Pain — you know, the kind that feels like a burning sensation deep beneath the skin causing never-ending waves of aches and discomfort — has been experienced by nearly everyone at some point in their lives. Pain is real and although it’s felt differently by each person, it can be relieved. The physiatrists at Michigan Head & Spine Institute (MHSI) strive to return their patients with chronic or injury-related pain back to living their lives again.
Physiatrists, or physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists, use conservative, nonsurgical tools as well as minimally invasive techniques to get patients back on track. “Pain can keep a person from the simple activities of life like bending down to tie a shoelace, or lifting a child or groceries, while neck pain can prevent turning one’s head while driving in traffic — a very dangerous situation,” explains Carrie Stewart, M.D., a physiatrist who specializes in helping patients return to activity without surgery.
Some of the most advanced medical tools and techniques are used to reduce pain. This can include epidural injections, trigger point or peripheral joint injections and manual medicine. Also available are spinal cord stimulators, special wires that are surgically implanted in the spine to provide relief, something like a “pacemaker” for pain which disrupts pain signals.
For some, minimally invasive injections might be a last resort, or might even be used for postsurgical pain relief. “Medications may relieve pain for a while, but our goal is to determine the source of the pain and help our patients get back to their functional lives,” says John Marshall, M.D. “We avoid loading patients up on drugs that only mask their pain, and work to identify and treat the cause of the pain.”
“A multidisciplinary approach leads to less medication usage. It helps the patient maximize his or her return to their best function and is optimal for pain management,” adds Ingrid Chua-Manalo, M.D., who spent eight years as an anesthesiologist before shifting into physiatry.
Each patient is treated as an individual, looking at the whole person. A thorough patient history is taken and a physical exam is conducted. If necessary, X-rays, MRIs, electromyograms (EMGs), or physical therapy are ordered. Counseling is also offered to help patients cope with the emotional aspect of pain.
“Some patients may require surgery,” explains Robert P. Farhat, D.O., who specializes in nonsurgical evaluation and minimally invasive procedures. “Because we are part of the MHSI team, we have the resources of the country’s most renowned neurosurgeons — experts in minimally invasive and traditional spine procedures — right in the same office. We can discuss a patient’s individual situation and collectively come to the best treatment plan possible.”
The physiatry team at Michigan Head & Spine Institute continues to grow to meet the needs of the increasing number of patients who experience acute and chronic pain from disease, injury, and auto accidents.
There are 10 locations in southeast Michigan for the convenience of our patients. Our Physiatry team includes:
Specializes in nonsurgical evaluation, minimally invasive procedures, and management of back and neck pain.
Specializes in pain management and interventional treatments to manage pain for patients.
A fellowship-trained pain medicine physician who diagnoses and treats pain using a creative, multidisciplinary approach.
Manages patients who require nonoperative treatments for musculoskeletal and neurological conditions.
Moves patients from medication relief for pain back to their optimum functionality using minimally invasive pain procedures.
Treats musculoskeletal and neurologic conditions using nonsurgical and conservative techniques.
Treats musculoskeletal pain, including neck and back pain, to nonsurgically return functionality to her patients.
Specializes in nonsurgical evaluation, minimally invasive procedures, and management of low back and neck pain, plus shoulder and hip pain.