By KATIE BORKOWSKI
CARROLL – After suffering from chronic back pain, a call to the Pain Management Clinic at St. Anthony Regional Hospital made all the difference for Ursula Borecky.
The Denison St. Rose of Lima parishioner was so happy to get an appointment and is now doing much better.
St. Anthony’s re-opened its pain clinic at the beginning of January in collaboration with Mid-Iowa Anesthesia and Pain Services. Chris Hanson, CRNA, NSPM-C, of Mid-Iowa Anesthesia travels from Boone to see patients from noon to 4 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays.
“We are building the practice back up here,” said Ed Cutler, director of anesthesia at St. Anthony. “There is a definite need. Chronic pain is one of the leading indicators of disease in the country that is under-treated. It is an opportunity to open this hospital to an underserved population and have an expert come in and provide a service that does a world of good.”
Treatment of chronic pain
The clinic treats chronic pain in the back, neck and shoulders, work related injuries, headaches, arthritis, fibromyalgia and shingles.
The clinic provides patients with a consultation and develops a multi-disciplinary treatment plan tailored to their individual needs including different injections, radiofrequency ablation, medial branch blocks, peripheral nerve blocks and physical therapy. Other recommendations might include yoga, Pilates and more.
“It is important to point out that Chris doesn’t just do injections,” said Cutler. “We have physical therapy and alternative things that he does prior to an injection. Pain is multi-modal. It’s not just a simple matter of ‘this is a pinched nerve.’ Something he does very well is investigate the reasons for it.”
“Some things require further diagnostic studies and I will make a recommendation for that or referrals to specialists,” said Hanson. “One thing I would say I am not doing here is opioid management. Some people have some misconceptions about seeing a therapist, but some people genuinely are benefited by getting some tools of cognitive behavioral therapy to help out with how they perceive their pain.”
He added this is a way for the patient to “take ownership” of what they feel.
“Some things require surgery,” Hanson pointed out. “We will make a surgical referral based on that. Some spine surgeries require that you have had a previous interventional treatment done. Ideally you don’t have to have surgery, but if you do, we can help facilitate that.”
The Carroll clinic is averaging about 15 patients a week and that number is growing.
“We expect it to pick up,” said Culter. “The word is getting out. We are still trying to get some referrals.”
Borecky had seen a specialist in Omaha at Methodist Hospital and was referred to a pain clinic in Harlan to see an anesthesiologist. She was suffering from a herniated disc and sciatic nerve pain.
Borecky’s doctor in Denison, Rosemary Mason, had a nurse call around to see if there was another clinic where Borecky could get an appointment sooner. She was able to get into the Pain Management Clinic at St. Anthony’s.
“They told me to come and they would get me in,” said Borecky. “I am so grateful. They did an excellent job. I had an epidural and they put steroids in my back. Now, I am not taking any more pain pills. I was scared and they were so professional.”
“I am getting a lot of positive feedback,” said Cutler. “The majority of people are seeing improvements in their pain. So far the majority of the patients are pleased with the clinic. We offer more of a hometown touch. People are able to get in here and it is more of friendly atmosphere.”
Cutler reiterated Hanson isn’t “going to have a magic bullet for you the minute you walk in. It may take time, but he is willing to take the time to help you improve functionality.”
“It is a service we can offer here,” said Hanson. “No one, when they are hurting badly, wants to travel that far or wait that long. Nobody wants that inconvenience. We are here to serve that need.”
To schedule a consultation, contact Jennifer Carstens, surgical scheduling, at (712) 794-5206.