After opening Comprehensive Pain Solutions in November 2021, Dr. Abdel H. Elhoushy wasn’t sure how his new practice would be accepted in the Lakewood Ranch area.
Besides the fact people would have to get used to him, he was occupying an office in the new Center Point Medical Center.
While the Center Point Medical Center filled up quickly, plans for the rest of Center Point development had yet to be realized.
Fortunately for Elhoushy, he has stayed busy from Day 1, and it appears he only is going to be more busy now that restaurants, shops and stores are getting close to opening.
“I love that every day my interactions prove that we have patients seeking very high-quality care,” Elhousy said. “We like them, they like us and we feel that we are building a family here.”
Elhousy said most of their patients have voiced satisfaction and have returned. Combined with a steady flow of new patients, all indications point to a packed office.
Previously, Elhousy worked in other locations in Florida including Pensacola, Orlando, Stuart, Boca Raton, and Port St. Lucie. However, after previously serving as chief of anesthesia at Blake Hospital in Bradenton, he settled on Lakewood Ranch as the location where he would open his own practice, where he said he would continue for the rest of his career.
One key factor was that many patients in the area are seeking the type of services he wants to offer.
“They are interested in treating the real cause of their pain, which will allow me to use my experience and talent as a physician to help them by finding the real core of the reason for the pain,” he said.
Although masking pain is often a useful solution, it is not the only solution.
There is always a shortage of pain specialists nationwide, Elhousy said, and sometimes other providers must take the burden of helping the patient until the patient can be referred to a pain specialist who is able to treat the underlying cause of the issues.
Pre-screenings determine whether his practice can be the right answer for prospective patients. He works in conjunction with other medical professionals, such as surgeons, for pain management.
Amber Lee, who offers patient support and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology, said many patients who come to the clinic have not succeeded in finding answers for their pain.
“They feel like they haven’t been explained things very well (to other doctors),” she said. “They’ve had all kinds of issues.”
She sees a change in patients from the time they enter the building.
“They come in here, and some of them are hesitant at first, or they’re asking the doctor a lot of questions,” she said. “All of a sudden, they have this trust, and they kind of fall in love with him. He’s very comprehensive, and he listens to them. So it’s beautiful to get to see that, and to see someone who is so knowledgeable about what they do, and so passionate about it.”
Elhousy said his background as a surgeon is helpful to him as a pain specialist, a field he entered seven years ago. He said his background gave him exposure to every system in the body.
“Pain is a main symptom of disease, generally,” he said. “Pain is manifestation of heart disease, pain is a manifestation of cancers, pain is manifestations of hemorrhage, and pain is a symptom of a majority of patients, generally.”
For example, he said many times the cause of back pain includes aortic aneurysms, which are bulges in the aorta, the artery that carries blood from the heart through the chest and torso. It can also be caused by tumors, fractured bones, neurological damage and other maladies.
He attempts to pinpoint those maladies so he knows how to properly treat the pain.
“You can have uncommon diseases presenting as back pain, and I use my ability as a physician to navigate the physiology and the history with the patient,” he said.
If the search for causes of pain were a race, Elhousy would consider himself a fast runner.
Lee said working with Elhousy has been an informative experience.
“I’ve learned how one part of the body can affect so many other parts of the body, and patients don’t always know that,” she said.
“They have a lot of wow moments when the doctor tells them, ‘This could be causing this.’ They’ve been going through the pain for years, and they just think that’s their life, and all of a sudden they get this new information. It’s like a light bulb goes on.”
Sometimes finding the source of pain means Elhousy has to go a different direction, such as referring them to experts or specialists.
When appropriate, he starts treatment himself, such as a stellate ganglion block, a procedure which treats pain in the stellate ganglion, a series of nerves located on the neck on either side of the voice box.
He sometimes uses a spinal cord stimulator to treat advanced vascular insufficiency, a condition that occurs when leg veins are unable to return blood to the heart. The procedure surgically inserts a device called a spinal cord stimulator under the skin, which sends a mild electric current to the spinal cord that modifies the pain signal.
Other treatments offered at the office include joint injections, epidurals, radio frequency ablations and nerve stimulators. The practice will eventually progress to the use of stem cells and platelet-rich plasma injections.
Elhousy said results with patients have been positive, and most patients have found the ability to enjoy activities they previously could not.