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Depression and Heart Disease

Solving the Puzzle of Pain – Dr. Brown’s Mission


I’m Dr. Brown, Michael Brown, and I’m one
of the founding forefathers of the IROM organization. I grew up in California,
son of some dirt farmers. Just had a passion for medicine. By the time I was eight years old
I wanted to be a doctor. And it never changed. I always wanted to go to medical school. I really didn’t know how to get there. So, I got introduced to chiropractic very
early on in my life. Somebody took an interest in me
and helped me become a chiropractor, and I said, “Okay, well, where’s the best school?
I want to go there.” And so I applied. I went and came back,
and never wanted to stop. And so, the day I graduated I enrolled
back into another three-year orthopedic program. And when finished that I didn’t want to stop, and I just kept enrolling and enrolling and enrolling. So, while I was in school, I was practicing
chiropractic and sports medicine, and, as a chiropractor, I wanted to solve a problem, solve it quickly, and
let the patients become independent of me, not dependent on my care. And
that drove me to looking at rehabilitation and movement and exercise. And then,
ultimately, once I saw where things were going, I knew I needed to go medical school. When I got out of medical school I went right into a physical medicine
rehabilitation residency, and then, from there, knew that I needed
to have advanced skills in spine. And so I did a pain medicine fellowship at the
University of Washington. It gave me that skill set that I needed,
and then I went on and did another fellowship. I had an opportunity to see medicine in
multiple disciplines, so I worked in radiology and orthopedics and, actually,
neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, anesthesia, pain medicine, physical medicine.
I saw all the disciplines that take care of pain, and I was frustrated
with the deficits in the system. I was frustrated with chiropractic. I was frustrated
with physical therapy. I was frustrated with… All of it’s great. All of it has its– All of it’s wonderful. But there were pieces missing for me,
and I kept seeing patients falling short. I don’t deal with failure very well,
and every time I would fail with a patient I would lament over it, go home, go to libraries,
go to make calls. I would go find someone who is doing something for this
particular condition. And I began to recognize that technologies and
techniques and methods were emerging that could answer these questions. And so I
drove myself to these experts in these areas, and I stayed with them until I mastered
what they were doing. And then I moved on. And I did that over and over and over again through years. And it led me to a whole different world.
It led me to this discipline now that is IROM–Interventional Regenerative Orthopedic Medicine. The difference between an IROM practitioner
and a traditional pain medicine physician– Let me give you an example. We see a lot of people with knee pain and people are told, “Well, you have an osteoarthritis knee.
Here, take these pills. Here, take this steroid injection. Here,
take this Scholastic supplement injection, and take another one and
another one and another one. And, when you’re sick of it, let’s do a knee replacement.” The problem with that is the patient starts to feel like an annuity, that you just
have to keep coming back to. We believe that, if you look at the target tissue,
the ligaments and supportive connective tissues that support that joint,
and if we could thicken, strengthen, and change the integrity of the system
by biologic stimulus, we get a thicker, stronger, healthier tissue. They get to take that home with them. Outcomes last much longer, sometimes don’t recur. The difference between an IROM practitioner
is we take a regenerative, restorative, reparative approach, to an orthopedic problem,
where traditional pain physicians will use cortical steroids and ablative technology,
or the surgeons will use surgical technology. When I went back to medical school and
my wife found out that I was going to do pain, to see patients in pain, she asked me, “Why would you want to listen to people
complain all the time?” And I said, “Well, it’s not really a complaint. It’s a clue.” They’re clues to a mystery that needs to be solved. That process of peeling the onion,
peeling down all the little factors and coming to that kind of diagnosis that allows me to solve a problem
that no one else can solve. That’s what drives me.

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