How did you become interested in medicine?
My father is a general surgeon and my mother is a nurse. Growing up, many of our conversations at the dinner table were (and still are) about medicine. As a young boy, I would often accompany my dad into the hospital to make rounds with him and occasionally observe some of his surgeries.
When did you decide to specialize in pain management?
It wasn’t until my third year in medical school that I heard about pain management. I was very impressed with seeing patients’ lives transformed when chronic painful conditions they had suffered with for years were suddenly alleviated. At the time, I remember thinking that helping people suffering with pain had to be one of the most noble things a doctor could do. This is still what motivates me when I treat my patients today.
What are common conditions you treat? Is there anything patients can do to avoid developing their conditions?
I treat a variety of acute and chronic painful conditions such as neck pain, lower back pain, sciatica, disc herniations, spinal stenosis, spinal arthritis, spinal fractures, neuropathic (nerve) pain, and cancer pain. While I employ a variety of options in treating my patients, I believe that people need to take an active role in their treatment and toward that end, I encourage smoking cessation, weight loss, and a healthy life style including regular exercise. All of these can help in preventing the development of chronic painful conditions.
What do you like best about working with your patients?
I enjoy listening to their stories and getting to know them as people, not just as patients. I also enjoy seeing them improve and hearing about how something I did for them made a positive impact on their life.
What do you like best about working for OAA?
I really enjoy the camaraderie here at OAA and working with a superb group of physicians and staff. I like the fact that so many services are available under one roof and that I can treat my patients efficiently and effectively here. I can truly say that if I were a patient, this is where I would want to be seen and treated.
Where are you from, originally, and how did you come to live in the Lehigh Valley?
I grew up on a farm in central Pennsylvania. While I moved away from home for college and some of my training, I wanted to come back to be close to my family and my wife’s family. Since moving to the area, I’ve come to realize that the Lehigh valley is a great place to raise a family of my own.
If you were not a pain management physician, what would you be doing?
I’d be a writer or an English professor. Or maybe a wine importer.
How do you apply your experience as a pain management physician to the rest of your life?
I’ve seen the difference that healthy habits can make in one’s life and I try to practice what I preach to my patients. I exercise regularly and watch my diet closely. We all have health issues, myself included. I try to take a proactive approach to staying healthy.
Of what achievements are you especially proud?
I’m really proud when one of my patients comes back and tells me how something I did for them or said to them impacted their life in a positive way. This is why I became a doctor and why I love what I do.