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Dr. Ankur R. Gosalia and Dr. David M. DeChellis
Pain Specialists Offer 'Something More'

By Lois Thomson

Have you ever experienced lower back pain? Don't worry, you're not alone. According to David M. DeChellis, D.O., lower back pain is the second-most common symptomatic reason why people see a primary care doctor – the first being upper respiratory symptoms (cold or flu). Dr. DeChellis, who along with his partner Ankur R. Gosalia, M.D. leads the Ohio Valley General Hospital Pain Treatment Center, said statistics show that "low back pain is going to occur in approximately 80 percent of the general adult population, and up to 50 percent of those people will go on to have chronic pain – which is pain that lasts longer than three months."

While Dr. DeChellis said he doesn't like to place a label on people or situations, he did say that low back pain, "typically falls into a certain category, which is usually based on age. The most common causes are muscle strains, lumbar degenerative disk disease, spinal stenosis, and arthritis."

He explained that he and Dr. Gosalia first identify the cause of pain in a patient and then work on the treatment. "We do a lot of non-surgical intervention, creative things. In other words, we try to remain cutting-edge; we know for a fact that we're one of only a few physicians in Pittsburgh who are doing certain procedures, whereas other physicians are doing them throughout the country.

"Regarding back pain, we do offer a procedure called neuromodulation, which includes two forms in that of spinal cord stimulation and peripheral nerve stimulation. This is a big topic in medicine, and there's a lot of great literature out now that supports it for certain causes of pain. It's very appropriate and very beneficial in many patients with certain pain syndromes, such as back pain."

Dr. DeChellis said he and his partner learn about cutting-edge techniques because they have an overall interest in furthering the field of pain medicine, and they have academic backgrounds. "Dr. Gosalia was an academic physician, he taught residents for a long time and lectured to physicians at national conferences. Myself, I have published a few pieces of scientific literature on pain, so we both have that academic sense, we enjoy learning more about pain and how to treat it." He said they regularly attend national conferences and learn new techniques by talking with physicians around the country to see what they're doing and how they're treating patients.

"We really pride ourselves on being able to offer patients options. After they've seen other physicians who say, 'We've done everything we can, there's nothing else we can do' – those are the patients we like to see, because we know we can likely offer them something more."

Education is also part of their practice – for example, teaching patients to potentially prevent further exacerbations by showing them how to lift things appropriately, and keep their core muscular system strong.

"We're happy to be part of the Pittsburgh community," Dr. DeChellis said, "and our goal is to try to remain on that cutting edge and offer appropriate evaluations to people who suffer with chronic pain."

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

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