Monthly Archives: April 2008

New Pain Management Clinic to Open

New Pain Management Clinic to Open

Members of the Army Regional Anesthesia and Acute Pain Management team examine their high-tech ultrasound equipment used in treating patients’ pain. Photo by Kristin Ellis, Walter Reed Strategic Communications

“Pain is a good thing.”

“It is your body letting you know you’ve been injured; like stubbing your toe, and it still hurting the next day. That’s the vital protective sensation of pain,” Col. Chester Buckenmaier, chief of Army Regional Anesthesia and Acute Pain Management Initiative, said.

With a 90-percent survival rate for servicemembers injured on the battlefield because of improved medical techniques and technologies, the Army has been spearheading a new way of looking at how it manages the excruciating pain that follows a traumatic injury.

Walter Reed Army Medical Center is one of a handful of academic institutions in the country that has an operating acute pain service and, on April 18, WRAMC will set a new standard with the opening of the Regional Anesthesia and Acute Pain Medicine Clinic.

Acute pain is felt immediately after a traumatic injury or surgery while chronic pain lasts more than six months.

The Army Regional Anesthesia and Acute Pain Management department supports one-third of operating room cases. The new area expands the treatment areas from two bays co-located within the back of the PACU, to six bays, according to Kelly Kiser, program manager for the Army Regional Anesthesia and Acute Pain Management Initiative.

The clinic will also have a dedicated physician control room that will house computer workstations, educational resources and a nurse’s office. It will include a new clinical data system that will create a real-time electronic medical record, rather than the pen and paper record the physician creates. Details are important, right down to choosing a stereo system to play calm music in the clinic because pain management is “much more than just narcotics and needles,” Buckenmaier said.

In medicine – particularly battlefield medicine – pain has been thought of as a symptom, a manifestation of an underlying injury or disease. Treat the disease and the pain should take care of itself. That is changing, Buckenmaier said. In order to properly manage pain, it needs to be looked at as a disease. Pain can outlive its original causes and become worse over time, creating additional health problems.

“Your body is designed to deal with the scrapes and scratches of everyday life; it’s not designed to deal with your foot being blown off from an IED [improvised explosive device] on the battlefield. Now, we have a situation where this Soldier has this trauma to the body, his body doesn’t know how to deal with it and is being bombarded with [signals] to the central nervous system …When you have your foot blown off, the overload of signals gets messed up. Spinal cord signals go haywire and physical changes in the brain occur,” Buckenmaier explained.

He believes this can lead to complex regional pain syndrome and phantom limb pain. Pain can also cause anything from depression to cardiovascular disease. He added that uncontrolled pain leads to immunity problems.

“Having problems with your immune system when you’ve had a battlefield wound is not a good thing,” he said.

In the past, Soldiers who have suffered traumatic injuries would receive general anesthesia, putting the brain’s processing center to sleep. But, as Buckenmaier explained, those signals are still traveling to the brain in profound ways and causing lasting effects on the brain.

In 2000, Buckenmaier and a colleague petitioned the Army to resource an underutilized method of stopping these signals and “turning the volume down” on pain, called regional anesthesia.

Regional anesthesia blocks the nerve supply to a specific part of the body, such as a limb, so patients cannot feel pain. Unlike general anesthesia, regional anesthesia (also called a nerve block) leaves the patient awake and helps speed the recovery time by managing this pain.The Regional Anesthesia and Pain Management department administers an average of eight to 10 nerve blocks a day.

“With this population, stoicism is the name of the game. You have to tell them you can’t heal if your body is fighting pain,” Susan Kalaine, pain management nurse, told Stripe in an October 2007 interview.

“With regional anesthesia they aren’t totally snowed on narcotics and you can have a conversation with them. The catheter takes the pain away in an area without them being totally out of it,” she said.

“It’s almost impossible for these people to focus on anything else but their pain. When you’re in pain, you get totally turned inward. In some descriptions, it is almost animal-like in your desire to escape the pain,” Buckenmaier said.

Buckenmaier, the first person in DoD to receive fellowship training in this technique, has expanded the idea of regional anesthesia to the battlefield. In 2003, the first nerve block was administered on the battlefield. And in 2005, he worked on a tri-service effort to find a pump technology that could give nerve blocks on medical evacuation flights to make the injured Soldier comfortable and pain-free during the long flights to Germany and the United States.

