Across the United States, September is recognized as National Pain Awareness Month.  This month serves as an opportunity to bring awareness to the effects of pain and options for treatment.

Quincy Medical Group physician Dr. Howard Dedes trained in the anesthesiology pain medicine department at a Harvard medical school affiliated hospital.  He is board certified in pain medicine and is the director of the interventional spine and joint wellness department.  He said pain can be associated with a wide range of injury and disease. “Most of the people that we see are experiencing low back pain, that’s followed by neck pain and general joint pain usually in the hip, knee, or shoulder.”

Some conditions may have pain and associated symptoms arising from a distinct injury or disease, but there are other cases where pinpointing the cause can be difficult.  Dr. Dedes said getting to the root of the pain can mean looking beyond an MRI image.  “The MRI is a very sensitive picture, and it will show me a picture of everything.  But, it doesn’t mean that everything I see is causing their pain,” he explained.  “Based on a patient’s history, you could probably find out about 75% of the time where the pain is coming from or what’s going on, and then the rest from an exam.”

Typically patients who are referred to his office have tried other avenues including physical therapy and medication.  He said treatment of pain is individualized and has to look beyond just the physical symptoms the patient is experiencing.   “Our treatment looks at the whole person.  When people are in chronic pain, it wears on them; it wears on the family relationships.  If no one addresses the mental health side like the depression or anxiety that comes with pain, patients don’t generally get better,” Dr. Dedes explained. “Once you attack pain from different angles, you usually get a better outcome than if you just give them pain medication or just focus on one thing.”

For more information on interventional spine and joint wellness, options visit or call 217-222-6550, ext. 3074.