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About The Pain Institute

Founded in 1991, The Pain Institute is an outpatient treatment facility where patients receive care from board-certified, fellowship-trained pain management anesthesiologists.

Our staff begins by obtaining a patient’s medical history and any necessary information from their primary doctor or other specialists. Following a thorough patient physical exam by a board-certified physician, you will receive a personalized treatment plan to relieve chronic or acute pain caused by illness or injury.

For over 25 years, The Pain Institute has helped thousands across Kentucky and Indiana overcome the challenges of living with pain. It’s our mission to provide patients with relief that’s just right for their needs, allowing them to return to a normal and pain-free life.

We welcome referrals from the medical community, and look forward to serving the pain-treatment needs of those new patients.

Now Offering Sedation!

Have trouble relaxing at the doctor’s office? The Pain Institute is happy to offer patients conscious sedation upon request.

Conscious sedation medication allows a patient to remain more relaxed and comfortable during their treatment.

The procedure is safe, effective, and may only be provided by certain qualified health professionals such as those at The Pain Institute.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is an Anesthesiologist?

    Anesthesiology is a medical specialty focusing on relief of pain. After receiving an M.D. or D.O. degree and serving an internship, the physician receives specialized training in anesthesiology during an intensive residency period. By passing rigorous professional examinations, the physician may then qualify for board certification in this specialty. Physicians at The Pain Institute have completed these additional high levels of training to ensure they remain at the top of their field.

  • What is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.)?

    Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, or D.O.s, are fully trained and licensed physicians who practice in all areas of medicine. Both M.D.s and D.O.s must complete residency training in their chosen specialties and must pass the same licensing examination before they can practice.

    According to the American Osteopathic Association, "Emphasizing a whole-person approach to treatment and care, D.O.s are trained to listen and partner with their patients to help them get healthy and stay well. D.O.s receive special training in the musculoskeletal system, your body's interconnected system of nerves, muscles and bones. By combining this knowledge with the latest advances in medical technology, they offer patients the most comprehensive care available in medicine today."

    Both an M.D. and a D.O. are doctors licensed to practice in the United States. They are similarly educated and certified.

  • What does it mean when you say "fellowship-trained in pain management"?

    A fellowship is an additional term of training in the subspecialty of pain management, taken after the medical residency. A physician may be board-certified in pain management after receiving this extensive training and passing rigorous professional examinations.

  • Will insurance pay for treatment at The Pain Institute?

    Treatment at The Pain Institute is covered by most insurance plans. Depending upon the individual plan, a referral from a primary care physician, or specialty care physician such as an orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon, may be necessary. Our expert billing and insurance team will help you understand the details of your insurance plan, including any requirements necessary for your treatment to begin. Treating persons in chronic pain and getting them back to their normal lives is the top priority at The Pain Institute. Payment plans are available for people who are uninsured.

  • How do chronic and acute pain differ?

    Chronic pain is a type of long-term pain usually initiated by an injury, and may last much longer than the pain caused by the injury itself. Suffering from chronic pain can lead to emotional problems. Anger and despair may result in anxiety or even depression. Left untreated, chronic pain can result in trouble sleeping and even changes in personality that harm relationships with family, friends and co-workers.

    Acute pain is shorter and more limited than chronic pain. It is usually the result of an injury, illness or surgery, and may go away after the healing process is complete.

    The goal at The Pain Institute is to keep acute pain from turning into chronic pain.

  • What are my pain treatment options?

    Your treatment will be designed uniquely for your needs, and will be discussed during your visit. Our current pain treatments include:
    • Therapeutic & diagnostic nerve block injections to numb pain and diagnose its source
    • Physical and occupational therapy to ease pain, boost mobility and muscle strength, prevent injuries, and encourage a more active lifestyle after an illness or injury
    • Stress management techniques to help you relax and release natural endorphins that ease pain naturally

  • What can be done for back pain?

    The Pain Institute utilizes a variety of treatment technologies to help patients return to pain-free, normal, productive lives. Some of the treatments include epidural blocks, medicine management, physical therapy, behavioral therapy, stress management and a host of other interdisciplinary options.

  • Can radio frequency relieve back pain after an accident?

    Any forceful accident can injure small joints and stretch and tear ligaments, muscles or nerves in your body. Some injuries can cause a unique problem in that the injury may not create any symptoms for days or weeks following the accident. Generally, these symptoms do not resolve on their own and can get worse with time.

