Helping patients stay pain-free through an integrated approach – By Dr. Mikhail Burdman

There’s no denying we’re in the middle of a major opioid crisis today. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates more than 115 Americans die every day from opioid overdose.

For the most part, we can trace this issue back to the late 1990s, when physicians first started prescribing these pain medications. Unfortunately, most did not realize their addictive properties at that time.

And throughout the years, many physicians became increasingly reliant on pain medications as a go-to tool to quickly get patients out of pain and increase the number of patients leaving their offices [at least temporarily] satisfied.

We now know that prescribing opioids often does more harm than good. Patients can become hyper-sensitive to pain and in the long run, require more drugs to be pain-free. Further, pain medication is often a short-term solution leading to a long-term issue.

We know that chiropractic can help many of those suffering from chronic pain, but frankly, it’s not as simple as saying that’s the solution to the opioid crisis.

What about the patients who are already addicted to prescription medications?

When I graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic West in 2012, I wasn’t sure where my path in practice would lead. But after returning home to Baltimore and working with other practitioners in the area, I saw a large need for a clinic that offered a safer path to pain management.

Patients shouldn’t have to choose sides between medical pain management and chiropractic – there are a number of patients interested in both, especially those who are already on pain medication. They need a clinic that helps them transition off high-dose medications and incorporates alternative therapies, like chiropractic and physical therapy, to help them begin to rebuild their strength and range of motion, and decrease aggravating factors.

Patients also deserve a clinic where all of this is done in one place, both for the convenience of making it to their appointments, but also, and more importantly, a place where their practitioners were all truly on the same team.

After realizing there was such a need for this unique, more integrated approach, I set out on building my practice, The Pain Doctors. We’re an interventional pain management clinic made up of medical doctors, chiropractors and physical therapists working together to get patients out of pain quickly, effectively, and most importantly, safely. We use the latest technology and medical advancements to provide patients with the best services to treat their pain.

Dr. Burdman in front of X-ray machine.

Dr. Burdman at his practice, The Pain Doctors, in Baltimore, Md.

It’s now been two years since we’ve opened our doors and we’re proud to say that we’ve been able to help an incredible number of patients in Baltimore become less dependent on their pain medications – something many of them didn’t think possible after consistent use for years!

It is my hope that more practitioners see the need for this integrated model in their own neighborhoods and we can all work together to help patients work to lead pain-free and drug-free lives in a safe manner.

If you’re interested in learning more about interventional pain management practices like mine, whether you’re a current student or have already graduated, I’d be happy to talk with you more about my journey and plans for the future. Feel free to contact me through my website at www.thepaindrs.com.

About Dr. Burdman: Mikhail Burdman, D.C., is the director of The Pain Doctors of Baltimore, Md. He works closely with his team of medical doctors, mental health counselors and therapists to provide patients with safe and effective treatment plans to reduce their pain and medical dependency.

Prior to his chiropractic career, Dr. Burdman was born in Moldova and came to the United States as a refugee in 1991. He graduated from the University of Maryland Baltimore County with a degree in biology. He completed an internship at the Naval Air Station in Lemoore, Calif., and went on to graduate from Palmer College of Chiropractic West in 2012. He currently resides in Baltimore, M.D., with his wife and enjoys staying active and spending time with his family and friends.

Chiropractors: How important is it to have a mentor?

We got on Facebook and Twitter and asked how important you think it is to have a mentor as a chiropractic student and as a chiropractor. Here are some of the answers:

“Only if you want to be successful.”    – Bobby Moore, D.C.

“VERY, VERY IMPORTANT!!!”    – Brad Meylor, D.C.

“It is of the utmost importance! I was surprised at how few students had mentors while I attended Palmer.”    – Brandon Perrine, D.C.

“I have had some great mentors in my life. Although I most often just stumbled into them, keep your eyes open. They can help you become so much better than you expected to be. I was blessed with two on-campus mentors while a student at Palmer. A mentor can make the difference between you becoming an okay chiropractor and a great chiropractor.”    – Doc Nisson

“Everyone can use a good mentor. I am thankful for all the mentors I’ve had in starting my chiropractic practice.”    – @ChiroLasVegas, Twitter

What do you think? Tweet us @palmercollege, post on Facebook or leave a comment below.

Everyone needs a mentor … or two

I think some students may not realize the importance of a mentor. While in school, of course we had our favorite teachers and clinicians that we connected with and sought their opinions. But for me, I never really had a specific mentor. I was content with the fact that after graduation I would have numerous doctors I could call for help.

When I moved back home, I received mixed responses from the other Chiropractors. Some were barely friendly, while others were glad to offer their ear if needed.

One doctor in particular was welcoming and, indeed, this was refreshing for me. I had no other option but to start my own practice; there were no doctors hiring associates and none willing to let me join them even as an exam doctor. (I live on an island and commuting wasn’t an option for me).

So I went for it. I had to. Luckily I became friends with another doctor and ended up working for him part time. As a new business owner and new doctor in a seasonal location, I had to find a part-time job. So I started working for him, simply running his office. This is hardly the ideal situation for a new Chiropractor, but I had to work somewhere, and I thought this was acceptable since I was still in a Chiropractor’s office.

Months later, this doctor has become my mentor, and I’ve realized that this relationship is invaluable for a new doctor and new business owner. Although I graduated with full confidence of my ability to diagnose and treat spinal complaints, I quickly realized that there was a huge gap in my education. Not that I blame Palmer at all, it’s just that much of it is learned by trial and error. Although I am glad that I started my own business right out of school, I highly recommend to whomever chooses to go this route to have a mentor. Right now I am still running my mentor’s office part-time, which is another invaluable experience. Even though I’ve worked in customer service before, working in a doctor’s office is completely different. I have a whole new respect for the person who runs the front desk.

Luckily, I also have my mentor’s team as a resource as well. Not only have they been in business for 20 years, but their insurance knowledge is vast. Even if we covered more on insurances in school, it probably would not be enough.

Much of what I’ve learned for insurance has been trial and error, so having another resource is essential. Although both the ACA and my state organization provide doctors with insurance resources, it’s not enough.

A mentor is an important resource, and they can be valuable for your practice growth. Not only am I able to discuss patient cases and get a second opinion if needed, I can easily access a successful business model, remove some of the stress of the insurance maze (that is often overwhelming) and improve my own personal and business skills. But perhaps most importantly, I have a network of people who want to see me be successful and are willing to help me get there. This alone is the most valuable of all.

Sincerely,

Kimberly Burke, D.C. (Florida Campus, Class 113, 2011)

Oak Bluffs, MA

www.islandspinecenter.com