A Medical Home for Patients with Chronic Pain
Approximately 20-30% (more than 50 million) of U.S. adults suffer from moderate to severe chronic pain – generally defined as pain lasting more than 12 weeks. Chronic pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined, and its impact extends far beyond the pain itself. Many chronic pain sufferers feel they have little or no control over their pain, have trouble sleeping, miss work, and feel fatigued and depressed. It’s no wonder that it’s the No. 1 cause of long-term disability in the United States.
Compounding these painful statistics, only a small percentage of people living with chronic pain have visited a doctor specializing in pain management. That’s something Marco Pappagallo, MD, a fellowship-trained pain medicine specialist for Atlantic Medical Group Neurology, hopes to change. Dr. Pappagallo recently joined Andrew G. Kaufman, MD, as co-director of Overlook’s Comprehensive Pain Management Center.
Why should patients consult a pain management specialist?
Dr. Pappagallo: Chronic pain comes in many forms, as does its treatment. Pain may result from neurological disorders, trauma, disease or injury. It may arise after stroke, surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Treating pain requires more than an interventional treatment – like drugs or shots – for the pain.
It requires a multidisciplinary team of pain management specialists – physicians with advanced training and specialty board certification, trained nurses, neurologists, behavioral health specialists, physical therapists, social workers, neurosurgeons, orthopedic spine surgeons, radiologists, and – depending upon the patient’s medical needs – other specialists, all working together to ensure that every aspect of a patient’s pain is addressed … not just the physical, biological aspects of the disease, but the psychosocial aspects of the suffering patient, too.
What makes Overlook’s Pain Management Center unique?
Dr. Pappagallo: There is a lot of fragmentation out there, requiring patients to drive from one specialist to another. Our approach provides comprehensive assessments, using the latest diagnostic equipment, coordination of care across multiple specialties, and education about pain management in one place. It is a long-term, individualized approach to pain management.
We’re not only managing a patient’s pain, for example, from joint, bone, connective tissue or nervous system disease, but also treating the underlying cause of pain and preventing it from worsening. We strive to improve the suffering of the patients with pain by addressing the accompanying fatigue, anxiety and depression they may be experiencing. This approach takes time, which we are happy to invest in each patient.
We envision a medical home for comprehensive pain management here. We will build relationships with family medicine, primary care and emergency room physicians, and other health care providers to educate them about pain management. We will reach out to patient support groups and advocacy organizations.
And, we will eventually build a database of patient registries to facilitate future participation in clinical trials investigating new protocols for pain management.
Dr. Jennifer Sayanlar: We are able to offer patients a variety of treatment options, including interventional procedures to alleviate their pain. At the center, I offer several different procedures, including spine injections, joint injections, nerve blocks, and trigger point injections for musculoskeletal pain. Also, we offer botulinum toxin injections for migraine headaches as well as cryotherapy ablation for knee pain. Patients are grateful to experience pain relief from these procedures and increase their activity and have improved quality of life as a result.
Overlook’s Pain Management Center is conveniently located in Overlook’s Medical Arts Center (MAC) II, Suite B110. It is open Monday-Friday, 8:00am to 4:00pm. Call 908-522-2808 to schedule an appointment.
Meet These Doctors from the Pain Management Center
Marco Pappagallo, MD, Co-Director, Overlook Medical Center’s Comprehensive Pain Management Center
Dr. Pappagallo joins Atlantic Medical Group from his position as medical director of the New Medical Home for Chronic Pain and Rare Diseases in Manhattan.
Born in Italy, Dr. Pappagallo received his medical degree at University of Rome before coming to New York to pursue his residency at SUNY Stony Brook. He completed a clinical and research fellowship at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and returned to Italy and his alma mater to gain additional postgraduate training in neurosurgery.
Dr. Pappagallo has held teaching and academic positions in neurology, neurosciences, neurosurgery and anesthesiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, NYU School of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. His leadership roles have included founder and chief medical officer of NovaPharm Therapeutics in Pennsylvania and chief medical officer of CerSci Therapeutics in Dallas, Texas.
Previously, he served as director of Chronic Pain at Johns Hopkins, director of the Comprehensive Pain Treatment Center at the Hospital for Joint Diseases at NYU Health, director of chronic pain for the Department of Pain Medicine and Palliative Care at Beth Israel Medical Center, and as director of Pain Medicine Research for the Department of Anesthesiology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Dr. Pappagallo is a participating provider of the Atlantic Accountable Care Organization.
Jennifer Sayanlar, MD
Dr. Jennifer Sayanlar is a fellowship-trained pain management specialist with Atlantic Medical Group. With a focus on neuromuscular conditions of the back, neck, spine and joints, Dr. Sayanlar provides leading-edge nonsurgical interventions to control acute and chronic pain and improve a patient’s quality of life.
Triple board-certified in hospice and palliative care, pain medicine, and physical medicine and rehabilitation, Dr. Sayanlar is part of Atlantic Health System’s Neuroscience Center at Overlook Medical Center. She earned her medical degree in osteopathic medicine at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, then pursued her internship and residency at North Shore LIJ Health System’s Union Hospital in New York, followed by her fellowship in interventional pain management at Beth Israel Medical Center.
Dr. Sayanlar continues to mentor medical students as part of her membership with the American Association of Pain Medicine and Rehabilitation. She is also a member of the American Osteopathic College of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, among others. Dr. Sayanlar is a participating provider of the Atlantic Accountable Care Organization. She is proficient in Turkish and Spanish.