The HMC Pain Medicine program is dedicated to predicting, diagnosing and preventing pain from becoming a disabling disease. Our clinicians evaluate the risks of developing chronic pain after injury, surgery, and disease. They pursue precision diagnosis when possible, permitting target-specific treatment while identifying obstacles to recovery; also they promote patient education and encourage lifestyle changes.
The Harborview Medical Center (HMC) Pain Medicine program provides both inpatient and outpatient services. Comprehensive medical evaluations with an emphasis on diagnosis, goal-setting, effective treatment and follow-up are provided.
The Inpatient Pain Relief Service serves a large population of surgical and medical patients. Some of these patients present with challenging and complicated medical problems including opioid tolerance and drug addiction which make pain management, during their hospital stay, difficult. A collaborative relationship with the Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine Services has developed creating a platform for a more smooth transition of these patients in the outpatient setting.
A robust Regional Anesthesia/Analgesia Service has developed in recent years. Management of acute pain secondary to upper and lower extremity fractures, chest wall and abdominal trauma, complex neurosurgery procedures has become more effective and successful. We average between 50-75 peripheral nerve blocks per week. With the advent of ultrasound techniques and the versatility of our providers a different array of regional analgesia techniques is available for the patients who may benefit from it.
Since 2007 a Transitional Outpatient Service has also been created. It allows a more effective management of the patient's acute pain problem while in the hospital permitting a smooth transition in the outpatient setting. Unnecessary and burdensome visits to the Primary Care Provider's office are avoided. The medications initiated during the hospital stay are tapered either to a level which will be deemed reasonable to manage by the patient's Family Physician, or completely down to zero. This usually happens in 6-12 weeks.
Starting in 2009 the HMC Pain program providers perform outpatient clinical activities in the ambulatory setting. These Chronic Pain Clinic activities occur in conjunction with the activities of the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Clinic and the Transition Outpatient Service. Primary Services and Family physicians, which in the past had to manage patients with chronic pain problems not having the experience to do it effectively, have now a new resource available to them. The goal is to increase the availability of this service to the entire HMC community and the medical community at large.
An Interventional Pain Management program is also available for the HMC medical community and the Greater Seattle medical community at large. Epidural steroid injections, facet joint injections, medial branch nerve blocks, sacro-iliac joint injections, radiofrequency ablative procedures are performed on a regular basis.
The HMC Pain Medicine Program is also dedicated to the mission of training medical students Anesthesia and Rehabilitation Medicine residents and Pain Fellows. In association with the providers at the University of Washington-Center for Pain Relief we are involved in pain education of primary care providers locally, statewide, and nationally.
HMC Pain Relief Service
325 9th Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104