Clark Kruta knows what pain is. He’s had it, lived with it, and ultimately man-aged it. The patients he sees know that, and the new ones learn that. Kruta has true empathy for their suffering, and just as significantly has experienced the techniques he uses to relieve their pain. Kruta also has more than twenty-three years as a certi-fied nurse anesthetist and has more than fifteen years in pain management using in-terventional therapies.
Relieving pain isn’t just about prescribing some pills. It isn’t just a pharmaceu-tical solution. The therapies, the interventional therapies that Kruta employs for pain management are rather diverse and can incorporate radiological imaging for therapeu-tic pain injections. There are epidural steroid injections, sacroiliac injections, and trigger point injections, all with a specific purpose and desired result.
“Pain management therapy begins with a referral from a provider, and then is about administering an analgesic,” said Kruta. “It isn’t about masking the pain. Pain management uses anesthetics or an anti-inflammatory drug targeting a specific spot to help relax the muscles or reduce inflammation. The purpose is at that point to en-courage the body to heal itself.”
Kruta picked up model of vertebrae. “Here,” he said, pointing, “is where the spinal cord runs. Nerves run through here,” pointing again, “and out to the body. When there’s, say, neck pain due to a degenerating disc, I slip a needle in right here and into the epidural layer of the cord, which isn’t very big. The anti-inflammatory re-lieves the pain.”
Kruta just doesn’t sit down with a patient and start the therapy. He first visits with the patient, looking at history, and pinpoints the source and location of the cause of the pain. Pain in the leg may actually originate in the back. Kruta must know ex-actly where the source is for the therapy to be effective.
“Trigger point injections are used when a muscle is virtually cramped up and won’t relax,” Kruta said. “It can cause a person to list to one side when walking and affect other muscles and joints. I inject an anesthetic into the trigger point of the af-fected muscle which allows the muscle to relax, and the healing to begin.”
Sacroiliac injections help with the low back and cushions the spine from the hip and the impact of walking. When the SI joint (as it’s called) is inflamed pain can run from to the groin, abdomen, leg, and can be the cause of sciatic pain. This injection uses radiological imaging to administer the medication. The medication contains both an analgesic and a pain killer to relieve tissue swelling, as with a trigger point, and to reduce pain.
“How we offer pain management therapy at CHI Mercy Health,” said Kruta, “is a little different than how it’s offered anywhere around here. We do things a little differently. At other facilities the patient has to come back for a second shot for most therapies. I administer both at the same time. It’s cheaper for the patient, and it offers better relief. Instead of administering an analgesic and then have the patient come back for the trigger point injection, for instance, I administer both the same day. The healing can begin right then. It’s a much more effective therapy.”
For more information on therapeutic pain management, contact CHI Mercy Health at 845-6522. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.