Bermuda Pain Relief Center’s Dr Annie Pinto on the complexities of chronic pain and her individualised approach to treatment
What is Bermuda Pain Relief Center?
Bermuda Pain Relief Center provides top quality care for pain-suffering patients. We are equipped to manage any type of pain regardless of the cause and prognosis. Our patients frequently contact us during a pain crisis and we are able provide on-site acute treatment in a timely manner, plus emotional comfort to allow patients to cope and continue a normal lifestyle. Our treatments also avoid costly and inconvenient emergency room visits and hospitalisations, and our early interventions help to avoid an increase in the number of people on disability. Our small and private location provides a perfect setting to avoid crowded spaces and high-risk hospitals during COVID times.
What are the most common pain conditions you treat?
Pain is a complex and dynamic process. There is usually an initial injury, which is worsened by the involvement of other adjacent systems. A typical example is sciatica, pain radiating along the sciatic nerve, which runs down one or both legs from the lower back. An initial event causes lumbar disc injury and herniation, followed by irritation of an adjacent nerve root, usually accompanied by overlying muscles spasms causing severe lower back and radiating lower extremity pain. Limitation to walk could cause other compensatory injuries and emotional stress. This cascade of symptoms can result in a vicious cycle of pain. A number of interventions is usually required to identify and treat each of those pain-generating structures.
Common pain conditions we treat include:
- Lower, middle and upper back pain
- Nerve pain (for example, sciatica)
- Muscle and bone pain
- Abdominal, pelvic pain (for example, endometriosis)
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Migraines, headaches and facial pain
- Temporo-mandibular (TMJ) pain syndrome
What are some of the treatment services provided at the Center?
The management of chronic pain is complex and individualised. We offer a multidisciplinary and evidence-based approach working in coordination with the patient’s other health-care providers. At Bermuda Pain Relief Center we aim to design and coordinate a treatment plan that is minimally invasive, holistic, and usually includes a course of injection therapy. Most of our patients will also be recommended into a physiotherapy and rehabilitation programme as well as cognitive behavioural therapy and psychological support. A typical treatment plan might include, but not be limited to, physiotherapy, medication management, pain interventions like epidural, steroid injections, neuromodulation, Botox injections, platelet-rich plasma injections or sympathetic ganglion blocks.
What is your greatest advice for those suffering from chronic pain or discomfort?
Living with chronic pain can be devastating to patients and their families. After working in the field for over 20 years, my best advice to pain-suffering patients is DO NOT GIVE UP. Life can be better. If you have had pain for over three months and it interferes with your sleep, activities or enjoyment of life, please, seek help. You are not alone. Talk to your doctor and contact Bermuda Pain Relief Center for advice.
What are your long-term goals for Bermuda Pain Relief, and our island community at large?
We are in the process of establishing a functional restoration programme. This is an evidence-based, multidisciplinary intensive training course that aims to improve patient’s coping skills, function and performance, ultimately decreasing their average health-care expenditure due to pain-related disease, stress, decreased productivity and sick leave.
We also aim to make our services available to all Bermudians in acute or chronic pain. We want to demystify pain through integrative problem solving, providing solutions and tools to those suffering giving them the opportunity to take control of their condition to allow for a healthy, fulfilled life and overall well-being.
Meet the Team
Pain medicine specialist Dr Annie Pinto is an American board certified anaesthesiologist with over 22 years of experience in the field. During the last 14 years she has worked at King Edward Memorial Hospital as both an anaesthetist and as a pain medicine specialist. She completed her training at Columbia University and Harvard Medical School.
Physiotherapist Shara Crunden has many years of experience as a qualified physiotherapist and is skilled in sport rehab, myofascial release, acupuncture, dry needling, chronic pain management therapy, rehabilitative Pilates and yoga. Most recently, Shara has become a certified Ayurveda provider adding a holistic and natural medicine alternative for patients.