I specialize in treating people with chronic pain using an integrative approach. I practice with careful consideration given to the physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual aspects of each patient. My mission is to help you reach your goals in life to the extent that is reasonable by finding methods to control pain and suffering. When pain is controlled, you may feel more optimistic about setting and reaching goals that otherwise were out of reach. Realistically, the best pain reduction methods can reduce pain by only 30 to 50%, however this increase in pain control offers opportunities to increase overall function and the ability to “have a life”. I do not prescribe opioids or any other controlled substances for pain, but there are other medications that may provide relief of pain and suffering.
At the first visits, the focus of our attention is on evaluating the severity of chronic pain, its causes, what treatments have already been tried, which have worked and which haven’t, how your functioning has improved, and how it is still impaired. Setting goals for functioning, and monitoring your progress are essential parts of treatment.
Physical treatment options that I offer include osteopathic manipulation where it is deemed likely to have benefit. This includes cranio-sacral manipulation. Other physical modalities are trigger point injections and the use of non-opioid prescription medications. I utilize several classes of medications that often have value in managing chronic pain. These include anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxers, anti-epileptic medications for nerve pain and migraines, and anti-depressants that have efficacy for pain management. These are usually used in combination to acquire a synergistic benefit. Medical marijuana now has a place for managing pain and suffering. It is much safer than opioids and has a synergistic effect with opioids to improve their effectiveness, thus lowering the need for higher doses. I can authorize its use where it is appropriate.
I offer nutritional counseling since “we are what we eat”. There are some foods, which aggravate pain and others that soothe pain by their anti-inflammatory effects. I may refer patients to a nutritionist or naturopath with training in identifying foods that aggravate pain or cause allergic reactions. Certain nutritional supplements have been shown to reduce inflammation and pain. I may recommend them for some conditions. Weight loss may be an essential aspect of reducing pain in some cases. I can assist in this endeavor.
I provide psychological counseling to assist patients adapt to their pain and to the limitations to their activities and relationships that pain imposes. In addition, the stresses and adversities of life that befall most people, whether they have chronic pain or not, usually exacerbate existing pain and suffering. Depression, anxiety, and grief commonly afflict chronic pain sufferers. These emotional reactions need special attention. Some patients respond well to the addition of an anti-depressant medication while others need individual psychotherapy. I may refer to a psychologist or psychiatrist when these exigencies of life are excessive and require additional professional support. The inclusion of psychological care may be required for those who have addictions or who are at significant risk of acquiring an addiction. Screening for anxiety and depression is part of my evaluation at the first and at subsequent visits.
In addition, I can teach self-hypnosis, meditation, and guided imagery for pain reduction and to help manage emotional suffering. Use of mind/body methods is self-empowering since one can find inner resources to manage pain and suffering. I also have a program for smoking cessation.
Chronic pain can precipitate a spiritual crisis for many who wonder “why me?” I welcome a discussion of how spiritual and religious beliefs relate to chronic pain. I respect each person’s beliefs and don’t attempt to proselytize. It is important to find meaning in pain and suffering in order to reclaim one’s own life. From meaning comes compassion for one’s own suffering, and for the suffering of others. I am sensitive to people’s energies and can sometimes gain useful information intuitively. I am a Reiki Master and have training in Healing Touch. I may offer to perform energy healing for those who wish to experience its benefits.
I frequently refer to other health care practitioners whose care is likely to benefit my patients. I often refer to acupuncturists, massage therapists, and psychotherapists. These practices offer safe and gentle support. I also utilize physical therapists, naturopaths, and nutritionists. Other physicians provide extremely valuable care for chronic pain management. I often refer to anesthesiologists, orthopedic and neurosurgeons, radiologists, physiatrists, addictionologists, and other specialists whose knowledge and skills provide essential support in the proper care of chronic pain patients.
It is lastly and most importantly the respectful relationship I have with my patients that is the vessel of healing that my care offers. Honest and open communication between us is the essential means that makes profound and lasting healing possible. I look forward to meeting with you to discuss your treatment options and to formulate a plan.