    Percutaneous Radio-Frequency Neurotomy, called “Radio Frequency” for short, is a method of alleviating the pain. Basically, Radio Frequency interrupts pain signals by focusing a small amount of radio energy on the nerve tissues sending pain signals to the brain. Physicians at The Pain Institute perform the Radio Frequency procedure under the guidance of x-ray photography. A microelectrode is used to begin the stimulation process. During this process, a patient is asked simple questions. This feedback helps the physician focus on and eliminate the pain pathways. This method provides a safe means of relieving back pain. Clinical data shows that Radio Frequency can play a part in long-lasting results for those who suffer from pain.

  • What are some treatments for shingles?

    The same virus that causes chickenpox in a child is the cause of shingles in an adult. The virus can lie dormant in the nervous system and spinal cord for long periods of time before symptoms are triggered. A variety of things can trigger the activation of this virus, such as u.v. light, stress or other illnesses.

    The symptoms tend to occur on only one side of the body. The pain may be present 10-14 days prior to the start of the rash, and it may mimic other illnesses, such as heart attacks, peptic ulcer disease and pneumonia. The symptoms associated with an acute outbreak of shingles may consist of red blisters — which will eventually turn into scabbing lesions — associated with itching or sharp, shooting pain. The pain, which is associated with the nerve endings, can linger up to a month or longer than a year after the rash is gone. This is referred to as post-herpetic neuralgia.

    A physician may prescribe topical ointments or pain relievers as well as anti-viral medications, electrical stimulation and a new advancement referred to as Lidoderm patches. Lidoderm patches are topical applications of a local anesthetic. This allows relief of the pain due to a numbing effect. If these treatments fail, a series of epidural nerve blocks may be effective to relieve the pain. The procedure involves placing a very small amount of an anti-inflammatory substance (steroid) mixed with a local anesthetic agent into the epidural space. This works better than ingesting a drug orally. Oral drugs must be absorbed and carried throughout the bloodstream, which dilutes their effects. The epidural nerve block offers an additional treatment option for patients suffering from shingles or post-herpetic pain.

  • How can arthritis in knees be helped?

    Many arthritis patients take medication to alleviate pain, but now there are new alternatives that will help alleviate some of the pain.

    The Pain Institute uses a professional staff of fellowship-trained Board-certified anesthesiologists who are experts in the field of pain management. Michael C. Cronen, D.O., medical director of The Pain Institute, works in conjunction with other specialists, including physicians, nurses, physical therapists and psychologists, to develop personalized treatment plans for patients who suffer from arthritic pain.

    Very often, Dr. Cronen will administer injections of hyaluronic acid or epidural blocks, which are effective because he is able to place a small amount of medicine right at the site of the problem. This has advantages over oral drug ingestion. Oral drugs must be absorbed and carried through the bloodstream, which dilutes their effects. Injections offer an option for those suffering from leg, neck, shoulder and lower-back pain.

  • What is a trigger point, and how could I go about treating it?

    In most instances, a trigger point is a focal point of pain. It is an area of irritation in the vicinity of a joint and may include the joint. The irritation is usually caused by a strain, fibromyositis (inflammation of muscle or tendon) or in association with arthritis. In many cases, the pain is very intense and can be associated with muscle spasm. The area is aggravated by movement and can cause severe disability. The most common areas of involvement are the lower back, the hips and the shoulders. However, any area in and around a joint may be involved. The usual treatment, ASA and Tylenol, may not relieve the pain and spasm quickly and may take considerable time to achieve significant relief.

    A quick and effective method for overcoming the problem is to pinpoint the area and inject it with a local anesthetic and a small amount of steroid. The anesthetic provides immediate relief, and the steroid provides more lasting relief. The shots may have to be repeated, but many patients experience long-term relief with this treatment.

  • Can you help with pain relief after neck or back surgery?

    Sometimes surgery helps, but leg and back pain continues. Medications and injections may provide minimal relief and repeat surgery may not be possible or advisable.

    Neuromodulation is a great technology that acts directly upon the nerves. It alters or modulates nerve activity by delivering electrical stimulation directly to a target area, thus reducing pain felt in those areas.

    Neuromodulation devices and treatments are life-changing. Significant ongoing improvements in technology make it possible to target pain that was difficult to treat in the past.