Helping patients deal with back pain and more
This article appeared in Health Matters Winter 2016
Back pain is an extremely common problem across the United States. In fact, it will affect 8 out of 10 people at some point in their lives, according to the National Institutes of Health. The physicians in Augusta Health's Pain Management Clinic see this firsthand with the patients that come in for treatment.
"We see all kinds of chronic and acute pain," says Jared Davis, MD, physician at the Augusta Health Pain Management Clinic. "But the most common is back pain and lower back pain. Back pain is something that most people will experience, and we want them to be able to manage that pain before it becomes something that's chronic and affects their ability to live their lives."
Dr. Davis and the other physicians in the Pain Management Clinic take an interventional approach to pain management, which means they treat pain comprehensively, rather than focusing on just the pain itself.
"A multidisciplinary approach to pain management is very important because pain really affects multiple parts of the patient," says Dr. Davis. "We're not focused on just treating physical symptoms but also on other types of treatment, whether it's the treatment of the actual underlying problem or the psychological impact of pain on people's lives. It's a multifaceted approach, and we work with other services such as orthopedics, physical therapy, psychiatry [and others]."
The Pain Management Clinic at Augusta Health is equipped to treat all kinds of pain issues, from what Dr. Davis calls the "bread and butter pain procedures" to more advanced treatments such as neuromodulation — which is a spinal cord stimulation therapy to help treat pain — and radiofrequency ablations — which can be used to cauterize nerve endings that may be contributing to pain.
"Technology has been advancing, and we have the latest techniques and equipment," says Dr. Davis. "It's really cool to be a part of a community hospital that has access to these options that usually only bigger institutions have access to."
To help serve even more patients in the Pain Management Clinic, Augusta Health recently brought Ruzbeh Toussi, DO, MPH, on board. Dr. Toussi comes to Augusta Health from UVA, where he recently finished a pain training fellowship. Although he hasn't been on the staff long, he's already becoming an important part of the multidisciplinary pain management team at the hospital.
"Everyone I've been involved with has been great," says Dr. Toussi. "I think [the multidisciplinary approach] brings different perspectives together, which is good. For example, both Dr. Davis and I are anesthesia-trained and we work with a physical therapist, so we have different perspectives on the treatment of pain and a different eye on the patients' problems. The more minds working together to solve a problem, the more successful we are."