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Middletown Regional Hospital Initiates Pain Management Program

MIDDLETOWN, OH — Pain is one of the most costly health problems in America. It's the most common reason people see a physician, yet often they find little relief. Lower back pain alone—the most common cause of missed work and decreased productivity in America—costs the nation $50 billion each year.

This is why Middletown Regional Hospital (MRH) has launched an advanced pain evaluation and treatment program for people coping with acute or chronic pain from cancer, arthritis or other disease; injury; headache; prior surgery or even an unknown cause.

"We're pleased to be able to offer residents of Southwest Ohio a comprehensive program for the evaluation and treatment of pain," says Douglas W. McNeill, President and CEO of Middletown Regional Health System. "We know that pain changes lives. Statistics show that before people seek out a specialized pain program, they typically have endured pain for seven years and have undergone extensive testing, including CT and MRI scans and EMG studies. There's a feeling of hopelessness that begins to set in," he adds But there is hope.

The MRH program includes diagnostic and therapeutic nerve blocks of the head, neck, thoracic or lumbar spine, abdomen or extremities. Other state-of-the-art techniques include spinal cord stimulation, which delivers electrical impulses to block pain from being perceived by the brain, and implantable "pain-control pumps," which administer medication directly to pain receptors in the spinal cord. Prior to treatment, all patients receive a thorough evaluation from qualified pain specialists in order to identify the source of pain and to treat it at the core.

Pain specialists at MRH, all of whom are physicians board certified in anesthesia, use the latest minimally invasive techniques and advanced technology not only to diagnose the pain, but also to stop it. "Conventional medical thinking used to be that all pain is useful because it lets us know when something is wrong," says Howard Seitzman, MD, DABPM, medical director for the program. "You drop a hammer on your toe, and it hurts because it's supposed to hurt. In that sense, pain is protective."

But not all pain is protective or useful—nor is it always the symptom of a larger problem. Sometimes pain is the larger problem. "Someone who is in pain because of multiple back surgeries may have nerves that have begun to malfunction. That kind of pain is no longer useful or protective—but thankfully it's a kind of pain we can deal with," says Dr. Seitzman.

The goal of Middletown Regional Hospital's pain evaluation and treatment program is to provide long-term relief for acute and chronic pain, in order to help patients achieve a higher level of activity and enjoy life more. The objective is to accomplish this in the least invasive way and as quickly as possible, diminishing the need for more and more medication and surgery.

The program is conveniently located at Middletown Regional Hospital's Ann & Arthur W. Bidwell Surgery Center. Plans for the new MRH, scheduled to open in late 2007, will include space for expanded services.

A physician referral is not required. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (513) 420-5165.