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-by James Jeltema, D.O., Anesthesiologist and head of our Pain Management Clinic

It has most recently been estimated that around 20% of the United States population is affected by chronic pain. That means around 50 million people suffer pain daily that affects their ability to live and work and enjoy life. This translates into over an estimated $500 billion in direct medical costs, lost productivity at work, and disability programs. At Orange City Area Health System, it is our goal to help patients reduce their pain and improve their function to get back to doing what they love to do.

As an anesthesiologist specializing in pain medicine, I have a special skill set to offer the area to help people deal with their chronic pain issues. We use a multidisciplinary approach to focus on all aspects of a person’s pain. I work closely with the physical therapists in the hospital to help improve patients’ strength, flexibility, and function which helps decrease their pain and reduce the chances of re-aggravating their injury.

I also work with the clinical pharmacists to decide on appropriate medications that can help decrease pain and inflammation or calm revved up nerves in an effort to increase a patient’s function and quality of life. I work closely with behavioral health and our clinical psychologist to help patients cope with the mental stress of dealing with chronic pain including anxiety, depression, and sleep issues.

Along with all these things, I have the skills and training necessary to do various injections and procedures aimed at decreasing a patient’s pain. These include nerve blocks and epidural steroid injections for low back or neck pain and pain shooting down the legs or arms, nerve blocks for things like post-herpetic neuralgia, and joint injections for degenerative-related pain to name a few.

With this well-rounded approach, a patient is much more likely to experience a lasting reduction in their pain and return to a level of activity and function that they desire.

If you or a loved one have chronic pain issues, talk to your primary care physician and we’ll be happy to see you.

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