivered to the affected area of the body. You may feel a tingling sensation and the electrical impulses, which reduce the pain signals to the spinal cord and brain, may help significantly in terms of pain relief
  • Acupuncture.

You will look at other options – if you have tried everything – to ensure the best outcome for you.

Pain management procedures are offered under local anaesthetic and/or sedation.

Patients like coming to the hospital, because it’s relatively central to the city, and it has good parking. Staff are welcoming and the hospital prides itself on having extremely high standards of cleanliness.

Below is an at-a-glance look at some of the reasons you might choose BMI Albyn Hospital:

  • Reduced waiting times – Patients who visit BMI Albyn Hospital for pain management can benefit from shorter waiting times than they would if, say, they were to pursue treatment on the NHS.
  • Flexible appointments at a time to suit you – You can choose an appointment time to suit you and your schedule – and in some cases, remote pain management consultations will be offered.
  • Consultant-led appointments – Your appointment will always be Consultant-led, and you’ll see the same person each time you visit. You will also see a Consultant who has a special interest in your problem – and if investigations or surgery is required, most can be done at the Albyn Hospital. For your convenience, consultations can be either face-to-face or telephone based.
  • Patient satisfaction and personalised care – In an independent survey by Quality Health, in 2020, 98.9% of our patients said they would recommend the hospital and its treatments.

Patients come from Fife and Inverness, says our Consultant in Pain Medicine.

They also come to BMI Albyn Hospital from other parts of north-east of Scotland, including in and around Aberdeen itself, and Dundee.

For anyone considering a pain management consultation, our Consultant in Pain Medicine offers several slots at his clinic – and you can book an appointment online.

Specialists Offering Pain management

Dr Saravana Kanakarajan

Consultant in Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine


BMI Albyn Hospital

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Dr Ravi Nagaraja

Consultant in Anaesthesia & Pain Medicine


BMI Albyn Hospital

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Dr Lene Forrester

Consultant Clinical Psychologist

BSc(Hon), DClinPsychol, PhD CPsychol

BMI Albyn Hospital

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