For people with complex pain, finding effective treatments can be a challenging process of trial-and-error that takes a toll on physical and emotional health. But a fresh, collaborative approach to pain management offered by Ohio State Spine Care is bringing renewed hope to patients who thought they’d run out of options.

By combining coaching and education with custom therapies, Ohio State Spine Care clinicians are helping people with chronic pain find relief—and ensuring new pain management physicians are prepared to provide the highest level of care and support to their patients.

Partnering with patients

Ohio State Spine Care treats the full range of spine disorders, ranging from spinal stenosis and sciatica to degenerative disc disease and chronic back pain. With an average volume of more than 4,500 patients annually, it’s become a regional referral center for patients who have tried multiple therapies for neck or back pain without success.

“Pain is not just a physical sensation,” physiatrist Jayesh Vallabh, MD, says. “It has a cognitive component where we process it and feel it; there is an emotion to it. That’s why there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for pain.”

Dr. Vallabh, who is triple board certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation, pain medicine and electrodiagnostic medicine, is associate director of Ohio State’s pain medicine fellowship. He says that while the Ohio State Spine Care may be best known for its surgical spine innovations, it’s the team’s philosophy of care that helps drive successful outcomes.

“Not only do we find out what’s causing someone’s pain before we resort to interventions, we take time to understand our patients’ goals and learn what level of functionality they’re aiming to achieve,” Dr. Vallabh explains. “We teach patients to focus on returning to the activities they want to participate in, instead of focusing on pain scores—and then together, choose conservative or surgical interventions that will help them tolerate those specific activities.” 

Meticulous care from a multidisciplinary team

Ohio State Spine Care is staffed by physicians who specialize in orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, and physical medicine and rehabilitation. It also houses a variety of rehabilitative and support services, including physical therapy and pain psychology.

“We’re one of the few medical centers to bring together all these experts under one roof for the sole purpose of evaluating and treating pain,” Dr. Vallabh, who is an assistant professor – clinical at the College of Medicine, says. “On any given day, I can walk across the hall to consult with an anesthesiologist about new interventional opportunities or get a surgeon’s perspective on a complicated case. This melding of the minds is critical to improving patient outcomes.”l

Leading-edge treatments and forward-thinking physicians

Patients seeking pain relief also benefit from Ohio State’s commitment to clinical research and innovation. 

Ohio State Spine Care providers help test—and are often among the first to offer—the latest interventional and surgical procedures, such as neuromodulation and artificial disc replacement. And by finding more effective ways to perform traditional therapies like epidural steroid injections and nerve ablation, the team is helping more patients control their pain with nonsurgical options.

Ohio State also trains the next generation of pain management specialists through its accredited pain medicine fellowship, which focuses on acute and chronic nonmalignant pain as well as cancer pain.

“Our one-year fellowship links pain specialists from across the university to provide some of the best interventional training in the nation,” Dr. Vallabh says. “Because our fellows train and provide care in the Spine Center, they’re exposed to comprehensive musculoskeletal medicine and spine care. They graduate with all the tools they’ll need to successfully manage complex pain among their own patients.”

Pushing the field forward

Dr. Vallabh adds that he and his colleagues are interested in partnering with other pain management specialists on multicenter clinical trials and other research or patient care initiatives. To discuss opportunities for physician collaboration, please contact Dr. Vallabh at

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