Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine >> Patient Care >> Pain Medicine >> Pain Harborview Medical Center Pain Relief Service

UW Pain Medicine Patient Care:
Pain Relief Service at Harborview

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.

Summary of Services

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.

Services include:

  • Acute pain inpatient and outpatient consultation and treatment.
  • Comprehensive assessment of chronic pain risks due to injury, surgery or trauma.
  • Identification of obstacles to recovery, such as medical illness, psychological distress, chemical dependency, high interference of pain with work or personal life, poor physical condition and/or poor coping skills.
  • Highest level of pain treatment in an ambulatory care setting, using multiple treatment approaches, such as medications, rehabilitation counseling, focused psychological methods, psychopharmacology and image-guided minimally invasive procedures.
  • Prevention of pain through conservative management and/or interventional procedures that target long-term pain relief, including patient education and life-style changes.

Inpatient Pain Services

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.

Outpatient Pain Services

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.

Interventional Pain Management

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.

Educational Programs

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.

Contact us:

HMC Pain Relief Service

325 9th Ave S
Box 359724
Seattle, WA 98104

Phone: 206-744-7065

Fax: 206-744-7085