Pain Management

At Indiana University Health, we treat a wide range of pain conditions, from peripheral neuropathy to chronic low back pain to complex regional pain syndrome. Our physicians have specific education in pain management and years of experience treating rare conditions. The IU Health Pain Management team is composed of expert neurologists, physiatrists and anesthesiologists who strive to give you pain relief. You may also see psychologists or physical therapists that specialize in pain management.

Our specialists use different treatments depending on your individual needs, including the latest medicines, physical therapy and minimally invasive surgical procedures. We offer comprehensive care to treat all aspects of your health, including the emotional effects of chronic pain.

Through our partnership with the Indiana University School of Medicine, we stay on the forefront of pain management research. Our pain management specialists provide advanced care to improve your quality of life.

At the Pain Medicine Center at Indiana University Health University Hospital, our specialists are dedicated to managing pain and spasticity, providing relief and restoring quality of life. We treat both chronic and acute pain, with cancer pain receiving the highest priority. We take great care to individually develop a plan to safely and effectively manage the pain.

We provide both diagnostic and treatment services. As part of IU Health, we can provide referrals to a wide range of experts to ensure each person receives the care that he or she needs.

The process at the Pain Medicine Center at IU Health University Hospital begins with a referral from your personal physician, including pertinent information like diagnoses, treatment history, test results and prescriptions. We will review the request and, if accepted, your initial appointment will be scheduled as quickly as possible—usually within a couple of weeks.

Your personal physician, who knows you best, will remain involved in your care. We work together on pain medicine recommendations, questions of medicine tolerance and pain medicine escalation. Pain may be treated in a variety of ways, so depending on your situation, pain medicines may or may not be prescribed. There may be other, more appropriate therapies available. We can also provide information to physicians regarding appropriate patient selection for spinal pumps (for pain or spasticity) and spinal cord stimulators.


The Pain Management team at IU Health University Hospital looks at each person in terms of quality of life to try to improve pain, reduce unnecessary medicines and side effects, and improve function. For pain that is located in a certain area or caused by a particular nerve distribution, we can provide injections to manage the discomfort. Specifically, the Pain Medicine Center at IU Health University Hospital provides:

  • Facet joint and medial branch nerve blocks
  • Intercostal nerve blocks
  • Trigger point injections
  • Major joint injections for the shoulder, hip and knee
  • Trigeminal nerve blocks
  • Occipital nerve blocks
  • Cervical, thoracic and lumbar injections
  • Other therapeutic injections

Minimally Invasive Procedures

In order to provide comprehensive pain management care, we offer a complete range of minimally invasive procedures, including:

  • Minimally invasive lumbar decompression (MILD) for treating back and leg pain due to lumbar spinal stenosis.
  • Radiofrequency ablation for people experiencing chronic lower back or neck pain.
  • Kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty to treat pain in the spine due to compression fractures.

Advanced Therapies for Pain and Spasticity

The Pain Medicine Center at IU Health University Hospital specializes in advanced pain therapies. The team of pain specialists at IU Health University Hospital uses leading edge, evidence-based medicine in order to decrease pain and spasticity and improve each patient’s quality of life. We are one of the few pain centers in the state to utilize targeted drug delivery with use of an implanted pump to ease cancer-related pain and non-cancer-related pain as well as spasticity. Spasticity is a condition where muscles contract involuntarily when moved and may be the result of brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy. Treatment with intrathecal baclofen can offer significant improvements without the sedation often seen with oral administration. We also offer spinal cord stimulation and peripheral nerve stimulation to ease chronic pain. We are one of the leading centers in the Midwest for implantable therapies.

Making a Referral

Answer the following questions to determine if a referral to a pain specialist might benefit you. Share this information with your primary care physician to help them decide whether a referral is appropriate.

  • Have you experienced pain for longer than three months?
  • Have conservative treatments for your pain failed?
  • Is your primary care physician unsure of the cause of your pain?
  • Is pain having a negative impact on your quality of life, family or work life?
  • Do you have spasticity that is poorly controlled?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you may benefit from a referral to a pain specialist. Your doctor may fax all of your pertinent medical information to our office at 317.944.2070. We can fax referral forms to your doctor. Just have your doctor's office call 317.944.2891 to give us their fax number and ask for the pain clinic referral forms.

Patients evaluated at the Pain Medicine Center at IU Health University Hospital must have a current primary care physician to coordinate their care and assist with medical management. A physician referral is required. Your primary care physician or specialist may refer you to our center. When a referral is requested, your referring physician will forward pertinent medical information to the pain specialists at IU Health University Hospital, prior to accepting your case. The physicians review your diagnoses, treatment history, any test results or other information. This helps them determine the best treatment plan for your specific condition, whether it is intervention or medicine. Once you are accepted as a clinic patient, a staff member will contact you to schedule an initial evaluation.

Compared with many other pain clinics, which have waiting times of several weeks to months for a consultation, our clinic, when provided with the requested medical documentation, can provide a review and an appointment in a short amount of time. For acute conditions, the referring physician should call our office and request an emergency referral. The pain clinic physicians see active cancer patients usually within 48 hours of receiving a referral.

During the first visit, each patient will receive a thorough evaluation by pain clinic physicians, including the staff physician and a resident or fellow. The visit usually lasts about an hour but can be longer, depending on the complexity of your medical situation. Typically, patients will not receive an interventional procedure during this first visit. Medicines may not be prescribed either.

Please bring the following with you to your first appointment:

  • Photo ID, such as a driver's license.
  • All of your current insurance information.
  • A list of questions you want to ask the pain specialist.
  • The new patient packet that the clinic mails to you. Please fill it out at home and bring it to your first visit.

Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4 pm. During these office hours, you can call the center at 317.944.8660.

Physicians are on call after office hours for established patients for urgent issues that may arise. Examples of when it is appropriate to call after office hours include:

  • You are experiencing problems related to a procedure performed by staff at the Pain Medicine Center at IU Health University Hospital.
  • You are experiencing problems with an implanted device we have placed.
  • You are an established cancer patient with problems with pain control.
  • You are a physician and need to make an urgent referral.

In these situations, simply call the IU Health University Hospital main number at 317.944.5000 and ask for the chronic pain fellow on call.