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Doctors Bringing New Style of Care to Pain Treatment Center
By Lois Thomson

Ankur R. Gosalia, M.D., and David M. DeChellis, D.O., are pain physicians who are bringing a new style of medical and pain management care to the Ohio Valley General Hospital Pain Treatment Center.

That new style, according to Dr. Gosalia, is a comprehensive approach that provides multi-modal treatments for patients. "That can include medications or physical therapy; we do interventions as well, which could involve needle-guided procedures all the way up to spinal cord stimulation. We also believe in alternative techniques, such as pain psychology, acupuncture, group therapy. So there's a wide range of pain management treatments that we like to involve in patients' plans for care."

Because of the variety of treatments, the two physicians must first determine which is best in a particular situation. "Dr. Gosalia and I both feel that no patient's pain is the same," Dr. DeChellis said. "We really try to individualize each specific treatment plan. We evaluate the patient, make an accurate diagnosis, then offer different options that we feel are reasonable for the patient to try for this specific pain generator. That may include a variety of modalities, but not all are appropriate for each individual pain; it's really a case-by-case basis."

Dr. DeChellis and Dr. Gosalia are the founders and owners of Pittsburgh Pain Physicians, where they will continue to handle the whole gamut of pain syndromes while also working at the Pain Treatment Center. "We treat anything from back and spine-related disorders, which include things like herniated disks to spinal stenosis, sciatica," Dr. Gosalia said. "We treat nerve-related pain, like neuralgia. We treat joint pain and arthritis, which can be osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis. We like to say that we're like primary care physicians when it comes to pain, where we will diagnose and assess all forms of pain diseases or painful states, and we are able to come up with plans for each of those states, whether we treat those plans (ourselves) or we refer patients for anything as simple as going to a chiropractor vs. all the way to neurosurgery."

The duo became associated with Ohio Valley General Hospital when the hospital contracted with Pittsburgh Pain Physicians for them to be co-directors of the Pain Treatment Center and provide pain management services. They are continuing their practice, as Dr. DeChellis said, "with a whole new set of resources. The Pain Treatment Center has a tradition and such a good reputation with regard to how they provide care. I think it very well complements Dr. Gosalia's and my practice in medicine and how we treat patients. We have very similar values to Ohio Valley General Hospital.

"The hospital was looking for new leadership in terms of pain management, and we thought we could provide new leadership that would direct them toward a new way of treating patients. We are bringing our same philosophy with us to Ohio Valley General, with the hopes that it will live up to their standards, and will make sure their reputation is maintained."

The two physicians have known each other and practiced together for years. Dr. Gosalia explained, "We have complementary styles. David is physical medicine and rehabilitation trained, so his medical degree is in PM&R. My background is in anesthesiology. Both of us are ACGME fellowship trained – the highest regarded in the country – and we were in fellowship together for our training at West Penn Allegheny Health System."

However, each took slightly different paths to their careers. Dr. DeChellis said, "I think every physician has a basic desire to help people, has a passion for something in medicine, and I thought my passion was helping to improve people's function in daily life and how they are able to do things on a regular basis. The one limitation I saw was that pain often limits people from doing the things they like to do. So throughout my early training, I saw myself gravitating toward that, and pain has truly become my passion in the field of medicine."

Dr. Gosalia added, "In the world of anesthesia, we see painful states day in and day out. And after seeing what pain management physicians were able to do to help these patients, it kind of made me personally fall in love with the field as a whole. In anesthesiology, we have limited time to spend with a patient awake, and I kind of missed following patients for an extended period and really getting to know the people I'm taking care of. So it's kind of two-sided, where I wanted to treat pain and also wanted to maintain relationships with patients for a longer period of time."

If you have pain, how do you know if you should make an appointment with these physicians? Dr. Gosalia said, "We like to say that if the patient has pain that they feel is unwarranted, or that is disabling to their lives so that they can't enjoy the things they normally do, then we want to help them. For patients who have short-term problems, there's no real reason to see us. But if the patients actually feel that their pain is competing with their daily activities of living or finding happiness in their lives, it's time to give us a call, so that we can help them rediscover the lives they had, at least to some degree."

For more information, call (412) 777-6400 or visit www.ohiovalleyhospital.org.

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