“Walter Reed, in many aspects, has taken a leadership role, not just in the military but in medicine in general in the country,” he said.With Base Realignment and Closure and integration with the National Naval Medical Center at Bethesda approaching, Buckenmaier and his team made sure most of the equipment can be moved to the new hospital in 2011.

“People want to know why we are opening a new clinic when Walter Reed will be closing. Well, it’s real easy to answer. Go to Ward 54 and see the Soldiers there. We are in the middle of a war. Moving forward shows how important we see this mission.”

Click Here For The Original Article Online.



First of its kind pediatric rehabilitation center offers hope to chronic pain sufferers

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Erin McColgan
Children’s Hospital Boston

First of its kind pediatric rehabilitation center offers hope
to chronic pain sufferers

On May 19, 2008, the Mayo Family Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Center (PPRC) will open at Children’s Hospital Boston at Waltham. The PPRC will be the most comprehensive stand-alone day hospital program of its kind in the United States, to treat children and adolescents with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). CRPS is a chronic neurological syndrome that affects skin, muscles, joints and bones, and causes severe burning, aching pain and excessive sweating and swelling of extremities. The syndrome is more prevalent in patients who play sports and affects girls eight times more frequently than boys.

Often times misdiagnosed, patients with CRPS have typically seen three to four specialists before they end up at the Chronic Pain Management Clinic at Children’s, a multidisciplinary program which provides treatment and support for acute and chronic pain problems in children and young adults.

“Many children and adolescents afflicted with CRPS improve with standard outpatient care, but a slight percentage may require intensive daily treatment to get well,” said Charles Berde, MD, PhD, Chief of Pain Medicine at Children’s Hospital, and Executive Director of the PPRC. “This new center will provide an intensive daily program that has proven successful in relief of debilitating extreme pain. With the treatment received at PPRC, patients can expect to resume normal function and will regain the physical strength and endurance necessary to enjoy life again.”

Berde, together with Navil Sethna, MB, ChB, and Bruce Masek, PhD, started the Chronic Pain Management Clinic at Children’s in 1986 and have treated more than 750 children suffering from CRPS—both inpatient and outpatient. Today, with the increased number of patients experiencing chronic pain, specifically CRPS, the need for a specialized clinic became highly evident and Dr. Berde, along with his colleagues, has worked tirelessly to provide patients with the expert care required to ease their pain.

The treatment for CRPS is intensive and requires six weeks of day hospitalization; however, the innovative program at Waltham is designed to save thousands of dollars in overnight stays and unneeded tests. Upon evaluation via telephone and onsite at the outpatient clinic, and after exhausting all other treatment options, eligible CRPS patients from around the country are expected to benefit from the comprehensive day program.

The 2,500-square-foot PPRC is located on the ground floor of the Waltham campus and includes two bio-behavioral therapy rooms, two private physical therapy rooms, a physician consult room, a functional training area and a therapeutic pool with shower and changing area. In addition to those treatment-focused areas, the PPRC is also equipped with a conference room, an activity room for participants, two handicap accessible bathrooms and an administrative front office.

The PPRC team is made up of a number of talented anesthesiologists, neurologists, psychologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists and child life specialists – all critical to the care of PPRC patients.

CRPS usually develops in an injured limb, such as a broken leg. However, many cases of CRPS involve only a minor injury, such as a sprain, and in some cases, no precipitating event can be identified. Tell-tale symptoms of CRPS include continuing pain, extreme sensitivity to touch, evidence of swelling, changes in skin blood flow (skin color changes, skin temperature changes) or abnormal sweating in the region of the pain.

Many modalities may be used for treatment, including medication, physical movement therapies, cognitive behavioral therapies, and sometimes sympathectomy or spinal cord stimulators or pumps. Additionally, physical movement and weight-bearing are critical factors in CRPS rehab, not only to keep limbs from atrophy, but also because it is thought that exercise helps to quiet the small nerve fibers on a molecular level.

