The WVU Medicine Pain Management Center offers various services for people with acute and chronic pain. Our trained health care professionals, using focused, thorough evaluation, provide the highest quality, advanced treatment to help reduce pain.

Our goal is to help our patients so they are able to return to their highest level of functioning and independence and to help them restore their quality of life.

All our patients are seen by referral only.

The Pain Management Center at WVU is a division of the Department of Neurosurgery and part of the Spine Center at WVU Hospitals.

Some of the conditions we treat include:

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Herniated disc
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Shingles
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Sacroilitis
  • Myofascial pain
  • Cervicogenic headache (and other head pain)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Cancer pain

Some of the treatment options that we may use include:

  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Nerve blocks
  • Sympathetic blocks
  • Stellate ganglion blocks
  • Celiac plexus blocks
  • Lumbar sympathetic blocks
  • Diagnostic facet nerve block
  • Therapeutic facet nerve block
  • Trigger point injection
  • Spinal cord stimulation
  • Discography
  • Cryoanalgesia
  • Joint and bursa injections
  • Sacroiliac joint injections
  • Botox injections
  • Rhizotomy

The Pain Management Center is open Monday to Friday from 8 am to 4:30 pm.

What is an epidural steroid injection?

An epidural steroid injection is placement of a dose of corticosteroid medication (with or without local anesthetic) into the epidural space in the spine. The epidural space is the area around the spinal nerves, next to the tough covering that surrounds them, called the dura.

What are the goals of an epidural steroid injection?

The goals of an epidural steroid injection are:

  • To reduce and possibly eliminate pain
  • To increase function
  • To possibly eliminate the need for surgery

How will an epidural steroid injection help my condition?

Corticosteroids decrease inflammation and swelling that can cause pain and limit function. To achieve the most benefit with the least side effects, the amount of corticosteroid in an epidural steroid injection is carefully monitored. You will be limited to no more than three of these procedures in a six-month period.

What happens during an epidural steroid injection?

You will remain awake for the procedure. An intravenous (IV) line may be started prior to the injection. Once in the procedure suite: You will be positioned lying face down. The area for the injection will be washed with an antiseptic solution and covered with sterile drapes. A local anesthetic will be used to numb the injection site. – You will be asked to remain as still as possible. IV contrast dye may be used to confirm the correct needle position. You may feel pressure while the medication is injected into the space.

How long is the procedure?

The entire procedure lasts about 10 minutes.

What happens after the procedure?

You will be monitored for approximately 15 minutes, because the medication takes some time to act. A nurse will review discharge and follow-up instructions with you.

You will need to carefully monitor the degree and duration of your pain relief. The day after your procedure, you may resume your normal daily activities.

Stellate Ganglion Block (Sympathetic Block)

What is a stellate ganglion block?

A stellate ganglion block is an injection of local anesthetic that temporarily interrupts activity in the sympathetic nerves in the neck. The stellate ganglion nerves are located in the neck next to, but not in, the spine. These nerves influence and help control the size of blood vessels and thus the flow of blood to the arms, head, and neck.

What are the goals of a stellate ganglion block?

The goals of a stellate ganglion block are:

  • To provide diagnosis
  • To reduce and possibly eliminate pain
  • To increase function

How will a stellate ganglion block help my condition?

A stellate ganglion block temporarily interrupts activity of stellate sympathetic nerves. This interruption will improve pain as well as improve blood flow. You may require repeated injections for optimal pain relief.

What happens during a stellate ganglion block?

You will remain awake for the entire procedure. An intravenous (IV) line will be started prior to the injection. The procedure lasts about 15 minutes.

Once in the procedure suite:

  • You will be positioned lying face up.
  • The area for the injection will be washed with an antiseptic solution.
  • A local anesthetic may be used to numb the injection site.
  • You will be asked to remain as still as possible.
  • You will be asked to use non-verbal cues during the procedure.
  • You may feel pressure while the medication is injected.

What happens after the procedure?

You will be monitored for approximately 15 minutes, because the medication takes some time to act. A nurse will review discharge and follow-up instructions with you.

You may temporarily experience:

  • droopy eyelids
  • red or bloodshot eyes
  • stuffy nose
  • hoarse voice or “lump” in your throat
  • warmth or tingling in your arms

You will need to carefully monitor the degree and duration of your pain relief. The day after your procedure, you may resume your normal daily activities.

What is a celiac plexus block?

