Desert Pain’s expert physicians target acute, chronic pain conditions with innovative treatments – St George News

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CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — As Southern Utah’s premier pain management team, Desert Pain Specialists practices evidence-based, forward-thinking medicine that integrates the newest available treatments.

The physicians at Desert Painall of whom are board-certified in both anesthesiology and interventional pain medicine, strive to improve patient quality of life through innovative pain management solutions. They treat all types of acute and chronic pain, including back pain, neck pain, sciatica, neuropathy, migraines and sports injuries.

“We’re up-to-date on all standard and cutting-edge treatment options for our patients,” said Dr. Court Empey, the founder of Desert Pain. “We will walk them through each of their options and help determine the best solution.”

Epidural steroid injections

Back pain is among the most common health complaints afflicting Americans today and may originate from a variety of sources, including bulging discs, sciatica, bone spurs and arthritis. Epidural steroid injections can restore mobility and improve quality of life for many patients struggling with chronic back pain.

Epidural injections use a corticosteroid, which decreases inflammation in the affected region and provides pain relief that can last up to three months or longer. The epidural space lies outside of the spinal cord and extends from the base of the skull to the sacrum. Injections performed in the lower or mid-back can also help alleviate related leg pain.

“Anytime a patient has pain traveling into their leg or their arm from the spine, an epidural steroid injection is a likely treatment option to provide relief,” Empey said.

A treatment room with a view at Desert Pain Specialists, St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo by Jeff Hauck courtesy of Desert Pain Specialists, St. George News

Spinal cord stimulation

For patients who have exhausted all nonsurgical options to alleviate their chronic back pain, spinal cord stimulation may provide relief at last. A spinal cord stimulator is an implanted device that delivers electrical pulses directly into the spinal cord to interrupt nerve impulses that produce pain.

“Spinal cord stimulation is the gold standard when most other treatment options have failed,” Empey said.

The process begins with an electrode that is inserted into the skin and connected to a stimulator, which the patient can turn on and off. A temporary stimulator is implanted as a trial to determine the appropriate pulse strength for maximum pain relief before the permanent device is placed.


Acutely painful spinal compression fractures are more common in older adults as a result of osteoporosis or falls but also may occur during a traumatic injury. Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive treatment option that can provide immediate pain relief and restore height to the vertebral column.

During a kyphoplasty, the physician inserts a tiny balloon into the middle of the broken vertebra. The balloon is then inflated, creating a bit of space that is filled with bone cement to stabilize the fracture. Patients usually resume their normal daily activities soon after undergoing undergoing the procedure, Empey said.

“One of the most gratifying procedures for us to perform is a kyphoplasty because most patients come in with severe pain due to a compression fracture,” he added. “Once we repair it, the patient’s pain typically goes away instantly.”

Radiofrequency ablation

A welcome waiting room greets guests at Desert Pain Specialists, St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo by Jeff Hauck courtesy of Desert Pain Specialists, St. George News

Patients suffering from chronic lower back or neck pain as well as joint pain caused by arthritis may benefit from radiofrequency ablation. This procedure uses an electrical current from radio waves to heat surrounding nerve tissue and reduce pain signals to the affected area. Under fluoroscopic guidance, The physician will inject a microelectrode into the target region and begin the stimulation process.

“We can find those tiny nerves under X-ray guidance and burn them to stop them from working and making the patient feel arthritis pain in their spine,” Empey said.

Radiofrequency ablation is a safe outpatient procedure that provides fast relief. Empey said the results may last a year or even longer for some patients.

Empey encourages anyone with concerns about acute and chronic pain or questions on specific procedures to reach out to Desert Pain.

Empey, a St. George native, established Desert Pain in 2007 to meet an unfulfilled need in the community for the treatment of chronic pain. Today, the practice includes five specialists joined by 10 physician assistants and nurse practitioners plus a licensed clinical social worker. Each of the physicians has undergone 13 years of education, residency and training in order to perform these advanced procedures that deliver life-changing results.

Desert Pain operates a state-of-the-art facility at the Riverfront Medical Center in St. George that allows them to offer unmatched quality of care to their patients. And with satellite locations in Hurricane, Hildale (opening in September), Cedar City , Kanab, Beaver, Panguitch, Delta and Fillmore as well as Mesquite and Overton, Nevada, they’re prepared to serve the needs of the area’s growing population.

Call 435-216-7000 or visit the Desert Pain website to schedule an appointment today.

Written by ALEXA MORGAN for St. George News.



  • Desert Pain Specialists | Telephone: 435-216-7000 | Email: [email protected] | Website.
  • Locations:
    • St. George: 617 E. Riverside Drive, Suite 301.
    • Hurricane: 48 S. 2500 West, Suite 110.
    • Cedar City: 1760 N. Main St.
    • Beaver: 68 N. Main St.
    • Panguitch: 200 N. 400 East.
    • Kanab: 348 N. 300 West.
    • Delta: 126 White Sage Ave.
    • Fillmore: 65 N. Main St.
    • Mesquite, Nevada: 340 Falcon Ridge Parkway, Suite 600.
    • Overton, Nevada: 475 N. Moapa Valley Blvd.

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