TREATING PAIN WITH EMPATHY AND COMPASSION

Dr. Tajul Chowdhury understands that when patients visit his office, they’re not just looking for medications that will help relieve their pain. They need a doctor that truly understands what they’re going through and is able to provide them with the hope that things will get better. “I have a gift for turning my patient’s pain into comfort, “ says Dr. Chowdhury. “They don’t have to deal with pain on their own and suffer.”

Early on in his career, Dr. Chowdhury felt that he could make a real difference in the lives of patients struggling with acute and chronic pain. After receiving his M.B.B.S. from the Rajshah Medical College in Rajshahi, Bangladesh and completing additional medical training at Boston University and Harvard Medical School, Dr. Chowdhury spent many years as the Chief of Anesthesia at the Knapp Medical Center in Weslaco. He found that the Rio Grande Valley had a great need for specialized and interdisciplinary pain management treatments. In 1994, he opened The Center for Pain Management in McAllen, Texas – an interdisciplinary clinic that would combine modern approaches and high quality patient care to treat and manage pain.

The Center for Pain Management became the leading clinic of its kind in the area and moved to Edinburg to service an even larger population. People suffering from nerve pain, arthritis, cancer, shingles, injuries, herniated discs, headaches, and pain after surgery traveled to Edinburg to see Dr. Chowdhury Patients visiting the clinic were not only impressed by the effectiveness of the treatments they received, but also by the doctor’s excellent bedside manner.

Twenty years later, Dr. Chowdhury’s patients continued to appreciate his positive attitude and compassion. “Dr. Chowdhury is a very down to earth doctor. He is very well-educated and also has a sense of humor,” says Araceli Gaona-Gonzalez, Clinic Supervisor at The Center for Pain Management. “I think it is something that patients love because it makes them feel comfortable. It makes them feel they are able to open up to him and that he understands what it is like to be in pain.”

Research shows that most new doctors only sit down and talk to their patients during 9 percent of their consultations. On the other hand, research consistently shows that a doctor’s bedside manner can have a great impact on the patient’s health outcomes. A recent review of clinical trials published in the April 2014 issue of PLOS ONE found that a good patient-clinician relationship has a positive effect on a patient’s weight loss, blood pressure, blood sugar, lipid level, and pain.

The entire staff at The Center for Pain Management understands the importance of the patient-clinician relationship. “Our clinic is very unique,” says Gaona-Gonzalez. “We have a great staff, great nurses that truly care about their job and making sure that our patients are very well taken care of. ” Normally, patients at The Center for Pain Management report a reduction of 50-100 percent of their pain.

The clinic also prides itself in offering some of the most modern treatments and procedures in the industry. Among these .innovative procedures is MILD (Minimally Invasive lumbar decompression). Dr. Chowdhury was the first physician in the Rio Grande Valley certified to perform this outpatient procedure that utilizes an imaging machine to allow the removal of small pieces of bone and excess ligament tissue through a tiny incision in the back. By opting for the MILD procedure patients regain their mobility and experience a decrease in their pain without the long recovery periods.

Dr. Chowdhury and the staff at Center for Pain Management don’t want people to give up and accept that they have to live in pain. Finding an effective treatment often involves trying different approaches, from prescription medications to narcotic pumps, until they find one that works for that specific person. Most patients visiting the clinic not only find relief from their symptoms, but are also able to go back to enjoying their daily activities.

Araceli Gaona-Gonzalez remembers a particular patient they had a few years back. He was experiencing debilitating pain from Stage 4 prostate cancer and had been given only four months to live. Through the use of a narcotic pump to treat his symptoms, he experienced relief from his pain. “He ended up living four more years. At first, he came in a wheelchair and later on was able to walk in to the office,” says Gaona.

Innovative treatments, such as the intrathecal morphine pump which is a small implanted device that delivers concentrated amounts of medication directly into the spinal cord, are able to treat debilitating conditions, such as pain from failed back surgery, cancer pain, dystrophy, causalgia, and arachnoiditis. Both the morphine pump and the baclofen pump are also able to treat muscle spasticity found in certain conditions, such as multiple sclerosis.

Araceli Gaona-Gonzalez, clinic supervisor at the clinic, recalls many cases where patients showed up crying or unable to walk because of their pain, but were able to go back to their regular lives after treatment. “It makes you feel like you’re doing something right for someone,” says Araceli. “Even if its just one person that gets some sort of relief it makes working for The Center For Pain Management worthwhile.”

Patients that are interested in visiting The Center for Pain Management can visit their website at www.cfpm.net or call 956-631-9041.

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