Saving Patients from the Opioid Epidemic: A Doctor's Fight

11/12/2017 07:50 pm ET

Dr. Ramis Gheith Is Creating Pathways To Treat Chronic Pain Without Opioids and Its Working.

Pain Management Expert, Dr. Ramis Gheith is tired of people dying from opioid addiction and he is fighting this epidemic with a vengeance. According to a recent study, Opioids could kill nearly half a million people in the next decade. As reported by the UK’s Daily Mail, the rise of opioid addiction is so severe that medical examiners cannot keep up with the body count. “How can we eradicate the opioid epidemic if the only option that patients get to treat their chronic pain is by being prescribed the very oral opioids that are so addictive that it is killing them? How are we really trying to solve the problem?” asks Dr. Gheith.

Dr. Gheith is one of the country’s leading pain management physicians and a highly respected anesthesiologist, and expert in the field of Interventional Pain Management and Neuromodulation, Dr. Gheith is the founder and medical director of the Interventional Pain Institute in Saint Louis, Missouri. Years before the opioid crisis became a hot topic Dr. Gheith realized how dangerous opioids were. Like every doctor in the country he once relied on prescribing opioids to patients with chronic pain but after seeing how detrimental the side effects were and noticing how addictive opioids were becoming for patients he re-evaluated how to treat chronic pain.

After extensive research and education he realized that there were alternative treatments to successfully manage and relieve the chronic pain patients suffered from. He successfully implemented different physical therapies, surgeries and nerve treatments that replaced opioids. These are a few methods that Dr. Gheith offers his patients to heal their chronic pain: injection therapies (including stem cells), nerve blocks, nerve ablations, infusion therapy (Ketamine for CRPS/RSD), spinal cord stimulation, implantable pain pumps, and Kyphoplasty among many others.

Benjamin Johnson was on the verge of suicide when he met Dr. Gheith. Despite being prescribed high doses of opioid medication from his general doctor, Johnson continued to suffer from severe chronic back pain for over seven years. The pain mixed with the side effects of opioids only resulted in very detrimental side effects. “I just simply wanted to die," said 69 year old Johnson. "It became too much. Those opioids were doing something to my mind. I couldn't drive for long distances without falling asleep. I was easily agitated and couldn't even function at work because of the pain. It was so unbearable I couldn't even sleep throughout the night. I eventually had to retire early because of my pain and how those opioids made me feel.

When I was referred to Dr. Gheith it changed my life. Dr. Gheith offered me alternatives to the treatment plan my primary physician had me on. He initially weaned down the milligrams of the powerful opioid painkiller (fentanyl) that I was taking. He told me I had to completely get off fentanyl in order to be completely treated. I went through a detox at a hospital and after that Dr. Gheith gave me the option of getting an implantable programmable spinal pain pump instead. I didn’t have to be dependent on those painkillers anymore. This is what brought me back to normal life and released the chronic pain I had endured for years," said Johnson.

Known as an intrathecal drug delivery device, the pain pump is a highly advanced therapeutic device that delivers very small amounts of medication directly to the spinal cord and brain allowing the patient to remain functional and have a meaningful quality of life without being dependent on oral opioid painkillers.

"The dose of medication needed to achieve superior pain control in this device is 1/300th the oral equivalent dose. This means the patient can use less medication with less side effects, less physiological dependence and… YES – LESS ADDICTION!! All whilst having an improved outlook at life, improved social and emotional experiences and improved overall function with superior and more powerful pain control,” said Dr. Gheith.

DR. GHEITH’S COMMENT REGARDING ORAL OPIOIDS AND OUR CURRENT EPIDEMIC:

“Millions of patients are not able to respond to conventional and/or non-opioid pain medication treatments which leads them to the use of oral opioids just to be able to function. This is what leads to the beginning of addiction and the detrimental side effects that follow which can and have caused patients to overdose and at times commit suicide. As doctors I have to say that we have to take some responsibility for the opioid crisis. The majority of addicts were introduced to opioids through doctors. I can fully explain how opioids impact the brain in a way most people don't know or understand and it’s through this deep understanding of the physiological process that I am able to use highly sophisticated methods of treating chronic pain with advanced technology.”

Now that we are learning how to treat chronic pain without prescribing opioids - we should begin to look at the alternative therapies. This may prove somewhat challenging in the face of a highly profitable pharmaceutical and health insurance industry which prefer oral opioids over the use of technology to treat chronic pain. Our priority should be saving lives not just doing business as usual.”

DR. RAMIS GHEITH is the NATIONAL leading expert in Interventional Pain Management. He treats the average person and professional athletes suffering from chronic pain. He is able to provide advanced care to his patients for their complex painful spinal and neurological disorders. Utilizing the most advanced technology combined with his highly specialized skills he has changed the lives of his patients for the better. He is able to help patients get their lives back to normal as they conquer their painful conditions once thought to be untreatable. Dr. Gheith is a Diplomate of Anesthesiology with Fellowship training and Board Certification in Pain Medicine by the American Board of Anesthesiology.

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.
CONVERSATIONS