Frequently Asked Questions

Blue Ridge Pain Management is a medical practice designed for one task: to reduce or eliminate your pain. When you are in pain, every minute counts. Dr. Charles Buzzanell and his staff are experts in diagnosing the root cause of your pain and finding the least invasive and most integrative methods of treating it. Ask your doctor to refer you to Blue Ridge Pain Management to get the relief you need.

Here are answers to common questions. If you don’t find your question answered here, please contact us and we will gladly answer your inquiries either by phone or through the contact us form on this site.

How do you treat my pain?

The first step is an accurate diagnosis, if your referring doctor has not already delivered one. Then, depending upon the severity of your pain, we treat it in a number of ways, including one or more of the following. Note that we do use pharmaceuticals, but we do not rely on them exclusively:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as Motrin® or Aleve®, since specific types of pain are associated with inflammation
  • Acetaminophen, a painkiller such as Tylenol®
  • Narcotics, such as morphine or codeine, when absolutely necessary
  • Local anesthetic, usually by injecting a painkiller into the area where you have pain
  • Nerve blocks, which use local anesthetics to block a group of nerves from sending pain signals to your brain
  • Electrical stimulation, which disrupt nerves from sending pain signals
  • Physical therapy, which helps to strengthen your muscles and increase your flexibility
  • Surgery, when more conservative treatment fails
  • Psychotherapy (talk therapy) to ease the mental discomfort of new physical limitations
  • Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing
  • Biofeedback, a treatment technique that trains you to improve your health by using signals from your own body
  • Behavior modification, to help you change your lifestyle

Can I walk in for an appointment?

No. You need a referral from your primary care physician or a specialist you are currently seeing. All prospective patients must make their pertinent medical records available for review. Dr. Buzzanell reviews every referral thoroughly to ensure you are an appropriate match for our services. If he feels we can add meaningful management, his staff will schedule an appointment for you.

To speed this along, please print our downloadable referral form and send it to your doctor. Ask him to complete the form and fax it, with your medical records, to our office so we can start the process for an appointment.

What are the differences between and acute pain and chronic pain?

Acute pain begins suddenly and is usually sharp in quality. It may last for just a moment or for weeks. In most cases, acute pain does not last longer than six months; it disappears when the underlying cause of pain has been treated or has healed. It can be caused by many events or circumstances, including:

  • Surgery
  • Broken bones
  • Dental work
  • Burns or cuts
  • Labor and childbirth

Unrelieved acute pain, however, can lead to chronic pain. Chronic pain can persist for weeks, months or years even after your injury has healed. Physical effects include tense muscles, limited mobility, a lack of energy and changes in appetite. Emotional effects include depression, anger, anxiety and fear of re-injury. Such fear might hinder your ability to return to normal work or leisure activities. Common chronic pain complaints include:

  • Headache
  • Neck pain
  • Low back pain
  • Cancer pain
  • Arthritis pain
  • Muscle pain and spasms
  • Neurogenic pain, or pain resulting from damage to nerves
  • Psychogenic pain, or pain that is not due to past disease or injury or any visible sign of damage

Chronic pain can start with an initial trauma, injury or infection, but you can suffer chronic pain without any past injury or evidence of body damage. Whatever the cause, Dr. Buzzanell is an expert in relieving your pain, even if its cause is unknown or incurable.

Will I have to take pain medication?

Pain medication is one of many courses of action. Since pain medication, if effective, often works fast, you may be prescribed a pain reliever while working toward a more permanent solution. The staff at Blue Ridge Pain Management stays committed to providing you with the best quality care available to the public in Western North Carolina. We will do whatever it takes to ease your pain, so sometimes that requires pain medication. As a rule, though, our treatments do not rely exclusively on pharmaceuticals.

I have read about radiofrequency treatments. What does it involve?

Radiofrequency treatments can be effective for easing back pain that involves facet and sacroiliac joints. Blue Ridge Pain Management offers three radiofrequency treatments:

In a radiofrequency procedure, your provider uses a device that delivers radio waves directly to a nerve or group of nerves to create a heat lesion. The lesion stops the nerves from delivering any pain messages to your brain, which stops your pain. The term “neurotomy” simply means a procedure that interrupts the ability of nerves to transmit pain.

What can I do to help manage my pain at home?

Living with pain takes care and attention. While Blue Ridge Pain Management can ease, reduce or even eliminate your pain when you visit, sometimes your pain may come back when you’re at home and cannot get back to the clinic. Here are some tips for preventing pain and for treating it at home:

  • Get plenty of sleep. Fatigue can wear on your body, causing more pain than normal. If you are having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, avoid caffeine, get some exercise and don’t nap during the day.
  • If you start to feel your pain returning, do not ignore it. If you start to feel depressed about your situation, seek help. Remember that our goal is to get you back to your normal life, not a life of depression.
  • Learn when you might expect more pain than normal, such as at the end of the day, in the morning or after a strenuous activity. If you’ve been given a prescription for pain medication, take it before you know your pain will get worse. Always follow your provider’s instructions concerning medication.
  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle. Eat right, exercise, stop smoking cigarettes and manage your stress levels. This advice will help you reduce pain and improve your overall health.