University of Maryland Pain Management Center in Baltimore, Md.

Dr. Thelma B. Wright on Pain Research at the University of Maryland Pain Managem

— -- Pain is how your body tells you something is wrong. When a part of your body is injured, nerves in that area release chemical signals that go to your brain, where they are recognized as pain. Pain is a personal experience and is different for everyone.

I'm Dr. Thelma Wright, director of the University of Maryland Pain Management Center. We are located at Kernan Hospital in Baltimore and we are part of both the University of Maryland Medical Center and the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Many people experience pain at some point in their lives; from a traumatic injury, or a surgery or because of chronic conditions such as arthritis, deteriorating discs in the back or the neck, or even cancer. We now have many effective treatment options to offer our patients. Treatments may include a variety of medications as well as interventional procedures such as nerve blocks, radiofrequency ablation, spinal cord stimulation and implantable intrathecal pumps. As part of our multidisciplinary team of specialists, we have a pain psychologist who offers counseling to help with coping strategies, relaxation techniques and biofeedback. Many patients can also benefit from physical therapy. Since every person responds to pain and pain therapy in an individual way, our patients play a very important role in their own treatment plans.

Through our research we also look for ways to improve current therapies. We are developing studies to evaluate the effectiveness of certain medications used in some of our procedures.

Today, we have more strategies to alleviate pain than we did only a few short years ago. With continued research, the future holds promise for developing even better ways to help our patients.