An Inspired Physician: Robert Goldstein, M.D., Pain Specialist
"Real pain management begins when the patient learns its true causes," says Robert Goldstein, M.D., head of Consultants in Pain Management in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Va., and an active PCRM member. Dr. Goldstein has dedicated his life to helping people rid their own lives of chronic, disabling pain, or to manage it as well as possible.
Many patients are looking for a quick fix, and understandably so. But Dr. Goldstein has a surprise for them. He puts them in charge of their own recovery, educating them about the causes of their pain and emphasizing the links between pain, diet, and lifestyle. For instance, a major contributor to back pain is smoking. "Smoking decreases the blood flow to the disks, and that leads to disk degeneration," points out Dr. Goldstein. Similarly, meaty diets encourage artery blockages. So while he still provides injections or oral medications when necessary, an important part of "treatment" is a major change in lifestyle, which requires plenty of practical information and encouragement.
A woman with recurrent headaches asked, "What are you going to do for me?" to which Dr. Goldstein replied, "Let's see what you can do for yourself." He encouraged her to try a dietary approach, evaluating whether foods contributed to the problem. When she returned a month later, her headaches were gone. She had also lost weight and had a new outlook on life. Without preaching or lecturing, Dr. Goldstein inspires his patients to understand that the knowledgeable care they give their own bodies may be the greatest healing tool of all.