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No time for pain

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When Susan Mintz was forced to slow down due to excruciating back pain, the former school superintendent had a lot to lose. She was in the midst of building a second career as a consultant and college educator. “The pain put me on the floor, and I had to find relief immediately,” explains Susan.

Throughout adulthood, Susan had dealt with back pain. She was always told there was little that could be done. Treatment consisted of medication to manage symptoms, but did not address Susan’s overall health or the root cause of her pain. “I never gave up looking for a solution that wouldn’t require a long recovery time,” says Susan.

Finally a break came. Susan’s primary care physician referred her to Virtua Pain and Spine physician, AJ Rastogi, MD, for specialized care. Dr. Rastogi explains: “My way of relating to patients is to perform a comprehensive assessment of a patient’s overall health. I identify the source of pain. That information is used to develop a treatment plan based on a wide range of options.”

Dr. Rastogi diagnosed Susan with arthritis in her lower back which caused constant disabling pain. While the arthritis can’t be reversed, Dr. Rastogi was able to eliminate Susan’s pain with a nonsurgical minimally invasive procedure called a radiofrequency nerve ablation (RFA).

“RFA works by disrupting the nerves that supply sensation to the arthritic joints,” explains Dr. Rastogi. “It’s an outpatient procedure with a high rate of success. The results can last from six to 12 months, and sometimes for years.”

RFA is just one of many specialized minimally invasive techniques that Dr. Rastogi and his colleagues offer. Kieran Slevin, MD, program co-director adds: “We combine our training and experience in advanced techniques with a more holistic approach. We customize a treatment plan that we manage very carefully, and we adapt as we follow our patients’ progress.”

Susan says: “Dr. Rastogi understands the demands of a patient’s daily life. He makes it clear he’s going to be there for you.”