Beginning May 19th, the Mayo Family Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Center will be open Monday through Friday, 8am to 4:30pm. For additional information and details on how to enroll in the program, please visit

Children’s Hospital Boston is home to the world’s largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, where its discoveries have benefited both children and adults since 1869. More than 500 scientists, including eight members of the National Academy of Sciences, 11 members of the Institute of Medicine and 12 members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute comprise Children’s research community. Founded as a 20-bed hospital for children, Children’s Hospital Boston today is a 397-bed comprehensive center for pediatric and adolescent health care grounded in the values of excellence in patient care and sensitivity to the complex needs and diversity of children and families. Children’s also is the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. For more information about the hospital and its research visit:

April 15, 2008


Dr. Vasili Gatsinaris of Next Level Wellness, Offers Free Fenzian Treatments to RSDS Patients

Dr. Vasili Gatsinaris of Next Level Wellness, Offers Free Fenzian Treatments to RSDS Patients

Expert will evaluate the effectiveness of the Fenzian Treatment System™ for reflex sympathetic dystrophy related pain

Irvine, Calif. (PRWEB) April 14, 2008 — According to a testimonial printed in the Winter 2007 issue of Review–a newsletter by the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSDS) Association–cold laser therapy and the Fenzian Treatment System® (Fenzian) may help RSDS remission and pain management. Vasili Gatsinaris, doctor of chiropractic and founder of Next Level Wellness Center, intends to evaluate this claim and show that Fenzian alone can assist with RSDS pain management. Gatsinaris will provide patients previously diagnosed with RSDS with ten to 12 free Fenzian treatments to test the efficacy of Fenzian treatments alone in controlling the pain brought on by the syndrome. This offer is limited to the first ten patients who request free Fenzian treatments. A waiting list of additional patients will be informed of the results.

Dr. Vasili Gatsinaris - March 2008
Dr. Vasili Gatsinaris – March 2008

To investigate this for my own practice, I’d like to provide free Fenzian treatments to RSDS patients.

“As a certified Fenzian practitioner, I have seen my patients experience significant improvements for a variety of ailments. I am inclined to think that Fenzian alone would provide pain relief to RSDS sufferers,” says Gatsinaris. “To investigate this for my own practice, I’d like to provide free Fenzian treatments to RSDS patients.”

According to WebMD, RSDS is a rare disorder of the sympathetic nervous system characterized by chronic, severe pain. The sympathetic nervous system regulates involuntary functions of the body such as increasing heart rate, constricting blood vessels, and increasing blood pressure. Excessive or abnormal responses of portions of the sympathetic nervous system are thought to be responsible for the pain associated with RSDS.

Fenzian is a device used for pain management. The Fenzian Treatment system is the result of more than 50 years of research and development in clinical applications. It is supported by ongoing clinical trials and is used by colleges and universities, professional athletic programs and healthcare facilities worldwide. The Fenzian handheld device and a trained practitioner work in concert to provide pain relief. The battery operated device is placed on the patient’s skin to deliver painless, biphasic electrical impulses. Utilizing changes in skin impedance derived from biofeedback and displayed on the device’s digital readout, the practitioner guides the device to stimulate the patient’s nerve network. The Federal Drug Administration has approved the Fenzian Treatment System for chronic intractable pain.

Gatsinaris is ready to start treating RSDS patients with Fenzian immediately at his offices located at 17811 Skypark Circle, Suite E in Irvine. Participants will be treated for free for up to 12 visits and will be asked to sign a release agreeing to be subjects of case studies.

About Dr. Vasili John Gatsinaris

Dr. Vasili Gatsinaris is a Southern California native who graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. He received his Doctorate degree from Los Angeles Chiropractic College. Gatsinaris is one of 40 certified Fenzian Treatment System practitioners in the United States, one of three in Southern California. He is a certified Active Release Technique (ART) provider and is Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) certified. Gatsinaris has treated numerous professional, collegiate and amateur athletes. He is the founder of Next Level Wellness Center in Irvine.

About Next Level Wellness Center

Next Level Wellness Center is local at 17811 Skypark Circle, Suite E in Irvine CA.

Next Level Wellness also offers a Pilates studio, massage and personal training services.

For more information visit or call 949-263-9003

NOTE: Fenzian and The Fenzian Treatment System are trademarks of Eumedic Ltd.


Click Here For The Original Article Online.


Experience leads woman to begin a pain support group

Experience leads woman to begin a pain support group

The first time Connie Hughes tried to bring together people with reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome, no one showed up.

But the Arlington resident, who has the disorder, understood what was keeping people away: pain.

