Holistic Approach to Pain Management has Mutiple Benefits
Dr. Sagar Parikh, Interventional Pain Physician at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation, explains why he takes a holistic approach to treating pain instead of dolling out medication. Dr. Parikh also explains how this approach is helping patients take control and engage in their own healthcare.
"We're pleased to be joined by Doctor Sagar Parikh, who is Interventional Pain Physician at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation. Good to see you Doctor. Thank you. Great to be here. By the way, what is an interventional pain physician? Sure. Okay. So as an interventional pain physician, I have been trained to do image guided injections, nerve blocks or joint blocks, to relieve pain. That could be anything from X-ray guided, or ultrasound. So there's just two different utilities that we can use to actually see inside the body. And really get to a specific source. Or a pain generator, as we call it. You know, you said to me, right before we got on the air, I said, "Oh, you know, we're gonna talk about the opioid problem. The crisis." You said yeah, but the bigger discussion is, quote, "rethinking pain"? Right. Why did you say that? Well, so I mean, and I'm glad you brought that up. I mean, the big topic right now, obviously, is the opioid crisis. And it's worthwhile to figure out how we got here, and then we can kind of think about why we need to rethink pain. You know, we all know the statistics. 91 people a day die from opioid overdoses. Annually in the nation, I think roughly, is 33,000 people. That's a lot. New Jersey alone, 1,600. So it's a huge crisis, and it was driven from, I feel, a real push to, kind of, treat pain, which is a very noble thing. But two decades ago, there was a, sort of, a campaign. Pain as the 5th Vital Sign. You may have heard of it. Hmm. And so the campaign was to, kind of, treat pain, address pain, treat it. At that point, the only utility that most people had were opioids. And that is a problem. And I'll tell you why. So a vital sign. You know what a vital sign is? [laughter] Well, yeah. You check my blood pressure? Right. It's a vital sign? Exactly. So it's an objective measure. Blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, you can't fake it. Those are all objective measures that we can measure. And now with pain, we don't have an objective tool. One to ten, what are you exp...? I don't know, six? Exactly. That's not a vital sign? It's not. It's a very subjective answer. And what I found, through my practice, is that zero to ten pain scale is really a suffering scale. Because pain's complex. Pain is... you know, there was a very very intelligent psychologist actually, his name is Ronald Melzack. And he came up with something called pain is the neuromat... the pain..."