A celiac plexus block is an injection of local anesthetic that temporarily interrupts activity in the sympathetic nerves in the abdomen. The celiac plexus is a group of nerves located in the abdomen, next to, but not in the spine. This group of nerves is part of a larger system of nerves call the autonomic nervous system. These nerves influence and help control the size of blood vessels and thus the flow of blood to the abdomen, particularly nerves that come from the pancreas, liver, gall bladder, stomach, and intestine.

What are the goals of a celiac plexus block?

  • To reduce and possibly eliminate pain
  • To increase function

How will a celiac plexus block help my condition?

The celiac plexus block temporarily interrupts the activity of celiac plexus nerves and provides pain relief. This procedure blocks the nerves that come from the pancreas, liver, gall bladder, stomach and intestine. You may require repeated injections for optimal pain relief.

What happens during a celiac plexus block?

You will remain awake for the entire procedure. An intravenous (IV) line will be started prior to the injection.

Once in the procedure suite:

  • You will be positioned lying face down.
  • The area for the injection will be washed with an antiseptic solution.
  • A local anesthetic will be used to numb the injection site.
  • You will be asked to remain as still as possible.
  • You may feel pressure during the needle placement and while the medication is injected.

How long is the procedure?

The entire procedure lasts about 25 minutes.

What happens after the procedure?

You will be monitored for approximately 15 minutes, because the medication takes some time to act. A nurse will review discharge and follow-up instructions with you.

You will need to carefully monitor the degree and duration of your pain relief. The day after your procedure, you may resume your normal daily activities.

What is a lumbar sympathetic block?

A lumbar sympathetic block is an injection of local anesthetic that temporarily interrupts activity in the sympathetic nerves in the lower back. These nerves influence and help control the size of blood vessels, and thus, the flow of blood to the legs.

What are the goals of a lumbar sympathetic block?

The goals of a lumbar sympathetic block are:

  • To provide diagnosis
  • To reduce and possibly eliminate pain
  • To increase function

How will a lumbar sympathetic block help my condition?

A lumbar sympathetic block temporarily interrupts activity of lumbar sympathetic nerves. This interruption will reduce pain as well as improve blood flow. You may require repeated injections for optimal pain relief.

What happens during a lumbar sympathetic block?

You will remain awake for the entire procedure. An intravenous (IV) line will be started prior to the injection.

Once in the procedure suite:

  • You will be positioned lying face down.
  • The area for the injection will be washed with an antiseptic solution.
  • A local anesthetic will be used to numb the injection site.
  • You will be asked to remain as still as possible.
  • You may feel pressure while the medication is injected.

How long is the procedure?

The entire procedure lasts about 25 minutes.

What happens after the procedure?

You will be monitored for approximately 15 minutes, because the medication takes some time to act. A nurse will review discharge and follow-up instructions with you.

You will need to carefully monitor the degree and duration of your pain relief. The day after your procedure, you may resume your normal daily activities.

What is a diagnostic facet nerve block?

A diagnostic facet nerve block is used to determine if your back pain is being caused by the facet joints. Facet joints are the joints between the vertebra, which are present on both sides of the spine and provide flexibility to the spine. The joints are supplied by facet nerves (also called medial branch nerves).

What are the goals of a diagnostic facet nerve block?

The goals of a diagnostic facet nerve block are:

  • To diagnose the cause of pain
  • To determine the possibility of treatment with frequency ablation (rhizotomy)
  • To reduce and possibly eliminate pain
  • To increase function
  • To possibly eliminate the need for surgery

How will a diagnostic facet nerve block help my condition?

The diagnostic facet nerve block is an injection of local anesthetic medication. If the block relieves the pain, the diagnosis of pain coming from the facet joints can be made. The degree and duration of pain relief will determine if radiofrequency ablation, also called rhizotomy (a procedure to deaden the nerves using heat), is an option.

What happens during a facet nerve block?

You will remain awake for the procedure. Once in the procedure suite:

  • You will be positioned lying face down (face up for upper cervical).
  • The area for the injection will be washed with an antiseptic solution and covered with sterile drapes.
  • A local anesthetic may be used to numb the injection site.
  • You will be asked to remain as still as possible.
  • You may feel pressure while the medication is injected.

How long is the procedure?

The entire procedure lasts about 10-15 minutes.

What happens after the procedure?

You will be monitored for approximately 15 minutes, because the medication takes some time to act. A nurse will review discharge and follow-up instructions with you.

You will need to carefully monitor the degree and duration of your pain relief. The day after your procedure, you may resume your normal daily activities.

What is a therapeutic facet nerve block?