“One day you might feel good, but the next day you can’t even get out bed,” Hughes said. “It cripples us.”

The chronic condition is characterized by severe burning pain, excessive sweating, tissue swelling, pathological changes in bone and skin and extreme sensitivity to touch, according to the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association. Most cases are in adults between the ages of 40 and 60. Millions of people have the disorder, but it often goes misdiagnosed.

Hughes went on to organize the Southwest Texas Chapter of the association. The support group meets the third Saturday of each month. About a dozen people with the disorder as well as friends and relatives participate.

“They’re at different stages, but every patient shares one common factor and that is excruciating pain,” Hughes said. “Some come in wheelchairs, on crutches or with canes.”

How did you discover you had RSDS?

I had surgery in 1997, and instead of having general anesthesia, I had three epidurals. Seven months later, I had a lot of pain on my left side. I was referred to a neurologist who said I had RSDS.

What is RSDS?

People think it’s related to muscular dystrophy, but it’s not related to that at all. It may be a cousin of multiple sclerosis. When I had the epidurals in my spine, it did some damage to the nerves. I was told there is no cure. That meant I was going to have to live with the pain.

Is there any treatment?

Nerve blocks help with the pain. I got relief for about a year. Then I had a relapse, and it hit with a vengeance. Now I have full body RSD. It’s in all my limbs and organs.

Why is so little known about it?

It goes back to the Civil War, but it hasn’t come to the forefront because people have been misdiagnosed. Some women in the support group thought they had arthritis.

How does it affect people’s lives?

My life is restricted. I used to be able clean house in a day, but now it takes me a week or more. It affects people mentally, physically and emotionally. I’m totally disabled. .. I drag my leg and am partially paralyzed on my left side. I have seizures and osteoporosis. I don’t drive.

Why did you organize the support group?

The support group is all about educating, family, friends, even doctors. … I knew there were people out there, and I wanted them to know they were not alone.

Connie Hughes

Age: 60

Occupation: Support group founder

Experience: Hughes has experienced the pain of reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome since 1997.

About the support group: The group meets the third Saturday of each month. People can call Hughes at 817-465-1584 for more information.

Family: Hughes has a service dog named Sandy who retrieves items and performs other tasks for her.

The Scooter Store Donates Power Scooter to Former NYPD Officer Who Responded to 9/11

The Scooter Store Donates Power Scooter to Former NYPD Officer Who Responded to 9/11

Gift of Mobility lets disabled Middle Island man enjoy his young family and active life.

Middle Island, NY (PRWEB) April 7, 2008 — After terrorists attacked the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, New York City Patrolman Kevin O’Connor was dispatched to help at the scene. Now, more than seven years later, O’Connor needs help overcoming respiratory complications from working at Ground Zero and injuries suffered later in the line of duty.

At 32, Mr. O’Connor wants to enjoy an active life. But the married father of three young children is disabled because of respiratory problems and a debilitating condition that resulted from being struck by an all-terrain vehicle driven by a teenager. Mr. O’Connor has struggled to maneuver his manual wheelchair and needs power mobility equipment to improve his quality of life.

Citing Mr. O’Connor’s many contributions to our society, The SCOOTER Store has helped the disabled officer by providing him with a power scooter though its Gift of Mobility program. The donation was a surprise to Mr. O’Connor, who received it at a benefit sponsored by his friends at the Smithtown Country Kitchen on April 6. Distribution Center Managers Anthony Pepe and George Santos from The SCOOTER Store presented the power wheelchair at the Sunday event.

The donation was made in cooperation with the FealGood Foundation, which was formed to help 9/11 responders. “We thank The SCOOTER Store for helping make this event a wonderful experience for Kevin,” said John Feal, who runs the foundation. “Like so many other young men, Kevin was there when his country needed him most. And the least we can do is show our appreciation for his sacrifice.”

US Representative Tim Bishop (D-NY), who attended the event, said: “Our nation owes a great debt to the brave first responders who risked their lives to save others. Kevin O’Connor well deserves this gift, generously donated by the SCOOTER Store. We must continue to fight to give 9/11 first responders the health care and other assistance they need because of the sacrifices they have made.”

Suffolk County Legislator John M. Kennedy Jr. also attended the event, which attracted a large crowd of supporters.

