There’s a myth out there about living with pain. Most people think one of the only solutions to relief comes in the form of opiate-based painkillers.
But Dr. Uzma Parvez, who has been running Total Pain Care of New Jersey in the old West Hudson Hospital in Kearny for the last year — and who has been a pain-management specialist for more than 10 years — said there’s so much more she and her center can do to help people who suffer from all kinds of chronic pain.
“Most importantly, we need to set goals with the patients first, however,” Parvez said. “We need to decide whether we need to get them off medicine forever, or if there’s another course. We decide the best way we can help the patient to increase activity and to live as normal a life as possible.”
When her goal and a patient’s goal match, they move forward with treatment.
This doesn’t mean, however, that a patient might not have to take painkillers. In fact, Parvez said she prescribes them, as needed, for her patients. But she hopes people reading this story will understand there’s so much more to pain management than just medication.
“People don’t know,” she said. “They think it’s the only option, but there are other medications, such as anti-inflammatory medications, steroids, muscle relaxers and many other ways to relieve pain.”
Among the other options explored are referrals to a chiropractor, physical therapy, joint injections, nerve blocks, radio frequency procedures, spinal cord stimulation, and epidural injections. Parvez said she feels that surgery should be the last step in the relief process.
With that in mind, Parvez works in consult with a patient’s primary-care physician to make sure she’s doing the right thing because factoring in a patient’s background and history is vitally important in devising a treatment plan.
“When a patient needs to see us, we try to schedule them to come in as quickly as possible, sometimes even the very same day,” Parvez said. “Once we see them, we take a comprehensive history and then come up with an evaluation. As soon as that happens, I communicate with the patient’s primary-care physician because they know the patients well.”
Most importantly, however, Parvez said patients need to know that pain management isn’t an instant process — sometimes it could take months, maybe even years, before there’s major improvement. And it’s always possible — and likely — a patient won’t return to being 100% pain free.
“But if we set short-term and long-term goals, it can get better,” she said. “And perhaps a year down the line, we have to start over. But when a patient, let’s say, participates in aerobics, or physical therapy — and has an active lifestyle — there will be improvements.”
Parvez said it’s also important for her to be on call 24 hours a day, especially when one has to have surgery.
“I want to know what’s happening before the surgery and after,” she said. “It makes continuing care much more simple.”
Total Pain Care is located at 206 Bergen Ave., the former West Hudson Hospital, in Suite 206. The office may be reached by calling 201-955-2290 or by visiting www.TotalPainCareNJ.com. Most insurance plans are accepted.
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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.