A therapeutic facet nerve block is a diagnostic and possibly therapeutic procedure to determine if your back pain is being caused by the facet joints. Facet joints are the joints between the vertebra, which are present on both sides of the spine and provide flexibility to the spine. The joints are supplied by facet nerves (also called medial branch nerves).

What are the goals of a therapeutic facet nerve block?

The goals of a therapeutic facet nerve block are:

  • To provide diagnosis
  • To determine the possibility of treatment with frequency ablation (rhizotomy)
  • To reduce and possibly eliminate pain
  • To increase function
  • To possibly eliminate the need for surgery

How will a therapeutic facet nerve block help my condition?

The therapeutic facet nerve block consists of a mixture of local anesthetic and corticosteroid medications. The local anesthetic helps to diagnose the pain is coming from the facet joints. The corticosteroid medication decreases inflammation and swelling that can cause pain and limit function.

What happens during a facet nerve block?

You will remain awake for the entire procedure.

Once in the procedure suite:

  • You will be positioned lying face down (face up for upper cervical).
  • The area for the injection will be washed with an antiseptic solution.
  • A local anesthetic may be used to numb the injection site.
  • You will be asked to remain as still as possible.
  • You may feel pressure while the medication is injected.

How long is the procedure?

The procedure lasts about 10-15 minutes.

What happens after the procedure?

You will be monitored for approximately 15 minutes, because the medication takes some time to act. A nurse will review discharge and follow-up instructions with you.

You will need to carefully monitor the degree and duration of your pain relief. The day after your procedure, you may resume your normal daily activities.

What is a trigger point injection?

A trigger point injection is the injection of a small amount of medication into the area of a muscle where you have pain and tenderness. Trigger points are focal areas of pain and tenderness due to “knots” or tight bands of muscle.

What are the goals of a trigger point injection?

The goals of a trigger point injection are:

  • To reduce and possibly eliminate pain
  • To increase function

How will a trigger point injection help my condition?

The trigger point injection consists of local anesthetic with or without corticosteroids. The injection breaks up the trigger points and decreases the pain.

What happens during a trigger point injection?

You will remain awake for the entire procedure. Once in the procedure suite:

  • You will be positioned sitting or lying face down.
  • The areas of tenderness will be located and marked.
  • The area of the injection will be washed with an antiseptic solution.
  • You will be asked to remain as still as possible.
  • You may feel pressure while the medication is injected.

How long is the procedure?

The procedure lasts about 10 minutes.

What happens after the procedure?

You will be monitored for approximately 15 minutes, because the medication takes some time to act. A nurse will review discharge and follow-up instructions with you. The day after your procedure, you may resume your normal daily activities. You will need to do stretching exercises to the affected area and/ or attend physical therapy sessions.

What is a sacroiliac joint injection?

A sacroiliac joint injection is a diagnostic and possibly therapeutic procedure to determine if your pain is being caused by the sacroiliac joint. The sacroiliac joint is a large joint between the sacrum and ilium in the low back and buttock region.

The injection consists of a mixture of local anesthetic and corticosteroid medication into the sacroiliac joint.

What are the goals of a sacroiliac joint injection?

The goals of a sacroiliac joint injection are:

  • To diagnose the cause of pain
  • To reduce and possibly eliminate pain
  • To increase function
  • To determine the possibility of treatment with frequency ablation (rhizotomy)

How will a sacroiliac joint injection help my condition?

The sacroiliac joint injection consists of a mixture of a local anesthetic and corticosteroid medications. The local anesthetic helps to diagnose if the pain is coming from the sacroiliac joint. The corticosteroid medication reduces inflammation and swelling that can cause pain and limit function.

What happens during a sacroiliac joint injection?

You will remain awake for the entire procedure. Once in the procedure suite:

  • You will be positioned lying face down.
  • The area for the injection will be washed with an antiseptic solution.
  • A local anesthetic may be used to numb the injection site.
  • You will be asked to remain as still as possible.
  • You may feel pressure while the medication is injected.

How long is the procedure?

The procedure lasts about 10 minutes.

What happens after the procedure?

You will be monitored for approximately 15 minutes, because the medication takes some time to act. A nurse will review discharge and follow-up instructions with you.

You will need to carefully monitor the degree and duration of your pain relief. The day after your procedure, you may resume your normal daily activities.

What is a rhizotomy?

Rhizotomy is a procedure in which radiofrequency waves are used to generate heat that interrupts and destroys nerves.

What are the goals of a rhizotomy?