Mr. Feal says he appreciated how quickly The SCOOTER Store worked with the foundation to make the gift to Mr. O’Connor possible.

Times have been difficult for Mr. O’Connor, who suffers from respiratory problems and post-traumatic stress syndrome caused by his assignment to help clean up the site of the destroyed towers. Later, after Mr. O’Connor went to work as a park policeman. He was hurt in the line of duty when a teenager operating an ATV, illegally, ran him over. He developed reflex sympathetic dystrophy, which is a chronic, painful and progressive neurological condition affecting skin, muscles, joints and bones.

His wife, Catherine, says the whole family will benefit from the scooter because “it will allow us to go out as a family, to places like the zoo, the circus, and even trick-or-treating on Halloween – places, where I have had to go alone with our little kids.” With the scooter, Mr. O’Connor can join them and also help his family by doing errands. A lift for the chair was donated by Harmar Mobility of Sarasota, Florida, when they heard about Mr. O’Connor’s need.

Doug Harrison, CEO and Founder of The SCOOTER Store, said he is pleased that “the scooter will greatly improve the quality of life for the O’Connor and his family. We are proud to be able to help this hero who has already given so much of himself to others.”

Mr. Harrison and his wife, Susanna, started the Gift of Mobility program in December 2002 to help people like Mr. O’Connor improve their quality of life by recovering their independence and mobility. Since then, the outreach program has worked with organizations around the world to donate power wheelchairs, scooters and manual wheelchairs valued at more than $200,000 a year to community service organizations, enabling them to provide freedom and independence to individuals with limited mobility.

The primary mission of the FealGood Foundation (, a nonprofit organization, is to spread awareness and educate the public about the catastrophic health effects on 9/11 first responders, as well as to provide assistance to relieve these great heroes of the financial burdens placed on them. A secondary goal of the foundation is to create an advocacy network on 9/11 health issues. The foundation advocates for Ground Zero workers, and shows them how to be their own advocates and help others through grassroots activism.

About The SCOOTER Store
Since 1991, The SCOOTER Store has helped provide freedom and independence to more than 300,000 people with limited mobility. The SCOOTER Store offers a full line of durable medical equipment, including power wheelchairs and scooters, lifts, ramps and accessories in 47 states, including three stores in the New York area. The SCOOTER Store has worked with more than 100,000 physicians, providing expertise and quality service to their patients, and is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Health Care.

For more information, contact:
Mark B. Leita
Director of Public Affairs – The SCOOTER Store


Streator woman has battled symptoms for 28 years

Streator woman has battled symptoms for 28 years

04/07/2008, 12:21 pm

Stephanie Sievers, 217-524-5797

Bea Danko has spent 28 years battling a neurological syndrome that has left her body wracked with chronic pain. Now she’s fighting to raise public awareness to help others who might be suffering.

Danko, of Streator, wants to put pressure on state officials to spread the word about Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

The Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association describes the syndrome as one in which the body’s nervous system “misfires, sending constant pain signals to the brain.”

For Danko, it means enduring extreme and what often feels like burning pain throughout her body. The pain is so severe and persistent Danko says she can sleep for only a few hours at night.

Triggered by physical trauma — in Danko’s case a car accident — other symptoms can include tissue swelling, extreme sensitivity to touch, limited range of movement and abnormal skin color changes and temperature, according to the RSD association.

Danko is involved with a local RSD support group in La Salle County but she wants to see more done statewide.

Danko persuaded state Sen. Gary Dahl, R-Granville, to sponsor a bill last fall that would require the Illinois Department of Public Health to create an education program to promote awareness of the syndrome and the importance of early diagnosis and medical treatment.

The bill appears stalled, but Dahl said he isn’t giving up.

“We’re going to keep working on this until we can get it out of (the rules committee),” he said. “It’s going to be tough to get it moving this year, but we’re not going to give up on it.”

Dahl’s bill would require some state funding — he couldn’t estimate how much — which could make it a tough sell in a tight budget year. But the state routinely finds money for issues and this is a worthy cause, he said.

Five other states have succeeded in putting RSD awareness programs in place through their state health departments, said Jim Broatch, executive director of the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association.

Dahl’s bill is SB 1861 and can be found at Additional information about RSD can be found at the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association’s website at

Click Here For The Original Article Online.