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Pain Care and Management

Why Choose University of Colorado Hospital for Treatment of Acute, Chronic, and Cancer Pain Management?

At University of Colorado Hospital, we don't just medicate your pain – we treat the problem that's causing it. It's our goal to return you to your normal level of activity as quickly as possible.

We manage the most complicated pain cases in the region. We offer pain sufferers a comprehensive, multi-specialty team approach that often includes psychological and physical therapy evaluations. As doctors and researchers, we're continually studying new techniques for treating and managing pain.

Neck pain

What is Pain?

Pain is a complicated condition that affects some 75 million Americans. It can be:

  • Acute (sudden and short-lasting)
  • Chronic (lasting three months or more)
  • Cancer pain

As those with pain know, it can cause considerable suffering. And if left untreated, it can destroy lives.

Most people with pain have been living with it for more than five years, and 7 million Americans are either severely or partially disabled by it. Some 70 million doctors' office visits each year involve pain complaints.

Pain may be your main condition, or it may be the result of surgery, disease or accident.

To request an appointment, call (720) 848-1970 or submit an online form

At UCH, we successfully treat many common – and complex – types of pain. Among them:

  • Back pain
  • Cancer pain
  • Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
  • Diabetic peripheral neuropathy
  • Facial pain
  • Headache
  • Limb pain
  • Motor vehicle injuries
  • Neck pain
  • Nerve pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Severe angina pain
  • Spinal fractures caused by osteoporosis

Tests for Pain

Tests you may have in evaluating or diagnosing your condition include:


Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

A non-invasive procedure that produces a two-dimensional view of an internal organ or structure, especially the brain and spinal cord.


CT myelography

Imaging of the spinal cord using computerized analysis of scans after injecting a contrast dye into the spinal fluid.


Electromyogram (EMG)

A recording of the electrical activity in skeletal muscle.


Nerve conduction study

Electrical stimulation of nerves to determine if they are damaged or functioning.



A diagnostic test to determine if back pain is caused by the discs in the spine. Doctors inject a contrast dye into the discs and then perform a CT scan to highlight any disc abnormality.

Treatments for Pain


  • head and neck
  • epidural steroids
  • facets
  • all major joints
  • sympathetic blockade
  • intercostal


Anesthetics and anti-inflammatory agents are injected directly into the area that is causing the pain. The procedure is quick and relatively painless. Pain relief ranges from several weeks to years.


Spinal Cord and Peripheral Nerve Stimulation

Small electrical impulses are applied to block pain messages to the brain and spinal cord. It is used to treat pain in a variety of locations that haven't responded well to other therapies.


Pulsed Radiofrequency

This minimally invasive procedure uses a precisely targeted electrical field to keep nerves from transmitting pain signals to the brain.



A probe is placed next to specific nerves that are causing the pain. The probe tip is cooled to temperatures between -70 and -180 degrees F to freeze nerves, stopping pain messages from the nerves for up to three months.


Botulinum (Botox, Myobloc)

The Botulinum toxin is injected into the region causing the pain to interrupt nerve pain messages. This procedure is used to treat a growing number of painful conditions, including:

  • chronic headache
  • chronic myofacial pain
  • spasticity
  • chronic back pain


Spinal Infusion Pump

This small device is implanted under the skin during minor surgery. The device enables pain medications to directly enter the fluid surrounding the spinal cord. It is for patients with pain that has not responded to traditional therapies—most commonly, cancer pain and spasticity.



An image-guided, non-surgical therapy used to strengthen a broken vertebrae (spinal bone) that has been weakened by osteoporosis or cancer. An orthopedic cement mixture is injected through a needle into the fractured bone. It reduces pain caused by the fracture.



A cement-like material is injected directly into the fractured bone. This stabilizes the fracture and provides immediate pain relief in many cases.


Before injecting the material, the doctor inserts a special balloon, which is gently inflated inside the fractured vertebrae. The goal is to restore height to the bone-reducing spine deformity.


Percutaneous Discectomy

Surgical removal of herniated disc material through a minimally invasive procedure. Small instruments are inserted into the injured disc using X-ray guidance. A portion of the injured disc is then removed.

Therapies for Pain

Pain Psychology

If needed, a psychological evaluation is conducted by a pain psychologist to assess coping skills and help develop a comprehensive treatment plan.


Physical Therapy

You may be referred to a physical therapist who will implement an exercise and musculoskeletal treatment program to restore strength, movement and flexibility. In combination with other treatments, physical therapy can help reduce pain.

Patient Education

Living With Pain

Remember that you are not alone in having to cope with pain. The following tips may help:

  • Explain to your family that pain can sometimes make you tired, sad and irritable. Seek their support.
  • Learn and practice relaxation techniques daily.
  • Get regular exercise after seeking professional advice. It can help reduce pain.
  • Make sure you get adequate rest.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Ask your doctor about area pain management programs that can help.


Getting a Second Opinion About Pain

If your pain is not improving or your current treatment plan is not working, you may want to get a second opinion or see a pain medicine specialist.


Additional Resources for Pain

Pain Concern


American Academy of Pain Medicine

Pain Research

We offer patients the opportunity to participate in research studies that test promising new treatments for pain.

Check our clinical trials to see if any pain treatment studies are enrolling new participants.