The goals of a rhizotomy are:

  • To reduce and possibly eliminate pain
  • To increase function

How will a rhizotomy help my condition?

Rhizotomy is a therapeutic procedure designed to decrease and/or eliminate pain symptoms. The procedure involves destroying nerves that are present in the affected joints with highly localized heat generated with radiofrequency. By destroying these nerves, the communication link that signals pain from the spine to the brain can be broken.

What happens during a rhizotomy?

You will remain awake for the entire procedure. Once in the procedure suite:

  • An intravenous (IV) line may be started prior to the injection.
  • You will be positioned lying face down.
  • The area for the injection will be washed with an antiseptic solution.
  • A local anesthetic will be used to numb the injection site.
  • You will be asked to remain as still as possible.
  • You may feel pressure while the medication is injected.

How long is the procedure?

The procedure lasts about 25 minutes.

What happens after the procedure?

You will be monitored for approximately 15 minutes, because the medication takes some time to act. A nurse will review discharge and follow-up instructions with you.

You will need to carefully monitor the degree and duration of your pain relief. The day after your procedure, you may resume your normal daily activities.

If you are receiving injections for pain, you must bring a driver with you to the pain management clinic. Your procedure will be cancelled if you do not have someone to drive you home.

You must be free of any infection in order to have an injection of any type. If you become ill, please call the clinic at 304-598-6216 to reschedule your injection. Your injection will be cancelled if you are presently on any antibiotic treatment for infection.

You may take your scheduled medications, including pain, blood pressure, and heart medications, unless otherwise advised.

Please notify the pain clinic if you are on any blood thinners, such as: Plavix, Ticlid, Coumadin, Pletal, Lovenox, Aggrenox, or any other anticoagulant. These medications require special instructions.

Diabetic patients: Please be sure to check your glucose level on the morning of your injection. Also, you will need to check your glucose levels more frequently for the first 2 or 3 days following your injection. Some patients may notice an increase in their glucose levels after their procedure.

No solid food for at least 6 hours prior to your scheduled procedure time. You may have small amounts of clear liquids up to 2 hours prior to the procedure.

Signs of infection or allergy

If you feel you are having an allergic reaction to medicine, go to the nearest emergency room. Signs of an allergic reaction may include:

  • severe itching
  • chest pain
  • red or bloody welts
  • swelling (on any body part)
  • difficulty breathing
  • seizures
  • unconsciousness

Signs of infection at the site of the injection may include:

  • redness
  • increase in pain at the puncture site, not to be confused with an increase in pain of your diagnostic problem for which the injection was given
  • swelling at the puncture site that cannot be relieved by elevation of the body part or with application of ice at the site
  • drainage of fluid from the site that is foul smelling, has color that may be white, yellow, gray, or green
  • fever greater than 100.5 degrees by mouth and lasting longer than one day
  • increase in warmth to touch around the puncture site associated with these symptoms

If you have questions, please call the Pain Clinic between the hours of 8 am and 4 pm Monday through Friday at 304-598-6216. After hours or holidays, go to the nearest emergency department.

Consultation Request for Physicians

Fax number: 304-598-2602

When faxing a new patient consultation request to the Pain Management Center, please include the following information:

  • a completely filled out request form
  • a copy of the report for the patient’s most recent MRI, CT scan, or x-rays pertaining to the reason for the request
  • a letter of introduction and reason for the request (what you would like us to do, i.e., epidural, nerve root block, or specific request)
  • a copy of the patient’s current insurance cards
  • Please obtain authorization or pre-certification as required by insurance prior to sending consultation request.

Sending this information with the request will help us get the patient scheduled in a timely manner. We do not accept patients for the sole purpose of narcotic prescription.

Patrick Marshalek, MD

Assistant Professor/ Addiction Services and Consultation/Liaison Service
View Profile304-598-6400

Koshy Mathai, MD

UHC, Pain Management Physician
View Profile681-342-3500

Yeshvant Navalgund, MD

Pain Clinic, Assistant Professor
View Profile304-598-6216

Jonathan Pratt, MD

Pain Clinic, Assistant Professor
View Profile304-598-6216

Pain Management Center – Morgantown

Address

1075 Van Voorhis Rd Suncrest Executive Plaza Morgantown, WV 26505

Pain Management Clinic – Bridgeport

Address

527 Medical Park Drive Bridgeport, WV 26330

Pain Management Clinic – Wheeling

Address

40 Medical Park Medical Tower 4, Suite 508 Wheeling, WV 26003