American Pain Experts specializes in taking away your aches and pains, whether you’re under stress or you’ve been in an accident. The practice’s highly-trained doctors, Neel Amin and Tom Macek, are board certified in pain medicine and anesthesiology, so they can treat customers by giving them increased quality of life in minimally invasive ways.
The variety of interventional pain procedures offered by American Pain Experts vary from epidural steroid injections, Racz catheters, intravenous infusions to spinal cord stimulation. The goal of these procedures is to allow the patient to live life with far less pain than before, and in many cases, get rid of the pain altogether.
I talked to Dr. Neel Amin about the practice he shares with Dr. Tom Macek, and also about pain and the many ways to manage and treat it.
Where did you pursue higher education?
I went to the University of Georgia and then to the University of Washington. Dr. Macek went to the University of Florida and the University of Washington.
When a patient is referred to you, how do you determine what type of procedure is needed?
When someone comes to our office, they let us know where their pain is. The next step is to diagnose where the pain is coming from, whether it’s a joint, a herniated disc, an entrapped nerve, or any other structure that can be a pain generator. Then we do interventions and procedures to alleviate that pain.
How do you treat varying degrees of back and neck pain?
We do a range of different modalities to get 70 to 80 percent improvement in the patient’s pain. We usually focus on doing procedures, which usually gives them 50 to 70 percent relief, but we also do massage or physical therapy in combination with low doses of medication to get an extra 10 to 30 percent in relief.
How is mental health a factor in the occurrence of pain?
The word “pain” has the word “emotion” in its definition. So if a patient’s anxiety and depression is not controlled, it’s very difficult to manage their pain. One of the modalities that we use to treat patients’ pain is to make sure that any mood disturbances have been addressed.
How far has modern technology progressed in the context of treating back and neck pain?
In the last ten years or so, the techniques of the procedures that we do, such as epidural injections and radiofrequency ablations, have come a long way. We’ve changed the types of medications that we use, we have much better equipment such as our X-ray machines…we just have better techniques and ways of doing the procedures now, and not only are the downtimes after the procedures next to nothing, the risks involved with the procedures are also next to nothing.
What are epidural steroid injections and how do they help relieve pain?
All of the nerves, as they exit the spinal cord, travel through the epidural space. It’s not the place where the spinal cord is, but it’s one layer outside the area of the spinal cord. So when a nerve goes through the epidural space, that’s a good location to relieve the pain because you don’t have to go into the spinal canal. When a patient comes in for an epidural, we’re able to target the nerve that’s causing the pain, and without touching or damaging the nerve, we’re able to put anti-inflammatories around it so the patient gets pain relief. We’re able to reduce the pain anywhere from 60 to 80 percent. Sometimes 100%.
On your website I read about a “Racz procedure.” What does that entail exactly?
With a Racz procedure, we are able to give an epidural through a large space in the sacral region of the spine, and we can put a catheter through an area where patients develop scar tissue from surgeries or genetics. What the catheter does is it allows the scar tissue to be broken up. Scar tissue often impinges on nerves, so by releasing the scar tissue, the nerve has room to breathe and not be pinched, thus relieving pain. All the while, this procedure is painless to the patient.
Do you work with patients’ insurance plans?
We have Medicare and most of the major insurance plans. We are able to bill the insurance companies on a need-per-service basis, so it makes it very easy for patients to come in and see us.
What kinds of compliments have you received from satisfied customers?
What we like hearing most is that patients get their quality of life back and that they’re much more functional. Most patients don’t like being on pain medication, so the fact that they can get off those medications, or are downgraded to low doses, makes them very happy. When they’re in less pain, their moods and dispositions are much better. When we follow up, you can see the smiles on their faces.
American Pain Experts’ offices are in Suite 250 at the Imperial Point Medical Arts Pavilion, located at 6333 N. Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, call (954) 678-1074 or visit americanpainexperts.com. “Like” them on Facebook at facebook.com/americanpainexperts.