Meet Dr. Erica Bial
An interventional pain and spine medicine specialist inside the Department of Orthopedics at Reliant Medical Group, Dr. Erica Bial always had a natural talent for science, as well as for the arts. “In a lot of ways working in pain management gives me a chance to fuse these two fields while at the same time helping people,” she explains. “That’s why I love this specialty so much.”
In her practice Dr. Bial concentrates on offering non-surgical, interventional options for pain. “It’s ‘interventional’ because we are applying a drug or device to a location that we can access through the skin without an incision. A lot of problems that used to require open surgery can be addressed less invasively now. For example, if you have back pain due to a spinal compression fracture I might use a special glue that is applied through a needle to stabilize the fracture. Procedures such as this typically don’t require a hospital stay and are done on an outpatient basis. Many of the techniques I employ take only minutes.”
Dr. Bial offers many other techniques to relieve pain including radio-frequency ablation for relief of joint pain in the spine, nerve blocks, injections for muscle spasms and migraine headaches, as well as other procedures. “Many of these approaches have been developed in just the last few years, and have really revolutionized the treatment of back pain, neck pain, and other painful conditions. By using fluoroscopy, which is similar to an X-ray, during many of these procedures, we can deliver medications more precisely and effectively than ever before.”
According to Dr. Bial, surgery is not always the only way to resolve pain. “Sometimes patients won’t require surgery, that’s why treating pain less invasively can be so important. I often reach out to my colleagues in behavioral medicine, oncology, radiology, physical therapy, and other disciplines to create a customized treatment plan for the patient. The most important thing is to improve a patient’s quality of life. If you can allow them to do the things they love in life without the pain stopping them, then you know you’ve been successful.”
In her free time, Dr. Bial enjoys long-distance running, and frequently participates in local road races and half-marathons. She also has a passion for vegan nutrition and cooking, including giving educational cooking demonstrations.